The UpStream

Verizon to Breathe Life Into Geek Squad

posted Sunday Jul 22, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Verizon to Breathe Life Into Geek Squad

Verizon has realized that small businesses are in desperate need of IT support and feel that they are in the right position to solve the problem. Actually, they feel they are in the right position to brand a solution from another company: Best Buy's ailing Geek Squad service. The two companies have teamed up to create IT Help Desk, a 24/7 computer solution service in which Geek Squad Agents will take phone questions and solve a myriad of computer problems.

Janet Schijns, vice president of vertical solutions and channels for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, said,

Technology innovation continues to unlock value and create revenue opportunities for small and medium businesses, which are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy. Our new offering allows business owners to tap into today's sophisticated wireless and advanced technologies with the peace of mind that trusted tech support is readily available anytime the need arises.

Verizon seems to think it is a partnership made in heaven. What does Best Buy think of someone wanting the aid of their Geek Squad service? Hit the break.

PC: Where All of the Real Gamers Are

posted Saturday Jul 21, 2012 by Scott Ertz

PC: Where All of the Real Gamers Are

While Sony prepares the PlayStation 4, and Microsoft prepares the next Xbox, EA prepares for the PC. EA CEO John Riccitiello recently said in an interview with CNBC,

Just five years ago people said that the PC game business was in a radical state of decline because NPD said it was down 10 percent, 20 percent, 30 percent, year-in year-out... The fastest growing platform for video games today is the PC, but it's growing through subscriptions, through micro transactions and through downloads.

That is a little hard for me to believe - kind of. It all depends on what we consider PC gaming. If we are counting games like SimCity Social, then I can totally understand why he believes that. SimCity Social has seen huge growth over the past few weeks since launch. Riccitiello also believes there is huge growth in the full title business as well. In regards to FIFA 12,

We had five million players that first week and it's now july, and we've had no fewer than four and a half million players since then.

So, is it possible that PC is gaining traction? Hit the break for more.

Viacom and DirecTV Come to Agreement on Content

posted Saturday Jul 21, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Viacom and DirecTV Come to Agreement on Content

It's been almost 2 weeks since Viacom pulled all of its content off of DirecTV, but there is good news for DirecTV customers: the negotiations are over and you can now watch your Nickelodeon again. What happened to get Viacom back on the provider? An agreement worth $600 million per year for seven years to Viacom, a gain of over 20 percent above their previous agreement.

This is less than Viacom had hoped. The original request was for a 30 percent increase, which DirecTV refused to pay, prompting the provider to end their partnership and removing their network suite from the provider. To add insult to injury, Viacom decided to punish everyone for DirecTV's very reasonable decision not to accept a 30 percent increase in licensing fees, by blocking access to its own streaming services. Even Jon Stewart, who works for Viacom, thought the move was insane, mocking it on his show.

So, what did DirecTV have to say about the agreement? Hit the break for a quote.

Google Nexus 7 Having a Myriad of Screen Issues

posted Saturday Jul 21, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Google Nexus 7 Having a Myriad of Screen Issues

It doesn't matter how exciting the launch of a product is, if there are hardware problems, there is no way to overcome it. Whether it be Canon's sensor housing crack or a tablet whose screen is far below the quality it should be, no software patch can solve it. It becomes an even bigger problem when the product in question is in such high demand that you cannot find a retailer to take back the broken one because they do not have another with which to swap it out.

That is the week Google has been having with their new Google Nexus 7 tablet. Announced at Google I/O last month and launched this month, the Nexus 7 was marketed directly to compete against Amazon's Kindle Fire; a $200 Android-powered, 7-inch tablet. While Amazon went with familiar hardware, specs that were nearly identical to the BlackBerry PlayBook, Google decided to try and be more exciting. The problem is that the screen has caused them a collection of problems.

From loose screws to touch sensitivity issues, Google's screen fails are detailed after the break.

Windows 8 Release Date Set

posted Saturday Jul 21, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Windows 8 Release Date Set

We have known for a while that Windows 8 would be released in October. For those who weren't convinced, even Samsung said their tablet would release in October. The problem has been that we had no idea when in October to expect it; would it be early or late? Our expectation has been late, as Microsoft tends to release products at the end of October regularly.

This week, Microsoft confirmed my suspicions at their annual sales meeting, announcing that October 26 would be the official date for Windows 8's release to consumer. That means, whether you want to buy a full version to install on an existing computer, or purchase a new PC pre-installed with Win8, that is the date you will be able to do it. Keep in mind that, since Windows 8 is a single OS for desktop, laptop and tablet, all of these form factors will be available at launch.

I don't know about you, but October 26 is already on my calendar. I have been waiting for the full Metro experience on the larger screen, and I don't mean Xbox, since Windows Phone showed the ease and power of the experience. We've been running it in our offices on some of our development machines for months and can't wait for the final, stable version. Will you be picking up Windows 8 at launch? Let us know in the comments.

Yahoo Appoints Marissa Mayer as New CEO of Company After Several Interims Filled Role

posted Monday Jul 16, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Yahoo Appoints Marissa Mayer as New CEO of Company After Several Interims Filled Role

Former woman executive in charge of Local, Maps and Location Services for Google, including Google Maps, Google Earth and Zagat, Marissa Mayer, has now been named CEO of Yahoo. The company announced today that Mayer will be President and Chief Executive Officer, as well as Member of the Board of Directors effective July 17, 2012. This is certainly a good move for Yahoo, who has been in a game of CEO musical chairs as of late, going through three CEOs (two were interim) in the past year.

This is a very high mark for Yahoo, as the company has been pushing to regain some relevancy and amend some relationships as of late. Yahoo describes it as signaling "a renewed focus on product innovation to drive user experience and advertising revenue for one of the world's largest consumer internet brands."

On being appointed as CEO, Mayer said,

I am honored and delighted to lead Yahoo!, one of the Internet's premier destinations for more than 700 million users. I look forward to working with the Company's dedicated employees to bring innovative products, content, and personalized experiences to users and advertisers all around the world.

We have the full press release and more thoughts on the matter after the break.

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