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Going Gold - IBM's Mainframe Turns 50
April 22, 2014
Longevity doesn't get much respect in the tech industry, partly due to new technologies regularly entering and dominating industries and commercial markets. However, cultural factors play a part, too. Much of IT's vibrancy results from the startup mindset and youthful employees who willingly embrace crushing 80-hour work weeks for a chance to become millionaires -- or billionaires.
Why Is It So Hard to Think Different?
April 14, 2014
I've been having an interesting week -- first, with AMD, which has returned to profitability and stopped chasing Intel's butt to do some rather interesting different things, like merging x86 and ARM technologies. Then, with IBM, which also realized that chasing Intel wasn't doing it any good. It chose an even more unusual path for its processors, making them "open."
Google Doles Out Cash for Apps Referrals
March 11, 2014
Google has launched a referral program for its office apps. It will hand out $15 bonuses to Google Apps customers who convince new users to sign up for the service, which includes Gmail for businesses, Google Calendar, Docs, Slides, Hangouts and Google Drive. Google will award the $15 bonus for up to 100 new user referrals, with each user in a domain counting as a referral.
Accenture Tapped to Doctor HealthCare.gov
January 13, 2014
The raft of problems connected to the launch of HealthCare.gov appears to have sunk the fortunes of the private contractor paid for running the site. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, charged with overseeing the health insurance marketplace, has awarded Accenture Federal Services a one-year contract for $45 million to implement technical improvements to the site.
Intel Leaps Out of the Box
January 07, 2014
CEO Brian Krzanich laid out the road map for Intel's future in his first Consumer Electronics Show keynote as CEO. Krzanich, who took over the top job last May, focused on wearable technology -- including some products designed internally -- as well as dual operating system tech and Intel's McAfee security software. Among the products Krzanich displayed was a Bluetooth headset codenamed "Jarvis."
Intel Chief Lays Out the Game Plan
November 25, 2013
In his first meeting with investors since taking the helm, CEO Brian Krzanich presented a road map for the company's future. Intel will make a stronger push into mobile devices, expand its foundry business to build processors for other chip makers, and move into additional new markets. Intel has lagged behind competitors such as Qualcomm in the smartphone and tablet spaces.
Fall Roundup
October 24, 2013
There's a lot going on right now that bodes well for next year. It's amazing to even say this in October, but the evidence I've seen points to a busy new year. Companies are spending money on marketing and sales like they have not in several years. Venture capitalists are putting their capital to work, and some emerging companies are telling me they didn't actually need the cash they've taken.
Ahrendts Pick Bodes Well for a Fresh Apple Store Experience
October 17, 2013
I never would have imagined that I would jump on the bandwagon for the CEO of a British luxury fashion company, but here I am preparing to gush over Angela Ahrendts, who will take over Apple's retail store operations in early 2014. Apple CEO Tim Cook made the announcement Monday, and the first thing that came to mind was that the massively male executive team at Apple was finally choosing a woman.
Microsoft Tops Corporate Social Responsibility Rankings
October 04, 2013
Microsoft has topped the Reputation Institute's Global CSR RepTrak 100 Study for the second year in a row. The institute surveyed 55,000 consumers worldwide about their attitudes toward the reputations of companies in terms of corporate social responsibility. Google, which was No. 2 last year, fell to third place. Four of the top 10 companies in the study are tech firms.
NSA Comments Put Zuckerberg's Political Clout to the Test
September 12, 2013
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg did not pull any punches Wednesday in describing the U.S. government's communications approach to revelations that the National Security Agency has been accessing digital conversations around the world -- and using tech companies such as Facebook in the process. "Frankly, I think the government blew it," Zuckerberg told the audience at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference.
Icahn Concedes Defeat to Dell 'Dictators'
September 09, 2013
Activist investor Carl Icahn has given up his fierce struggle to prevent Michael Dell from buying his namesake company and taking it private. In a letter to shareholders, filed with the SEC on Monday morning, Icahn said Dell would be paying a price approximately 70 percent below its 10-year high of $42.38, and accepting the bid would undermine "Dell's great potential."
Microsoft's Next CEO Will Have a Tough Row to Hoe
August 26, 2013
By now the shock is wearing off and the steely-eyed calculations have begun following Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's announcement on Friday that he will step down from his post some time within the next 12 months. "This is a time of important transformation for Microsoft," Ballmer said in an internal email. "Microsoft has all its best days ahead."
Yahoo Puts on 50 New Thinking Caps
August 03, 2013
Yahoo plans to breathe some new life into its research and development lab by hiring 50 new PhDs by the end of the year. Spearheaded by CEO Marissa Mayer, the initiative already has resulted in 30 researchers joining the lab, with an additional 20 anticipated by the end of 2013. Yahoo is looking for new hires in mobile, Big Data and other specialties.
Dell vs. Icahn: Ethics, Humanity and Patriotism Matter
July 15, 2013
What you are going to see in a few days, when Dell stockholders get to vote on Michael Dell's plan to buy back his company, is a war of perceptions -- and perhaps a revelation on the state of the U.S. investor. Both ISS and the Chancery Court have clearly come down on Michael Dell's side, arguing that what Dell is offering is a sure thing, while what Carl Icahn is promising is a long shot.
Criticism: A Security Chief's Most Valuable Resource
May 17, 2013
This past week, a lesson about enterprise information security found its way to me via a somewhat unorthodox channel: specifically, an episode of Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. In this particular episode, the upshot was that Ramsay wasn't able to help. Why not? The owners weren't able to take criticism. There's a lesson in this for those of us in the network and security space.
Joe Tucci's Magic Turnaround Formula
May 13, 2013
I've been focused on and off on turnarounds since I covered IBM's from the inside out in the 1990s, so I don't know how I missed this, but EMC2's turnaround was clearly a success, and its unique resulting organizational structure is incredibly subtle. The company is actually far more similar in breadth to HP than most folks realize, largely because they mix up EMC and EMC2.
Obama May Pick Twitter Lawyer for Privacy Post
May 08, 2013
The Obama administration appears to be sending a message to privacy advocates that it's taking their issue seriously by creating a new position devoted to it -- and choosing a high-profile tech lawyer to occupy it. The White House reportedly is tagging Nicole Wong, Twitter's legal director for products, for a top privacy post.
Years Inside Intel Could Be New CEO's Biggest Handicap
May 03, 2013
Intel announced Thursday that COO Brian Krzanich will take the helm on May 16, replacing current CEO Paul Otellini, who will retire this month after 38 years with the company, eight of them as its chief. Krzanich has his own long history at Intel. The 52-year-old joined the company 31 years ago as a newly minted college graduate.
Big IT Firms Apply Talents to Fed Cybersecurity Research
April 30, 2013
Protecting Internet information has become a costly enterprise, with worldwide spending on security estimated at $60 billion in 2012. That figure will grow to $86 billion by 2016, according to a Gartner study. To help ensure that those investments are being spent wisely -- and to keep technology a step ahead of threats -- 11 major companies have joined a program designed to research data security.
Cook Replacement Rumors Smolder
April 22, 2013
Steve Jobs left big shoes to fill, and rumors circulated this week that Apple CEO Tim Cook may not be living up to expectations. This comes as Apple's stock closed at a 52-week low last Friday. Adding to the company's misery, Apple reportedly has earned the nickname "Poison Apple" with some Asian suppliers who are finding its high standards and low price expectations somewhat hard to meet.

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