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New Media News Break: Blog Detectives, Apple’s Ebook Woes, and More

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It’s Wednesday afternoon and you know what that means – time to take a break from work and catch up on all the new media news you may have missed in the past week. So grab that afternoon energy drink and sit back to check out some of these news stories.

Blog Community Bands Together to Help Police

Who says all blog commenters are trolls? This week, readers of automotive blog Jalopnik banded together to help police with a hit-and-run in Waynesboro, Virginia, where victim Betty Wheeler died after being involved in a hit and run. The only piece of evidence left behind was a piece of the alleged killer’s car. So, a Jalopnik blogger asked readers to help identify the piece – and in a matter of minutes, they did. This information was sent to the police investigating the case. It’s great to see the power a blog community has. Does your community have this kind of teamwork ability? If not, what can you do to strengthen your community?

instagram facebook

Facebook Buys Instagram

Of course, the big story this week is that Facebook bought Instagram for an astonishing $1 Billion. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has noted that although they will be working closely together, Instagram sharing won’t be limited to Facebook, nor will the company be absorbed by it’s parent company – it will remain its own entity. Although some users have already voiced concerns, they have a lot of support as well – and Instagram has shot to number one in the app store thanks to Facebook’s announcements. It will be interesting to continue watching this story to see how Instagram changes now that it has an overlord and more funding than they could have ever hoped for. Will the service improve photo sharing abilities? Will we see major problems? What do you think?

Ebook Publishing Policies Probed in Court

Recently, the U.S. sued Apple and a number of publishers, claiming that the companies colluded to unfairly fix ebook prices. While these companies claim that their publishing policies “enhanced competition in the e-book industry” which was previously dominated by Amazon, the Justice Department is investigating just how Apple worked with publishers to change the way they price ebooks for the iPad, which currently allows publishers to set the end price for consumers and give Apple a commission, rather than allowing the retailer to set the price. The problem is that it’s alleged that executives conspired to fix and raise prices through most-favored-nation provisions in their contracts with Apple so no other retailer could offer lower prices. The Justice Department held a press conference today, announcing an antitrust settlement that, if approved by the courts, will allow retails like Amazon and Barnes & Noble to reduce their prices, effectively terminating anticompetitive most-favored-nation agreements publishers have with Apple. This could mean that we see a vast reduction in the price of ebooks in the near future.

Google+ Gets a Makeover

Today, Google announced a brand new look for Google+, giving the network a much needed face life. New profiles feature better navigation, a drag and drop system, new ways to find interesting conversations, a dedicated page for hangouts, a new chat list sidebar, and more. Although many praised Google+’s initial sleek look, I think a redesign was in order to keep the network competitive, especially with Facebook. Sharing content is now easier than ever on this platform, but the question remains – with Facebook holding strong, Twitter continuing to grow, LinkedIn holding the professional attention, and Pinterest gaining ground with leaps and bounds, can this network survive?

The ListServe Allows You to Email Millions

What would you say if you had a million people listening? That’s the question a group of NYU Students are asking with their new social experience, The ListServe. According to reports, this service allows anyone on their giant email list to enter a lottery where, if won, they get to send an email out to the rest of the list. The email can literally be anything from what the person has for breakfast to funny kitten pictures. Well, almost anything. Each email will be reviewed to ensure it doesn’t contain porn or viruses. But it’s an interesting concept, and one that marketers may be able to use to reach new audience members. Though I have to wonder, is getting another email every day worth the chance to send a blast to a random group of people?

In Case You Missed It

Here’s what you might have missed on the BlogWorld blog in the past week:

Awesome from the Archives

There are some golden posts in the post hidden in the BlogWorld archives. Here are three of my favorites that I think you should check out:

Check back every Wednesday for a New Media News Break just when you need it!

Which Came First – The Android or the iPhone?

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android logo

No, the above headline isn’t a joke with a punchline or anything, it’s in response to an interview with Google’s Chairman Eric Schmidt.

