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When Arianna Huffington launched The Huffington Post in 2005, critics wrote off the venture as doomed from the start. “The Madonna of the mediapolitic world has undergone one reinvention too many,” said acid-tongued Hollywood blogger Nikki Finke. “She is finally played out publicly.”
Tim Armstrong, AOL’s chief executive since March, would prefer that visitors based their initial impressions by starting with his office. A giant black-and-white poster of CNN founder Ted Turner in Apple’s “Think Different” advertising campaign hangs on a wall in a room surrounded by pictures of his three children. Read more
- Intel, the world’s biggest chipmaker, reported its strongest pick-up in business in more than 20 years, giving a major lift to the PC industry and technology sector. Intel reported second-quarter revenues of $8bn, up 12 per cent on the first quarter and well ahead of analyst expectations of $7.23bn. Its profit of 18 cents a share also easily exceeded a consensus of 8 cents. The chipmaker was the first big technology company to report earnings this season, providing a boost to the sector and the wider market.
- Dell plans to plunge into the crowded smartphone market and invest in other new areas, fuelling investor concerns that profit margins will continue to erode at the world’s second-largest computer maker. Ronald Garriques, president of Dell’s consumer division, said the company would “work with the top three to four” telecommunications carriers “and see what their needs are”.The declaration follows innovations in recent months from other manufacturers of internet-enabled phones such as Apple and Research in Motion, while spending on other computing products is flagging.
- Microsoft unveiled pricing details and launch plans for Windows Azure, the “cloud” operating system that Ray Ozzie hopes will become the online analogue to Windows on the personal computer – a platform that supports applications on the internet. The formalising of the plans, with Azure services going on sale in November, caps the first stage in an planned cultural and technological transformation of the world’s biggest software company.
- The economic slump hasn’t ended yet. That was the word from the executives of Microsoft and Dell, as they countered the recent optimistic views expressed by other big tech companies. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, said: “To think that things would be back in a year seems naive to me.” Brian Gladden, Dell’s chief financial officer, said: “Based on what we see in the marketplace, we’re not comfortable talking about seeing a bottom at this point.”
- Microsoft and Google took direct aim at each other’s core businesses as they showed off ambitious new services that represent some of their biggest internet development efforts. Microsoft unveiled its new search engine, Bing, to generally positive reviews. Google, meanwhile, stole the thunder by showing-off Wave, a new communication platform that incorporates elements of email, chat and document sharing.
- A Yahoo / Microsoft deal could still be struck if it involved “a boatload of money.” That was the word from Carol Bartz, Yahoo’s chief executive, who said her company is no longer in serious talks with Microsoft over a deal to combine their search efforts. But she acknowledged that negotiations between the two companies were continuing “a little bit”.
- Time Warner is close to a decision to spin off all of its AOL internet business, according to three people in contact with the company. Although a decision has not yet been finalised, executives prefer spinning off the whole division rather than a part. Over the past year, Time Warner has considered spinning off either its advertising-driven “audience business” or its legacy dial-up internet business, they say.
- Time Warner moved closer to spinning off AOL, while at the same time reporting a 14 per cent decline in quarterly net profit due to a drop in online and print advertising. Disposing of AOL would untangle what many consider one of the worst mergers in US corporate history, one that has lost shareholders more than $100bn.
- Google lost its fourth high-profile executive since March, with the departure of display ad chief David Rosenblatt, the former chief executive of DoubleClick, which Google acquired last year. Mr Rosenblatt reportedly doesn’t have another job lined up yet, but is aiming to leave Silicon Valley and move to New York.
- Verizon Communications has held talks with Apple about selling versions of either the iPhone or other Apple devices in the US. Currently AT&T is the exclusive distributor of the iPhone in the US, and the company was reportedly trying to extend that deal for another year. A lucrative deal with Apple would be a coup for Verizon, which reported strong quarterly profits from its growing mobile business.
- Qualcomm, the world’s biggest maker of chips for mobile phones, put an end to legal wrangling by settling a four-year patent dispute with rival Broadcom. Qualcomm has agreed to pay Broadcom $891m over four years in exchange for the dismissal of all court cases and Broadcom withdrawing its complaints about Qualcomm’s business practices.