Today in Tech: Is the Wii U Nintendo's last hope?October 25, 2012: 12:35 PM ET
Also: How Microsoft may be risking an $18 billion empire on Windows 8; Zynga's shares pop.
Nintendo slashes profit outlook [THE WALL STREET JOURNAL]
The Wii U, an overhaul of Nintendo's popular but aging Wii game machine, will test whether traditional videogame consoles can still prosper amid a technological shift that is providing consumers with vast options for games ranging from online personal-computer titles to free-to-play social games on smartphones. Not only is Nintendo fighting for the time and attention of consumers, it must contend with tablet computers and smartphones for the dollars once reserved for traditional videogame-hardware manufacturers.
But the Windows money tree is beginning to wilt. PC sales are slumping. Windows revenue has fallen for two straight years, and Microsoft is missing out on a rapidly growing tablet market that has begun to eat away at traditional computer demand. Just a few years ago, Windows ran about 90% of the world's Internet-connected computing devices, according to Net Applications. Now, with the rise of smartphones and tablets, Microsoft's share has fallen to about two-thirds.
Steve Ballmer told the BBC: "Is it fair to say we're going to do more hardware? Obviously we are... Where we see important opportunities to set a new standard, yeah we'll dive in."
Education, technology "journalism," and the Apple PR machine [HACK EDUCATION]
If there is a want and a yearning associated with Apple, we all know that isn't it. But the want is there — you could hear it in the "ooooo's" of the crowd, you could see it in the real-time responses via Twitter as well. And as Apple is ever shortening the planned obsolescence cycle for its devices, it wants us to want and to buy with increasing frequency.
Schools have traditionally worked with a much longer replacement cycle. For better or worse, textbooks and computer hardware both are expected to last for years. The iPad 3 was announced in March and discontinued yesterday. How will schools adapt? How will they reconcile technology budgets with a throw-away culture techno-consumerism (softened supposedly by Schiller's repetition of the company's environmental record) and with this incredible manufactured technology desire?
"We failed to meet our own growth expectations," said Zynga CEO Mark Pincus in the earnings call. "We're taking a series of steps to drive long-term growth and profitability." Pincus said two factors contributed to Zynga's weaker-than-expected performance: poor execution in launching new games and in dealing with the faster-than-expected transition to mobile platforms.
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