BusinessWeek snapshot of Radar Networks -- run by Peter Drucker's grandson
"Semantic Web" software from startup Radar Networks could help transform the Net
Big lines near the Apple store in downtown San Francisco tonight, TV camera crew -- excellent market choreography...
Even Steve Wozniak, the ex-partner of Jobs, showed up at a Silicon Valley, California, mall at 4 a.m. aboard his Segway scooter. He helped keep order in the line outside the Apple store.
The other customers awarded the honorary first spot in line to Wozniak, who planned to buy two iPhones on Friday even though he remains an Apple employee and will get a free one from the company next month. He said the device would redefine cell phone design and use.
Another insightful Cringely reality check
Adobe is moving into developer tools in a big way to support its grab for mindshare in the interactive/rich web application space where much of the excitement lately seems to be. Some people think of this as Browser Wars 2.0, but I think it is more fundamental than that. Here are the players. Microsoft is putting massive resources behind Silverlight. Sun is trying to take Java to the next level with Java FX. Mozilla is trying to improve its position through AJAX, Canvas support, and better offline support. And Adobe is leaning hard on Flash, Adobe Integrated Runtime or AIR (formerly code-named Apollo), and Flex. My money is on Adobe simply because of those two invisible weapons, PDF and Flash.
If it sounds like I am more or less writing off Java despite Sun's recent announcement of Java FX to directly compete with AIR and Silverlight, well I am. Adobe is far more focused than Sun on this market segment and there are just as many Flash developers as Java developers.
Read the full article for more details and projections
Timely book/reality check
Mr. Keen argues that “what the Web 2.0 revolution is really delivering is superficial observations of the world around us rather than deep analysis, shrill opinion rather than considered judgment.” In his view Web 2.0 is changing the cultural landscape and not for the better. By undermining mainstream media and intellectual property rights, he says, it is creating a world in which we will “live to see the bulk of our music coming from amateur garage bands, our movies and television from glorified YouTubes, and our news made up of hyperactive celebrity gossip, served up as mere dressing for advertising.” This is what happens, he suggests, “when ignorance meets egoism meets bad taste meets mob rule.”
My Burton Group colleague Guy Creese on an important Google distribution deal; see the full post for more details.
Google announced today that it had cut a deal with Ingram Micro to sell and distribute its Google Search Appliance and Google Mini. This is a smart move, as Ingram Micro is a powerhouse in distribution, and it gives Google many more feet on the street. In addition, Google is now up to having sold 9,000 search appliances, a number that dwarfs the number of enterprise search installations done by Autonomy, FAST Search, and others.
The Windows Live family of services expands; see the Q&A for a (software + services) (status + strategy) snapshot.
Today we’re also releasing a couple of exciting new services from Windows Live into managed beta testing: Windows Live Photo Gallery beta and Windows Live Folders beta.
Windows Live Photo Gallery is a stand-alone service that upgrades Windows Vista’s Windows Photo Gallery. Offered at no charge, Windows Live Photo Gallery enables both Windows Vista and Windows XP SP2 customers to share, edit, organize and print photos and digital home videos.The initial managed beta of Windows Live Photo Gallery beta is available today in nine markets around the world so far (including the United States (English and Spanish), China, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Japan, and Spain), with more to come. We’re really proud of this service because it’s so easy to share photos – it’s really as easy as sending an e-mail. You can also easily publish your photos to your Windows Live Spaces.
We’re also releasing Windows Live Folders into managed beta today, which will provide customers with 500 megabytes of online storage at no charge. We see this limited managed beta in the United States right now as just a starting point for us, and we’ll begin collecting input from beta users during the testing process, which will be useful when developing future versions of the service. Like I’ve said, it’s very important to us that we give our customers multiple options for connecting to family, friends and information, and share information and other things with the people they care about the most.
Windows Live Moves Into Next Phase with Renewed Focus on Software + Services: Q&A: Chris Jones, corporate vice president, Windows Live Experience Program Management, discusses how a new Windows Live product suite planned for release in the coming months will help customers more easily and safely communicate and share online.
Another timely iPhone reality check.
That machine, and that buzz, have inspired a lot of questions. Just how much of a phone, an iPod and an Internet machine is this thing?
Here are the answers to the most frequently asked iPhone questions.
[Check the FAQ at the link below]
Another question to consider: can near infinite hype and press fawning overcome obvious 1.0 product deficiencies (objectively read the NYT Q&A list...)? We'll soon find out.
Timely Google reality check -- on how some candidates are finding the company size and potentially limited financial upside are not compelling...
As Google Inc. exploded into a company of more than 12,000 employees, attracting a million resumes a year, the Internet giant rarely lost staff to start-ups or had prospective workers turn down job offers. Now, though, Google's magnetic pull on top Silicon Valley talent is showing signs of weakening.
p.s. sorry about the relatively sparse posts this week -- I've been so depressed about not having an iPhone that news-scanning has been painful, with all of the iPhone articles.
Just kidding -- I've been at Burton Group's annual Catalyst conference all week, with a very hectic schedule. I'll return to my normal routine next week. (I do, however, despise my Cingular/LG phone combination, in case you're wondering if I truly have iPhone envy...)
So apparently Apple does want to sell iPhones to enterprises after all...
Here’s what I’m hearing: Apple will announce this week — possibly as soon as June 27 — that it has licensed the Exchange ActiveSync licensing protocol. Via the licensing arrangement, Apple iPhone users will be able to connect to Exchange Server and make use of its wireless messaging and synchronization capabilities.
ActForChange is petitioning Apple -- kinda weird...
On Friday June 29, Apple will release the iPhone, with 3 million units available -- seemingly more than enough to match the endless hype. However, if you want to purchase one, you'll be stuck using it on AT&T. It doesn't matter that the iPhone could work on other networks -- Apple refuses to let that happen.
Okay, I admit I'm impressed...
Apple Inc.'s iTunes online store was the third-largest overall music retailer in the U.S. in the first quarter, leapfrogging Amazon.com Inc. and Target Corp. in units sold, a market-research firm said. ITunes had a 9.8% market share , behind Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s 15.8% and Best Buy Co.'s 13.8%, according to NPD Group. Amazon.com had 6.7% and Target 6.6%, the firm said. NPD's survey doesn't include mobile-music sales, nor does it factor in revenue.
