Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced the company will be spinning off its Alibaba shares into a whole new company.
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DisneyThere's mutiny brewing at The Pirate Bay.
The notorious piracy site was shut down by police after a raid in Sweden in December 2014, and all signs now point to a relaunch next month.
However, Torrent Freak is reporting that key staff members are in open revolt over a decision to slim down the team — and now some staffers are planning to launch a second, rival Pirate Bay.
"I wish I had better news to come with. The launch to take place on February 1 is not us," administrator WTC-SWE told the website. "It was until some d*ckhead decided to take TPB crew out of the picture. He thinks a site can be run without any staff at all and at the same time keeping up with fakes, internal issues, etc."
The admin is referring to the decision to let go of many of the old moderators and team members responsible for quality control on the original version of the site.
WTC-SWE told Torrent Freak that he has a backup of The Pirate Bay's files, and intends to use it to "revive the old site in full," with the help of team members from the original Pirate Bay. There are already numerous backups of the site flying around — torrent site isoHunt used one to establish an "Old Pirate Bay" after the original was seized. And the "Open Bay" project helped to launch 372 new versions of the site in a week.
These copies don't have numerous original staffers on-board, however. "It's only a matter of time," WTC-SWE said. "I will need to blast the whole coding and clean up all the mess. The real TPB will be back with proper staff and all."
And he's got strong words for the people behind the main Pirate Bay relaunch. "I won't accept this [and] neither will any of the crew that's been active for almost 10-11 years. As an admin and human, I won't stand aside and accept this kind of behaviour. This is the worst scenario that could happen... You don't treat people like horsesh*t."
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We almost, almost made it through to the Super Bowl this year without any advertisers sparking controversies.
That was until Tuesday night when GoDaddy announced, just hours after releasing its campaign on the "Today" show, that it was pulling the ad after animal lovers complained it made light and could endorse irresponsible dog breeding.
The domain name company's ad opened with a cute Golden Retriever puppy — "Buddy" — riding on the back of a truck. NASCAR star Danica Fitzpatrick is at the wheel. Buddy seems fairly content, hanging out with two other fluffy pals.
But the ad then takes a twist when Buddy falls out of the vehicle and desperately tries to follow it — over train tracks and rainy conditions. He eventually catches up with his owner only to find out that he was on his way to being sold online. It’s quite an abrupt ending — but fairly funny for those with a dark sense of humor.
The ad had aimed to parody Budweiser's much-adored "Puppy Love" Super Bowl commercial from last year's big game (Hence calling the pup Buddy,) but animal campaigners did not see the funny side.
Here's the ad (forgive the quality of this video. The original has been pulled from YouTube.)
A Change.org petition was quickly created calling for the brand to pull its “offensive” commercial. The petition claimed GoDaddy was “encouraging private breeding/puppy mills while shelter animals wait patiently for their forever homes, or worse — to be euthanized. They are also encouraging purchasing an animal online the animal could be sold to someone who runs a fighting ring, someone who abuses animals, or someone who cannot adequately care for an animal.”
The petition garnered more than 42,000 supporters. Meanwhile, animal protection charity The SPCA posted a series of tweets using the hashtag #GoDaddyPuppy, denouncing the ad and explaining why buying a puppy online is likely irresponsible.
GoDaddy responded swiftly via Twitter and also on a post on its website, saying it had pulled the ad from YouTube.
The post, authored by GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving, reads:
This morning we previewed GoDaddy’s Super Bowl spot on a popular talk show, and shortly after a controversy started to swirl about Buddy, our puppy, being sold online. The responses were emotional and direct. Many people urged us not to run the ad.
We’ve made a tremendous amount of progress over the past two years, advancing the GoDaddy brand as a company that cares a great deal about small business and is in their corner to help them succeed. People increasingly know who we are, what we do and who we do it for. At the end of the day, our purpose at GoDaddy is to help small businesses around the world build a successful online presence. We hoped our ad would increase awareness of that cause. However, we underestimated the emotional response. And we heard that loud and clear.
The net result? We are pulling the ad from the Super Bowl. You’ll still see us in the Big Game this year, and we hope it makes you laugh.
Finally, rest assured, Buddy came to us from a reputable and loving breeder in California. He’s now part of the GoDaddy family as ourChief Companion Officer and he lives permanently with one of our longtime employees.
The fact that GoDaddy already had a backup ad up its sleeve may cause more cynical viewers to question whether the company had perhaps planned for the controversy — and the extra PR it brings — all along. Although some others might argue that with a 30-second spot costing $4.5 million to air this year, it's always a good idea to have a reserve.
