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Rivals Rev Up as Uber Hits the Skids
June 23, 2017
As Uber reels from the fallout of a sexual harassment scandal that led to this week's ouster of Travis Kalanick and several of his top executives, the company faces twin dilemmas: how to clean up its corporate work environment and restock its executive ranks; and how to maintain credibility with its customer base and core team of street level drivers.
Digital River, Adobe Strengthen Cloud Commerce Alliance
June 22, 2017
Digital River has expanded its ties with Adobe Experience Manager to offer an end-to-end cloud commerce solution targeting the high-tech industry. The new solution, which is based on a 2015 agreement to integrate Digital River's cloud-based Global Commerce Platform with Adobe Experience Manager, offers brands a fresh approach for bolstering their direct channel strategy and competitive position.
Netflix Climbs the Growth Wave as Cable TV Slides
June 22, 2017
A few short years ago, Netflix was nothing more than a mail order Blockbuster-type video rental business. Since then, it has been growing rapidly and changing. Believe it or not, Netflix today has more U.S. subscribers than cable TV. That's an amazing accomplishment for Netflix -- and a major hit to traditional cable television. Netflix and cable TV are on opposite sides of the growth wave.
OTA Report: Consumer Services Sites More Trustworthy Than .Gov Sites
June 22, 2017
The Online Trust Alliance on Tuesday released its 2017 Online Trust Audit & Honor Roll. Among its findings: Consumer services sites have the best combined security and privacy practices. FDIC 100 banks and U.S. government sites are the least trustworthy, according to the audit. The number of websites that qualified for the honor roll is at a nine-year high.
Verizon Makes New Oath
June 19, 2017
Verizon last week completed its US$4.5 billion acquisition of Yahoo's operating business assets, merging it with its existing AOL business to create Oath. The new subsidiary encompasses more than 50 media and technology brands -- including HuffPost; Yahoo Sports, Finance and Mail; AOL.com; Makers; Tumblr; TechCrunch; Flickr; and Build Studios.
Amazon Spends $14B on Whole Foods
June 17, 2017
Amazon has inked a deal to acquire Whole Foods Market for close to $14 billion in cash. The agreement includes assumption of Whole Foods' net debt. Whole Foods will run as a wholly independent subsidiary of Amazon. It will continue to operate stores under its own brand and source products from vendors and partners. Cofounder John Mackey will continue in his role as Whole Foods' CEO.
Visa Seeks to Build Online B2B Ecosystem
June 16, 2017
Visa this week announced the Visa Ready Program for Business Solutions, a strategic framework to help ensure that tech companies integrating with Visa's B2B payment services and data solutions meet the company's standards and are market ready. The program lets Visa's tech partners quickly integrate and approve various Visa B2B payments solutions, including enhanced data, virtual card integration, payables automation, and payment controls.
Chastened Uber CEO Takes Leave of Absence to Work on Self-Improvement
June 14, 2017
Uber Technologies CEO Travis Kalanick said he will take a leave of absence, as a company review led by Eric Holder was made public. The review sketches out a plan to make radical changes to diversify Uber in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination. Kalanick accepted responsibility for widespread company problems that led to the investigation.
Uber Ousts Top Deputy as Fate of CEO Kalanick Hangs in Balance
June 13, 2017
Uber Technologies on Monday lost its second-most-important executive in a shakeup stemming from an internal investigation into sexual harassment charges. The changes at the top reportedly could include the temporary loss of Uber's founder and chief executive, Travis Kalanick. Emil Michael -- who served as the company's senior vice president of business and a key lieutenant to Kalanick -- is out.
New Stem Cell Treatment Offers Dramatic Burn-Healing Potential
June 13, 2017
A med-tech startup has developed a novel way to treat burn wounds. RenovaCare harvests a variety of cells, including stem cells, from a healthy area of skin on a patient. Those cells are then suspended in a water-based solution and sprayed onto the wound using the company's SkinGun. "The sprayer allows us to have a generous distribution of cells," explained RenovaCare's Roger Esteban-Vives.