Timely snapshot of emerging Google competitors
The fumbling of Google’s largest challengers, however, has not dampened the enthusiasm of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists for entering the search game. The combination of low start-up costs and potentially huge profit makes it seem a reasonable bet.
Developing a search algorithm can be accomplished by very small teams. It was a team of two — Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google — who developed a new and improved search algorithm. They beat out Alta Vista, whose search engine was developed by seven people at the Digital Equipment Corporation.
Mark Logic announced this week (see press release) that the company has been granted a fundamental patent related to XML indexing technology. The patent, entitled "Parent-Child Query Indexing for XML Databases," is US patent number 7,171,404 and was granted on 1/30/07.
Timely reality check on Google and Yahoo! (see the article for details)
Mr. Weiner has no worries about Google’s ability to keep growing if it continues to make acquisitions, like the YouTube video site, and form partnerships with other tech heavyweights. A widely mooted deal in which Google would furnish targeted advertising to users of the fledgling Apple TV would be ideal, he said.
What could cause Google to stumble, he said, is not inadequate growth but enough of it to “step on people’s toes.” Some holders of copyrighted material do not like Google searching their content already, and as it expands, Google is bound to usurp territory that companies like Microsoft consider theirs alone, he said.
Different rules apply, since Microsoft is a regulated, convicted monopolist. It'll be interesting to see how Google handles a similar situation, if it continues on its current market share trajectory.
Predictably, Internet search giant Google isn't appeased by the half-measures that Microsoft made in meeting its demands that it be able to replace Windows Vista's Instant Search feature with its own product. Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond said Microsoft's changes to Vista are welcome, but that "They should be improved further to give consumers greater access to alternate desktop search providers." They didn't go into more detail, so let me explain: What Google wants are two key pieces of functionality that Microsoft won't implement. First, when a third-party search engine is installed on Vista, the Instant Search feature should be completely disabled, which is not the current plan. Second, Google should get access to the search boxes that appear in each Explorer window, and not a secondary link that Microsoft is now creating. These are valid complaints, within the confines of the changes Microsoft has agreed to make. That said, Google's overall complaint is still as baseless as ever, and Microsoft should have simply told the company to take a hike. Give them and inch and they'll take a mile, as the phrase goes. Seriously, someone needs to curb Google's power now before it's too late.
Wow -- Oracle is 30 years old and has 68,000 employees. This Oracle Magazine article is a useful recap and snapshot (although it accentuates the positive, naturally).
The founding of Oracle. In 1977 Larry Ellison, together with Bob Miner and Ed Oates, founded Software Development Laboratories (later to be renamed Oracle) to undertake contract development work. After reading a paper by Codd in the IBM Journal of Research and Development, they set to work, seizing the opportunity to develop the first commercial SQL relational database. They called their database "Oracle" after the code name of a CIA-funded project they had worked on together. The first version was never released.
Behold a vaporware record that will likely stand for decades...
Sausalito, 17 June 2007 - XanaduSpace 1.0 is now available for download at http://xanarama.net.
XanaduSpace 1.0 is a new 3D document viewer from Project Xanadu, based on the transliterary open standard at http://transliterature.org. It presently runs only on Windows. It is free.
XanaduSpace 1.0 allows the user to fly around parts of a hypertext, showing text connections as translucent beams you can fly through. An included hypertext, "Origins," has eleven flying pages; one central page connects to various quotes from Bibles and cosmological theory.
Xanadu was started in the nineteen-sixties as the first hypertext system,
but has encountered many setbacks on its way to market. Nelson is not
discussing future versions. "We've learned our lesson about
pre-announcement," he says.
Xandros, the leading provider of intuitive Linux solutions and cross platform interoperability tools, today announced it will join Microsoft and other companies to build and ship open source translators between documents stored in Ecma Office Open XML and Open Document Formats. The translators, being developed through the Open XML/ODF Translator project, will be made available to Xandros users via the Xandros Networks update facility. Every Xandros product that includes OpenOffice.org will be equipped with the translators.
This announcement underscores the shared view of Xandros and Microsoft that competing office productivity applications should make it easy for customers to exchange files with one another and allow them to use their operating system and office productivity applications of choice.
Real money for virtual goods
A VC principal writes that merchants are making big money in virtual worlds -- over $1.5 billion annually and growing. Virtual goods helps buyers express themselves, and increase satisfaction with whatever game, service or virtual world they're using.
More on Mono's "Moonlight" project
Miguel de Icaza, Open Source developer of Mono, has turned his attention to working with Silverlight on Linux. Miguel and his team worked 21 straight days to build a demo of Silverlight on Linux for the Mix07 Paris show going on now in the city of lights.
Miguel's team did an outstanding job. He has a day by day review of what they did and how they did it on his blog.
I never understood why AOL bought Tegic in the first place.
Nuance Communications announced Thursday that it is purchasing Seattle-based Tegic Communications from Time Warner's AOL subsidiary for $265 million in cash.
Tegic develops the commonly used T9 software that predicts what people type into their mobile phone for easier text entry. Last year, the software was shipped on nearly two-thirds of all cellphones. Nuance, based in Burlington, Mass., builds voice-recognition software, including a version for mobile phones.
AOL purchased Tegic in 1999 for $350 million in stock.
Mind-mapping software review
Here's a heads-up on some organizing software that may take some getting used to. Frankly, it's taken me nearly 10 years to appreciate its power. But now that I do, it has become something of an obsession. I even have dreams about it.
It's a defiantly [sic] different kind of thought-mapping program called PersonalBrain, and a new version (including versions for Mac and Linux users) will be launched next month by U.S.-based TheBrain Technologies LP at www.thebrain.com. Users include scientists, soldiers, inventors and others who have used it to marshal their collections of thoughts, projects and even databases on criminal syndicates. I find it so useful and absorbing, there's nothing -- be it a Web site link, a random idea, a contact, a document, a scrap of information -- that I don't add to its spider-web-like screen, knowing it will throw up links my brain had never considered or had failed to remember.
Timely reality check
Facebook's success has attracted the attention of News Corp. Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch. When asked in a recent interview whether newspaper readers are migrating to MySpace, he responded, "I wish they were. They're all going to Facebook at the moment." According to Web-tracking firm comScore Inc., 105 million people visited MySpace in April and 38.8 million visited Facebook.
