This Week In Tech 443 (Transcript)
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech. What a big news week! It looks like we got a new CEO at Microsoft, Google dumps Motorola and finally, a TV show about us called Selfie. All next on TWiT.
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This is TWiT, This Week in Tech. Episode #443, recorded February 2, 2014
Selfie in the City
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Leo: It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech, the show that covers all your week's tech needs. Joining me are mostly Canadians, and one guy who forgot there was a game. Jason Hiner from Tech Republic is here, CBS interactive. Nice to see you Jason.
Jason Hiner: Hey, good to be here Leo.
Leo: You're a football fan.
Jason: I am a football fan, go Broncos, Peyton Manning, I'm more a Colts fan but you know Peyton Manning is playing.
Leo: I'm with you on that. Also here, Rene Ritchie, who is wearing his- Is that your Montreal shirt, I don't know. I've never seen this shot before. This is a unique shot for you.
Rene Ritchie: I renovated, I put in new shelving and redecorated for you Leo.
Leo: Rene is of course, at iMore.com, great website. But he also covers Blackberry and Android and is a regular on MacBreak Weekly every Tuesday on this network. Great to have you.
Rene: It's a great shot, by the way.
Leo: I know, I love it. It's beautiful. Soon to join us will be Mathew Ingram, also a Canadian. You'd be amazed at how many tech journalists are actually secret football fans. I don't understand it. Here's a fella' whose got a clear allegiance to some team. Bill Gates tweeted this a little while ago. He's looking more and more like Woody Allen as time goes by. Bill, take off the tie, maybe.
Jason: Have you seen them in the same room together Leo? I think that's the obvious question.
Leo: And the hat looks big. It looks like the hat didn't fit. Anyway he's wearing SeaHawks garb because he's from Seattle and all of that.
Jason: Balmer is an owner right? Or no, is it the basketball team?
Leo: The Super Sonics? Yeah. Paul Allen, who is one of the founders of Microsoft, owns the Trailblazers and I think the Sonics, but Balmer might be involved in that as well.
Jason: Yeah, those guys.. Those guys up there, they own lots of stuff.
Leo: They have plenty of money.
Jason: Nerds and their sports, yeah.
Leo: So we had a little debate whether we should move TWiT and we decided to do it at the same time, 3pm Sunday. Even though there will be a Superbowl going on at some point during this broadcast.
Jason: A little football game. Just this little game.
Leo: Who cares? Do you really care?
Jason: You can watch it next year! That's what I put on Twitter.
Leo: It's on every year.
Jason: Come look, you can watch the Superbowl next year.
Leo: I cared last year when our team was in it and I enjoy watching. But you've got to admit it's for the ads. A lot of it, I mean, for a lot of people even if they're not into football, this is the most expensive ad buy of the year, and it is usually... You know, you put your best foot forward during these ads, in fact there's many companies that don't advertise anytime. In fact, very famously about thirty years ago, a little fruit company named Apple had a Superbowl ad announcing the Macintosh. That was a big deal.
Jason: 1984 Leo.
Leo: 1984. It won't be like 1984. I remember the first time I saw a tech ad. It was for a .com I think in the late '90s during the Superbowl.
Jason: Oh yeah, remember that? Between '99 and 2000, all the tech companies that were advertising the Superbowl? They were companies that put their whole advertising budget into buying one Superbowl ad. And I think some of them only had like one spot or maybe two spots and their whole budget for the year, they put into one Superbowl ad. That sort of sums up the .com boom for you.
Leo: Yeah, most of them were out of business-
Rene: Exactly, aren't even still around.
Leo: Squarespace has a Superbowl ad this year. This is, it's a little creepy. A little weird. I guess it's all of the weird stuff on the internet.
(We can't change what the web has become, but we can change what it will be. A better web starts with your website.)
Leo: Isn't that nice? Good for them!
Jason: Not bad, that's not bad.
Leo: That's some of that venture capital money going in there. I don't know how many other tech companies- Probably IBM. There was some question by the way, that Apple might do a 30th Anniversary ad, which would have been great. But these ads are millions of dollars, so it's not something you do on a whim.
Jason: They're doing 90 second MyVerse commercials everywhere.
Leo: Right. What do you call it? Liverse?
Jason: Yourverse, what is yourverse.
Leo: And Robin Williams, in the tub-
Rene: It sounded like someone recorded off of the VHS copy.
Leo: So, the big story of the week. We should probably get right into it because people are already leaving. I'm sorry, the Superbowl got in your way. I apologize. They just set up a giant screen so that I wouldn't miss the game. And of course, we've got people there, so that was thoughtful. The big story probably- Well there's quarterly results from Facebook and Apple and Microsoft, but I think the big story has to be the shocker that happened on Wednesday. Google announced that they were selling Motorola. They just bought it 19 months ago.
Rene: Yeah, Lenovorola.
Leo: Lenovorola. Now, in 2005 Lenovo bought IBM's Thinkpad business and kept the name, kept the quality, didn't really innovate tremendously but over time they've improved. They're probably a good steward of Motorola, yes?
Jason: They wanted to buy Blackberry and the Canadian government said no.
Leo: Ah, yeah Lenovo does make phones. They do make, as you might expect because they're a Chinese company, they do make phones that sell well in China. They don't have a presence in the US or Europe. Motorola's Moto X is now sold in Western Europe, in the US, and South America, so it will get them quickly into that market. Some people said that the problem was that the Motorola phones weren't selling well for Google and it was a big drain on Google. I have to credit Larry Page when he says, he posted a blog post saying in order to succeed in the phone business, I'm paraphrasing here, you have to be all in and we just didn't want to devote that much energy to it. We're not getting out of hardware, remember they bought Nest and of course, GoogleGlass, it's not that we don't want to do hardware, some people speculated that, we just don't think the phone business is a good fit. Now, I'm reading between the lines but this is what I think happened. Samsung bitched mightily, didn't like the idea that Google was competing with them with handsets. Samsung is selling, I don't know, 100 times more handsets than Motorola did. They are an important partner and they're starting to pull away. They're doing Tizen, they're junking up their phones making it less and less Android-like, and Google had to do a little gut check and say to themselves what is our business? Are we trying to make our money on phones? No, we make money when people use Android. When people use the apps on Android, that's when we make money. What is our interest here? Getting more companies to use Android. Not scaring them away, but getting more companies to use Android. This to me, makes perfect sense. You might wonder well why'd they even buy Motorola in the first place.
Jason: Patent information-
Leo: Patents! And there was a great joy of tech comic in which- Let me see if I can find it. Lenovo is shopping and they come to a garage sale and there's a big Android, it's a Google yard sale, they say, "What's the story with that blue one?" "It was bought for me but it really didn't fit," says the Android. "Oh, so it's like a regift. I'll take it for a billion." "Get serious, they paid 12 billion for it." "What about 2 billion?" "8 billion and it's yours." What else are they selling by the way? The Nest."2.9 billion is my final offer." "Sold! Let me put it in a bag for you." Lenovo walks off, looks in the bag and says, "Wait a second, where are the patents?!"
Rene: You know, if you look at the timeline they kind of clowned around with the entire Nortel patent sweep, they ended up losing out on that to Rockstar BillCo, and then Motorola was saying we're going to sue everyone else who makes Android devices because we're not making any money, but we have these patents. So they bought Motorola and kind of quieted them down. The litigation they were doing didn't really pay off because it was mostly standard essential patents, so they couldn't really win on those. They were producing hardware, but were not producing money and that's not really a very attractive deal for Google. Nest seems to make much more sense.
Jason: Yeah, this deal is maybe not quite as bad as it looks for Google. I mean Google needed to get out of this, this thing was a massive drain on their bottom line. They were not all in, clearly, on this. They tried to run Motorola separately, I think they told them to go out and be innovative and do some interesting things, and they were starting to do some interesting things, so you could make the argument that Motorola was really just getting started. The Moto X is a good product, they were manufactured in the US, they were innovating a little bit on the way consumers go and can customize it and that kind of thing. The middle of last year they had started talking about some of the cool things they wanted to innovate on. By the way, a lot of that innovative group that was doing those cool things like pills that you could wirelessly authenticate, just using the electromagnetic forces in your body, and crazy stuff like that. Do you remember that? The Verge reported that they are actually keeping that unit, that-
Leo: That's right, they're keeping Aura, which is the modular phone system that Motorola was developing, and all of the Blue Sky research the RND.
Jason: Yeah, that RND group that was run by- What's her name?....
Leo: Regina Dugan, she used to be with Darpa.
Jason: Yes, that's the one. Regina Dugan from Darpa. Really smart that they kept that-
Leo: They also had divested the set-top box business, that was 2.4 billion. The patents were worth, some say 6 billion. This is not the money-loser it looks like.
