Tag: newspaper

Tame Apple Press tries to hawk the failed iWatch

dell boy The Tame Apple Press is flat out trying to flog the iWatch this Christmas, even though no one has been interested in the lame duck product all year.

Apple’s favourite new agency Reuters, once famous for printing credible stories, has run an advert as a news story where Apple’s Tim Cook making the extraordinary claim that the iWatch is going to be a sell out this Christmas.

He claimed, without a shred of proof, that sales of the Apple Watch to consumers set a record during the first week of holiday shopping, and the current quarter is on track to be the best for the product. Cook said the gadget’s sell-through reached a new high.

However, that all flies in the face of an IDC report that the tech giant sold 1.1 million units of the Apple Watch during the third quarter of 2016, down 71 percent from the year-ago quarter. Given that the Tame Apple press claimed that the gizmo would sell 40 million of them in the first year, the iWatch has been a total failure.  And yet Reuters seems to be spinning this failure as “a glimpse of the gadget’s performance during the holiday quarter”.

“Our data shows that Apple Watch is doing great and looks to be one of the most popular holiday gifts this year,” Cook claimed.

Reuters admitted that Cook did not respond to a request for specific sales figures for the gadget because that would have shown how bogus the whole story was.

US newspaper chain offshores IT jobs

surprised-newspaper-readerThe McClatchy Company, which operates a major chain of newspapers in the US, is moving IT work overseas and making 150 IT workers redundant.

The chain owns about 30 newspapers, including The Sacramento Bee, where McClatchy is based; The Fresno Bee, The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., The State in Columbia, S.C. and the Miami Herald.

Apparently all the IT work has been outsourced to the Indian outsourcer Wipro.

McClatchy CEO Patrick Talamantes wrote to staff and told them about all the improvements that the Wipro contract would bring. It seemed he had forgotten any news training and buried the story about staff cuts in the bottom. US workers are currently have to train their replacements until August.

The letter said that the company was “pleased to unveil our new IT Transformational Programme, a programme designed to provide improved service to all technology users, accelerated development and delivery of technology solutions and products, variable demand-based technology resources and access to modern and cutting-edge skills and platforms.”

 

The letter than explains the hiring of Wipro, and how the partnership “will improve technology standards and service levels.”

Talamantes also points out that Wipro has been a repeat recipient of Ethisphere’s ‘World’s Most Ethical Company’ award.

After seven paragraphs, and near the end of the letter, Talamantes lowers the boom:

“As we embark on the implementation phase, there will be a realignment of resources requiring a reduction in McClatchy technology staff. While regrettable, this action is necessary for us to realize the benefits outlined above and help the company achieve its long-term goals. Employees impacted by this realignment will be contacted…,” wrote Talamantes.

Looks like that ‘World’s Most Ethical Company’ award is looking a bit shaky. Particularly as the story is not being picked up by McClatchy-owned newspapers.  McClatchy did report layoffs of similar sizes at other firms.

Top publisher slams Google for running racket

The man behind some of Europe’s best-selling newspapers, Mathias Döpfner, has accused Google of running a protection racket as it tries to build a digital “superstate”.

Döpfner, who is the chief executive of Europe’s largest newspaper publisher, has a lot of reasons to hate the internet. The Web killed off print media’s dominance of the news and hence Döpfner’s own concern. But in an open letter in the German daily, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, he said that Google was abusing its monopolistic position in the digital market.

He said that in less reputable circles Google would be described as “a protection racket” by discriminating against competitors in search rankings. The search engine operates its “global net-monopoly” under a philosophy of “if you don’t want us to finish you off, you better pay”.

Döpfner warned that he and his business had become unhealthily dependent on Google and its ability to drive huge amounts of traffic towards or away from sites. He said that the industry was dependant on Google and at the same time is afraid of it.

He is worried about recent high-profile acquisitions like robot-manufacturer Boston Dynamics, and last week’s buy of drone satellite company Titan Aerospace, could allow Google to create a “digital super-state”.

Google concerns itself with all the different facets of our professional and private lives, in the house, in the car, in our healthcare, and in robotics, he said.

“It [Google] affects our values, our humanity, our society and the world – from our perspective, especially the future of Europe.”

Google CEO Larry Page “dreams of a world with no data protection laws and without democratic accountability,” where Google can act with impunity, Döpfner said

“Google plans in all seriousness to create a digital superstate,” he wrote, adding sarcastically that in the supranational entity Google is set to become, “they will only do good, of course, and ‘won’t do evil'”.

