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Microsoft Would Lose Patent Rights Under GPLv3

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: The Razor-Blade Strategy
2. Today's Top Story
    - Microsoft Would Lose Patent Rights Under New Linux License Terms
3. Breaking News
    - Feds Arrest 'Spam King' On 9 Charges
    - Everest Game Takes Players Into Thin Air
    - World's Largest News Organization To Monitor Web Use Of Its Content
    - eHarmony Sued In California For Excluding Gays
    - Gartner Lowers Global Sales Forecast For Semiconductors
    - Wireless Silicon Valley Behind Schedule
    - Lenovo Ultraportables Get Wireless Performance Boost
    - EU Decision On Google Data Privacy Months Away
    - ChoicePoint Settles With States Over Data Breach
    - Dog Lovers Warned About Online Puppy Scam
4. The Latest Personal Tech Blog Posts:
    - Doing the iPhone Shuffle
    - Are Carriers Delaying The S60 Mobile Version Of Skype?
    - Jobs Says EDGE Is Fast: Has The Reality Distortion Field Hit The iPhone?
    - Top Five Reasons The Palm Foleo Makes No Sense
5. Job Listings From TechCareers
6. White Papers
    - Good Mobile Messaging For Executives And Professional Field Forces
7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
8. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"The only way not to think about money is to have a great deal of it." -- Edith Wharton


1. Editor's Note: The Razor-Blade Strategy

Have you heard about the razor-blade strategy (also called, according to Wikipedia, the "bait and hook model")? The idea is that a company sells you a razor for next to nothing -- or gives it away free. Great deal, right? You get the razor, and the manufacturer gets to sell you high-cost razor blades for the next few years (or, at least, for as long as you use the razor), making a lot more than was invested in the initial device. Now, how many tech products can you count that follow that same marketing strategy?

The first -- and most obvious -- answer is printers. The price of laser and inkjet printers has taken a huge dive in the last few years, to the point that several PC manufacturers (such as Dell) are giving away basic printers as incentives. However, the cost of supplying those printers with ink or toner cartridges has remained high -- and so profitable that printer manufacturers have dragged would-be third-party suppliers through the courts for years, trying to maintain a semi-monopoly on the cartridge supply. They are slowly being forced to share the field (check out our special report on The Cartridge Wars), and as a result, consumers are now being offered legitimate third-party cartridges and refills. But it was a long fight.

OK, what else? Give up? How about your cell phone?

My colleague Eric Zeman has already commented in his blog on the study by J.D. Powers that says that Americans are opting for less expensive cell phones and holding on to them longer. They're able to do this because phone manufacturers are subsidizing the cost of the phones in order to get people to purchase long-term contracts -- and as a result, many of us are using older models with less snazzy features. "People won't know what to do with themselves if they have to actually fork over some cash for their phones," he concludes.

He's right -- if I had to pay the full retail value for my basic cell phone, I'd be a bit peeved. But it wouldn't be because I'm not used to forking over cash to the phone companies. Anyone who owns a cell phone that isn't supplied by their employer knows that, no matter what kind of monthly fee you contracted your service for, it will go up steadily month by month through the use of increased taxes, surcharges, added fees, and dozens of other little unannounced costs. So I strongly suspect -- and I'm sure many other consumers do likewise -- that no matter how subsidized that little phone is, the company that supplied it makes up the difference one way or another by the time that two-year contract is over. Another razor sold.

Take my own case. My low-cost, older-model cell phone took an inadvertent (and fatal) dip in the Atlantic Ocean over the Memorial Day weekend -- about three months before my two-year contract was up. Am I running out to buy a market-price $600 Treo so that I can make calls, check my e-mail, surf the Web, and contribute to the health of the economy? In my dreams, sure. But what I'm actually doing is buying my old model on eBay for about $25 so that I can afford something a little better once September rolls around.

What do you think? Is the subsidized cell phone an example of the razor-blade strategy or just bad planning by the phone companies? How do you choose which cell phone to buy -- according to what you need, what you want, or what you can afford? Leave a comment at the InformationWeek Blog and let us know.