Jason: No, it's-
Leo: They probably broke even.
Jason: They probably did break even.
Rene: It's not possible-
Leo: Yeah, it's not a money-loser if you're not losing money.
Jason: And clearly, this was between Samsung and Google. There was some massive tension between those two and it was going to end badly, that was not going to end well for either one of them, honestly. So, this sort of clears the air on that.
Leo: And it 's no accident, is it, that Samsung just before this announcement, agreed to A) put less cruft on our phones, they agreed with Google, we're going to junk up our phones less and we will give users the right to uninstall the junk we put on there.
Rene: And they'll also get rid of that magazine UI that they debuted on their brand new tablets, which is very different than Android.
Leo: That is horrible, I have that on Note3, it was really clear to me that Samsung was saying to Google, we're moving away and are going to do what Amazon did.
Rene: They had their own developer conference, they'll be doing their own app store.
Jason: Yep, yep.
Leo: So this was a rear guard. This was Google saving it's butt because you can't have the company that's selling 80% of the smart phones out there, not selling an Android phone.
Jason: And I have no doubt this is in the works for a while, it's funny, I talked with Lenovo people at CES and they actually have some phones there. They kept clearly saying that they hadn't announced that those were going to be released in the US, they were actually some really nice phones as far as these sort of devices go, and they kept saying we're not saying we're going to release these in the US, we don't have carrier relationships yet and all of that kind of stuff, and so I just had this feeling that they were sort of dancing around something. Like something big was going on and I had mentioned to a couple of people privately, keep an eye on this because something is happening with them because they're really dodgey about this and I've got the feeling they're either going to announce something with a bunch of carriers or do a deal or something. And this was the deal, to buy Motorola. And actually there was another factor we wrote about this, obviously our site, Techrepublic writes a lot of stuff aimed at people who use these devices to do work and get work done and to pass them out in large companies. And this deal does have the potential to help Android breakthrough in the enterprise. Because as you guys know, in the enterprise, in business especially in the US, it's a big iPhone story, iOS. It's somewhere in 60-70% of the devices that are sort of sanctioned in the enterprise, whether they're BYOD or things that you pass out, our iOS devices, Androids have had a real problem breaking into the enterprise. This is the deal that could help because both Lenovo and Motorola both have great DNA in knowing how to work with the enterprise, both sort of BYOD standpoint and traditional enterprise machines and so, this is the one thing we wrote a piece in Techrepublic this week that this could be the move that helps Android kind of turn the corner in the enterprise.
Leo: Interesting. I'm only sad because I just bought another Moto X, I just bought the wooden one. I guess it's not a coincidence that they just had a deal on Monday and it was $100 off so unlocked 350 for 32gigs, 300 for 16gigs, so it was a really good deal. When you see a clearance deal, you should know, shouldn't you. You'd think I've been buying this crap long enough to know.
Jason: Well they're still selling that device though, they're not running away from that device.
Leo: Well, and this may take a while. They've got to get China and the US government to approve it, this could take anywhere from 6-8 months, to a year. So I figure I've got a little time left. But I think this Moto X was the best Android phone ever. Would love to see better hardware, a bigger screen, but you know I bought the Note 3 and I love the hardware in the Note 3, better camera but it's so crapped-up.
Rene: The ideas on this phone were better, it took too long to get it out so they have a lot of old- Like they have 720p display and older chip sets, but a newer version of this phone, completely spec'd out would be fantastic and you have to think at least Lenovo short-term is going to keep that road map.
Leo: And they're capable of doing it aren't they?
Jason: Absolutely. They can execute, Lenovo knows how to execute on hardware. I mean, they did it when they bought ThinkPad, they executed their tails off with that.
Leo: They did.
Jason: Year over year over year, they keep putting out new devices and just keep improving it and they do good stuff.
Rene: And I, for one, can't wait for a Nest phone from Google.
Jason: A Nest phone...
Leo: Just a big dial on the front that know what you want and knows who you want to call.
Rene: With a click wheel.
Leo: Am I wrong in thinking that the value for Google is that more people use Android, they don't care who's hardware they use at all.
Rene: They make more money off of iOS still, than Android. They really don't care what you're doing as long as you have Google services on your device.
Leo: That seems right. And I also think that if you could put a better screen and camera on the Moto X, if Lenovo could do that, the stuff that's in here, the awareness of what's going on...
Rene: Always listening, the processors, the active display-
Leo: It's brilliant and I think there's something here, but it didn't catch on.
Jason: It was the most innovative phone of 2013. If I had a list of the most innovative phones of 2013, that would be number one on the list.
Leo: That's saying a lot.
Jason: They did things that nobody else was doing and they actually innovated and did some new stuff and provided new value, in a year where there wasn't a lot of new things going on so I think it's a great device. It's a good start, it needs to improve in a number of ways but Lenovo just got a huge leap forward in what they were doing in phones.
Rene: And they also had a bunch of Google people down there helping them, so we'll see what it's like when Lenovo gets there.
Leo: Well I think Google was at great pains to keep a Chinese Wall, if you will, between Motorola and Google.
Rene: I don't know, as far as I know they had tons of Google people working closely with Motorola. That's a Google phone, that runs Google's version of Android, it has like the Google Now integration and it's better than Nexus, they've put a lot of effort into making that the best Google phone this year.
Jason: Yeah, I agree.
Leo: Will they still make it in America?
Jason: I think they will.
Leo: I think it’s a selling point, don't you?
Jason: Yes, it is and they do a lot in America. Remember that’s really a US market only phone too. I remember when it first came out, I knew a bunch of people in Europe that were really interested in that device. And they were bummed that they weren’t…
Leo: They’ve added Western Europe. They just started selling in Western Europe and in South America too. So it gets them in markets that Lenova is not in but they said a year ago “we want to be in the US market, we’re going to be in the US market”.
Rene: They were sniffing for a long time to get in there.
Leo: They are probably knocking on wood saying “Oh, we didn’t get Blackberry, oh wow - whew”!
Jason: Dodged a bullet! Dodged a bullet! You know they are a huge presence in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. Monstrous, huge.
Leo: Oh. Interesting.
Jason: All those people that used to work for IBM down in RTP are now working for Lenova. They bought all of that Think Pad division originally and that was all being run down there, most of it. And they own that and now they bought the Server Division from IBM as well and so they’ve got all those people down there at RTP. So they’ve got a big presence in the US.
Leo: Matthew Ingram has just joined us. Matthew, great to have you.
Matthew Ingram: Thanks. Sorry for being late.
Leo: We’re talking about the Nova; first story. You didn’t miss much. I’m about to wrap it up though if you have any thoughts. Do you think people will have a hard time buying a phone from a Chinese Manufacturer?
Mathew: No I don’t think so. I mean, I think it really depends on the quality of the phone. If they can keep it at a certain quality level I don’t think anybody would have a problem. At least not that I’m aware.
Leo: They’re not worried about Chinese spying? You know we got a warning from Congress not to buy Huawei or ZTE phones or devices because they Chinese Government owned them and the Military owned them and was spying on them.
Rene: Only the NSA is spying, Leo.
Mathew: We’ve got enough to worry about with the US spying!
Leo: It’s ironic but this NSA story actually helps Lenova! It actually helps Lenova, that is weird.
Jason: That is weird. But you are right.
Leo: We’re going to take a break and when we come back we’re going to have a lot more. Great to have you. Matthew Ingram is here from gigaom.com, Rene Ritchie here from , from CBS Interactive is Jason Hiner. We’re talking the weeks Tech News.
Leo: Our show today brought to you by . They didn’t buy a super bowl ad but they should have. If America only knew about they’d go nuts. turns you and your little, or big, operation and your desk into a professional fulfillment center. You print postage from your computer and your printer. You print right onto the envelope if you’re using envelopes. You can print on a label and you slap it on the box. The’ve got a USP scale so you know exactly what your postage is. The rates went up this week. customers don’t care. Automatic free upgrades so they always have the right postage. A lot of people have postage meters and have to make a trip to the post office and it costs them more money. This is such a good way to do mailings. If you do mailing in your business, invoices, mailers, flyers. Maybe you sell on Etsy, Amazon or Ebay or Paypal or something like that. It’s smart software that is aware of those sites. For instance if you sell something on Etsy that you want to mail out, it will automatically print the mailer or you put the package on the scale and it will print it. It takes the address of the buyer from the Etsy site and if it’s an international purchase it automatically fills out the international forms. It just makes life easy if you are selling online. Alright so here is the deal. I want you to try it. It’s free for 30 days. Here is how you get our special offer. If you go to the website, you’ll see an $80 value. But the better way to go is click that microphone and use the offer code twit and that will turn the $80 value into a $110 bonus offer. You get $55 in free postage that you can use in the first few months, you get that scale free and you just pay $5 shipping and handling on that, you get a $5 supply kit and four weeks of free. Use our offer code twit. It is really awesome.
