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Microsoft Drastically Scales Down Smartphone Biz
May 25, 2016
Microsoft on Wednesday announced plans to streamline its smartphone business by cutting 1,850 jobs. It will record an impairment charge of $950 million, with severance payments accounting for $200 million of the charge. The restructuring will entail up to 1,350 job losses at Microsoft Mobile Oy in Finland, and 500 more cuts around the world.
Twitter Loosens Tweet's Leash
May 25, 2016
Twitter on Tuesday announced a number of changes to tweets, including what will be included in a message's 140-character count. The changes will be rolled out in the coming months. When replying to a tweet, tagged @names at the beginning of the reply no longer will be included in the character count. Photos, GIFs, videos, polls and quote tweets won't be counted against the character limit.
Yahoo Bids Could Seriously Underwhelm
May 24, 2016
Bids for Yahoo's core assets were expected to come in at between $2 billion and $3 billion, far below prior estimates that it could fetch $4 billion to $8 billion at auction, according to a news report published last week. Verizon, which remains the leading candidate for Yahoo's assets, and other contenders met with CEO Marissa Mayer at the company's Sunnyvale, California, headquarters
New SF Store Showcases Apple's Trademark Creativity
May 24, 2016
Apple last week opened a San Francisco flagship store in the city's tony Union Square shopping district. The store has a 42-foot-tall sliding glass door and a 50-foot tall green wall and is powered by 100 percent renewable energy. "We have a deep commitment to the cities we work in and are aware of the importance that architecture plays in the community," Apple's Jonathan Ive said.
Vendors Gain Congressional Support on IT Pricing
May 23, 2016
Selling information technology to the U.S. government is never easy, and it's even harder when a vendor cannot highlight the qualitative differences it believes separates its competencies from other providers competing for the same work. Yet a major contracting tool federal agencies use in seeking IT products and services tends to smother those differences in skills and competencies.
Using the Scientific Method to Pick the Best US President
May 23, 2016
I've been thinking a lot this week about what it takes to select a strong CEO and being annoyed by robocalls from the different campaigns. On one such call, when asked what I'd do if given the choice between Clinton and Trump, my response was "move to Canada." That apparently wasn't what they were looking for. Boards often have to select from a very small pool of CEO candidates, and they don't get the "move to Canada" option.
Google Patents Tech to Limit Injuries in Vehicle-Pedestrian Accidents
May 20, 2016
The United States Patent and Trademark Office earlier this week granted Google a patent for "Adhesive Vehicle Front End For Mitigation of Secondary Pedestrian Impact." The patent application, filed a year and a half ago, credits Google employees Alex Khaykin and Daniel Lynn Larner as the inventors of the new technology. This latest patent grant is for "a system for protecting a colliding object from a secondary impact."
Google Challenges Right to Be Forgotten in French High Court
May 20, 2016
Google on Thursday filed an appeal with France's supreme administrative court over an order from a privacy regulator requiring it to scrub certain search results around the world under a law called "the right to be forgotten." The March order from the CNIL requires Google and other search engines to delist the information of Europeans that shows up in searches for their name.
Nokia Stages Smartphone Comeback
May 20, 2016
Nokia on Wednesday announced its return to the mobile phone and tablet business in connection with a larger agreement by Microsoft to sell its entry-level phone business to HMD Global and FIH Mobile for $350 million. Microsoft will sell its Hanoi, Vietnam, manufacturing facility to FIH Mobile. Nokia will grant HMD the exclusive global license to make Nokia-branded phones and tablets for 10 years.
AT&T Snags Quickplay for DirecTV Expansion
May 17, 2016
AT&T on Monday announced that it has agreed to buy Quickplay Media, which will serve as the backbone for DirecTV's upcoming multiplatform streaming video services. Quickplay, which supports AT&T's U-Verse TV Everywhere service, will support DirecTV Now, DirecTV Mobile and DirecTV Preview. The services will allow DirecTV content to be viewed on mobile phones, smart TVs, PCs and tablets.
