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Thursday, May 8, 2008
In its first year on the market, Microsoft shipped 1.2 million Zunes, reaching about 3 percent of the U.S. market for MP3 players by the first quarter of 2007. A year later, the company's market share stands at about 4 percent, but that slight gain comes as Microsoft has expanded from one hard-drive model into a family of products that includes both flash-based and hard drive-based units.
As part of its announcement of a Zune video store this week, Microsoft noted that it has now sold more than 2 million Zunes. That would appear to show that business is not growing much despite the expansion of the product line. (And, to get a sense of where the competition is, Apple sold more than 10 million iPods in just the non-holiday January to March quarter).
For their part, Microsoft Zune officials say they're pleased with where things stand, reiterating that they see their effort to form a serious rival to the iPod as a years-long project.
Jason Reindorp, director of product marketing, said the company has shipped roughly a million devices since the second-generation models debuted in December.
"I'd actually say that's pretty good," Reindorp said. The company said it feels it has succeeded in its goal of being seen as a credible alternative for those who don't want an iPod.
"The strategy has been really focused on getting in the game," he said.
The company has been criticized for being slow, though, to match Apple features, taking more than a year to start selling video despite the fact that its initial model came with a large color screen and video playback abilities.
Microsoft also misjudged initial demand for the flash-based Zune last year. In gearing up for the holiday season, Microsoft assumed demand would be highest for those models, and boosted production of those at the expense of the hard drive-based models. Demand turned out to be higher for the 80GB hard drive model, which ended up being in short supply.
Reindorp said that demand has evened out some in the ensuing months, although Zune still has a far higher share of the hard drive-based MP3 market than it does in either the flash-based or overall market.
Much of Microsoft's effort, Reindorp said, has been around building the service connected to the Zune, particularly its social elements. In addition to the video store launched Tuesday, Microsoft also added new social capabilities, such as the ability to share with friends an electronic "Zune Card" that allows them to access playlists of your favorite and most recently listened to music. Those who take part in Microsoft's subscription service gain access to the songs themselves, as well.
Gartner analyst Mike McGuire said although the social aspect to the Zune is a good idea, it also complicates life for Microsoft, which not only needs to try and match Apple on the hardware and software fronts, but also to compete with other social music services such as Imeem and Last.fm.
"Zune's trying to be all of these in one place," he said. "I think it's a tougher sell with Zune."
Of course, Microsoft is plugging ahead with plans to expand the service as well as the number of devices that can connect to it.
"This fall, expect to see a new wave of devices," Reindorp said, noting that the company has established a pattern of updating the Zune software in the spring and introducing new hardware in the fall.
But Reindorp said Microsoft thinks of the dedicated portable player as just one of many "tuners" that could potentially connect to the Zune service. The company is looking at how desktop software, online services, other portable devices, and even cars might be able to connect into the Zune service.
"We've said all along that, being a software company, we are much more focused on the experiences we can bring to life through the software," Reindorp said.
One area in which the company is looking to make changes is its subscription service, known as Zune Pass. Today, consumers pay $15 a month to access an unlimited number of music tracks, though all of those songs expire if consumers stop their subscription.
"We believe today the Zune Pass model is pretty darn good, but it could be better."
Asked whether Microsoft is locked to the notion of being the only maker of Zune hardware, Reindorp said the company would consider allowing others.
"It's an interesting idea to explore," he said. "It's something the company has tried in the past and we had some successes and some failures."
Zune struggles to find the right pitch | Beyond Binary - A blog by Ina Fried - CNET News.com
Grand Theft Auto sales top $500 mln in 1st week | Technology | Reuters
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Take-Two Interactive Software Inc (TTWO.O: Quote, Profile, Research) scored over $500 million in global sales of its criminal action game "Grand Theft Auto 4" in its first week, making it one of the most lucrative entertainment launches in history.
The video game publisher is sure to use the strong results, which topped even the most bullish expectations, to strengthen its bargaining position in talks with rival Electronic Arts Inc (ERTS.O: Quote, Profile, Research), which is trying to buy it for $2 billion, or $25.74 per share.
"When you're negotiating like this it's all about leverage," said Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey.
"Take-Two couldn't be in a better position. If EA wants to keep their bid at $25.74 and thinks that's a fair price, they are going to have to walk away from this deal," Hickey said.
