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Oracle's Earnings Angst
September 22, 2018
OK, this is looking somewhat predictable. Oracle reported $9.20 billion in Q1 revenue, or $0.03 per share, against consensus estimates in the $9.24 to $9.29 range. In other words, it missed its number. How concerning is this? Excuse me while I yawn. It's important all right, but no reason to get crazy. Still, some representatives of the widows and orphans who own the stock went into a tizzy.
Poor Website Designs Could Trigger Legal Actions
September 21, 2018
Internet marketing has become so popular that e-commerce retail sales in the United States are on pace to double between 2009 and 2018. The transaction value of e-commerce service industry contracts reached $600 billion in 2016. Despite the rush to digital commerce, the rules for business transactions are still the same, whether they are concluded on paper or electronically.
In Technology We Trust... But Should We?
September 20, 2018
Since the industrial revolution, technology has changed society continually. Largely due to innovations in semiconductor electronics, software and computer technology, the pace of technological development has continued to accelerate over the past 50 years. Personal computers now fit into your pocket. You have access to people and information all over the world through the Internet.
ACLU Sues Facebook for Facilitating Gender-Biased Job Recruitment
September 19, 2018
The ACLU has filed charges of unlawful gender-based discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Facebook and 10 employers accused of targeting job ads at males only. The ACLU, Outten & Golden, a Washington, D.C. law firm, and the Communications Workers of America brought the class action. The complaint alleges that Facebook delivers job ads selectively.
Despite Emmys, Road Ahead Is Bumpy for Streaming Services
September 18, 2018
Netflix had a very good showing on Monday, winning 23 Emmy Awards and tying longtime Emmy-winning powerhouse HBO. Netflix, an over-the-top streaming service, claimed 112 nominations this year, four more than its premium pay-TV channel rival HBO, which had dominated the Emmys for nearly two decades. Although the Emmy wins were good news for Netflix, other recent news has been far less rosy.
Blockchain (Re)Emerges
September 17, 2018
More often than you might think, disruptive innovations travel in pairs -- at least until they are separated by the markets, which decide one is useful and the other no so much. Sometimes they're symbiotic. Both may be useful or even necessary -- like hardware and software -- but that's not always the case. Consider the strange pairing of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.
Death Watch Begins for Google
September 17, 2018
The EU has been stretching its wings. In the shadow of Brexit, it apparently has decided it has the real enemy of the people in its sights: social media companies and Google. France is even more aggressive, suggesting that the EU's "right to be forgotten" law should apply worldwide. Given that it actually does fall within the legitimate purview of government, it is hard not to agree.
Facebook Goes Into High Gear to Fight Election Meddling, Fake News
September 14, 2018
Defending against foreign interference in American elections is one of the priorities Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he has been focusing on this year. The issue is highly sensitive, and it is one that has garnered a great deal of discussion in media reports and on the Web. Special counsel Robert Mueller warned in a court filing this spring that foreign interference efforts were still going on.
Google Digs In Heels Over Global Expansion of EU's 'Right to Be Forgotten'
September 14, 2018
Google took on French lawyers at the European Union Court of Justice this week, in an effort to fend off expansion of the EU's "right to be forgotten" judgment. The EU's attempts to broaden the scope of that judgment would be "completely unenvisagable," and it could result in impositions on the values of different countries around the world, Google argued.
EU Copyright Directive Advances Despite Worry Over Breaking the Internet
September 13, 2018
The European Parliament on Wednesday approved a directive aimed at protecting the intellectual property of copyright holders on the Internet. It would require online platforms to scrutinize content their users post online and enter licensing agreements with rights holders. The Parliament approved the copyright directive with a vote of 438-226, with 39 abstentions.
ShipBob Gets $40M Injection to Fuel Growth
September 7, 2018
ShipBob, which offers Amazon-type fulfillment services to small and mid-sized businesses, on Thursday announced it had raised $40 million in a Series C funding round led by Menlo Ventures. ShipBob's end-to-end fulfillment solution involves a drop-ship model that lets clients deliver packages in one to two business days. Partners include Amazon, BigCommerce, Shopify and other e-commerce platforms.
Human Rights Groups Amplify Call for 'Killer Robot' Ban
August 30, 2018
Leaders from Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic last week issued a dire warning that nations around the world haven't been doing enough to ban the development of autonomous weapons -- so-called "killer robots." The groups issued a joint report that calls for a complete ban on these systems before it becomes too late to act.
Software Providers Scramble to Satisfy World's Largest IT Customer
August 28, 2018
In the competitive IT world, vendors must be alert to major changes within the potential customer base. The U.S. government increasingly has been using its status as the world's single largest IT customer to acquire products and services at competitively favorable costs. U.S. government spending for a combination of legacy IT operations and new projects has reached some $90 billion annually.
Mobile App Financing Startup Gets $6M Helping Hand
August 23, 2018
Braavo Capital announced it has raised $6 million in Series A funding, and converted $2 million in seed capital from investors, bringing the total equity raised to date to nearly $8 million. Braavo, which claims to be the first company to offer Capital as a Service to mobile app entrepreneurs and developers, will use the funds to add personnel to further its mission.
Oracle's Bad Boy Image
August 21, 2018
No one at Oracle will ever be nominated for sainthood, and that's probably OK with them. Over the years the company has developed a bad boy image that in some cases is richly deserved, while in others it has been embellished by events. Much derives from the brash doings of founder and longtime CEO (now CTO) Larry Ellison, who may be a charter member of the "never explain, never complain" club.
Oracle Confronts Lawsuit on Its Path to the Cloud
August 18, 2018
The City of Sunrise Firefighters' Pension Fund has sued Oracle, alleging that its executives lied about the company's successes in the cloud and engaged in coercion and threats to sell its cloud products, "creating an unsustainable model that fell apart." The plaintiff apparently is seeking class-action status for the suit. Oracle has called the suit meritless and said it would defend against it.