SoftBank to Take Fearsome Robots Off Alphabet's Hands
June 10, 2017
SoftBank on Thursday announced that it will acquire robotics company Boston Dynamics from Alphabet, parent company of Google. SoftBank Robotics is the company's subsidiary that focuses on the development, sales and maintenance of humanoid and service robots. "Smart robotics are going to be a key driver of the next stage of the information revolution," said SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son."
Microsoft Buys Hexadite to Toughen Windows Security
June 9, 2017
Microsoft on Thursday said it has agreed to buy a Hexadite, which incorporates artificial intelligence in its automated responses to cyberthreats. The acquisition will help bolster the company's efforts to help commercial Windows 10 customers deal with advanced attacks on their networks, Microsoft said. The acquisition will include Hexadite's endpoint security automated remediation.
Pegasystems Nestles in AWS, Azure Clouds
June 8, 2017
Pegasystems has deepened its 7-year-old relationship with Amazon AWS, and also has teamed up with Microsoft Azure, company officials told Pegaworld attendees on Tuesday. The deals are part of a series of planned partnerships aimed at giving Pega's clients choice in their cloud environment and avoiding lock-in. Pega last month inked an agreement to deliver Pega software on Pivotal Cloud Foundry.
The Best Wireless Service and Smartphone
June 8, 2017
During a recent grocery checkout conversation, the cashier asked me which was the best wireless service and best smartphone. This is a question I get frequently, and though it seems straightforward, it's difficult to answer. As I told the cashier, it depends. "On what?" she asked. That's when I realized that the industry's marketing doesn't answer the big question: "Which carrier is best for me?"
Seeding the Next Generation of Consultancies
June 6, 2017
There's been a lot written recently about how artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation are going to displace millions of workers. However, these powerful new technologies already have spawned a surge in demand for a new wave of highly skilled consultants to help organizations capitalize on the added business opportunities resulting from the latest innovations.
Alphabet Jumps on the $1K-a-Share Train
June 5, 2017
Alphabet shares reached a new record high on Monday, surpassing the $1,000 benchmark just a week after Amazon accomplished the feat. Investors placed bets that Google's core search and emerging AI technology will help maintain the company's dominance over rivals. The stock price surged after securities analyst Andy Hargreaves advised investors to get out of Apple and invest in Alphabet.
Tech Titans Pledge Continued Paris Accord Support
June 3, 2017
Reacting to the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, several high-tech industry leaders have pledged renewed environmental efforts. "Disappointed with today's decision. Google will keep working hard for a cleaner, more prosperous future for all," tweeted CEO Sundar Pichai. "We will double our efforts to fight climate change," tweeted Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.
Facebook's Original Programming Plans Take Shape
May 31, 2017
Facebook last week signed agreements with several content firms -- among them Vox, Buzzfeed, ATTN and Group Nine Media, according to reports. The deals are widely viewed as part of the company's strategy to attract millennials to its live-streaming Web content. Facebook will offer multi-tiered programming, according to a report that cited sources familiar with the plans.
Amazon Shares Hit Milestone as E-Commerce Battle Heats Up
May 30, 2017
Amazon stock surged to more than $1,000 for the first time in early trading on Tuesday, marking a milestone for the dominant e-commerce retailer and leaving its closest competitors still trying to figure out a path to closing the gap. Amazon's shares hovered near $997 in late mid-afternoon trading after reaching $1001.20 earlier in the day, an all-time-high for the stock.
SC Ruling Signals New Era for Software Patent Enforcement
May 30, 2017
The U.S. Supreme Court once again has changed the landscape for software infringement litigation. In a decision released last week, the court severely undercut the ability of plaintiffs to seek out courts that have a track record of being "friendly" to the plaintiff's position -- a practice called "forum shopping." Legal analysts disagree on the impact of the decision, however.