He’s currently in South Korea and was asked by reporters about a comment Steve Jobs made saying  Android was a rip-off of the iPhone.

The following statement was included in the Steve Jobs biography written by Walter Isaacson.

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

Sshmidt’s response was “I’ve decided not to comment on what’s been written on a book after his death. Steve is a fantastic human being and someone who I miss very dearly. As a general comment, I think most people would agree that Google is a great innovator and I would also point out that the Android effort started before the iPhone effort.”

Some are saying it’s not the timeline that’s in question here, rather the features of the Android phone.

The Next Web says, “When the HTC Dream was introduced (sans multitouch) in 2008, it had transformed itself into a mirror-world version of the iPhone. By 2010, Android phones had incorporated multitouch technology and other features popularized in the phone market by Apple, sparking Jobs’ ire.”

What are your thoughts – Is it a timing issue or a features issue? Or, do you even care?

 

Steve Jobs Was Working On Next Apple Product

Author:
Steve Jobs Apple

It’s no secret that Steve Jobs was an incredible man who had a mind for technology. He knew the products people would want, before they even knew they wanted them.

It doesn’t surprise me that news came out today Steve Jobs was working on the next Apple product the day before he died.

PCMag broke the story.

Masayoshi Son, CEO of Softbank, was talking with Apple CEO Tim Cook the day of the announcement for the iPhone 4S. While they were talking, Cook received a call from Jobs.

Son said, “I visited Apple for the announcement of the iPhone 4S [at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California]. When I was having a meeting with Tim Cook, he said, ‘Oh Masa, sorry I have to quit our meeting.’ I said, ‘Where are you going?’ He said, ‘My boss is calling me.’ That was the day of the announcement of the iPhone 4S. He said that Steve is calling me because he wants to talk about their next product. And the next day, he died.”

He was dedicated to creating brilliant products up until the day he died. He had a passion and love for Apple and their products. This latest story proves that.

Now the question is, what was he working on? I can’t wait to find out.

All Apple U.S. Stores to Close During Steve Jobs Memorial Service

Author:
Steve Jobs Apple

Tomorrow (October 19th) is the memorial service for late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, as well as a celebration of his life.

According to Reuters, Apple has decided to close all U.S. stores for several hours on Wednesday. They want store employees to take part in celebrating Jobs’ life.

The event is happening at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino at 10 a.m. PT to 11:30 a.m. PT. Apple employees can use the time off to view the service via a live broadcast.

The celebration is following a private memorial service held at at Stanford University. Silicon Valley luminaries, politicians and celebrities will attend.

For employees in Asia and Australia, they can view a re-broadcast of the event.

Steve Jobs died on October 5th at the age of 56.

The World Loses Steve Jobs: What Happens Now?

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Steve Jobs passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loved ones, on October 5, 2011. Although no official cause of death has been reported, Jobs had suffered from pancreatic cancer in the past and underwent a liver transplant in 2009. He stepped down from his role as Apple’s CEO in August due to his health problems, and when the news of his death hit the Internet, Apple posted a picture of him on their homepage (see above) alone with this simple message:

“Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.”

Jobs leaves behind his wife Laurene, the person he called the love of his life, along with four children.

But you know all this already.

I found out about Jobs’ death on Twitter, and for at least ten minutes, I don’t think I saw a single tweet that was about any other topic. His death took over the trending topics and, I’m guessing, is the reason why the fail whale came out to play for the first time in a long time. I saw messages of mourning from every corner of the world. One of my favorites (and I apologize that I can no longer find who originally tweeting this was “Stevie you’ll always be the apple of our i” and another, which I thought was beautifully perfect simply said “iSad.”

You don’t need another blog post to tell you that we’ve lost one of the greatest minds in the world, whether you are an Apple fan or not. Despite that fact, you’re here reading this, so I would like to pose a question to you instead: What happens now?

