It was a big news week this week with major technology and internet players vying to share the spotlight - some in more positive ways than others.
This week's The Web Week in Review wouldn't be complete without some mention of Apple's launch of the new iPhone.
I have already made my opinion known - it's just a mobile. But others are convinced that the iPhone is a game-changer for the mobile industry in the United States and that the new iPhone is poised to boldly go where iPhone 1.0 wasn't able to go - the corporate market.
"This changes Apple from an interesting company in the mobile space to potentially dominating the smartphone market."
But let's not put the cart before the horse here, folks. Sean Ryan of IDC observes:
"I see the iPhone as crossing over and playing in both areas, but something the enterprises will be leery of standardizing on until it has proven itself from a security and manageability standpoint."
Even more importantly, because the iPhone is exclusive to AT&T in the United States, it requires companies to commit to a single carrier. The dominant business smartphone, RIM's Blackberry, has no such limitation.
Sascha Segan, a mobile device analyst for PC Magazine, notes:
"Companies don't really want to be locked in to one carrier. They want to be able to play off other carriers to get the best possible deal."
None of this to say that there isn't a pot of gold for Apple at the end of the corporate tunnel, but Jack Gold of J. Gold Associates may have the most pertinent analysis:
"RIM built BlackBerry for the enterprise and is moving downstream to serve consumers. Apple built the iPhone for consumers and is trying to move upstream to the enterprise. This is a much harder road."
TNS Media Intelligence reported that total advertising spend in the US grew 0.6% in Q1 2008 as compared to Q1 2007.
Internet display advertising was a bright spot - it rose 8.5%, beaten only by an 8.8% growth in newspaper inserts. This, however, is a marked decrease from the double-digit growth rates it had been experiencing previously.
As noted by Fred Aun of ClickZ:
"The report provides some of the first evidence online advertising has been negatively affected by the staggering U.S. economy."
While the figures released do not include online search advertising, which is most likely faring better, the TNS Media Intelligence report once again demonstrates that the internet economy as a whole is not immune from the overall economy.
Of particular concern is the fact that two of the biggest buyers on online display ads - the telecom and financial services industries - may be the source of more vulnerability.
Telecom industry ad spend was "very weak" in Q1 and the financial services industry is obviously going through some very difficult times.
Continued weakness in telecom industry ad spending and further deterioration in the financial services industry could mean that slower growth in online display advertising may be a trend that internet companies need to get used to.
Is Google moral or arrogant? It's hard to tell.
When interviewed by The New Yorker's Ken Auletta, Google CEO Eric Schmidt stated his belief that his company has a "moral imperative" to help publishers make advertising on the internet a success.
He also made the interesting comment that Google's goal is not to "monetize everything" - it is to "change the world...for the better."
He stated that while Google doesn't have an "evil meter" that helps the company make the world a better place, "moral and ethical discussion[s]" do occur and that certain products have been scrapped because Google decided that they were not in line with Google's ethic.
Personally, I have mixed feelings about Google's position. While the notion of a company that truly thinks about the moral implications of its behaviour is a novel one, Google's approach does raise questions.
Schmidt states that Wall Street is "not the signal we respond to" and that Google has "enough leverage that we have the luxury of time."
While Wall Street is short-sighted, Google's position could eventually become problematic and it's worth noting that Google's trio of billionaires (Schmidt, Sergey Brin and Larry Page) owe the liquidity to Wall Street.
Whether they can successfully juggle their commitment to the world and their commitment to Google shareholders may be the most interesting question they'll answer over the next five years.
In what may be my most arrogant move yet, I've decided that the most appropriate way to deal with the news that Microsoft-Yahoo is dead and that Microsoft-Google is a go is to link to my own post on the subject.