Leo: So this is a first I think. The super bowl is being streamed this year free. You can go to . You three are on because you don’t care! Actually Jason is on because he forgot it was Super Bowl Sunday! You guys are from Canada.
Rene: Yeah, our football is over.
Leo: Yeah, you got the gray goose cup and it’s over!
Rene: The gray cup! The same as our all gray team.
Leo: There’s no goose involved! But I thought this was very interesting. They do have ads, they are not the same ads as on the TV. There are fewer of them. But if you go to super it starts streaming right away and it does not do as others have done and say, “Whose your cable company, whose your daddy?”. They don’t ask you who your Daddy is, they just do it.
Rene: It is US only, Leo?
Rene: Because I just want the ads, frankly.
Leo: But this is the thing. These are not the ads that you will see on the super bowl.
Mathew: Only available in the US.
Leo: Matthew Ingram can’t do it. You’re in Toronto, right Matthew?
Jason: Lots of the ads have been released already. A lot of the companies, very smartly, have released their ads.
Leo: Remember the days pre-YouTube there was a company that had all the Super Bowl ads on their website and they got shut down? Budweiser said, “How dare you show our ad on the internet?” What?
Jason: Can you imagine?
Mathew: And the ads got leaked and now the companies are all leaking them themselves!
Leo: So is there a site that we can go just to watch the ads if you’re not interested in sports ball? Probably YouTube right?
Jason: Yeah, YouTube exactly. Fast Company had this great story earlier today like the best super bowl ads ever by category. I twittered it. Let me find it. There are some classics in there. Ones I had totally forgotten about a long time ago.
Leo: You know what’s histerical? If you try to watch super bowl ads on YouTube they put an ad in front of the ad! It’s one of our sponsors, it’s Legal Zoom so I’m not going to complain but that’s a little weird. I have to watch a 30 second pre-roll ad so I can watch ads!
Rene: Only in America! Actually, it’s International.
Leo: It’s all over the world now, baby! The ads are a big part of the super bowl. In fact I was saying before we began, that the actual game play of any NFL football game is 11 minutes. So if you wanted to you could just edit out the ads, the huddles, the crap, and you’d have 11 minutes of action. And it takes about 3 hours to watch a game. Sometimes the super bowl takes even longer because they pause a lot for the ads. If you go to a Monday night football game, I was at one about a month ago, the game is stalled regularly. There is what they call an Ad timeout. And the poor players just have to stand there. it is just terrible. Just standing around. Hey, it’s money. Lots of money.
Rene: We play Rugby Leo.
Leo: in Rugby there is no standing around! But you could have a long scrum though. Sometimes they do that thing where they are all huddled and…
Rene: They should sponsor the scrums!
Leo: They should! A little ad in the crotch shot. How much is the Super Bowl ad? I wonder if there is some way I could search the internet for that? If only there was the latest info on Super Bowl ad costs. The record number of expected people to tune in… blah, blah, blah.
Jason: Four million dollars for a…
Leo: Four million for a 30 second ad? Wow! Square Space - you could’ve bought the Twit network for three years for that! You get one 30 second ad and I guarantee you we produce more results on one of our ads than the Super Bowl ad.
Leo: That’s right! But Square Space advertises on Twit. They should’ve spent some of that on… four million!
Rene: But now they’ll know, Leo. They tested it and now they’ll know!
Leo: So Go Daddy is back but I don’t think they will have the sexy Go Daddy anymore.
Leo: Well, I don’t know! Remember the disgusting ad last year was the geek kissing Bar Refaeli?
Jason: They’ve gotten so much backlash.
Jason: I know a bunch of people that have said they will never do business with them after that.
Leo: I pulled all my domains and put them over on Hover. Carmax; that’s a web play isn’t it? A lot of AT&T mobile ads.
Rene: Does Microsoft have ads?
Leo: Let’s see if we can find a Microsoft Super Bowl ad. It reminds the world of why its software matters. You know, it’s a bad sign if you have to remind the world. You don’t have to watch the Super Bowl, just watch the ads. Watch this ad; he’s communicating through his computer, he can’t talk. Team Gleason. This is a Microsoft ad and they haven’t mentioned Microsoft once. There it is: Windows 8. This is very cool. He’s talking to his kid. I’m about to cry. This is the YouTube version and it is a two and a half minute ad. That is pretty cool. “Until there is one, technology is my cure”. That is a great ad.
Jason: Great story telling! It reminds me a little bit of that Apple ad that they did at Christmas; the one that was two and a half minutes long. Kind of broke the mold!
Leo: The kid that was looking at his smart phone and not participating until you realize he was making a movie.
Jason: That one was more ground breaking, but that one I thought was really interesting things in that ad. Whenever you think of the voracity of it, it was pretty interesting. But the Microsoft ad was just good storytelling. Some of what people do in ads is more about brand than it is about product. It makes you feel good about being associated with that brand. They did that pretty well.
Leo: That’s the way to do it. So much better than to see them scroogling Google or slamming Apple. Just show what people do that have technology empowering them.
Rene: The “Technology is not enough” line is good.
Leo: Yeah. This is a whole series. They have surgeons operating with Connect. Might make me a little nervous! School kids using Skype. A 97 year old man creating art in Microsoft Paint. Remember the video of Sarah Churmancho who was born deaf but got Choclear Implants and heard for the first time? That was a viral video on YouTube; 20 million views - they do an ad with her as well.
Rene: Remember the ads when they introduced FaceTime and and Siri? They showed someone using sign language, someone being read to, someone being able to walk for the first time in a forest they’d never seen. It makes nerds cry! Powerful storytelling a company needs to do.
Leo: Those ads are not aimed at nerds. They are aimed at real people, right?
Mathew: Nerds are real people.
Rene: Mainstream technology. It’s that we believe methodology that we want to make people’s lives better not just make their technology faster or bigger and louder and noisier.
Leo: Will Apple do a Super Bowl ad in the 30th Anniversary of its 1984 ad?
Rene: It should just run you with your Mac Profolio on the cam!
Leo: It’s unknown, it hasn’t been leaked if they are doing it. But if you are watching the game in the show, join the chatroom and let me know. By the way at the same time as Google sold Motorola mobility they bought an artificial intelligence company. For half a billion dollars the idea being to use deep minds artificial intelligence to improve search, the knowledge graph, in specific. Anybody have any insight on this idea? Remember the great artificial intelligence scientist, Ray Kurzwell, joined Google’s AI efforts about a year ago. He’s working on the knowledge graph, building out something called quite scarily, The Google Brain. Might as well call it Sky Net and get it over with.
Jason: If Google’s not all in on Smart Phones which they never were, clearly. They are all in on AI and Robots right now. They are investing in lots of startups. If you look at the last six months you look at the strides that they have made in Robots and in AI. They are clearly betting big that this is the future of their business.
Rene: I’m trying to imagine you take the people behind Nest, take the people behind Boston Dynamics and the people behind Deep Mind and put them all together. Either tremendously exciting or terribly frightening!
Leo: It makes sense.
Rene: Robot dogs who sense your temperature and anticipate your movements. They might as well call it SkyNet right now!
Jason: Pretty interesting. Brain trust that they are putting together with all of this stuff
Leo: It kind of makes sense because if you are Google you look at other companies that have rested on their laurels and Google could say, “We’re totally a dominate search. Look at Bing and Yahoo - nobody is going to compete with us. So we could just rest in our laurels”. Or if you are smart, as anybody who runs a company should be, you say, “Ok what is going to disrupt this, what is the next thing, how do we get there now while we’ve got revenue from the old thing”?
Mathew: When you think about it, Google has really been doing that for quite some time. They’ve been talking about what happens after Search. So how can we show you things or give you things or anticipate things. That’s where Google is now. To give you things before you actually search. To make it so you don’t have to search.
Leo: Is it your opinion that Nest was more about the team than the hardware?
Mathew: Definitely. For me, it is interesting hardware. I’m less interested in the smoke detectors. To me it’s the design. Those products are just a glimpse of what you could do if you rethought home automation and the internet of things. In order to make that stuff approachable, make it easier to use and make people want to have it, you’re going to have to design it the way that Nest was designed. It’s got to be appealing. It’s got to be super easy to use and sexy and Google just isn’t that good at that.
