• BURN MEDIA
    • Motorburn
      Because cars are gadgets
    • Gearburn
      Incisive reviews for the gadget obsessed
    • Ventureburn
      Startup news for emerging markets
    • Jobsburn
      Digital industry jobs for the anti 9 to 5!

All posts by Tom Foremski: In Silicon Valley

  • There’s growth in the global ad industry, but massive problems with mobile ads

    Ingrid Lunden reports on the latest forecast on global advertising markets from advertising agency ZenithOptimedia. Global ad spend in 2013 will see steady growth of 3.5% to reach US$503-billion by the end of the year…In the U.S… digital in 2013 will account for 21.8% of all ad spend ($109.7 billion), up from 19% the year before. Meanwhile, mobile remains a solid minority of activity: in the US, mobile ads will account for 3.7% of all ad spend (US$6.2-billion). TV advertising is managing to hang on quite well: Television advertising is still by far the biggest piece of the pie -- 40% in 2012,...

  • Closing Silk Road only benefits international crime syndicates, Bitcoin will rebound

    Last year a 21 year old man is shot and killed in a drug-related case near my home in San Francisco. The FBI's shutdown of web site Silk Road is a hollow victory in the hugely expensive war on drugs, which has consistently failed to stop the drug trade, or stop criminals from amassing huge amounts of wealth and ordering more than 60 000 murders in Mexico alone. Silk Road had some positive aspects. The FBI admitted that Silk Road vendors provided high quality drugs. And the prices were far below the street, reducing the money fueling the trade. Based on advanced...

  • Jeff Bezos’ customer-focused vision won’t save journalism

    So much for that momentary spark of optimism that Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos would save journalism by relaunching his Washington Post newspaper, with a fabulous tech-led business model and leading the way for a resurgent newspaper industry. In his first TV interview since the Washington Post purchase, Bezos said that he bought the newspaper as a personal investment and to support an "important institution." Katherine Fung reported on Huffington Post: Speaking to CNN correspondent Dan Simon, said that that he was hopeful about the road ahead and his ability to contribute to the organisation… "I'm hopeful that I can help...

  • Can Intel’s new brooms really bring sweeping change?

    The Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, is the company's most important event of the year because it's a chance for its top executives to talk about future strategy. Unfortunately, it's also the time of the year when Apple usually announces new products, and there are multiple conferences in town, so it's always tough getting attention. But it's especially important for Intel this year because it has a new CEO in Brian Krzanich, and a new president, Renee James. It's a coup for Intel's communications team therefore that it got some attention from the New York Times in a very...

  • The NSA’s pretending to be Google: that’s got to be bad for business

    The NSA Edward Snowden revelations are getting worse and worse for the reputation of leading Silicon Valley companies as the latest information shows that the US spy agency has masqueraded as Google to collect information on users. Josh Harkinson reports in Mother Jones: "The NSA has impersonated Google and possibly other major internet sites in order to intercept, store, and read supposedly secure online communications. The spy agency accomplishes this using what's known as a 'man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack,' a fairly well-known exploit used by elite hackers." This can't be good for business. Google's Chrome browser offers some protection from MITM attacks. Google...

  • The NSA isn’t to blame for our surveillance culture, companies have been doing it for years

    It's ironic that with all our technologies for keeping things secret our secrets have a way of coming out into the open. We now know so much about the super-secret NSA and its spying activities that it's as if Spy versus Spy had become a comic reality. The NSA isn't to blame for this culture of surveillance, it was there long before, in the commercial spying by Google, Facebook, and others; in the nefarious activities of hacker groups; and on occasions, from friends and families. Individuals aren't spies but we have been conditioned to think like spies and take similar...

  • At the crossroads: which path should AllThingsD head down?

    JP Mangalindan and Dan Primack at Fortune have produced an excellent article on tech gadget and news site AllThingsD and the discussions between owner Dow Jones and the founding team of Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. Here are the main points: Dow Jones owns AllThingsD but the contract with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher will expire at the end of this year. The two co-executive editors are trying to gain ownership of the property. AllThingsD is working with investment bank Code Advisors to find outside investors at an enterprise value that could exceed the $25-million that AOL (AOL) reportedly paid in 2010...