Facebook Looks Into Bias Claims
May 17, 2016
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg last week announced that the company would investigate allegations that its Trending Topics feature had an anticonservative bias. "We have found no evidence that this report is true," he said, referring to a news report that kicked off the storm. "If we find anything against our principles, you have my commitment that we will take additional steps to address it."
Apple Invests $1B in Chinese Uber Competitor Didi Chuxing
May 16, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook on Monday met with executives from Didi Chuxing, just days after the company announced that it had received a US$1 billion investment from Apple. After arriving in Beijing, Cook tweeted out photos of himself taking a taxi with Jean Liu, the president of Didi Chuxing, and of her showing him the mobile app. Apple hosted a panel of iOS developers at the Apple Store in Beijing.
What SMBs Want From IT Services
May 16, 2016
When small businesses choose an IT and support service provider, the two most important considerations are the provider's ability to include all of the company's devices and provide a comprehensive IT service plan. More than half of small businesses that use professional IT services use two or more services. However, small businesses may have to rely on multiple vendors to address their IT needs.
Charter-TWC Merger Clears Final Regulatory Hurdle
May 16, 2016
Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable last week announced that California regulators approved their planned merger following a series of hearings in which the companies agreed to open access to underserved communities. The California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to approve the merger, which requires the combined company to provide low-cost broadband access.
The Emergence of Managed IoT Services
May 13, 2016
With every market forecast predicting rapid growth of the overall Internet of Things, industry and investor focus shifts to specific market segments that will experience the quickest adoption. While most of the attention is on applications and technologies, managed IoT services will be one of the biggest market opportunities. One challenge to widespread IoT adoption is the lack of skills.
Google Boots Ads for Predatory Payday Lenders
May 12, 2016
Google on Wednesday announced that it would ban advertising for payday loans in its ad systems. Starting July 13, the company will prohibit ads for payday loans and related products where funds are due within 60 days of the date of issue, as well as ads for loans with an APR of 36 percent, said David Graff, Google's director of global product policy.
Defense IT Contract Rekindles Pricing Complaints
May 12, 2016
What's not to like about the U.S. government offering IT vendors $17.5 billion for products and services? The opportunity is attractive, and many vendors have expressed interest in a Department of Defense contract that covers the acquisition of a broad range of IT capabilities. A request for proposals for the Encore III contract was issued in March. Bids were accepted through late April.
Apple Partners With SAP for Mobile App Dev
May 11, 2016
Apple and SAP last week announced an agreement to create applications for the iPhone and iPad using SAP's HANA data management platform as well as an iOS software development kit and training academy for outside developers and customers. The move marks Apple's latest attempt to break through to the enterprise market and comes at a challenging time for the iPhone and sluggish sales for tablets.
Ford, Microsoft Pour Cash Into Pivotal
May 10, 2016
Pivotal last week announced a $253 million round of Series C financing. Led by new investor Ford, together with Microsoft and previous investors GE, EMC and VMware, the deal is expected to close this month. Pivotal's customers include seven of the top 10 U.S. banks and three global automakers. Its agile-based approach lets enterprises build and operate software rapidly, the company said.
Google, Fiat Chrysler Team on Self-Driving Minivans
May 10, 2016
Google's Self-Driving Car Project and Fiat Chrysler last week announced that they would integrate autonomous vehicle technology into 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans as part of Google's testing program. It is the first time Google has worked directly with a carmaker to integrate its self-driving technology into a passenger vehicle. It will add 100 Pacifica Hybrids to its test program.
Air Cargo Deal Gives Amazon More Control Over Deliveries
May 10, 2016
Amazon has entered a 10-year lease agreement with Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, the aircraft company announced last week. Under the agreement, Amazon has the right to buy up to 30 percent of Atlas Air. Amazon will lease a fleet of 20 Boeing 767-300 converted freighters -- including crew, maintenance and insurance -- for seven years, with extensions to 10 years.