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Elon Musk, the billionaire CEO of the commercial spaceflight company SpaceX and electric car company Tesla, made a guest appearance on The Simpsons on Jan. 26.
At the beginning of the episode, Musk arrives in Springfield as a washed up inventor who uses Homer's bizarre ramblings for inspiration.
Some of his amazing suggestions: Violin-playing quadcopters, luggage that can pack itself, a yoga mat that rolls itself up, and baseball tickets that guide you to your seat.
Musk suggests building a high-speed transportation system called the Hyperloop for Springfield (we guess that'd be his hinted-at test track for the future one he's proposed connecting Los Angeles to San Francisco).
The Hyperloop is a system of sealed tubes designed to cut down on drag and transport people between Los Angeles and San Francisco in a record-breaking 35 minutes.
But a small mouse takes a ride on The Simpsons' version of the Hyperloop, and throws up.
This spectacular loss launches the city into a depression, and Musk ends up leaving in disgrace. At the end of the episode, Musk takes off in his company's Dragon spacecraft and Lisa Simpson comments that "for a man who likes electric cars he sure burns a lot of rocket fuel."
Hulu/The Simpsons/FoxThis final joke compelled him to take to Twitter for a good-old debunking:
He explains that since space is a vacuum, there's nothing to push against. That means something as heavy as a spacecraft needs a huge ejected force to propel it through space. Electric rockets would not produce enough force for the spacecraft to react against.
Musk also points out that ion thrusters aren't up to the task of propelling a spacecraft since they only generate a very small force. Anything being launched into space "must have more thrust than weight or you don't go up," Musk tweeted.
Musk also took the opportunity to point out his big problem with space elevators — essentially cables running from Earth's surface to a weight floating high above the atmosphere. Carbon nanotubes, a strand of carbon atoms that are 100 times stronger than steel, might be the right material to use for space elevators, but the research is no where near making them a reality.
And pls don't ask me about space elevators until someone at least builds a carbon nanotube structure longer than a footbridge
I'm all about this self-packing luggage, though:
Your browser does not support the video tag. Hulu/The Simpsons/Fox
Watch the episode on Hulu here:
Ilya VarlamovThe Russian One is a new commuter tram that looks like something from a sci-fi film.
The futuristic tram features LED cabin lighting, felt-covered sofas, wooden handrails, and sliding glass doors that operate by touchscreen.
Luckily, photographer Ilya Varlamov was able to snap some pictures of the new Russian One prototype, right from the showroom floor.
Note: All photos shown are used with permission.
CEO Tim Cook made his case for the iPad's long-term success on a call with analysts on Tuesday.
Cook said he didn't think iPad sales would see "miraculous improvement" in the short-term but stressed high first-time buyer rates, especially abroad.
About 50% of iPad buyers last quarter in the US, UK, and Japan were buying an iPad for the first time, Cook said.
In China, the first-time buyer rate was even higher, around 70%.
Cook argued that those high first-time buyer rates mean the iPad market is far from saturated.
The Apple CEO also said 80% of tablet commerce is taking place on iPads and that Apple's partnership with IBM to sell iPads to businesses could "move the dial" on sales.
The iPad has a long replacement cycle. People can buy one and not need to upgrade for years.
If Apple wants to turn around the iPad's slumping sales it will have to either unveil a brand new stunning device — like the rumored larger "iPad Pro" — or consistently add new features to its current tablet lineup that make people want to buy the latest model.
Don't expect any big innovations anytime soon, though. Cook said Apple wasn't "projecting something very different in near quarters." And he would know.
This never ceases to be shocking. If you are a woman talking about sexism in video games, you will be showered with the most horrific threats, particularly via Twitter.
Anita Sarkeesian is part of a two-person team running Feminist Frequency, a video web series that explores sexism in pop culture.
For the past two years, she's been documenting how women appear in video games and how female video game characters are very often portrayed as sexual objects, damsels in distress, or disposable murder victims.
And because she's been talking about this, she's been subject to untold threats. On a daily basis, she receives tweets that threaten to kill her, rape her, beat her ... many using very graphic language, ick, you get the idea.
Sarkeesian just shared on Tumblr a mere one week's worth of threats on Twitter. (Read at your own discretion, a lot of them are pretty disgusting.) Dozens of them, all from different accounts. And all because she's pointing out that the imaginary characters in make-believe worlds are largely undesirable stereotypes and trying to get the game industry to up its game on that front.
She's openly talked about such threats lots of times. She was a big target during the Gamergate controversy last fall, where some people argued that it was the male gamers who were being unfairly stereotyped.
Things got so ugly for Sarkeesian that she cancelled a public appearance because of death threats.