Another Bubble V2 milestone
Entrepreneurs Jake Winebaum and Sky Dayton were widely mocked for lavishing $7.5 million on a single Internet domain name -- business.com -- back in 1999. It was the single highest price paid for a domain name at the time.
Now look who is having the last laugh.
The company that grew out of business.com -- a search engine used by businesses to find products and services -- is now on the auction block, and could fetch anywhere between $300 million and $400 million, according to people familiar with the matter.
More details on yesterday's Enterprise 2.0 panel discussion, captured by super-blogger Michael Sampson.
This was from the panel Mike Gotta and I moderated yesterday; see the article for more details. Thanks again to the panelists for their insights.
Microsoft and IBM executives Wednesday admitted feeling heat from Google now that the Web search giant is trying to make inroads into the enterprise market with its hosted suite of communication and collaboration tools.
Google Apps, a hosted service, is gaining traction primarily in universities but is a welcome addition to enterprise software because of its simplicity and ease of use, said Rob Curry, director of Microsoft’s Office business platform group, during a panel discussion today at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston.
A Microsoft speaker at TechEd noted that Microsoft SQL Server is #1 in terms of units sold -- i.e., is beating Oracle and IBM combined on new sales in terms of units; the higher revenue levels for Oracle and IBM highlight very different pricing strategies.
Oracle's database revenue increased 14.9% year-to-year, and its market share ticked up from 46.8% in 2005, Gartner said.
The research and consulting firm gave second-place IBM 21.1% of the market, with relational database sales of $3.2 billion -- up 8.8% from its sales level during 2005. But IBM's market share dropped from 22.1% in 2005, and its revenue increase fell short of the 14.2% growth of the market as a whole.
Microsoft Corp. remained in third place with a 17.4% market share last year, according to Gartner. But the firm said that Microsoft gained ground on IBM, thanks to year-over-year sales growth of 28% that bumped up its revenue total to $2.7 billion.
Strange days indeed
Gone are the days when parents stood on the back porch and shouted for their kids.
The AmberWatch Foundation, a nonprofit group focused on preventing child abduction, announced the pending launch of a Global Positioning System software application called AmberWatch Mobile. Parents can use the application to monitor their children's movements and children can use it to send an alert to their parents notifying them of their exact location.
The software enabling the service can be downloaded to a child's GPS-enabled cellphone. It then allows parents to log on to a dedicated Web site, amberwatchmobile.com, and quickly pinpoint their child's cellphone location. The child can also zap his or her location from the GPS-compatible handset via text message or email to the parent's phone by hitting a few keys on their cellphone.
Dunno where Microsoft stands on this...
Novell later this week will demonstrate Microsoft’s Silverlight 1.1 browser plug-in running on Linux.
The demo of Microsoft's new technology for Rich Internet Application development is set to take place in Paris at Microsoft’s Mix07 conference, and will be conducted by Miguel de Icaza, Novell’s vice president of development.
I'm sure Apple will follow suit "real soon now..."
Under the compromise, Microsoft agreed to allow more ways for PC users to access competitors' desktop search programs, according to the report. The company will create a way for users to set their PC to default to a search program of their choosing. So, for instance, users could set the "Search" button under the Start menu of a Vista PC to always use Google's desktop search program. Microsoft also agreed to provide PC makers and software makers information on how to write desktop search programs to run more smoothly on Vista PCs.
Yahoo Inc.'s Jerry Yang, who started the company as a Stanford University student 12 years ago and took the helm as chief executive Monday, said he's gearing up for a long fight with Google Inc.
"I'm ready to dig in and make sure we can take Yahoo to the next level," Yang, 38, said in an interview yesterday. "I'm absolutely not interim. We want someone for the long haul."
Google has acquired online slide presentation company Zenter, filling out its web-based office software portfolio with an application similar to Microsoft’s popular PowerPoint. Financial terms were not disclosed.
While the Internet search giant has already made Microsoft’s PowerPoint files viewable in GMail, Google has not yet launched its own web version of PowerPoint.
Google had previously acquired Tonic Systems, another maker of presentation software, in April.
New collaboration capabilities for SharePoint -- see the post for more details
About 3 months ago, I pre-announced the kick-off of the Community Kit for SharePoint (CKS) 2.0 effort, and fairly quickly, over 20 volunteers signed up to help. After just 2 months of work (mostly on nights and weekends), the CKS team has accomplished quite a bit and has decided to release a couple of editions and components to the community for evaluation and feedback. The CKS along with over 50 other active SharePoint oriented projects on CodePlex provide a very positive indicator of the power and extensibility of the SharePoint platform. I expect many more developers in the community to join SharePoint oriented shared source initiatives such as the CKS over the next 12 months. If you are interested, the CKS team can always use more help.
This CKS 2.0 Pre-Release contains the following:
Timely reality check
“It’s not fair to say that Yahoo totally blew it,” said Ellen Siminoff, a former Yahoo executive who is now chief executive of Efficient Frontier, a search advertising company. “Yahoo did a fine job in search. It’s just that Google did an amazing job. So in comparison, it doesn’t look as good.”
See the article for Vista and Mac OS market stats
Firefox experienced it's largest slip in browser market share since Net Applications began tracking the open-source software in late 2004. Firefox's share fell from 15.42% in April to 14.54% last month. Its loss was mostly Internet Explorer's gain -- IE 7's share climbed by 0.70% -- although Apple's own Safari browser also benefited; its share was up 0.23% in May to 4.82%.
So apparently the recent shareholder meeting didn't go so well...
Yahoo Chief Executive Terry Semel is stepping down, and co-founder Jerry Yang will become the new chief executive, the company announced Monday. Semel will assume the position of nonexecutive chairman and serve as an adviser to the management team and board of directors. Sue Decker, former chief financial officer and head of the advertiser group, has been named president.
Interesting reality check
Has online retailing entered the Dot Calm era?
Since the inception of the Web, online commerce has enjoyed hypergrowth, with annual sales increasing more than 25 percent over all, and far more rapidly in many categories. But in the last year, growth has slowed sharply in major sectors like books, tickets and office supplies.
Growth in online sales has also dropped dramatically in diverse categories like health and beauty products, computer peripherals and pet supplies. Analysts say it is a turning point and growth will continue to slow through the decade.
Suspend disbelief and preconceived notions, objectively read this letter, and post a comment here if you see anything objectionable. I think Microsoft is doing good stuff in this context and would be pleasantly surprised if other leading vendors followed Microsoft's example.
