All posts on December, 2016


Trends

Microsoft Trumpets Stellar Surface Sales

Microsoft announced robust sales of its Surface line ahead of the holiday season.
November was the best month ever for consumer Surface sales, according to Brian Hall, CVP of Microsoft devices marketing. The sudden surge follows this fall’s unveiling of the Surface Studio, the Surface Dial, and the Surface Book with Performance Base, which delivers twice the graphics power as its predecessor.

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Tech Buzz

What Trump Should Do With Air Force One

For the next eight or so years, I think a lot of what many of us are going to write will have something to do with what Donald Trump tweeted. Granted, since that has been the case for much of the last year, we have gotten comfortable with it. However, when Trump said he would kill the deal for an updated Air Force One, it hit me that we’ve completely lost track of what Air Force One should be.

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Deals

AT&T, Time Warner Defend Merger to Lawmakers

AT&T and Time Warner executives this week appeared before a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee to respond to lawmakers’ concerns about their $84 billion merger. Their testimony came at a time of high public skepticism of institutional power. Rival content and mobile providers applied further pressure with questions about the impact the deal would have on competition and pricing.

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Personal Computers

Microsoft and Intel’s Project Evo Ups the PC Game

Microsoft and Intel have announced Project Evo, their highly anticipated collaboration to create the next generation of personal computers. The project aims to expand on new advances in AI, mixed reality, advanced security and gaming, Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft, unveiled some of Project Evo’s ambitious plans at the WinHEC event in China.

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Social Networking

Traversing the Social Media Minefield

Many people expect celebrities and other prominent figures to have thicker skins than the average Jane or Joe. However — as evidenced by the numbers of celebrities who’ve forsaken social media — fame and fortune are not effective defenses against an all-out troll assault. While attacks on private individuals can be more personal and more targeted, they’re typically much less numerous.

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Deals

Fitbit Pulls Pebble From Rock, Hard Place

Fitbit has announced an acquisition deal with smartwatch maker Pebble. It clearly has been struggling, having laid off 25 percent of its staff earlier this year, when CEO Eric Migicovsky acknowledged that money was tight. “Fitbit is acquiring certain assets of Pebble, including key personnel and intellectual property specific to software and firmware development,” a Fitbit spokesperson said.

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Chips

Microsoft, Qualcomm Tuck Windows 10 Into ARM Devices

Microsoft on Wednesday announced the compatibility of Windows 10 and native Windows apps with ARM-based processors, including Qualcomm’s Snapdragon, which currently powers a large percentage of Android devices. The new partnership will make it possible for Windows applications, peripherals and enterprise solutions to run on new mobile, power efficient and always-connected cellular PCs.

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Trends

Without Numbers, Cook’s Apple Watch Claims May Be Hollow

Apple drew some pointed questions this week following CEO Tim Cook’s vague response to reports suggesting Apple Watch demand has plummeted. The Apple Watch is on track to set a holiday sales record and post its best quarter ever, Cook said. Sell-through of the watch — that is, units sold to consumers and not just stocked on retailers’ shelves — also is on track to reach a new high, he added.

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Consumer Protection

Bill Bolsters Legal Efforts of Wells Fargo Fraud Victims

U.S. lawmakers have introduced legislation to stop Wells Fargo from enforcing arbitration agreements with victims of fraud it perpetrated against them. Sen. Sherrod Brown, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, and Rep. Brad Sherman, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, introduced the Justice for Victims of Fraud Act of 2016.

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Reviews

Android Marshmallow on PC Falls Flat

Android-x86 Project eventually may become a viable operating system alternative for your desktop and laptops computers, but it’s not there yet. You will have to wait a while for the developers to fix a number of failures with the latest release upgrading Android-x86 to Marshmallow 6.0.1. Android-x86 lets you run the Android OS with the Google Chrome browser on your desktop and laptop computers.

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Tech Law

SCOTUS Scuttles Apple’s Big Samsung Award

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday spoiled Apple’s hopes for a big payday, scotching the $399 million award in its successful patent infringement suit against Samsung. Justice Sonia Sotomayor delivered the Court’s decision, which turned on what lawmakers meant by the term “article of manufacture.” The appeals court had ruled that it encompassed the entire phone. The Supremes disagreed.