We keep hoping that things will get better in the game industry and for the people speaking out against sexism, or any "ism" (racism, ageism) in the tech industry.
Earlier this month, other victims of Gamergate created an organization that will help victims of online abuse fight back.
Twitter in December has said that it is rolling out more controls to help people report abuse. That's good, although it could perhaps do more.
For instance, we contacted Twitter and asked why it didn't automatically screen for and report death and rape threats. We'll update this post when we hear back.
Courtesy of AppleApple just had the most profitable quarter of any company in history.
The company's ultimate goal is to have 40 stores operating in China by the end of 2016, and to start they're opening five locations in just five weeks.
Apple started its flurry of activity with the opening of its store in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, this weekend. Situated over two large levels of retail space, the new Apple store is one of the biggest in Asia.
Excited fans turned out in droves to attend the opening of the new store on Saturday.
The store looks absolutely gorgeous.
The stock is up about 7% after hours as investors digest the news of the tax-free spinoff of Yahoo's biggest and most important asset.
With the Alibaba spinoff, Yahoo boasts, it will have returned more than $50 billion to shareholders. Its market cap is $47 billion.
Earnings were more or less right on target with analysts' expectations:Non-GAAP EPS of $0.30 versus analysts expectations of $0.29. Last quarter Yahoo blew analysts' expectations away — not so this time. Revenue (minus traffic acquisition costs) of $1.18 billion, slightly less than analysts' expectations of $1.19 billion. Display revenue (minus TAC) was down 5% from last year, coming in at $464 million. Search revenue (minus TAC) was flat from last year, at $462 million. However, gross search revenue was up 14%, so Mayer's efforts to revamp search at least seem to be drawing more advertising dollars than before. During the earnings call, she explained that cost per click and total number of clicks are up, but traffic acquisition costs are rising.
So now that Alibaba is public and that chapter of Yahoo's history is basically closed, why should investors buy Yahoo today? Mayer tried to explain a little bit during the earnings call today.
First, Mayer discussed the Alibaba spinoff. It will happen in Q4 of 2015, and she says "we made the conscious decisions to distribute 100% of our Alibaba shares." She's also noting that Yahoo's management team worked extra hard to sell as few Alibaba shares as possible before the IPO. You can see all the details about the spinoff here.
So this is all well and good, but what about Yahoo's core business? Mayer said she was "pleased" to note that both display and search ad revenue were about flat on a year-to-year basis.
Mobile revenue was $254 million, up from $207 million in Q3. "We grew at an accelerating rate." In Q4, mobile active monthly users were 574 million, but that includes Tumblr so can't be compared with last year. It's growing about 18% year to year, Mayer says.
"In late 2012, this management team changed course from a confused, web-based mobile strategy to a beautiful, native" strategy.
She also boasted about native and video advertising. "We have created more than $1 billion of new revenue annually from basically nothing in just two years." Native ads contributed $80 million in revenue Q3, and $106 million in Q4. Nice growth.
So what about Tumblr? It overtook Instagram as the fastest-growing social network in Q4, with 463 million users. "Mobile app usage continues to be a key growth driver, with mobile app users up 33% year over year."
Now we're coming to search and display. She's boasting of gross search revenues, which were up 14% year over year, even while GAAP revenue was up only 1% and ex-TAC revenue was flat. What's going on here? Paid clicks and price per click were both up, and the deal with Mozilla will get another 3 to 5% of the North American search volume. But traffic acquisition rates are rising across the industry. That explains the difference between gross and net search revenues.
"We believe...our overall display business will return to growth this year." A revamped Mail product, new digital magazines, and other content businesses are the key here. They also "added serious strength to our sales teams."
If you set aside the PC business, core ad revenues grew 10%.
Now she's talking about how Yahoo has been "remixing" its business. Acquisitions, reallocating. Headcount's been flat, even as acquisitions have added more than 1,000 people. So basically, they've gotten rid of 1,000 people as they've added new people. "We have sunset more than 75 products."
She's only going to make big acquisitions if they fit into mobile, native, video, or social.
Convinced? Regardless, investors seem to be happy enough with the Alibaba news to give the stock a nice 7% bump at the end of the day.
Getty/Justin Sullivan Apple has shipped one billion iOS devices, the company announced during its quarterly earnings call on Tuesday.
That includes iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch devices.
Apple CEO Tim Cook delivered the news after the company officially reported its Q1 2015 earnings, and Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of marketing, reiterated the point with the following tweet:
1 Billion iOS devices shipped!!— Philip Schiller (@pschiller) January 27, 2015
This is about on par with Android, as Garter estimated in December that 1.1 billion Android devices would ship in 2014.
