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The Microsoft-LinkedIn CRM Connection
June 14, 2016
With its $26 billion purchase of LinkedIn, Microsoft may be setting itself up to tackle Salesforce head-on for CRM dominance. The purchase also might help Microsoft compete more aggressively with other major CRM providers, such as SAP and Oracle. The LinkedIn purchase "is key to our bold ambition to reinvent productivity and business processes," CEO Satya Nadella told Microsoft employees.
FCC Wins Huge Net Neutrality Victory Over Big Telecom
June 14, 2016
An appellate court on Tuesday handed a major victory to the FCC by upholding the Open Internet Order, which ensures equal access to the Internet. By a 2-1 vote, the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the FCC's right to impose Net neutrality rules that essentially prevent big telecom and broadband companies from slowing down, speeding up, or blocking service.
Microsoft and LinkedIn Go All In
June 13, 2016
Microsoft on Monday announced an agreement to buy LinkedIn, the world's largest professional social media network, for $26.2 billion in cash. The acquisition furthers Microsoft's effort to extend the breadth of its content portfolio and to integrate its offerings into its platform of cloud services. The companies jointly announced the deal.
The Tricky Business of Crafting Solid Cloud SLAs
June 10, 2016
In the five years since the U.S. government put a clear emphasis on utilizing cloud technology, federal procurement offices have engaged in seemingly endless tinkering of contracting vehicles to promote cloud adoption. The core element of virtually every type of federal cloud procurement contract is the service level agreement, upon which billions of dollars of cloud investments are based.
Yahoo to Have Giant Patent Garage Sale
June 9, 2016
Yahoo reportedly has notified potential buyers that it plans to auction off about 3,000 patents and will be accepting bids until mid-June. The intellectual property for sale includes patents for its original search technology. The patents "cover strategic areas such as search, e-commerce and online advertising," said Andreas Scherer, managing partner at Salto Partners.
Snowden and the NSA Gets Curiouser and Curiouser
June 8, 2016
Edward Snowden made a greater effort than originally believed to raise his concerns within the NSA before releasing thousands of classified documents detailing programs that allowed the agency to spy on U.S. citizens. The truth is more complex than the NSA let on, according to a report based on documents secured through two years of Freedom of Information Act litigation.
Supreme Court Snubs Google's AdWords Appeal
June 7, 2016
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear Google's appeal of a lower court ruling in a suit alleging the company used deceptive practices in the sale and placement of advertising through its AdWords program between 2004 and 2008. Google, a unit of Alphabet, sought to overturn the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals September 2015 ruling that the lawsuit could go forward as a class action case.
Yahoo Publishes NSLs Following Freedom Act Reforms
June 6, 2016
Yahoo last week published the text of three National Security Letters it received from the FBI in 2013. The letters demand the names, addresses, length of service, and electronic communications transactional records -- existing transaction and activity logs and all email header information -- of the targets. However, they do not ask for any content -- either the subject lines or bodies of emails.
Uber Scores Historic $3.5B Saudi Investment
June 2, 2016
Uber has nailed down a record $3.5 billion investment from the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund -- the largest-ever investment in a closely held technology firm. The investment is part of a deal that will allow Uber to expand its Middle East operations. Yasir Al Rumayyan, managing director of the fund, will take a seat on Uber's board of directors.
Microsoft, Xiaomi Become Office Mates
June 1, 2016
Microsoft on Tuesday announced plans to sell 1,500 mobile technology patents to China-based Xiaomi, in a deal that will expand both companies' access to new markets. Microsoft's office apps will gain a stronger foothold in China, while Xiaomi's smartphones will gain a stronger global presence. The agreement calls for Xiaomi to ship Microsoft Office and Skype on its Android smartphones and tablets.
Pay TV Firms Eke Out Tiny Gains in Customer Satisfaction
June 1, 2016
After two years of declining customer satisfaction, the telecommunications sector has halted the slide, according to the ACSI Telecommunications Report 2016, released Wednesday. There was a 1.9 percent gain -- to 70.1 on a 100-point scale -- in satisfaction with pay TV services, Internet service providers, fixed-line telephone services, wireless phone services and mobile phone makers.
Salesforce Picks AWS as Preferred Public Cloud Provider
May 31, 2016
Salesforce last week announced its selection of Amazon Web Services as its preferred public cloud infrastructure provider. The deal is worth $400 million. "For the first time, we'll be able to deliver our core services -- including Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, App Cloud, Community Cloud, Analytics Cloud and more -- for our international infrastructure expansion," said Salesforce cofounder Parker Harris.
Silicon Valley Debates Thiel's Money Man Role in Gawker Suit
May 31, 2016
The digital media world was abuzz last week when news surfaced that billionaire Peter Thiel had provided financial backing for a defamation lawsuit against Gawker Media. The suit stemmed from Gawker's publication of a sex tape involving ex-WWE superstar Terry Bollea, better known as "Hulk Hogan." A Florida jury awarded Bollea $140 million in March.
What Will HPE Sell Next?
May 30, 2016
I joined a bunch of analysts in discussing Hewlett Packard Enterprise's next move at a secret conclave last week. The company had just announced the sale of its IT services, which basically undid much of Mark Hurd's work as CEO. It already had sold off PCs and printers, more than undoing Carly Fiorina's earlier efforts. Granted, HPE spun it like it was an acquisition.
Coalition Wants FCC to Look Into Data Cap Exemptions
May 27, 2016
A coalition of technology companies and advocacy groups earlier this week wrote to the Federal Communications Commission, urging it to open a public investigation into zero-rating practices, in which mobile providers allow some video or music providers to be excluded from data caps. The group called on the FCC to examine the zero-rating practices to determine whether they harm competition.
Facebook Tweaks Trending Topics Out of Abundance of Caution
May 26, 2016
Facebook this week said it would make several procedural changes to its Trending Topics feature to quell concerns that the results could be steered in a particular political direction, even though it has found no evidence of bias. The company will retrain workers in the Trending Topics department and institute additional oversight and control to make sure trending stories are selected fairly.
The Traction Gap
May 26, 2016
My friend and a partner at Wildcat Venture Partners, Bruce Cleveland, along with his associates, has come up with an idea that helps explain why some early-stage companies thrive and thus raise more capital, while others die on the vine. As a venture capitalist, he is always trying to figure this out, trying to determine who gets another round of funding and who doesn't.
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.
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