Google’s deal to buy YouTube confuses me for two reasons:

  1. $1.65 billion is an awful lot of money. Is YouTube really worth that much to Google, even to take a competitor out?

  2. Google Video and YouTube seem pretty similar in look & feel, featureset, etc. So why is Google deciding to keep it as a separate brand? Perhaps they are planning to discontinue Google Video by merging it into YouTube. Keeping them apart would certainly seem like a waste of resources.

I’m sure Google know what they are doing - but I’m still confused. Thoughts?

Update 2006-10-11: There’s an (English-language) interview on the Der Spiegel website with Google’s North Europe chief, attempting to explain the deal. I’m not convinced. In particular:

'We want to carry on each brand and each product as it is. We don't plan to phase out YouTube or to completely combine the two firms.'

Why not?

Update 2006-10-15: Richard links to a BusinessWeek article where Steve Ballmer discusses Google’s deal. As the interviewer points out, he doesn’t seem too clear on it either. There’s also a moderately intelligent comment on Slashdot, of all places, with another theory.

Imperial MEng Presentations

IBM Hursley invited three final-year MEng students from Imperial College to give us presentations on their individual MEng projects today (mine, from several years ago, can be found here). They were:

I had the chance to meet these folks briefly (Marc and Matthew had also been here previously, when they were part of the team from Imperial who won the Thinkpad Challenge). It was interesting to see some academic work for a change - whilst I’d never be able to make a career out of that, bringing academia and business together always seems to reap benefits.

I wish Marc, Matthew and Francis luck if they choose to develop their projects further.

Future of the Mainframe

Many folks have written the mainframe off for years. And it certainly seems true that it isn’t as compelling as it once was with respect to performance or capability; it’s complex and most people don’t understand it, despite the potential TCO advantages. But I attended an introductory course on z/OS (IBM’s ‘standard’ mainframe OS) some months ago, and it’s striking how much the mainframe still has to offer that other platforms don’t, particularly with respect to the *ilities that Richard was writing about recently - mostly due to the superior architecture and hardware. Of course mainframes can be arcane, and in some cases actually backward, but it seems like plenty of people aren’t willing to give up on them just yet. However, it’s a known problem that those with expertise in mainframes are leaving the workforce. So it’s refreshing to see that IBM is committing to simplifying the platform. This is going to be a challenge - changing the platform whilst keeping its reputation for stability is going to be hard - but it’s necessary for IBM to keep the platform alive, and necessary for the mission-critical systems that our customers run that still rely on this knowledge. So I look forward to seeing how it changes over the coming years.

Screenselect Merges with LOVEFiLM

Screenselect, the DVD rental service I was using, has finally merged completely with LOVEFiLM, under the latter brand. I was very happy with Screenselect, so it will be interesting to see if this changes anything, for better or for worse. I was using LOVEFiLM up to about a year ago. I left because they used throttling, but denied it when asked and blamed delays on the Royal Mail instead. I hope I don’t begin to experience this again, because I’m going to struggle to find another rental service with such a wide range of film I tend to like (including the more ‘arty’ stuff). Time will tell.

Sign of the Killer

This film makes no sense.

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