Articles of the Day


Google Lags Badly In Corporate Software — Google reps are shilling the heck out of Google Apps to business owners, but with relatively little success, Fortune reports. Indeed, the search king has a long, long way to go before it cracks the market for corporate software that Microsoft so thoroughly dominates. As one IT professional said recently (after declining an offer from Google), “I don’t know if [Google Apps] is ready for prime time yet.” Eighteen months into its corporate push, Google Apps is only being used by a handful of Fortune 500 and mid-sized companies–and none of these embraced the Google software suite in its entirety, most opting to stick with Microsoft Office instead. Meanwhile, the earnings gap between Google Apps and Office is enormous: last year, Microsoft sold $12.2 billion worth of Office software, while Google pulled in just $4 million from Google Apps.

Warner Bros. Resurrects TV Network On Web — The WB, long gone from your television, is being resurrected on the Web. Tomorrow, Warner Bros. will relaunch the defunct television network as a Web hub for its television shows. According to TechCrunch, TheWB.com will be more “feature-rich” than competitors like Hulu, allowing users to mashup clips from each show, for example. The report says its most impressive feature is video search, which allows users to search for specific words or phrases used in any show. Digitalsmiths, the search provider, uses technology that automatically transcribes and indexes dialogue from each episode. TechCrunch claims the search engine only works about 50% of the time, “but when it does work, it’s pretty impressive.”

ESPN Leads $80 Million Investment In The Active Network; Will Pursue Acquisitions — The Active Network, the big provider of sports-related technology, has just closed a huge, $80 million sixth round led by ESPN. Past backers participating in the round include Canaan Partners, North Bridge Venture Partners and Performance Equity Partners. The company, which has now raised $275 million since 1999, will use the funding towards infrastructure and towards “appropriate acquisitions.” Acquisitions are a key part of its strategy: Since 2007, it has acquired 11 companies, including Hy-Tek Sports Software, LaxPower, Cool Running and Golfbuzz. Its flagship site is Active.com a sports training and registration portal. In addition to the online communities it runs, The Active Network provides marketing services and other technologies geared towards sports management. It’s also worth noting that it’s not just a sports company, as it offers services towards organizations like schools, campgrounds and governments.

Facebook Penetration Still Weak In Asia; Malaysians Overwhelmingly Choose Friendster — With ad agencies like WPP Group increasingly focused on Asia, Nicholas Guan, a social media researcher at the ad holding company’s OgilvyOne unit, decided to look at the prospects for marketers considering ads across Facebook. The verdict: Facebook is fine for reaching Americans and those educated in the west, but there are plenty of other social nets throughout Asia that are much more popular. Using Google Insights, he compared Facebook with the most popular social nets in each Asian country. While cautioning that the results are not quite accurate since Google is not the number one search engine in most Asian countries, the numbers are meant as a rough gauge of where Facebook stands. (Earlier today, Joseph posted an item about Japan’s most popular social net, Mixi, and its plans to expand its presence in the U.S. and Europe.)

Japanese Social Net Mixi Sees US Markets In Its Future, Eventually — Top US social nets Facebook and MySpace haven’t been able to capture the top spot in Japan, where publicly traded Mixi reigns supreme. Mixi itself, however, may be looking to expand in North America and in Europe. In an interview with Reuters, CEO Kenji Kasahara said the company would like to eventually enter English speaking markets, although the end service could be something other than the actual Mixi service. Beyond that, it sounds like any plans won’t take hold for awhile, as Kasahara said the expansion will come “some day”. Right now, the main thrust is on looking for ways to diversify its business—95 percent of revenue comes from ads. Also, per the article, the stock is off 40 percent since its explosive IPO two years ago, so there’s added pressure to goose the business.

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