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Time Warner Possibilities Put Glint in Apple's Eye
January 14, 2016
Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes this week hinted at a meeting with investors that he might consider a sale of the company, according to a news report. Apple, which reportedly is interested in purchasing Time Warner or its media assets, is keeping a close eye on the discussions. Buying Time Warner's assets would give the flailing Apple TV streaming service much-needed programming.
Google Sharpens Its Virtual Reality Focus
January 14, 2016
Google has confirmed the appointment of Clay Bavor as vice president of virtual reality, one of several indications that the company intends to get serious about competing in the emerging field. Diane Greene will take over Bavor's former role as vice president of product management. The news comes as Facebook's $599 Oculus Rift and HTC's yet-to-be priced Vive are being prepped for shipment.
EFF Urges Revival of Human Rights Case Against Cisco
January 13, 2016
The Electronic Frontier Foundation on Monday pressed to revive a lawsuit against Cisco Systems for violating human rights in China, in a brief filed with a U.S. Court of Appeals. Members of Falun Gong, a religious group persecuted in China, originally filed the lawsuit in 2011, but a federal district court in California dismissed it in 2014. The federal appeals court now is considering a challenge to that dismissal.
AT&T Baits Pay-TV Hooks With Unlimited Mobile Data
January 12, 2016
AT&T on Tuesday began offering unlimited mobile data to its pay TV customers. New or existing DirecTV and U-Verse TV subscribers can get unlimited talk, text and data for $100 per month. AT&T will charge $40 for two additional phones, and a fourth phone will be free. Subscribers can add smartwatches and certain connected devices to their unlimited plans for $10 per device.
Legere Steps Back After Hurling F-Word at EFF
January 12, 2016
John Legere, T-Mobile's loquacious CEO, has apologized to the Electronic Frontier Foundation for what he described as a "color commentary" that drew sharp criticism. "I am a vocal, animated and sometimes foul mouthed CEO," Legere wrote in a blog post. "I don't filter myself and you know that no one at T-Mobile filters me either." Legere offered a mea culpa for "offending EFF and its supporters."
Apple Execs' Salaries Go Up as Stock Goes Down
January 9, 2016
All but one of Apple's top team received a pay raise in 2015, according to a proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week. While Angela Ahrendts, Apple's senior vice president for retail and online stores, didn't get a raise, she's still pulling down the highest executive compensation at the company at $25.8 million. Her compensation in 2014 was $73.4 million.
Uber Settles With New York AG After 'Playing God' With Data
January 8, 2016
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Thursday announced a deal that would require Uber to encrypt geolocation information about its riders, as well as enhance its data security practices. The AG opened an investigation into Uber in 2014, in response to allegations that the service had tracked riders and displayed their locations in an aerial format, known internally as the "God View."
Investor Calls for Leadership Changes at Yahoo
January 7, 2016
Activist investor Starboard Value, which has dogged Yahoo over the years, on Wednesday sent a letter to the company demanding it make changes or face a proxy fight. Yahoo "made the right decision" by suspending the Alibaba spinoff, but "the continued downward spiral of Yahoo's core Search and Display advertising businesses" has been "frustrating for us, and likely for you," the letter states.
Apple Rings In 2016 With Record App Sales
January 7, 2016
Apple on Wednesday announced that customers spent a record $1.1 billion on apps and in-app purchases the during the holidays. Jan. 1 was the App Store's best day ever, with consumers spending about $144 million, the company said. Since 2008, the store has generated close to $40 billion in revenue for developers. Consumers spent more than $20 billion in the store last year.
Analyst Briefings at CES: One Shot Is Not Enough
January 7, 2016
Why do so many companies fail at industry analyst relations? Since the best answer might come from an industry analyst, I'll share a few thoughts with you. I'll also share some secrets for building a successful long-term technology analyst program. Hint: It's about being on the growth side of the wave. This is a good week to address this issue, since CES 2016 is taking place in Las Vegas.
Yahoo Rolls Up Screen
January 6, 2016
Yahoo has shut down its Yahoo Screen on-demand streaming video hub, according to news reports. The hub's offerings included a National Football League game played in London, licensed clips of shows such as "Saturday Night Live," and a number of original series. The company had to write off $42 million in losses stemming from running original series, Yahoo's third-quarter report states.
China Levels Antitrust Allegations Against Microsoft
January 6, 2016
China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce on Tuesday launched the latest in a series of investigations against Microsoft for possible violations of the country's antimonopoly law. Back in July 2014, about 100 SAIC officials burst into four Microsoft offices in various parts of China and copied contracts and records, downloaded data from company servers, and questioned executives.
The EPA, Social Media and Politics
January 6, 2016
Before the Internet, messages were spread by television and newspaper ads and highway billboards. Today that is done through social media. Virtually everyone knows about it, and many people use it. Does it make any sense that a U.S. government agency could violate any laws for using social media to carry out its mission? That doesn't make sense to me.
FTC Debates Cybersecurity Injury Standard
January 5, 2016
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is engaged in an internal struggle over how it should assess the effect on consumers when businesses fail to provide proper e-commerce security. The outcome of the debate will have a significant impact on the FTC's ability to initiate cybersecurity violation cases. The legal issue could spill over to federal courts or even Congress for resolution.
GM Deal Buoys Lyft
January 4, 2016
General Motors has agreed to invest $500 million in Lyft, and the companies will work together to develop an integrated network of autonomous vehicles, they said in a joint announcement on Monday. As part of the agreement, GM will become a preferred provider of short-term vehicles to Lyft customers, and it will provide them with its OnStar vehicle location services.
