Podcast: Windows 8 vs. iPad, Wal-Mart vs. Amazon, and WhitePages CEO Alex Algard

Our guest in the studio this week is tech industry veteran Alex Algard, the CEO of WhitePages.com, the online directory company. Alex tells the story of the company’s founding and talks about its current strategy, including its mobile apps, its approach to privacy and how it’s keeping a startup-style approach even after 15 years in business.

Alex Algard, CEO of WhitePages, in the KIRO-FM studios. (Erynn Rose photo)

It’s an interesting discussion, beginning at 11:30 in the audio player above. Alex also continues a new tradition (started by last week’s guest, Liz Pearce, the CEO of Liquid Planner) bringing us WhitePages hoodies to wear.

But we start this week’s GeekWire radio show and podcast on a bit of a tangent, sharing listener responses to John’s question last week about whether you should tip baristas when going through a Starbucks drive-through.

The overwhelming response was yes — “Cough up some change for them, cheapskate,” joked one listener — but John raises a good point in response: Do you also tip when going through the McDonald’s drive-through?

Moving on to the week’s tech news: We recap of what happened when GeekWire staff reporter Taylor Soper and I took a Windows 8 tablet to the Apple Store at University Village and asked people walking out (mostly iPad users) what they thought of the new Microsoft operating system on a tablet. The response was (surprisingly) positive, which bodes well for Microsoft as it tries to gain traction in the tablet market.

Prompted by John, I then go off on a long rant about why I’m less bullish about Windows 8 on desktop computers because I feel like the new Windows 8 interface and commands are confusing, and a huge adjustment for keyboard and mouse users to make on desktop machines. I’m not convinced that it’s worth the upgrade from Windows 7 on regular PCs. But we’ll have lots more on this topic in the coming weeks.

From there, we dive into the latest in online retail, where Wal-Mart is challenging Amazon with same-day delivery.

We also discuss online engagement ring startup Ritani, led by a former Blue Nile executive. Ritani is competing with Blue Nile by working in partnership with local diamond retailers, where customers can complete their purchases.

App of the Week: The Super PAC App (free for iPhone and iPad) helps identify and fact-check political ads.

Alex also talks about his experience with the Uber app for booking and using a private car service.

GeekWire airs on 97.3 KIRO-FM in Seattle at 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, and 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday. The show runs every weekend on GeekWire.com. You can get every episode using this RSS feed, or by subscribing in iTunes or Zune. Also search for the show on Stitcher.

Listen to the full show at the top of this post or directly via this MP3 file.