Döpfner said his comments were not part of a “Luddite conspiracy theory” because criticism of Google should not be seen as slamming the internet.

“Those who are interested in a flawlessly functioning internet have to criticise Google. For us as a publishing house the internet is not a threat but one of the greatest chances in recent decades.” 

Jeff Bezos buys the Washington Post

Analysts claim that Jeffrey Bezos’ purchase of the Washington Post is a chance for the newspaper industry to evolve into something more relevant to the 20th century.

The Amazon founder wrote a $250 million cheque for the Washington Post and is believed to have a cunning plan to save newspapers.

In a statement, Bezos said that he is very optimistic about the future of the paper.

To many this means Bezos wants to try to change newspapers in the same way he did the book business.

The Post has seen a rapid decline in print advertising, a loss of subscribers and challenges in building up online revenue.

Bezos indicated that he wouldn’t make radical changes in editorial operations and would continue to emphasise accountability journalism.

But he said that the paper will need to “invent” and to “experiment,” focusing on the internet and tailored content, to address the changing habits of readers.

The LA Times said that this is the first time a true digital native is buying a newspaper publishing company.

It quoted Alan Mutter, a media consultant and former newspaper editor, as saying that Bezos had the means, motive and opportunity to re-envision what it means to be a newspaper in the digital era.

Bezos will own the Post outright, buying it with his own money, not Amazon’s. By taking it private, he won’t be subject to shareholders who want a quick buck. 

Newspaper admits that copyright trolling was a bad idea

The new chief executive of MediaNews Group has admitted that it was a really “a dumb idea” for the nation’s second-largest newspaper chain to sign up with copyright troll Righthaven.

John Paton has taken over as the chap in charge of publishing the Denver Post and 50 other newspapers from Dean Singleton. Singleton thought it was a neat idea to hire a law firm called Righthaven to hound bloggers through the courts for mentioning his company’s news articles,

Paton told Ars Technica that particular arrangement will be over at the end of the month. He said that the issues about copyright were real. But the concept that you could hire someone on a success fee to sue people who may or may not have infringed copyright as a way of protecting yourself was daft.

Paton said that he though it was a dumb idea from the start.

The claims are Las Vegas-based Righthaven was founded more than a year ago to raise cash through copyright infringement lawsuits. It might have worked if the law had not got in the way.

So far Righthaven has not prevailed in court on any of the infringement lawsuits filed over MediaNews’ content. However, it has managed to collect cash from 24 out of court settlements which were made because people paid up thanks to the threat of court action.

Paton said if he was MediaNews’ chief a year ago, he likely never would have signed on with Righthaven.

Sara Glines, a MediaNews vice president, said those cases are likely to remain active as Judge Kane weighs whether Righthaven has standing to sue over the Denver Post copyrights.

Righthaven has not filed a new case in two months so it looks like once this current batch is processed it will be the end of this troll. 

China must gear up for cyber war

China must prepare itself for a cyber push by the US powers, a military paper for the country has said today.

The encouragement by the Ministry of Defence of the People’s Republic of China paper comes just a day after Henry Kissinger proposed that the two countries should cosy up and come to some sort of cyber agreement.

At the time the US Statesman told Reuters that Washington and Beijing both had significant espionage capabilities and they should come to an agreement before it all came to a head.

However, the paper thinks that China should strengthen its defences claiming that the pair could end up in a cyber fight. It said an attack could occur after US accusations that Beijing may have launched a string of internet hacking attacks.

In particular these accusations centre around a claimed intrusion into the security networks of Lockheed Martin Corp and other US. military contractors. However, the paper has now said that China should be watching its back as it is under attack by the Pentagon.

It said that an internet was “being pushed to a stormy peak.” It added that as a result
it should “accelerate” its internet defence development and “make steps to make a strong internet army.

The paper, which isn’t the official voice of the government, added that China had to move to  accelerate development of internet battle technology and armament as well as comprehensively improve the military’s ability to “defend the internet frontiers.”

Interest in the Daily is plummeting

Hopes that the Apple cargo cult would save the print industry are proving groundless as sales in the tablet based Daily have tanked.

Rupert Murdoch placed his faith in Apple and launched his e-rag onto the world. Initially there was a bit of interest, but it looks like dedicated followers of Apple are looking elsewhere.

According to a Nieman Journalism Lab analysis, which is based on Twitter sharing activity, after an initial spike of interest, then an app upgrade which eliminated some technical problems, the Daily is in “decline, plateau, and decline.”

Nieman author Joshua Benton could not count readers, and News Corp is not going to tell anyone.

