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Apple, Google, and Facebook Are Killing America

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I have something that needs to be said. I realize that it will be unpopular.

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) , Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) , and Facebook? Come with me.

Here's the deal, guys. The three of you are ridiculously popular right now. Kudos, accolades, and high-fives all around! However, the problem is that you are becoming too popular. You're just not leaving scraps for anybody else to share the wealth.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not poo-pooing capitalism -- to the victor go the spoils. However, the three of you have changed the game and doomed the future of so many other companies. You know this. I know this. The problem is that folks in the video game, media, and general leisure industries -- and their investors -- don't realize this. Why is it up to me to tell them?

Everyone seems to think that an improving economy is going to raise all ships. But they don't realize that the three of you have shot holes in the hulls of sinking companies and gurgling sectors that just aren't going to surface when recovery sails in.

Let me speak to three of you, one at a time.

A million iPads in less than a month? Good grief. Analysts are gushing over the 12 million apps and 1.5 million books downloaded by newbie iPad owners, but we both know that the real problem here is that most of those apps are freebies. I'd wager that the vast majority of those books are also the public-domain ones being dispensed at no charge.

Do you see the problem? Instead of forking over $60 for a new video game, folks are spending $2.99 to buy Plants vs. Zombies on the iPhone or settling for an ad-supported casual game for free. Instead of snapping up the latest Nora Roberts or Stephen King novel, bibliophiles are rediscovering Jane Austen and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on the gratis.

You don't think this is disruptive? Video game diehards will argue that it's insulting to compare a brainless app to the intricate console games of today. Bookworms will cringe at the notion that public-domain reads are sapping the demand for fresh lit.

Well, wake up, fanatics. It's not about the quality. It's about being satisfied enough with the low-lying fruit that the premium experiences are no longer as valuable. GameStop (NYSE: GME  ) comps took a 7.9% hit during the holiday quarter, and Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS  ) suffered a 5.5% smack. Wasn't this past holiday season cheerier than the grim 2008 outing? Video game and book consumption models have been altered, and it's naive to think that comps will improve during this year's holiday shopping season when costly iPads, iPhones, and iPods dominate big-ticket lists.

As much as I respect the achievements of News Corp.'s (Nasdaq: NWS  ) Rupert Murdoch, I've had to shake my head at Murdoch's distaste for Google News as a traffic generator. Murdoch is one of the many print moguls convinced that Google is using newspaper companies with its news aggregator.

Murdoch has been quite vocal, threatening to pull out of Google's search queries, license its news feeds exclusively through rival Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) , and begin charging for its online newspapers.

Here's where I think the Google bashers have it wrong. The world's leading search engine is generating free traffic to the online editions of leading newspapers. It's the equivalent of serving up a reader without the grunt and production work of printing out a publication. Print subscriptions on local dailies are so cheap that Google is actually doing the printing press and delivery fleets an operating-cost favor.

In other words, it all boils down to effective advertising. Unlike a print ad that will typically appeal or apply to a tiny fraction of the readership base, cyberspace allows companies to serve up perfectly targeted ads. If the more effective online ads aren't as lucrative as the old school print ads, guess what? This only means that print advertising was overpriced to begin with.

This isn't going to change. Newspapers can blame Craigslist for killing their classifieds and Google for disrupting their circulations, but the inability for many print companies to thrive online is even more telling about the inadequacies of the fading print model.

Still, you're a meanie, Google, to be taking down the newspaper and magazine industries like that.

The sticky social-networking site keeps getting bigger. Earlier this year, Facebook overtook Google in Internet traffic (according to industry analyst Hitwise). Three months ago, it cracked 400 million registered users.

In and of itself, Facebook isn't a leisure killer. It helps friends and family connect, and that makes it a lot easier to arrange movie, concert, and other social outings. It also creates greater awareness of birthdays and other life events where real-world gifts are more appropriate than virtual freebies.

However, the time suck is the real Facebook thief. If someone is tending to their FarmVille crops or engaged in several windows of online chat, do they even have time to catch primetime television?

Even new media standouts are at the mercy of Facebook. Am I the only one concerned about Shutterfly (Nasdaq: SFLY  ) ? I can't think of the last time that I had some prints developed. It's been over a year since I last ordered a Shutterfly photobook. As more members of my family pop on the social network, everyone has access to the snapshots that used to ramp up photofinishing charges in the past.

