Instagram’s Exit Plan

instaUpdate — Instagram now says it was all a huge mistake, that users own their pictures and there’s no way Facebook is going to sell them to anyone… but the company hasn’t yet revealed alternate legal language, which they should have been able to cobble up in an hour or two. The underlying problem of mean-spirited, self-serving, over-reaching terms of service is still with us at Instagram and almost everywhere else. Their revised terms of service were stupid and couldn’t stand. Let’s hope in their next attempt to grab rights (because that’s what this whole thing was about and probably still is) Instagram and Facebook treat their users fairly. Until they do, most of what’s […]

Facebook, Cringely and the devolution of the web

Some readers may recall one of my predictions for 2012 was the end of this column. It’s time for me to start explaining what that’s all about. Next month will mark 25 years of my doing some version of this column either in print or online. It’s not a record (I’m sure John Dvorak has that) but it is a milestone that I’ve been for some time determined to reach. But having achieved 25 years of continuous service, what then? Well there is no gold watch. In fact my transition is, if anything, forced by the declining economics of the web. Facebook has much the same problem.

Desktop computers are at or […]

Google+ versus Facebook: It’s the apps, stupid!

With Facebook now public and sitting on a huge pile of cash, let’s turn the conversation to the social network’s most pressing competitor, Google. Google and Google+ don’t appear to present much of a threat to Facebook, but the game board was reset on Friday and tactics at both companies will change accordingly. Now Facebook has to find a way to grow revenue and users and will increasingly bump up against Google’s huge advantages in search and apps. For Facebook to achieve its goals, the company will have to enter both spaces with gusto.

Google has learned how to leverage its strengths and suddenly one of those strengths is Facebook’s success. Now that Facebook is a […]

By |May 21st, 2012|2012, Business, Companies|Comments Off on Google+ versus Facebook: It’s the apps, stupid!

Zuckerberg’s Complaint

Facebook last week announced its Initial Public Offering — exactly the event I said wouldn’t happen in one of my controversial predictions for 2012. But I’m sticking with my call on this one since we’re 2-3 months from the actual event and a lot can happen to screw things up between now and then. I’m pretty sure Facebook shares will be trading sometime this year, I just don’t think the company will have a traditional IPO.

Companies go public for three reasons: 1) to raise capital for various corporate purposes like acquisitions and paying down debt; 2) to secure the wealth of founders, giving their kids something to fight over, and; 3) because they have over […]

The Cringely Internet Civility Plan

A reader came to me this week with a problem. He was being sued in federal court by a company claiming he had defamed them online.  That will be $75,000, please.  I’m not getting into who the reader is, which company is suing, even what jurisdiction, because none of that matters here.  But the case is real and I feel for the reader. So let’s come up with a way to make sure this doesn’t have to happen again.

America is a very litigious society. We love to get all riled up and sue each other, whether our claims are valid or not.  In this reader’s case he is accused of making improper comments […]