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Facebook Responds to Critics by Unlocking Internet.org
May 4, 2015
Net neutrality and Facebook's Internet.org initiative can and must coexist, insists CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook on Monday announced that it will expand Internet.org to ensure that it doesn't conflict with the principles of a free and open Internet. CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded to criticisms of Internet.org and outlined plans to make the free service even more open.
Comcast Blithely Juggles Its Options
May 4, 2015
Although its year-long effort to merge with TWC was derailed last month, Comcast gave investors good news about its first-quarter performance. It reported a 10 percent earnings hike for its first quarter, driven by growth in its high-speed Internet business. Total revenue increased by 2.6 percent to $17.9 billion for the quarter, despite $99 million in costs related to its failed merger attempt.
Apple, IBM Bring Tech to the Rescue for Japan's Seniors
May 4, 2015
Apple and IBM last week announced an initiative with Japan Post Group to provide seniors in Japan with iPads preloaded with apps and analytics designed to improve their quality of life. Japan Post Group will launch a pilot service later this year and gradually expand it to cover 4-5 million customers by 2020. This is one of several undertakings to deal with aging in Japan.
Twitter Takes It on the Chin
April 30, 2015
Twitter's stock took a hit when investors got an early look at first quarter earnings, leaked just ahead of closing time on Tuesday, ahead of the company's Wednesday announcement. Shares plummeted about 18 percent from Tuesday's opening price of $51.84. The slide continued on Wednesday, with the loss of a couple more percentage points, and the share price hovered near that level through Thursday.
Is Comcast, TWC Dead or Just Sleeping?
April 30, 2015
Now that the Comcast, Time Warner Cable merger deal has failed, what's next? I think it's likely that if Time Warner Cable is still around, the deal might be tried once again in a few years after the industry has transformed itself. Comcast obviously is still interested in expanding with Time Warner Cable and will try this merger dance again in a few years. This has worked before.
Shiny Apple Has a Few Soft Spots
April 29, 2015
Apple on Monday reported another quarter of stellar earnings, detailing its drive to 27 percent revenue growth on the backs of its iPhone, Mac and App Store sales. The company generated $58 billion in revenue in the second quarter -- about a $12 billion increase year over year -- and posted a net profit of $13.6 billion, roughly $3 billion more than the year-ago quarter.
Amazon Goes Full Bore for B2B Commerce
April 29, 2015
Amazon on Tuesday announced Amazon Business, transforming its 3-year-old Amazon Supply B2B marketplace with new features and benefits, and a massively increased product selection. Amazon Business offers customers everything from IT and lab equipment to traffic signs, industrial deep fryers and 55-gallon steel drums. Customers will need a business license to register.
When Elon Met Larry
April 28, 2015
Tesla Motors founder and CEO Elon Musk reportedly almost sold his electric car company to Google. Tesla was on the verge of bankruptcy, and Musk had all but signed the documents that would have handed over the company, according to an excerpt from the upcoming Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for the Fantastic Future. The book will be available May 19.
Patent Holders: Google Wants Your IP!
April 28, 2015
Google on Monday announced it will open an experimental portal to purchase patents from their holders between May 8 and May 22. The move is widely seen as an attempt to shut off patent trolls. Patent holders have to set the price at which they're willing to sell their IP, and they will be told by June 26 whether Google wants to buy. Payments will be made through ACH by late August.
Can Microsoft Take Back Momentum From Google and Apple?
April 27, 2015
Microsoft is holding its Build event this week, marking the beginning of its major push to launch Windows 10. Build is in San Francisco this year, which effectively puts it right in the back yard of both Apple and Google -- a nice "in your face" move. I was the featured launch analyst for Windows 95 two decades ago and there, Microsoft ripped Apple a new rear orifice.
House Passes Cybersecurity Bills Despite Privacy Fears
April 24, 2015
Two cybersecurity bills approved this week by the U.S. House of Representatives pose a threat to citizens' privacy, according to opponents of the measures. Both bills aim to improve sharing of cybersecurity information between businesses and government agencies. "'Information sharing' is a misnomer," said Gabriel Rottman, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.
Comcast, Time Warner Cable Deal Undone
April 23, 2015
Comcast has decided to abandon its plan to merge with Time Warner Cable, according to multiple press reports. The company is expected to make a formal announcement on Friday. About a week after reports emerged indicating the DoJ was leaning against Comcast's $45.2 billion dollar bid to absorb TWC, reports surfaced that the FCC was leaning in the same direction.
The Growing Robocall Menace
April 23, 2015
Automated telephone calls, also known as "robocalls," used to drive me crazy. Then they stopped, and life was quiet, peaceful and beautiful once again, but just for a few short years. Those disturbing calls have started once again, and now they are worse than ever. Why? And how can we stop them? Robocalls typically are for telemarketing purposes. The calls are placed by automated systems.
