Bye Bye TouchPad: The Week In Tech

on Friday, Aug. 19th

Sometimes the Game of Buzz is a matter of Win, Lose or Spin. This week in tech has been all about mergers, acquisitions, and abject surrender.

WIN

  • EVERNOTE: This is a WIN-WIN. The company behind the popular “external memory” application, whose founder has dreams of hooking computers up to our brains, has snapped up another geek favorite, quick fire screencap and image tweaking app Skitch. On the very day they announced the acquisition they dropped the price of the $19.99 image app to the ultra competitive FREE. As a long term user of both apps, this was awesome news to brighten up a turbulent week.

SPIN

  • GOOGLE: In the latest skirmish in the never ending patent wars, Google has gone and bought itself a phone hardware manufacturer: Motorola, to be precise. If you don’t remember, they were the makers of the once ubiquitous Razer phone whose last big success was… the Razer phone. The move has been heralded as everything from shrewd to desperate. That’s the problem with big, landscape altering acquisitions – only time can tell the outcome. When AOL acquired Time Warner in the 1990’s everyone thought the old media universe was gone for good. Now we’re just surprised that AOL, after being spun off of the media giant, managed to have enough strength left to swallow The Huffington Post. Only one thing is certain: Google just tied up $12.5 billion. [Our verdict? This is going to end badly.]

LOSE

  • HP: Once upon a time in America a business the size of Hewlett Packard would tough out a bad product launch — like what they just experienced with their TouchPad tablet computer — and keep revising and refining until they got it right. But that was before the dark times, before the drumbeat of quarterly profits made CEOs skittish in the face of seemingly unbeatable competition. This week saw HP abandon the tablet market, kill off their development of WebOS (which they like, just bought), and seemingly run away from the PC market altogether.

Corey McCall with the video game controller that measures the level of excitement in the player. Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service

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