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Last week, Microsoft finally unveiled the latest version of its operating system, Windows 8.
Any release of the software giant's flagship product is a big deal for Microsoft, but Windows 8 is arguably the biggest product launch in the company's history. Why? Windows 8 is the company's attempt to successfully shift to world in which computing is increasingly touch-driven. And it might very well be be the company's only opportunity to make the shift.
There are numerous differences between Apple's content ecosystem and Google's. One of the biggest: through iTunes, Apple offers a unified and arguably superior experience. Whatever you're looking for, be it music, apps or books, can be purchased and downloaded in a single place.
This apparently hasn't been lost on Google, which today announced that it's combining Android Market, Google Music and the Google eBookstore into a single entity dubbed Google Play.
Google TV, the search giant's ambitious initiative to change the face of television, is one of the more recent attempts at finally delivering on the promise of television-web convergence. When it launched almost two years ago, it appeared that the timing for this long-discussed convergence could finally be right.
But despite initial appearances that Google was making the right moves, Google TV has struggled.
The past year hasn't exactly been easy for Mozilla.
The organization's popular web browser, Firefox, has become a bit less popular thanks in large part to the rise of Google's Chrome web browser. Once a solid number two in the browser market, Chrome, according to some sources, has surpassed Firefox in usage.
Virtual currency has fast become a multi-billion dollar industry. It's the juice that could propel Facebook to great IPO heights, and has already served as the foundation for other billion-dollar businesses, like social gaming giant Zynga.
In fact, a study released yesterday from Juniper Research predicts that the amount of money being spent on virtual currency in mobile apps is going to more than double in the next four years, going from $2.1bn last year to $4.8bn by 2016.
When it comes to mobile apps and app stores, two names stand out: Apple's App Store, and Google's Android Market.
In fact, for many developers, these two app stores are the only game in town.
But is ignoring other app stores, like Nokia's OVI Store, a mistake? According to research firm research2guidance, the answer may be 'yes'.
When it comes to the mediums that it plays in, Google could sit back and remain content with its strong position on the desktop and mobile devices.
But as successful as it is, the company stiill sees opportunity to create a bigger footprint.
One of the mediums in which it's hoping its footprint can extend: television.
Android is growing like a weed. According to comScore, Android has extended its lead as the top smartphone platform in the United States, now accounting for 40% of the market.
The ecosystem around Android, however, isn't anywhere near as strong for Android, and Google may have a tough time doing that if it doesn't quickly respond to reports that some Android developers have been underpaid for sales of their apps in the Android Market.
The number of Android devices may be growing like a weed, but when it comes to the ecoystem, not all is well.
Google's Android app store, Android Market, isn't nearly as vibrant. Whether due to stingy users, a poor experience or a combination of factors, the risk is clear: if developers treat it like the iPhone's ugly cousin, Android may have tougher times ahead.
Already, there's reason Google should be very concerned. That's because the App Store is surging...
It's no surprise that Amazon is launching an app store for Android. The ecommerce giant has come a long way since it started selling books online. Today, Amazon is rapidly evolving into a content company. And mobile apps are already a big part of the digital content business.
But despite Amazon's brand and size, there's no guarantee that it will become a successful player in the mobile app space. Apple is the 800 pound gorilla, and history isn't exactly conclusive when it comes to Amazon versus Apple. While Amazon's Kindle seems to be holding its own with the iPad, its MP3 store has hardly put a dent in the success of iTunes.
Google's Android operating system may be a prominent fixture in the mobile world, but when looking at the app economy within it, Android is having a hard time competing with Apple and iOS.
One big reason: Android Market, Google's online marketplace for Android applications.
Google may be activating 300,000 new Android devices every day, but when it comes to the mobile platform with the best application ecosystem, it's hard to beat Apple and iOS.
The Mountain View-based company, however, is hoping to change that, and last week announced a major update to its Android Market client. Here's the update's good, the bad, and ugly.