IN THE NEWS <ul><li>http://newsmap.jp/ </li></ul>IN THE NEWS
Shots And Murmurs From The Microsoft Vs. Apple War Fast Company, Ad Age Cliff Kuang writes that Microsoft's plan to open retail stores next to Apple stores is the "horrible idea of the day." Actually, it may be worse than that. He thinks the guys and gals up in Redmond, Wash., are just setting themselves up for public humiliation by once again trying to compete with Apple on Apple's terms. The concept store at Microsoft HQ, he says, "looks like the love child of a Circuit City and a Walgreens." The only question is how epic Microsoft's failure will be, Kuang feels. If you want to beat Apple, you've got to pick a game it's not good at -- "duh," quoth he. Well, it's not good at competitive prices, and that's exactly the point that Crispin Porter & Bogusky "Laptop Hunters" campaign has been driving home with some success. So much so, according to Microsoft COO Kevin Turner, that Apple's attorneys have privately demanded that the ads be pulled because it has lowered its prices. ("They took like $100 off or something," smirks Turner.) But Apple's not saying anything publicly, and don't expect it to file suit, an attorney tells Ad Age 's Rupal Parekh , although it does appear to have a legal leg to stand upon.
Wal-Mart Promotions Could Ignite Laptop Price War USA Today Wal-Mart, which recently renovated the PC displays in 1,200 of its 3,600 stores, plans to refurbish more stores, broaden product selection and do a series of rock-bottom-pricing promotions starting on Sunday, Byron Acohido reports. Some laptops will be on sale for less than you'd pay for a netbook. Wal-Mart will sell, for example, a Hewlett-Packard-made laptop, running Windows Vista with 3 gigabytes of memory and a 160-gigabyte hard drive, for just $298. "We believe we can move the needle for us as a laptop destination," says Gary Severson, Wal-Mart's svp for entertainment. "Other retailers will be watching closely to see if they need to respond by dropping prices for comparable products," says David Daoud, IDC tech industry researcher. "It could potentially trigger a price war."
Starbucks' Schultz Appreciates Marketing Effort For McCafe Ad Age, Seattle Times Although Starbucks revenues fell for the quarter ended June 28, it posted a $151.5 million profit, which was better than analysts expected and far better than its $6.7 million loss during the dark days of last summer, Melissa Allison writes in the Seattle Times . Emily Bryson York reports that part of the improvement can be traced to the big marketing budget attached to McDonald's launch of its McCafe -- at least in the eyes of CEO Howard Schultz. While naysayers in the media and Wall Street predicted that the McDonald's ad juggernaut would have a negative impact on Stabucks, quite the opposite occurred. "Various marketing campaigns" -- including Starbucks' own first branding campaign -- have "created unprecedented awareness for the coffee category overall and has actually had a positive result on Starbucks' business," says Schultz. Starbucks' next big marketing push will be for Via, the instant-coffee product. "We are going to create a very creative campaign that will be different than what we've done to date and will take advantage of the social media that we become very good at as well as traditional levels of media," Schultz says.
Toyota's New N.A. Chief Admits Automaker Lost Its Way Wall Street Journal Blaming complacency and arrogance, Yoshimi Inaba, the new chief of Toyota's North American operations, admits that the Japanese automaker lost touch with its customers in recent years and is planning to overhaul how it does business here, Kate Linebaugh reports. "Our sense has been always that we listen to the market, we listen to customers, we listen to the dealer. That element is a little bit lost," says Inaba. The automaker's most immediate problem is dealing with overcapacity, analysts say, but Inaba disagrees with those who say that Toyota expanded too fast. "We were having a tough time catching up with demand," he says. He also stresses that the U.S. auto market "remains the most important market for Toyota" and hopes to gain some incremental market share as a result of the restructuring of GM and Chrysler.
GM's Lutz Makes Another U-Turn Wall Street Journal Criminey, it's hard to keep up with the 77-year-old Bob Lutz, but he's sure good at generating copy (and may he stick around as long as "Around the Net" does). Now the newly dubbed GM marketing and communications chief says "never mind" about his comments earlier this week that the Pontiac G8 might be sold as a Chevy Caprice because it was "just too good to waste." (You'll recall that the Pontiac line is being phased out.) In a blog item posted yesterday, Sharon Terlep reports, Lutz asks us to "[go] back in time to, oh, about four or five days ago, when the Pontiac G8 was going away." That's because it's going away again. "With my new 'marketing' hat on, upon further review and careful study, we simply cannot make a business case for such a program. Not in today's market, in this economy, and with fuel regulations what they are and will be," Lutz writes. Why does marketing require quotes in Lutz' post, you might ask? Perhaps because it seems to be novel term around GM. Let us reblog Business Week 's Jon Fine , who reblogs Slate 's Mickey Kaus, who picks up NPR's Robert Siegel, who actually talks with Lutz : SIEGEL: But when you take your eye off the ball for more than 20 years... LUTZ: Yeah, well, that was bad. ...
Mom-and-Pop Operators Turn to Social Media Three weeks after Curtis Kimball opened his creme brulee cart in San Francisco, he noticed a stranger among the friends in line for his desserts. How had the man discovered the cart? He had read about it on Twitter. For Mr. Kimball, who conceded that he "hadn't really understood the purpose of Twitter," the beauty of digital word-of-mouth marketing was immediately clear. He signed up for an account and has more than 5,400 followers who wait for him to post the current location of his itinerant cart and list the flavors of the day, like lavender and orange creamsicle. "I would love to say that I just had a really good idea and strategy, but Twitter has been pretty essential to my success," he said. He has quit his day job as a carpenter to keep up with the demand.
Using the iPhone's GPS technology, this app lets users geo-tag their favorite spots within the tags priceless, dining, shopping, entertainment and other, and share their picks with their friends and family. Users can then view a map of their area embedded with tags of their network's picks. <ul><li>http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=322850940&mt=8 </li></ul>
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