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Supreme Court Turns Deaf Ear to Google's Street View Appeal
June 30, 2014
The Supreme Court has declined Google's appeal of a lower-court ruling in a class-action lawsuit that alleges it violated federal wiretap laws with its Street View cars. The court left in place a decision the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed down in September. The appeals court declined to dismiss the case, ruling that Google was not exempt from liability under the federal Wiretap Act.
3 Brick-and-Mortar Retailers Doing it Right Online
June 30, 2014
Christmas came late, or not at all, for many retailers in 2013, with holiday foot traffic down by nearly 50 percent compared to just three years earlier. Many brick-and-mortar stores are on a knife's edge. The closing of Best Buy and Sears stores around the U.S. suggests that the retail giants of the past decades are vulnerable to shifting trends, including the move to digital commerce.
Verizon to Chromebook Pixel Owners: We're On It
June 27, 2014
After a hornet's nest was stirred up over the premature termination of some Chromebook Pixel users' free data plans, Verizon apparently has begun trying to make amends. "A very small number of Chromebook Pixel customers may have had a promo end prematurely," said Verizon spokesperson Debra Lewis. "We apologize for this and will work with these customers to address the situation shortly."
Google Starts Purging Search Results in Europe
June 26, 2014
Google has started to remove search results in certain cases in Europe, in compliance with the EU's new "right to be forgotten" rules. The EU last month ruled that the company must allow individuals to request the removal of links to news articles, court judgments, and other documents that might turn up in results when searches are conducted on their names.
German Publishing Group Levels Charges Against Amazon
June 25, 2014
The German Publishers and Booksellers Association has complained to German antitrust authorities that Amazon has been anticompetitive. Amazon delayed the shipment of books from publisher Bonnier following a disagreement over dividing the revenue from e-book sales, it said. Although Amazon was receiving a 30 percent commission on e-book sales, it allegedly wanted more like 40 or 50 percent.
Microsoft Aims to Put Some MacBook Airs Out of Circulation
June 24, 2014
Microsoft is offering up to $650 worth of in-store credit to MacBook Air owners who are willing to trade them in and purchase a Surface Pro 3. The campaign runs until July 31. All models of MacBook Air are eligible for the deal, though the value given in the trade will vary, depending on the specific model and its condition. The offer is an extension of the company's "Recycle for Rewards Program."
SnappyTV Could Amp Up Twitter Amplify
June 19, 2014
Twitter just announced a new addition to its social-TV arsenal: SnappyTV, an online service that allows content owners to clip, edit and share video from live broadcasts in near-real time. "As we continue to invest in video, it's important for us to provide tools that make it easy for TV broadcasters, businesses, and event producers to share high-quality videos," said Twitter's Baljeet Singh.
You Can Improve Your Sales Forecast
June 18, 2014
I don't know anyone who was ever great at sales forecasting. This is not to say that it can't be done, but it's a hard problem -- like forecasting the weather. Today, we can get weather forecasts for many days in advance with temperatures accurate within a few degrees, because we've invested in many data gathering and analysis tools like satellites, computer modeling and analytics.
Apple Gains an Inch in E-Book Price-Fixing Scrap
June 18, 2014
Apple has reached a settlement with plaintiffs in 33 states regarding allegations that it colluded with five major U.S. book publishers to fix the price of e-books. The class action maintained that Apple overcharged plaintiffs $280 million. News of the settlement came on Tuesday via a filing with U.S. District Judge Denise Cote by Steve Berman, an attorney representing some of the plaintiffs.
Cutting Through the Data Clouds to Build Strong Customer Relationships
June 17, 2014
Successful companies today run largely on data and analytics. The more precisely you can measure the various aspects of your business, the better you can fine-tune its performance. With e-commerce companies especially, everything can be measured, which has provided some amazing opportunities to improve performance -- but sometimes it can lead to issues.
IBM's Empowerment of SAP HANA
June 17, 2014
SAP's recent Sapphire NOW user and partner conference in Orlando was a love fest for the company's HANA in-memory database technology. SAP has made it quite clear that HANA is far more than an innovative solution for Big Data, analytics and business intelligence workloads. In fact, HANA and complementary SAP solutions represent the future for the company and its customers and partners.
Rumor: Amazon's About to Spring a 3D Smartphone
June 16, 2014
Amazon reportedly is adding an important new tributary to its river of products this week: a smartphone line. The company has a media event scheduled for Wednesday and expectations are high that it's about to reveal its first mobile device. "Amazon has already seen some success in the tablet space as well as the home entertainment space," said Frost & Sullivan analyst Todd Day.
Priceline Hits the Sweet Spot With OpenTable Bid
June 16, 2014
Priceline last week announced an agreement to buy OpenTable for US$2.6 billion. Priceline is paying $103 per share for the online restaurant reservation service in the all-cash transaction. The companies are positioning the deal as a synergistic play in which they will be able to enhance services for both of their customer bases. OpenTable will give Priceline an entrée into restaurant marketing.
How Can a 'Tech President' Be So Tech-Backward?
June 16, 2014
Like a lot of people in tech, I was really excited to see President Obama get elected. It seemed like he got technology, and he used it brilliantly in two campaigns. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to use it well in actually running the government. From the Affordable Health Care Act to the Veterans Administration, the Obama presidency has been a tale of dumb and dumber when it comes to tech.
Facebook Plunges Into Online Ad Mainstream
June 12, 2014
Facebook on Thursday announced it will soon move to interest-based advertising, almost three years after archrival Google, and well after other major players such as Yahoo and Amazon. It also will introduce "ad preferences," a tool accessible from every ad on Facebook that will explain why users were served an ad, and let them remove interests that form the basis on which that ad is served.
Conspiracy of Culture: 5 Contributors to CRM Failure
June 12, 2014
Most companies of any size have a CRM application. Every company says it wants to build great relationships with its customers. Almost as many businesses say they want to be "customer-centric." However, as any customer can tell you, the companies that attain these goals are few and far between. What is it that's keeping businesses from doing what they know they need to do? It's not one thing.
Amazon May Set Up Neighborhood Services Market
June 12, 2014
Amazon reportedly is planning to test a local marketplace that could make it a one-stop shop for local services. Those services could include anything from dog walking to a plumbing. Backed by Amazon's already established ratings and recommendations infrastructure, the service could take on sites like Yelp, Angie's List and Craigslist. It might also threaten home improvement chains.
Apple's Crucial Marketing Challenge
June 12, 2014
Apple grew from a small Microsoft competitor in the 1990s, to the tech giant of the 2000s. However, since Steve Jobs' passing a few short years ago, Apple has changed. At the same time, the industry has changed. Today, Google and Samsung offer strong competition. Apple now has to do something it never had to do before: market. Let's roll the camera back for a minute. This sounds familiar.
Google Buys Skybox in Move to Democratize Space
June 11, 2014
Google's acquisition of Skybox may be a small step for the search giant, but it could be a giant leap for the Internet. Google on Tuesday announced its intention to buy the satellite imaging startup for $500 million. The move not only would enhance Google's satellite imaging resources, but also provide it with some top talent for its blue-sky plans for space.
Free Speech vs. Internet Privacy and the 'Right to Be Forgotten'
June 10, 2014
The conventional wisdom of the Internet is that everything posted, whether on social media, a website or anywhere else, will be on the Internet forever. That conventional wisdom was just challenged successfully in a recent ruling handed down by the EU's highest court. A new conventional wisdom may arise from that ruling -- that we have a "right to be forgotten."

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