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Time Warner Bets Heavily on Hulu
August 4, 2016
Time Warner on Wednesday announced it has entered an agreement to buy a 10 percent stake in online-streaming service Hulu, in a bid to leverage its lineup of television and film content on multiple viewing platforms. With the new investment, Time Warner will join a joint venture that includes some of the nation's largest media companies, including The Walt Disney Co., 21st Century Fox and Comcast.
Uber's China Strategy Shifts Into Reverse
August 3, 2016
Didi Chuxing on Monday announced a historic deal to acquire the Chinese ride-sharing operations of rival Uber, which threw in the towel after years of unsuccessful efforts to grow its business in what may prove to be the world's most challenging technology market. Under the agreement, Didi Chuxing acquired all of Uber China's assets, including its brand, data and business operations.
Salesforce Gets a Grip on Quip
August 2, 2016
Salesforce has agreed to acquire Quip, Quip CEO Bret Taylor and Head of Product Kevin Gibbs announced Monday. Quip lets users manage live documents throughout the collaboration process. The deal is worth about $582 million, according to a Salesforce filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Quip provides a chat feature that's built into every document and spreadsheet.
UK Greenlights Amazon's Drone Delivery Tests
August 2, 2016
Amazon, which has appealed to U.S. regulators for years for permission to test package delivery with aerial drones, last week announced a new partnership with the UK government to launch a pilot program there. A cross-government team, supported by the UK Civil Aviation Authority, has granted Amazon permission to begin testing three critical performance factors.
SolarCity Deal Would Take Tesla Where No Company Has Gone Before
August 1, 2016
Tesla Motors has announced that it has reached an agreement to purchase SolarCity. The deal could create the world's first vertically integrated sustainable energy company. The merger would drive efforts to develop rooftop solar systems, and better storage batteries for homes and businesses, as well as electric vehicles. It would, in essence, tie together Elon Musk's sustainable energy businesses.
Fixing Apple's Problem
August 1, 2016
Apple last week reported earnings, and with the exception of a strong showing from the iPad Pro, the key financial metrics were all down -- and for the third quarter running. So what's wrong with Apple? The company had been growing alarmingly well until last year, but growth suddenly has become elusive. It isn't going out of business, but it also isn't the performance king anymore.
Why 1 Billion iPhones Sold Matters
August 1, 2016
Sales of the iPhone for the current quarter may be down, but sales for the decade are up, way up. Apple last week announced that it had sold its billionth iPhone, a historic feat for a consumer electronics product from a single vendor. "We never set out to make the most, but we've always set out to make the best products that make a difference," said Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Clinton Campaign Latest Target of Hackers Linked to Russia
July 30, 2016
The campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is the latest possible victim of a series of hack attacks some cybersecurity experts have linked to the Russian government. Campaign officials reportedly acknowledged that an analytics program it uses, which is maintained by the DNC, was accessed in a breach discovered earlier this month.
Oracle Hauls In NetSuite
July 28, 2016
Oracle has inked an agreement to acquire NetSuite -- the company its former chief marketing officer, Zach Nelson, cofounded in 1998 -- for $9.3 billion. NetSuite offers various software packages as cloud-based services, including ERP, accounting, CRM and sales force automation. What's surprising about the deal is "why it took so long and why Oracle paid so much," said analyst Trip Chowdhry.
Apple Earnings Sag on Lower iPhone Price Points
July 28, 2016
Apple on Tuesday reported lower earnings in the third-quarter as the global saturation of smartphones continued to put pressure on its core iPhone business. However, officials remained upbeat. The company reported stronger-than-expected metrics and has been able to grow its software and services business while expanding into key overseas markets. Apple reported net income of $7.8 billion.
Nintendo's Q1 Reflects Struggles Unrelated to Pokemon Go Success
July 27, 2016
Nintendo shares fell sharply in Tokyo on Wednesday, following its release of a first-quarter earnings report that disappointed analyst expectations. The company reported a drop of 31 percent in net sales and an operating loss of about $48 million, which it attributed to growing strength in the Japanese yen but which likely had more to do with dismal sales of the Wii U, which it is phasing out.
Aquila Test Flight Carries Facebook's Internet Ambitions Aloft
July 26, 2016
Facebook has carried out the first full-scale test flight of Aquila, a high-altitude solar-powered unmanned aircraft designed to provide Internet access to remote regions. The company had flown a one-fifth scale version of the airplane for several months. The full-sized craft has the wingspan of a Boeing 737 -- 46 yards -- but reportedly weighs less than 900 pounds fully laden.
KickassTorrents Owner Faces 20-Plus Years in Stir
July 26, 2016
Polish authorities last week arrested the alleged owner of pirate website KickassTorrents, or KAT, 30-year-old Artem Vauln of Kharkiv, Ukraine. Vaulin faces charges in the United States of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, criminal copyright infringement and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Conspiracy to commit money laundering is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Yahoo Deal Could Put Verizon in Google and Facebook's League
July 25, 2016
Verizon has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Yahoo's operating business for approximately $4.83 billion in cash. The deal, which comes on the heels of Verizon's $4.4 billion AOL purchase last year, will allow it to expand its digital advertising business. The purchase will provide Verizon with Yahoo's ad tech tools, search, email and messenger assets.
Verizon on Verge of $5B Deal for Yahoo Core Assets
July 22, 2016
Verizon reportedly is close to a deal to buy the core Web assets of Yahoo for $5 billion, which would end a months-long process of jockeying over the future of the struggling company. Verizon emerged as the winner of a lengthy bidding contest to acquire the assets, according to reports that surfaced Friday. An agreement is expected early next week.