With ISO/IEC having standardized Open Document Format (ODF) 1.0 and considering standardizing Ecma Office Open XML (Open XML), there is a lot of public discussion about document formats and whether the world should begin to focus on only one format or continue to see multiple formats developed and used over time. Microsoft believes that users should be able to choose among formats and pick the one that best meets their needs. We also believe in encouraging the continued evolution of computing and data formats. And we support the ratification of Open XML in ISO/IEC.
That explains a lot...
An American Medical Association committee recently took steps to classify video game addiction as a mental disorder.
After nearly a year of studying the issue, an AMA committee concluded, in a 10-page report, that excessive video game playing leads to what it describes as "social dysfunction/disruption".
As a result, the AMA panel "strongly encourages the consideration and inclusion of 'Internet/video game addiction' as a formal diagnostic disorder in the upcoming revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV," according to the report.
A very deeply nested perspective from Cringely on Windows Safari; read the full post for context
For Apple TV to be successful as an IPTV set-top box, Apple has to convince us that we really want to download our video, NOT stream it. Not incidentally, this is also the key to iTunes' long-term success. Downloading makes much more efficient use of network resources, works fine on a copper wiring plant, and fits our emerging TiVoesque world view. Steve will tell us that we are busy dynamic people who really ought to plan our viewing. And enough of us will believe him to make AT&T's copper video service a credible success.
Seeing a pattern here yet?...
Today Microsoft Corp. and Linux desktop provider Linspire Inc. announced a broad interoperability, technical collaboration that also includes intellectual property assurances. The agreement promotes customer choice and strengthens the bridge between the Microsoft® Windows® and Linux operating systems.
Through this agreement, the companies will work to advance office document compatibility, enhance instant messaging interoperability and reinforce existing collaboration on digital media. In addition, Linspire will be providing its customers with the option of acquiring a patent covenant from Microsoft for customers operating the Linspire desktop.
Microsoft and Linspire Collaboration Promotes Interoperability and Customer Choice: Broad agreement will facilitate interoperability between Windows and Linux, provide intellectual property assurance.
The source code for a set of software tools developed by Microsoft Research to advance AIDS vaccine research and development is available for download starting today from Microsoft’s CodePlex Web site. By sharing the code openly and at no charge with the worldwide AIDS research community, Microsoft hopes to spur other scientists and researchers to take up the tools and even build on them, thereby speeding the way toward a vaccine.
The code for four software tools is available now at no charge via CodePlex, an online portal created in 2006 to foster collaborative software development projects and host shared source code as part of Microsoft’s Shared Source Initiative. The tools and source code are an initial piece of Microsoft’s technical computing effort – a company-wide initiative to collaborate with the worldwide scientific community by reducing the time to new scientific insights and breakthroughs by furthering the state of information technology in scientific research.
Microsoft Research Releases Tools to Help Science Progress Toward an AIDS Vaccine: After two years of pioneering work and collaboration in AIDS research, Microsoft openly shares its software source code with the greater scientific community to help expedite global research.
I suspect we're going to see many more such encounters, as Google expands to compete with a wide variety of one-time complementors...
EBay said it stopped buying ads from Google that appear next to Web search results in the U.S. late Monday evening. A spokesman for the company, one of the largest buyers of ads from Google, said that the move was part of eBay's "constant experimentation to see what works best" in advertising online.
But people familiar with the matter said it was at least partly a response to a Google marketing event that eBay executives were miffed about. Google's Checkout online payment service had scheduled an event in Boston on Thursday night it described as a "Freedom Party" that was timed to coincide with the opening of an eBay conference for its online sellers.
The "freedom" theme of the Google party for eBay sellers -- to be held near the spot of the Boston Tea Party and including free food and massages -- was an apparent reference to Google's effort to get eBay to let sellers indicate in eBay listings if they accept Checkout. EBay owns the rival PayPal electronic payment service.
The article suggests it could have been a coincidence, but I doubt it...
As thousands of eBay’s largest sellers prepared to gather in Boston for their annual eBay-sponsored convention and party this week, Google, the Internet search and advertising giant, decided it would be a good idea to invite those sellers to its own party. Not just any party, either, but one to promote Google Checkout, a payment system that competes with the eBay-owned PayPal and which eBay has banned from its auctions.
“Let Freedom Ring,” read the invitation on an official Google blog. And in classic Google style, it promised “free food, free drinks, free live music — even free massages.”
That did not sit well with eBay, and early Wednesday the IDG News Service reported that eBay had decided to drop all the ads it places on Google’s search engine. EBay is the largest buyer of Google search ads, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.
(See the article for the rest of the story)
Timely reality check on some vendors likely to benefit from the iPhone hype even if the iPhone is a failure.
Apple Inc. begins its first foray into the wireless telephone business on June 29 with the release of the iPhone. Millions of loyal Apple customer s can hardly wait for the device, which combines a cell phone, music player, and Internet-access device. But Apple's rivals in the cell phone business seem just as enthusiastic.
Another one bites the dust
The magazine will fold its editorial into the InformationWeek.com site, deepening the content already there. I am happy to see that, and hope that they can find a happy home. (I also write for that site from time to time, too.)
CMP is laying off nearly 20% of their current work force as they consolidate production staffs and publications and focus more of their energy on the Web and away from dead trees. It was bound to happen – I mean, when was the last time you eagerly looked forward to reading a computer trade weekly?
I've been very impressed with WHS during beta testing, and I expect it will be a very popular product. See the post referenced below for details if you want to explore.
So, you’ve been eager to try out Windows Home Server…. tried to get into the beta, didn’t manage it. Just stumbled upon WHS recently, and want a piece of it? Now’s your chance. Whilst the early stages of the beta were limited to a set number of managed beta testers, the Windows Home Server team have thrown open the doors to everyone for RC1!
Another Safari reality check
Apple's second major foray into the Windows world, after iTunes, is a curious choice. Safari has never been especially well-regarded as a browser, even among Mac users, and the new Windows version will do little to convince people in the Microsoft camp to make a switch.
Overall, the new Safari 3 beta for Windows XP seems a competently-built browser with a few interesting usability enhancements, plus the promise of potentially increased security. However, it has no "must-have" features to win people over from other browsers, and a host of small annoyances mean that, for most people, this is a browser to avoid.
The rest of the story...