Google's Low-Fee Fi: Ho-Hum
April 23, 2015
Google carrier partners Sprint and T-Mobile with more than 1 million free, open WiFi hotspots Google has verified as fast and reliable. Users' devices will move automatically to the fastest connection -- 4G LTE being the standard in the United States, accessing 3G or 2G if only those speeds are available. The program will work in more than 120 countries.
VCs Cough Up $100M for Cybersecurity Startup Illumio
April 23, 2015
Illumio, a 2-year-old cybersecurity startup, last week announced it had raised $100 million in a Series C round of financing, bringing its total funding over the past 27 months to more than $142 million. Illumio will use the fresh funds to meet demand for its Adaptive Security Platform software, to invest in R&D, to grow sales and marketing efforts, and to fuel international expansion.
Government Surveillance: What to Do, What to Do?
April 21, 2015
The CIA has been trying to hack into iOS for years. British and American agencies reportedly have collaborated to create a map of the Internet and Web users. The United States National Security Agency has, together with the UK's GCHQ, reportedly stolen SIM card encryption keys from Gemalto. The FBI is frothing at the mouth over Google's and Apple's encryption of their mobile OSes.
Big Data Drives Change if You're Ready to Be Driven
April 20, 2015
In an earlier chapter in my career, I had the seemingly lofty title of "software and intelligence editor" at a telecom trade magazine. Even back in 1996, telecom was experiencing a "big data" problem. It wasn't a problem of collection -- no, telephone companies collect more data than almost any other industry, recording call times and durations, as well as the numbers their customers dialed.
Your Lawyer Is Vulnerable to Cyberattacks
April 20, 2015
Lawyers help their clients as they negotiate confidential business transactions, hold intellectual property, manage funds and litigate disputes, among many other business activities. In the ordinary course of business, lawyers also maintain numerous confidential documents and data of and about their clients. Lawyers therefore have a big bull's-eye drawn on their backs, visible to cybercriminals.
Mayer Wins Concessions in Rejiggered Microsoft-Yahoo Deal
April 17, 2015
Microsoft and Yahoo on Thursday said they were altering a search partnership that has been in place since 2009. Under the amended agreement, Yahoo no longer will exclusively serve Bing ads and search results for its desktop traffic. That means Yahoo can sell some of that desktop traffic to another party. "Yahoo has an opportunity for greater revenue from the deal," said tech analyst Jim McGregor.
GE Catches the Industrial Internet Wave
April 16, 2015
General Electric made some important news last week, when it announced it was leaving the finance industry. It attributed its decision to recent changes that it characterized as less cyclical and more transformational. At the same time, GE is focused on newer ideas like its "Industrial Internet." If it executes this the right way, it could be a blueprint for growth going forward.
EC Officially Tosses Google Into Hot Soup
April 15, 2015
The European Commission on Wednesday began official antitrust proceedings against Google, alleging abuses of its dominance in Internet search. The EC further opened a probe into Google's Android mobile operating system. In a Statement of Objections sent to Google, the EC notes that its preliminary investigation indicates the company has infringed European antitrust rules by stifling competition and harming consumers.
Industry Groups Lead Net Neutrality Lawsuit Parade
April 15, 2015
Several wireless and cable industry groups on Tuesday filed lawsuits challenging the FCC's new open Internet rules. The lawsuits seek to nullify the new rules on the grounds that the FCC exceeded its authority in making them -- most notably by redefining broadband service so it can be regulated like a utility. The trade groups oppose the way the FCC seeks to enforce Net neutrality.
EFF Lambasts ESA for Hindering Video Game Preservation Efforts
April 14, 2015
The EFF last week called out the ESA for opposing its video game preservation efforts. The EFF has petitioned the U.S. Copyright Office for an exemption to the DMCA's anticircumvention provisions. The point is to afford legal protection for game enthusiasts to be able to use the games they own, as well as for academics and museums to preserve them for educational or historic purposes.
Investors Squirm as Zynga Founder Takes Back Reins
April 13, 2015
News last week that Zynga founder Mark Pincus had replaced Don Mattrick as CEO, less than two years after vacating the position, sent the company's shares tumbling. The sharp reaction was a clear indicator of investors' concern over the management change. Pincus' return to the helm sparked concern from investors worried about the company's lackluster earnings.

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Are tablets over?
No - Mine is a prized possession.
No - Heavy laptops are over.
No - I don't have one yet, but I want one.
Maybe - They're good for kids, though.
Yes - Large smartphones make them redundant.
Yes - I won't replace mine.
Yes - Don't have one, don't want one.
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