Each Friday, we follow up on tech and media stories we covered a year ago.
When algorithms attack! About a year ago, United stock shot down 75% to $3 because a report on Bloomberg erroneously said the airline had filed for bankruptcy again. Whoops! Not true.
How did it happen? As Henry Blodget reported at the time, a visitor to the Florida news site SunSentinel.com unknowingly pushed a 2002 story headlined “UAL Files For Bankruptcy” to the site’s “most popular” section. Googlebot found it and made it searchable within Google News. And then a securities analyst summarized it (apparently without reading it) and uploaded it to Bloomberg.
The SEC had opened a preliminary inquiry into the event, but as far as we can tell, hasn’t announced anything since. (We’ve asked the SEC for more info, and will update if we hear back.) But we don’t expect anything to come out of this… besides news sites perhaps displaying datelines more prominently and news aggregators refining their algorithms.
Cablevision’s TiVo-in-the-clouds still M.I.A.: A year ago, Cablevision COO Tom Rutledge said the company’s futuristic DVR service — which doesn’t live on your cable box, but on a server somewhere — would come out “early next year.” It’s still on hold. (But still a decent idea.) Earlier this summer, the Supreme Court decided not to hear Hollywood’s appeal, seeking to block the service over copyright restrictions. Meanwhile, other cable companies have shifted their focus to figuring out how to put archived content on the Web for on-demand viewing.
Apple’s iPod event just as boring last year: Last Sept. 9, Steve Jobs unveiled… an update to iTunes, a new iPod nano, and a new iPod touch. This Sept. 9, Steve Jobs unveiled… an update to iTunes, a new iPod nano, and a new iPod touch. Can you wake us up when the tablet comes out?
The gaming bubble that popped fast and hard: A year ago, the video game industry showed its first signs of slowing down after a monster first half. A year later, they’d be begging for a flat line. This morning, NPD Group announced that August video game sales were down for the sixth straight month, after Electronic Arts’ “Madden 2010” flopped hard. No surprise to EA shareholders, who took a beating last fall and haven’t recovered.
Here’s that 12-month ERTS chart via Yahoo Finance:
Last week’s flashback: Google’s Chrome browser celebrates first birthday; Joost kills off desktop client; Steve Jobs stops responding to your emails; Carol Bartz would take $19 in a heartbeat. Read on →