2014年9月29日 星期一

Google v Apple; Authors take aim at Amazon over fight with publisher Hachette

PBS NewsHour‎ -


JUDY WOODRUFF: A battle between Amazon and a publisher and some very notable authors is kicking into higher gear this week.
Jeffrey Brown has the story.
JEFFREY BROWN: It’s a fight that started last spring over the price of e-books when Amazon demanded discounts from the publisher Hachette. That was rejected, leading to Amazon’s refusal to preorder, discount or promptly deliver many Hachette titles.
The publisher’s authors took the fight public, and now they have been joined by hundreds of other writers, including Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie, and Ursula Le Guin. The writers also want the Justice Department to investigate Amazon for illegal monopoly practices.
Roxana Robinson is a novelist, biographer, and president of the Authors Guild, and one of the leaders of this effort.
For the record, Amazon has not responded to several invitations to join us.
So, Roxana Robinson, what is this fight about now?  Has it become a debate whether Amazon is just too powerful today when it comes to the market for books?
ROXANA ROBINSON, President, Authors Guild: Well, there are several ways to look at it.
Yes, Amazon is incredibly powerful. It dominates the market in books of all sorts. And it is — the reason that everybody became so vocal about it was the fact that Amazon targeted writers who were completely vulnerable in this circumstance and unable to change the situation. And so Amazon took on the writers for Hachette and made it very difficult to buy their books.
So these writers have seen plunges in their sales and plunges in their income. And it’s something that they can’t do anything about. We find that unacceptable for a huge marketer who got its start selling books to target writers and make them into victims.
JEFFREY BROWN: Amazon — of course, it is a marketplace. Amazon argues it wants to lower the prices of books. It can sell more books that way. They say publishers don’t want this and want to keep the price high for themselves.
ROXANA ROBINSON: Well, here’s the thing.
Amazon has made a public claim saying that they have studies that show that if you drop the price of e-books, all e-books would sell more. They don’t show what those studies are. They don’t show any numbers. It’s not — it doesn’t make any sense. First of all, it presumes that there is an infinite demand for books, which isn’t true. If you made all the books on Amazon free, they still all wouldn’t find homes.
So people buy the books they want to buy. Secondly, it won’t change people’s reading habits. If you want to read “Moby-Dick,” you’re not going to buy a romance novel just because it’s cheap. You are going to buy “Moby-Dick.”  So it’s not — it’s not really going to change things.
What they want to do is drop the prices of e-books so they can make more sales, so they make more money. It’s not going to help a huge number, a huge proportion of the people whose books are sold through…
JEFFREY BROWN: You know, it is true, of course, that the publishers, Hachette included, are part of much larger corporations. They’re big guys too.
So I wonder, for you as an author and authors you work with, do you look at the publishers as the good guys vs. the bad guy Amazon?  Is there any good guy here?
ROXANA ROBINSON: Well, here’s the thing. Of course, Hachette is a huge company. It’s a million-dollar, billion-dollar, international company.
It’s dwarfed by Amazon, which is much larger. But the big difference is their attitude towards books and towards writers. And what publishers do is invest in books. They pay advances to writers. They recognize the fact that it may take years to write a good book for a biographer, for a writer of history. And they — they invest in the book. Amazon doesn’t do that. Amazon doesn’t do editorial tasks.
They don’t take a position on the intellectual merit of a book. So, in terms of supporting our endeavor, our intellectual property, there’s a big difference between these two companies.
JEFFREY BROWN: On the other hand, though, Amazon has created this marketplace in which books are so much cheaper for consumers, they’re so much more readily available. Millions of people clearly like that. And authors see a changing industry, right, a changing world of commerce.
And Amazon has — by lowering their prices, they have driven out of business a lot of bricks-and-mortar book stores. So, there are lots of people who have no choice but to buy on Amazon. And Amazon makes it very easy. And we all have to accept the fact that most books are sold on Amazon.
But that doesn’t mean we have to accept the fact that they are targeting writers and punishing us for something that we have no control over.
JEFFREY BROWN: Have you or other writers you know been in touch with Amazon?  Have they reached out to you at all to find some kind of resolution?
ROXANA ROBINSON: Amazon has been very closed-mouth about this. They have reached out to someone I know, and I was sent a letter asking if writers would support a response that they would make — which became public. It was a deal in which Amazon and Hachette would give money to charity, but writers still wouldn’t make any money.
But they certainly have not come to any table, as far as I know. I don’t know. Both sides are being pretty — pretty quiet about this.
JEFFREY BROWN: And just very briefly, this new effort among hundreds more authors, some very prominent authors, this has become a very public matter. Is that the — is that a strategy, I guess, on the part of authors?
ROXANA ROBINSON: Well, it’s a circumstance that we find very troubling.
And, you know, there are millions and millions of readers in the United States. So we are bringing this to the public.
JEFFREY BROWN: All right, Roxana Robinson, novelist, president of the Authors Guild, thank you so much.