Musk Plots Out Tesla's Next 10 Years
July 22, 2016
Elon Musk has unveiled a second master plan for Tesla, a follow-up to the vision he shared 10 years ago. The original master plan is now in the final stages of execution. The refresh sketches out a multiyear, four-pronged strategy that is about more than vehicles. Musk also plans to advance an integrated solar-roof-with-battery product and create a ride-sharing program, among other things.
Netflix Shares Fall as Subscriber Growth Hits a Wall
July 20, 2016
Shares of Netflix fell sharply Tuesday after it reported lower-than-expected second quarter earnings, which the company blamed on subscriber growth that fell short of forecasts. Netflix added 1.7 million subscribers in the quarter, pushing its total membership to more than 83 million, the company told shareholders. However, that growth was far less than the 2.5 million it had projected.
Uber by the Billions
July 20, 2016
Uber just celebrated its two-billionth trip in a 147-way tie, CEO Travis Kalanick announced Monday. Each of the drivers and riders who began their trip at 4:16 a.m. GMT on Saturday, June 18, got a $450 gift from Uber -- the number is significant because Uber now operates in 450 cities across the globe, Kalanick said. The company's growth trajectory is impressive.
Yahoo Posts Weak Earnings as Assets Sale Waiting Game Drags On
July 19, 2016
Yahoo on Monday reported second quarter earnings that fell just short of Wall Street estimates but left investors and analysts waiting to hear about progress in finding a strategic investment partner. Negotiations over the potential sale of the company's core assets are under way. The company reported earnings from operations of $39 million, or 9 cents a share in the second quarter.
Softbank Strong-ARMs Its Way Into Internet of Things
July 19, 2016
Softbank Group has agreed to buy British semiconductor maker ARM Holdings for about $31.4 billion in cash, the companies announced Monday. Softbank agreed to pay a hefty premium for ARM, with a price of about $67.28 per ARM share, which is a 42.9 percent premium over the $47.08 closing price as of Friday, the last business day before the deal was announced. The surprise move will help Softbank gain a solid IoT foothold.
Valve to Close the Spigot on Gambling Operations
July 18, 2016
Valve last week announced it would take action against third-party sites that run illegal gambling operations. A number of gambling sites have been leveraging the Steam gaming platform -- in particular, the Counter-Strike game -- to create massive operations that convert virtual skins into cash, Valve said. Valve denied allegations that it has in any way profited from those illegal sites.
Congressional Committee Report Finds Something Rotten at FDIC
July 18, 2016
Officials at the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which insures deposits in U.S. banks, made false statements to Congress and failed to make timely notification of serious cybersecurity breaches, according to a U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology's interim staff report. FDIC CIO Lawrence Gross has created a toxic work environment, it also says.
Reading Between the Lines: Musk's Folly, Trump's Plan
July 18, 2016
Something like 90 percent of CEOs are planning to put their companies out of business accidentally, based on a KPMG report I just reviewed. After watching Tesla of late, I think Musk is on the fast track to lead this effort, and since I'm a Tesla fan, and I know a lot of you drive Teslas, I thought that might be an interesting, if scary, topic for this week.
Apple Patents Tech to Foil Concert Pirates
July 16, 2016
A patent for an infrared system that could be used to shut off iPhone cameras and microphones at live performances is one of dozens recently awarded to Apple. The system could assist the music and movie industries by automatically disabling camera functions at movies or concerts. It could have other applications as well -- for example, turning an iOS device into a museum or city tour guide.
EU Ratchets Up Charges in Google Antitrust Probe
July 16, 2016
Google and its parent company Alphabet are facing new charges in the European Commission's ongoing investigation of allegations that Google's comparison shopping and online advertising platforms violated antitrust laws. The EC on Thursday alleged that Google had abused its dominant position by systematically favoring its own comparison shopping service in search results.
Microsoft Wins Legal Victory in Fight Over Email Stored Abroad
July 15, 2016
Microsoft has won its nearly four-year battle against a warrant requiring it to turn over customer emails held on a server in Ireland. Microsoft had complied with demands to turn over account information stored on its servers in the U.S., but it had refused to give up the emails themselves, contending a U.S. judge did not have the authority to issue warrants for information stored abroad.
Consumer Reports Urges Tesla to Pull Plug on Autopilot
July 15, 2016
Consumer Reports has urged Tesla to disable the automatic steering function and change the name of its Autopilot driving assist feature. Questions recently have arisen over whether Tesla's Model S vehicles can operate safely without regular human intervention. Consumer Reports' change request sprang from concerns over a number of recent test crashes, including a fatal accident in Florida.
Music Industry Boos Google's Antipiracy Performance
July 13, 2016
Google on Wednesday released an update of its online antipiracy efforts. YouTube has generated more than $2 billion to content copyright holders by monetizing user-uploaded content through its Content ID rights management system, Google said, adding that more than 90 percent of all Content ID claims result in monetization. YouTube also paid out more than $3 billion to the music industry.
Facebook Lets Messenger Conversations Go Dark
July 13, 2016
Facebook last week said it would begin testing long anticipated end-to-end encryption capabilities in its Messenger app, enabling users to have secret conversations. The new level of security means that a message will be visible only to the sender and the recipient -- Facebook won't even be able to read it. Users can set a timer to limit the amount of time that a message remains visible.
Nintendo Shares Surge on Pokemon Go Juggernaut
July 12, 2016
Nintendo shares soared on Monday after its new augmented reality mobile app, Pokemon Go, burst out of the gate over the weekend in the U.S and in key markets around the globe. The company's shares rose 36 percent in two days, after downloads of the Pokemon Go app raced to the top of iOS and Android charts in the U.S. The wave of demand exceeded expectations, said Morgan Stanley MUFG analyst Mia Nagasaka.
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