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The Transformational AT&T, DirecTV Merger
August 6, 2015
AT&T's acquisition of DirecTV is more than a merger -- it is a transformational event that could change the entire television space. It has the potential to create such intense competition that it very well could transform the entire television space -- meaning cable TV, satellite TV and IPTV -- and blend it with wireless. It means more choice and more innovation.
AT&T to DirecTV Customers: Let's Stick Together
August 3, 2015
AT&T on Monday announced its first-ever nationwide package of TV and wireless services. The new bundle, which is being offered for US$200 per month, will be available beginning Aug. 10. It will include HD and DVR service for up to four TV receivers, along with unlimited talk and text for four wireless lines. Subscribers to the plan will get 10 GB of shareable wireless data.
Commerce Dept. Caves on Security Export Rules
July 30, 2015
Some proposed federal rules on the export of security tools created a tumult in cybersecurity circles -- a tumult that's pushed the rules into limbo. The comment period for the rules, which the U.S. Department of Commerce first aired in May, ended July 20 -- and although the regulations have noble intentions, they also could have dire consequences.
As Wireless Changes, So Must Marketing
July 30, 2015
We have just seen quarterly earnings reports from AT&T and Verizon, and they continue to grow at a healthy pace. Sprint and T-Mobile also have started to grow once again. However, the larger wireless marketplace is splitting into smaller segments. Understanding this is one of many keys to success for any wireless carrier going forward. The larger wireless marketplace is changing.
Major Tech Firms Join White House in Climate Change Pledge
July 28, 2015
President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and other senior White House officials on Monday met with a group of executives who pledged their companies' support for the administration's efforts to reach a strong climate change agreement in Paris this December. Thirteen major companies, including Apple, Google and Microsoft, signed the American Business Act on Climate Change.
Amazon Reaps What It Sowed
July 27, 2015
Amazon's market capitalization on Friday reached $270 billion, surging past Walmart, following a surprisingly strong second quarter earnings report. That amounted to a $46 billion boost in investor confidence, with shares hitting a record high of $580.57. Analysts had projected that Amazon would take a hit in its second quarter. Instead, it reported a profit of $92 million.
Citibank Dinged $700M for Scamming Credit Card Customers
July 27, 2015
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last week ordered Citibank and its subsidiaries to pay about $700 million in relief to eligible consumers and a $35 million civil penalty for, in essence, scamming consumers into paying for unwanted credit card add-on products and services. This is the 10th action the bureau has undertaken against banks for deceiving consumers.
Apple's Tumble: Trouble in Paradise?
July 22, 2015
Apple's stock slid on Wednesday following the company's fiscal Q3 earnings report late Tuesday. Shares opened at $122.05 -- more than $8 down from Tuesday's closing price of $130.75 -- but inched upward to close the day at $125.22. Analysts were atwitter over the quarterly results, some implying they heralded big trouble in little doses for Apple. Others insisted there was no basis for the fuss.
PayPal Flies Solo on Nasdaq
July 21, 2015
PayPal on Monday returned to the Nasdaq as an independent company, no longer tethered to eBay. PayPal debuted at a market value 1.4 times its former parent -- $46.6 billion -- while eBay's capitalization shrunk to $34 billion. The companies agreed to split in September due to market pressures and some nudging by corporate raider turned shareholder value advocate Carl Icahn.
New Ford Tech Shines Light Where Drivers Need It
July 20, 2015
Ford Motor Company has developed a new lighting system that can illuminate hazards on the road -- even those that are not in the direct line of travel of the vehicle -- better than conventional headlights. Ford on Friday unveiled a new lighting system that can widen the beam from headlines at junctions and roundabouts, and help draw the driver's attention to objects in or near the car's path.
DoJ: Firms Should Hire Cyber-Savvy Lawyers
July 20, 2015
Hardly a day goes by without a headline about a cyberintrusion. No entity is immune -- international retailers, airlines, hotels, mom and pop stores, cloud providers -- even the U.S. government. However, it seems that few businesses contemplate how important it is for their attorney to know and understand cybersecurity, as well as know what to do when a cyberintrusion occurs.
Microsoft Bolsters Dynamics CRM With FieldOne Buy
July 17, 2015
Microsoft on Thursday announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire FieldOne, developer of a cloud-based field service management solution. FieldOne's technology will add a new dimension to Microsoft Dynamics CRM. FieldOne provides field service management tools for work order management, automated scheduling, asset management, contract management, and more.