Security Execs Sweat Insider Threats
December 31, 2015
Insider threats are becoming increasingly worrisome to corporate security executives. That is one of the findings in a survey of C-level businesspeople Nuix released last week. "The insider threat seems to be a bigger concern this year than it was in previous years," said Nuix's Keith Lowry. "People are recognizing that it is a significant weakness that has yet to be fully addressed."
Fitbit Shares Surge on Healthy Downloads
December 30, 2015
Fitbit shares earlier this week climbed several percentage points after the company's app topped the iOS charts over the Christmas holiday. The Fitbit app was the top free app downloaded from Apple's App Store on Christmas Day. It was already the most downloaded app in the store's fitness and health category. It wasn't just downloads that told the story of Fitbit's success, however.
Smart Homes Meet Connected Cars: X Marks the Spot
December 29, 2015
Several factors have contributed to the sudden expansion of connected car services available or coming to the market, notably the expansion of mobile broadband networks, high penetration of smartphones, and automakers' re-evaluation of connected services as a competitive advantage. Crossover between connected car and smart home ecosystems offers a unique opportunity for the ecosystem players.
Looking Ahead to 2016
December 28, 2015
Next week is CES, and I am so looking forward to coming home from that show. It used to be a lot of fun, but it covers such a massive amount of space that just getting around takes up much of the time. Given that most folks do prebriefings if they are smart, and that most of the really cool stuff is behind closed doors and not on the show floor, every year I question the intelligence of going.
Move Over, FedEx - Here Comes Amazon
December 26, 2015
Amazon has been negotiating a lease for 20 Boeing 767 jets as it executes on plans to start its own air cargo business, according to recent reports. It launched a pilot of the service in Wilmington, Ohio, where Air Transport Services Group, or ATSG, has been managing airfreight on Amazon's behalf. ATSG reportedly moved into the Wilmington Air Park under contract with an unnamed company.
Apple, Samsung Cut Mobile Payment Inroads in China
December 22, 2015
Apple and Samsung last week announced separate mobile payment partnerships with China UnionPay, the only domestic bank card network in the People's Republic of China. China UnionPay cardholders will be able to utilize Apple Pay and Samsung Pay via a mobile device. Both services will begin early next year, pending approval and certification from regulators.
Linux Foundation Gives Blockchain a Boost
December 21, 2015
The Linux Foundation last week announced it was teaming up with a group of high-tech and financial giants on a project to advance the blockchain technology made famous by bitcoin virtual currency. IBM, Cisco and Intel have agreed to collaborate with a number of financial institutions and other companies to develop an enterprise-grade open source distributed ledger framework.
Slack Energizes App Development With $80M Fund
December 19, 2015
Slack this week announced its participation in an $80 million investment campaign to fund startups that build software that integrates with its own apps. The company also announced the availability of an app directory and a new development framework. The goal is to position Slack as a hub for connecting users to other cloud business software. Slack is partnership with six other investors.
California's Proposed Rules Could Stop Google Car in Its Tracks
December 18, 2015
The California Department of Motor Vehicles on Thursday proposed rules for autonomous vehicles, and Google isn't happy about one of the provisions. The new rules for autonomous autos were presented for public commentary. The DMV has invited the public to weigh in on the proposal in two workshops, one in Sacramento and the other in Los Angeles, early next year.
Cook Rearranges Apple's Executive Suite
December 18, 2015
Apple on Thursday announced some personnel moves that suggest CEO Tim Cook's future vision for the company. He named Jeff Williams chief operating officer, elevated Johny Srouji to senior vice president, broadened the powers of Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller, and added Tor Myhren as vice president of marketing communications.
Congress Passes Budget Bill With Controversial Cybersecurity Provision
December 18, 2015
Congress on Friday passed an omnibus budget bill that included the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA. The Senate earlier this year passed CIS, which many conservative and liberal politicians, high-tech firms, and privacy and civil liberty advocates oppose. The latest version includes amendments that will allow corporations to share customers' information with the government.
WhatsApp Brouhaha Breaks Out in Brazil
December 17, 2015
A Brazilian judge on Thursday lifted the ban a different judge had imposed on WhatsApp hours earlier, according to reports. It did not seem reasonable to affect millions of users to penalize Facebook, WhatsApp's owner, for failing to cooperate with judicial rulings, the judge reportedly said, suggesting that the imposition of a larger fine would have been more appropriate.
Three Charged in Hacking Case That Spammed 60M
December 17, 2015
Federal prosecutors in New Jersey on Tuesday charged three men in a $2 million identity theft scheme to hack corporate computer systems and blast spam messages to more than 60 million people. The defendants face up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines on wire fraud charges, and up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines on email and computer conspiracy charges.
Seattle Lets Ride-Sharing Drivers Unionize
December 16, 2015
The Seattle City Council this week approved an ordinance that will allow drivers for Uber and Lyft to form unions, becoming the first U.S. city to pass such legislation. The City Council voted 9-0 in favor of the ordinance, which doesn't require the mayor's signature to pass. Drivers for Uber and other ride-sharing networks are classified as independent contractors, like taxi drivers.
Disgruntled Yahoo Investors Suggest Different Paths Forward
December 16, 2015
Two Yahoo investors, acting independently, have publicly called for radical changes or a potential sale of the firm. Both Canyon Capital Advisors and SpringOwl Asset Management apparently were unappeased by last week's announcement that Yahoo would spin off its core Internet business. Canyon Capital Advisors on Friday sent a letter urging Yahoo to find a buyer for its core Internet businesses.
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What is your reaction to the rumored
4-inch iPhone?
I'm in -- I'd love to have a smaller iPhone.
I prefer a larger iPhone, but it's good to have more options.
I expect innovation from Apple -- seems it's running out of ideas.
I'm not interested in an iPhone of any size.