IPTV from Microsoft or just catch-up?

Ars Technica found an interesting bit of news today. Microsoft has trademarked a logo for what is described as an on-demand IPTV service of some sort.

The trademark itself is for a logo, described as “arrowheads diverging from disc.” That’s the boring part of the trademark, though. The goods and services described along with the trademark are what raises some eyebrows, as Microsoft hopes to offer software that will allow users to watch “broadcast-quality video and television programming” over their broadband Internet connections.

Sounds like it could be interesting right? Well. It could be. There are already several places online that a person can get “broadcast-quality video.” You can download just about any television show from most of the major broadcast outlets. Ahem. iTunes in particular.

Why does it seem like Microsoft has been trying to play catch-up so often lately? I’m not even sure that the Zune can be called an attempt at catch-up. It took them how many years to bring an iPod competitor to market? Don’t get me started on Vista. If you’re going to rip off every other OS on the market, at least make it somewhat stable before selling 40 million copies of it. The only thing they’ve played catch-up on and actually succeeded is the xBox.

So, is this new service a bright example of some new innovation from Redmond or is it just another attempt at catch-up? Because that’s what it comes down to. I’ve called my self a Microsoftie a few times and to some extent I still am. But Microsoft hasn’t done an innovative thing in nearly a decade. A decade. If they didn’t have the market share that they already had, they could have been in some pretty deep trouble. Instead, they’ve managed to hold on and make a small resurgence. Now, they need to turn on the minds in the vault again and see what kind of innovative products and services they can come up with.

I should mention, in the spirit of disclosure, that I am a shareholder in Microsoft.

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Yahoosoft? Microhoo? MicroYahoo!? YahooMicro?

I try to stay away from writing on the “hot” topic of the day as it generally is getting pummeled by every other blogger and feels a little like regurgitating news. Which I guess is kind of what it is. In any case, I’m going to comment on today’s hot topic.

The New York Post is reporting that there are renewed talks between software giant Microsoft (disclaimer: I’m a shareholder) and perennial second place search engine Yahoo! in regards to a merger/purchase or some sort of more in depth cooperation.

Stung by the loss of Internet advertising firm DoubleClick to Google last month, Microsoft has intensified its pursuit of a deal with Yahoo!, asking the company to re-enter formal negotiations, The Post has learned.

Very interesting. If it were just some first time around talk, I’d dismiss it as rumors and go about my merry way. In fact, I probably wouldn’t even mention it here. But, it’s not the first time this has surfaced. And because of that, it just might be for real. It may not happen, but I’m not doubting that the talks are taking place.

So, what happens if the two join forces as one company? Search giant Google still holds the market share. Advertising giant Google still holds the market share. Oh, and your Microsoft finds a way to integrate flickr into the kernel of Windows Vista 2009. 😉 Ok, I might have made that one up, but the first two are true.

What Microsoft would gain is a range of companies that have much more insight into the web 2.0 phenomenon than any of the MS products/divisions. They gain del.icio.us, flickr, and a number of other purported web 2.0 leaders. And the combined forces might just be enough to make a run at Google and maybe even unseat them in advertising. Not search, but advertising.

What do you foresee as the effect of a MS/Yahoo! merger? I’m especially curious to hear what TDavid has to say on this btw.

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Pagerank Update underway

It would seem that whilst I was in a cave this weekend, Google decided to start a pagerank update. While not all the Data Centers seem to be updated just yet, it’s clear that a few are already. If you don’t know what PageRank is, don’t be to ashamed, I didn’t know once. Basically, it’s a measure of the popularity of a site address according to a Google algorithm. The measure is out of 10, so a 0/10 is the worst and a 10/10 is the best. I should mention that all sites begin at 0 so it can sometimes mean that the site is new.

On a personal site note, this site seems to be staying at PR5 while the new addresses for A Penny Saved and eBay Habit are moving up to PR2 and PR3 respectively. I find that interesting as the penny-saved.com address has about 2-3 times more incoming links than the ebayhabit.com address. So, I can guess that traffic must make a bit of a difference there as well as ebay habit makes about 1.3 times the traffic.

Did your site get updated or downgraded?

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Sprint? Verizon? Who’s gonna buy Vonage?

There are the beginnings of some buyout talks going on today. Supposedly, Sprint and Vonage have a deal on the table that may include a buyout by Sprint Nextel. It seems to hinge around the April 24th ruling on whether Vonage can continue signing up customers or not because of the Verizon patent suit.

Obviously, if the ruling says that they can’t until after the patent is fixed, it would mean that Vonage is pretty much dead in the water and suddenly becomes perfect for buyout. Sprint or Verizon buys them up on the cheap, starts running the company like it should have been and maybe even make a bit of money off of them.

If, on the other hand, the ruling continues the stay it would mean that Vonage is safe for a little while longer. They still have to find a way around the Verizon patent problems. If they can do that, maybe the buyout goes away and they continue with the budgetary restructuring that they are currently trying to accomplish.

I’m pretty sure that there are buyout talks going on. It makes sense. Either Sprint or Verizon would have reasons for buying Vonage up and trying to turn it around. Verizon wouldn’t even have to worry about too much as they already own some of the patents. 😉 Of course, so does Sprint so it really is just a horse apiece.

Either way, there might be some happy Vonage shareholders in a few months. Jeff Citron wasn’t so stupid to keep buying up the companies stock was he? Of course, he was buying at $6, so they’ve got to get a pretty good cash premium or a really good stock exchange to make it worth his while.

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