The full story emerged on Tuesday: apparently the executive misspoke. Leopard will support two file systems, the HFS+ technology currently found in Mac OS X, as well as ZFS, a next-generation file system developed by Sun and unveiled in 2005. However, HFS+ will remain the default option.
At some point, Apple will likely make ZFS the default file system for Mac OS X, but Sun hasn't even gotten around to doing that yet for Solaris 10. These transitions can take years.
"Free unlimited storage" is being introduced for Yahoo Mail users this month. It's one of the first cases of Internet boundlessness, where the resources of the Web have become so vast that normal measurements don't matter any more. At least that's the theory. In reality, there are limits to Yahoo's limitlessness. Still, competitors are taking note. Microsoft, for example, which runs Hotmail, says it will move to "take storage off the table as an issue."
Yahoo and Microsoft's Hotmail each have around a 40% penetration of the global Web-based email market, says ComScore, with Yahoo slightly ahead. Gmail, while a darling of the tech set, is a distant third at around 11%, though its 62% growth rate from last year made it the service that's coming on the fastest.
Hence tools such as Popfly
New data on viewing photos, videos and music on the Web may have an impact on the way advertisers and social networking sites perceive firms that help create this content.
Nearly 177.8 million people world-wide viewed Web content in April made with online tools from companies that let people post photos, videos and music on other Web sites, according to data that Web-tracking firm comScore Inc. plans to release today.
The CEO of publisher Macmillan lifts two Google laptops at Book Expo America:
Our justification for this appalling piece of criminal behaviour? The owner of the computer had not specifically told us not to steal it. If s/he had, we would not have done so. When s/he asked for its return, we did so. It is exactly what Google expects publishers to expect and accept in respect to intellectual property.
'If you don't tell us we may not digitise something, we shall do so. But we do no evil. So if you tell us to desist we shall.'
Via Dave Kellogg, who notes "Touché!"
Hard to believe Sun would have announced it if a deal wasn't close; whatever...
An Apple official on Monday said Sun Microsystems' open-source file system would not be in the next version of the Mac operating system, contradicting statements made last week by Sun's chief executive.
During an interview with InformationWeek, Brian Croll, senior director of product marketing for the Mac OS, said, "ZFS is not happening," when asked whether Sun's Zettabyte File System would be in Leopard. Instead, Leopard would use Apple's current hierarchical file system, called HFS+. The Apple file system was first introduced in 1998 in Mac OS 8.0.
The post includes some screen shots and notes that perhaps the most important thing about Safari for Windows is that web developers targeting Safari (including iPhone) will no longer need a Mac to do compatibility testing etc.
For a browser that claims to be the most innovative in the world, Safari doesn't bring too many new features: private browsing that lets you pause the web history, resizable text fields, clever inline find, progress bar included in the address field.
I also don't understand how a company that promotes elegance and simplicity tries to install QuickTime with all their software and bundles Bonjour, a service that detects shared devices on your local network, with a browser.
And AAPL down ~3.5% for the day
The formula is simple: Steve Jobs appears onstage. Rapture ensues. But not today.
The Apple (nasdaq: AAPL - news - people ) chief executive spoke to some 5,000 engineer and programmers here today, dishing out dribs and drabs of news ranging from the mundane to the disappointing during his keynote speech. In response: mild applause.
Timely reality check -- see the full article for a walk through the top 10 features Jobs touted along with comparable Vista features.
I’ve sat through countless Microsoft demos of Vista at a variety of consumer and business events. I don’t remember ever hearing thunderous applause when Microsoft showed off Flip 3D or Vista’s ability to preview thumbnails of documents. The “wows” were few and far between. Yet when Jobs put almost identical versions of these features in Leopard through their paces, there were lots of oohs and ahhs.
But if you’ve seen Vista, there’s no way you could help but compare the feature-complete Leopard beta Jobs showcased with Windows Vista. And — surprise — Vista looked pretty darn up-to-date in comparison.
Ahh -- instant market share; bundle Windows Safari together with iTunes (with the latter also included by default with QuickTime, at least last time I installed QuickTime -- which was a long time ago, since QuickTime has long since been displaced by Flash video), and presto: Apple can claim big download numbers, even if nobody uses Windows Safari. Maybe they should bundle a spreadsheet program as well...
Apple will distribute Safari with the other Windows software the company produces: its iTunes jukebox, which has been downloaded some 500 million times, Jobs said.
"We dream big," Jobs said. "We'd love for Safari's market share to grow substantially ... We're going to go try," he said.
Maybe Apple should be investing more in a version of Boot Camp that its customers actually want instead of, e.g., a Windows browser nobody needs.
Although Parallels doesn't face direct competition from Apple, it is getting a well-heeled rival. Virtualization specialist VMware has been testing its product for months and plans a final version for later this summer. On stage, VMware got nearly equal billing from Jobs, though Parallels did get mentioned first.
I still don't get it -- unless for some reason Apple is intent on competing with Firefox.
With his usual showmanship, Mr. Jobs said that Safari would have twice the performance capability of Microsoft’s browser, Internet Explorer. He also expressed confidence that Apple would be able to increase its market share against the dominant software company, pointing to half a billion downloads of Apple’s iTunes software, most of them by Windows users.
Useful tour of "300+ innovations" -- coming in October for only $129. I'm still waiting to see reports about the Google complaint about platform search APIs...
Apple also announced Safari for Windows -- go figure. I suspect it will undercut Firefox, not IE.
This puts Embarcadero in an interesting position, since most of its major competitors in the modeling/database design tools market have now been acquired (e.g., Telelogic acquired Popkin in early 2005).
IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a cash tender offer for all outstanding shares of Telelogic AB (Nordic Exchange/MidCap/TLOG). The offer price is 21 Swedish Kronor per share, for an aggregate purchase price of approximately 5.2 billion Swedish Kronor (or approximately $745 million).
Telelogic is a leading provider of software development solutions, with more than 8,000 customers worldwide, primarily in the aerospace and defense, telecommunications and automotive industries. Headquartered in Malmö, Sweden, with U.S. headquarters in Irvine, California, Telelogic has more than 1,100 employees and operations in 22 countries worldwide. In 2006, Telelogic reported revenues of approximately $208M, including approximately $89M in license revenue and representing year-to-year growth of 20% overall.