  • Advice for Microsoft from someone who’s never run a lemonade stand

    There has been rush from people (journalists and bloggers) who have never run a lemonade stand or any business, to give copious free advice to Microsoft in the wake of CEO Steve Ballmer's resignation. I read some of them, the best one so far is from John Gapper at the Financial Times. His advice is simple: exit the consumer business because it is businesses that buy Microsoft products and not consumers. He reminds those with long memories of the struggle IBM had in responding to the challenge of cheap computing in the mid-1990s. It appointed Louis Gerstner CEO,...

  • Mark Zuckerberg’s call for global internet access needs A/B testing

    Mark Zuckerberg's call for an industry-wide effort to bring internet connectivity to billions of the world's poorest is framed in the context of a great humanitarian crusade, he calls it "one of the greatest challenges of our generation." It seems lacking in ambition and imagination to focus on internet connectivity as a grand challenge that will inspire many others to devote their time and energy into making a reality. It is also incredibly self-serving. Do the world's poor want Internet access versus say clean water? Shouldn't Mr. Zuckerberg ask them? Over at One Hacker Way (above), the Hacker Way calls...

  • New Gmail is filtering out its biggest competition: others in email marketing

    Promotional email has long been an effective way of delivering opt-in commercial messages and many have rediscovered this method after experimenting with advertising, social media campaigns, and other novel forms of online marketing. However, recent changes at Google's Gmail has people in marketing very worried. The free email service has begun filtering some emails into a separate "Promotions" folder, which shifts them from the prime position they had in the users' Inbox folder. Marketers are worried that conversion rates will be hurt by the change as Google rolls out the changes to its 425 million users. They could be right....

  • Can Jeff Bezos save the Washington Post? Some points to consider

    I recently took part in NPR's "To the Point" an hour-long current affairs program hosted by Warren Olney, an award-winning veteran journalist, on the topic of the Jeff Bezos's buyout of the Washington Post." Also, on the show were John F Harris, editor-in-chief of Politico and a former Washington Post editor; and Nick Wingfield from the New York Times. Here are some of the most pressing issues, that came out of the show: There seems to be an impression that Bezos' technical acumen can save the Washington Post and the newspaper industry. No one knows Bezos' plan of action, probably because he...

  • Google is forcing a massive change in PR: here’s how

    I've long warned that PR companies would be subject to similar forces of disruption that have been destroying the media sector for the past decade. As with the media companies, their helter skelter basket to hell was waiting for them. But my friends in PR weren't entirely convinced because there was no clear cut challenge to their business. While they watched the boa constrictor technologies of the internet squeezing the profitability out of the media sector, the new media revolution had increased their business opportunities. They were so busy that they hadn't noticed Google's war on SEO, or that it was...

  • Could Jeff Bezos be a new, less uptight, Steve Jobs?

    Jeff Bezos is by far the most interesting of the tech industry CEOs. He's the new "Steve Jobs" in terms of being able to attract the same type of attention to his every move. Will he be able to guide society into a welcoming, bright digital future in the same way Steve Jobs was able to educate and show how things could become? Bezos is a much more humanitarian version of Steve Jobs, who was an uptight hippie despite his ashram and alternate lifestyle experiences. Mr. Bezos' style is much gentler and better suited to our times. He's a very impressive...

  • Bezos’ biggest coup? He now owns the newspaper of a superpower’s capital

    In his letter to employees from their new boss, Jeff Bezos, the founder of ecommerce giant Amazon, promises to keep the paper focused on what the reader wants and to follow important stories no matter the cost. The paper’s duty will remain to its readers and not to the private interests of its owners….Journalism plays a critical role in a free society, and The Washington Post -- as the hometown paper of the capital city of the United States -- is especially important. Owning the Washington Post will most certainly help Amazon's lobbying of the government, which has increased substantially over...

  • Why the Publicis, Omnicom merger really could hurt Google, Facebook

    The recent announcement of the Omnicom and Publicis $35bn merger to create the world's largest advertising company, is all about gaining the upper hand in the disruption of their business by Google, and other Silicon Valley media companies. Google, Facebook, Twitter, and others, will have to work with a smaller number of very large agencies who are increasingly united on what works for them. The shift in the scale of the advertising agencies is a huge shift in the balance of power. Suzanne Vranica and Ruth Bender at the Wall Street Journal reported: David Bank, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets, said,...