Of the global smartphone market, Schmidt explained Google's strategy as one of mass penetration. Android currently holds around 84.7 per cent of the market, compared to Apple's 11.7 per cent. Windows Phone 8, BlackBerry OS and other operators make up around 3.6 per cent.
"The fact of the matter is you can make a small market share with a lot of profits, or you can make the same amount of money with a much larger market share, and lesser profits. We go for volume in our strategies," he said.
The rivalry between Apple and Google was more brutal than ever before, he added. "It's more brutal in the sense the margins are very tough for the operators, the handset manufacturers; and the benefits to the consumer of having these products dropping... It's always good to have more competitors, but trust me, between Apple and Google you're seeing enormous, enormous racing."
Schmidt and former senior vice president Jonathan Rosenberg gave the interview to promote their book How Google Works, covering corporate culture, strategy and innovation at the search engine.

Why competition between Apple and Google is more brutal than ever
Competition between Google and Apple is more brutal than ever, and is the "defining fight of the computer industry", according to Eric Schmidt.

Ello; EU Privacy Watchdogs Warn Google About Its Policy

Yahoo!7 News
EU Privacy Watchdogs Warn Google About Its Policy
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Could Ello Be the New Facebook?

9/26/2014 4:06PM

Ello is a new social network that doesn't sell ads or collect user data. Could its privacy-friendly approach catch on with Facebook-wary consumers? Jack Marshall reports on the News Hub with Lee Hawkins. Photo: Ello.

2014年9月28日 星期日

Facebook To Begin Charging Users $2.99/mo Starting November 1st

Facebook To Begin Charging Users $2.99/mo Starting November 1st
Facebook monthly service fee
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a news conference at Facebook headquarters September 21, 2014 in Palo Alto, California. Zuckerberg announced a new monthly fee the company is implementing which will take effect November 1st, 2014. (AP Photo/Dennis System, File) / AP
Menlo Park, CA — At a press conference this morning, Facebook rolled out their new monthly service plan. Beginning November 1st of this year, the social media giant will start charging members $2.99/mo to use services that users currently enjoy for free.
“We thought long and hard about this decision, but at the end of the day, we had no choice but to add this monthly fee,” Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg told reporters. “If we don’t do something about our rising costs now, Facebook could face an unrecoverable financial burden and become obsolete.”
“This is excellent news for Facebook stock holders,” says Wall Street analyst Dale Sackrider. “As of August this year, Facebook had a total of 1.317 billion users. If just 75% of those members pay the new monthly service fee of $3, that will mean an annual influx of cash totaling roughly $36 billion. That’s not just an increase in profits of a few dollars, that’s a game changer right there.”

