Five Controversies Keep Tech Lively During the Dog Days of Summer

NEWS ANALYSIS: Media downsizing, cloud computing, smartphones, the Internet of things and the continuing trickle of National Security Agency secrets are keeping the news lively this summer.

Summer Tech Stories B

Not too much slack time this summer in the tech world. Development in the tech industry continues to roil the business world and vice versa.

These five events strike me as some of the big deals as Labor Day and the end of summer fun starts to loom. Media, cloud computing, smartphones, the Internet of things and the leaking of secrets continue to be the stuff of tech news. Here's what is happening in these areas.

I'm now part of the spun-off generation.

As a one-time daily newspaper reporter, I now feel nostalgic for the noisy, low paid, tension-packed newsrooms of the past. Once media was king and newspapers were the go-to place to get the real story.

I once subscribed to three dailies to get the full mix, but alas, no more. Now Gannett, Tribune Company and E.W. Scripps are spinning off their print properties—treating them like yesterday’s news. Does this mean that the future for readers is to spend their time reading lists on Buzzfeed?

I don’t think so and for that answer I turn to AirBnB, Uber and all those other cool startups digitally connecting users with rides, rooms and, in some cases, empty parking spaces. Media companies still are the champions of creating content that users want for entertainment, buying stuff or learning about the world we live in. It is just that no media company has yet put all the pieces together. So, all you spun-off reporters, there is hope yet.

The Internet of things that haven’t happened yet.

Who is the biggest champion of the Internet of things? Maybe Cisco’s John Chambers, who talks up the IoT at every chance. Is it because he doesn’t want his customers grumbling about having to buy a Cisco box to reach software-defined network nirvana or dealing white box vendors entering the Cisco turf? Maybe. The Internet of things will become the next big thing, just not on the timescale or overseen by the vendors from the pre-IoT era.

Then there are the writers championing products that are yet to appear. I’d like to have an Apple iPhone 6. It would be fun to compare it against the Samsung Alpha. But until a product is delivered and testers get their hands on the shipping and not just the rumored smartphone all the early comparisons that are appearing this summer are no more than summer reruns of previous unannounced matchups.

Amazon using its sharp elbows in the cloud. Amazon is good at taking in money and not so good at turning those revenues into profits. The company plows back its revenue into expanding its business and creating new products and services.

After a 10-year nap, Microsoft, Google and IBM are intent on challenging Amazon Web Services in cloud computing. The immediate results are rounds of cost cutting in storage which is fun to watch, good for customer budgets and probably not so much fun for the new competitors.

Amazon’s history is to lower prices and add services at a rapid pace. This is going to be a boxing match to watch the rest of this year and into 2015.

What doesn’t Snowden know? The leaks just keep coming from Edward Snowden. The latest leak is about the NSA “Monstermind” for engaging in anonymous cyber-warfare. The Snowden effect is now shorthand for foreign governments and companies rethinking where their data resides and whether additional laws should be created to try to thwart where digital secrets go to rest.

Note to all those spun-out journalists: Waiting for the Internet of things, comparing unannounced smartphones, a new round of cloud wars and the reverberations of digital snooping are my top movies to watch this summer.

Eric Lundquist is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Lundquist, who was editor-in-chief at eWEEK (previously PC WEEK) from 1996-2008 authored this article for eWEEK to share his thoughts on technology, products and services. No investment advice is offered in this article. All duties are disclaimed. Lundquist works separately for a private investment firm which may at any time invest in companies whose products are discussed in this article and no disclosure of securities transactions will be made.