News Of The Day 6/3/2011

The Everything Wars are Back, Baby! We got Microsoft into TV, EA into game distribution, and of course Apple in music! On top of that "X-Men: First Class" is apparently awesome, and Candyland . . . just may work. Unfortunately if the U.S. economy tanks this'll all be for naught, but otherwise . . .

Starting off, I think you should apply to this company if you like beer and being a hipster. I'm not too hot on either (I'm more a Geekster who likes wine and rum), but still.

Moody's warns they may downgrade the U.S. government's credit over the lack of a raise in the debt limit. Yes, I know Moody's wasn't exactly reliable in the run-up to the financial meltdown, but this would still be a hit. Of course if we don't raise the debt ceiling the U.S. is essentially in default, which would affect the dollar, bonds, investments, those holding US debt, etc. In short, that would at BEST guarantee a double-dip recession, if not worse.

Bubble this, bubble that, how to know if we're in a stock market bubble? Well there's a formula and apparently it showed LinkedIn is in a bubble (duh, but still it's got the math). If you're a heavy econogeek, this is for you.

Groupon CEO's warns it will be a bumpy ride regarding the company's future and of course that means it's IPO. I'm cynical about Groupon (and the chance for non-bubble IPOs), but his letter is pretty good, though at times overblown. What I note, subtly, is he indicates the company will change, which is a good sign they'll adapt if markets shift as oppose to go down with the shift. I still wouldn't INVEST in them, but I can say I'm more positive on them as an employer.

Everything Wars:
We don't use this tag as much anymore since it's normal, but I'm reviving it because It looks like we may see an Xbox TV service. Think of what this means and feel your head explode – Microsoft versus Netflix, Microsoft versus cable/ISPs to avoid capping bandwidth, XBox as lifestyle device, watching films with people while chatting on Skype . . . you get the idea. Oh and the usual Microsoft-Google-Apple Troika of Hate. Follow this the implications could be enormous.

Geek Law:
I'm getting the impression online sales taxes are coming, especially in an age of economic downturn.  If you work in online retail prepare for the hit – and the technical changes to calculate it.

Net Freedom:
Learning nothing from Egypt, Syria cuts off the internet which worked so well before. Beyond the wishes that Syria may transition to a more open, equal state (and the chance of that is one I have NO idea about), this may raise the value of net freedom back into public cnciousness in other countries. Hey, Sarkozy . . .

A few interviews at Comic Book Resources show that retailers may have some optimism about DC's changes. I want to see how it works, how it pans out, and how it changes, but I am feeling the same. Unfortunately I feel retailers really are facing a (more) painful time in a changing future, and I'm sure there's the fear in the back of their head that they may become unnecessary.

The X-Men First Class film seems to be surprisingly good. I had very low expectations and am apparently wrong. It also sounds like it takes changes and tries to be a FILM not a blockbuster. Wow, between this and Thor things are looking great for comic book films.

Tesla raises $200 million so all I can say is "send that resume". Tesla seems to be a good company, and I'm sure they may want to put that money to hiring some people . . .

Blackberry is now the third most prominent Mobile OS and no one is surprised. Microsoft is hurting too, but we're used to that (and I don't think it'll last). Right now RIM seems to be coasting on cult status, and I'd have to put them as a "cautious" for job opportunities, with a chance of Severe Meltdown.

Outages And Security:
Well, Google experienced a high-level hack and focused mostly on China as a source. However, it appears that the Gmail hack from China targeted White House Staff. Oddly this doesn't look bad for Google, since it's a government – but does make me wonder a bit at the timing considering the Pentagon's cyberwar announcement (a way to scare people off?).

Sony Pictures Website Hacked. Not surprising (except for the fact their security seems to have been universally awful), but I am wondering if the amount of hacks is now going to start generating sympathy – or at least camaraderie – with Sony. Also, see above, as cyber-battles get more serious, big guns may get called in.

OK I confess, the guys writing the upcoming Candyland film have an infectious enthusiasm. I'm thinking their gonna-make-it-awesome approach might work since they seem to be aware this could be a fiasco. Maybe just diving straight into the irony and unoriginality of Hollywood is the best idea? For that matter if this thing WORKS, you've got a great way to pitch other, similar, products.

Apple shelled out about $100-$150 million to labels to get iCloud working. Essentially, paid them off – and it gives an idea of the barrier of entry to making a competing service.

Video Games:
Everyone wants an app store, and EA is going to start its own downloadable game service. This fits their plans, but puts them up square against . . . Steam, OnLive, GameStop, and probably a half-dozen others I could mention. It's a venture that's gutsy and fits their plans (and I suspect may be an effort to build a mini-ecosystem), but it's happening at a strange time in the market, and with a company that had it's troubles, so I'm not sure where it's going to go. I suspect now a lot of places will want "appstore-esque" sites, which could lead to job oppose, but also to losses when a large amount of them inevitably fail.

Sony's Welcome Back content is now available.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: So are we getting into an everyone-has-an-app-store age?

Steven Savage