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Microsoft Makes It Easier to Say No to Windows 10
June 28, 2016
Microsoft on Tuesday announced a new Windows 10 upgrade policy -- weeks after losing a $10,000 case in a small claims court. The owner of TG Travel Group in Sausalito, California, last month won a final judgment after she alleged that her computer was upgraded to the new operating system without prior authorization, according to court documents.
Volkswagen Aims to Clear the Air With $15B US Settlement
June 28, 2016
Volkswagen on Tuesday announced that it has reached an agreement to settle claims arising from the emissions scandal that has plagued the company since its discovery two years ago. The company has agreed to set up a $10 billion funding pool to buy back or terminate leases of diesel vehicles sold in the United States. Volkswagen had used software to cheat on emissions tests.
Senate Falls Short on Expansion of FBI Surveillance Authority
June 27, 2016
The United States Senate last week rejected a Republican-backed amendment that would have given the FBI expanded authority to access the browser histories and other electronic records of targets of terrorism and other national security investigations without first obtaining a warrant. The Senate voted 58-38 for the amendment, cosponsored by Sens. Richard Burr and John McCain.
Verizon's Mission of Self-Destruction
June 27, 2016
Customers and investors increasingly are wondering why Verizon and Verizon Wireless are hurting themselves with their actions. For starters, Verizon decided to battle its own striking workers on the public stage. That battle shed lots of bad blood, and it will be tough to close those wounds. Many companies experience strikes, but most are settled quickly and quietly.
Gun Control and Learning to Make Data-Driven Decisions
June 27, 2016
We live in an unprecedented age of information and computing power -- yet whether publicly or privately, we still make decisions largely on how we feel rather than based on hard information. With this massive influx of data and computing power, when it comes to issues like global warming or gun control, we are more likely to decide based on how we feel rather than figuring out the facts.
Webpass Buy Lets Google Fiber Extend Its Tentacles
June 24, 2016
Google Fiber, the high-speed Internet unit of Alphabet, has agreed to buy Webpass, a San Francisco-based broadband service provider that operates in five major metropolitan areas of the U.S., Webpass announced Wednesday. The deal will allow the combined companies to accelerate the growth of high-speed Internet across the U.S., said Webpass President Charles Barr.
Tesla Shares Tank on SolarCity Merger Proposal
June 23, 2016
Shares of Tesla Motors fell sharply Wednesday after the company, helmed by Elon Musk, made an offer to buy SolarCity for $2.8 billion. Musk is the chairman and top shareholder of the struggling alternative energy provider. Tesla made the offer Monday, in a letter to SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive, noting that Musk and Antonio Gracias would recuse themselves from voting on the proposal.
Microsoft Sees Fertile Ground in Cannabis Compliance
June 21, 2016
Microsoft has entered a partnership with Kind Financial to create an entity that will obtain government contracts to track seed-to-sale compliance in the legalized marijuana business. The new entity, Kind Government Solutions, will provide state, county and local municipalities with tracking information on marijuana sales to keep them in compliance with government regulations.
Apple Won't Put Its Money Where Trump's Mouth Is
June 21, 2016
Apple reportedly has declined to sponsor the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next month amid increasing concerns over the rhetoric coming from presumptive nominee Donald Trump. The company notified RNC officials that it would withdraw its support from the July convention after Trump made a number of highly charged statements targeting minority and religious groups.
Amazon's Bold Indian Strategy
June 20, 2016
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently announced an expansion of the company's investment in India to the tune of $3 billion -- that was in addition to the $2 billion in investments it announced in 2014. Bezos announced the new investment during the 41st annual U.S.-India Business Council Leadership Summit, which was attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several top business leaders.
WatchOS 3 Offers New Hope for Smartwatch Category
June 16, 2016
Apple finally responded to concerns that were threatening to scuttle its once-promising wearables category. Its introduction of watchOS 3 at this week's WWDC has drawn high praise. The Apple Watch represented the company's attempt to marry the ultimate Dick Tracy smart gadget with the genius of the iPhone, but it fell short. Instead of a convenience, it was far too slow and complicated.
Feds Seek to Cut Software Costs and Expand Licenses
June 16, 2016
Software vendors who sell their wares to the U.S. government soon will face a significantly different marketing environment in terms of how federal agencies acquire the programs and technologies that keep IT systems going. Federal agencies spent nearly $9 billion in 2015 on software, and the OMB has directed them to adopt practices that will simplify and streamline software acquisition.
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.
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Live streaming video...
is the next big thing.
is a passing fad.
will dramatically improve citizen journalism.
will feed a lot more disturbing imagery to the Web.
doesn't interest me.