Tech & The District » Microsoft Tech the way we see it: insights and musings on technology PR, policy and the District, from H&K’s D.C. Tech Team. Thu, 04 Aug 2011 15:06:44 +0000 en hourly 1 D.C. Gets Touchy Feely with New Technologies at CES on the Hill Wed, 21 Apr 2010 15:04:40 +0000 Vanessa Truskey This could be how we watch TV in the future - cool glasses and all.

This could be how we watch TV in the future - cool glasses and all.

Last night, a piece of the largest consumer tech show – the International Consumer Electronics Show, or CES – came to Washington.  CES on the Hill, as last night’s event was dubbed, brought together companies including AT&T, Google, LG, Microsoft, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Samsung and others to showcase some of the technology debuted this year in Las Vegas.  With the emergence of these new products also come new policy issues (top of mind is national broadband, about which the FCC released a new plan last month).

The event was held at Eastern Market – a venue which I wasn’t originally sure was up for the job, but after seeing the layout, I think it worked nicely.  Got a chance to demo Sony’s new 3D TV, which was pretty cool, but I’m no early adopter.  I love gadgets as much as anyone, but after the bugs are worked out and the price comes down a bit, I may consider investing in one.  Also cool was a demo by Kodak of its new camera on which you can tag photos to be emailed to Facebook, TwitPic or Aunt Rita once the camera is connected to your computer.  Finally, I stopped by the Qualcomm table to see the mirasol display technology demo.  Even though Qualcomm is a client, and I’ve seen mirasol before, I can’t help but marvel at how cool it is.  Maybe I’m drinking the Kool-Aid, but thinking as an average consumer, I’d love a device with that type of full-color display.

The event wraps up tonight at the Digital Patriots Dinner where Internet icon Vint Cerf is being honored along with Rep. Mike Doyle and Rep. Fred Upton, for their collective impact on technology as we know it today.  I’m hoping the Consumer Electronics Association makes CES on the Hill an annual event, as it’s a rare opportunity to get up-close and personal with some awesome new technology, right in our own backyard.

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Antitrust in a Web 2.0 World Thu, 30 Jul 2009 20:17:01 +0000 Vanessa Truskey Here is a follow up post on antitrust from our guest blogger Mitchell Derman, vice president in H&K’s Corporate Practice.  If you need a refresher, you can read Mitch’s original blog post by clicking here.


Antitrust in a Web 2.0 World

This past June, I posted a blog entry about antitrust and its relationship with the technology sector.  I had raised the question about whether or not the current antitrust laws could meet the dynamic challenges of a Web 2.0 world.  Well, the legal and policy pundits now have their first real opportunity with Microsoft’s and Yahoo’s announcement yesterday about a shared search deal.

Needless to say, but a truly interesting development with Yahoo fending off Microsoft’s acquisition attempts last year.  Now, Yahoo – an Internet pioneer – essentially is getting out of the search business and focusing more on content – a risky, yet bold move.  And, Microsoft, after years of attempts to counter Google’s market leadership in search appears to have a winner with Bing.

From an antitrust perspective, the central issue is: Can two companies partner to create more competition in search advertising.  Google really needs to be careful in how it positions itself; how it shapes a pro-competitive message when it is the dominant player in search advertising is indeed a challenge.  Only time will tell.

For more insights on the Yahoo/Microsoft deal, read Rob Pegoraro’s piece in today’s Washington Post.

Note: H&K does work for Yahoo! and Microsoft in various locations around the world.

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Antitrust & Tech 2: The Sequel? Wed, 10 Jun 2009 14:26:51 +0000 Vanessa Truskey The editors at “Tech & The District” are always striving to bring you the best thinking from a variety of perspectives at Hill & Knowlton.  Thus, we are proud to present the second of what we hope to be many guest blog posts from our colleagues in the DC office.  This perspective comes from H&K’s Mitchell Derman, a vice president in the Corporate Practice.  As always, we welcome your comments.  Enjoy! -Vanessa

Antitrust & Tech 2:  The Sequel?

By Mitchell Derman

 The year was 1995.  We were probably in a Web .50 world when the Internet was just starting to become a platform for day-to-day communications and information.  Microsoft was about to launch its most anticipated operating system with Windows 95.  At the same time, Microsoft was drawn into a legal and perception battle related to antitrust issues.  Microsoft was consistently chastised by competitors, media and the government for alleged monopolistic, anti-competitive behavior. 

The large issue centered primarily on the integration of the Internet Explorer browser with the operating system. Remember Netscape.  At the time, that company probably had about 95 percent of the browser market.  My oh my, have times changed.  When it came to antitrust, the pundits questioned the validity of laws and regulations created during the industrial age. 

Flash forward to 2009.  Google is now perceived by many as the monopolist and Microsoft is on the other side of the argument.  How ironic is that?  Interestingly, Google often makes the claim that they are one click away from obsolescence.  That may be a stretch; however, with Facebook having 200 million members, this certainly is not far from reality.  But it also begs the same question as 14 years ago. Are the current antitrust laws modern enough to deal with the challenges of a Web 2.0 world?  Companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple and others are certainly being tested as the Department of Justice has started an inquiry about collusion related to recruiting talent.  See Washington Post article.

The pundits certainly can debate the legalities of this policy debate. In the meantime some lessons learned from Microsoft’s experience in the 1990s:

  • Engage key stakeholders across the policy spectrum – locally and in Washington
  • Be more modest about how you message your business objectives – being too aggressive could be perceived negatively
  • Educate your employees about what is said in e-mail; I believe the Microsoft case was one of the first instances where e-mails proved to be a smoking gun
  • Educate consumers about the benefits you are delivering with lower prices and more innovation.
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Fine Tuning the Tech Market Wed, 19 Nov 2008 18:36:00 +0000 Sharla Lane Today,
the Big Three of the auto industry faced Washington, but changes are
reaching far beyond the lines of one business area. Just as the auto
and banking industries have felt the economic crunch, tech companies
from blue chip to Web 2.0 have been appearing in headlines with talk of
mergers, closures and even new business ventures in hopes of riding out
the slump.

Here are a few changes in the tech landscape since Election Day:

what does it all mean? In a thriving economy, companies that may have
had inferior services or products were able to exist and live off the
surplus in capital. Now that funds are limited, consumers are cutting
back spending. Perhaps we can look to lessons learned from the ever
decreasing value of the Big Three in the auto industry and apply them
to the tech space.

we will only get the best of the best mobile service, laptops, and
innovation, including a phase out of poorly crafted Web sites in an
overpopulated Internet space. One result could be leniency in regulation, permitting larger companies to push out competition and raise prices.

Either way, as we approach the holiday season, NPR warned me last week
to not be surprised when I hear an influx of commercials announcing
layaway options rather than in-store credit card offers… so put away
your plastic and start saving those pennies the good ol’ fashioned way!

(Note: H&K works in some parts of the world with Verizon Business, Yahoo!, Microsoft and MGM.)

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