GOOGLE will announce plans for Google-powered phones within the next two weeks according to The Wall Street Journal. The company has been approaching handset makers and aims to bring the phones to market by mid-2008. Google will offer an open operating system that encourages developers to create innovative new applications for phones and aims to completely upset the control that carriers currently have over phone software.
HULU launched a limited beta offering over 90 different television shows and 10 movies. The joint venture between NEWS CORP. and NBC U aims to offer the best collection of professionally-produced video online and will syndicate with Microsoft, AOL, MySpace, Yahoo and Comcast. Shows and movies will be ad-supported with revenue being split between the content creator, Hulu and the distribution site. Hulu faced much skepticism and ridicule before its launch but is now drawing early praise for its content selection and clean design.
VERIZON surpassed 700,000 FiOS TV subscribers during its third quarter, netting 202,000 new customers for the IPTV service. The company now has 1.5 million video customers when its bundled DirecTV subscribers are counted. In related news, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has proposed that regulators open up the exclusive contracts that cable operators have with apartment buildings. The proposal is expected to pass on Wednesday and would make Verizon and AT&T’s television services available to a larger pool of customers.
JEFF ZUCKER came out swinging at APPLE during a recent interview, saying it had “destroyed the music business.” He blamed the iPod-maker’s “corrosive” business model for turning media revenue “from dollars into pennies” and wanted to avoid this fate for digital video content. Zucker claims to have pushed hard to experiment with raising prices and even tried to get a cut of Apple’s hardware sales. When these proposals were rejected Zucker made the decision to pull all NBC content from iTunes.
BARAK OBAMA pledged to push for Net Neutrality during a forum hosted by MTV Online. The presidential candidate said that two-tier connections would “destroy one of the best things about the Internet.” If elected he promises to make Net Neutrality an underlying principal for his FCC commissioners.