This quarter has been a stellar one for Apple. The company recorded a net profit of $18 billion, which is higher than any other company has ever recorded in a single quarter. That's largely due to the 74.5 million iPhones it sold during the quarter, which is up by 46% compared to the previous quarter.
The Apple Watch is shipping in April, CEO Tim Cook announced Tuesday.
However, Cook did not give a specific launch date. He only said development was on track.
When Apple first introduced the Apple Watch in September, it only said it was targeting an "early 2015" launch. Earlier reports suggested Apple was targeting a March launch.
Apple will likely need to hold another event to go over more details about the Apple Watch. At the initial unveiling, we only got a tiny glimpse at everything it'll be able to do.
Some big questions remain. We know the cheapest Apple Watch model will cost $350. But the device comes in several variations made out of premium materials like stainless steel and gold. Some have predicted the most expensive Apple Watches could cost as much as $5,000.
Battery life is another mystery. Apple's official line is that you'll have to charge the Apple Watch every night, but it wouldn't get more specific than that. 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman reported that Apple was targeting 19 hours of use on a charge as of 2014. It's possible Apple has been able to squeeze in more battery life since then. Rival smartwatches like Samsung's Gear 2 can last two to three days on a charge under normal use.
Finally, Apple still needs to explain how it plans to sell the Apple Watch. There are so many different variations and options that Apple will likely need to change how it sells the device in stores. It'll also be interesting to find out which third-party retailers will sell the Apple Watch.
Marcio Jose Sanchez/APApple just completely crushed its Q1 earnings, delivering its most profitable quarter ever — and the most profitable quarter for any company during any quarter in history.
Apple's net income for the quarter was $18 billion, up 37% year-over-year.
That's the most a company has ever earned in one quarter, according to this Wikipedia entry. To gain the top spot, Apple beat out Russian oil company Gazprom, which earned $16.24 million in Q1 2011.
The main driver of Apple's landmark quarter? Sky-high iPhone sales.
The company sold 74.4 million iPhones, which is up 46% compared to the previous year, and its biggest quarter by 23.4 million units.
Apple on Tuesday afternoon announced a truly historic earnings report: It made $18 billion in total profit, which is the most earned by a single company during any quarter in history. And that’s all thanks to the iPhone.
Based on company data charted for us by BI Intelligence, iPhone sales were easily the biggest contributor to Apple’s success this quarter, with 74.4 million iPhone units sold accounting for $51.1 billion (almost 69%) of the $74.6 billion in total quarterly revenue. In the year-ago quarter, Apple sold 51 million iPhones, which brought in $32.5 billion (56%) of the $57.6 billion in revenue.
In other words, Apple’s choice to “go big” with iPhones this year has paid off handsomely for the company, in a way we've never seen before. It's simply a mammoth business right now.
Apple said it sold 21.4 million iPads last quarter, a slight miss on Wall Street's expectations of 22 million.
That continues a trend of year-to-year declines -- a year ago, it sold 26 million iPads. But it's almost double last quarter's number of 12.3 million, as you'd expect for the holiday season.
Apple's average selling price for the iPad was $419 versus $436 expected.
Even though Apple didn't miss the target by very much, the numbers don't bode well for the company's enterprise push, which it hopes will revitalize its tablet business.
Apple partnered with IBM last year to develop software for its iPads.
An IBM watchdog group says employees are expecting layoffs to begin on Wednesday.
Lee Conrad, the National Coordinator of a Alliance@IBM, a union that seeks to represent IBM employees, sent Business Insider this email statement:
Reports have been coming in from employees today that point towards Wednesday as the start of the Resource Action/job cuts. Employees have told us they have been sent emails with urgent requests for one on one meetings with their managers on Wednesday.
IBM firmly denied reports that circulated on Monday that IBM would be firing an astronomical number of people, over 100,000, or more than a quarter of its workforce.
However, the company did say it would be making cuts. A spokesperson told WRAL Techwire, "This rumor is ridiculous, and off by a factor of more than 10."
Doing the math on that, that means perhaps 10,000 people could be cut, although is unclear how many of them would be in North America. That's still a drop in the bucket. IBM employed over 430,000 employees at the end of 2013 (it hasn't yet updated its workforce figures).
It conducted layoffs in 2013 and 2014, but it is also hiring like mad, shifting workers from fading business units into hot new areas and also trying to retrain employees.
CEO Ginni Rometty is also rumored to be working on a huge reorg affecting most of the company. Leaks on that have been circulating for weeks, although the company hasn't announced it.
IBM will be hosting a meeting with investors in February and there's hope that Rometty will talk about her plans then.
IBM declined to comment.
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