Bloomberg: Nintendo Forecasting Loss

I’ve been beating the drum for Nintendo to start spreading its software across platforms and moving away from expensive hardware. They’ve fallen behind on consoles and unless they reinvent, like they did with the Wii, they will continue to bleed money.

Nintendo Mulls New Business Model After Forecasting Loss

In my opinion, Nintendo should take a Sega approach: but their popular titles on iOS and Android, which will limit the reasons to purchase a console, yet generate tons of revenue. They may even want to consider distribution through Steam, for PC gamers and the upcoming Steambox. They should not be afraid of losing DS business to iPads and their ilk, as this is already happening. People who love DS will buy it. The face it, they can build a richer experience on Apple’s better hardware, while still reaping the benefits of making money.

I’m not saying they must do this to survive, but I think it’s a pretty good strategy. They can gain profits, while they create the next big thing to take the market by storm.

Amazon Profits Fall 45 Percent, Still the Most Amazing Company in the World

Jeff Bezos, CEO of AMAZON, introduces new Kindle Fire HD Family and Kindle Paper white during the AMAZON press conference on September 06, 2012 in Santa Monica, California.

Amazon kept up its streak of being awesome this afternoon by announcing a 45 percent year-on-year decline in profits measuring Q4 2012 against Q4 2011. Not because sales went down, mind you. They’re up. Revenue is up. The company’s razor-thin profit margins just got even thinner, and in total the company lost $39 million in 2012.

The company’s shares are down a bit today, but the company’s stock is taking a much less catastrophic plunge in already-meager profits than Apple, whose stock plunged simply because its Q4 profits increased at an unexpectedly slow rate. That’s because Amazon, as best I can tell, is a charitable organization being run by elements of the investment community for the benefit of consumers. The shareholders put up the equity, and instead of owning a claim on a steady stream of fat profits, they get a claim on a mighty engine of consumer surplus. Amazon sells things to people at prices that seem impossible because it actually is impossible to make money that way. And the competitive pressure of needing to square off against Amazon cuts profit margins at other companies, thus benefiting people who don’t even buy anything from Amazon.

It’s a truly remarkable American success story. But if you own a competing firm, you should be terrified. Competition is always scary, but competition against a juggernaut that seems to have permission from its shareholders to not turn any profits is really frightening.


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Google filling Kirkland campus, more growth planned | The Seattle Times

Fishing’s still pretty good in Seattle, if you’re trying to catch a software engineer.

Every month, it seems, another out-of-state tech company arrives on the shores of Lake Washington or Lake Union and throws out a line.

There’s concern about whether there’s enough fish in the pond, especially with demand for software engineers outpacing the output of college computer-science programs.

Both candidates for governor are pledging to improve the situation, and there are national efforts to boost science and technology education.

Yet the crisis hasn’t slowed Google’s double-digit growth in Kirkland, where I spent time last week with the new site director, Chee Chew. (shown here on the stairs in his building, in a photo by Steve Ringman of the Times)

“We’ve been growing very, very aggressively so there’s no question that we are finding talent,” he said. “We’ve had pretty good success hiring here.”

Google’s presence in Kirkland has tripled since Chew arrived there in 2007, after a 14-year run at Microsoft that began with his work on the Windows 95 taskbar.

In 2009, Google moved into a three-building complex on Kirkland’s Sixth Street that’s now almost full. Among the site’s projects are Google+ Hangouts, Google Talk and elements of the Chrome browser, including the Chrome Web Store.

Combined with a sister office next to Seattle’s Fremont Bridge, Google now has about 1,000 employees in the area. It’s Google’s second-largest engineering center (its New York office is larger but has fewer engineers) and has a higher percentage of engineers than the headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

Last year Google hired about 120 people here and so far this year it’s hired 70, with more to come.

Chew works in an office space shared — by choice — with 14 people. Don’t fret about the Googlers’ working conditions, though.

They may be getting crowded but they’re not giving up Googley touches, like expansive living rooms amid the office clusters, with pool tables and funky chairs hanging from the ceiling.


Last year Google built out the third Kirkland building with a transportation theme. The lobby has an espresso bar designed to look like a cruise ship, and its cafeteria has bench seats like those on a ferryboat and a green and white wall with portholes.

Upstairs are two motorboats, moored at wooden docks built onto the floor. The boats are used as meeting rooms and equipped with power outlets for laptops. They were installed as a memorial to Steve Lacey, a Google engineer killed by a drunken driver last year in Kirkland.

Google now is remodeling the last unused spaces in another building on the campus, which won’t be empty for long.

“I don’t think we have all that much time left before we’re at capacity at our current growth rate. I’d give us a couple of years,” Chew said.

The 42-year-old MIT graduate and user-interface expert became site director two months ago. Chew’s predecessor, Scott Silver, who came to Google from, transferred to Mountain View, Calif., the company headquarters.

Google already is looking around for the next place to expand in the area. Chew said the general plan is to continue straddling the lake, providing offices close to where engineers live “and have as few people cross the bridge as possible.”

“There aren’t a whole lot of available spaces for us to grow and so we’re looking all over the place,” he said. “We don’t have a specific plan of where we’re going to go at this point, but we’re casting our net pretty wide.”

Google has lost some engineers to Facebook and other Silicon Valley companies that have set up Seattle engineering offices in recent years. Just as Google did in 2004, when Microsoft was the best fishing hole.

But Chew isn’t too concerned about poaching by newcomers. He said the Valley is a good example of how innovation thrives in a place where people move around and have choices of companies with different cultures.

“A little attrition is OK,” he said. “Another way I’d look at it is this way: I think it’s actually healthy and a great thing for our community.”

If you’re recruiting someone from another state, “he’s not only looking at a company like Google, he’s also looking at what’s the environment like?” Chew explained.

“The more opportunities that we have here the more enticing it is to draw talent to the region,” he said. “That actually helps all of us.”

While Washington frets about whether its hatching enough engineers to replenish the pond, word of Chew’s success is spreading in areas where the fishing’s tougher.

“Engineering recruiting is by far the hardest problem startups (or large companies) face today, and it is easier in Seattle than in the Bay Area, since the number of relevant startups competing for the talent is much smaller,” said Hadi Partovi, a former Microsoft manager and startup veteran who helped Facebook establish its Seattle engineering office in 2010.

Yet there are still not enough fish to go around, Partovi said, especially when you look broadly at the projected growth in U.S. software jobs over the next decade. If the education system can’t produce enough programmers to fill the jobs, they’ll be filled by immigrants or shipped overseas, he said.

That outcome may not be as bad as it sounds. This is a better place with more jobs and opportunity because of the contributions made by people like Chew, who immigrated as a child from Malaysia, and Partovi, who is of Iranian descent.

I’m more concerned about the new immigrants from California.

All the hiring and investment by companies setting up satellite engineering offices in Seattle is fantastic. We’re the envy of cities around the world. I just hope we keep spawning locally based tech companies as well.

(Here’s a gallery of images taken inside the transportation-themed building at Google’s Kirkland campus and a newly remodeled floor with a Seattle music theme. Below is a picture I took of the campus that made me wonder why more Googlers don’t move here from Mountain View …)


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An email I received today.

 “Let me get this straight… We’re going to be “gifted” with a health care plan we are forced to purchase and fined if we don’t, Which purportedly covers at least ten million more people, without adding a single new doctor, but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents, written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn’t understand it, passed by a Congress that didn’t read it but exempted themselves from it, and signed by a President who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn’t pay his taxes, for which we’ll be taxed for four years before any benefits take effect, by a government which has already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare, all to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that’s broke!!!!! ‘What the hell could possibly go wrong?’”

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