You're poking too hard, Facebook!

Making lemons out of lemonade
It's not all bad, but here are potholes to the upsides as all three companies tag in on the ring.

Facebook's free diversions put more disposable income into consumer pockets, but Apple's costly gadgets snatch it. Google's AdWords platform and mobile advertising through Apple's iPhones are providing more bang for the sponsored buck, but time spent on Facebook dries up the click ticks to pursue advertised offers.

There will be far more losers than winners by the time the body count is complete, though -- to be fair -- it will hopefully mean thicker slices for those victoriously left standing.

Are Apple, Google, and Facebook helping or hurting the economy? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers choice. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Motley Fool Options has recommended writing covered calls on GameStop, along with a diagonal call position on Microsoft, which is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz remembers when social networks were an offline endeavor. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also a member of the Rule Breakers analytical team, seeking out the next great growth stock early in its defiance. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (47) | Recommend This Article (98)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2010, at 1:14 PM, t0bes wrote:

    Good points - I'd also add Amazon to the list. I almost always go there to buy anything other than food or clothing

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2010, at 2:18 PM, RipRagge wrote:

    As near as I can tell all the complaining about Apple on an investing website is "sour grapes" from those who didn't buy AAPL in 1999 for a split-adjusted $6/share.

    Apple isn't hurting my part of the economy.

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2010, at 2:37 PM, Melaschasm wrote:

    The author has everything completely backward in this article.

    By providing low cost, high quality books, ereaders are increasing the amount of reading that occurs, and reducing the amount of wasted effort on new low quality books. Also it is the big publishers, not the authors who are going to suffer in the long run, since a skilled author will be able to more easily gain an audience without the expensive bottleneck that the big publishers represent.

    The same can be said for each of the other industries being disrupted by these three companies. To the extent that these three companies are revolutionizing their corners of the economy, they are representing the greatness of creative destruction, and why capitalism works much better than central planning.

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2010, at 2:39 PM, plange01 wrote:

    google at least is on its way out...

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2010, at 2:49 PM, RagnarRedbeard wrote:

    I can't help but think that Apple, Facebook, Google et al are good things in the long run.

    Guys like the author were probably whinging about the demise of buggywhip makers when Ford brought out his Model A.

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2010, at 2:59 PM, Borbality wrote:

    Melaschasm: I'm not buying it as a good thing for books, because it sure wasn't a good thing for music. Recorded music will never recover.

    Too many musicians and authors fighting for too small of a confused audience. It's way too hard to make sense of any of it as a consumer and we'll just stick with our classics and texting each other for entertainment.

    I think Rick is right on with this article. Glory days for print and TV are long gone.

    Video games don't stand a chance, either. At least not like they did when I was a kid (late 80s early 90s).

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2010, at 3:13 PM, Cubbob wrote:

    Your article is pathetic. Where were you when Apple was on the ropes in the 1990's? These companies are just run by great leaders. My guess you have a lot of cash invested in microsoft and you are just whining.

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2010, at 3:23 PM, aponi wrote:

    Just about everyone I know has flirted with Facebook and then lost interest.

    Personally I didn't care for the mixing of internet friends with work friends with personal friends with family. Not that I'm hiding anything but I just don't necessarily want everyone I know to know everything I'm doing. The whole friending thing was odd. I was getting friend requests from people like the sister of the brother-in-law I've never liked or my niece's ex-boyfriend.

    Point is, maybe these things won't last forever.

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2010, at 3:38 PM, onepremise wrote:

    Don't blame the consumer. Blame all the failed, 'board of director' appointed, lavishly awarded public CEOs! I agree with Cubbob, sounds like you got too much invested in a competitor and resorting to shill tactics :P

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2010, at 3:53 PM, Seansonfire wrote:

    Facebook has a growing backlash from the cool kids around town.

    I don't care about what some guy I used to know when I grow up with is doing on a Tuesday morning, and that is why Facebook will eventually become a waste. Once I friend every person I know, it becomes an underwelming source of random and often pointless information about people that I barely know.

    Facebookers are pathetic, and I hope Facebook goes the way of Pager. Its only used by Doctors.

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2010, at 4:23 PM, xuincherguixe wrote:

    Speaking as one of those video game diehards, I disagree.

