Richard Waters

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

Richard Waters

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

Richard Waters

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

Richard Waters

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

It sounded like hubris last week when Nick Hayek, chief executive of Swatch, dismissed out of hand the threat from a potential Apple “smartwatch”. Hadn’t he heard what happens to companies involved in areas of personal technology that come under attack from the creative geniuses of Cupertino, California?

Summoning up images of unwieldy internet watches dating back to Microsoft’s Spot watch of nearly a decade ago, Mr Hayek questioned whether “an interactive terminal on your wrist” would ever catch on. “Personally, I don’t believe this is the next revolution,” he was quoted as saying.

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A $500bn game of chicken. That’s what it feels like as a handful of the biggest US technology companies posture over what they plan to do with their “trapped” overseas cash holdings. But like all games of chicken, the end must come eventually – and it’s hard to see that this is one the tech companies will win.

John Chambers, chief executive of Cisco Systems, struck the most provocative pose in an interview with the FT last week. After four fruitless years of arguing in Washington for a tax holiday for repatriating his foreign cash to be invested in the US, he says he’s had enough and is going to spend it somewhere else instead.

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Richard Waters

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

There aren’t many markets where, when the old products have failed, customers flock back for more.

That could explain why the leading lights of computer security – who have converged on San Francisco this week for their industry’s biggest gathering – have been struggling to strike the right tone.

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Richard Waters

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

Richard Waters

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