News Corp said a month ago that downloads were in the “hundreds of thousands.” However it was issuing it for free and there is no indication that many people paid for a subscription after the trial period.

Nieman admits that tweeting volume needn’t necessarily correlate with subscribership in an intuitive way. But it does seem logical. If tweeting from The Daily goes up, it might only mean that people are tweeting more. If tweeting goes down, it might mean that there are fewer subscribers.

However tweeting from within the app has dropped and Nieman claims to have found a worrying trend.

Benton said that while a certain amount of decline would be expected after the initial rush of attention, the fact that there’s never been an appreciable, sustained uptick in sharing isn’t cause for optimism.

In the middle of the monitoring period, Jobs’ Mob released iPad 2 which should have bought millions of new Daily customers into the fold. It didn’t.

The Daily had a high-profile launch following weeks of media interest in the publication. It had a $100 million start-up budget and a number of top hacks signed up for it. Techeye started up with a bit of loose change in the bottom of Magee’s pocket and Nick Farrell signed up for it. Yet it would appear that we have more readers.

News International paywall breacher shut down

Wapping rag The Times has ordered its lawyers to fall upon a blog which offered to liberate columnist Caitlin Moran’s writings free from the paywall with a historic thump.

Not since the days of Erich Honecker have people wanted to vault over a wall so badly.

We are told that Moran’s prose, about subjects like going to a Berlin sex club with popular beat combo artist Lady Gaga, is jolly popular. Either that or the person who set up “F*** Yeah Caitlin Moran” (asterisks added) was partly trying to make a point about the banality of existence, the decline of philosophy in post-modern Western civilisation, but mostly the Times’ paywall model.

Whatever the motivation, someone set up a site where all Moran’s articles were published exactly as they appear behind the paywall of broken dreams. Which kind of negates the paywall.

So it seems that the Times has released the hounds on the blog and the “F*** Yeah Caitlin Moran” is now f***ed.

All you can see is the “404 not found” and the Twitter feed @f***yeahmoran has gone to a Siberian Gulag, never to be seen or twittered upon again.

Game set and match to the Wapping Stasi, with a round of applause from the Big Content autocrats.

We expect that someone might have another go at some point. Perhaps if “F*** Yeah Caitlin Moran” ran off a server in Russia it might last longer, unless the scribe decided to take the Mikhail out of Tsar Putin, it should be safe.

News Corp, Apple delay iPad newspaper

News Corp and Apple have decided to delay the launch of the iPad-only digital newspaper, according to sources close to the Wall Street Journal.

The paper, called The Daily, was supposed to launch next Wednesday, but now it will be delayed for an undetermined period of time while the partners work out some difficulties.

What these difficulties are is not clear beyond a mention that they need more time to test their subscription service, which will need to work flawlessly come launch day, since the publication will be beyond a paywall.

The delay was confirmed by News Corp, but both it and Apple are remaining tight-lipped about exact details.

The sudden delay could be due to more than just extended testing, however. The duo may have fallen out over the implementation of the newspaper or the royalty percentages either party wants. News Corp has been lauding the iPad for months, suggesting it wanted this deal for quite some time, but Apple may not be so keen.

Another possibility is that Apple wants The Daily to launch on its upcoming iPad 2, which is rumoured to launch on February 1, giving the second generation device another selling point over its still relatively new predecessor.

Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB buy gets green light from EC

News Corp, the media conglomerate owned by Rupert Murdoch, has won approval by the European Commission to take over British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) further expanding Murdoch’s unholy media empire.

The European Commission said that the buyout would not “significantly impede effective competition”. The word “significantly” is pretty er significant here – it amounts to an admission that it will have some effect on competition. Hardly surprising considering the size and reach of News Corp and the dominance of Sky’s broadcasting services in the UK.

Despite the approval, the Commission said that the UK government is free to interfere with the decision to protect “media plurarlity”.

In addition to its stake of BSkyB, News Corp owns The Sun, News of the World, The Times and The Sunday Times

Ofcom, the UK telecoms and broadcasting regulator, has launched an antitrust probe into News Corp’s expansion. It will make its decision before the end of the month, which could either back the Commission’s approval or reject it entirely.

News Corp already owns just over 39 percent of BSkyB and was offering £7.8 billion ($12.1 billion) to buy out the remaining 61 percent. BSkyB was not so keen, believing it is worth more, but negotiations were frozen until regulatory approval is completed. The Commission’s decision today is one further step in bringing Sky fully into Murdoch’s hands.