In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 20, 2011 / 16 Iyar, 5771

It's the post-merger, folks

By Mark Kellner

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The May 10 announcement of the $7.7 billion acquisition of voice-over-Internet-protocol (VoIP) phone service provider Skype by Microsoft Corp. has set off all sorts of alarm bells. Aping the old grade-school game of "Telephone," rumors are flying thick and fast as to What It All Means for consumers, developers and investors.

From this writer's perspective, which stretches back to Microsoft's early years, long before it released the Windows operating system, a little deep breathing might be in order.

If, as James Carville and George Stephanopoulos formulated in the 1992 presidential race, it was "the economy, stupid," that mattered, here, it'll be the post-merger developments that matter most. The money Microsoft tossed around the other day is substantial, but it's also chump change if Skype does not live up to its potential.

I'd imagine at least three immediate benefits to Microsoft once the deal goes through. CEO Steve Ballmer discussed one of them on the 10th, specifically incorporating Skype functions into the Xbox 360 gaming system and its Kinnect add-on functions. Not only will you be able to play online against your new friend in Shanghai, you'll be able to chat with them, too - perhaps.

It's also not beyond possibility that Skype will be integrated into the firm's Internet Explorer Web browser, version 9 of which was recently released. I could see Skype replacing the "Communicator" functions in Microsoft Office for Mac 2011, and a similar add-on to the Windows version of Office. Got an e-mail from Cindy in Sheboygan? You can ping her back via e-mail or VoIP call, your pick.

And, third, baking the Skype service into Windows-based cell phones could help transform that industry, and perhaps save that product line, too. Microsoft's effort to field a competitor to Apple, Inc.'s iPod, called Zune, died for lack of consumer interest. Microsoft's mobile phones, once industry leading, retain a veneer of age and creakiness in the face of the iPhone and Google Inc.'s Android operating system. A Skype-based refresh could do wonders.

The main thing for Microsoft Corp. here is, frankly, to not mess up what it just bought. The technology industry has been rife with such foul-ups, most recently the demise of the Flip handheld video camera, a year or two after Cisco Systems paid around $500 million for the consumer product's maker. Smartphones killed the Flip video star, Cisco said - without remembering that RCA, Kodak and a couple of other firms are still happily selling similar products. The greater truth may be that Cisco didn't know what to do with Flip, and finally conceded defeat.

Now, Microsoft has had good and bad luck with its acquisitions, and the key strategy they need to manifest here is that of leaving Skype alone as much as possible. Use the VoIP technology as much as possible in your products, Mr. Ballmer, but don't mess with operations unless you're certain they can be improved.

Skype, after all, is working quite well on a number of levels. It has millions of customers around the world, and it's highly regarded. Its presence on the iPhone is a measure of that regard; Apple initially didn't want to put a VoIP application in the iPhone repertoire.

Both Skype and Microsoft have a rival in Google on a couple of levels. Google is challenging Microsoft on the mobile phone hardware/software front, but Google also has its VoIP service, Google Voice, and quality-wise, both are about equal. Google will transcribe your voice mail into text for you, though.

So "MicroSkype" will do well to keep Mr. Ballmer's promise of maintaining Skype on operating systems that aren't Microsoft Windows. They'd do better reaching out to those other computing (and mobile) platforms with as much gusto as they can summon up. The end result would be profit and happiness, and not a Cisco-like failure.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.


© 2011, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com