While there is a lot of travel and technology news to get to, the most important and awful news of the week was the terrible tragedy this weekend in Tuscon as an armed man opened fire at a meeting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, shooting the Congresswoman in the head and killing 6 people including a Federal Judge and a 9-year old girl and wounding many others. My thoughts and prayers are with them.
The business-related story of the week was the escalation of the war between American Airlines and many of its distribution partners (well maybe partners isn’t such a good term right now). While there was a lot of good articles written with different points of view, I will highlight four articles and leave some room for other news of the week.
- First and foremost, you should read PhoCusWright analyst Douglas Quimby’s post. He covers short and long term implications of the pitched battle and 9 key issues to watch for.
- Our favorite Professor provides a humorous, but pointed, commentary on a recent Business Travel Coalition press release (in-line with the press release text) on the latest developments.
- The New York Times’s Travel section covers the topic from a consumer perspective as it’s getting harder to shop for airfare in this environment.
- Flightcaster’s Evan Konweiser wrote an interesting defense of AA. There are aspects which ring true, but he also makes a few leaps of logic which don’t fit the facts (e.g. Kodak didn’t decide not to bring a digital camera to market in 1975 only because it was a challenge to its film-processing based business model, but because the technology to deliver image quality that approached kindergarten sketches, let alone traditional film standards was decades away. Nor were there PC’s for consumers to upload them to, sites to share them with friends on or printers to print them on…unless you like the dot-matrix photos that were common at B’nai-Mitzvahs when I was growing up). Ah, the problems of taking an analogy too far. But there are some valid points here. The airline and travel industry have the most “unique” (yeah, that’s a nice way to say it) sales and distribution processes in the world.
Now what else happened last week?
- Verizon showed a lot of new devices at CES, the most interesting being the Motorola Xoom tablet prototype running Android Honeycomb. But of course the most anticipated announcement from Verizon is scheduled for Tuesday.
- More news from CES: Skype acquires Qik for $100M. Good tuck in acquisition from a technology perspective. As Skype CEO Tony Bates said: “…the acquisition of Qik will help to accelerate our leadership in video by adding recording, sharing and storing capabilities to our product portfolio.”
- Facebook raises $500M at a $50M valuation. Next stop NYSE, circa 2012.
- Qualcomm buys WiFi silicon maker Atheros for $3.1B. A very strategic buy that enables Qualcomm to achieve its vision of being an end-to-end supplier in a networked world centered on a phone, with the phone able to communicate seamlessly with a multitude of networks, with CDMA, LTE and WiFi all under one roof.
- Apple launches the Mac App Store. In many ways this is a massive shift in software distribution for Apple and funnily enough gobs more cash in their pocket as a result. But as MG Siegler explains, there are also changes in app design that are a part of some of these new apps.
- Salesforce acquires DimDim. While many are dismayed at the loss of a free web conferencing service, this does fit nicely into the Chatter platform.