Take-Two has held off on engaging Electronic Arts until after the "GTA 4" launch, arguing the returns from the game should be a factor in its value.
Take-Two said on Wednesday that "Grand Theft Auto 4" sold about 6 million copies in the week after its April 29 launch, raking in more than $500 million.
Initial sales topped the $300 million for last year's "Halo 3" video game from Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and were on par with Hollywood's biggest blockbuster film debut, "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," which raked in more than $500 million globally in its opening weekend.Unit sales were in line with analysts' expectations, but revenue beat even the highest forecasts by about $100 million, reflecting strong demand in Europe, where the game costs more, and high sales of pricier collector's editions.
Studios win $110 million in TorrentSpy suit | Entertainment | Industry | Reuters
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - TorrentSpy bit the dust only weeks ago, shuttering its peer-to-peer file-sharing site. Now a federal judge has ordered the company to pay the Motion Picture Association of America $110 million for infringement of thousands of copyrighted film and TV shows.
In a four-page final ruling issued Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Florence-Marie Cooper entered the multimillion-dollar judgment against TorrentSpy parent company Valence Media for willfully inducing, contributing and vicariously allowing copyright infringement on its Web site.
Cooper also issued a permanent injunction against the Web site, which shut down March 24.
The MPAA, which represents the Hollywood studios, filed suit against TorrentSpy in February 2006, claiming that the site's torrent files were illegally uploaded.
"This substantial money judgment sends a strong message about the illegality of these sites," MPAA chairman and CEO Dan Glickman said. "The demise of TorrentSpy is a clear victory for the studios."
Whether the MPAA will collect the $110 million from TorrentSpy remains to be seen. Court records show that Valence and TorrentSpy principles Justin Bunnell and Wes Parker have filed for bankruptcy.
"Beautiful" Mariah Carey Has Found Her Soul Mate
The surprise newlyweds of the month, Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon, talk about their wedlock for the first time, extolling each other’s qualities to People magazine.
R’n’B diva Mariah Carey and actor/rapper Nick Cannon confirmed their surprise nuptials to People magazine this week, thus putting to rest all speculation regarding their change of marital status.
The two were reported to have had an impromptu marriage ceremony in Eleuthera, the
, on April 30, but confirmation from the protagonists themselves was still needed. Bahamas
Carey and Cannon are catering to the public’s wishes, sharing photos from their ceremony with the world, via People. Neither appears to be at a loss for words, with the fresh new spouses praising each other enthusiastically.
“We really do feel we are soulmates,” Carey told the magazine. “I never felt a love like this was in the cards for me.”
Cannon in turn adds, “She is beautiful on the outside and 10 times as beautiful on the inside.”
This is the 27-year-old MTV star’s first marriage and the second for Carey, 38. She ended a five-year marriage to music exec Tommy Mottola approximately a decade ago. Cannon was previously engaged to
’s Secret model Selita Ebanks, but the relationship ended more than half a year ago. Victoria
Among the first reports that ascertained the marriage was one from People, who received confirmation last week from Bishop Clifford Petty of the National Church of God in the
Caribbeanthat he had presided over the wedding.
Petty’s church is based in Eleuthera, in the town of
’s Harbour, but at the time, he did not specify whether the wedding took place there or elsewhere. He would give no further details, other than to say he did not give a sermon. Governor
Carey and Cannon had reportedly been dating for nearly two months when they decided to tie the knot. The diva’s appearance at the Tribeca Film Festival in late April, where she promoted her new movie, “
,” garnered immediate media attention when a huge diamond ring was spotted on the appropriate left finger. Tennessee
The $2.5 million, 17-carat diamond ring from Jacob & Co. jewelers is one of a kind, which the young actor/ rapper helped design, according to reports.
° not otherwise specified ° formally diagnosed pursuit - of - perfection °
Height & 'Ideal' Model Weight 5'0" 102 lbs 5'1" 104 lbs 5'2" 105 lbs 5'3" 107 lbs 5'4" 109 lbs 5'5" 111 lbs 5'6" 112 lbs 5'7" 114 lbs 5'8" 116 lbs 5'9" 117 lbs 5'10" 119 lbs
height weight chest-waist-hips (in.) average model 5'8" - 5'11" 120 lbs 34-25-34 average woman 5'4" 138 lbs 37-29-40
Tip: Question Your Elders from Behance Magazine
How should we reconcile our tendency to seek the advice of experts with our desire to also question the status quo and try things differently? As creative professionals, we cannot become imprisoned by the past, but we must also not be stubborn and spend our time reinventing the wheel.
