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Amazon Throws the Book at Fake Review Writers
October 20, 2015
An "unhealthy ecosystem" has developed outside of Amazon and it has been harming the company's website, Amazon said in a complaint filed last week in Washington State Superior Court. The suit alleges that 1,114 "John Does" placed fake product reviews on the company's website. The perpetrators apparently have been selling reviews through Fiverr, for as little as $5 each.
JPEG Committee Proposal Stirs Image-DRM Fears
October 19, 2015
The JPEG Committee last week met in Brussels to discuss a proposal to secure privacy information such as metadata for published pictures, including geographical information enabling identification of people who have given anonymous interviews to journalists, and pictures posted on social media intended only for a limited audience. The proposal also seeks to address intellectual property rights.
Appeals Court Validates Google's Mammoth Books Project
October 17, 2015
Google won an important legal victory on Friday, when the Second United States Court of Appeals in New York upheld a lower court's judgment in its years-long battle with the Authors Guild over Google Books. The case "tests the boundaries of fair use," Judge Pierre Leval wrote, but Google's actions did not constitute infringement, because they were for a "highly transformative" purpose.
Ingress Maker Niantic Scores $20 Million for AR Gaming
October 16, 2015
Niantic on Thursday announced that it was the beneficiary of a big bet pooled together by benefactors Google, Nintendo and The Pokémon Co. Niantic, which develops augmented reality games, will receive $20 million in the Series A funding round and could receive another $10 million if it realizes certain undisclosed goals. The company was founded by Google Earth cocreator John Hanke.
EU Court Decision Threatens US Cloud Dominance
October 16, 2015
Edward Snowden's legacy gained another chapter last week when the European Court of Justice rejected an agreement that created a Safe Harbor for U.S. companies handling personal data of overseas citizens. In essence, the agreement provided that a U.S. company's word that it had adequate privacy safeguards in place was all that was needed to permit overseas personal data transfers.
Fantasy Sports: Socializing Betting
October 16, 2015
It passes through the channels of federal laws, spills across state lines and even bleeds into the protected realm of college sports. The multibillion-dollar industry that is fantasy sports has stood up to legal challenges so far, but the surging sector still battles problems with perception and faces questions about its future. Allegations of insider trading recently aren't the only issue.
Salesforce Investors Applaud European Startup Plans
October 15, 2015
Shares of Salesforce were up Thursday as it gained momentum from investors cheering on its plans to invest $100 million into European startup firms. The company on Tuesday announced that its Salesforce Ventures unit had allocated $100 million to fund startups in the European market and improve customer service in the region. Salesforce already has partnerships with a number of European firms.
Half a Dorsey May Mean Trouble for IPO-Bound Square
October 15, 2015
Square on Wednesday announced that it had registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission for its long-expected initial public offering. A startup that specializes in electronic payments, Square has been operating in the red. It plans to raise up to $275 million in its IPO, it disclosed in its SEC filing. However, market conditions currently are not considered very favorable for IPOs.
E-Commerce Firms Need to Wise Up to Cybercrime
October 15, 2015
Every business owner and executive must think long and hard about cybersecurity -- especially considering all the break-ins and data thefts during the last several years. Data breaches and security issues are in the headlines on a regular basis. One good source for getting a grip on some possible solutions to the problem is AT&T's new report, "What Every CEO Needs to Know About Cybersecurity."
A7 Patent Suit Loss Could Cost Apple $862M
October 14, 2015
A U.S. District Court jury earlier this week found that Apple's A7 processor infringes a patent held by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the patent management arm of the University of Wisconsin -- Madison. WARF alleged patent infringement and claimed damages of up to $862 million in a complaint filed early last year in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.
Twitter Slashes Workforce as Dorsey Aims to Restore Confidence
October 14, 2015
Investors cheered after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's announcement to cut up to 336 jobs, or 8 percent of the global workforce, as part of an effort to strengthen long-term growth. Dorsey, the company cofounder who last week reclaimed his former position as chief executive, announced the painful round of cuts in a memo to employees, emphasizing plans to monetize the company's core product offerings.
Apple News Goes Dark in China
October 13, 2015
Apple recently disabled its Apple News app for users in China, according to multiple reports triggered by software developer Larry Salibra's alerts last week. Although Apple is mum on the subject, users based in China have begun complaining on the Internet about the News app being unavailable there. Salibra could not connect to the News app, and he couldn't read previously downloaded content.
Dell, EMC Merger Creates Storage Behemoth
October 12, 2015
Dell on Monday announced it would acquire EMC in a deal valued at $67 billion, maintaining VMware as a publicly traded company. EMC shareholders will get $24.05 per share in cash, as well as 0.111 shares of new tracking stock per share of EMC linked to the company's economic interest in the VMware business. EMC owns 80 percent of VMware. VMware share prices fell following the announcement.
Musk Draws Barbs for Mean-Spirited Dig at Apple
October 9, 2015
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk's recent comments to a German newspaper -- suggesting that Apple is the "Tesla graveyard" due to its hiring of fired Tesla employees -- has struck some nerves in the U.S. Musk dismissed claims that Apple had poached staff, telling the paper that those who couldn't cut it at Tesla would go to work for Apple instead -- and he added that he wasn't kidding.
Handmade at Amazon Could Needle Etsy
October 9, 2015
Amazon has announced Handmade at Amazon, a new specialty site designed to sell original handcrafted wares to a unique set of customers in a market led by rival etailer Etsy. Etsy, in its 10th year of operation, put the retail industry on notice in April, when its share price rose to $31, up 88 percent from its initial public offering price of $16. However, its stock price recently has struggled.
