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Russian Sub Activity Near Internet Cables Worries US
October 27, 2015
Russian spy ships and subs reportedly are hovering close to the routes of undersea communications cables. Military and intelligence officials apparently have observed increased Russian sub activity near cables located from the North Sea to Northeast Asia, as well as in waters close to American shores. The movements suggest Russia might decide to attack those cables in times of tension or conflict.
PRM's Next Act
October 27, 2015
Partner relationship management has seen its ups and downs over the first part of this century. Running an indirect channel is vitally important to any vendor trying to extend its reach without incurring the high costs of building a sales team and all that supports it. Many vendors figure it's more economical to pay partners for performance than to endure the corporate buildout.
NY AG Could Be Broadband-Speed Mythbuster
October 26, 2015
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has launched an investigation into Verizon, Cablevision and Time Warner Cable. The purpose of the probe is to determine whether three of the state's top telecom companies are providing high-speed broadband Internet as advertised to consumers and businesses. The probe was launched in response to consumer complaints on the issue.
Why Dell-EMC Won't Follow in HP-Compaq's Footsteps
October 26, 2015
Why do some big mergers succeed while others fail? This seems to be a common question, and some of the research I've read about the Dell-EMC merger tries to connect it to the HP-Compaq merger, which apparently cost Carly Fiorina her job. I covered the HP-Compaq merger at length, and I was not a fan. I actually spoke to Compaq's CEO and argued he should pull out to save his firm.
Gadget Ogling: A Deluxe Dock, a Crafty Computer, and a T-rific Tablet Stand
October 24, 2015
Beddi is an alarm clock smartphone dock that has a few tricks to elevate it above others of its ilk. The system, from Witti, works with both iOS and Android devices, which you place on top and recharge with your own cable. Two things are really interesting: the price and the programmable buttons. As for the latter, that means using Bluetooth to pair your smartphone with Beddi's companion app.
Salesforce's Message to Europe
October 21, 2015
Salesforce last week said it would invest $100 million in emerging sales force partners in Europe. The company previously announced a similar program for the Americas, and it hopes to discover valuable new companies and business solutions. Paul Greenberg and the team at CRM Idol have been doing the same thing -- trying to discover interesting emerging companies in the CRM space.
Amazon, NYT Revive Workplace Culture Brouhaha
October 21, 2015
Amazon and The New York Times this week engaged in a rehash of their dispute over the publication this summer of a story that describes harsh working conditions at the company. NYT reporter Jodi Kantor misled Amazon, alleged spokesperson Jay Carney, as she failed to challenge the credibility of former Amazon employees whose negative comments formed the backbone of the story.
TWC's New Virtual Assistant Curries Customer Favor
October 21, 2015
Beset by customer complaints and struggling to get approval from the United States Federal Communications Commission for a US$79 billion merger with Charter Communications and Bright House Networks, Time Warner Cable on Tuesday announced a virtual assistant. The new Ask TWC Virtual Assistant lets customers use a mobile device or computer to type a question in their own words.
Amazon Throws the Book at Fake Review Writers
October 20, 2015
An "unhealthy ecosystem" has developed outside of Amazon and it has been harming the company's website, Amazon said in a complaint filed last week in Washington State Superior Court. The suit alleges that 1,114 "John Does" placed fake product reviews on the company's website. The perpetrators apparently have been selling reviews through Fiverr, for as little as $5 each.
Are Your Sales Tools Turning A-Performers Into B-Performers?
October 19, 2015
Some things in business are clear and binary: A company succeeds or fails. A customer buys from you or from someone else. A customer returns for additional sales or leaves for a competitor. Other things are indeed relative: Sales numbers may be double the previous quarter but still fall below expectations. A customer returns for additional sales but resists buying more due to satisfaction issues.
JPEG Committee Proposal Stirs Image-DRM Fears
October 19, 2015
The JPEG Committee last week met in Brussels to discuss a proposal to secure privacy information such as metadata for published pictures, including geographical information enabling identification of people who have given anonymous interviews to journalists, and pictures posted on social media intended only for a limited audience. The proposal also seeks to address intellectual property rights.
Appletizing Microsoft: All You Need Is Love
October 19, 2015
The question that's been bugging me lately is this: Why hasn't Microsoft managed to break through with mobile consumer devices? While Apple has been breaking into the enterprise through consumer demand, Microsoft's enterprise tradition hasn't been helping with consumers. Case in point? Windows Phones. Meanwhile, why do I care? After all, I'm an Apple product enthusiast.
Could Musk Be Tim Cook's Proxy for Jobs?
October 19, 2015
Elon Musk must have been channeling ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer last week, when he commented to the German Press that Apple wasn't poaching Tesla's good employees, it was getting folks who couldn't cut it at Tesla. That undoubtedly is true of some of the employees who have moved between both firms, but it's very unlikely that it is true of all of those employees.
Gadget Ogling: Smarter Smartphone Gaming, Modular Watches, and Vampiric Charging Cables
October 17, 2015
I don't enjoy playing complex games on a smartphone. Using the screen as both input and output device makes matters complicated, so I tend to steer clear of any game that requires more than single taps or simple swipes. There are a number of game controllers around for smartphones, however, and the Satechi Wireless Gamepad, a Bluetooth device, is compatible with iOS, Android and Windows phones.
Appeals Court Validates Google's Mammoth Books Project
October 17, 2015
Google won an important legal victory on Friday, when the Second United States Court of Appeals in New York upheld a lower court's judgment in its years-long battle with the Authors Guild over Google Books. The case "tests the boundaries of fair use," Judge Pierre Leval wrote, but Google's actions did not constitute infringement, because they were for a "highly transformative" purpose.
