Josh Silverman, Chieif Digital Officer of American Express at their headquarters in New York©Pascal PerichWhen Josh Silverman received a call last year asking if he would like to work for American Express, he was surprised.

The 43-year-old technology entrepreneur’s life had always revolved around Silicon Valley start-ups. He had been chief executive of Skype and before that held a senior role at eBay. In the late 1990s he had cofounded Evite, the internet invitations company, and sold it in 2001. The thought of working for a 162-year-old blue-chip corporation was alien.

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Chris Nuttall

Talking to TVs was the talk of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this month, with voice and gestures being demonstrated as new ways of controlling internet-connected TVs that have become too smart in their interfaces and capabilities for regular remote controls.

But there are other uses for the cameras and microphones being introduced that can see and hear us. In this week’s Personal Technology column, I have been comparing the telyHD and Biscotti TV webcams that promise better living room communications over Skype and Google Talk. Longer reviews of both are after the jump. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

Apple is to phase out access to the unique device identifier, or UDID, on devices such as iPhones and iPads in the next update to its iOS mobile software, according to TechCrunch. The UDID is used by mobile ad and game networks or any app that needs to identify its users. If it is scrapped, companies would have to create their own unique identifiers to keep track of their users. This, TechCrunch warns, would mean companies may well have to get rid of all of their historical user data and start from scratch. Read more

Google may be drawing strong reviews for its latest attempt at a social networking service, but Facebook is not standing still. Mark Zuckerberg declared that his company has reached 750m users and entered a new phase, as it looks to build on its “social infrastructure”. First up: Skype. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Facebook’s hint that it will be launching “something awesome” this coming week has prompted feverish speculation about what the social network will unveil, as it faces fresh competition from Google+Read more

Richard Waters

During the 1990s, stock options became a part of Silicon Valley lore. They represented the right of even the most junior engineer to strike it rich and became a standard part of any pay package.

But things aren’t that simple anymore. The Valley’s approach to pay has changed greatly since the last dotcom bubble, and workers who don’t learn the new rules of the game can get caught out. Read more

Richard Waters

There’s no doubt about it: Wall Street is ready to pay up for growth. Even when compared to the heady price Microsoft has just agreed to pay for Skype, the LinkedIn deal looks rich. But this kind of growth is a rare commodity in the public market these days. Read more

Richard Waters

Is the secondary market for private company stock – one of the main financial innovations of the last couple of years – just a flash in the pan? Two of the most watched companies, Skype and LinkedIn, are about to be lost in little more than a week. How many others among the top ten will still be around a year from now? See the full list after the break. Read more

Richard Waters

Does it matter that investors in the public markets are missing out on the big early gains in internet stocks? Niklas Zennstrom (of Skype fame) has done his own calculations and tells us that the majority of large-cap, high-growth names in the world today are not traded on any stock market. Read more


Steve Ballmer became chief executive of Microsoft in January 2000, a few months before a federal judge ordered the company to be broken up on antitrust grounds, because it was too powerful and was extending its grip too widely. This ruling was later reversed and, 11 years later Microsoft remains in one piece, and its size and scope has turned into its weakness.

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