Thank god it's Friday! Without further ado, here are the stories that caught Drama 2.0's attention this past week.
- New York Times : Apples to encourage iPhone programmers
It's all about developers, developers, developers these days and Apple wants to cultivate a legion of them to "extend the iPhone's appeal by luring software developers to create programs for it."
The move is a no-brainer and given Apple's popularity, coupled with a $100m venture capital fund designed specifically to fund the creation of iPhone applications, I have no doubt that developers will answer Steve Jobs' call.
Of course, finding success in the space might be more difficult than it appears at first glance given the scepticism some IT executives have over Apple's commitment to the enterprise, which could limit corporate use of the iPhone in the near-term.
If you build an application and nobody uses it, does it really exist?
- Reuters : Microsoft asks web developers to "bet on us"
Microsoft, like Apple, is asking developers to invest their skills in the company's products.
As part of its move to extend its desktop offerings onto the web, and in the run-up to its release of Internet Explorer 8, Microsoft chief software architect Ray Ozzie told developers at Microsoft's MIX08 conference:
"I know today that you have many amazing technology choices available to you, but I'd like you to bet on us."
It's a tough pitch. After all, the iPhone is so much sexier and Facebook is so much more fun.
- Wired : Nine Inch Nails gets creative with Radiohead-style release
Trent Reznor has released Nine Inch Nails' newest album, Ghosts I-IV, with an interesting distribution strategy that involves free BitTorrent downloads, Creative Commons licenses and special releases of physical versions of the album.
I think it's much more well-thought-out than Radiohead's online distribution experiment and therefore has a much better shot at success.
That said, it still remains to be seen whether bands who haven't had the benefit of label-propelled popularity like NIN can actually implement similar strategies with any success. In other words, it's probably easier to make money without a label once a label has subsidized your popularity.
- News.com : New Facebook COO will be organisation czar
Mark Zuckerberg still apparently refuses to step aside as Facebook's CEO but he did hire former Googler Cheryl Sandberg as the company's new COO.
In an interview with News.com's Caroline McCarthy, the 23 year-old Zuckerberg, who is now included on the Forbes billionaire list, explained the hire:
"...the primary reason why we did this is just because Facebook is scaling very quickly, and if we want to reach our goal, which is to help everyone in the world communicate more efficiently, we need to build an organization that's going to grow and scale globally."
Sandberg is tasked with handling the company's scaling so that Mark Zuckerberg can focus on Facebook's lofty goal.
Perhaps its goal should be a bit more modest. Say, perhaps, find a way to make money? Just a thought.
- The Register : Why you should care that Jimmy Wales ignores reality
The Register hits Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, hard in this pointed commentary. Given all the issues that have surfaced following his love-affair-gone-bad it's probably well-deserved.
Given the fact that many less-than-discriminating souls rely on information from Wikipedia as if it was absolute truth, and the fact that user-generated content in general challenges the critical thinking skills of some of the less-than-informed, scrutiny of the people behind services like Wikipedia is not necessarily unhealthy, especially when one of them refers to himself as a "spiritual leader."
- SearchEngineWatch : Compete acquired by TNS
Web analytics startup Compete was acquired by London-based research firm TNS for $75m with an additional $75 million possible on top of that if the company hits certain earn-out targets.
That's quite a hefty sum for a company that lost $4.5m last year on revenues of $14.9m. Apparently there's still enough give in the balloon called Bubble 2.0 to allow some additional hot air in.
- Reuters : Demand Media buys Pluck Corp
In another big acquisition, Demand Media, the new media company that is run by former MySpace chairman Richard Rosenblatt and has raised more than $350m in funding, has purchased online media syndication startup Pluck for a rumored $50m to $60m.
Pluck counts a number of marquee big media companies as clients and Reuters contributed $7m to the company's funding.
Given that Rosenblatt puts Demand Media's annual revenue at $150m and claims that the company is "very profitable," who knows - it just might work out.