There is a somewhat healthy tendency in every discipline to defer to the knowledge of elders. Starting with the original “apprenticeship” structures of the 19th century to the traditional corporate hierarchies that permeate our life today, societies are built on collective wisdom from the past. Major conferences around the world gather industry “experts” to share their wisdom. We painstakingly listen to our elders’ projections as if they were coming from an oracle.
However, for the small portion of society that is tasked with innovation and pushing the edge, a reliance on conventional wisdom is damning. We must seek advice with a dose of skepticism, and we must always consider the merits of developing new platforms rather than just derivatives.
As you make new ideas happen, consider a few tips to navigate the terrain of ancient wisdom and new insight.
1. Don’t judge someone based on age. Only judge based on skill. We have an inherent prejudice against young people because we question how much they could possibly know given their relative lack of experience. However, young people have very legitimate advantages when it comes to detecting trends, adopting new technology, and attempting risky undertakings that yield lessons that we may never attain. When working with new people, examine one’s skill set rather than age or number of years in industry.
2. Question the correlation between past accomplishments and present knowledge. We all have a tendency to “rest on our laurels.” But cutting edge knowledge becomes antiquated very quickly. The brilliant expert from yesterday may have little relevant insight today. In fact, such experts may be too biased by their own past experiences to see how the times have changed.
3. Beware of conventions. Rather than default to the way things have already been done, recognize that anything can always be done better. While it is certainly worthy to find and follow effective methods to approach projects, it is dangerous to passively accept advice. Even sacred Behance Tips must be taken with a grain of salt and built upon!
Underwater Habitats - Trilobis 65 Floating Home
Trilobis 65 is a semi-submerged
dwelling environment. Reaching 20 metres in length designed by Giancarlo Zema for habitation by six people at sea. It is ideal for living in bays, atolls and maritime parks. The main aim of the project is to allow anyone to live in a unique environment through a self sufficient, non-polluting dwelling cell in unison with their ocean surroundings.
Trilobis 65 has been designed on four separate levels connected by a spiraling staircase.
The top level is 3.5 metres above
sea level. The next level is at 1.4 metres above sea level and hosts the daylight zone with all services and allowing outdoor access. The third level is situated at 0.8 metre below sea level, semi-submerged, and is devoted to the night-time zone. At 3.0 metres below sea level, totally submerged, there is the underwater observation bulb, an intimate and mediative place.
The shape of Trilobis 65 allows the annular aggregation of more
modular units, creating island colonies.
This special project refers to the Trilobiti, little creatures that lived in the sea 500 milion years ago.
Contact Underwater Vehicles Inc. for further details regarding custom floating homes and Neptus 60 cliff-side dwellings with underwater viewing compartments. All homes are engineered to meet strict ABS and Lloyds certification requirements.
Maximum length - 20 mt
Maximum width - 13 mt
Observation bulb - 3 mt o.s.l. Max Speed - 7 knots
Accommodation - 6 beds
Power source options - Ballard fuel cells, solar, wind, diesel
New - from Giancarlo Zema Lake Washington Commercial and Recreational Marine Park
Article from Popular Mechanics - Cover Story November 2002
Written by Jim Wilson, Science Editor Popular Mechanics
Life, say the experts, began in the sea. And if the way we spend our vacations is an accurate indicator, there are few things we enjoy more than revisiting our submerged roots. Cavorting with dolphins, badgering sharks from the safety of steel cages and photographing exotic fish through the portholes of tourist submarines fascinates landlubbers from Prague to Peoria. For those who find these forays into Neptune's realm too brief, Italian naval architect Giancarlo Zema has the perfect dream home, the Trilobis 65. Part yacht and part submarine, it could convince Capt. Nemo to hang a "for sale" sign on the Nautilus.
"The main aim of the project is to allow anyone to live in a unique environment through a self-sufficient, nonpolluting dwelling that exists in unison with their ocean surrounding," Zema tells POPULAR MECHANICS. At first glance, the Trilobis looks as if it would be more at home soaring into the sky than plying the waters of atolls, bays and maritime parks. Looking at a computer image of the bow conjures up visions of the flying saucers in 1950s science fiction films. The Trilobis's blueprints, however, reveal a nautical heritage that reaches back to the humble dugout while simultaneously embracing 21st century technologies that include high-strength composites and nonpolluting hydrogen fuels.