In an interview with CNN, Facebook spokesman Paul Horner explained the reason for the new monthly fee.
“Economic times are tight, the ads on Facebook are not as profitable as we had planned. Our costs are going up as hundreds of thousands of individuals continue to join the site every day,” Horner said. “There’s so many pictures of cats, and all of those costs add up, we just can’t foot the bill any longer.”
Jack Phillips from Dequincy, Louisiana told reporters that he is not happy with Facebook’s decision to implement a new monthly fee.
“I can barely pay for my girly subscriptions as it is, now this Zuckerberg character wants another $3 a month out of me? Well I don’t think so bud,” Phillips said. “There’s free news out there that I get all my learning from, like The Epoch Times. I know their stories are not real, some fancy word called ‘satirical’, but they makes me laugh. Sure, their grammar and spelling is just God-awful, but I like that; it makes me feel smarter.” Phillips continued, “As for this monthly fee though, I do like using Facebook. That Farmville game on there cracks me up. Hey, look at me, I’m planting some carrots in a field around my kick *ss barn. My friends just love it when I contact them about planting my crops. They’re like, ‘Dangit Jack, you and your gosh dang crops’, I’ll tell you what.”
Fappy The Anti-Masturbation Dolphin, a mascot for a Christian anti-masturbation group, says their business could not survive without Facebook.
“Charging people to use Facebook means there won’t be as many heathens on the site to help stay off the Devil’s playground. Personally, I like Facebook because it helps me promote my side business of making personalized video greetings. Those videos are good, clean fun for the whole family, and they also help pay for my anger management and sex offender classes. Praise Fappy!”

Horner told reporters of an option for those who can’t afford the new monthly fee. “Here at Facebook we value each and every one of our members. We do not want to see anyone delete their account just because they cannot afford the monthly fee,” Horner said. “For those who can’t manage the cost, we’ve made it real simple. In a new status update, copy and paste the words, ‘I AM POOR FACEBOOK PLEASE WAIVE MY MONTHLY FEE’. Make sure you include the hashtag #FacebookMonthlyFee. This will inform the Facebook billing department to waive any fees associated with your account. Unfortunately for free users, access to all Facebook games will no longer be available.” Horner continued, “There’s also a free option which will allow you access to your Facebook account for up to one hour a week, exceeding that will cost $0.49/minute. I think you can agree that it is extremely important to find the right Facebook plan for you!”
Shares of Facebook closed Monday at 76.80, up 1.11 (1.42%). To order your monthly subscription please call the 24-hour Facebook hotline at (785) 273-0325. Discounts are available to those who pay for an entire year at once.
- See more at: http://nationalreport.net/facebook-begins-charging-users-2-99mo/#sthash.IexViM48.dpuf

2014年9月27日 星期六

谷歌真能用軟實力對付歐盟?Google may face $6bn EU anti-trust fine

2014年09月24日 06:53 AM



在此之前,歐盟裁定的“被遺忘權”(right to be forgotten)讓谷歌背上了一項艱巨的任務:如果有人要求刪除搜索結果,谷歌需要照做。

據信,自2011年以來,谷歌在游說歐盟方面的支出增長了不止一倍。根據專門追蹤企業在歐洲游說支出的European Transparency Register的數據,2013年,谷歌斥資約150萬歐元用於游說歐盟機構,高於2011年的60萬歐元。