    Casual games(what the iPad is) and Hardcore games are two different markets.

    Fact of the matter is, your run of the mill blow the brains out of the Nazis shooter (don't get me started on first person shooters...) aint the sort of game Grandma is likely to play. Mario Shuffleboard (you just know that one is the works) is probably an easier sell.

    I still go to see Hollywood block busters at the theater even though a few months later I could go rent it on DVD. It's the same thing. You're paying for a richer experience.

    Now, I could get into a whole rant about how everything was better back in the good ole days, but largely irrelevant.

    I want to say that the Hardcore titles are lacking innovation and that's why sales are slumping, but it's the hyped up, formulaic games that get all the sales. Imagination isn't enough to carry them.

    Casual games advantage, are that they have low development costs. You can get away with more far out ideas, because they development costs are less. There's a lot more potential profit.

    Still, I feel it's less about casual games stealing away the hardcore fans as much as hardcore is just stagnating right now.

    That being said there is definitely money to be made. Though I wouldn't bother doing a lot of research here unless you happen to be a video game fan. I think I'm going to have to look up which development studios here are publicly traded companies.

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2010, at 4:23 PM, seanmh1970 wrote:

    Hmmm, this article and the comments were really not worth the time I spent reading them. My loss.

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2010, at 4:36 PM, EtamarL wrote:

    I disagree with the author of this blog/post. It's not about this company or that to suck the life out of failing companies.

    It's about the consumer - preferring products by the three companies you mentioned.

    You want to take Google, Facebook or Apple (or Amazon etc) down? Convince people that their products are not interesting.

    I think it was Churchill that once said "you can only fool half the people half the time..." --- Etamar L.

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2010, at 6:45 PM, Henry3Dogg wrote:

    When you remove the Luddite sour grapes, there really isn't anything left.

    In this life there is one thing of which you can be certain.


    Avoid the bad, and learn to run with the good.

    Virginia Campbell sets a shining example.

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2010, at 7:56 PM, mistercube wrote:

    How did all these comment-leavers fail to perceive this article's sarcasm? It's positively dripping with it. Maybe there IS a valid criticism of Apple, Google, and Facebook as newtech's behemoth companies: Maybe life's digitization IS, after all, dumbing down our culture. To read a Motley Fool message board, you certainly can't help but be steered toward that conclusion.

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2010, at 8:41 PM, TMFBreakerRick wrote:

    Thanks, mistercube.

    I appreciate any and all feedback, but I think some may have read the headline and scrolled right down to the comment box.

    Apple, Google, and Facebook are great. The closing comment even points out that they will be better off in a thinner pool of winners among the decimated losers. The "killing America" is about the bulldozing of several companies and industries that are inexplicably market darlings (or -- at the very least -- market flings).

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2010, at 11:05 PM, dandles2020 wrote:

    I love that I can self-publish a book and get it onto the Ipad and Kindle, that I don't have to go to a publishing company or literary agent. And I love the videogames I can play on my iphone, much more than any I ever played on my DS. I only hope that instead of falling to the wayside, other companies learn to compete and make and even better products.

  • Report this Comment On May 05, 2010, at 1:11 AM, BeingSolutions wrote:

    First off, the death of primetime TV will be the best thing ever for the economy -- Facebook is only one dagger killing that beast (what of utube, hulu, etc). In this, dissecting the mind-share to smaller and smaller sets is GREAT for what matters for the economy: entrepreneurship.

    Ease of access to broader product sets and sharing info are good for entrepreneurs and inventors. This is what most of these companies are helping one way or another... help people find their goofy niche. The only threat in this is isolation of people -- lack of connection... but that is another issue.

    What is good for we entrepreneurs and inventors is good for the economy.

    Amazon helps consumers sort good stuff from the crap.

    Apple is creating a huge software development opportunity -- not to mention productivity gains. (need to fix data migration and management issues tho!!!!)

    Google... that is a whole other story -- and it is a great company that will mature into an even better company.

    All is going perfectly well in this digital realm... as for improving things in the human connection realm, I'd look to

  • Report this Comment On May 05, 2010, at 1:20 AM, whereaminow wrote:


    Innovation that improves the quality of leisure time is a wonderful by-product of voluntary exchange.