Rene: The best thing about Google and Apple to me and what makes them is that it’s very rare that a big company does not mistake their product for their business. Too many companies think we have a big product we have to hold on it and then they drive it right into the ground. But Google will kill anything that gets in their way. They never wanted to be the Search engine, they want to be the Star Trek computer, they want to be an easily accessible repository for all the world’s knowledge. And Google Search was an easy way to get there initially. But in order to get bigger and that’s why they started scanning books and that’s why they got into video. They want to be able to give you everything at a moment’s notice, and of course harvest the data that goes along with that so that they can afford to give you even more stuff. And when you look at Nest, for example, Tony Fadel is not just making nice looking smoke detectors. He’s a guy who learned how to dent universes from Steve Jobs and there are very few product people like that left in technology. And if you can get one of those on your payroll and make the end point as amazing as the central repository and that is what Google gets out of all their recent deals.
Jason: Nest is a beautifully executed and there is a bit of artificial intelligence in Nest even. A very small bit in this internet of things. But Nest follows your patterns, learns your patterns, also they know and understand spikes and they automatically will do things for you that save you money. There’s no movement, it’s got that sensor that senses movement and if there is no movement then it drops the temperature, it finds your patterns. Honestly, when I got one I was expecting, “Okay I’m going to have to put some time into this thing and figure it out” because you can set up the patterns yourself. Like at 9:00 move the temperature down or that kind of thing I never had to do it. It figured it out with in a week and I’ve never had to set anything. So it basically has a small amount of its own AI and it’s just a beautifully executed product. So like Rene is saying when you when you have the opportunity to work with or bring in a team that is doing these really smart things with this very next generation, in the internet of thing you do it. The fact that Google seemed to buy it when there didn’t seem to be much of a bidding war for it was probably the biggest surprise. Maybe Google just went to Defcon 5 and said we’re going to spend whatever we have to, to get it but I’m surprised others didn’t try to get them. Not just Apple either, GE, IBM, lots of other people, Cisco, that are really interested in this kind of space. That Google got them is a little bit of a surprise to me and it’s clearly a big win for Google to get those guys.
Leo: Now here’s an interesting story that’s related. In 2009 Carol Barts, then CEO of Yahoo said we’re not going to do search any more, we’re going to do a 10 year deal with Microsoft – the Microsoft – Yahoo search alliance and Bing will be Yahoo search. They got out of the search business but according to Cara Swisher writing and re-code this week there are 2 secret projects Marissa Mayer started at Yahoo to bring back search. One is called Fast Break and one is called Curveball. They’re committed to Microsoft until 2019 but does anybody know anything about what’s going on behind closed doors? Sources according to Cara said Mayer put a priority on the projects; a 3-4 month time frame, which could eventually result in a full search engine possibly more oriented to mobile than desktop.
Rene: She wants to own her own technology. Any big company wants to own their core technology – at least a serious big company. She doesn’t want be dependent on – it’s incredibly Marissa Mayer move to not want to be dependent on Microsoft for her core business.
Jason: I’d be shocked if they do not make their own and long before 2019. If they do not break off from Bing and do their own thing in search I would be shocked. I think that Yahoo is destined to be Google’s biggest competitor in search. I think that’s why they brought in Marissa Mayer, I think that’s why she’s been doing the aggressive things she’s been doing for a while. They are just trying to reinvent their product from the ground up and search has got to be at the center of it. It’s where the big money is and she knows how to do it.
Mathew: I totally agree. It’s smart; they more or less have to do it. Marissa has deep background in that but you know Yahoo has been such a train wreck for so many years. Do they have anyone good in search who stuck around? Or are they going to have to go out and buy things and hire people because they were nowhere. They gave up. If you were interested in search you just quit and left. You can’t just reinvent that stuff overnight.
Jason: I agree, It’s not going to happen overnight but I’m sure that somebody should go through the job listings and probably Cara and others have. They are hiring people in search.
Rene: There are a lot of board engineers sitting around big companies like Google and Facebook who got hired because they wanted all the talent that have very little to do and these people don’t like sitting around; so if you can identify them and make them an offer that lets them think they’ll be able to create a great new product you’ll probably have an in with them.
Mathew: You’ve got to admit if you like underdogs…
Leo: Right and having Marissa Mayers gives them some credibility. You might want to say oh I want to work for Marissa, she is doing something there at Yahoo. She’s bringing the pride back to the purple.
Jason: They are doing some good things. I’ve been impressed with some of the stuff they’re doing. They’ve created momentum, they are product focused.
Leo: I think there is a clue in here too – it says Mobile. It’s really clear that if you’re going to succeed going forward it’s going to be on mobile. People are just not using desktops. The future is in smart phones, in tablets and it would be one way that perhaps you could scoop Google although with Google Now and the things Google is doing with Android I don’t know.
Rene: - media search on mobile, cause mobile people go to - on the desktop people go to the browser and it’s going to be very hard to teach them the habit of not going to Google.com but on mobile people go to apps. Apple does it with Siri and Google tries to stop people from doing it with Google now but on a phone it’s open season.
Leo: Yahoo’s done a couple of really good apps, they’ve just done Yahoo weather and the new Yahoo news app is very good.
Jason: That’s what I was thinking of a minute ago when we were talking. Those 2 were the first that came to my mind. They do great stuff with that, it’s almost like micro search. It’s like of like the way social. Social is a big thing, you go to Facebook and all your stuff is there and now it’s breaking out actually. You do Instagram for photos, you do different smaller apps in different way. It’s not the mammoth. Search can go this way I think Rene is what you’re getting at. You can break this into different pieces and you could be doing it in smaller slices where it makes sense. Things like searching for books, searching for a service, like you might do with Angie’s list. That’s who Yahoo should buy next.
Mathew: When you think about it, it’s still a huge, huge – I mean even if that is true. Look at what Google has when it comes to Google Now. Look at the massive amount of data and signals and information, deep information that they have about me and my usage of the web or my interest or any of that stuff. My email, all those things – Yahoo has nothing.
Leo: I still don’t have the Super bowl scores on my Google Now.
Jason: They still have lots of people using Yahoo Mail, they still have lots of people using Home Page. They don’t have what Google has, Google is clearly way ahead. They don’t have much on me either, but they do have lots of people who aren’t techies that are into Yahoo or into Pop Culture – things like that. I guess that’s why people go to Yahoo.com. Yahoo has more traffic than Google if you count all their stuff together. They passed Google in 2013. So they do have people, they do have data. They don’t have what Google has and certainly if they’re going back into search it’s not going to be going head to head with where Google is strong now. It’s going to be them figuring out what is next and probably it is more mobile, it is more internet of things. Easy targets, wearable’s, maybe, if they can power search in that. Whatever it is they’re going to go for what’s next and not where Google is strong today. That would be the obvious answer.
Leo: We’re going to take a break. When we come back Facebook’s quarterly results – bring it back to life. I might have been premature on declaring their death. First a word from FreshBooks: Are you still only using Word or Excel to create your invoices? Small businesses, free lancers, it’s tough. I’ve got to say I hated doing invoicing. It was the worst part of my month, in fact many times I just forgot and didn’t get around to it and then I’d bill people 6 months later and they’d be really mad at me so sometimes I wouldn’t even get paid. That’s when Amber McArthur told me about FreshBooks. This was in 2004. I’ve been using it ever since. I don’t need it any more, I have a department that does this but if you don’t have a department that sends out the bills, if you’re doing it in Word or Excel, if you have a shoe box of receipts to keep track of your expenses you’ve got to get FreshBooks. Go to Freshbooks.com, it’s a simple cloud accounting solution that is helping thousands of new entrepreneurs and small business owners like you save time, billing, get paid faster. It’s beautiful, I love using it. You can easily create invoices online, capture and track expenses on the go, get real time business reports with a few simple clicks. You get paid faster, clients love it, you’re going to love it. You can try it free for 30 days. Sign up and get freshbooks.com. By the way there’s a part of it where they say how did you hear about us; mention This week in Tech and you can do it out of self-interest because they’re giving a birthday cake every single day to somebody who signs up for a new account and heard about it on this show. You want a birthday cake? It doesn’t even have to be your birthday. Every day can be your birthday. Try it free for 30 days. Getfreshbooks.com. We love these guys and are really glad to get them back on This Week in Tech. Getfreshbooks.com. Facebook: record quarterly results. Facebook turned 10 this week, Mark Zuckerberg turned 30, revenue of 2.59 billion dollars in the quarter, up 63% but most important in these numbers: Mobile. They turned it around and this was always to me the big question mark about Facebook; can they make mobile pay? Well they have. It’s pretty clear they’re going great guns, they just announced, it’s coming out tomorrow, Paper for iOs which they say is a news app. It’s the next Facebook. Don’t you think? I think Facebook has figured out mobile, now Paper does not have any adds.