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Social Networking

Tech Giants Team to Battle Terrorism Online

Facebook has teamed up with Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft to fight the proliferation of terrorist content on the Web. The tech giants will create a shared industry database of hashes for violent terrorist imagery, terrorist recruitment videos, or images they have removed from their services. They may use these shared hashes to help identify potential terrorist content on their platforms.

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Deals

Uber Sees Gold in Autonomous Vehicle Field

Uber has announced the acquisition of startup Geometric Intelligence, a move designed to increase its presence in the autonomous vehicle technology field. Geometric CEO Gary Marcus will become the chief of Uber’s new artificial intelligence business. He will lead the newly formed Uber AI Labs, which will be dedicated to conducting research into artificial intelligence and machine learning.

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Cloud Computing

How Amazon Could Reshape More Industries in 2017

Anyone who attended the recent AWS re:Invent conference — or watched many sessions online, as I did — probably is still trying to absorb the full implications of all of the company’s initiatives unveiled at the event. Although AWS already has redefined the computing and software development industries fundamentally, with its groundbreaking IaaS offerings, it isn’t resting on its laurels.

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E-Commerce

Amazon’s Register-Free Grocery Shopping Could Disrupt Retail

Amazon on Monday unveiled a prototype convenience store called “Amazon Go,” which uses mobile e-commerce, machine learning and computer vision to allow customers to make purchases without a cashier. The 1,800 square foot concept store in Seattle uses the company’s Just Walk Out technology, which incorporates many of the same concepts found in self-driving cars, Amazon said.

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Smartphones

iPhone Envy May Have Felled Galaxy Note7

Samsung’s desire to match the iPhone 7 Plus led it to implement an aggressive design and manufacturing approach that led to problems with its Galaxy Note7 — including some instances of the smartphones bursting into flames, Instrumental reported last week. Instrumental engineers tore down a Galaxy Note7, and found “tension between safety and pushing the boundaries,” CEO Anna Shedletsky revealed.

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Trends

2016: The Year in Review

This year will go down as an important turning point in CRM. For the last decade and a half, we’ve been simultaneously building and destroying CRM — first by linking all of the disparate databases to get that 360-degree view, and then by adding important accessories like social and analytics. At the same time, we’ve been busy tearing down conventional architectures and spinning up the cloud.

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Malware

Multinational Effort Halts Malware Avalanche

The DoJ on Monday released new details about the multinational takedown of Avalanche, a multimillion-dollar malware and money-laundering network, following a four-year probe led by German police and prosecutors. Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell, Acting U.S. Attorney Soo C. Song and Assistant Director Scott S. Smith of the FBI’s Cyber Division made the announcement in Pittsburgh.

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Deals

Twitter Buys Yes for Product VP Talent

Twitter has purchased Yes and named the mobile app startup’s CEO, Keith Coleman, as its new VP of product — a challenging post. Coleman will be Twitter’s third VP of product this year and the fifth since 2014. Twitter’s main problems are monetization, which has plagued it since its founding; slowing user growth; and stiff competition. Coleman’s supporters cite his previous experience at Google.

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Developers

AI Platforms Welcome Devs With Open Arms

Two leaders in the field of artificial intelligence have announced that they’re open-sourcing their AI platforms. After investing in building rich simulated environments to serve as laboratories for AI research, Google’s DeepMind Lab said it would open the platform for the broader research community’s use. DeepMind has “only barely scratched the surface of what is possible,” the team said.

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Deals

Fitbit May Pick Up Pebble

Fitbit, the leader in the wearables category, is close to an agreement to buy struggling smartwatch maker Pebble for up to $40 million, in a move to gain the firm’s intellectual property and software. The negotiations follow several months of financial turmoil at Pebble, which reportedly slashed its workforce by 25 percent in March and has rebuffed several prior offers to be acquired.

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Social Networking

Facebook Videos Explain AI in a Nutshell

Facebook last week released six videos to educate people about artificial intelligence. AI will bring major changes to society, and will be the backbone of many of the most innovative apps and services of the future, but it remains mysterious, noted Yann LeCun, Facebook’s director of AI research, and Joaquin Candela, the company’s director of applied machine learning in an online post.

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