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Zenefits Pays the Piper
December 1, 2016
The California Department of Insurance this week announced fines totaling $7 million against startup Zenefits, a provider of cloud-based human resources services. The company's former leadership "created an anything goes culture at the Internet startup, resulting in numerous violations of licensing requirements to protect consumers," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.
Samsung Floats Possibility of Split
November 30, 2016
Samsung has announced road map for a corporate restructuring that might include splitting itself into two. The company has retained external advisors to review the optimal corporate structure for its activities. The review is expected to take six months. Depending on the findings, Samsung may create a holding company structure and might list its shares on additional international exchanges.
China's Business-Unfriendly Cybersecurity Stance
November 30, 2016
China's parliament earlier this month passed a law aimed at addressing the country's concerns about hacking and terrorism, which has spiked concerns among foreign businesses and human rights advocates. One interpretation of the new law is that it only codifies China's existing cybersecurity practices. However, 46 global business groups across a variety of industries didn't see it that way.
CNN Taps Beme Talent to Cultivate Millennials
November 29, 2016
CNN has acquired Beme, the startup cofounded by YouTube sensation Casey Neistat, the companies announced Monday. CNN plans to launch a new branded subsidiary featuring timely and topical video content by the summer of 2017. It will be led by a team including the Beme cofounders, under a name as yet undecided, with CNN providing funding. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Pay TV's Newest Innovation: Giving Users Control
November 21, 2016
With the launch of Stream Saver, AT&T Mobility has given users control over their streaming video quality. Stream Saver is similar to Sprint's video optimization and T-Mobile's Binge-On plans. Now, the only major carrier not offering a video optimization service is Verizon Wireless. Stream Saver lets users choose. They can use it or not depending on their particular circumstances.
US Comptroller Gears Up for Blockchain and Internet Finance
November 16, 2016
The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has a lot of catching up to do in dealing with innovative information technology, as it affects not only conventional finance, but also new channels of e-commerce made possible through advances in IT. These channels include cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, related "blockchain" technologies, and other Internet-driven financial services.
Russia May Kick Out LinkedIn
November 14, 2016
A LinkedIn block in Russia could be imminent, in light of last week's court ruling that the company broke a law requiring personal data on Russian citizens to be stored on servers within the country. Roskomnadzor, Russia's telecommunications and media authority, is waiting until it has the full text of the ruling before acting on it. Russia had 5 million registered LinkedIn members in Q1.
Google Insists Android Plays on Level Field in Europe
November 11, 2016
Google on Thursday fired back at the European Commission's charges that it violated antitrust law by imposing coercive rules on mobile operators and developers who use or write applications for its Android operating system. The EC this spring charged that Google's requirements to use its search engine and its Chrome browser on mobile devices running Android were coercive tactics.
Twitter Shuffles Deck as COO Bain Steps Down
November 10, 2016
Twitter COO Adam Bain is leaving the company, according to a document the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this week. The news comes just weeks after Twitter's attempt to find a buyer failed. Bain ran the company's entire revenue business. CFO Anthony Noto will step into his vacated spot, meaning the company will need to find a new financial chief.
Google Cites Amazon Competition in Response to EU
November 7, 2016
Google last week filed a response in a 6-year-old antitrust battle with the EU, which has charged that its search ads unfairly promoted its own shopping service and blocked rivals. The response addresses a revision the EC sent to Google this summer. The commission's original statement of objections narrowly defined online shopping services to exclude services like Amazon, Google noted.
Facebook Share Price Falls Despite Blowout Quarter
November 4, 2016
Facebook on Wednesday reported a record Q3, beating analysts' expectations for the fourth straight quarter, but concerns among investors about increased expenditures and the company's future prospects drove down share prices. They closed Thursday at $119.95, down more than $7 from Wednesday's closing price of $127.17. Friday saw little movement, with a closing price of $120.75.
Can Charter Turn a Frog Into a Prince?
November 4, 2016
Charter intends to revive the damaged Time Warner Cable image and brand in the minds of the customer and investor, which is both a challenge and an opportunity. Charter and Comcast are two of the companies American consumers hate the most. However, the pay-TV industry has begun a complete transformation. In the coming new world, both Charter and Comcast may have a second chance.
Broadcom Sews Up $5B Deal for Brocade
November 3, 2016
Chip manufacturer Broadcom on Wednesday announced that it would buy Brocade Communications, a major supplier of fiber channel storage area networking technology to data centers, for $5.5 billion in cash and the assumption of Brocade's $400 million debt. That represents a 47 percent premium over Brocade's closing share price last week, said Brocade CEO Lloyd Carney.
Amazon Builds Fulfillment Centers, Investors Grouse
November 2, 2016
Amazon shares closed at $785.14 on Monday, having failed to rebound from last week's slide. The company's stock had closed at $818.36 last Thursday, just before the company reported third-quarter earnings that unpleasantly surprised Wall Street. Its share price dove $40-plus on Friday. Amazon's net income rose 52 cents a share, in the quarter, but analysts had expected 78 cents a share.
Tech Industry Lambasts New FCC Privacy Rules
November 1, 2016
The U.S. FCC last week adopted privacy rules for both wired and wireless broadband ISPs aimed at giving consumers greater control over their data, more privacy, and stronger security safeguards for that data. The rules implement Section 222 of the Communications Act. They establish a framework of customer consent required for ISPs to use and share their customers' personal information.