來自德國的歐洲議會綠黨議員揚•菲利普•亞伯雷希(Jan Philipp Albrecht)同意這點,他表示:“谷歌從這些錯誤中吸取了教訓。”他曾經大張旗鼓地發起維護數字隱私的活動,而且一直公開批評谷歌。
知情人士表示,谷歌在巴黎成立的文化學院就是一個例子。據當地媒體報道,2010年,谷歌執行董事長埃里克•施密特(Eric Schmidt)宣佈,該公司將在法國首都巴黎創建一個致力於“數字文化”的中心,投資將高達“數百萬美元”。
該文化中心的建立在一定程度上是為了回應時任法國總統尼古拉•薩科齊(Nicolas Sarkozy)的一項聲明,聲明稱,法國政府正考慮徵收一項互聯網稅(被稱為“谷歌稅”(Google tax)),向那些從國內媒體創造的內容中獲得收入的網站徵稅。
2013年12月,谷歌文化學院落成。但法國政局已變。互聯網稅從未實施,但薩科齊被社會黨的弗朗索瓦•奧朗德(François Hollande)取代。
奧朗德政府新任的文化部長奧雷莉•菲莉佩蒂(Aurélie Filippetti)在最後一刻取消了參加該中心落成儀式的計劃。她表示:“盡管有關項目的質量還好,但我不希望成為一項仍存在很多問題的行動的擔保者。”
在英國,谷歌為科技企業家新秀創建了一個中心:Campus London。
該中心於2012年3月投入運營,英國財政大臣喬治•奧斯本(George Osborne)參加了落成儀式,他表示該項目有助於實現英國政府的一個重要目標:將本地區的初創企業聚集地發展成“歐洲的科技中心”。


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MORIARTY, N.M. (KRQE) – Landing a big name company means others take notice. Google has started moving into Moriarty and it looks like other ...
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2014年9月25日 星期四

When Google Met WikiLeaks, Julian Assange: 'When you post to Facebook, you're being a rat'

Julian Assange: 'When you post to Facebook, you're being a rat'

Assange joins party for his book When Google Met WikiLeaks to discuss the consequences of Google’s power in the 21st century
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 15:  Julian Assange appears on screen to discuss the revelations about New Zealand's mass surveillance at Auckland Town Hall on September 15, 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand.  The general election in New Zealand will be held this weekend, on 20 September 2014.  (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)Politics
‘[Google chairman] Eric Schmidt is actually quite similar to me … Only he’s very banal,’ Assange said. Photograph: Hannah Peters/Getty
How does a wanted man have a book party? On Wednesday night at Babycastles, a Manhattan videogame-art collective, Julian Assange celebrated the publication of his new book, When Google Met WikiLeaks. He was present via videochat. The collectivists projected him on their walls. A crowd had formed to see the shining-haired hacker king – youngish New Yorkers, mostly. They stood or sat and drank beers as Assange talked about the internet.
Assange said: “Compare the mission statements of Google and the NSA – the NSA, who literally say, ‘We want to collect all private information, pool it, store it, sort it, index it, and exploit it.’ Whereas Google says, ‘We want to collect all private information, pool it, store it, sort it, and sell those profiles to advertisers.’ Really, they’re almost identical.”
He said, “Every time you go to a party and take a picture and post that picture to Facebook, you’re being a rat. You’re being a narc.”
Assange now wears a beard. It fuzzed as the feed wavered.
“People who use Google are the product,” he said.
Assange has not left the Ecuadorean embassy in London since August 2012. Meanwhile, he is cursed by statesmen, acclaimed by radicals, and copied by anarchists all over. “Thank God for prison!” the hero of Aleksandr Solzenhitsyn’s In the First Circle thinks. “It gave me the chance to think.” Assange, at least, has been writing.
When Google Met WikiLeaks tells the story of his “secret” meeting in 2011 with Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google. It is presented as a summit of equals – futurology as practiced by two prophets. But in an interview a day earlier, Schmidt had called Assange “very paranoid”.
Assange said: “Schmidt is actually quite similar to me – a smart guy, a very smart guy, who grasps structures and systems quickly. Only he’s very banal. He lacks language. He doesn’t have the capacity for a nuanced understanding of geopolitics.”
Julian Assange Book Party
New Yorkers watch, drink beer, as Assange talks about the internet Photograph: OR Books/ Courtney Dudley Photography
Assange said, “It really wasn’t personal, until yesterday.”
He drew up an image of Schmidt’s new book. It is called How Google Works. The cover is like Assange’s cover – a mock Google homepage. On Assange’s, “I’m feeling evil” replaces “I’m feeling lucky.”
Assange said, “Mine was leaked long before his came out. Could it be a happy coincidence?”
Assange spoke of revolving doors and unkept promises. He lamented the “standardization of human behavior” imposed by Google. He attacked its “playroom logos and curved fonts”, the kiddie aesthetic overlaying the corporate agenda. Assange seemed offended by the unadultness of it all. “Only these banal tech reporters will write anything about it,” he said. “No one understood nuclear weapons either, at first, but like the internet they shaped geopolitics.”
Assange spoke to an audience that believed him.
“Google never collaborated with the NSA,” Schmidt said on Tuesday in response to Assange’s claims. “In fact, we’ve fought very hard against what they did.”
At Babycastles, Assange worried only about being “boring.” Twenty minutes in, the camera pulled back to reveal MIA. The provocateur and pop star sat alongside Assange and expressed her hope for his imminent freedom. Assange quotes her lyrics in his book – “Armbone connects to the handbone / Handbone connects to the internet” – a mantra for the new paranoia. MIA explained, “I was out living near burning man. Eric Schmidt must have had a bad LSD trip and I tuned into it.”
Then MIA wandered off. Assange skipped over his own troubles – the allegations of rape, the memoirs of the disaffected. He took questions and subverted their premises. What is a greater force for good, corporations or nations? “You’re assuming a difference between the private sector and the state.” Was “paranoia a badge of honor”? The question came from the moderator, Daniel Stuckey of Motherboard. “Well … Schmidt has a difficult job,” Assange said. Was he the only grown-up in the in the room?
“He’s so punk,” said Liz, a music journalist.
“He’s steampunk,” said Pamela Drew.
Said Nick, a student, of Assange’s plight: “It’s more like Brave New World than 1984. It’s not like these sexy YA dystopias.”
The moderator took a survey – how many Google employees were in the house? No hands. “I’ll offer them a deal,” Assange said. “Twenty percent off, and we’ll mail the book to you in a brown paper bag.” Laughter – but could Assange hear it? His publisher, Colin Robinson, confirmed that Assange was for real.

