Another problem for the iPhone 4, another possible acquisition for DeNa, another second-string character getting his own movie – and it's NOT from Marvel Comics. Let's wrap up the week in news!
Part Time for Economic Reasons Up: The number of people working part-time because they can't find anything else has risen to 9.5 million – a record-high number. It's a sad reality that your career path may involve holding down two part-time jobs instead of one full-time one for awhile. Meanwhile, overall employment was down by 18,000 in September – but a lot of that job loss could be attributed to U.S. Census jobs ending.
New Problem for iPhone 4: It's already being referred to as "Glassgate" – it's been discovered that outer cases that slide on and cover the rear of the iPhone 4 could cause scratching or fracturing of the glass on the back of the phone. Apple immediately went into crisis mode as soon as the problem became public, removing third-party phone cases from its stores. The lessons here: 1. Apple made the correct response to something like this, looking to rectify the problem as soon as possible, and 2. If you create an accessory for any gadget, make sure it's thoroughly tested in all kinds of conditions before unleashing it on the market. There's a lot of case manufacturers who are looking at losing plenty of business now.
Adobe Shares Booming In Wake of Microsoft Announcement: They shot up an astounding 12 percent, which is a sign people are taking the possibility of a close partnership or merger very seriously. It makes sense – with an Adobe-enabled version of Microsoft Office, they could take IBM's recent approach: If you're losing ground with the consumer on the street (remember, Windows 7 is doing great, but the company's potential success in tablets is questionable), stage a full-on assault on the business market. If this does, indeed, go through, it will make Microsoft a more attractive job prospect.
Tech Acquisition Sprees Tearing Down Industry Barriers: An analysis on how recent buys by HP (Palm, of course), Oracle and IBM (which seems to have acquired the entire state of Massachusetts) are turning tech companies from niche players who serve one very particular part of the market to one-stop-shopping. What this means is these companies may be looking for individuals with broader experience than in the past – just because you're working for Cisco, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll be doing business-only products anymore. Oh, and IBM's new direction seems to be very profitable for them – their stocks recently hit the highest level in their history.
Xbox 360 To Be Receiver For AT&T U-Verse: This is a phone company TV service, similar to the much more widespread (and hyped) Verizon FIOS. It will work on higher-end Xboxes with hard drives. Granted, U-Verse isn't available in all areas, but this is a huge step in two trends – "Video game console as lifestyle device" and "Kill your cable." The biggest impact of this move will be, of course, if it's followed by a similar deal between Sony and FIOS.
Is DeNa Buying Ngmoco?: Rumor has it the hard-charging Japanese mobile gaming portal is closing in on acquiring the American iPhone games manufacturer for $400 million, which only raises their status as a company on the rise – I'd say they're one to get on the ground floor of, it looks like they'll be going head-to-head with Zygna in the near future.
Samsung Galaxy Tablet Coming to Sprint Nov. 14: Sprint has priced the device at $399 with a two-year 3G agreement, which is a bit more than some had expected, but still less than the iPad. We'll see how the other carriers decide to price it – Samsung has left it up to each distributor how much to ask for it. Given the popularity of the Galaxy phones, it's safe to assume this tablet will also go over well, raising the demand for Android tablet software.
Apple to Launch Subscription Music Service?: It's been rumored for awhile, but now, Apple is reportedly in serious discussions with music executives over it. Is this the long-expected iCloud service? Stay tuned for further developments – if it goes through, it could open up a lot of opportunities in streaming media.
DC Drops Comics Prices: They're lowering the cost of standard length 32-page ongoing comic book titles by a dollar. Interesting move to stimulate sales of traditional books in a marketplace increasingly dominated by graphic novel collections and cybercomics – a sign that the comics companies will not let their original product go away easily.
Dark Horse to Create Original Digital-Only Comics Content: Furthermore, it will be distributed exclusively through comics shops, which the company says is part of their effort to get customers back into the traditional stores. No word on the specifics of the distribution sytem yet, but a fair guess is it'll involve some sort of gift card bought at the comic shop. If this works, expect other companies to create similar programs (another thing Big Manga should consider).
Warner Bros. Developing CGI Pepe Le Pew Movie: The amorous skunk and his feline love interest, Penelope, will be computer-animated, while the rest of the movie will be live action. Mike Myers has been signed to voice the lead role. So here's a B-list Looney Tunes character getting his own film – coupled with Spidermickey's ongoing program of TV shows and movies starring Marvel's lesser lights, are we entering the golden age of the secondary character?
MGM Has a Plan to Get Out of Bankruptcy: It includes co-producing The Hobbit with Warner Bros. (No, that does NOT mean the CGI Pepe Le Pew will play Bilbo. Or Gollum.) Tolkien fans have got to be wondering at this point if the troubled LOTR prequel will ever get made, but I think it will whether or not MGM survives – the property is just too valuable, and it may open up too many potential job opportunities (marketing, merchandise, games, etc.), to let it slide into oblivion.
North American Manga Market to Drop 20% This Year: These figures are bound to reignite the scanlation debate, but to put it into perspective, the overall printed comics market was down 12% and digital comics sales are on the rise. Hopefully, Big Manga will get the message and realize that now is the time to kick cybermanga into high gear – including electronic-only titles they feel may not be profitable in print form.
QUESTION OF THE DAY: Are the spate of iPhone 4 problems the result of Apple releasing the product too soon? – Bonnie