NBC/News Corp Joint Venture Hulu Sued By Lulu Enterprises

September 5, 2007

Lulu Enterprises has brought a lawsuit against which operates Hulu (the online video joint venture of NBC Universal and News Corp). The lawsuit accuses Hulu of copyright infringement, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and federal cyberpiracy. The lawsuit claims that Hulu intentionally attempted to create confusion in the marketplace through Hulu’s name (which took five months to think up) and internet domain announcements. According to the press release by Lulu, Hulu’s trademark filing also identifies products/services that are similar, and some even apparently identical, to Lulu’s. Lulu allows users to publish, buy, and sell digital content. They claim to be the #1 self-publishing site, according to Alexa and claim to have about 1.2 million registered users.

Aren’t online video sites supposed to wait to be involved in litigation until they are up and running and have infringing content on their site? Maybe TechCrunch’s translation of the name Hulu should have been taken more seriously.

Apple Cuts iPhone Price By 33%! Damn You iPhoneSIMFree!

September 5, 2007

Apple has reduced the price of the 8GP iPhone by $200 (33%) and possibly discontinued the 4GB model, Engadget reports. Its quite a drastic price drop for the two-month-old phone and should easily lure more consumers to become owners. This could also change the iPhone unlock scene significantly. With a now less expensive phone, more people may be willing to experiment with unlocking their phones or pay the additional unlock-premium that will be added on by resellers. Good news for everyone, right?

Not quite, remember the iPhone unlock company iPhoneSIMFree who decided only to let resellers buy licenses of their unlock software? They supposedly launched yesterday and boy did they choose the wrong day. Surely some iPhone resellers stocked up on iPhones because they wanted to get those unlocked iPhones ready for sale right away. But paying an additional who knows how much per phone because of iPhoneSIMFree’s delivery date probably ruined their week. And that’s not the only thing. In addition to announcing their launch the day before the price cut, it appears iPhoneSIMFree didn’t even deliver the software. What’s that, three times now? Their website says, “We are experiencing a number of technical issues related to our business side of things and hope to have these resolved as soon as possible. Double Ouch!

Om Malik has posted something that may be helpful for those that bought the iPhone from an Apple store in the last 14 days. You are entitled to the difference between the current selling price and the price you paid if you request it within 14 days of the price reduction. AT&T also has a 14-day return policy on the iPhone and apparently has the same price difference policy as Apple. While this is good news for consumers, I doubt this helps resellers, who likely didn’t directly buy from Apple or AT&T.…

A New (Third) Claim To Facebook’s Creation – WITH PROOF

August 31, 2007

With the ongoing legal battle between Facebook and ConnectU going on, who’d of thought a third claim to the hot social networking site would surface? The New York Times’ John Markoff reports that Aaron Greenspan, another Harvard classmate of Mark Zuckerberg, claims to have had the original idea for Facebook. Greenspan launched a website called houseSYSTEM prior to both Facebook and ConnectU’s creation. houseSYSTEM was used by many Harvard students, including Mark Zuckerberg, to accomplish various tasks online. Greenspan sent an email to house systems users informing them of a new feature called “the FaceBook”, which would allow them to easily locate other students. This email was distributed 4 months before Zuckerberg started his site, thefacebook.com. Greenspan has given copies of this email to The New York Times, verifying its existence. Zuckerberg has declined to be interviewed and had his spokesperson say that he does not know how to respond. And, as The New York Times article says, “he did not dispute the chronology of events or the authenticity of Mr. Greenspan’s e-mail messages.”

I wonder if this will come into play in the judge’s decision of whether or not to dismiss the ConnectU-Facebook case. Even further, I wonder what, if anything, will end up happening between Greenspan and Zuckerberg. Amazingly though, Greenspan’s hostility actually seems pretty light, judging from the article. But looking at Facebook’s success, if Greenspan’s claim is 100% accurate, how can he not want what is was his?…

Twitter Hat-Tricks With New “Explore” Section

August 30, 2007


Twitter has been on a role lately. They have been churning out new features like crazy. The first two features included a much needed search feature and a Gmail contact import feature. Well, now there are even more new things coming to Twitter. TechCrunch reports that tomorrow morning a new set of features are being added to Twitter. But they are actually functional right now. The new features were available tonight for a short period of time but then were disabled and replaced with a “Launching Soon!” banner.