Tweet Tracker Spurns US Intelligence Agencies
May 10, 2016
Twitter reportedly has blocked U.S. intelligence agencies from accessing information from Dataminr, a firm that tracks tweets in real time to provide actionable information for financial, media, security and other types of institutional clients. The block suggests Twitter is unwilling to cooperate with government agencies on intelligence gathering. Twitter owns a 5 percent stake in Dataminr.
The Interesting Dell + EMC Stories You Haven't Heard
May 9, 2016
I spent last week at EMC World talking to customers and both Dell and EMC employees, on the lookout for interesting stories that others hadn't picked up. I got a bunch that I think are fascinating -- stories about women in technology, billions of dollars of currently untapped revenue, and why every EMC and Dell sales rep effectively will have a dartboard with Meg Whitman's picture on it.
Microsoft Buys Solair for Azure IoT
May 9, 2016
Microsoft last week announced the acquisition of Solair, a move to expand its global Internet of Things business. Solair's IoT customization and deployment solutions have helped many businesses improve efficiencies and profitability, according to Microsoft. Solair is "an important part of [Microsoft's] ongoing efforts to build the intelligent cloud," noted Microsoft spokesperson Lenette Larson.
India Rejects Apple's iPhone Retread Plan
May 4, 2016
India's telecommunications ministry has rejected Apple's proposal to sell refurbished iPhones in the country. Officials apparently based their rejection of the proposal on rules that prohibit importing used electronics. The country's environmental ministry nixed a similar request last year. With smartphone sales starting to stall, India could become an important market for Apple.
WhatsApp Goes Through Judicial Revolving Door in Brazil
May 3, 2016
A Brazilian court on Tuesday overturned a different court's Monday order that blocked WhatsApp, the messaging site owned by Facebook, amid a criminal investigation into drug trafficking in the state of Sergipe. The earlier judicial demand that WhatsApp provide data considered critical to the investigation came soon after a ramp-up in the level of encryption built into the app.
Oracle Plunks Down $532M for Customer Engagement Firm Opower
May 3, 2016
Oracle on Monday announced that it has agreed to acquire Opower for $532 million in cash. More than 100 global utilities, including PG&E, Exelon and National Grid, use Opower's customer engagement and energy efficiency cloud services, Oracle said. Opower's big data platform stores and analyzes more than 600 billion meter reads from 60 million end customers of utilities.
Law Affords More Protection to PINs Than Prints
May 3, 2016
A federal magistrate in Los Angeles ordered the girlfriend of an alleged gang member to open her phone using her fingerprint so prosecutors could look at the data on it for a case they were working on, according to a news report published last week. After Paytsar Bkhchadzhyan pleaded no contest to identity theft, a judge issued a warrant to force her to press her finger to her iPhone to open it.
Supreme Court Grants Federal Agents Broader Surveillance Authority
May 3, 2016
The U.S. Supreme Court has approved a series of amendments to the federal rules of criminal procedure that would let judges issue search warrants for computers located outside their jurisdiction. Chief Justice John Roberts announced the changes in the Court's interpretation of the rules. They would allow a judge to issue warrants to search for electronic evidence at remote sites, for example.
HP Chromebook 13 Wins High Praise - for a Chromebook
May 2, 2016
HP and Google last week unveiled the HP Chromebook 13. Designed with input from customers on what they want in a next-generation Chromebook, the device is about 13 mm thick, weighs 2.8 pounds, has a brushed anodized aluminum chassis, and is the first Chromebook to use Intel's sixth-generation Core M processors. It has a USB C port, and HP offers a USB-C docking station as an option at $145.
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Google just announced Home, a voice-activated speaker similar to Amazon's Echo. What do you think of these devices?
I have an Echo and I love it.
I have an Echo but rarely use it.
I plan to buy an Echo or Home.
Google's Home will be much better than Echo.
They're expensive novelties.
They're intrusive and creepy.