Strange days indeed
Michael Dell is planning a series of acquisitions to turn Dell into more of a computer services business, as he struggles to boost sales and margins at the world’s second-biggest personal computer maker.
Mr Dell, co-founder and chief executive, on Tuesday told the Financial Times that the company’s services business was growing faster than sales of computer equipment, and represented a “huge opportunity”.
To paraphrase: Microsoft's desktop monopoly is complicating expansion of Google's search monopoly...
Google Inc. has complained to federal antitrust officials that the search tool in Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Vista discourages customers from using its own search utility, the company confirmed Sunday.
Stories posted to the Web sites of the New York Times (registration required) and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Saturday first revealed that Google's complaint centered on Vista's built-in desktop search software, dubbed Instant Search. Google, said both newspapers, accused Microsoft of designing Vista to discourage users from running its indexing and search software.
Inevitable, I suppose
Retailers and manufacturers like Reebok, Adidas, American Apparel and 1-800Flowers.com are setting up shop in Second Life, hoping that users will steer their avatars to these stores and buy goods to deliver to their real world addresses. So far, retailers say they have low expectations for their efforts, but some believe that the experiments could yield important lessons on how people might operate in the online realm.
Major milestone for Adobe
The much-anticipated software, now called the Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR), is expected to introduce a new class of hybrid applications that meld the Web with the PC.
A free AIR software development kit to be released Monday is aimed at developers building those applications.
Microsoft Corp. and Games for Change (G4C) today announced a joint commitment to explore new ways to bring together the world of digital gaming with the world of social change at the fourth annual Games for Change Festival at Parsons The New School for Design.
As part of the announcement, Microsoft outlined an all-new socially minded global gaming competition, Xbox 360™ Games for Change Challenge, to drive awareness for games based on social themes. This worldwide competition, set to launch this summer to participants in more than 100 countries, will challenge college students to come up with the best game based on the theme of global warming.
More on the Google headline of the day (no subscription required for this one, unlike the WSJ story referenced in an earlier post)
"We are disappointed with Privacy International's report, which is based on numerous inaccuracies and misunderstandings about our services," said Nicole Wong, Google's deputy general counsel.
"It's a shame that Privacy International decided to publish its report before we had an opportunity to discuss our privacy practices with them."
So maybe not everybody is looking forward to a Gore administration... I imagine Gore would have to unload his Apple and Google stock soon as well (he's currently a senior advisor to Google and an Apple board member).
Nearly a decade after the Clinton administration began a landmark effort to break up Microsoft, the Bush administration has adopted a different course by repeatedly defending the company in the United States and abroad against accusations of anti-competitive conduct, including the recent rejection of a complaint by Google.
Google Inc.'s (GOOG) privacy practices are the worst among the Internet's top destinations, according to a watchdog group seeking to intensify the recent focus on how the online search leader handles personal information about its users.
In a report released Saturday, London-based Privacy International assigned Google its lowest possible grade. The category is reserved for companies with "comprehensive consumer surveillance and entrenched hostility to privacy."
If you care about the future of life on this planet, along with the future of democracy and effective use of the Internet as means of advancing both of the above, read this book...
Interesting profile of a start-up building on Flash, Flex, and Flash Media Server. See the post for more details.
It would be crazy not to add a video-response capability to NerdTV, but how? Up to now there have been two ways to add video response -- one easy but far from ideal and the other very expensive and time-consuming. The first approach is to leverage YouTube or one of its competitors, mashing up some code to allow NerdTV users to submit response videos to YouTube, with those videos also embedded in the NerdTV page. This is relatively simple, free, and gets the job done, but it can be a more effective tool for sending my users to YouTube than for keeping them at NerdTV, which I would prefer.
The second alternative approach would be to write my own video-response application. This is a LOT of work. Not only do I have to write and debug all that code, I have to find a way to host the video responses and maintain the whole mess, which can easily grow to thousands of responses to my few dozen shows. That means building a database. If I am a YouTube competitor, writing my own application is a no-brainer, but I'm not a YouTube competitor. What I need is the Salesforce.com of video-response applications. I need Whistlebox.
If you are wondering why you've never heard of Whistlebox, that would probably be because to my knowledge nobody has written about it before. Whistlebox is a self-funded start-up based in Brooklyn, New York, and unless you are friends or family of the founders, it has been a big secret right up to this moment. But since I am planning to use Whistlebox for NerdTV, that secret is out.
The Economist on the Salesforce.com/Google relationship
AS THE largest search engine on the web, Google mostly helps consumers look for information. Less understood is its role, as the largest online advertising agency, in helping small businesses to market themselves. Those same small businesses also need software to keep track of sales leads, which they increasingly choose to buy from firms such as Salesforce.com that deliver it as a service through the web browser, just as Google delivers search results. It therefore “came naturally”, says Marc Benioff, Salesforce's boss, for the two companies to team up.
And this week they did. In a nutshell, Google will help small businesses to generate leads, and Salesforce will help to turn them into actual customers, says Sheryl Sandberg of Google. Salesforce's customers can now sign up for AdWords, Google's advertising service, right from Salesforce's website. Like all AdWords customers, they can then choose keywords (“car repairs”, say) and bid to have small text links displayed next to the results of any web search for that term. They pay only when users click on the advertisement and are taken to the advertiser's website. At that point Salesforce's service kicks in, collecting information about the user which then pops up on the Salesforce page of the advertiser's sales team, allowing them to follow up and sell something.
Subscription required for access to the full article, unfortunately...
Timely reality check
“The structure of the agreement with LG is very similar to the Novell structure. The coverage of LGE’s Linux-based embedded devices is being handled via direct customer patent covenants,” a Microsoft spokeswoman told me, via e-mail.
The roster of Linux vendors signing patent deals with Microsoft is growing. On the current list: Novell, Fuji Xerox, Samsung, Xandros and now LG Electronics. So far, only two of these (Novell and Xandros) are Linux distro companies.
The latest MIT news flash could finally allow consumers to cut their power cords: A Massachusetts Institute of Technology research team has figured out how to wirelessly illuminate an unplugged light bulb from seven feet away.
Within the next five years, MIT physicist Marin Soljacic foresees a day when people could forgo the tangle of wires that keeps laptop, iPod, and cellphone users on a short leash. Instead, they could use a carefully designed magnetic field to deliver power to devices over the air.