    Companies that do not adapt should lose market share. No one is entitled to a profit. Workers in areas of the economy that are no longer useful to the market either need to re-train, get a new job or accept a lower standard of living. No one is entitled to a wage either

    David in Qatar

  • Report this Comment On May 05, 2010, at 2:23 AM, MADMAXROI wrote:


    You were on CNBC today commenting about AAPL and their revenue recognition for the iPhone.

    It is hard to take your article above seriously for someone that still thinks AAPL recognizes their iPhone sales over 24 months under the subscription method.

    Newsflash...AAPL restated their earnings starting with the quarter ending Dec 31, 2009 to recognize iPhone sales in full at the time of sale.

    We expect more from analysts and all of the media out there when commenting on these public companies. Please take the time to do the requisite research.

    Thank you.

  • Report this Comment On May 05, 2010, at 4:16 AM, randomname7765 wrote:

    so the complaint here is that things are changing and that the quicker smarter companies are winning? things are always changing evolve or die.

    my favorite part is "Bookworms will cringe at the notion that public-domain reads are sapping the demand for fresh lit."

    "Public-domain" reads such as "Jane Austen and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle"? What will happen to our children?

    I am cringing.

  • Report this Comment On May 05, 2010, at 4:17 AM, randomname7765 wrote:

    ps. ever heard of a library?

  • Report this Comment On May 05, 2010, at 7:41 AM, hybridinvestor wrote:

    It is indeed true that technology is disruptive and one of the reasons I shunned investing in media companies in general over the last many years. It is hard to know who the long-term winners will be. Certainly AAPL, GOOG, FB, and others seem like they're on top right now but anyone remember the #1 search engine way back when it started? Alta Vista ring any bells? No? No? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

  • Report this Comment On May 05, 2010, at 7:58 AM, ragedmaximus wrote:

    I want to invest in the company that makes a teleporter or a time traveling machine.

  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 11:34 AM, patdon wrote:

    Will someone just make Rick go away, please?

  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 11:41 AM, markusstaas wrote:

    What are 400million facebook users? Just less than 10% of the world's population. Video games for 0.99 cents? Perfect if 4 billion will download them. Stop thinking that the retail/consumer world ends at the border of the USA. Instead of whining try to opportunistic and forward thinking. There is so much growth potential ahead if you try to think globallly and holistic. This article was a waste of time.

  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 11:57 AM, FredHolmes wrote:

    Tongue tucked firmly in cheek, Salt Shaker liberally employed and caution cast cavalierly to the winds of wit, Rick has fomented a fountain of fractious misunderstanding with this clever article.

    Don't take this too seriously y'all.

  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 12:50 PM, SleepyKat5 wrote:

    Don't forget YouTube, which has proven that audio/video quality is way over-rated (relative to the expectations of the masses)!

  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 1:44 PM, Rolin4ward wrote:

    Sounds like a bunch of sour grapes to me. Just like the banks that "could never fail", companies that are challenged to change their tack will either do so or go out of business. This isn't Apple's responsibility. Or are you suggesting we start bailing out private companies now?

  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 2:11 PM, Mary953 wrote:

    Interesting idea, Rick, and I would truly love to join the discussion, but my crops in Farmville need tending, and my Mafia is at war in Bangkok at the moment. Then there is the need to find the treasure in that new Treasure Island app and.........

  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 2:14 PM, jmchole wrote:

    Irony: A statement that, when taken in context, may actually mean something different than, or the opposite of what is written literally; the use of words expressing something other than their literal intention, notably as a form of humor.

    Jane Austen loved it and so do I.

  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 2:16 PM, MAURIZIO400 wrote:

    it's just amazing how many comments a great article like this can attract that show nothing but a blatant lack of sense of humor.

    Rick, i recommend a provisio to your articles, just a note at the beginning, something like: 'X rated' or ' above average IQ only' or better 'PG13'.

  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 3:13 PM, TMFLifeIsGood wrote:

    <i>do they even have time to catch primetime television?</i>

    Hi Rick,

    I was not too long ago that my grandmother was telling me that television would rot my brain. Now your complaining because something else will rot my brain! :)

    Consumers vote with their choices. Based on your article, it appears the vote is in.


