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BYOD Privacy: Do Employees Have Rights?
October 02, 2014
Using personal devices to conduct business has become commonplace, whether employers require it or employees voluntary do so. The use of personal devices creates a privacy challenge. Employers want access to the devices, and employees want to protect their personal data contained on them. The term "devices" itself is deceiving. Many consider employee-owned devices to be smartphones and tablets.
Restless Shareholders Pelt Mayer With Yahoo Merger Proposals
October 01, 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 01, 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.
Major Players Bid for Slice of Federal Health Records Pie
September 30, 2014
The ambitious health information technology program now under way at the U.S. Department of Defense has garnered attention from some of the major e-commerce companies in the U.S. The DoD soon will evaluate bids for its 10-year, multibillion-dollar program to enhance its health IT capability, with an emphasis on electronic health records.
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.
FBI Director Comey Gives Apple and Google a Tongue-Lashing
September 26, 2014
FBI Director James Comey on Thursday strongly criticized Apple and Google for hardening information stored in smartphones by encrypting data, making it inaccessible to law enforcement even with a court order. The FBI has had conversations with both Apple and Google over the encryption features, Comey said, although he personally was not involved in those talks.
The Sky Is Droning
September 26, 2014
The FAA on Thursday gave the green light for six aerial photo and video production companies to begin using unmanned aircraft systems, also known as "drones." To incorporate the devices in film and TV production, the companies will be required to hold private pilot certificates, keep their drones within line of sight at all times, and restrict flights to a so-called sterile area.
Comcast Blasts TWC Merger Foes
September 25, 2014
Comcast on Tuesday lashed out at critics of its $45.2 billion bid for TWC, accusing Discovery Communications of making "extortionate demands." Netflix also drew Comcast's ire. The proposed merger is in the public interest, Comcast maintained. "It is not extortion to demand that Comcast provide its own customers the broadband speeds they've paid for," said Netflix spokesperson Cliff Edwards.
EMC Swings Its Partners in Rumored Deal Talks
September 22, 2014
Intrigue is thick surrounding EMC these days. The story line goes something like this: An activist shareholder is pressuring EMC to sell itself to companies that might be interested in acquiring the data storage giant. The list of possible suitors is short -- the two names that keep circulating are HP and Dell. EMC apparently has been discussing merger possibilities with HP for a year or more.
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.
Red Hat Slurps Up FeedHenry
September 19, 2014
Red Hat has inked a deal to acquire FeedHenry as part of a stepped-up initiative to support mobile application development. "Given the sheer number of mobile phones out there and the sheer adoption in the market at large of mobile technologies, our customers and prospects and target customer base are moving more and more toward mobile," said Mike Piech, Red Hat's general manager for middleware.
Google Brings Hamster-Eating Into Sticks-and-Stones Brawl With News Corp.
September 19, 2014
News Corp. and Google have lashed out at each other as the EU reconsiders the terms of its proposed antitrust settlement with the latter. News Corp. essentially accused Google of nefarious behavior in a letter to the European Competition Commissioner over the EU's proposed antitrust settlement with Google. Perhaps the irony of the situation hit Google hard.
FTC Gives E-tailers Bad Shipping News
September 18, 2014
The Federal Trade Commission has updated a longstanding rule governing mail- and phone-based retailers to explicitly include e-commerce vendors as well, meaning that online retailers now must abide by a 30-day shipping requirement or refund customers' payments if they can't. Merchants in violation could be sued by the FTC for injunctive relief or monetary civil penalties.
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.
FCC Chews on the Mobile Net Neutrality Question
September 17, 2014
The FCC on Tuesday hosted a roundtable discussion on the possibility of Net neutrality rules being applied to mobile networks. Participants in the talk included representatives from The Center for Media Justice, Consumers Union and CTIA. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler earlier this year suggested that the 2010 rules, which exempted mobile services from Net neutrality provisions, should be reconsidered.
Wall Street Strings Taut as Alibaba Edges Toward IPO
September 15, 2014
Alibaba's forthcoming IPO will have a significant impact on Yahoo, but it's not likely to cause many ripples in the U.S. e-commerce market overall. Although this one deal will make Yahoo more money than it has made in years of struggling, it could lead to its demise as an independent entity. "It would only take about $6 billion to control Yahoo," said Covestor's Barry Randall.
Minecraft May Help Microsoft Build Its Mobile Strategy
September 15, 2014
Microsoft on Monday announced it has agreed to acquire Mojang, the software developer that created the popular Minecraft video game. Although it's subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory review, the deal is expected to be finalized by the end of this year. Microsoft will pay $2.5 billion for Mojang and gain full control of the iconic Minecraft franchise.
Feds Wielded Baseball Bat to Win Yahoo's NSA Cooperation
September 12, 2014
The Obama administration threatened Yahoo with fines of $250,000 daily if it wouldn't comply with demands to hand over user information to the NSA, Yahoo has disclosed. Yahoo had filed suit against the demands in 2007, citing the Fourth Amendment. "They basically said you must do this thing that you don't want to do or we'll put you out of business," said ITIF's Daniel Castro.
Google Buys Developer of Tremor-Canceling Tech
September 12, 2014
Google has purchased Lift Labs, which produces battery-operated utensils that make it easier for people with tremors to eat their meals. Parkinson's and ET patients' hands shake, making it difficult for them to eat or drink. Lift Labs' products, offered under the "Liftware" name, cancel more than 70 percent of tremors. Lift Labs also is working on attachments for painting and craftwork.
Polar Buy Hints Google+ Not Left Out in the Cold
September 12, 2014
Google on Thursday announced its acquisition of online polling startup Polar. "At first, it was difficult to find the connection ... opinions and polls?" mused marketing and social media expert Lon Safko. Upon reflection, "the acquisition was about driving engagement and audience to websites," he said. "Polar makes it easy to engage with your followers."
DoD Ramps Up Security as It Drifts Toward Cloud
September 12, 2014
DoD is committed to pursuing cloud-based services and steadily has been improving its capabilities to utilize the technology. The latest evidence of its embracing the cloud is approval of a protocol that will facilitate the use of the technology at higher security levels. DISA has granted provisional authorization for the use of cloud services to levels 3 to 5 of its Cloud Security Model.
Apple's New iPhones: Ho-Hum and Controversial Too
September 11, 2014
Apple's new iPhones didn't take center stage at this week's big event. "The fact that they are ho-hum is interesting in itself," said Nick Spencer, a senior practice director at ABI Research. "Apple is now a company that follows rather than leads." Apple is "at least 18 months late with a large screen device," he pointed out, and its Apple Pay mobile payment feature is "not exactly new."
If Google Were French
September 11, 2014
Europeans are relentlessly attacking Google: A German official called for its breakup, a French minister charged it was a threat to sovereignty, and a publisher compared it to a dragon, according to a report. Really? I would have thought the euro and the draconian austerity program needed to keep it functioning threatened sovereignty more than Google.
The Fortune 500 Crowdfunding Conundrum
September 11, 2014
Marvell recently launched its Kinoma Create construction kit for consumer electronics on Indiegogo. Should a $6.5 billion company turn to crowdfunding to raise money? Are large companies drying up a source of funding that otherwise would be available to startups? Is that morally reprehensible? "Ethics is a personal set of standards and beliefs," noted marketing prof Larry Chiagouris.

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