Check the full article for more context
At its graduation yesterday -- the school's 356th commencement -- Harvard awarded 6,871 degrees. Gates, too, received a degree, an honorary doctorate that he jested will come in handy in the future.
"I will be changing my job next year," Gates said, referring to his plan to give up his day-to-day role at Microsoft in July 2008 to spend more time running his foundation. "It will be nice to finally have a college degree on my resume."
Microsoft expands further into master data management; see the full press release for details
Today, Microsoft announced the acquisition of Stratature. This announcement builds on the relationship Microsoft and Stratature have already established, and will accelerate Microsoft’s delivery of technology in the MDM market; it represents the culmination of a company-wide effort across the Microsoft SQL Server, Business Intelligence and Microsoft Office SharePoint technology groups to deliver on a unified Master Data Management solution.
Mike Gotta on the Live Meeting news
In this release, I believe Microsoft is making a purposeful attempt to differentiate itself from the churn of the pure-play web conferencing market. Rather than compete in a debate on pricing, Microsoft is changing the nature of the conversation by linking Live Meeting to its broader unified communications strategy. While there are clearly some advancements that will be appreciated by organizations and users looking for a hosted web conferencing solution, many of the specific improvements are going to be of interest to organizations in a broader context.
Collaboration and Content Strategies Blog: Microsoft Debuts Major Release of Web Conferencing Service: 2007 release of Microsoft Office Live Meeting supports 360-degree video, VoIP and rich media integration.
How to humiliate your teenaged child: 1. Join Facebook. 2. Write a NYT article about the experience.
“I can’t really comment on your family dynamics,” said Brandee Barker, a Facebook spokeswoman. “But I can say that more than 50 percent of Facebook users are outside of college now. As our original demographic gets older, we want to be able to include their social networks.”
“Maybe I should lay off my daughter,” I said.
“Facebook is all about being a reflection of real-world relationships,” she said. “The same thing you’re experiencing with your daughter online is a reflection of how you’re not a part of her social network in real life.”
Interesting times. Maybe Apple (mkt cap ~$107B) should acquire Sun (mkt cap ~$18B)...
A multifaceted sign of the times
At midnight on Feb. 17, 2009, the rabbit ears and the rooftop antennas that still guide television signals into nearly 1 of every 5 American homes will be rendered useless — unless they are tethered to a new device, including two versions unveiled yesterday, that the government will spend as much as $80 a household to help families buy.
More on the IBM tax evasion scheme (no subscription required for this one)
For the second time in 12 months, the government has moved to block a tax shelter that had been aimed at converting billions of dollars of corporate profits, on which taxes have yet to be paid, into profits that will never be taxed.
Impulse purchase optimization...
Sprint Nextel Corp. today begins offering a mobile-search service from closely held GPShopper LLC that uses global-positioning-system technology, enabling consumers to use cellphones to find products in retail stores.
The service allows shoppers to learn where they can buy, say, a certain iPod model or new Nike sneaker, based on a location signal, and at what price.
Previously, users of the service, called Slifter, needed to punch in a ZIP code (which they still can do) along with product-search terms. Not knowing a ZIP code was a roadblock for people in unfamiliar locales.
Looks like that was a one-time deal for IBM...
The Internal Revenue Service moved to shut a corporate tax loophole last week, just two days after International Business Machines Corp. used it to save an estimated $1.6 billion, according to a person familiar with the transaction.
On May 29, IBM said it had structured a $12.5 billion stock repurchase to take advantage of funds it earned overseas without making them subject to U.S. corporate tax rates. Tax attorneys call such deals "Killer B" transactions because they are designed to circumvent IRS section 367 B covering U.S. taxes on repatriated earnings.
On May 31, the IRS announced plans to issue regulations making companies pay U.S. taxes when they buy back their stock, even if the shares are purchased by an international subsidiary. It said the planned ban on the practice would take effect that day, even though the regulations won't be finalized for some time.
Read the post for more details
If you didn’t know any better, you might think Microsoft Corp. was trying to confuse you into using the wrong email program — or wanted to scare you away from email altogether. Throughout roughly the past year, the company has introduced two would-be successors to its well-liked Outlook Express email program. One attempt, now discontinued, featured annoying advertisements that couldn’t be hidden; the other comes loaded on PCs with the new Windows Vista operating system but amazingly doesn’t work with Microsoft’s own Hotmail.
Now, Microsoft is hoping to clear up the confusion and simplify lives with a third release to replace Outlook Express: Windows Live Mail. And judging by an early version of the program, the third time could be the charm.
Subtly significant update from TechEd -- Microsoft plans to ultimately offer all of its software products as managed services, and it's already offering services including Exchange, SharePoint, and LCS.
A few months back, I speculated on how/when Microsoft would field hosted SharePoint Server, hosted Exchange Serverand hosted Live Communications Server products. My best guess was Microsoft would launch Microsoft-managed versions of these services in the late 2007 or later timeframe.
I was surprised to learn today at Microsoft’s TechEd 2007 show that all of these products are already on the Microsoft price list. And there are some new managed services in the near-term pipeline about which Microsoft hasn’t gone public, such as a Microsoft-managed business-intelligence bundle consisting of SQL Server, Performance Point and SharePoint Server all integrated together.
Read the full article for a scary reality check
Presleigh Montemayor often gets home after a long day and spends some time with her family. Then she logs onto the Internet, leaving the real world and joining a virtual one. But the digital utopia of Second Life is not for her. Presleigh, who is 9 years old, prefers a Web site called Cartoon Doll Emporium.
Interesting snapshot and Apple/Microsoft client OS profiles, but I for one don't expect client OSes to go primarily "Web 2.0" (or 3.0, or...) "real soon now."
Many technologists contend that the increasingly ponderous PC-bound operating systems that currently power 750 million computers, products like Microsoft’s Windows Vista and Apple’s soon-to-be-released Mac OS X Leopard, will fade in importance.
In this view, software will be a modular collection of Web-based services — accessible by an array of hand-held consumer devices and computers — and will be designed by companies like Google and Yahoo and quick-moving start-ups.
Interesting headline, and the article goes on to implicitly speculate about possible Google/salesforce.com collaboration in competing with Office, but at this point it looks like the companies have simply partnered to offer advertising services similar to what Microsoft already offers in Office Live.
