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The Pichai Era: Google's New Age of Innocence?
August 13, 2015
"A" is for new Google parent company "Alphabet," for Sundar Pichai's "ascension" to CEO, and for a slimmed-down search engine company that seeks to become more "agile." Consumers may wonder if that "A" also stands for "altruism." Pichai's work ethic and congeniality helped drive his ascension to the top, and he'll need both to redirect the mounting mistrust of Google -- his greatest challenge yet.
Now Google Knows Its ABCs
August 11, 2015
Google on Monday announced a restructuring that will make it a wholly owned subsidiary of a new umbrella company called "Alphabet." Product Chief Sundar Pichai will take over as CEO of Google, while Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergei Brin will be CEO and president, respectively, of Alphabet. Pichai "is ... the right person to lead the core Google search effort," said Covestor's Barry Randall.
Sprint Sinks to 4th Place, T-Mobile's Legere Gloats
August 6, 2015
Sprint continued to make progress in its turnaround during Q1, it said Tuesday. However, it apparently wasn't enough to keep the company from slipping to fourth place among major wireless carriers, exchanging places with T-Mobile, which climbed up to third. Among other things, Sprint cut postpaid customer losses in the quarter to 12,000 -- the lowest ever.
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.
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.
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.
Anatomy of a CEO Failure
June 15, 2015
Much to Apple's dismay, I cover Apple events. One of the questions that frequently came up during its recent developer conference centered on Tim Cook. Was he becoming Steve Ballmer? The implication was that Steve was a failure at Microsoft, so the comparison didn't reflect well on Cook. I think this idea is wrongheaded, although Tim Cook's situation bears some similarity to Steve Ballmer's.
Costolo Out in Twitter's Latest Round of Musical Chairs
June 12, 2015
Twitter is changing CEOs for the fourth time in four years. Incumbent Dick Costolo is stepping down July 1 and company cofounder Jack Dorsey will take over as interim CEO while the board searches, both internally and externally, for a suitable candidate to hold the post. Costolo will remain on Twitter's board, and Dorsey will continue to serve as CEO of Square, which he also cofounded.
HP vs. Apple: The Contrast Is in the Turnaround
June 1, 2015
I was at Dell's analyst conference last week and HP Discover is this week. As I was considering the contrast between the two companies, I started to think the contrast between Apple and HP is greater. There is a lot of cross-pollination between the firms -- and given how often Apple has embarrassed HP in the market, you'd think HP would have learned from its mistakes. Apparently, it hasn't.
5 Reasons Jony Ive's Step Back Is Apple's Step Forward
May 28, 2015
There seem to be two major reactions to the "promotion" of Apple's Jonathan Ive to the newly created position of chief design officer: first, that he deserves the recognition and reward; and second, that this is the beginning of the end for Jony Ive's tenure at Apple. Apple released the news in the UK... on Monday, which was the Memorial Day holiday in the United States.
Can Microsoft Take Back Momentum From Google and Apple?
April 27, 2015
Microsoft is holding its Build event this week, marking the beginning of its major push to launch Windows 10. Build is in San Francisco this year, which effectively puts it right in the back yard of both Apple and Google -- a nice "in your face" move. I was the featured launch analyst for Windows 95 two decades ago and there, Microsoft ripped Apple a new rear orifice.
Mayer Wins Concessions in Rejiggered Microsoft-Yahoo Deal
April 17, 2015
Microsoft and Yahoo on Thursday said they were altering a search partnership that has been in place since 2009. Under the amended agreement, Yahoo no longer will exclusively serve Bing ads and search results for its desktop traffic. That means Yahoo can sell some of that desktop traffic to another party. "Yahoo has an opportunity for greater revenue from the deal," said tech analyst Jim McGregor.
Investors Squirm as Zynga Founder Takes Back Reins
April 13, 2015
News last week that Zynga founder Mark Pincus had replaced Don Mattrick as CEO, less than two years after vacating the position, sent the company's shares tumbling. The sharp reaction was a clear indicator of investors' concern over the management change. Pincus' return to the helm sparked concern from investors worried about the company's lackluster earnings.
