Richard Waters

Step into the San Francisco offices of Climate Corporation, and the first thing you see is a giant suspended globe. It is a dramatic representation of the power of big data: cloud formations move across it in real time, attesting to the level of detail with which the company captures and models weather information.

Now, with Climate Corp’s sale to Monsanto for an up-front payment of $930m (with more cash set aside for staff retention), the big data business has its first significant acquisition, and an important vindication for those who argue that data analytics is becoming a competitive differentiator. Read more

Richard Waters

First, for Google’s opponents, let’s look on the bright side.

The company’s tentative deal with European regulators in April to head off a formal anti-trust complaint was, according to critics, worse than useless. In the words of Silicon Valley lawyer Gary Reback: “They were Nowheresville”.

Tuesday’s revised deal at least fixes the most glaring flaws. Whether it will do anything meaningful to change the competitive situation is another matter. Read more

Richard Waters

Wednesday will be a big day in the life of Lawrence J Ellison, co-founder and chief executive officer of Oracle, multi-billionaire, defending champion of the America’s Cup and head of Oracle Team USA.

It will also present an interesting test of where his true allegiances lie. As the boat he bankrolled with tens of millions of dollars faces defeat, will he choose to front Oracle’s quarterly earnings call or be out on San Francisco bay? Read more

Richard Waters

CEO Tim Cook sought to dispel Wall Street’s worries about falling profit margins, as Apple reported a jump in sales of older iPhone models to the emerging world. He also tried to shrug off a surprise 43 per cent sequential drop in revenues from China as a one-quarter blip that would have no bearing on huge growth still to come there.

Our live blog of Apple’s third fiscal quarter earnings call as it unfolded is after the jump.

 

Richard Waters

You’re wearing Google Glass. A stranger walks past in a T-shirt emblazoned with a QR code. Suddenly, your world changes: images you didn’t expect start appearing on the tiny Glass screen above your eye. It quickly becomes clear that someone has taken complete control of your eyewear. Read more

Richard Waters

Daphne Koller, one the founders of Coursera, makes no bones about the global ambition of her online higher education start-up. Thanks to huge interest in moocs (masssive open online courses) in countries like the US and UK, she says, there’s “an incredible opportunity opening up for us” to get big fast.

So why wait years to go global when investors are queuing up to push the money into your hands right now? Read more

Fifty years ago, after dabbling in computing at the birth of the mainframe industry, General Electric missed the chance to add leadership in information technology to its industrial heritage.

But with the shift towards cloud computing that is now taking place, it might just get another chance – although, this time around, it sees itself more as an industrial version of Facebook than the next IBM.

 Read more

Richard Waters

A redesigned iOS was the centrepiece of Apple’s annual World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco on Monday, as CEO Tim Cook and other company executives sought to hit back at Google’s Android and prove that Apple has not lost its innovative edge.

Designer-in-chief Sir Jonathan Ive appeared only by video to talk about the new flatter, sleeker look that Apple called the most important redesign since the birth of the iPhone. Also as expected: new Macbook Airs and an iRadio music streaming service.

See below for our liveblog of the event as it unfolded.

 

Richard Waters

Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook took the hot seat on Tuesday morning in Washington to answer questions about a tax planning strategy that has enabled it to avoid billions of dollars of taxes.

Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate investigations committee, set the tone with his opening remarks, noting that just in 2012, Apple had exploited tax loopholes allowing it to avoid $9bn in US taxes. Such practices, he said, did “real harm” to the US economy, disadvantaging domestic companies that don’t make use of “tax gimmicks”.

You can watch the hearing here, read Mr Cook’s written testimony here and read the Senate committee’s report on Apple’s tax structure here.

 

Richard Waters

The US may be moving only slowly towards opening up its airspace to commercial drones, but a market for unmanned aerial vehicles is already emerging rapidly elsewhere. Andreessen Horowitz and Google Ventures are the latest to jump in, with a $10.7m investment in drone technology company Airware. Read more