Can Microsoft Make a Comeback?

Each day we provide a roundup of five stories from around the Web that our editors read and found noteworthy. Follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day@digiday.

Microsoft Owns 2012: It’s fun to read comeback stories, and in the digital media world, the press loves to build up and tear down like nowhere else. So a story in The Wrap about how Microsoft will undergo a massive comeback in 2012 is irresistible. But among the evidence that the story provides that Microsoft is on a major upswing, most don’t hold up. There’s no doubt that the company is killing it with Xbox — that includes the gaming business, the TV and cable businesses, all of entertainment — no small feet. But the story also cites Windows 8 and Microsoft’s mobile phones as pillars of its comeback rally. That’s tough to swallow. Let me know if you find anyone who’s been excited about a new windows release in the last decade. And while Microsoft’s mobile phones have been impressive — they are so far behind Apple and Android it’s impossible to see that business breaking out in a big way in 2012. There’s also Bing, MSN, etc. You get the picture. The Wrap — Mike Shields @digitalshields

Is Google Building an Open or Closed Ad System?: Google says it wants an open display ad system. Yet the search system it built is closed, which leads your competitors and others to say that’s what Google’s really building, a closed system. Fortune has a big profile piece that pits Google up against AppNexus in the battle to build an open system for managing and delivering online ads. The question is who will get there first — and do it right. Fortune — Brian Morrissey @bmorrissey

The Death of The E-Reader: They paved the way for tablet devices, but as users expect more from their devices besides just text, the e-reader’s demise now seems inevitable. Though the e-ink experience is still preferable to an LCD screen for consuming long-form content, as technology improves it’ll be the e-reader that loses out to the new kid on the block. As Alexander writes here, “The e-reader’s purpose is, ostensibly, to serve as a stopgap measure until both e-ink itself and LCDs evolve to the point of intersection — and that does not seem too terribly far off.” The Loop— Jack Marshall @JackMarshall

U.S. Users Aren’t All That Social: Despite the fact services such as Facebook and Twitter continue to grow in popularity amongst U.S. users, the fact is that consumers elsewhere in the world are often more engaged with social platforms. Three quarters of Facebook users are outside the U.S., for example, as is more than half of Twitter’s user base, while many local services in non-U.S. countries claim users are much more involved in creating and sharing content. That’s worth thinking about. As Forrester suggests, “If you’ve been putting all your social efforts into the U.S. and the U.K., it’s time to shift your focus – and your budget – to the countries where users are more social.” NY Times Bits Blog — Jack Marshall @JackMarshall
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