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Can Microsoft Take Back Momentum From Google and Apple?
April 27, 2015
Microsoft is holding its Build event this week, marking the beginning of its major push to launch Windows 10. Build is in San Francisco this year, which effectively puts it right in the back yard of both Apple and Google -- a nice "in your face" move. I was the featured launch analyst for Windows 95 two decades ago and there, Microsoft ripped Apple a new rear orifice.
Mayer Wins Concessions in Rejiggered Microsoft-Yahoo Deal
April 17, 2015
Microsoft and Yahoo on Thursday said they were altering a search partnership that has been in place since 2009. Under the amended agreement, Yahoo no longer will exclusively serve Bing ads and search results for its desktop traffic. That means Yahoo can sell some of that desktop traffic to another party. "Yahoo has an opportunity for greater revenue from the deal," said tech analyst Jim McGregor.
Investors Squirm as Zynga Founder Takes Back Reins
April 13, 2015
News last week that Zynga founder Mark Pincus had replaced Don Mattrick as CEO, less than two years after vacating the position, sent the company's shares tumbling. The sharp reaction was a clear indicator of investors' concern over the management change. Pincus' return to the helm sparked concern from investors worried about the company's lackluster earnings.
Apple Execs Rave About Jobs' Bio They Helped Write
March 24, 2015
A new book about Steve Jobs hit store shelves Tuesday amid rave reviews -- from Apple executives. Apple execs not only praised the book, but also took the unusual step of providing interviews for it. The unauthorized biography -- Becoming Steve Jobs, by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli -- promises to reveal a more personal side of Apple's cofounder.
The Apple/Tesla Dream Team
February 23, 2015
We've seen a lot of speculation this week on the Apple car -- everything from Apple building its own car from scratch to its buying or merging with Tesla. Like many, I think the best path would be an Apple/Tesla combination, but since I doubt Tim would want to work for Musk or Musk for Tim, the only real option would be an office of the CEO for both firms.
Is Paltrow More Qualified Than Mayer to Run Yahoo?
February 16, 2015
While working on a piece about bad decisions recently, I revisited Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's decision not to hire Academy Award winner and successful lifestyle author and blogger Gwyneth Paltrow for a lifestyle editing position...because she didn't have a college degree. Let's explore the idea of Paltrow running Yahoo -- and we'll also take a look at my product of the week: an amazing new curved phone from LG.
Starboard to Yahoo's Mayer: Our Way or the Highway
January 9, 2015
Activist hedge fund Starboard, which has been dissatisfied with Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's strategy for some time, on Thursday sent a letter advising her to toe the line or expect to be ousted. Starboard expressed concern over recent media reports that Mayer has been considering some large acquisitions. Starboard also appears worried about what Yahoo will do with its remaining shares of Alibaba.
Journalist-Tracking Uber Exec Gets Vague Hand Slap
December 2, 2014
Uber has disciplined a company executive accused of using an internal tool to track a journalist's whereabouts, it said. The company offered no details about the nature of that reprimand, however, or about the possibility of taking similar action against another executive who publicly suggested the possibility of targeting journalists with a smear campaign.
Tim Cook Makes Waves, Creates Ripple Effect
October 30, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook on Thursday publicly proclaimed he is gay. While his sexual orientation isn't news, his strong acknowledgment sparked a wave of discussions and drew kudos from his Silicon Valley peers and others. "My first reaction was, 'It's 2014, so what? So many other famous people have come out as gay, why does one more matter?" said technology journalist Mitch Wagner. "But I was wrong."
Zuckerberg Talks His Way Into Chinese Hearts and Minds
October 24, 2014
When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg went on stage at Tsinghua University in Beijing Wednesday for a 30-minute Q&A session, the audience expected him to do what foreigners generally do: Utter a few words in Mandarin to acknowledge their culture, then depend heavily on translators. Instead, Zuckerberg elicited gasps of approval from the audience when he spoke in Mandarin all the way.