an exclusive live interview event with Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt and advisor to the CEO Jonathan Rosenberg,

FT Weekend Interview Series – Martin Amis
16 October 2014 | Logan Hall, 20 Bedford Way, London#FTInterview
FT Weekend and Financial Times Live are thrilled to present an exclusive live interview event with Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt and advisor to the CEO Jonathan Rosenberg, in conversation with the FT’s chief business commentator John Gapper. For one evening only on 16 October in London, Schmidt and Rosenberg will pull back the curtain on how Google defines its unique culture, values and strategies, as presented in their new book How Google Works.
Join us to learn how they helped grow Google from a start-up to a $300 billion global icon, hear them share their unreported moments from the company's history (such as Google's decision to leave China) and how they created a new management framework that thrives in an ever-changing business landscape.
Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear from two esteemed business executives who wrote the Google playbook, secure your place today.
Tickets are £50 inc. VAT and include a hardback copy of How Google Works.
Additional ticket service fees apply.

18:30   Doors open
19:00   Interview with Google's Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg
20:30* Close
*Timing is approximate and subject to change without notice.

Eric Schmidt is executive chairman of Google, where he served as chief executive officer from 2001 to 2011. A member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council in the UK, Schmidt also chairs the board of the New America Foundation and is a trustee of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.
Jonathan Rosenberg joined Google in 2002 and managed the design and development of the company’s consumer, advertiser, and partner products, including Search, Ads, Gmail, Android, Apps, and Chrome. He is currently an advisor to Google CEO Larry Page.
John Gapper is associate editor and chief business commentator of the Financial Times. He writes a weekly column, appearing on Thursdays on the Comment page, about business trends and strategy. He has worked for the FT since 1987, covering labour relations, banking and the media.