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Tech News: Facebook's Poke Flops, but Amazon's Holiday Season Is Soaring

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Also, Google made some big strides in 2012.

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This column brings you the most interesting and useful business and financial commentary on the world of technology every day.

GigaOM
Link: Snapchat Rises: Why Poke's Decline Shows Facebook's Inability to Invent
Remember last week? You know, the week when Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) indulged in yet another act of wanton xeroxing and released Poke to compete with the red-hot insta-communication app, Snapchat. Well, a week later, the world has returned to normal. Snapchat, the insta-sharing app is once again among the most popular apps - at third place.

And Poke…well, it's languishing at the 34th spot on the top free apps list, way behind Instagram, Messenger and the official Facebook apps. It is yet another example of why just because you can copy something it doesn't mean it will become successful, even if you are Facebook who is doing the copying. It is not clear what kind of usage the app is getting, but I am pretty sure Facebook will announce any day some metrics that don't quite measure anything.

TechCrunch
Link: Amazon Sees Its Biggest Holiday Season Ever While Apple, Dell & JCP Decline
Customer experience analytics company ForeSee released its eighth annual holiday online satisfaction report this morning, which rates the top e-retailer websites in 2012. This year's newly expanded list puts Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) again at the top, while Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), and JCPenney.com (NYSE:JCP) all slid down in customer rankings.

Previously, ForeSee measured data on the top 40 retailers, but this year, the firm expanded its list to the top 100. As before, the retailer rankings are generated by customer surveys. To compile this year's list, 24,000 customer surveys were collected between Thanksgiving and Christmas, ForeSee says.

ReadWrite
Link: Google 2012: The Machines Are Getting Smarter
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) was full of surprises in 2012. It outdid Apple easily in mobile OS features. It rolled out a whole line of Nexus Android devices that are undeniably top notch. And it launched the Knowledge Graph, a watershed moment between the keyword-searching past of the Web and a future Web that understands whole concepts.

2012 was also the year that Google unified its offerings under a single privacy policy, a move that freaked out lots of people, but which was totally rational from Google's perspective. If we're going to have a data-driven future offering pervasive, free technologies in exchange for better targeting of advertisements, we'll have to accept that companies like Google have an eerily accurate, real-time profile of us.

The Next Web
Link: An iRumor From Asia: Apple and Intel Reportedly Building a Bluetooth Smart Watch for H1 2013 Debut
The Apple smartwatch could find its way to the market in the first half of 2013 and sport a 1.5-inch OLED display with indium tin oxide, aka ITO-coated glass, made by Taiwanese PMOLED panel manufacturer RiTdisplay.

As for the link with Intel (NASDAQ:INTC): Apple transitioned from using PowerPC processors in its Macs to Intel chips in 2005-2006, although the company is reportedly exploring ways to replace them again, this time with a version of the chip technology it uses in the iPhone and iPad – or with rival ARM's (NASDAQ:ARMH) chipsets. This hasn't been confirmed, though.

New York Times Bits
Link: Google Moves Onto Microsoft's Turf in Business Software
It has taken years, but Google seems to be cutting into Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) stronghold - businesses, reports Quentin Hardy in Wednesday's New York Times.

Google's software for businesses, Google Apps, consists of applications for document writing, collaboration, and text and video communications - all cloud-based, so that none of the software is on an office worker's computer. Google has been promoting the idea for more than six years, and it seemed that it was going to appeal mostly to small businesses and tech start-ups.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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