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FTC Tightens Screws on Social Media Influencers
October 12, 2017
Social media influencer advertising has become a major factor in e-commerce. Marketers of both big and small brands long have committed large chunks of their advertising budgets to endorsements by well-known personalities. Social media influencer campaigns are based on that tried-and-true formula, but the implication is that the endorsements are voluntary.
Walmart Throws Down Gauntlet to Amazon
October 11, 2017
Walmart on Tuesday outlined plans to grow its critically important e-commerce business in the U.S. by 40 percent over the next fiscal year. The company intends to leverage a series of key acquisitions and its more than 4,600 brick-and-mortar locations to mount a direct challenge to Amazon for millennial customers. Walmart is the largest retail operation in the world and the leading U.S. challenger to Amazon.
Google Pixel 2: 8/10ths of an Apple-Killer Strategy
October 9, 2017
What would it take to cause Apple to fail? While Steve Jobs was alive, the prevalent belief was that it would take his removal from the company. That has happened, but Apple's valuation and reserves are higher. Although the foundational element was removed, no one really went after Apple hard until last week, when Google launched a comprehensive strategy that clearly targeted the company.
Are You Ready for a RoboCEO?
October 5, 2017
Here's a disturbing thought: A RoboCEO powered by artificial intelligence -- possibly based on IBM's Watson -- could be running some companies within the next decade. Not every company will warm to the idea, to be sure, but it's conceivable that the practice could begin. This idea has started to bubble to the surface, with leaders like Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma apparently taking it seriously.
Innovation Requires Market Enablement
September 26, 2017
In this age of tech industry consolidation, one has to wonder what will happen with the pace of innovation as a few large companies begin to dominate. In personal computers, the WinTel marriage continues to control the technology, while Dell, HP and Lenovo control the devices. Similarly, in smartphones, Apple and Samsung, which both design their own chips and devices, dominate the market, especially in North America.
Companies Cheer Completion of Open-Design Transatlantic Internet Cable
September 23, 2017
Microsoft on Friday announced completion of the Marea undersea cable, which stretches 4,400 miles between Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Bilbao, Spain. A joint project of Microsoft, Facebook and global telecommunication infrastructure company Telxius, the cable lies more than 17,000 feet below the ocean's surface. It is the first cable to link Virginia and Spain.
Cloud Partner Program Aims to Replace ERP
September 22, 2017
Brightpearl, which offers a cloud-based retail management system for mid-sized retailers and wholesalers, on Wednesday launched a new Enterprise Partner Program. The company aims to build out its partner ecosystem to deploy an end-to-end management service for omnichannel retailers as an alternative to traditional enterprise resource planning systems.
Red Hat Enlarges Its Open Source Patent Promise Umbrella
September 22, 2017
Red Hat on Thursday announced major enhancements to the Patent Promise it first published 15 years ago, with the intention of providing new protections to innovation in the open source community. In its 2002 Patent Promise, Red Hat vowed not to pursue patent infringement actions against parties that used its covered Free and Open Source Software, or FOSS, subject to certain limitations.
The New iPhones: Apple's Strangely Wrongheaded Pivot
September 18, 2017
It fascinates me that succession from a successful CEO to the chosen successor almost always goes badly. This phenomenon isn't limited to the CEO level -- I've seen highly successful CMOs followed by handpicked successors who also seem to have no clue as to why their predecessor did so well. I think it comes down to a lack of mentoring combined with misconceptions.
Oracle's Numbers
September 11, 2017
Oracle will announce its Q1 revenue and profit numbers after market close on Wednesday. There's more than a little excitement about what might be revealed, specifically if the company can continue its rise, thanks to its cloud products. The anticipated answer is yes, but there's potential for a surprise. The company so far has been posting great numbers for its cloud products.
Apruve Allies with Matrix to Reduce B2B Credit Risk
September 11, 2017
Apruve last week announced a strategic alliance with Matrix Payment Systems to create a turnkey solution to mitigate the risk of advancing a revolving line of credit to business customers. Under the agreement, the companies will help businesses streamline the extension of credit with less financial risk and fewer back office overhead expenses. Both companies have dozens of customers.
Vivaldi CEO Claims Google Retaliated for Privacy Criticism
September 6, 2017
Vivaldi CEO Jon von Tetzchner, the brains behind both the new Vivaldi browser and the early Opera browser, has accused Google of retaliating against his company after he questioned its customer privacy practices. Vivaldi's Google Adwords campaigns mysteriously were suspended just two days after von Tetzchner's criticisms of Google's handling of customer data were published this spring, he said.
Alexa, Cortana Become New BFFs
September 2, 2017
Microsoft and Amazon this week announced a deal that will let their voice-controlled digital assistants, Cortana and Alexa, engage in cross-platform communications. Microsoft customers will be able to access Alexa voice commands by saying "Cortana, open Alexa" on any device that supports Cortana, which is available on millions of desktops, laptops, tablets and other devices.
Apple, Accenture Team on iOS Enterprise Apps
August 30, 2017
Apple and Accenture on Tuesday announced a new partnership to develop iOS tools and services to help enterprises connect with their customers through iPads and iPhones. Accenture will create a dedicated iOS practice within Accenture Digital Studios, staffed by a range of visual and experience designers, programmers, data scientists and architects, as well as hardware and software designers.
Ten Billion
August 29, 2017
Salesforce announced the partial attainment of one of its long-range goals in its Q2 earnings announcement last week: It eclipsed its goal of a $10 billion run rate. This will be followed by similar announcements over the next year -- first $10 billion year, etc. -- and why not? The company should celebrate. Second quarter revenue hit $2.56 billion, a 26 percent increase year over year.