  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 4:08 PM, MomHubbard wrote:

    Ah, yes, how we miss the buggy whip, 78 records, costly long distance calls, telephone operators, and

    girdles. The nature of capitalism is change and improvement and the natural destruction of older models. I PERSONALLY prefer books to kindle (can one imagine reading WAR AND PEACE on a kindle...) but I have been reading for 70 years. AHG

  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 5:03 PM, Radioman102 wrote:

    There will always be people who can build a better mouse trap, but strangly enough, I still have a lot of them boogers running around my place....Then there are those of us who would rather be thought a fool than open our mouth and remove all doubt. I didn't ship to the bottom as there are things to think about. For now, I think that is what I'll do.


  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 5:48 PM, PSU69 wrote:

    Humor is the juice of life. I am so pleased to see the broad band of misunderstanding manifested in the reactionary comments. Disclosure, I own GOOG, AAPL & I enjoy FB. FB allows me to share info with global pals. I do NOT care if work, family or barely friends want to be friends. Feeling the human sharing is fun. I have developed real friends from FB. I share investing ideas globally via FB. Rick, thanks for the giggles. Especially after the wild ride in the markets this week.

  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 6:35 PM, zorrojaz wrote:

    In the past 10 years a number of interesting phenomena have occurred.

    1. Cell Phone use has reached saturation globally (the critical mass of people on the planet to use cell phones has been attained), (the US was the final country 3 years ago to reach saturation level). And the Key is especially smart phone saturation

    2. The Phenomenal growth of Google

    3. The Super Phenomenal growth of Face book

    4. Creation and extremely high use and users of You Tube and Twitter

    4. The Apple range of handheld devices including the I phone has proliferated.

    5. The cost of Laptops and PC and Internet Access has gone down dramatically.

    The results of the above:

    1.- 3 years ago the Global economic crash started.

    2. For the past 3 years the productivity of the Human Race has gone up at least 7% per year - total of 23% for the last 3 years.

    3. The Human Race Global Brain was born 3 years ago.

    4. 3 Years ago the Newly Created Infant Stage Global Brain Controller realized that there was too much leveraged high risk in the Global economy and began to take steps to mitigate that risk. Therefore the collapse in value of the highly leveraged bundles of super high risk mortgages began and became more and more numerous as the Global Brain became aware and did not have enough knowledge at birth to be able to correct it immediately.

    As an analogy of what was occurring – think of a 6 year old sitting down in a Formula 1 race car ready to start the Le Mans of Monte Carlo Race. There was no way to be successful. However in the 3 years since its creation, the Global Brain keeps learning more and faster – Thus the acceleration off the bottom of the global economy (stock market started rising March of 2009).

    Hypothesis – The Human Race has created and is now a Global Brain

    Proof of the Hypotheses:

    1. Cell Phones give every human being instant global communication with every other human being. We are connected to every person in the world with a cell phone instantly.

    2.Google and all the Computing power in the world is networked together giving human beings access to all the information that exists in the human race and that information is able to be tapped by Smartphones, Laptops, and Ipads, and with Internet access can be used to analyze - optimize and make decisions and execute in real time.

    3. You Tube and Twitter provide Global Eyes and ears and Instant Global Communication in real time.

    4. The Global Economy is accelerating upward off of the sustainable base. That acceleration is being guided and driven by the new creation in our civilization The Global Brain). The Human Race is now a Global Brain. The Global Brain is learning as fast as it can.

    4. The Single Global Brain Is composed of the All members of the Human Race that use Cell Phones and are Internet connected

    5. That is the new paradigm of our civilization and whoever understands that and uses that will be the leaders for the rest of this century

    ©2010 John A. Zowine All distribution rights are granted

  • Report this Comment On May 08, 2010, at 12:08 PM, alexsmotritsky wrote:

    Print magazine readership has gone up over the last 10 years, quality is still king.

  • Report this Comment On May 08, 2010, at 8:05 PM, poppawheeler wrote:

    In case you haven't noticed "alexsmotritsky" our global brain has a tumor Greece

  • Report this Comment On May 08, 2010, at 8:45 PM, mtinspirit wrote:

    As I read this article on my iPad and prepare to re-post it on my Facebook account, I ponder what would motivate such an article. Does it help provide the individual investor with any information relevant to making investment choices or developing strategy? Clearly not. Does it sound like the rant of Andy Rooney at the end of a 60 Minutes episode? Yes. And as we all know, it's cute to hear an old man rant about his experiences buying fresh produce. But as I have a good portion of my hard earned money in Apple stock, I find it offensive that an investment website would make baseless statements about a company's success with its apps and book sales without ANY data to back up such a claim. Thanks for publishing nonsense articles that may scare investors - especially on stocks your site recommends. I take my investments very serious - thanks for purporting to be a website concerned with assisting the smaller investor yet acting with complete disregard for their investments' potential success. Gotta love the opinion pieces with no data on an investment website. Maybe it's time to cancel my subscription.