The world goes on. Despite the death of someone so world-changing, the earth won’t stop rotating. Even in our tech microcosm, life will continue. What happens now is that great people will go on to build upon the foundations that Jobs has given us to create things that even he couldn’t have imagined. Hundreds of years from now, new technology will be possible because of what Jobs did in his lifetime. What happens now is that we all are challenged to fill the gap, that hole created in the world when he passed away.

No one can replace the incredible Steve Jobs, but if we all try just a little bit harder to be amazing at what we’re doing in life, whether that’s blogging or social media or community management or raising llamas or driving race cars or something else…if we all try just a little bit harder, I think we’ll honor his memory well.

In closing, I’d like to leave you with a video of Jobs’ 2005 Commencement Speech to the students at Stanford. He was standing before that class to deliver his speech, but I feel as though maybe he was actually speaking to all of us.

New Apple CEO Tim Cook’s Letter to the Apple Staff

Author:
Tim Cook, CEO Apple

Tim Cook, CEO Apple

After the news of Steve Jobs’s resignation as CEO of Apple and the fast appointing of new CEO Tim Cook, Cook didn’t waste any time reaching out to the Apple staff. In this letter, which ars techinca obtained, Cook reassures the staff that the company is not going to change and that he’s looking forward to the years ahead.

The letter went out early this morning.

Team:

I am looking forward to the amazing opportunity of serving as CEO of the most innovative company in the world. Joining Apple was the best decision I’ve ever made and it’s been the privilege of a lifetime to work for Apple and Steve for over 13 years. I share Steve’s optimism for Apple’s bright future.

Steve has been an incredible leader and mentor to me, as well as to the entire executive team and our amazing employees. We are really looking forward to Steve’s ongoing guidance and inspiration as our Chairman.

I want you to be confident that Apple is not going to change. I cherish and celebrate Apple’s unique principles and values. Steve built a company and culture that is unlike any other in the world and we are going to stay true to that—it is in our DNA. We are going to continue to make the best products in the world that delight our customers and make our employees incredibly proud of what they do.

I love Apple and I am looking forward to diving into my new role. All of the incredible support from the Board, the executive team and many of you has been inspiring. I am confident our best years lie ahead of us and that together we will continue to make Apple the magical place that it is.

Tim

Techinca has confirmed their source is trusted and has been verified.

If this letter is indeed the real deal, it’s good to see Cooks is enthusiastic about the years ahead with Apple, but has every desire to not change the company and continue to make amazing products.

Steve Jobs’s Resignation Letter to Apple Board of Directors & Community

Author:
Steve Jobs Apple

As I am sure you have heard, Steve Jobs has officially resigned as CEO of Apple and the Board named former COO Tim Cooks as the new CEO.

Here is the official resignation letter Jobs sent to the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.

Steve

Steve Jobs will remain chairman of the board of directors. The quick naming and confirmation of Tim Cook as CEO indicates there will be a smooth transition within the Apple company.

The Apple board of directors released a press release yesterday (August 24) naming Tim Cook the new CEO, as well as making a statement in regards to Jobs’s leadership and vision within the company over the years.

“Steve’s extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world’s most innovative and valuable technology company,” said Art Levinson, Chairman of Genentech, on behalf of Apple’s Board. “Steve has made countless contributions to Apple’s success, and he has attracted and inspired Apple’s immensely creative employees and world class executive team. In his new role as Chairman of the Board, Steve will continue to serve Apple with his unique insights, creativity and inspiration.”

The board went on to say they have complete confidence in the new CEO, Tim Cook.

What are your thoughts on the resignation of Steve Jobs and the newly appointed CEO Tim Cook? We wish Mr. Jobs all the best in the future and continued recovery.

Source: Mashable

Android or iPhone – Which State Do You Live In?

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Mobile phone market share

Do you think you live in an Android state or iPhone state? I was guessing Android for my state of Texas and I was right. Jumptap put out a report this morning with a map showing which mobile activity each state in the U.S. has more of.