Mathew: It’s interesting, I looked at it because I wrote about it but it’s interesting because we were just talking about sort of fragmentation that mobile can bring and how – this is exactly what Mark Zuckerberg is talking about. He talked about it on the earnings call and Paper is the perfect example. They’re going to make a whole bunch of these bets where they take a specific type of activity or a used case and turn it into a separate app. Instagram is a good example, instant messenger is too. Whether it’s going to work I don’t know to be honest. Whether there are going to be enough people who want to use Paper I don’t know but it’s a smart strategy I think particularly for mobile.
Leo: Of course Facebook Home was a resounding flop, Facebook went all in on this modified launcher for Android –
Rene: Isn’t it amazing Leo that they’re willing to let Mike Madison and his team mess with their core experience. I can’t see Apple or even like the Google Front Page letting – no matter how good the designer is, just saying you want to try something new? You want chat heads? Go ahead. Make flip book interface for Facebook, go ahead. We’re willing to try new things.
Leo: Again this is what I was talking about. You have to be willing to cannibalize your business if you’re going to continue forward.
Mathew: They do that really well, and you know we make fun of them because poke flops or they try some new thing that’s just terrible but they just keep trying and trying. You cannot stop them and some of that stuff works.
Leo: So you’ve been playing with it Mathew, in your headline you said Facebook heard you liked newspapers so it decided to make a newspaper app out of your Facebook. But it does strike me that if this succeeds is this not going to be your Facebook feed plus?
Mathew: To be honest I don’t think that is what they are trying to do.
Leo: They’re trying to put real news sources in with your feed?
Mathew: They’re trying to give you a more curated version of your feed and other people’s feeds.
Leo: But they’ve been doing that all along. I mean my news feed is completely curated at this point.
Mathew: Yes and this is a sort of an extension of that diverted into a specific app and I think it’s sort of a bead testing. They’ll see if people like this better or if they like that better and how does being on mobile change the way you interact with your feed. I think that the design of it is really interesting because it doesn’t look like Facebook.
Leo: It’s gorgeous.
Mathew: There’s none of the brand name, none of the sort of colors, there is none of the look so they’re clearly trying to carve a separate thing but still use all the assets they have with in the Facebook feed and to me that’s smart. They’ve probably seen engagement decrees through the news feed so they’ve got to figure out a way to fix that.
Jason: What Facebook has done in mobile over the past year is kind of what I consider to be one of the best big company pivots that I’ve seen in the digital age since about 2005-2006. Or maybe we call it the social mobile age. It’s tough, Facebook got really big, really fast and they actually were in some trouble as we’ve all talked about in the past couple of years. They really did turn the corner the last year and it’s almost a mobile 1st, Facebook thing now. It’s working and I have relatives that are on Facebook now and they use it solely on their phone. They never go to the site, they only use it there. They don’t have all these other apps yet, these are kind of for earlier folks like us and younger folks who are on their phones all the time. But the fact that Facebook is serving both audiences and doing it pretty well and have pivoted is pretty big.
Mathew: It is pretty amazing when you think about it. Not that long ago their mobile revenues were 0.
Rene: They saw that mobile was going to be the next big thing, they messed around with and decided they didn’t want to make a phone, made Facebook Home, they hired a slew of iOs and Android engineers. Mike Madison made delicious library, he made the photo and camera apps on the original iPhone and iPad. They got Loren Brichter in, they had a very specific mentality. They didn’t want to drop a frame on Facebook. Paper – they built this like it was debut product on a mobile device.
Leo: It doesn’t say Facebook anywhere on it.
Rene: They’re recognizing that there are multiple ways to Facebook.
Leo: It’s much better. You know what? Facebook is a negative. They’re fooling you. So they did this kind of in an Apple-y way, they took this thing called Creative Labs, they isolated them right? They said you can do anything you want to, something completely different, although I suspect because Mark and Chris Cox have both said they wanted to do a news focused thing, they’ve been saying that for a little while.
Mathew: This has been a vision of Chris Coxes for some time.
Rene: Their friends are all still way better than mine Leo, except for you guys.
Leo: This is the problem with something like this, you look at it and you go “boy that’s gorgeous” and then you realize that’s not my feed. But that’s kind of the point, it could be 1 of the other things they said, you mentioned this Mathew in your article that was a little shocking is that we can use any content we want, we can use any status update, any Facebook feed we want.
Mathew: Yes it’s all public.
Leo: Everything is now public? The other thing that is built into this is that you can share from it. I gathered – I haven’t used it but you tell me Mathew, you’re kind of encouraged to share images, you can do fonts and type in… they’re trying to encourage you to make beautiful content.
Mathew: Which is an interesting thing again; It’s a little like what if Facebook didn’t exist already? What would you do? What would your output look like? How would it work?
Leo: It’s funny because at 10 years old it looks very dated. Even Flipboard now is responding, Flipboard is a little scared. I think Mike Mccue said Oh boy and Flipboard is changing how it works a little bit. It’s a fine balance, people don’t go to Facebook to read nothing and post there do they? They want to see what their high school classmates are up to or their kid and grandkids.
Mathew: I think the risk for me at least is not just that Flipboard already has 100 million users and it’s a pretty well designed app, they’ve got a big head start on the content reading, recommendation side. For me, what has stopped me from using Facebook so much is the utility of the new feed has gone down. And so is this going to help with that? I don’t know.
Leo: It could go either direction. Rene you’ve talked a lot about the technology built into iOs 7 and the new A7 hardware including this tilt capability, this paralyzed capability which you see on the desktop of iOs 7. Facebook’s using this “tilt to explore vivid“ – let’s see if I can refresh this page so you can see it again. Tilt to explore full screen vivid images. This is something that is iOs specific I would guess. They say they’re going to do an Android version. But boy I wonder if you can do this on Android?
Rene: It’s interesting, A lot of these people did come from Apple and a lot of them use iPhones as their devices and they enjoy developing for the iPhone. There was a story a while ago about them being forced to use Android devices when they were working on Facebook Home and they did Android first last time, they’re doing iPhone first this time so it goes back and forth. That was the whole point of iOs 7 was to make stuff come to life. They had static screens and things that didn’t really interact or respond with the world around us and now when you start tying things in to not necessarily M7 but accelerometers and gyroscopes and things like that, it makes it feel like the phone is part of you. It’s not a book or something static that you’re holding in your hand and it’s very powerful as a interface mechanism.
Leo: I guess there is Facebook branding because you have the thumb. Everybody knows that’s Facebook right? I’m thinking I should get my iPhone out of the cabinet and fire it up for us. Because I don’t see an Android version coming too fast.
Rene: They’ll have to pick what devices they pick and what capabilities those devices have and how easy it is to do it on how many devices.
Jason: I look for it on S4 and maybe S5 devices before long.
Leo: By the way you can customize your Paper with real sources like the Huffington Post or the New York Times. Is Giga home part of the player?
Mathew: Yes we’re a partner.
Leo: Interesting, Should have made a deal. How was it we were saying last week Facebook is over, it’s dead. That probably wasn’t strategically….and you know what? I was wrong but I didn’t see that they were going to - who knew that their quarterly results would be so mobile forward, who knew that they had Paper in there. They surprised me and I’m actually very impressed although remember how excited we were about Facebook Home and how far it went?
Jason: I’m much more excited about this than I was about Facebook Home. I want to down load this thing as soon as it’s available tomorrow.
Leo: This is an app so it’s not as intrusive. So Mathew are you using it currently?
Mathew: I’ve not gotten it yet. I have only seen it sort of in action.
Leo: Rene, did iMore do a deal?
Rene: No and it’s also not going to be available in Canada at launch so I’m doubly -
Leo: Doubly screwed is what he's trying to say, but he's too nice because he's Canadian; he's very polite. Wow. This is what you need to do when a company is 10 years old. That's an eternity in the internet and you need to do stuff like this.
Jason: There were already business cases about this.
Leo: Yeah, I agree.
Mathew: When this idea first came up, my first instinct was: this is going to fail.
Leo: We've seen this before.
Mathew: I'm not even convinced not that it's not going to fail. But another part of me was thinking, you know it's great that they are doing that. It's great they can devote the resources; they can set up something like Facebook labs. They're not that many companies that can do that or are willing to do that. They might start little kind of skunk works to give people time to do something, but they never take it seriously. Facebook seems to be willing to bet large parts of the company on these new things and I find that refreshing.
Leo: Love that.
Jason: I think Facebook and Google are actually both really good at this. They take R&D and they roll things out and they let people try them and they let people, they hold themselves up, let people get... hold them up to ridicule too right. You think of Facebook Home, you think of Google wave, these things were ideas. You think about, what was that little round thing that Google sphere they handed out a couple of years ago?
Leo: The cube.
