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Icahn Escalates War of Words With eBay
March 12, 2014
Carl Icahn's latest move in a campaign to compel eBay to sell its PayPal division is to take on its CEO John Donahoe. The company on Monday rejected Icahn's nominees to the eBay board -- employees Daniel Ninivaggi and Jonathan Christodoro -- on the grounds that they were unqualified. The board urged shareholders to vote against them at its upcoming annual meeting.
The Amazing Promise of HP's Impossible Turnaround
March 10, 2014
HP has made incredible progress over the last few years with Meg Whitman at the helm, which was evident at its annual analyst meeting last week. It has made major progress in the cloud, in devices, and in how the company is run. The result should be an increasingly interesting set of products and services uniquely differentiated in the market. This effort was far from easy.
Oppenheimer to Fly the Apple Coop
March 04, 2014
Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer will retire in September, when he'll be replaced by Corporate Controller Luca Maestri, the company's VP of finance. Maestri will begin taking the reins in June. The move was expected. When Maestri joined Apple last year from Xerox, where he was CFO, the rumor mill began buzzing about his being groomed for Oppenheimer's post.
Icahn Slams eBay Directors in PayPal Liberation Campaign
February 25, 2014
Carl Icahn has ratcheted up his efforts to get eBay to spin off its lucrative PayPal division. The billionaire investor on Monday sent an open letter to other shareholders accusing eBay board members Marc Andreessen and Scott Cook of placing their interests before those of investors. Icahn called out Andreessen's involvement in the group that acquired a 70 percent stake in Skype from eBay.
HP Struggles With Autonomy's Sticky Wicket
February 18, 2014
HP's problems following its 2011 purchase of Autonomy for $11.1 billion are getting worse. Various documents reportedly indicate HP knew about the existence of loss-making hardware sales Autonomy allegedly used to bolster its revenue figures well before May 2012, when HP claimed to learn about them from a whistleblower. Former Autonomy CEO Michael Lynch insists Autonomy did nothing wrong.
Innovation vs. Execution: Nadella's Brilliant Stroke
February 10, 2014
There has been a lot of discussion on the differences between Steve Jobs' Apple and Steve Ballmer's Microsoft, with a common argument being that Apple innovated and Microsoft didn't. I'd argue that Microsoft out-innovated Apple during Ballmer's tenure, but Apple out-executed Microsoft. During the last decade, Bill Gates proved to be more of a liability than an asset to Microsoft.
Gates Goes Back to the Drawing Board
February 06, 2014
Running a $300 billion company is challenging for anyone, but it can be even more challenging when you have a tech titan looking over your shoulder. That's the situation facing new CEO Satya Nadella, because just as he assumes Microsoft's helm, Bill Gates has decided to take a new role as technology advisor at Microsoft. "I'm thrilled that Satya has asked me to step up," Gates said.
Inside Satya Nadella
February 04, 2014
Satya Nadella on Tuesday took Microsoft's helm as its new CEO. Formerly head of the company's cloud and enterprise division, Nadella replaces the retiring Steve Ballmer. Cofounder Bill Gates shed his chairmanship of the company, moving into a new role as technology advisor. John Thompson has taken over as chairman. Nadella sent an email to Microsoft employees to introduce himself and his vision.
Nadella May Be Next in Line for the Microsoft Chalice
January 31, 2014
Microsoft is ready to make its enterprise and cloud head, Satya Nadella, the company's new chief executive officer, and it may replace Bill Gates as chairman, according to reports. Nadella appeared to stand out as one of the stronger options to replace retiring CEO Steve Ballmer several weeks ago, but the plans are not yet set in stone. Nadella reportedly is in contract discussions with the board.
Was 2013 the Run-Up to Nineteen Eighty-Four?
December 23, 2013
It is time to look back on 2013 and consider what we've learned about technology and human nature. Both Apple and Dell were massively changed, and Google went from a company that wanted our private information to one that wanted our jobs. The U.S. government decided, through the NSA, that laws don't apply to it. Those who brought this to our attention got big punishments.
Corporate Boards Quake as Microsoft Scours for CEO
December 14, 2013
Corporate America has been quaking in its boots since Microsoft announced in August that CEO Steve Ballmer would retire within 12 months and launched its search for a replacement. Given the enormous task Microsoft's next CEO will face, the compensation is likely to be substantial, and the lure of all that pelf will not be easy to resist.