The features are part of the new Explore section of Twitter, which is sponsered by Motorola. Within Explore, there are tools that allow you to use Twitter with “Other Devices”, but there is more to it than just devices (see screen shot, courtesy of TechCrunch). A very interesting feature called Blocks allows you to interactively navigate through a 3-dimensional animation of twitter updates. I was able to play with it a little bit before it went down. This is a very cool feature and I don’t even use Twitter! And it looks like they will be launching more new features under Explore, judging by the description of the new area: “and watch this space, because even we don’t know what might show up next!” I may reconsider using Twitter with all of the new (an upcoming) features being launched.…

A Lot Happening At EarthLink

August 26, 2007


A press release issued today by EarthLink (ELNK) outlines a comprehensive corporate restructuring plan that is taking way immediately. The plan includes cutting approximately 900 jobs and closing multiple offices nationwide, which is expected to give the company $25 to $35 million in cost savings this year alone. However, the costs associated with the restructuring will be anywhere from $116 to $140 million, allocated between the third and fourth quarters of 2007. The company expects cost savings to overtake restructure costs within six months. EarthLink has changed their outlook for 2007 as a result of the restructuring and is now expecting $1.19 to 1.21 billion in revenue for 2007. In addition, they expect industry-wide subscriber addition to slow, forecasting fewer EarthLink subscribers in 2008. The company’s board of directors has also authorized an additional $200 million for stock buyback, bringing the total allocation to $270 million. And lastly, for the company’s updates, Joe Wetzel has been appointed EarthLink’s new COO.

Read: Home Safes For Guns Offer Protection And Security

A lot of news for the company and wall street seems to like it. The stock was up as much as 12% on the news.…

BarCampBlock Day 1: An Amazing Day!

August 18, 2007

Today was day 1 of BarCampBlock in Palo Alto. It was an amazing experience that allowed attendees to be submerged in Silicon Valley tech culture. I learned an insane amount, and I don’t just mean “knowledge”. There was an energy that seemed to be flowing around (not the wifi) and it was very enlightening to take part in that. And it’s not too late if you want to experience it yourself, because tomorrow it is all happening again, from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM. But if you can’t make it, you should be able to get a pretty good idea of the atmosphere and happenings of the day by doing a couple of things. First, make sure and visit BarCampBlock Session Notes. You will be able to see notes on the informal sessions that occurred throughout the day (There are only three sessions’ notes on the wiki right now, but I’m sure this will change soon). Next, go to flicker to get some pictures of the event. If stills don’t do the trick, you can see a few video clips on Ustream and you should be able to watch the live stream tomorrow. Also, there will likely be more blogging about the event and I will post links as they surface.

My take on the day:

I showed up at about 9:30 AM, by myself and not knowing a single soul. That changed quickly though as everyone was, for the most part, extremely social and friendly. So if that is what is stopping you from attending tomorrow, I wouldn’t worry about it. The first session I attended was called “What Are Widgets”, led by Shawn from Clearspring. Clearspring makes sharing and tracking widgets easier. The discussion was about widgets in general and what Clearspring can offer to widget developers. The next session I attended was called “The Big Crash of Web 2.0” aka “web 2 points uh oh”. This was my favorite session by far as there was a lot of passionate audience interaction. The discussion was focused on looking at where we are in web 2.0, in regards to three aspects: investment, technologies, and adoption. The next two sessions I attended were lead by KRS Murthy, who is a venture capitalist with expertise in mergers and acquisitions and is an extremely intelligent person. In his first session, he talked about the need to change the way venture capital is raised, to allow for the funding of companies that are not in close geographic proximity to a vc. Murthy’s next session was about mergers/acquisitions and roll up plans for social networking websites. The last session I attended was called “Why Companies Fear Bloggers”, led by Paul Joyce of SimplifyMedia. This was more of an open discussion, where we talked about many aspects of blogging, including writing about competitors, interacting with customers, and the damage that blogs can do to companies.

It really was an amazing day and I want to thank all the people and sponsors that made the experience what it was. And if you’re attending tomorrow, I’ll see you there.


-Brian Solis wrote an excellent post about BarCampBlock at bub.blicio.us

-Robert Scoble, who is on a blog break, came out and wrote about his late visit to BarCampBlock.

-iPhone Software Unlock Company iPhoneSIMFree Has Been Acquired

-Infotropism has a nice roundup of links to blogs about BarCampBlock.

-Don’t forget to visit the BarCamp wiki to see the list of blog posts about BarCampBlock…

Facebook Secrets Blog Shutdown By Google?

August 15, 2007

The anonymous blog Facebook Secrets, that posted Facebook source code not once, but twice, has been shut down, either by author or by Google. But one would have to assume it was by Google since the anonymous author had no method of contact on the blog, so Facebook was probably unable to send a cease and desist letter. This may have forced Facebook to do things the long way and go through Google to have the blog shut down, but this is unconfirmed.

This little battle between Facebook and Facebook Secrets does little to nothing in preventing the source code from being distributed further, as it has surely been saved and redistributed by many others. It does, however, prove a point, or rather a possibility: a simple blog that no one had heard of before this (it didn’t exist) was able to cause some pretty heavy embarrassment to a site that nearly everyone has heard of.

NEW: TechCrunch posts that a blog called Facebook Secrets Again has been created in regard to the shut down blog Facebook Secrets. The new blog shows the emails (DCMA Notices) from The Blogger Team, first requesting that the infringing content be taken down, then saying that they (The Blogger Team) took the content down themselves. This confirms that Google did indeed take the blog down.…