BlackBerry Tries, Tries Again to Remake Its Brand
October 9, 2014
BlackBerry is trying to rebuild itself by remaking its brand. A successful brand is one of the most important parts of any success story. However once a brand has sprouted roots, it's very difficult to remake it. It's easier to start from scratch. So what is the plan at BlackBerry -- and will it be successful? The BlackBerry brand has grown and evolved over the last 10 to 15 years.
HP Does the Splits
October 6, 2014
HP on Monday announced plans to separate its major business lines into two separate companies. HP Inc. will offer PCs and printers, while Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, will focus on IT infrastructure, software and services. HP CEO Meg Whitman will be the president and CEO of HP Enterprise. Don Weisler, EVP of HP's printing & personal systems division, will be the president and CEO of HP Inc.
Restless Shareholders Pelt Mayer With Yahoo Merger Proposals
October 1, 2014
Alternative Investment Management this weekend sent a letter to Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, urging her to consider merging with SoftBank. That request came a few days after Starboard Value sent Mayer a missive recommending that Yahoo acquire AOL. The proposals are independent of one another, but the investors making them are following the same line of reasoning. Shareholders want to see results.
PayPal, eBay Headed for Splitsville
October 1, 2014
eBay on Tuesday announced that its 12-year marriage to PayPal was coming to an end. The move comes mere months after eBay beat down an attempt by corporate raider Carl Icahn to peel PayPal from the online auction site. "For more than a decade, eBay and PayPal have mutually benefited from being part of one company, creating substantial shareholder value," said eBay President and CEO John Donahoe.
Apple and Oracle - Are We Suckers or What?
September 29, 2014
"There's a sucker born every minute." What's kind of funny about that famous quote is that there is no record of P.T. Barnum ever saying it, and there's a lot of evidence he was too smart to have done so. Whether Barnum made the observation or whether those words were uttered by any number of con men instead, the fact remains we are often excessively gullible.
Ellison Hands One Rein to Catz, the Other to Hurd
September 19, 2014
Larry Ellison, founder and CEO of Oracle since 1977, has passed the torch to not one but two successors: copresidents Mark Hurd and Safra Catz. Ellison will remain part of the executive cadre in the position of CTO. He also will serve as chairman of the board. The announcement, which came late Thursday, prompted equal parts reflection and speculation.
Sony's Mobile Malaise Lands It in Deep Ditch
September 18, 2014
Sony on Wednesday announced that it will post a loss of $2.14 billion for the fiscal year, far outpacing the loss it previously forecasted. It will take a quarterly write-down charge on the unit as a result. The reduction is due almost entirely to diminished growth in its mobile unit. Sony announced several changes to the unit, including adjusting its orientation away from sales.
Can Cook Stir Up That Old Black Magic?
September 8, 2014
Excitement is mounting as the countdown to Apple's mysterious Tuesday event ticks away. Apple is widely expected to unveil two new iPhones -- one in the usual smartphone form factor and the other a phablet. There's also a good deal of anticipation for an iWatch or other stylish wearable that will kick the sector into high gear. Some expect Apple to go full blast into the healthcare industry.
Sprint's Moment of Truth
August 21, 2014
The good news for Sprint is the stars seem to be lining up for a recovery. Change is occurring throughout the entire wireless industry. Every player -- including AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and C Spire Wireless -- is changing. We will start to see lots of new services, pricing, competition and marketing going forward.
Ballmer Leaves Microsoft for Hoop Dream
August 20, 2014
Steve Ballmer on Tuesday severed the last of his official ties with Microsoft -- he resigned from the board of directors. Ballmer gave up his CEO role in February. Ballmer's other duties have become too pressing for him to focus on Microsoft, he wrote in a letter to CEO Satya Nadella. "I think it would be impractical for me to continue to serve, and it is best for me to move off," he said.
Sprint Sheds Hesse Along With T-Mobile Hopes
August 7, 2014
Softbank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son has announced sweeping changes for subsidiary Sprint. Effective Aug. 11, Sprint President and CEO Dan Hesse is being replaced by Marcelo Claure, founder and CEO of Softbank subsidiary Brightstar. Also, Sprint has dropped plans to purchase T-Mobile. Hesse's replacement was expected, as Sprint has been hemorrhaging customers and piling up losses for some time.