Circular Living - Perhaps the most striking feature of Zema's design is one that reflects his willing recognition of the great unspoken truth about luxury yachts. Powerful engines and sleek hulls aside, these vessels typically stick close to home. Acknowledging the fact that well-heeled mariners often prefer to keep their floating palaces moored inches from the dock, Zema also designed a special type of marina that will enable like-minded Trilobis owners to create their own floating villages. The traditional rectangular dock will disappear, to be replaced by a roughly 60-ft.-dia. circular island in the shape of a 6-tooth gear, into which individual yachts fit like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.Stepping off the floating island, yachtsmen will ascend a few steps and find themselves on an expansive circular deck. At this level, the Trilobis resembles a deviled egg, measuring about 65 ft. from stem to stern and 42 ft. from port to starboard. Zema has divided the interior space into four functionally different levels, connected by a spiral stairway that runs through the yacht's centerline. The top of the stairway opens onto the driving deck. Housing the helm, communications equipment and navigation gear, it offers the best view of the sea from its elevation of about 11 ft. above the waterline. The space is dominated by a massive glass wall that begins above the stairway and arcs gently over the forward seating area before disappearing into the deck below. Ordinarily, so large an expanse of glass would pose a heating problem, but this is no ordinary window. It is a sandwich of two layers of tempered glass and an electrolyte with a very unusual property. With the turn of a dial, you can change the voltage flowing through the electrolyte material, which is encased between the panes, altering the tint of the window or blacking it out entirely. Power for the windows and the ship's electrical systems comes from photovoltaic panels, manufactured by Siemens, that are integrated into a foam-reinforced fiberglass skin. At night and on cloudy days, power comes from batteries, with an inverter converting DC into AC for low-loss power distribution.
Day And Night - Descending from the top to the craft's third level, yachtsmen will enter what Zema calls the day area. Its use of space is a reminder that spherical structures are more efficient than rectangular ones. As with the space above it, the day area is surrounded by self-shading glass, offering a panoramic view from the gourmet kitchen, formal dining area and three seating groups. On this level, the spiral stairway serves a secondary function of separating interior and exterior spaces. Sliding glass doors fully retract, opening onto a teak deck.Returning inside and following the stairway down one more flight leads to what is known as the night zone. The Trilobis sleeps six, with a premium on privacy. The design calls for two single and two double bedrooms, each with a private bathroom. With the deck at this level beginning 3 ft. below the waterline, the wraparound window cuts off at eye level.This level also houses the yacht's propulsion system, which consists of two electric motors. Each is rated at about 300 hp. They are powered by hydrogen-fed Ballard fuel cells. The hydrogen for the fuel cells will be stored in a pair of 240-gal. tanks located just aft of the single bedrooms. The fuel supply is not intended for ocean crossings, but to be sufficient for moving the yacht to nearby reefs to explore seasonal changes in marine life and catch a true fish-eyes view of unusual migrating species.
Ocean Depths - The most distinctive feature of the Trilobis is its fully submerged first level, the observation bulb. Like the driving deck and day area above, it offers a commanding and unobstructed view of the sea. Only here, that view begins 10 ft. below the waterline. This is the smallest of the levels, just big enough for six chairs. Built to the same technical standards as tourist submarines, it is a thick glass enclosure that provides a 360° view. So that this area can be used when there's no sunlight, the Trilobis has a ring of 200-watt spotlights, angled away from the observation bulb, to illuminate any sea life swimming directly in front of the viewers. The second set of spotlights, placed just below the deck level, lights the reefs below. Zema is several years from building the first Trilobis. Most likely, it will be constructed in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he has set up an exclusive marketing relationship with Underwater Vehicles Inc. The location may seem like an unusual choice, but the region has the two essential ingredients needed to make the Trilobis project a success. The first is its wealth of small inlets and bays. The second is a pool of wealthy yacht owners, one of whom may be willing to invest the $4 million to $5 million it will take to launch yachting into the 21st century. Contact Underwater Vehicles Inc. at www.sub-find.com.
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