Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week10:00 AM EST Fri. Jun. 15, 2012
Google observes holidays and other notable dates by decorating its logo with colorful, commemorative themes. But on Thursday, June 14, also known as Flag Day, Google's logo was presented in its ordinary state. Even worse for Google, Microsoft saw fit to adorn its Bing home page with images of the Stars and Stripes (left).
Not cool, Google.
This just in from the are-you-kidding-me department: Microsoft is planning to charge tablet OEMs between $80 and $95 for each copy of Windows RT, according to a report from the VR-Zone website, which based its conclusions on discussions with tablet manufacturers attending the Computex Taipei show in Taiwan.
Windows RT, the confusingly named version of Windows 8 designed to run on ARM processors, is what Microsoft plans to use to take on the iPad and Android tablets. But at that price per copy, Microsoft is apparently intending to shoot for the high-end segment of the market. Considering the head start Apple has already achieved with the iPad, that may be a risky strategy.
Another dose of sobering news for Nokia this week, as the Finnish handset maker said it will cut up to 10,000 jobs through the end of 2013 and close several of its major manufacturing sites in order to cut costs. Nokia also lowered its guidance for its upcoming fiscal second quarter. Weird thing about the cost cutting is that while Nokia expects it to save $2 billion by the end of next year, $1.2 billion of that will be eaten up by restructuring charges.
Part of the reason Cisco's Cius tablet failed was that the company gave its employees the freedom to bring their own devices to work. This is progressive, but when Cisco employees started choosing the iPad, that plan backfired, and Cisco ended up discontinuing the Cius last month. This week at Cisco Live, CEO John Chambers acknowledged that Cisco should have killed the Cius nine months earlier than it did.
Verizon Wireless has finally come to the table with the so-called bucket data plan that customers have been clamoring for, in exchange for the convenience of using their monthly data allotment on up to 10 smartphones and tablets. First of all, the so-called Share Everything plans are confusing. Verizon will charge a "line access" fee of $10 per tablet and $40 per smartphone. Data is priced at $50 per month for up to 1 GB, a hefty increase from the $30 it currently charges for 2 GB monthly.
So, in exchange for the flexibility of using a single data plan across multiple smartphones and tablets, Verizon is instituting a major price hike. That is pretty much what just happened. And you know what the worst part is? Other carriers are champing at the bit to follow suit.