Why you would click a button labelled “start” to turn something off has never been entirely clear.
But for hundreds of millions of PC users, the start button in the bottom left corner of the Windows screen has been an invaluable navigation tool – which is why Microsoft looks to be on the verge of reversing course over Windows 8 and bringing it back. Read more
There was a major disconnect on display at the FT’s Digital Media conference in London on Thursday morning.
Jeff Bewkes of Time Warner and Thomas Rabe of Bertelsmann made it sound as though any-time, any-place access to media was ushering in a golden age comparable to the birth of broadcasting. But Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP had a wake-up call: Big Media is being complacent, and the real impact of companies like Google and Facebook has yet to be felt. Read more
A new technology platform needs new apps. And new apps need funding.
So it is that two of Silicon Valley’s best-known venture capital firms – Kleiner Perkins and Andreessen Horowitz – have got together with Google Ventures to offer money to developers working on ideas for Google Glass. According to Kleiner partner John Doerr, this “goes well beyond the the world of websites, documents and mobile apps”. Read more
The Tesla Model S was Motor Trend car of the year last year and starts at a base price of $62,400. So how could you get one for an all-in cost of $500 a month?
Simple: start by valuing your own time at $100 an hour. That, at least, is according to the creative accounting that Tesla has just come up with for a new lease deal for the vehicle. Read more
IBM’s board of directors got nervous recently when they were told that the company had uncovered higher levels of employee expense fraud.
Mark Loughridge, chief financial officer, says he had a response: “There’s nothing going on here: we’re just catching everyone.” Read more
Google’s Chromebook laptops have always felt more like demonstrations of the art of the possible than products you necessarily want to use every day. What they do, they do spectacularly well: it’s just that they aren’t quite the finished article.
The new Chromebook Pixel lives up to that track record. Its high-definition screen is a gorgeous bright rectangle you can’t resist reaching out to stroke. But for most users, the love affair will still feel incomplete. Read more
There seems to be a sea-change underway in the willingness of companies to admit when they have been the victims of cyber attacks. More have been coming forward, even when they appear to have no legal obligation. But the timing and nature of the disclosures differs greatly.
Take Microsoft’s apparent admission that it has succumbed to the same attack that has hit several other big tech companies. Compared even with Apple, traditionally the tech industry’s most secretive company, its disclosure was both late and light on detail. Read more
IBM has a tried and trusted method for turbo-charging its growth in promising new IT markets: rebrand its existing efforts in the field in question, boast about all the investments it’s already made – and then promise to double them.
Analytics, security and ecommerce have all come in for this kind of treatment, making them bright spots in an otherwise low-growth company. Now it’s the turn of mobile computing. Read more
The Apple CEO has had no shortage of advice from Wall Street lately on what to do with his company’s $137bn cash mountain. Hedge fund manager David Einhorn thinks he should issue a new class of preferred stock that would appeal to investors looking for yield. A combination of a higher dividend and stock buybacks that raised Apple’s three-year payout plans from $45bn to $60bn might be less radical but could be effective, according to Brian Marshall of ISI.
Speaking at the Goldman Sachs technology and internet conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, he talked about his views on big acquisitions (he’s considered them seriously), the legal battle with Einhorn (“a silly sideshow”) and whether Apple needs bigger or cheaper iPhones to expand its market. Read more
Forget all the dire warnings about the disruptive effects of mobile: for Google at least, tablets are on some measures starting to look like a better business than PCs, even if smartphones still lag.
That’s according to digital marketing company Marin Software, which has just published the results of its latest survey of global search trends. The amount of money spent on search advertising on tablets has already eclipsed smartphones – and with advertisers getting more bang for their buck on tablets than on PCs, the redirection of ad dollars looks set to continue. Read more
Why is it that text-to-speech services so often come with that cool-yet-sexy synthesised female voice straight out of a male fantasy?
Ivona, a Polish company, is no exception, judging by this avatar from the company’s website. She is likely to be coming to more Kindle devices soon, following Amazon’s acquisition of the company on Thursday. The most tantalysing question, though: Is Ivona also Amazon’s answer to Siri and a sign that it will soon be in the smartphone business? Read more
Could a Dell no longer weighed down by the anchor of its original PC business carve out a new future of growth as an enterprise technology company?
That is the only conceivable rationale for a potential buy-out that has once again become a hot topic of conversation on Wall Street. But it will take a strong nerve to call the bottom at a time when Dell’s PC business looks to be in free-fall. Read more
There are few greater indignities for a tech company than to be sought out by investors chasing dividend yield. The industry was founded on growth: yield is for old-economy investors who can’t stomach the risk of investing in the next big growth markets.
So spare a thought for the PC world, which in remarkably short order has become the tech world’s high-yield haven. After years of talk about a post-PC future, the alarms are now sounding loudly: rather than growth, accelerating decline is assumed in Wall Street’s forecasts. Read more
Victory on the main issue raised in the US anti-trust investigation of Google – the charge of search bias – is likely to remove any self-imposed limits the company has observed while under intense regulatory scrutiny over the past two years (Google’s own response, hinting at more aggressive competition to come, certainly suggested as much.)
Another consequence, noted by former FTC official David Balto: Any hopes that rivals had about riding on the back of regulatory action to bring their own private lawsuits have been dashed.
But in the area of patents, at least, the concession Google has made to end a US anti-trust investigation could have wider ramifications. Read more