Week in Review, April 12, 2009

The news took on something of an international flavor this holiday week. In addition to the usual goings-on in the U.S. and Japan, we learned that Bollywood has become so insurgent that Warner Bros. fears copyright infringement from it, Europe is experiencing a surge of creative Web startups, online gaming is huge in China and the Middle East may become the next fertile ground for the Twilight phenomenon. It all goes to show that geekery of all sorts is a truly global phenomenon in this wired age, and we all should be thinking globally when we get our big ideas.

Closer to home, the surge of streaming video – Crunchyroll, in particular, was all  over  the place – might be killing off traditional video outlets. It turns out that Blockbuster is in serious trouble. Given that Blockbuster is pretty much the last of the old-school rental stores, since they drove countless mom and pops out of business, this means the end of an era in video. Probably not coincidentally, Boxee announced new development options, CBS announced big numbers for its streaming of March Madness, speculation arose that YouTube might show full length movies and  Netflix expanded its streaming lineup. 

On the tech front, the Sun Microsystems-IBM deal crashed with a thud big enough to have an effect on the stock market. What's next for Sun is unclear – I don't think anyone in the industry wants the venerable company, which was once synonymous with high-tech itself, to go under. Time Warner announced it may spin off  another old warhorse, AOL, leaving doubts about its future as well. (The key to AOL's survival is going to be shedding its old image as The Internet for Dummies and reinventing itself as a content provider for the new era).

in a sequel to an old soap opera, it was reported that Yahoo and Microsoft may be in talks about a search and advertising partnership, bringing to an end the saga of the failed takeover bid. Microsoft could use the extra leverage against Google, as they're currently battling them for a Twitter advertising deal.

Meanwhile, there was an interesting new development on the netbook scene – speculation arose that Nokia  may be the next company to enter the small-and-cheap arena. This, coupled with the previous news that netbooks running Android may be in our future, brings netbooks and smart phones into closer and closer synergy – there may not be much different between the two in the future (except you usually don't talk into a netbook!)

On the video game front, Sony came out swinging at the DSi, saying Nintendo's new handheld doesn't offer much new and lacks the third party support of the PSP. Given how far behind its own handheld runs in sales in this country, they'd better be prepared to put their money where their mouth is when the next revision of the PSP comes along. EA's Will Wright left the company for an electronic think tank. The Midway saga got uglier as the Mortal Kombat team announced they weren't paid bonuses and news emerged that the company might be out of cash by June .

And, in much lighter news, the industry decided that if two monster franchises could sell a bazillion games alone, putting them together would send sales into the stratosphere. Voila, Lego Rock Band.  

In publishing, even in the face of the E-book wars, it appeared there was still some interest in bound books and brick-and-mortar stores. Author Solutions bought brick-and-mortar retailer Trafford and romance novels were flying off the shelves - a good thing in light of the fact that romances are an excellent training ground for aspiring authors looking to get into all fields.

Finally, if you are thinking of developing the ultimate geeky media property, take note that it's already out there. Anime News Network carried a story this week about a manga based on a Linux variant . Manga plus Linux? I can't see how anything could possibly be geekier than that.