At the Heart of OpenStack Evolution
October 8, 2015
There is little question regarding the prevalence and significance of open source software in enterprise IT, but one of the best places to more deeply examine how open source software fits into today's enterprise IT landscape is the OpenStack cloud software and project. It has come to represent the primary open source cloud in the market, considered alongside rivals such as Amazon and VMware.
Will Insider Trading Sideline Fantasy Sports?
October 8, 2015
The field of fantasy sports is faced with a fresh set of legal questions, following this week's allegations of insider trading on DraftKings and FanDuel. Having been validated by their skill component, fantasy sports have spilled across state lines and even into the world of collegiate athletics, a realm that has been closed to other forms of gambling.
EU Data Transfer Ruling Leaves Tech Companies in Quandary
October 6, 2015
Europe's highest court has ruled that a 15-year-old agreement regulating electronic data transfers with the U.S. was invalid, potentially striking a blow to thousands of U.S. technology companies that rely on a uniform legal standard do business overseas. The European Court of Justice ruled that the U.S. Safe Harbor agreement was inadequate to protect the privacy rights of ordinary citizens.
Can Jack Dorsey Save Twitter?
October 5, 2015
Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey, who has been running the company as interim CEO for the past three months, has taken the reins for good, the company revealed in a document filed with the SEC. Former CEO Dick Costolo has left Twitter's board of directors, and Adam Bain has stepped into the chief operating officer role. Dorsey will continue to lead Square, the mobile POS company he founded, as well.
Facebook, Eutelsat to Use Satellites to Spread Net Across Sub-Saharan Africa
October 5, 2015
Facebook and Eutelsat have entered a partnership to leverage satellite technology to provide Internet access to remote parts of sub-Saharan Africa. The initiative, which includes a multiyear agreement with Spacecom, will utilize the entire broadband payload on the future AMOS-6 satellite as the backbone of a dedicated system that will include satellite capacity, gateways and terminals.
Microsoft and Google End Hostilities, Partner Up
October 2, 2015
There's strong, scientifically verifiable evidence indicating Microsoft's move to join the rest of the tech world in open source and collaboration was propelled by a compelling force: the Nadella effect. Since taking the company's helm, CEO Satya Nadella's message has been one of collaboration, and meeting consumers on their terms. For example, Microsoft pushed Office 365 to all major platforms.
Cloud Consulting Acquisitions Accelerate
October 2, 2015
The recent flurry of consulting company acquisitions focused on cloud computing is another clear indication of the accelerating shift of IT systems and enterprise applications to Software as a Service, Platform as a Service and Infrastructure as a Service alternatives. IT and business decision-makers are no longer asking why they should move to the cloud.
Groupon Rethinks Its Road Map
September 23, 2015
Groupon on Tuesday announced plans to cut 1,100 jobs and close operations in seven countries and said it has filed a statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission to that effect. The biggest cuts will hit its customer service and international deals centers, as the company regroups to leverage new efficiencies. The restructuring will be complete in about a year.
Skype Skips Monday
September 21, 2015
Microsoft has confirmed that network issues crippled the consumer version of Skype. Some users reported no success in logging in. Others managed to log in, but weren't recognized as being online. The network issues affected only the consumer version of the service, according to Microsoft. So Skype for Business was still in business. It's unclear when Microsoft expects to resolve the problem.
Tests, Lies and Volkswagen
September 21, 2015
German automaker Volkswagen on Sunday admitted that it installed software that doctored the pollution tests for diesel vehicles sold in the United States. Volkswagen stock, which is listed in Europe, fell more than 20 percent Monday morning on the announcement. The company apparently was concerned that meeting the federal emissions standards would require it to degrade the vehicles' engines.
Carly Fiorina vs. Donald Trump: The Fascinating Difference
September 21, 2015
Watching the Republican debates has been a fascinating experience, because I started following Carly Fiorina when she first took over HP. I thought then and I still think that Steve Jobs was the only one to match her on-stage presence and skill set. History has proven her assertion that it was HP's board, not it's CEO, that was the primary problem that needed to be fixed while she was there.
The Unsinkable Kim Dotcom?
September 18, 2015
Someone perhaps even more flamboyant than Donald Trump may be getting involved in the U.S. presidential race -- and not on the Republican side. Notorious Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom is not running for office, but as his extradition case heats up in New Zealand, a possible Democratic candidate for the presidency -- mild-mannered Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig -- has come to his defense.
Court Bolsters FTC's Authority to Regulate Cybersecurity
September 16, 2015
Companies that experience data security breaches have a lot to worry about -- but their problems encompass much more than responding to irate consumers. The business community also has to worry about the U.S. government, which can penalize e-commerce companies for failing to provide adequate protection for consumers' personal data. A recent federal court ruling could give the FTC more muscle.
Nintendo Inaugurates New President
September 15, 2015
Tatsumi Kimishima emerged as president of Nintendo, following a meeting of the board held Monday. Kimishima, 65, has taken up the positions of representative director and president. Taking the seat of beloved Satoru Iwata, who earlier this year died from cancer, Kimishima now holds the reins of a company that has been preparing to push several bold new initiatives.
New iPhones Poised to Do Land Office Business
September 14, 2015
Apple is trumpeting the figures for its iPhone 6s and 6s Plus preorders, saying that it's on track to beat last year's first-weekend iPhone sales record of 10 million units. Last year's models included Apple's first large-screen smartphone, the iPhone 6 Plus. Getting off to a good start is very important for a product, said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy.
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I plan to do my holiday shopping…
Online only -- I like the convenience and comfort.
Online only -- I'd shop in stores if their stock weren't so limited.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I like to see what I'm getting.
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Online and in stores -- I want the best of both worlds.
I'm not planning on doing any holiday shopping.