Jason: Like the really dumb stuff that they put out there, but they are taking risks and they put their research projects out there and then they let people hear see them, poke holes in them and then they go out and do something different if it's not good and the market doesn't accept it. Whereas, if you look at the old way of doing research, honestly the way Microsoft and Apple more do it. I mean, Apple is different because they take a completely different approach to it. But even Microsoft, spends a ton of research and most of it never comes to light or maybe it might influence a product development cycle a little bit. But they don't do sort of crazy things where Facebook and Google, I mean, these guys are still throwing the ball deep to use a football metaphor for today.
Rene: They did Ping Jason.
Jason: Yeah you're right.
Leo: Oh God! That was painful. There was just an ad, it was exactly an Apple ad, it was a U2 ad on the Super Bowl. U2 is giving away a song on iTunes called 'Invisible', and for everybody who downloads 'Invisible', Bank of America will donate to Product Red a $1 up to a total of $8 million. That and that's a very interesting thing to do. I don't know what it means for U2 or Bank of America or Apple, but in a way that's an iTunes ad. I don't know who benefits from this more or if anybody benefits from it really.
Rene: The charity.
Leo: The charity benefits.
Leo: Yeah. U2’s song invisible is free. We will talk about Apple. We will also talk about Microsoft. There's lots of news. We’ve got a great panel to talk about it. People who don't like football apparently. Jason Hiner, whose regretting his calendar error right now from CBS Interactive and the Tech Republic, always good to have you Jason. Rene Ritchie a regular on MacBreak Weekly, doing double duty this week, thank you. You can catch him on iMore.com. We always love having you on Rene and of course, beloved Mathew Ingram too from GigaOm. You got three guys here with their fingers on the pulse of technologies. Always nice to have some smart people on the show. Our show today brought to you by Legal Zoom. Not a law firm but Legal Zoom helps you do the things you need to do to get your business started, to protect your family, to protect your trademark. When I first started TWIT, I never done a business before. I asked my friend Kevin Rose, I said, 'Kevin, you've started a few companies, what do you suggest, where do I start?'. He said, "LLC, but don't get a lawyer, go to Legal Zoom. Do it yourself." for $99 plus state filing fees. It was easy, it was so simple, in fact, we are still using the operating agreement I generated back in 2005. You can do a chapter S or chapter C corporation as well. Over a million entrepreneurs have started their business at legalzoom.com. You know what's great? Over a 90% of them would recommend Legal Zoom to family and friends. People love Legal Zoom because look you got to do the trademark registrations. I registered TWIT, the name, which didn't stop Twitter. That's another story entirely. TWIT the name, TWIT the logo and that's a $169, that's a great deal. You can do as well $69, a living trust. If you have a power of health attorney, if you don't have one, you really ought to make one right now. It's under, yeah right there. Power of attorney for health, there's a trust. I'll tell you. Legal Zoom is incredible. Healthcare power of attorney. One more down, one more down Chad. There you go. That's some everybody should have. legalzoom.com. As a way of thanking you for watching TWIT, and for using Legal Zoom, we are going to give you $10 bucks off. Just go to legalzoom.cm and use our discount code TWIT. Legal Zoom is not a law firm. One of the things they do have though, is they have attorneys. They pre-negotiated, flat rate, very low fees with third party attorneys in their Legal Zoom, legal plan system. In almost every state, you can read the attorney's profile, before you engage them. You can also read unedited reviews so you know you're getting somebody who can help you. They can answer questions; it's very handy to have that. And it's nothing, it costs nothing. Well zero nothing, it's very affordable. legalzoom.com. Start your business right. Protect your family. Do all those things you've been putting off. legalzoom.com, use the offer code TWIT.
So, Apple apparently met with the Food and Drug Administration. This is something that's required if you are going to do an application that makes medical recommendations. Nick Bilton and Brian X Chen on the New York Times Bits blog caught this one. It was on the public calendar from December 9 through 13 on the FDA. Jeff Williams, Bud Tribble, Cathy Novelli, Michael O’Reilly, and Tim Powderly from Apple met with the FDA commissioner of food and drugs to discuss mobile medical applications. This to me more than a lot of the rumor leaks, gives me reason to believe they might be doing a watch right Rene?
Rene: They are all in. So, it's not just a watch, they are all in on health and the problem with health is, if you have for example a blood sugar sensor or a hydration sensor or a heart monitor, that in your phone has very limited utility, but if you start to put sensors outside the phone, for example, on a wrist band or a watch, then you can start taking that data and bringing it back to the phone and that makes the service and credit to Mark Herman, because he had an amazingly good scoop on this too. That makes this service that they can provide so much better than just a phone technology by itself.
Leo: Yes. And I think, they've learned from the 23 in me, you don't bypass the Food and Drug Administration. If you want to do something of value.
Mathew: Bad idea.
Leo: Bad idea. They could shut you down. This was discovered by an attorney Mark McAndrew who is with Taft Stettinius and Hollister. He said in a phone interview with the Times, "Given the prominence of the people in the meeting from both the government and Apple side, these were not your run-of-the-mill conversations." He says, “They are either trying to get the lay of the land for regulatory pathways with medical devices and apps and this was an initial meeting, or Apple has been trying to push something through the F.D.A. for a while and they've had hang-ups.”
Jason: If you go back, I think it was 2011 where they announced their text book and education initiative, there's a few things Apple as a company and individuals in Apple care deeply deeply about; one of those is education and the other one is heath. Obviously, text book is much easier to get to the market. Health has been a couple of years coming and this year looks like the year they go really big into offering health. I don't know if people would be happier if an iPhone threw cheeseburgers at them or if they'll actually enjoy...
Leo: I'll rather have the cheeseburgers, the cronuts, the taste, the Krispy Kremes. Give me a cigarette once in a while. You know what, baby boomers are getting up there and we've got some money to spend and that makes a lot of sense.
Mathew: And when you think about it, there's a lot of things that are some relatively low hanging food. I know Om Malik who started GigaOm is diabetic for example, has to take his blood sugar dozens of times a day, so it's incredible time consuming and painful and irritating. If you could have a wrist band or even a contact lens, something that would do that type of stuff automatically, it would be a huge huge time saver and sort of a pain saver. I mean it would be a massive. Google's doing that right? They've got a contact lens that looks in the sugar in your tears for diabetics and diagnoses their sugar levels from that. The only thing, Om actually wrote about that, because he was advised by his doctor that he shouldn't wear contact lenses because of his diabetes.
Leo: See, this is why you want to check with the FDA before you invent these things.
Mathew: And users.
Leo: And people who have diabetes so that they know. That's interesting.
Jason: I mean the thing that I think would be really, is going to be really interesting here is Apple...that was my hope when the iWatch thing started leaking out; was that they were doing something like this with health. Because if you think about the way that they created the iPod ecosystem and later the iPhone. The iPod ecosystem eventually made it possible and paved the way for the iPhone in a lot of ways that are forgotten now. In terms of like docks and accessories and all of these things that...all of these third party accessory makers that had plugged into the ecosystem. Because it had scale and because Apple had some of that product mojo behind it. If you take that and you apply that...if they can do that same thing with heath to where every time you go to the gym, you're iPhone or by extension if you have the iWatch, or whatever, bluetooths or whatever the technology makes it happen, you can scan that and it can pull in that information for whatever the machines you worked on. You could do the same thing with all these health sensors. That it can pull in that information and all of that ecosystem and obviously Apple is best positioned to do that. Microsoft and Google have tried this to a lesser extent. They tried to do it more with a software. But if you can do that kind of thing, and Apple has all of these devices in these hundreds of millions devices already in circulation, it's going to be easier for somebody like Apple to do it and they have experience doing this kind of ecosystem play that of a sudden could become a really really interesting thing to be able to use your Apple device. I don't think it's going to be exclusive to the watch honestly. I think the watch just might be a way that it could potentially make it easier without happen to pull your phone out of your pocket or make sure that's it's connected and that kind of a thing.
Leo: Also the watch could be a monitor right, because it's on your wrist.
Rene: If you look at how Apple does things, they have hero products, flag ship products like the iPhone and the iPad and they also have things like the Apple TV which are ecosystem enhancers. You can plug your iPhone or iPad into a television and watch stuff. But it's so much easier and it makes the product so much better if you get an Apple TV and the iWatch sounds similar to that where you can get an iPhone absolutely, and do this kind of stuff, but it'll be so much more convenient if you have that on your wrist reporting directly. And it always sounds like a hyperbole when Tim Cooks says, 'We want to make great products that improve people's lives.' But when you break that down, it basically means Apple wants to make better products that make them more money that enhance the value of their ecosystem. And an iWatch fits all three of those criteria for their entire product line.
Leo: It's interesting because you're first thought about a watch, is it would be a fashion product, it would be kind of an accessory, it would be expensive, it wouldn't change anybody's life, but you make it a health and fitness monitor, it does.