Amazon Takes 1st Steps Toward Whole Foods Pricing Makeover
August 28, 2017
Amazon kicked off the completion of its acquisition of Whole Foods Market with steep price cuts on some products. Among those now available at lower prices are Whole Trade bananas, organic avocados, organic large brown eggs, responsibly-farmed salmon and tilapia, organic baby kale and baby lettuce, animal-welfare-rated 85 percent lean ground beef, and organic Gala and Fuji apples.
As New Turnaround King, Is HP Better Than Apple?
August 28, 2017
HP is the new turnaround king -- but is it better than Apple? IBM was the king of tech in the 1980s, but in the 1990s it was the king of turnarounds, after almost going under but coming back from a negative brand equity, which occurs when folks will pay more for a no-name product than one with a negative brand. Apple, at the end of the 90s, was in much the same shape IBM was at the beginning.
Tech Leaders Urge UN to Ban AI-Based Lethal Weapons
August 23, 2017
A group of the world's top technology leaders have published an open letter urging the United Nations to ban the use of AI in weapons systems, amid growing concerns that autonomous killer robots could wind up taking control. The group of 116 companies, most of which specialize in robotics or AI, argued that its growing use could revolutionize modern warfare in irreversible ways.
Kari's Law: A 911 Fix That Will Make the US Safer
August 22, 2017
The 911 emergency number was created back in the day when telephones were connected by wires, before cellphones or Voice over Internet Protocol in the home, and before Multi-Line Telephone Systems in the enterprise. In the early days, anyone could dial 911 for police, fire or medical emergencies. When consumers dropped land lines and started using Internet phone services, a 911 problem surfaced.
Consumers Gain More Power to Seek Data Breach Damages
August 21, 2017
There are no good outcomes of an electronic data system breach. At best, companies dealing with e-commerce technologies face the formidable task and the resulting cost of repairs. In addition having to fix information technology systems, companies suffering breaches may be increasingly vulnerable to legal action taken by customers whose personal data was affected.
What Tech Companies Are Doing Wrong With Extremists
August 21, 2017
It is starting to worry me how little the responses by tech firms will do to fix the problem of extreme views instead of just driving them underground. This is largely due to the excessive focus firms now have on how they are run. Companies tend to be run tactically, with officials more likely to make decisions that will seem to make a problem go away but do not deal with the cause of the problem.
What Will Rise From Uber's Ashes?
August 12, 2017
There has been quite a bit of churn in the waters around Uber during the last few years. Now that founder Travis Kalanick is no longer CEO, what does the future look like for the company, workers, drivers, investors and customers? Will Uber continue to grow and lead, or has it seen its best days? Most people connected to the company probably would say the same thing: They want calm but rapid growth.
WannaCry Hero Arrested on Kronos Malware Charges
August 5, 2017
In a stunning twist, U.S. authorities have arrested a British cyber-researcher credited with stopping the spread of the WannaCry ransomware virus on charges he helped develop and deploy the Kronos banking trojan that attacked financial institutions around the world in 2014. A federal grand jury in Wisconsin last month handed down a six-count indictment against Marcus Hutchins, a citizen of the UK.
Comcast, Google Can Publish Users' Email Contents
August 2, 2017
Comcast's Terms of Service for its Xfinity Internet service gives it, its agents, suppliers and affiliates the right to "reproduce, publish, distribute and display" the content worldwide. It also lets third parties copy, republish or distribute material posted or transmitted using Xfinity Internet. This would include confidential information sent by a company employee or an independent contractor.
EPIC Claims Google Violates Consumer Privacy in FTC Complaint
August 1, 2017
A new technology that Google uses to track billions of credit card transactions is unsafe, overly intrusive, and possibly in violation of federal law, according to a complaint EPIC filed Monday with the FTC. EPIC urged the FTC to investigate Google over its Store Sales Management program, criticizing it as unfair and deceptive to consumers, and lacking an easy way to opt out.
Why Facebook's Willow Beats Apple's Saucer
July 31, 2017
Facebook knocked it out of the park with its financials last week, and a lot of its success comes from Zuckerberg's unique focus. Unlike other firms that jump from project to project, ranging widely from what makes them money -- like Google -- Facebook stays close to what made it successful. There is no stronger evidence than when you compare the two office projects from Apple and Facebook.
Russian Head of $4B Bitcoin Exchange Charged in Massive Money Laundering Scheme
July 28, 2017
A grand jury in the Northern District of California indicted a Russian man for running a massive money laundering operation through the BTC-e bitcoin exchange, a group of federal officials announced Wednesday. The exchange allegedly received up to $4 billion in proceeds from various criminal activities, including the 2014 hack of the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange.
How Amazon Is Transforming Retail
July 27, 2017
Amazon's plan to buy Whole Foods Market has raised many new questions. If the company is successful in making the acquisition, and then successful in operating the business, it could transform the entire grocery industry. If we pull the camera back, we can see how success on the grocery side could foreshadow Amazon's success in many other parts of the retail environment.
Sage Buys Intacct
July 26, 2017
Sage's Tuesday announcement of its agreement to buy Intacct prompts a multilayered look at the evolution of the cloud ERP space. Both companies are partners with Salesforce and have products based on the Salesforce platform. Each is a member of the AppExchange, and both are situated in the broad cloud ERP space, which has been receiving a lot of attention lately as the market seems to be moving en masse, albeit glacially, to the cloud.
FTC to Take a Gander at Amazon's Discount Pricing Practices
July 25, 2017
The FTC reportedly is looking into Amazon's discount pricing practices in response to a complaint filed by Consumer Watchdog over the company's pending $14 billion purchase of the Whole Foods grocery chain. "Asking informal questions about issues potentially related to a corporate acquisition is a natural part of the FTC review process," observed Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.
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