On Thursday an official with Mozilla made a statement that raised many an eyebrow in the industry: He recommended users of Mozilla's Firefox browser change their search engine from Google to Microsoft's Bing.
A surprising recommendation, coming from Mozilla's director of community development Asa Dotzler, since Google and Mozilla are partners while Microsoft and Mozilla compete fiercely in the browser market. What sparked Dotzler's statement was a comment regarding privacy made by Google CEO Eric Schmidt during a recent interview with CNBC.
Microsoft's Bing search engine went down for half an hour on Thursday. The outage is no doubt embarrassing for Microsoft as it tries to build up its share of the search market. But will the incident be anything more than a mild, short-lived embarrassment?
Beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, users couldn't access Bing. The cause, according to a post on the Bing blog by Satya Nadella, SVP of Microsoft's online services division, "was a configuration change during some internal testing that had unfortunate and unintended consequences."
Like all popular products, the iPhone has its share of detractors. One of the primary sources of scorn is the vetting process Apple uses to decide whether software should be allowed to enter its application store. But the App Store, which now has more than 100,000 available applications, is one of the iPhone's chief selling points, and Apple isn't about to give up its much-criticized role as a software gatekeeper.
In an interview with BusinessWeek, Phil Schiller, Apple's SVP for worldwide product marketing, defends the approval process at length, though he acknowledges that the company needs to be more flexible.
Analysts and industry players have begun circling Research In Motion like vultures lately, but the BlackBerry maker's co-CEOs don't seem particularly concerned with the negative attention.
BMO Capital Markets this morning became the latest firm to lower its rating on RIM's stock, with analyst Tim Long saying that the company is too reliant on Verizon Wireless, which accounts for some 30 percent of RIM revenue, and that the Storm 2 doesn't match up to its touchscreen competitors. And while BlackBerry remains the king of the U.S. smartphone, it's facing a daunting threat from Apple's iPhone and a seemingly endless deluge of Google Android phones.
Google announced earlier this week it's dropping the price of extra storage for users of its Picasa photo editing service and Gmail. These services are free, but Google for the past two years has charged users who want additional storage to hold their photos and messages; as of this week the company will offer twice as much storage for a quarter of the old price, putting 20GB of space at $5 a year. That's enough to store 10,000 full-resolution photos, Google says.
In addition to the fact that it costs next to nothing, the advantages of storing personal data in the cloud are that users can access it from any computer or device and easily share it with friends or family, says Google. This is great. But consumers should be just as cautious about what they put in the cloud as corporations because regardless of what kind of data is being stored there, the risks are the same.
How do we know that the holiday season has begun? Because Google is spreading cheer in the form of free Wi-Fi at 47 U.S. airports until Jan. 15.
"We're very happy to extend our holiday Wi-Fi gift to the millions of people who will spend time in airports over the next few months," said Marissa Mayer, Google's VP of search products and user experience. Google says it's working with Boingo Wireless, Advanced Wireless Group, Airport Marketing Income and others on the Wi-Fi gift.