Rene: Airplay, iOS, I mean, there are so many technology that they are doing that look unrelated right now, but they are de-coupling iOS from the device and they are letting iOS communicate back and forwards with other technologies and that's when their play whether it's iOS in the home or iOS on your wrist, iOS in your car, starts making so much sense, two years out, three years out.
Leo: By the way, first GoDaddy ad, and talk about a shift from last year. Last year of course, it was nerd kissing Bar Rafaeli with disgusting smacking sounds. This year was a slightly overweight woman who makes puppets talking about her GoDaddy site. I think we see the new direction for GoDaddy. It ain't sexy baby.
Rene: It's new but not better.
Leo: Not putting her down. We love puppet makers. Apple is taking that Arizona sapphire plant live this month, according to Mark Gurman in 9to5Mac. Aggressively pushing. Now Sapphire is used for watch faces, but it could be alternative to gorilla glass is that right?
Jason: Oh Yeah. It's too expensive right now, but eventually yeah.
Leo: But, if they are saying make something now, it's got be something this year.
Rene: It's already used on the touch ID's sensors. It's already used on the camera sensor. Putting it on small display that people might wear that, that gets hit against things more often than a phone in your pocket makes sense.
Mathew: Makes sense.
Leo: This doesn't mean, this isn't definite evidence that they are going to do a watch.
Rene: They haven't used liquid metal yet Leo. So, you never know.
Leo: We are waiting for liquid metal.
Jason: Now, there was, I'm trying to remember where this report was, that there was somebody that bought, they bought a company. The company that's doing some of this, that had figured out a way to stream line this process, save you time, save you money, and creating the sapphire.
Leo: That's this.
Jason: That's this one right? Okay good.
Leo: Project Cascade.
Rene: That was their eye on Canon or something that they got.
Jason: If you guys remember that phone, remember a Boon was going to do that phone, their big thing; they were going to use sapphire crystal for the whole face of the phone. So, its not like it's out of bounds, that you can't do it yet, or it's completely prohibitive. But it is expensive, but if these guys have made a break through, then it's possible it could go on a phone. I think, it's probably more realistic that that's another year or so away. But for a watch phase where you don't have to use as much of this stuff, it makes sense. I think glass, we are going to look back in a few years and we are going to laugh at all these devices that use dot have glass and that we used to drop and break all the time. That's going to be a thing of the past pretty soon. I think within 2-3 maybe 3-5 years at the most. Because, they are a number of competitors that are going to go after this one. When I was in Israel last year, looking at some technologies there, there was a professor and some students that had developed a polymer that is virtually indestructible. They use it in Israel for windows for missile proof. If a missile hits that window, it doesn't not break it. And they are saying that they can take that and use that, they could potentially use it on smart phones on touch screens, they are trying to commercialize it. So, there's a number of ways that they are going after that. So, I think it's only a matter of time before gorilla glass is, their gig is up there.
Leo: As long as we are talking Apple technologies, we can mention iBeacon and the Super Bowl, here is the tie-in. iBeacons all over New York city, Times Square and Met Life stadium, playing ads on your iPhone, things like 'looking to buy some Super Bowl merchandise?, straight ahead Macy's 4th floor.' 'Get your tickets right here.' According to this article in New York Times, "For now, the alerts are mostly limited to practical news like the nearest entry gate or promoting in-store sales. But already the technology has privacy advocates and legal experts brimming with concern." When do they not brim with concern. They are either frothing or brimming. You never see a privacy advocate just sitting quietly on his hands. So, iBeacons will be in several hundred stores in public areas in the next coming months, including two dozen major league baseball stadiums.
Rene: It's like a hammer-ly. You can take a hammer and knock on a nail or you can hit somebody on the head with it. iBeacon is the same thing. It will let blind people use national parks; fantastic. It will bother me with ads in a store; terrible. And it's up to us to tell people what we will tolerate and won't tolerate with this technology.
Leo: Here's a graphic from the National Football League, you are on a Verizon phone, a pop up message says, 'Get your picture taken with the Lombardi trophy located between the 43rd and 44th streets on Broadway.' So, if you are walking through the fan zone, you could do that. We were at the fan zone last year at New Orleans at the Super Bowl, I'm so glad they did not have this. That would have been extraordinarily annoying. Anyway, I guess this is in some ways a national debut of iBeacon.
Rene: You just go to privacy settings and turn it right off, you will never be bothered.
Leo: Did you know that ABC is going to do a TV show called 'Selfie'.
Mathew: Sounds great, doesn't it?
Jason: Surprised it took them that long.
Leo: It's a comedy inspired by "My Fair Lady tells the story of a self-obsessed 20-something woman", well there you go, "who is more concerned with ‘likes’ than being liked. After suffering a very public and humiliating breakup, she becomes the subject of a viral video and suddenly has more social media followers than she ever imagined, but for all the wrong reasons. She enlists the help of a marketing expert at her company to help repair her tarnished image."
Rene: Can you imagine the pitch for this. It's going to be a social media TV show!
Leo: Social media! Selfies! What is the word of the year 2013? It's 'Selfie'. Now, you have a pilot named 'Selfie'!
Rene: It's Sex and the City with Selfies. Selfie in the city, sells itself.
Leo: So far the good news is, it's just a pilot. Doesn't mean it's going to go anywhere. We're going to take a break. I want to talk about the situation about Microsoft. Who is the next CEO? Apparently the New York Times business week and others have decided. Because, they just couldn't wait for the board to figure this thing out. But first a word from our friends at Audible. The best way to listen to a book: audible.com. Have you tried audible.com? If you haven’t, I want to get you two books, two titles, absolutely free. There’s a great feeling when you’re an audible subscriber, as I am, and you see two credits available at the top of the screen. You think, “Oh yes! I get two books!” Well I’m going to give you those two credits right now! Lots of wonderful, wonderful literature, Fiction, Non Fiction, Classics, History, Science fiction. They’ve got a fabulous Science Fiction category. I’ve been listening to a lot of business books, technology books, like Nick Belton’s, Hatching Twitter. I just finished the Amazon book by Brad Stone, The Everything Store. Leander Connie’s new book about Johnny Ive, is on Audible.com. But what I like to do is do the nonfiction, fiction dance. So one nonfiction, one fiction. Karl Hiaasen, Dance of the Reptiles. I love Carl Hiaasen. Dance of the Reptile, I’m going to be listening to that, I’m sure. Monuments Men, you ready to go to the move? Well, read the book first, it’s the true story, that the movies based on. So here’s the deal, if you go to audible.com/twit2, you can sign up for the platinum plan. That’s two books a month, but you can listen… or you can download those two books for free because your first month is free. You’ll also get the daily, oh this is new! A Hundred Years of solitude, oh and John Lee narrates it. He’s one of the better narrators. They have great people reading these books. So you get the Daily Digest, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, plus your two books. Ground hog day is here, books you won’t mind rereading. Oh yeah, Daniel Suarez’, Daemon. That’s what I love about Audible. I’ve been an Audible member since 2000. I have 500 books in my library, I can listen to them again. If you have the audible app in your iPhone or your android device, on your windows phone. You just go through your library and say, “Oh I want to listen to that again!” And you can. This is very exciting to me. It’s only a $1.95 so don’t use your credit on this. I don’t know if you know this, but The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, before it was a book, before it was a movie, it was a BBC radio play. They are now, for the first time I can remember, offering the original Douglas Adam, BBC radio plays. First broadcast in 1978 on Radio 4. This is very exciting to me, that this is available. They’re making a deal out of it, it’s a daily deal. So here’s what you do, you get your two books. And for a buck ninety five you get this too. This should be in everybody’s collection. The greatest radio play of all time! The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. If you’ve read the book, if you’ve seen the movie, that’s not it. This is it. The original. Just love it. And they have all of them. They have it all! Wow! We love them. Audible.com Go to Audible.com/twit2. You get your two books free, your credits, your Daily Digest, New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. Great deal for people who love listening to Audio. Which I think you do, or you wouldn’t be listening to this show. Love it! Offer good in the US and Canada. So you know what? If you’re outside the US or Canada, Audible has book stores all over the world, just check your local Audible site. You can’t use this offer but just join it. You’ll love it. Audible.com/twit2. So apparently it’s Satya Nadella. You have the story on Giga Ohm, the New York times reported, I think it was business week…Who first leaked this?
Jason: Bloomberg Week, I think had it first.
Leo: Bloomberg Business Week.
Jason: I just wanted to hear you say that.
Leo: Is everybody just playing off the Bloomberg story, or is this independently confirmed now, from other sources? No idea!