Snapchat Wants to Make Ousted Cofounder Shut Up
December 10, 2013
Attorneys for Snapchat executives Evan Spiegel and Robert Murphy have applied for a restraining order and order to show cause against cofounder Reggie Brown, who is currently in litigation with the company over his ouster. The restraining order would keep Brown from publicizing confidential details about the ongoing case, in which he alleges he was unfairly removed from the company he cofounded.
Google's Death Wish
December 09, 2013
A recurring theme in the technology industry is that very successful companies become arrogant and start taking unnecessary risks or abusing customers -- the two aren't mutually exclusive. That behavior can accomplish what competitors have failed to do: It can kill them. I was in IBM in the 1980s when it exhibited this behavior, and I wrote a report on Microsoft identifying this same behavior.
China Targets Qualcomm With Antitrust Probe
November 26, 2013
Perhaps to celebrate the anniversary of last year's U.S.-China telecoms showdown, Beijing has launched an antitrust probe into U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm. The announcement comes on the heels of comments from Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs that the company was "definitely seeing increased pressure" in China, in part because of ongoing NSA revelations.
Dropbox Shoots for the Moon
November 19, 2013
Dropbox is not only planning to raise $250 million in the next few weeks but is also reportedly seeking a corporate valuation of $8 billion. That's more than double the valuation investors placed on the company the last time Dropbox hit the funding circuit back in 2011. The company has already raised $257 million in funding over the last five years.
Microsoft Gives Stack Ranking the Boot
November 13, 2013
Microsoft is ending its controversial practice of using stack ranking to evaluate its employees. Instead, the company is changing its performance review program "to better align with the goals of our One Microsoft strategy," wrote Lisa Brummel, the company's executive vice president of human resources, in an internal memo reportedly sent to Microsoft employees on Tuesday. The stack ranking technique requires managers to rate their employees on a curve.
Smash IPO May Be a Hard Act for Twitter to Follow
November 07, 2013
After setting its IPO stock price at $26 per share, Twitter on Thursday made a strong public debut in which trading opened at $45.10 per share -- 73 percent above the IPO price. That opening price valued the social media company at more than $31 billion based on its outstanding stock, options and restricted stock that will be available after the IPO.
Dish Swings Blockbuster Wrecking Ball
November 07, 2013
Dish Network on Wednesday announced that it will close its 300 remaining Blockbuster stores by early January and will end its Blockbuster By Mail service by mid-December. The company cited increased competition from digital and on-demand entertainment. Dish acquired Blockbuster in April 2011 for $320 million. At the time, it announced that it would keep 90 percent of the stores in operation.
Tesco Goes TSA on Shoppers to Grab Marketing Data
November 05, 2013
Tesco, a UK-based supermarket giant, is installing hundreds of screens that will scan shoppers' faces while they wait in line at its gas stations. The information gathered from the shoppers will then be dished to advertisers. Tesco struck a deal with Amscreen, which makes OptimEyes, a system that works by using a camera and TV-style screen.
Twitter's Got High IPO Hopes
November 04, 2013
Twitter on Monday gave would-be investors in its initial public offering more food for thought in a new Securities and Exchange filing. On one hand, it is clearly feeling confident about its valuation: The company raised the price range for its IPO to $23 to $25 per share, up from the $17 to $20 per unit it had established earlier. Twitter still intends to sell 70 million shares in the offering.
BlackBerry Loses Its CEO, Gets $1B and Yet Another Shot
November 04, 2013
BlackBerry shares fell 13 percent Monday morning on news that the company has abandoned its plan to sell itself to its largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial Holdings. Instead, it has entered into an agreement whereby Fairfax and other institutional investors will invest $1 billion in the company. That transaction is expected to be completed within the next two weeks.
Twitter Charts Conservative IPO Course
October 25, 2013
Twitter has set the price range for its highly anticipated initial public offering at between $17 and $20 per share, according to a document filed on Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company plans to raise as much as $1.61 billion by selling between 70 million and 80.5 million shares. This puts the value of the company at $10.08 billion based on an $18.50 average price.
Microsoft Gets a Lift From the Cloud
October 25, 2013
Microsoft on Thursday announced revenue of $18.53 billion and net income of $5.24 billion for its first quarter of 2014. The earnings, which outperformed what analysts had been expecting, were driven in large part by strong sales of Office and the company's server software. They came in spite of the company's search for a new CEO and its larger push to reinvent itself.
Mutiny at Microsoft Over Gates' Future Role
October 03, 2013
Three major Microsoft shareholders are reportedly pushing the board of directors to have the company's founder, Bill Gates, step down from his role as chairman. The push comes at an inopportune time for Microsoft, as it is currently searching for a CEO to take over for newly retired CEO Steve Ballmer.

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