EU Court Decision Threatens US Cloud Dominance
October 16, 2015
Edward Snowden's legacy gained another chapter last week when the European Court of Justice rejected an agreement that created a Safe Harbor for U.S. companies handling personal data of overseas citizens. In essence, the agreement provided that a U.S. company's word that it had adequate privacy safeguards in place was all that was needed to permit overseas personal data transfers.
Half a Dorsey May Mean Trouble for IPO-Bound Square
October 15, 2015
Square on Wednesday announced that it had registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission for its long-expected initial public offering. A startup that specializes in electronic payments, Square has been operating in the red. It plans to raise up to $275 million in its IPO, it disclosed in its SEC filing. However, market conditions currently are not considered very favorable for IPOs.
Federal Agencies Warming Up to Big Data
October 15, 2015
It just makes too much sense. Big government can function much better if government agencies take advantage of the benefits of big data technologies. Given the perception that governments operate on a bias favoring the status quo, it may come as a surprise that U.S. government agencies are slowly but surely embracing the adoption of big data innovations.
E-Commerce Firms Need to Wise Up to Cybercrime
October 15, 2015
Every business owner and executive must think long and hard about cybersecurity -- especially considering all the break-ins and data thefts during the last several years. Data breaches and security issues are in the headlines on a regular basis. One good source for getting a grip on some possible solutions to the problem is AT&T's new report, "What Every CEO Needs to Know About Cybersecurity."
Uber Rushes In as Same-Day Deliveries Ramp Up
October 14, 2015
Uber on Wednesday made its UberRush merchant delivery service a full-fledged division of the company, officially rolling it out in New York City, Chicago and San Francisco. The announcement followed a soft launch earlier this year in NYC. Americans waste too much time and productivity by transporting things from one point to another, Uber reasoned.
A7 Patent Suit Loss Could Cost Apple $862M
October 14, 2015
A U.S. District Court jury earlier this week found that Apple's A7 processor infringes a patent held by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the patent management arm of the University of Wisconsin -- Madison. WARF alleged patent infringement and claimed damages of up to $862 million in a complaint filed early last year in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.
Lighting Up Process
October 14, 2015
I've been saying that we're heading toward an era when process dominates and traditional transactions become just one part of those processes. Now, you might say that's the way it's always been, and I won't disagree. Historically, however, processes more or less were managed by employees who used information systems to inform their decision-making, and the result was recorded as a transaction.
Twitter Slashes Workforce as Dorsey Aims to Restore Confidence
October 14, 2015
Investors cheered after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's announcement to cut up to 336 jobs, or 8 percent of the global workforce, as part of an effort to strengthen long-term growth. Dorsey, the company cofounder who last week reclaimed his former position as chief executive, announced the painful round of cuts in a memo to employees, emphasizing plans to monetize the company's core product offerings.
Apple News Goes Dark in China
October 13, 2015
Apple recently disabled its Apple News app for users in China, according to multiple reports triggered by software developer Larry Salibra's alerts last week. Although Apple is mum on the subject, users based in China have begun complaining on the Internet about the News app being unavailable there. Salibra could not connect to the News app, and he couldn't read previously downloaded content.
Ex-Maintainer Bemoans Linux Kernel Community's 'Toxic Background Radiation'
October 13, 2015
Longtime Linux kernel developer Sarah Sharp last week published a blog post detailing her reasons for quitting the Linux kernel community. Sharp maintained the USB 3.0 host controller driver until January, when she decided to leave rather than continue to "contribute to a community where I was technically respected, but I could not ask for personal respect," she wrote.
Dell, EMC Merger Creates Storage Behemoth
October 12, 2015
Dell on Monday announced it would acquire EMC in a deal valued at $67 billion, maintaining VMware as a publicly traded company. EMC shareholders will get $24.05 per share in cash, as well as 0.111 shares of new tracking stock per share of EMC linked to the company's economic interest in the VMware business. EMC owns 80 percent of VMware. VMware share prices fell following the announcement.
Processing Customer Loyalty
October 12, 2015
I've had to do a lot of thinking about customer loyalty lately, both for my book and more recently for client engagements. What's interesting is how chaotic this market is and how many people are writing about it with very little data. There isn't even strong agreement on the similarities and differences between rewards programs and loyalty. Are they the same? How?
Common Bonds: Jobs, Torvalds and Bad Behavior
October 12, 2015
I can understand Linux in the 1990s. It was backed largely by folks who didn't do well with others. The fights between the Linux and BSD folks were both legendary and juvenile, and Linux's existence seemed defined entirely by the revolt against Microsoft. Now, though, the platform is mainstream, and there's a huge effort by some of its corporate supporters to bring more women into technology.
Gadget Ogling: A Fascinating Book, Stunning Speakers, and Empowering Tables
October 10, 2015
Right after Google unveiled the first tablet it created entirely in-house, Microsoft has gone them one better. Its Surface Book is a high-end laptop that falls in line with the Surface ethos. It's a convertible that works in tablet format, but its keyboard appears vastly superior to the ones available for other Surface devices. From a specs standpoint, the Surface Book seems to pack the goods.
Musk Draws Barbs for Mean-Spirited Dig at Apple
October 9, 2015
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk's recent comments to a German newspaper -- suggesting that Apple is the "Tesla graveyard" due to its hiring of fired Tesla employees -- has struck some nerves in the U.S. Musk dismissed claims that Apple had poached staff, telling the paper that those who couldn't cut it at Tesla would go to work for Apple instead -- and he added that he wasn't kidding.
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I plan to do my holiday shopping…
Online only -- I like the convenience and comfort.
Online only -- I'd shop in stores if their stock weren't so limited.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I like to see what I'm getting.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I enjoy the holiday shopping atmosphere.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I want to support local merchants.
Online and in stores -- I want the best of both worlds.
I'm not planning on doing any holiday shopping.