Layoffs: There's a Right Way
July 21, 2014
Microsoft last week announced a large staff reduction tied to the acquisition of Nokia. There is actually a science to how to make layoffs, but much of that appears to have been lost over the last couple of decades. I have some theories as to why, but how you carry out job cuts actually is very important, and it reflects how well the CEO understands people.
HP's Whitman Pulls Out the Chain Saw
May 23, 2014
In the wake of a weak second-quarter earnings report, HP has announced it will eliminate 11,000 to 16,000 jobs. The news was a blow; it was only two years ago that HP announced it would undergo a massive restructuring to move away from its PC roots. As part of that restructuring it planned to eliminate 34,000 jobs from its payroll, which then came as a shock.
'I Am Google': Pride Comes Before a Fall
May 19, 2014
Last week, I observed repercussions from one of the most arrogant moves I've ever seen an executive make. A small uproar occurred when a Google product strategist learned there were fewer people than he'd expected at an event he'd volunteered to speak at. As he stormed out, he uttered the immortal words, "I Am Google," to the event organizer -- whom he apparently thought was a booth babe.
Microsoft's Makeover: Nadella Confirmed, Ballmer Vindicated
April 28, 2014
Last week, Microsoft delivered its quarterly report, and it was a big deal. It was CEO Satya Nadella's first real quarter and the Nokia merger was completed. This is just the beginning of the Microsoft makeover, but two things indicate that in the end, Ballmer finally did what was right for Microsoft in prepping the company for Nadella -- and that Nadella was the right choice to lead the firm.
Mozilla in the Eye of the Storm
April 15, 2014
The uproar that erupted over Mozilla Foundation cofounder Brendan Eich's appointment as CEO of its subsidiary Mozilla Corp. and resulted in his stepping down perhaps was symptomatic of the troubles the foundation is going through, in that opposition to his taking the post had both political and technological dimensions. Politically, the firestorm was over Eich's anti-gay marriage stance.
Eich Falls on Sword for Mozilla
April 4, 2014
Mozilla Foundation cofounder Brendan Eich -- whose recent appointment as CEO of subsidiary Mozilla Corp. sparked an uproar -- on Thursday stepped down from the post in a bid to keep the company viable. Foundation cofounder and CEO Mitchell Baker painted the move as a return to the foundation's core principles, noting that Eich made the decision "for Mozilla and our community."
With Eich Appointment, Mozilla Jumps From Frying Pan Into Fire
April 1, 2014
A controversy involving Mozilla's new CEO, cofounder Brendan Eich, has inspired more than 70,000 people to sign a petition demanding he reverse his anti-gay stance or step down. The trouble began last week when gay developer Hampton Catlin, CEO of Teamrarebit.com, announced his opposition to Eich's appointment. Eich had donated $1,000 to Proposition 8, California's anti-gay marriage amendment.
Microsoft Launches Public Cloud in China
March 27, 2014
Microsoft is now offering general availability of its Azure cloud service in China, becoming the first multinational company to provide public cloud services in the Middle Kingdom. Microsoft is partnering with 21Vianet, a Chinese data center services provider, a marriage that likely helped appease Beijing officials. Until now, all major cloud providers in China have been Chinese.
With Colin Powell, Salesforce Board Goes to 11
March 14, 2014
Gen. Colin Powell on Thursday joined Salesforce.com's board of directors, bringing the number seated at the table to 11. The general, who has been friends with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff for several years, has been associated with the company's philanthropic activities. The news represents a major public and investment relations score for Salesforce.
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Should social media sites be held accountable for terrorists' communications?
Yes -- They are providing a platform to facilitate murder and mayhem.
Yes -- Everything must be done to protect society from danger.
Maybe -- I'm not sure they have the technological capability to stop them.
Maybe -- I'm not convinced terrorists are using them for serious plotting.
No -- Authorities should monitor social networks to gather intelligence.
No -- Social networks are no different than phone carriers or mail services.