Barbara Krasnoff
bkrasnoff@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

Microsoft Would Lose Patent Rights Under New Linux License Terms
The final draft of GPLv3 states that companies that distribute open source software cannot at the same time pursue patent claims against users of that software.


3. Breaking News

Feds Arrest 'Spam King' On 9 Charges
The man who has been on the Spamhaus 'worst of the worst' spammers list is facing multiple charges and up to 75 years in prison.

Everest Game Takes Players Into Thin Air
World-renowned mountaineer Ed Viesturs partnered with the company to give players a multimedia experience of a high-altitude expedition.

World's Largest News Organization To Monitor Web Use Of Its Content
Attributor will monitor and analyze the use of AP content and document where and how it is displayed on the Internet.

eHarmony Sued In California For Excluding Gays
The popular online dating service eHarmony was sued Thursday for refusing to offer its services to gays, lesbians, and bisexuals.

Gartner Lowers Global Sales Forecast For Semiconductors
Gartner lowered its prediction to $269.2 billion in sales in 2007, a 2.5% increase over 2006. The research firm had previously forecast a revenue increase of 6.4%.

Wireless Silicon Valley Behind Schedule
The complete 40-city project is expected to cost between $100 million and $150 million to build.

Lenovo Ultraportables Get Wireless Performance Boost
The new ThinkPad X61 and X61s notebooks also have as much as 12 hours of battery life with an eight-cell standard battery and optional extended life battery.

EU Decision On Google Data Privacy Months Away
The European Union's data watchdog will take months to decide whether Google may be violating European privacy laws, a spokeswoman for the group said on Thursday.

ChoicePoint Settles With States Over Data Breach
ChoicePoint has settled with 44 U.S. states over a data breach in 2005 that resulted in criminals potentially having accessed personal information from more than 145,000 consumers.

Dog Lovers Warned About Online Puppy Scam
The American Kennel Club reports bogus e-mails are conning people out of big bucks with promises of cute puppies that are never delivered.

All Our Latest News

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Web 2.0 Applications
This InformationWeek research report, Enterprise 2.0, will provide a glimpse into the adoption of Web 2.0 applications in the enterprise environment.

Windows Vista: Meeting Expectations Or Falling Short?
Learn how more than 600 business technology professionals feel about Windows Vista, and understand the deployment challenges they are facing in InformationWeek Research's Windows Vista: Meeting Expectations or Falling Short?

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4. The Latest Personal Tech Blog Posts:
http://www.informationweek.com/blog/mobile/

Doing The iPhone Shuffle
We're headed into the home stretch on the iPhone frenzy. Already there are leaks and speculation about follow-on products -- and a different kind of iPhone Shuffle.

Are Carriers Delaying The S60 Mobile Version Of Skype?
Where is the Symbian version of Skype? While Symbian smartphone users wait, the Gizmo Project already is available for the N800, N95, N80ie, and E61i. Will Gizmo become the Skype of the S60 smartphone world?

Jobs Says EDGE Is Fast: Has The Reality Distortion Field Hit The iPhone?
EDGE is fast? Steve, are you serious? EDGE is barely better than an old-school dial-up modem and, if you factor in the latency (and network slowdowns) inherent in many wireless connections, it's often worse.

Top Five Reasons The Palm Foleo Makes No Sense
Why would I pay $500 for a glorified smartphone accessory when I could get an entire laptop for just a little bit more?


5. Job Listings From TechCareers

Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island seeking Systems Analyst in Providence, RI

Brandes Investment Partners seeking Sr. Business Systems Analyst in San Diego, CA

American Home Mortgage seeking .NET Developer in Melville, NY

Openlink Financial, Inc. seeking Client Support Analyst in Uniondale, NY

Openlink Financial, Inc. seeking Quality Assurance Analyst in Uniondale, NY

For more great jobs, career-related news, features and services, please visit CMP Media's TechCareers.


6. White Papers

Good Mobile Messaging For Executives And Professional Field Forces
No longer just a luxury for top executives, mobile technology has become a necessity for field forces. This paper explains how handheld and mobile application technologies are changing the way companies and customers conduct business, and how these technologies can improve business processses in such areas as sales, service, marketing, and logistics.


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