Apple Execs Rave About Jobs' Bio They Helped Write
March 24, 2015
A new book about Steve Jobs hit store shelves Tuesday amid rave reviews -- from Apple executives. Apple execs not only praised the book, but also took the unusual step of providing interviews for it. The unauthorized biography -- Becoming Steve Jobs, by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli -- promises to reveal a more personal side of Apple's cofounder.
The Apple/Tesla Dream Team
February 23, 2015
We've seen a lot of speculation this week on the Apple car -- everything from Apple building its own car from scratch to its buying or merging with Tesla. Like many, I think the best path would be an Apple/Tesla combination, but since I doubt Tim would want to work for Musk or Musk for Tim, the only real option would be an office of the CEO for both firms.
Is Paltrow More Qualified Than Mayer to Run Yahoo?
February 16, 2015
While working on a piece about bad decisions recently, I revisited Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's decision not to hire Academy Award winner and successful lifestyle author and blogger Gwyneth Paltrow for a lifestyle editing position...because she didn't have a college degree. Let's explore the idea of Paltrow running Yahoo -- and we'll also take a look at my product of the week: an amazing new curved phone from LG.
Starboard to Yahoo's Mayer: Our Way or the Highway
January 9, 2015
Activist hedge fund Starboard, which has been dissatisfied with Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's strategy for some time, on Thursday sent a letter advising her to toe the line or expect to be ousted. Starboard expressed concern over recent media reports that Mayer has been considering some large acquisitions. Starboard also appears worried about what Yahoo will do with its remaining shares of Alibaba.
Journalist-Tracking Uber Exec Gets Vague Hand Slap
December 2, 2014
Uber has disciplined a company executive accused of using an internal tool to track a journalist's whereabouts, it said. The company offered no details about the nature of that reprimand, however, or about the possibility of taking similar action against another executive who publicly suggested the possibility of targeting journalists with a smear campaign.
Tim Cook Makes Waves, Creates Ripple Effect
October 30, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook on Thursday publicly proclaimed he is gay. While his sexual orientation isn't news, his strong acknowledgment sparked a wave of discussions and drew kudos from his Silicon Valley peers and others. "My first reaction was, 'It's 2014, so what? So many other famous people have come out as gay, why does one more matter?" said technology journalist Mitch Wagner. "But I was wrong."
Zuckerberg Talks His Way Into Chinese Hearts and Minds
October 24, 2014
When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg went on stage at Tsinghua University in Beijing Wednesday for a 30-minute Q&A session, the audience expected him to do what foreigners generally do: Utter a few words in Mandarin to acknowledge their culture, then depend heavily on translators. Instead, Zuckerberg elicited gasps of approval from the audience when he spoke in Mandarin all the way.
BlackBerry Tries, Tries Again to Remake Its Brand
October 9, 2014
BlackBerry is trying to rebuild itself by remaking its brand. A successful brand is one of the most important parts of any success story. However once a brand has sprouted roots, it's very difficult to remake it. It's easier to start from scratch. So what is the plan at BlackBerry -- and will it be successful? The BlackBerry brand has grown and evolved over the last 10 to 15 years.
HP Does the Splits
October 6, 2014
HP on Monday announced plans to separate its major business lines into two separate companies. HP Inc. will offer PCs and printers, while Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, will focus on IT infrastructure, software and services. HP CEO Meg Whitman will be the president and CEO of HP Enterprise. Don Weisler, EVP of HP's printing & personal systems division, will be the president and CEO of HP Inc.
Restless Shareholders Pelt Mayer With Yahoo Merger Proposals
October 1, 2014
Alternative Investment Management this weekend sent a letter to Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, urging her to consider merging with SoftBank. That request came a few days after Starboard Value sent Mayer a missive recommending that Yahoo acquire AOL. The proposals are independent of one another, but the investors making them are following the same line of reasoning. Shareholders want to see results.

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