Apple vs. Microsoft: Remixing the Magic
October 31, 2016
What I think is funny in this market is that most people can look at two companies, see the difference in their performance, and not learn the fundamental lesson. The core magic is this: having someone who is running the company who both understands the technology and understands either the customer's current needs -- or how to manipulate customers to need what you make.
Should Salesforce Buy NetSuite?
October 29, 2016
The recently released spreadsheet hacked from Salesforce board member Colin Powell's email names multiple companies that Salesforce was at least considering acquiring. In the aftermath of the initial reports, it's worth noticing that there were at least two enterprise resource planning/back office companies on the list: Workday and NetSuite. There are plenty of reasons to dismiss acquisition talk.
Stock Price Rises as Twitter Slashes Jobs, Uproots Vine
October 28, 2016
Twitter shares were up Friday following a third-quarter earnings report that beat Wall Street estimates despite declining revenue growth. Twitter also announced a widely expected round of job cuts and the unexpected shutdown of Vine. Twitter has been on financial oxygen in recent weeks, after failing to find a buyer. Investors applauded the news that it will slash 9 percent of its workforce.
Social Media Analytics, Meet Big Brother
October 26, 2016
The ACLU recently uncovered evidence that led Twitter, Facebook and its Instagram subsidiary to stop sharing data with Geofeedia, a firm accused of improperly collecting social media data on protest groups, and sharing that information with numerous law enforcement agencies. Geofeedia, a developer of location-based analytics, had been marketing its technology to law enforcement agencies.
Twitter May Kick 300 Employees Out of Its Nest
October 25, 2016
Twitter appears close to slashing another 300 jobs, or about 8 percent of its workforce, as it works to recover from a failed round of acquisition talks with several suitors. The job cuts likely would be in sales. Twitter might be taking steps to make itself look more attractive to investors in preparation for its third-quarter earnings report later this week.
AT&T, Time Warner Brace for Regulatory Firestorm
October 24, 2016
AT&T and Time Warner on Saturday announced they had reached a merger deal, setting off alarm bells across the industry. AT&T has agreed to buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion. At least a year's worth of regulatory scrutiny, public hearings and political maneuvering is expected. The deal essentially would create the industry's first vertically integrated mobile provider of premium cable.
T-Mobile Fined $48M for Pulling Wool Over Customers' Eyes
October 21, 2016
The United States Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday announced that T-Mobile has agreed to a penalty of $48 million for misleading customers about restrictions on its so-called unlimited data plans. The company failed to inform subscribers to unlimited plans on its wireless networks and those of MetroPCS, which it owns, that their data bandwidth would be throttled when they hit a preset ceiling.
Airbnb Offers to Give a Little in NY, SF Tussles
October 21, 2016
Airbnb recently proposed changes to its listing policies for short-term rental property owners in New York City and San Francisco, possibly in response to threats of aggressive action from state and local lawmakers. With respect to New York operations, Airbnb on Wednesday proposed a set of five changes in an article penned by Chris Lehane, the company's global head of public policy.
Tesla: Everyone Gets a Self-Driving Car
October 21, 2016
Tesla on Wednesday announced plans to install hardware that will allow all of its cars to become driverless. The equipment will enable self-driving at a safety level substantially greater than human-driven cars, according to the company. The hardware includes eight cameras to provide 360-degree visibility; 12 ultrasonic sensors to detect hard and soft objects; and forward-facing radar.
Red Hat and Ericsson Forge 5G, IoT Open Source Alliance
October 20, 2016
Red Hat and Ericsson on Wednesday announced an alliance meant to speed adoption of open source solutions in the information and communications technology space. The alliance will help promote a range of fully open source and production-ready cloud solutions, spanning OpenStack, software defined-networking and software-defined infrastructure, the companies said.
Samsung Bows Under Note7 Fallout
October 20, 2016
Three owners of Galaxy Note7 smartphones this week filed a complaint in a federal court in Newark, New Jersey, that could become a class action lawsuit against Samsung. "Plaintiffs and the Class have suffered injury in fact, incurred millions of dollars in fees, and have otherwise been harmed by Samsung's conduct," the complaint states. Samsung has recalled the phones and stopped producing them.
Year-End Deals on Track for Federal IT Providers
October 19, 2016
Just when most of the country is on vacation -- including the U.S. Congress -- federal government agencies become active in awarding contracts. The federal fiscal year ends on Sept. 30, and many agencies wait until the last quarter of the year to make acquisitions. The last few months have brought billions of dollars in federal contracts for information technology providers.
Assange Lives to Leak Another Day
October 19, 2016
The status of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange grew a bit murky on Tuesday after the group accused the U.S. State Department of pressuring Ecuadorian officials to block him from posting additional emails linked to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The Ecuadorian foreign ministry on Tuesday acknowledged restricting Assange's access, saying it did not wish to interfere in a foreign election.
Twitter Hopes Fade as Salesforce Deal Slips Away
October 18, 2016
Salesforce, the last known suitor for Twitter, last week officially bowed out of the running for an acquisition deal, a move that forces the embattled company either to look for a new savior or find some internal answers to its lingering inability to find a winning growth strategy. Salesforce walked away from the deal because it wasn't the right fit, CEO Marc Benioff said.
Verizon Signals Cold Feet Over Yahoo Deal
October 17, 2016
Verizon last week indicated that its $4.8 billion acquisition of Yahoo could be in jeopardy in light of the company's delay in disclosing a massive 2014 data breach that compromised about 500 million account holders. Verizon may need some additional assurances, suggested General Counsel Craig Silliman. "I think we have a reasonable basis to believe right now that the impact is material."
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