An initial joint service will allow Salesforce.com customers to place advertisements alongside Google search results using Salesforce.com's Web site. In other words, Salesforce.com will resell Google AdWords, acting as a distribution channel for that popular service. Salesforce.com's revenue will come from selling the new service; the firm will also receive a cut of Google's revenue from ads placed through its service, but a spokesman described that amount as "negligible" and "not material."
I guess it's not a rumored deal anymore :)...
Silver Lake and TPG's TPG Capital LLC last night agreed to purchase telecommunications-equipment company Avaya Inc. for about $8.2 billion, marking the second big buyout in the telecom industry in two weeks.
The victory of private-equity buyers underscores the continued market power of buyout shops, which are able to trump strategic buyers on deals by using cheap debt and reducing their investment-return thresholds.
This still seems a bit "irrational exuberance" mode to me somehow...
Still a bit perplexing to me, as is the rumored Avaya deal.
Faced with mounting competition in the smart-phone market, Palm Inc. is selling a quarter of its company to a private equity firm to arm itself with new leadership, most notably the former technical guru behind the iPod.
The deal with Elevation Partners -- which agreed to invest $325 million for a 25 percent stake in Palm -- will bring new talent to the handheld computer pioneer as it battles stiffening competition that will only get tougher with Apple Inc.'s June 29 launch of the iPhone.
See the article for more details
Microsoft Corp. said Monday it will share technology with Linux distributor Xandros Inc., the latest in a string of deals meant to help the patent-protected Windows operating system work more smoothly with open-source programs.
Under the terms of the agreement, New York-based Xandros, which makes and distributes open-source desktop and server software, will license server code from Microsoft and develop software tools that work with Microsoft's systems.
I'm at TechEd and will post some related impressions over the next couple days.
Timely reality check. 6/29 is the announced release date.
It has been almost six months since Mr. Jobs, the world’s consummate salesman, introduced the iPhone as the Ronco Veg-O-Matic for the Internet era. Tongue only partly in cheek, Mr. Jobs promised that Apple’s entry into the cellular handset market would be a better phone, Web browser and music player.
Looks like outright acquisition isn't part of Palm's near-term possible scenarios.
Palm Inc., facing mounting competition in the smart-phone market, is selling a 25% stake to a private-equity partner that will bring former Apple Inc. executives to the maker of hand-held electronic devices.
An interesting twist:
The deal brings important new personnel to Palm, including several top executives who worked at Apple in the late 1990s and earlier this decade. Jon Rubinstein, Apple's former head of hardware who helped pioneer the hit iPod music player, will join Palm as executive chairman and head up product development, according to people familiar with the matter. The company's co-founder and top product designer, Jeff Hawkins, has been working at Palm part time in recent years.
Overall, it looks like Palm is betting the ranch on its new Foleo line.
Interesting times -- I wonder if "... the apparent victory of a private-equity buyer emphasizes the continued market power of buyout shops", as the article asserts, or if perhaps other expected bidders such as Nortel (see this Mike Gotta post for more analysis) have declined to play in the final round.
Avaya's equipment is at the heart of corporate telecommunications systems, helping direct voice and data traffic at many of the nation's largest corporations. A former division of Lucent Technologies Inc. and predecessor company AT&T, Avaya holds patents and equipment used to migrate traditional phone and data systems to integrated Internet protocol-based networks. Using these protocols, Avaya's products provide about one million customers with a mix of voice, email, conference, instant messaging and video communications.
About 50% of Avaya's revenue comes from long-term service contracts, part of the reason it is an attractive target to buyout firms.
Timely reality check compared with Google Apps
When Web surfers take notes, they really like to "take" them--an image from one site, a video clip from another, an entry from Wikipedia, and perhaps even a song or two. For that reason, the blogosphere is full of praise for a new program, Zoho Notebook, released in beta on May 22. In addition to inserting their own text, images, video, audio, spreadsheet data, and other bits of information into virtual notebook pages, users can simply cut and paste in clips from websites. Any entry or page from the notebook, or the entire notebook itself, can easily be published online for anyone to see, or shared with selected friends.
Timely snapshot -- see the article for details
When Google Inc. snatched up the video-sharing website YouTube for $1.65 billion last fall, it was the most conspicuous move in the company's strategy to find new ways to monetize the Internet.
But behind the curtains at the Googleplex, the company's Silicon Valley headquarters, Google has been placing lower-profile bets on other businesses, from software to retail shopping and payment to brokering ads for other media.
Long NYT snapshot of Google's primary asset, its search engine
Quite a week for M&A activity
Google Inc. said Friday that it has purchased FeedBurner, a privately-held company that distributes hundreds of thousands of podcasts, blogs and other kinds of Internet content.
The deal, announced on Google's blog, couples the Mountain View, Calif., search titan's extensive network of Internet advertisers with the 700,000 content feeds that FeedBurner's technology is used to aggregate. The deal would allow Google to sell advertising alongside the content distributed by FeedBurner, according to Bear Stearns analysts, who commented on the deal last week when speculation started to surface. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
My Burton Group colleague Guy Creese's summary take on Gears (see the post for more details):
I, for one, am glad that Google has finally figured out what Microsoft has been saying for awhile, because enterprises--whether Google or Microsoft clients--will win by being able to buy better software.
Watch the 5-minute interview video highlights on this page for some insights about what's next for Google.
Along with founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Eric Schmidt has built Google into a colossus that not only continues to dominate search, but now also rules Web video and advertising. Since D4 ended, he has overseen Google’s acquisition of both the top video site, YouTube, and the best-known Web banner ad placement company, DoubleClick. So, is Google a technology company, an advertising company, a media company, or some new hybrid?
A succinct summary...
"I don't think we think of Microsoft," Google co-founder Sergey Brin told reporters at the Google Developer Day. "It was a need we had...it sucks to not be able to work offline."
A metamorphosis milestone for Dell...
Dell said yesterday that it would lay off 10 percent of its 88,100 employees over the next 12 months as it tries to increase profit. The computer maker also said that lower component costs and higher selling prices helped it produce stronger-than-expected earnings in its first quarter.
Face it -- your life is within the scope of Google's mission "... to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful". Read the article for more disconcerting details.
Ms. Kalin-Casey, who manages an apartment building here with her husband, John Casey, was a bit shaken when she tried a new feature in Google’s map service called Street View. She typed in her address and the screen showed a street-level view of her building. As she zoomed in, she could see Monty, her cat, sitting on a perch in the living room window of her second-floor apartment.