EFF Launches Write-to-Congress Tool
July 17, 2015
Email has made communicating with elected officials easy, but a new tool from the Electronic Frontier Foundation is going to make it easier yet. Democracy.io allows you to send an electronic missive to your U.S. representative and senators with a minimum of clicks. Typically, you'd have to go to your legislators' websites separately to make your views known.
Comcast Needs to Do More Than Stream
July 16, 2015
Comcast -- and in fact, the entire cable television industry -- is going through a time of incredible change. Cable companies used to grow year after year because there was no competition. However, today they are losing market share, so to help plug the hole, Comcast just introduced Stream, a new subscription streaming service. It offers Xfinity customers more choices for content consumption.
Feds Deliver Darkode's Doomsday
July 16, 2015
United States law enforcement agencies and their counterparts in 19 countries on Wednesday announced they had dismantled the Darkode hackers' forum. Charges, arrests and searches were launched against 70 Darkode members and associates around the world, and 12 people associated with the forum were indicted in the U.S. The agencies also served several search warrants in the U.S.
Apple Scarfs Up Nearly All the Smartphone Profits
July 14, 2015
While Android smartphones have captured nearly 80 percent of the worldwide market, Apple has an overwhelming lead where it counts most: profits. Ninety-two percent of worldwide profits from smartphones go to Apple, according to Cannacord Genuity. Samsung is a distant second with 15 percent. Since Apple started peddling smartphones eight years ago, its profit picture has brightened continuously.
Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata Leaves Legacy of Charm
July 14, 2015
After more than a decade of shaping fan-forward Nintendo philosophies, President Satoru Iwata died Saturday at 55. Iwata had been struggling with cancer for about a year. The one-time programmer and long-time video game enthusiast worked his way through the Nintendo ranks. He succeeded Hiroshi Yamauchi in 2002, becoming the first Nintendo president who wasn't a member of the Yamauchi family.
Haters Force Leadership Change at Reddit
July 13, 2015
The haters have won at Reddit, forcing the ouster of interim CEO Ellen Pao and her replacement by cofounder Steve Huffman. Board member Sam Altman, who led a $50 million investment round in the firm, on Saturday announced Pao's resignation and Huffman's appointment, lashing out at the campaign against Pao. It was "sickening" to see some of the things Redditors wrote about Pao, he said.
Tech Tools to Make Your Next Move Less Painful
July 13, 2015
My wife and I just completed a move from California to Oregon, and it was far less painful than it could have been, thanks to technology. It used to be incredibly painful to move. While a lot of the pain is still there, technology has advanced a lot since we last moved -- about 18 years ago -- and at least some parts of the process now are far easier.
NYSE, United Shutdowns Spark Cyberattack Rumors
July 9, 2015
The New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday halted all transactions for three hours, due to what it maintained was a technical glitch. Trading continued on the other exchanges belonging to its owner, holding company Intercontinental Exchange. "The markets did not plummet with the shutdown," said Jim Wright, chief investment officer at Harvest Financial Partners.
Microsoft Cuts 7,800 as It Rethinks 'Mobile First' Strategy
July 8, 2015
CEO Satya Nadella has announced that Microsoft will reduce its workforce by 7,800 as it refines its mobile message and strategy. The company will write down roughly $7.6 billion associated with assets tied to the acquisition of Nokia's devices and services business, Nadella revealed. The restructuring of its own mobile handset division will cost somewhere between $750 million and $850 million.
Rick Perry and the Texas vs. California Tech War
July 6, 2015
A couple of weeks ago, I was waiting to do a CNBC slot on what to expect from the Apple Watch in Asia -- the entire smartwatch class is having a lot of issues for a variety of reason -- and I ran into Rick Perry, former governor of Texas, as he was coming out of the same studio I was about to enter. For some reason, I thought he was going to be a typical entitled stuck-up jerk, but he wasn't.
Faster, Cheaper Fiber Could Rev Up Internet
June 30, 2015
Researchers have found a way to significantly improve the performance of fiber networks, which could lead to benefits for both consumers and Internet service providers. Information in fiber optic cables degrades with the distance it travels. When you try to increase the speed at which the data is traveling by boosting the power in the network, degradation gets worse.
Microsoft Is Looking More Like the House Nadella Built
June 30, 2015
Some aspects of CEO Satya Nadella's vision for Microsoft are becoming more clear. For one thing, the company's interest in advertising is seriously on the wane. Microsoft reportedly has handed off most of its digital advertising sales business to AOL. Microsoft will retain control of its search advertising sales, however, and Bing will replace Google as the engine powering AOL's consumer searches.

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