  • Report this Comment On May 09, 2010, at 9:31 AM, Beagle2Mars wrote:

    I also own Apple shares. That doesn't mean I'm unaware of its bad points. The ipod has no maximum volume control and has put the hearing of a whole generation at risk. It's one thing to take a risk and something else for someone to take it for you.

    The article is taking a a look at the bigger pictures. Social interraction is so important and talking online through whatever medium helps some people make sense of the world. The Ipad is a gadget. The expectation is that sooner or later people will get bored of talking banalities and playing free games. The author is saying what are we going to do if that doesn't happen? Will we all turn into zombies?

    That's personal choice. I'm reading the FT in print and no, the Ipad hasn't hit us yet. Is it a big company irresponsibly making money? Er, will you come over here and show us how to do that? We all need to make money; it's just IMHO big companies need more sense of corporate and social responsibility

  • Report this Comment On May 09, 2010, at 4:33 PM, jonesericr wrote:

    Well I haven't read anyone else's comments so I could be just repeating what's been said.

    I can agree on the book buying in part.

    I'm not one for the "Classics" of literature my taste runs more to Alistair Maclean, Clive Cussler, Stephen King, and Michael Crichton.

    I live in Japan so hitting the Barnes and Noble or Borders is not an option. I either go on the local Military establishment or I order through Amazon or I hit O'Reilly Safari Books Online. So I while in San Francisco last week I do just that looking for a print book, I find it, buy it and take it back the next day because I found it online.

    Print media- I'm not losing sleep or shedding tears for Rupert Murdoch at all. If the print media can't figure out how to create revenue in this new market and the MPAA and RIAA can't do it then they will be replaced. So far at least Rupert hasn't co-opted the Federal Government to create a vehicle to force people to use his model to consume news by creating something like the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement in secret, or has he?

    Social Networking- I use linkedin but I'm not a Facebook user. I'm like Kyle, I don't want to get sucked into it. One reason is that Facebook is not a secure place to be on the net. They intend to grab your vital statistics, keep them in house, farm out ads and prevent you from having any private information.

    They are giving you a an opt in choice or an opt out choice your are either in or out all the way.

    No thanks I don't need that or farmville, I would rather play Fallout or Red Dead Redemption on a console rustling cattle then raising them.

    Hmmm this could be a good idea a cross between Red Dead and FarmVille? Watch for rustlers polarbear25.


  • Report this Comment On May 10, 2010, at 8:06 AM, Riko56 wrote:

    I agree one hundred percent!!! we must take action and tell these company's that they are going to tare other company's down

  • Report this Comment On May 10, 2010, at 9:27 AM, williware wrote:

    Thanks for the insights. I'm amazed at the amount of derision by those who missed the obvious humor of the article.

  • Report this Comment On May 11, 2010, at 11:00 AM, blackmare wrote:


    It was Dave Barry who -- remarking on the tendency of many readers to take his columns far too seriously -- proposed "CLOSED CAPTIONED FOR THE HUMOR IMPAIRED" as a solution.

    I think you may need to adopt that tactic:

    "You're being a big meanie, Google. [NOT REALLY. THIS IS SARCASM]."

  • Report this Comment On May 11, 2010, at 10:44 PM, MyDonkey wrote:

    "If someone is tending to their FarmVille crops or engaged in several windows of online chat, do they even have time to catch primetime television?"

    This is the funniest line in the article. I laughed out loud, imagining someone exclaiming in mock horror: "OMG, the time I waste on the computer is cutting into the time I waste watching TV!"

  • Report this Comment On January 24, 2011, at 10:18 AM, SilasWillRock wrote:

    Simple tip for competing with Apple, Google, and Facebook: don't suck.

    There's no sociological phenomenon here. There's just no decent competition for what these vendors make.

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