Comcast Rolls the Dice With Xfinity Instant TV
May 24, 2017
Comcast has led the way in cable television ever since it acquired AT&T Broadband a decade ago. However, in recent years, new technologies from new competitors have been eating away at Comcast's growth. That's why Comcast not only has introduced Xfinity Mobile, which is its new wireless service, but also is getting ready to launch its own IPTV service, Xfinity Instant TV.
Snap Stock Snaps Back - for the Moment
May 23, 2017
Snap shares appear to have rebounded from the plunge they took earlier this month, after the newly public company released a massive $2.2 billion loss in the first quarter, but investors still are scratching their heads over the company's prospects. Trading just over $20 at mid-day Tuesday, Snap looks to some like it has regained its early bloom. Others suspect that darker days are yet to come.
Softbank Vision Fund Attracts $93B From Gulf States, Apple, Others
May 22, 2017
The Softbank Vision Fund has closed its first major funding round raising more than $93 billion in capital from the Gulf states, as well as tech stalwarts Apple, Qualcomm and others. Softbank, which last fall launched the fund with backing from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, said it has received new commitments from the Mubadala Investment Fund from the United Arab Emirates.
Data Watchdog Cautions Google and UK Health Partner
May 19, 2017
A British data watchdog has raised questions about whether it was appropriate for a healthcare trust to share data on 1.6 million patients with DeepMind Health, an AI company owned by Google. The trust shared the data in connection with the test phase of Streams, an app designed to diagnose acute kidney injuries. However, the sharing reportedly was performed without an appropriate legal basis.
Intertwining Artificial Intelligence With Blockchain
May 18, 2017
Except for those folks living under rocks, everyone knows about or at least has heard of bitcoin. However, not everyone understands the technology of bitcoin, which extends well beyond Internet-based currency. For the rock people, bitcoin is an Internet-based currency that allows for transparency with respect to each transfer of the currency through the use of a distributed database.
Google's New Mobile OS Will Have a Distinctly Non-Linux Hue
May 16, 2017
Google has been developing a new open source OS called "Fuchsia" for smartphones, tablets and other devices, which could be unveiled as early as this summer. Little has been revealed about the new OS since it first came to light last year. However, new details that surfaced last week have been making the rounds. Fuchsia apparently will move Google away from its long association with Linux.
Federal First Responder Project Presents Juicy Telecom Opportunity
May 16, 2017
Competition in telecom price and service packages has been getting a lot of attention lately. However, network providers also have been pursuing other opportunities that consumers might miss if they're exposed only to traditional advertising. AT&T's cooperation with the U.S. government in developing a national emergency responder network is a case in point.
Charter's Wireless Play
May 15, 2017
Charter Spectrum has announced it will resell Comcast's Xfinity Mobile wireless service to customers inside its region. The good news is that this deal lets Charter get quick access to wireless without competing with Comcast. Comcast and Charter Communications last week said they had reached an "operational agreement" about working together.
Dell's 'Alice' Will Guide Women Through VC Wonderland
May 15, 2017
One of the interesting things at Dell EMC World came from Karen Quintos, the most powerful woman at Dell. Karen is responsible for its Entrepreneur in Residence program, which focuses on equipping and helping woman entrepreneurs. Dell Technologies apparently has created "Alice," a female-focused artificial intelligence focused on helping support and drive innovative firms backed by women.
Big Accounting Deal
May 10, 2017
CFOs have a new 800-pound gorilla sitting in the corner, as if they needed another one. Actually, the really lucky ones who oversee operations in Europe and the U.S. will have two. ASC 606 and IFRS 15 are new accounting rules that describe in great detail how subscription vendors should recognize revenue beginning in December 2018, and we should all care about them.
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What do you think of today's voice recognition technology?
It's great -- the tech has improved vastly in recent years.
It's the wave of the future, but quality is still hit or miss.
I like it for texting, especially when I'm driving.
I only use it when I have to, like with IVR systems.
I avoid using it, because most voice systems are still terrible.
It's an unnecessary frill that I can easily live without.