Jason: I think it’s mostly Bloomberg, but this is not a stretch though. They went after some other candidates. Possibly got turned down and Nadella was the guy sort of waiting in the wings, and they need to move on this I think. This is dragging on longer than they wanted, and it’s time for them to move on it. And Nadella’s not a bad choice.
Leo: A boring Choice! He’s their enterprise, right? And Cloud. It’s all the stuff Microsoft cares about
Leo: But it’s not going to make the stock market set up and take notice. It’s not going to get users excited.
Rene: It’s not consumer facing stuff.
Leo: No it isn’t.
Jason: The future of Microsoft is not… I strongly believe this, and I know I’ve set it many times on this show and other places but, the future of Microsoft is not consumer facing products, I don’t think.
Rene: I would agree.
Jason: The future of Microsoft is cloud and enterprise. They’re doing well there, they have user trust there. They don’t have user trust, they don’t have good brands in, you know, consumer business. Other than Xbox and most people don’t think of Xboxes as Microsoft. They don’t connect the two that often, for better or worse.
Mathew: And this guy seems like what the market would want. If that is true, and I agree it is. He seems like a good guy
Leo: One of the things that, according to Bloomberg. He’s, they’re in negotiations, right? By the way, the Times is not quoting Bloomberg BusinessWeek. They’re quoting their own sources. So you get Business Week and the New York Times together on something, I’ve got to think this is pretty close. Now according to times, the selection has not been completed but could be announced as early as next week. Bloomberg said that the board was meeting this weekend, but not during the Super bowl because, you know, they’re in Seattle,
Jason: It’s a Seattle thing.
Leo: It’s a Seattle thing. But anytime, so they either, have met already and voted on this, or they’re going to get together after the game. If Seattle wins, Nadellas in. If Denver wins, it’s…
Jason: Sundar Pichai.
Leo: Sundar Pichai. Okay, that was a BS rumor, that rumor was crazy.
Rene: The interesting thing for me, Leo, was they said Bill Gates might be stepping out of the way. And one of the big problems that any would be CEO would have, was the idea that was put forth that Bill Gates would be more involved in Microsoft. Which is not an attractive proposition for many who would be CEOs.
Leo: That’s in fact, what Business Week and Wall Street Journal have been saying all along, is that what’s holding this up, is that nobody wants to report to Bill Gates. But Bloomberg said that Gates might step down as chairmen, but John Thompson, board member and head of the search committee in as chairman, but part of the reason Bill would step down, and one of the things they’re saying that Satya Nadella wants, is more Bill Gates involvement. So, what I’m reading this as, yeah, bill won’t be chairman of the board but he’s going to be right there with Nadella. Is that just PR fluff?
Jason: It could be. It might just be, defined power. If Nadella is the guy, and he’s not well known outside of tech circles, outside of tech insider circles. Bill Gates could be useful. Those two sort of standing together announcing some things, as Nadella becomes more well known. Bill gates has a lot of PR value to Microsoft still. Even if Nadella is running the show, I could certainly see that being the case, where Gates is stepping out even further of an involved roll. Because it’s tough to be chairman. Chairman is still a very active roll and Gates is obviously busy with other things. But stepping back from an active role on the board, but stepping into a little bit of a PR role to help Nadella, become more of a name, and become well known. Be justified, to have that kind of roll.
Mathew: The bill Gates bump.
Leo: The Sundar Pachai thing came from a guy I know, John Freer, in Silla canal, not known for his scoops or his presence and everybody even Carrots wishers said No!
Jason: Yeah, it doesn’t make any sense.
Leo: Yeah, it doesn’t make any sense. Sunar Pachai of course, in charge of Chrome for google. Actually I’d be thrilled to see him, maybe be more interesting but I think it makes no sense at all. Nobody knows for sure if they’re going to announce Nadella, but I would guess, Swisher by the way, has said that Nadella the likeliest internal candidate. I think that would make sense, and I think it would be this week. They need to move quickly to get this over with. We’ve heard a number of people, Paul Thoraten and Marajo Fully both have said, on the Windows Weekly show that at Microsoft, the insiders feel like they’re stuck in limbo, they’re waiting to hear who’s going to run this place, what is that person going to want? They’re unlikely to take a lot of initiative. So apparently, according to the latest the contract negotiations are ongoing according to Wall Street Journal, with Satya Nadella. And that Nadella has asked for Gates help, which I think is fascinating. That may just be PR.
Jason: That’s what I would think.
Rene: It’s a way to save face for anybody.
Leo: I’m going to ask Bill Gates before I do anything, don’t worry. Alright, so it sounds to me, if this is true, it’s Microsoft that is focusing, hunkering down and focusing on enterprise and cloud.
Rene: They’re becoming IBM higher.
Rene; Feels that way. Which is a great business, it’s just again, it is not one most people ever see anymore.
Jason: Not consumer facing, you know, brained.
Mathew: They can still make a lot of money.
Leo: Tell you what, the best way to follow this story is to watch Daily News on Twit TNT is at 10 AM Pacific, 1 PM Eastern, 1800 UTC. Tech News Tonight 4 pm pacific, 7 PM Eastern time, 2400 UTC. That way you’ll know, and we’ll certainly break you in, if they announce. Let’s find out actually, I think Mike Elgan has an idea of what’s up this week.
Mike Elgan: Coming up this week, the first conference dedicated to Mobile devices starts this Wednesday, called ‘In Contacts.’ Also Twitter, Pandora, and Yelp report Earnings Wednesday. LinkedIn and AOL have earnings Thursday. That’s what’s coming up this week. Back to you, Leo.
Leo: And I’ll add to your list, Mike. I bet you anything, we’ll be announcing the new CEO of Microsoft sometime this week, so stay tuned. If you missed anything on TWiT this week, you missed a mouthful! Let’s take a look!
Previously on Twit. Tech News Tonight.
Sarah Lane: Google is selling Motorola 2 Lenovo. Page said the sale, “Does not signal larger shift for our other hardware efforts.”
Leo: This is a soap Opera, Hatching Twitter, is Nicks next new book.
Nick Bilton: The best way I’ve described it, is it’s a game of thrones but with nerds.
This week in Google.
Jeff Jarves: Just do me a favor here folks, look at the four frames, which ones should I buy?
Leo: There you go! Now when he smiles it works!
Tech News Today
Sarah: A new product called ‘Oh Toto’ can plug into any set of objects, and when you touch those objects the notes play. I’ve got a neighbor that plays the accordion, and he’s not very good at it yet.
TWiT, rack them up.
Leo: Alright, there you go, that’s what was happening this week, on TWiT. We have had a great time here. I want to thank you guys for taking a little Sunday time with us. Matthew Ingram, from Gigaohm.com. What are you going to be working on this week? What big stories do you see coming up?
Mathew: I have no idea! I have to wait for people to do things so that I can write about them! I’m going to be watching twitter for sure.
Leo: Oh that’s so old fashioned.
Leo: By the way, it is Blackberries first anniversary of the release of Blackberry 10, and the market share has hit the 00s, is that possible? (laughs)
Mathew: Oh yeah. That’s definitely possible.
Leo: Market share is 0.0 according to this graph from the Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.
Mathew: That might be overstating it a bit!
Leo: (laughs) I think that’s a…
Rene: Market, yeah. That’s different than installed base, people still have Blackberries but not many are buying Blackberries.
Leo: Thank you Mathew. Great to have you, I really appreciate it. Always fun.
Mathew: Thanks for having me.
Leo: What’s it like in Toronto, is it a bit chilly today?
Mathew: Actually it’s warmed up a bit. It’s much more mild than it was a week or so ago, when it was -30.
Leo: Yes! I really appreciate you spending some time! Also in the frozen North, Montreal, Rene Ritchie. It’s always cold there, I’m not even going to ask you. Warming up for you would be 2 degrees.
Rene: Winter is not coming, winter is here.
Leo: When does Game of Thrones start up again? Soon right?
Rene: It’s got to be soon.
Leo: They had the trailer. Also from the Tech Republic and CBS interactive, The great Jason Hiner, who, I will never forgive, elected me president of the internet, it’s been a terrible, terrible reign.
Jason: Elected for life!
Leo: For life! President for life. El Presidente. (Laughs) Thank you gentleman for spending Super Sunday with me. Thank you all for watching, if you watched live, you really aren’t in the sports ball are you? But if you didn’t, okay maybe you are, we do this show live 3 pm pacific, 6 eastern time. 2300 UTC, right before midnight, International time, universal coordinated time. If you can watch live, do! I love it if you do. We watch the chat room, it’s a lot of fun. But if you can watch live, on demand versions, audio and video always available after the fact, on our website and wherever finer podcasts are aggregated. Stitch or iTunes, or all that stuff. Please subscribe, that way you’ll get every episode. Thanks for joining me we’ll see you next time! Another TWiT is in the can!