Sugar's New Shot Clock
August 16, 2018
SugarCRM has agreed to acquisition by Accel-KKR, a leading technology-focused private equity firm. Although the announcement calls the deal "a significant investment," what typically happens when private equity moves in is that venture capital moves out. Private equity likes to own everything and thus have greater control. In basketball terms, Sugar just got a big rebound and a new shot clock.
Square's Cash App Supports Bitcoin in All US States
August 15, 2018
Square on Monday announced that Cash App users could buy and sell bitcoin in all 50 U.S. states. Square began testing Cash App's bitcoin purchasing option last fall and officially launched the option early this year. However, it was not available in four states -- New York, Georgia, Hawaii and Wyoming -- because of their more restrictive regulation of bitcoin transactions.
The Weird Mistakes Killing Tesla
August 13, 2018
Tesla is trending to fail spectacularly. It has been burning cash at an unsustainable rate, and it keeps making avoidable mistakes that weaken it. Here's what is weird: You'd think the firm's biggest problem would be that every large car maker was working behind the scenes to kill it. However, the car companies for the most part appear to have worked harder to emulate Tesla than to destroy it.
The Internet's Truth vs. Fake News Showdown
August 10, 2018
Facebook earlier this week pulled the plug on the official page for Alex Jones, host of Infowars and noted conspiracy theorist. YouTube quickly followed, removing Infowars and Jones' videos. Facebook's move followed Apple's decision to pull five of Infowars' six podcasts -- including the "Alex Jones Show" and "War Room" -- from the iTunes and Podcasts apps.
Block to Be Salesforce Co-CEO With Benioff
August 8, 2018
There are many interpretations of Salesforce's elevation of Keith Block to serve as co-CEO with Marc Benioff. Block has been the company's vice chairman and president for several years, and the elevation could be a recognition of the obvious -- he's been doing the job without the title for a while. However, Salesforce and Benioff are well known for getting added mileage from any move they make.
AI-Driven Marketing Offers High Hopes to B2B Firms
August 8, 2018
Versium has announced a partnership with LiveRamp to launch artificial intelligence-powered B2B audience segments,as part of a new business-to-business data management platform. The partnership will let companies perform online targeting of offline business professional data that often is housed within their own CRM systems. LiveRamp customers will get access to Versium's modeling engine.
5 Practical Tips for Crowdfunding Success
August 7, 2018
"Crowdfunding is more than just the money," remarked Justin Giddings, CEO of The Kickstarter Guy. "In some ways, it is the perfect laboratory to explore and develop the market viability of your project. If you can launch a new brand and attract thousands of people within a short time frame, it becomes a mile marker of the consumer readiness of the product."
Behind Apple's Trillion-Dollar Company Numbers
August 6, 2018
Apple is one of the most popular and powerful companies in the U.S., and last week it became the most valuable as well. That news brought back some personal memories of my time at IBM, when it was the most powerful and valuable technology company in the world. For a long time, it seemed virtually untouchable. However, IBM went off the rails, and by the early 1990s the stock had collapsed.
Slide Over, Salesforce? Freshworks Scores $100M in Funding Round
August 1, 2018
Freshworks has secured $100 million in funding from Accel and Sequoia Capital India with the participation of CapitalG. That brings the total amount of capital raised since the firm's 2010 launch to $250 million. "The new funding will be used to invest in our platform and to continue scaling internationally," said Arvind Parthiban, Freshworks' director of marketing.
DoD Launches JEDI Program Amid Cloud Provider Criticism
August 1, 2018
The U.S. Department of Defense has decided to bet on the cloud for much of its future information technology operations -- presenting significant opportunities for cloud service providers and related IT suppliers. However, DoD's latest foray into cloud technology has stimulated significant criticism. DoD released its final RFP for the JEDI program last week.
IBM, CLS Launch Blockchain Platform for Banks
July 31, 2018
IBM and currency trading utility CLS have announced a new platform that enables financial institutions to deploy, share and consume services on a hosted blockchain network. Nine financial institutions have agreed to participate in the initial launch of the platform, which is sort of an app store for solutions that use distributed ledger technology, also known as "blockchain."
How Online Businesses Must Comply With New California, EU Privacy Laws
July 27, 2018
Governor Jerry Brown last month signed into law the California Consumer Privacy Act. The CCPA is the state's response to a growing concern that consumers need stronger means to protect their personal information. The issue came to a head in part due to recent breaches that exposed the personal data of millions of American consumers. However, the CCPA also addresses other privacy incidents.
Feds Seem to Favor 'Light Touch' IoT Regulation
July 24, 2018
The Internet of Things may be in its infancy, but the U.S. government has been gearing up to determine what the proper federal role should be, both for encouraging and for regulating the use of IoT technology. Two recent developments have underscored the government's interest in IoT. On the regulatory front, the CPSC has launched an initiative to determine a framework for regulation.
CEO Ousters: Is Elon Musk Next?
July 23, 2018
For pretty much my entire career, CEOs have been almost invulnerable. Even when Apple founder Steve Jobs tried to get then-CEO John Scully fired from Apple, he lost and got fired himself. I've watched CEOs at companies with zero-tolerance employee dating policies have affairs with subordinates and get a pass. Things have changed. Almost every week, another CEO bites the dust for misbehavior.
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What do you think of commercial spaceflight?
It's the best hope for advancing space exploration.
It's little more than a hobby for billionaires.
It will result in highly profitable new industries, like space mining.
It will dramatically increase space junk and pollution.
It will offer the opportunity to establish a new way of life in space colonies.
It should be heavily regulated by governments.