The big Kindle. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is in New York right now, showing off his company's latest e-book gadget. The Kindle DX will cost $489, and will have a screen designed for reading textbooks and newspapers. The device will be able to read PDFs and, if Bezos is to be believed, will bring us closer to a paperless society. Gizmodo and Engadget are running dueling live blogs. The Wall Street Journal's coverage is slightly more sober.
Making free pay. How much can you make with a successful iPhone app? Even if you give your app away, quite a bit, it turns out. Techcrunch brings news of a report from AdWhirl, an online advertising network, that says that applications that hit the top 100 in Apple's App Store make between $400-$5000 a day, or as much as $150,000 a month. "Of course, making it to the top of the Free Apps list is easier said than done," Techcrunch notes. "But the same is true of the vast majority of paid applications too - in fact, there's actually less competition on the Free side of the store."
The beginnings of recovery? Henry Blodget says the stock market's gains over the past couple of months--up 30 percent since March--may not presage an immediate turnaround. Unemployment "could still come around and bite us in the arse," he writes, quoting an investment expert who predicts that unemployment could reach 12.5 percent by the end of 2009. Either way, now is as good a time as any to start a company.
A VC backer for cannabis site. Justin Hartfield, head of WeedMaps, a web-based pot-dispensary locator—TechCrunch calls it "Yelp for cannabis clubs"—says a notable VC has offered to buy the site, but would like to keep his employer's name out of the limelight. Getting picked up by Valleywag was probably a step in the wrong direction.
Patent applications are down. Bizbox points out an AP report on the slowdown in patent applications. The recession has stifled both corporate R&D programs and VC-funded efforts by entrepreneurs. Even people tinkering in their basements are suffering from the credit crunch. Given that we'll need innovation to get us out of this downturn, that's not a good sign. There's also the fact that the patent office relies on application fees for its operating budget—and so they're looking at a $100 million shortfall this year. So if you run one of the companies still applying for patents despite the recession, you can expect the approval process to get even slower.
How Google's success depends on small business According to Cnn.com, small business owners are the main reason Google became the fastest-growing business in history; they make up the vast majority of the clients of Google's Adwords service, which places targeted text ads alongside search results and accounts for 95% of Google's revenue.
The high cost of self-employment. Being your own boss is great, but be sure to crunch the numbers first the Wall Street Journal says. Expect to pay higher taxes, for one thing—while as an employee you pay only part of your Social Security and Medicare taxes, you'll pay the full amount when you strike out on your own. Expenses and deductions will get more complicated, too. You won't be able to contribute as much pre-tax income to your retirement account, your insurance rates will skyrocket if you can't piggyback on your spouse's plan, and then there's the matter of paying for a mortgage.
Bigger businesses now eligible for small business loans The Obama administration is temporarily raising the size limitations on businesses for its small business loans program, making room for 70,000 more firms to apply, according to Reuters. The increase will take effect next week and expire on September 30, 2010, and is expected to provide particular relief to auto and recreational vehicle dealers and suppliers. But according to SBA officials, the expansion shouldn't increase the loan program beyond the $25 billion designated for the 2009 fiscal year because demand for loans has dropped during the recession.
The best of open source. OStatic rounds up a comprehensive list of the best Firefox extensions, online books on open source topics, tools for developers, resources for working with and watching online video and audio, Linux tutorials and more. And all of it's free. They have recommendations on where to kick the tires on open source applications, a killer open source word processor (AbiWord), and webinars on MySQL and Drupal.
Inc.'s May issue Is online right now. We've got stories on the unique management philosophy of Zappos founder Tony Hsieh, the secrets to LinkedIn's success, and a story on the best tasting pigs this side of the Atlantic.
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