Will the smart home of the future be controlled by a single app to rule them all? Or will it be a more ad hoc affair, as a myriad different gadgets learn to play nicely together without a central “control panel”?
Before it was bought by Google earlier this year, Nest was pursuing the second of these visions. And to judge by the API it has just released so that other developers can write applications that draw on some of the functions of its devices, nothing much has changed since then. Read more
It’s not every day an Apple executive gets personal.
That makes Angela Ahrendts’ first public comments since starting at the company – posted on LinkedIn – of more than usual interest. It is a sign that she intends to keep her own style, whatever the pressures of running Apple’s retail operations – and also that, under Tim Cook, Apple is evolving further beyond the Steve Jobs era. Read more
All games, all the time. That’s what new Xbox chief Phil Spencer promised at the E3 games show on Monday, as Microsoft put the final touches to its comeback strategy for Xbox One.
He wasn’t kidding. Raging first person shooters were the order of the day. But Microsoft’s remedial action on the One has left the way open for Sony, whose E3 event is due later in the day in Los Angeles, to steal the show. Read more
Without seeing Uber’s financials, it’s impossible to say whether its amazing post-money valuation of $18.2bn is deserved. But even if its business is starting to take off, as seems to the case, it still has a long way to go to live up to the hype generated by its latest fund-raising. Read more
Ever wonder how far your email provider goes to protect your messages from prying eyes? If you’re using a Microsoft service (like Hotmail, Live or MSN), then the answer is: perhaps not as much as you’d like.
That is one of the conclusions from an analysis released by Google on Tuesday. It tracks the amount of encrypted traffic flowing to and from Gmail users. Only half the inbound messages from Microsoft’s services are encrypted, about the same as coming from Russian service Mail.ru. And some – like Comcast.net and Orange.fr – don’t seem to have encryption turned on at all. Read more
It is nearly two years since Google took the wraps of Glass, its ambitious smart glasses project, and said it was aiming to put them on sale by the end of 2013. Read more
Is there such a thing as permanence on the web? Former Facebooker Adam D’Angelo thinks so. He claims to be buying it, with the help of another $80m he has just raised for his question-and-answer service, Quora.
As with a lot of big fund-raising rounds at the moment, though, the main reason Mr D’Angelo is acting now is not hard to discern: just because he can. Read more
Google’s founders have just completed a silent coup of their own company – and so far, it hasn’t cost them a dime.
The new class of non-voting Google stock that started trading on Thursday is selling at a discount of around 0.3 per cent to the existing, reduced-voting right shares. If that gap rises above 1 per cent, the company will have to pay out cash to compensate investors: but the narrow spread at the outset suggests that is no longer a risk. Read more
For its most promising new technology, IBM has been searching for problems to solve that are both deep and broad enough. Now, with a clinical trial in the US aimed at personalising the treatment of cancers, it might just have found one. Read more
You need a strong gut to invest in a market when it’s just suffered the kind of financial scandal that hit the Bitcoin world with the demise of Mt Gox.
But that hasn’t stopped Matt Cohler at Benchmark from leading a $20m investment round in Xapo, the latest entrant in Silicon Valley’s bid to assume a leading role in Bitcoin innovation. Read more
Bill Gates has a soft spot for Mark Zuckerberg. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine that has just been published, this is what he has to say about the Facebook CEO: “We’re both Harvard dropouts, we both had strong, stubborn views of what software could do.”
And he strongly endorses Zuckerberg’s acquisition of WhatsApp: “It means that Mark Zuckerberg wants Facebook to be the next Facebook.” Read more
Looking back at the history of the world wide web (which celebrates its 25th birthday on Wednesday) brings to mind that famous question from Monty Python’s Life of Brian: “What have the Romans ever done for us?”
Like the Judean revolutionary complaining about his Roman overlords, it’s easy to see the downside. Spam, viruses, government surveillance, loss of privacy: the negatives are hard to ignore. Read more
How much freedom will Google have to come up with new advertising formats after its anti-trust settlement with the European Commission?
That question looks like being tested sooner than you might think. The ink isn’t even dry on the settlement yet, but Google is already trying out new forms of advertising that will reveal how well the regulators have done their job. Read more
Hold the Sean Parker jokes about $1bn.
It was Justin Timberlake, playing Mr Parker in The Social Network, who delivered the famous line: “A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool?”
Founders Fund has just raised its first $1bn fund – but Mr Parker has now officially cut his ties with the firm. Read more
The Wall Street analysts waiting eagerly for details of Tesla Motors’ planned “Gigafactory” will have been disappointed by the cursory treatment the project got on Wednesday, as the company announced plans to raise $1.6bn.
After all, this is the massive battery-making plant that is meant to cement Tesla’s rise as the world’s first mass-market electric car maker. According to an expansive report by a Morgan Stanley analyst earlier in the week, it could also make it the dominant player in a $1,500bn market for selling energy storage devices to electric utilities. Read more
It must have been galling to Microsoft when Hewlett-Packard brought back Windows 7 “by popular demand” last month. But it reflected a reality that has been hard to ignore: the vast majority of PC users who still manipulate a mouse and tap on a keyboard have little to gain from the touch-centric tiled interface of Windows 8.
Now, Microsoft is ready to make more concessions to the keyboard-and-mouse crowd – while insisting that it is still committed to touch. Read more
Microsoft has ended its search for a new CEO. Now comes the hard part: shrugging off the PC past and grabbing a lead in the growth markets of mobile and cloud computing.
These are the four main issues Satya Nadella will have to deal with if he is to have a chance of making Microsoft as relevant to the tech industry’s future as it was to the past. Read more
Like any widely hyped online phenomenon, Moocs – massive open online courses – are facing a reality-test.
Hardly anyone who starts one of the online courses actually finishes it. But even if the formula is being rethought, the potential impact on education hasn’t diminished. Read more
For all those confused about Google’s intentions in hardware, things just got much clearer.
No, it doesn’t see itself as the next Apple. And yes, it does understand the responsibilities that come with running an ecosystem if it wants to keep allies like Samsung onside. Read more
The interests of bondholders do not usually make it very far up the list of concerns of most tech executives. Thanks to the industry’s cash mountain (as we reported in our series on corporate cash last week) it’s been more a case of how to keep restless shareholders happy.
But all of that could soon change if debt levels continue to rise at current rates, according to a report from Richard Lane at Moody’s. Read more