As you can see from the map above, the Southern and Western states (Texas, Florida, California) are over-index towards Android, while the Midwest and New England states are Apple dominated. (And as this TechCrunch writer pointed out, New York is embarrassingly Blackberry dominated. Why is that?)

Last month, a report was released which showed the Android operating system had the largest share with 39%, followed by Apple with 28%. There are obviously more Android phones out there, but how well are the mobile ads performing? This graph shows that Apple products like the iPod, iPad and iPhone do better with click-through rates.

Despite who is doing better, overall these click through rates are poor. “Forget Android versus Apple for a moment. What that data says is that mobile ads are failing across the board.”

So tell us – do you live in an Android or Apple state…or Blackberry?

Source

Android is Top Operating System in the U.S.

Author:
Android

Nielsen released news today that Google’s Android operating system is the largest smartphone system in the United States. Android has the largest share with 39%, followed by Apple with 28% and RIM with 20%.

Apple still holds the title of top smartphone manufacturer in the United States, with HTC, Samsung and Motorola following behind.

Nielsen put out a similar report in March stating that Android was at the top, so this isn’t new news about them grabbing a top spot from someone, but rather an update that they’re still numero uno. Although it’s share is bigger now than the March report stated, which was at 29%.

Here’s a visual from Nielson which gives you an idea of the current standings.

So tell us – what operating system and smartphone do you use? I use the Android operating system on my tablet and so far love it. As for my smartphone purchase, I used to own a Blackberry and am carefully considering what my next purchase should be. Any advice on what I should choose?

Rumors and Non-Disclosure Agreements

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On Saturday, Mashable added another rumored feature to the growing list of iPhone 5 modifications. The CEO of Sony, Sir Howard Stringer, confirmed that Sony is manufacturing a camera sensor that will be used in the iPhone 5. Production of the sensor has been delayed due to the tsunami and earthquake in Japan. It is now assumed that there will be an 8-megapixel image sensor for the iPhone 5.

Danielle Liss While most people were looking at the infographic summing up the rumored iPhone features, I was thinking about non-disclosure agreements. (I have an Android phone; I’m not always in lawyer mode.) If this was truly a slip, Stringer could be facing serious consequences if there was an NDA in place. But, as Calvin Lee of Mayhem Studios was quick to point out on Twitter during a brief discussion, no one ever seems to get sued when these Apple leaks happen. So, no NDA or planned?

Non-Disclosure Agreements

NDAs are contracts between two or more parties, companies or individuals, that define confidential information and how access to confidential information should be restricted. This type of agreement is frequently used to protect trade secrets, which are generally not known to the public and by which competitors could gain an advantage if such information was made public.

An NDA may be used by companies that are considering entering a business relationship, but wish to protect their confidential information until a final determination is made. In some cases, employers may use NDAs with their employees.

Contents of a Non-Disclosure Agreement
The NDA must define who is a party to the agreement. Next, the NDA will typically define what is considered confidential information. It is important to note that information that was already available to the public will not be considered confidential. The parties may agree to other terms that tweak the definition of what information was public. If a dispute arises, the definition of public information could play a critical role in resolving a dispute.

An NDA must also define what the confidential information may be used for and how it should be maintained. It is common that an NDA will request that confidential information be returned if the parties sever the business relationship.

NDA agreements often contain a provision for liquidated damages. If the NDA is violated, there will be a set figure that the violating party is required to pay.

The Impact on Social Media
NDAs are commonly used between brands and the bloggers who promote them. If you sign an NDA, ensure that you only share the information that you are permitted to disclose. Do not share any future advertising campaign information or product releases with your audience or even your family. Don’t try to bolster your SEO by using keywords for a future campaign that is about to be released that you have inside information on. This type of activity could easily backfire, leaving you in breach of the NDA and with a severed relationship with your brand.

Conclusion
NDAs are commonly used. If you have questions about the terms, ask before you sign. Most importantly, protect the confidentiality that you’ve agreed to and you shouldn’t have any problems.

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