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mark zuckerbergJustin Sullivan/GettyFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook, the world's biggest social network, is 12-years-old today, having been founded by now-CEO Mark Zuckerberg in his Harvard dorm room in 2004. 

The original domain for Facebook — TheFacebook.com — now redirects to Facebook.com and around one billion people per day visit the website on a desktop, smartphone, or tablet.  

Facebook Messenger, an offshoot of Facebook itself that lets users talk to friends, has over 800 million users on its own and WhatsApp, the messaging client Facebook acquired for $19 billion (£13 billion) last year, has around one billion. 

The design of Facebook has changed a lot over the years as the social network expanded beyond Harvard, and then to the entire world, with the exception of one or two countries where it is banned, including China.

Here's what the homepage looked like over the years: 

Original author: Max Slater-Robins
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Larry PageGetty Images/Justin SullivanAlphabet CEO Larry Page.

Intel could be about to lose Google's business as the company looks to endorse Qualcomm's chips going forward, according to a report from Bloomberg

Intel currently supplies around 99% of the total server market with computer chips, according to Bloomberg, but Google is expected to announce that it will choose Qualcomm's chips at an investor event next week if the company can prove its chips work. 

According to IDC data cited by Bloomberg, Google purchases around 300,000 computer chips per quarter from Intel, making it one of its biggest customers behind HP and Dell. 

The loss of Google's business would not topple Intel, but would be a blow for a company that is seeing its core businesses decline. The PC market, almost all of which is powered by Intel chips, is in decline, according to Gartner, and this is bad news for the chip maker. 

According to Bloomberg, Intel makes around half of its operating income from its server business. 

Qualcomm currently makes the chips used in most non-Apple smartphones, giving it an edge over Intel going forward as smartphone sales increase and PC sales decline. The smartphone market is expected to reach 1.8 billion unit sales in 2018. 

Server chips are used to power big data centres which require the maximum amount of power for the smallest amount of electricity input. Google makes the software its servers use meaning that it could change from Intel to Qualcomm chips relatively easily, according to Bloomberg. 

Original author: Max Slater-Robins
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Julian AssangeReuters PicturesWikileaks editor-on-chief is allegedly inspiring a new generation of whistleblowers.A UN panel is going to declare that Julian Assange has been unlawfully detained at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, the BBC is reporting.

The publisher and founder of Wikileaks has been living in the embassy since 2012. He was granted political asylum there after Sweden attempted to extradite him to question him over sexual assault and rape allegations.

Assange maintains that if he goes to Sweden, he will subsequently be extradited to the US to stand trial for his work on Wikileaks.

A UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has been investigating Assange's case following his complaint in 2014 that is being "arbitrarily detained." 

This week, he said that if the group said he was not being detained, he would leave the embassy voluntarily and surrender himself to British police. 

But the BBC reports this will not be the case. The British broadcaster says it "understands" that the panel has ruled in his favour.

So what happens now? Prior to the BBC's report, Assange said in a statement that "should I prevail and the state parties be found [by the UN panel] to have acted unlawfully, expect the immediate return of my passport and the termination of further attempts to arrest me."

However, the UN Working Group does not have any binding legal powers. Its ruling may be influential in the long run — but Assange will not be able to leave the embassy a free man on Friday like he hopes. 

For now, Wikileaks' official Twitter account has acknowledged the report, and says the group is "waiting [for] official confirmation." 

Some of the allegations facing Assange were dropped in 2015 because the Swedish statute of limitations expired. However, the more serious allegations of rape will not expire until 2020 — meaning that if Swedish prosecutors do not drop their investigation, and Assange does not surrender himself willingly, he could remain in the embassy for another four years.

Meanwhile, Assange's health is continuing to deteriorate. His doctor says that the Wikileaks publisher is in "constant and severe pain," and needs an MRI scan to help with diagnosis — a procedure that cannot be carried out in the embassy.

UK authorities have refused to grant Assange "safe passage" to a hospital for the scan.

Original author: Rob Price
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Original author: Sam Shead
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motorbike crash bike accidentRobert Cianflone/Getty ImagesIt nearly went very, very wrong. It still might.American and European businesses narrowly avoided a disaster this week.

At the eleventh hour, EU and US negotiators agreed upon a deal for legitimising the transfer of personal data across the Atlantic, called "Privacy Shield."

The legality of data transfers might sound like an arcane topic, but it's incredibly important. Thousands of companies need to send personal data between the EU and the US on a daily basis — ranging from social networks' user data to information on employees and clients.

If companies don't have the right legal mechanisms in place, these transfers can be legally challenged — subjecting them to potentially onerous litigation from individuals and national regulators.

Negotiators have put together a deal just in time — but there's likely more drama to come.

The end of Safe Harbor

For the last fifteen years, companies have relied on "Safe Harbor," the outcome of a 2000 European Commission decision, to legitimise the sending of Europeans' data to the States.

But in October 2015, The European Court of Justice (ECJ) invalidated Safe Harbor — plunging the thousands of companies that were relying into legal limbo. Were they now breaking data protection law by sending Europeans' data to the US? Were data regulators about to start prosecuting them?

boat grounded crashed run agroundBruno Vincent/Getty ImagesSafe Harbor ran aground in October 2015.The ECJ's decision was the result of legal action by Max Schrems, an Austrian privacy campaigner. Schrems had tried to suspend the transfer of Facebook user data to the US on the grounds that American mass surveillance violated Europeans' rights, and that the social network couldn't offer adequate safeguards. The Irish regulator rejected Schrems case on the grounds that its hands were tied by Safe Harbor — so he appealed to the ECJ, which threw out the legal mechanism altogether.

There are alternative ways to legitimise data transfers — but Safe Harbor was by far the most straight-forward.

Negotiations for a replacement to Safe Harbor had already been underway for years. But with its annulment, they took on a new urgency. The Article 29 Working Party — a group comprised of the heads of Europe's various national data regulators — agreed on a three-month grace period for negotiators to finalise safe Harbor 2.0, during which time they wouldn't take action against companies.

Negotiations came right down to the wire

That deadline came at midnight on January 31, 2016 — and negotiators didn't have a finalised deal.

This meant they were now racing against a new deadline: On February 2 and 3, the Article 29 Working Party met, and the only topic of discussion was Safe Harbor. It had previously said that if no agreement is reached, it would "take all necessary and appropriate actions, which may include coordinated enforcement actions."

mark zuckerberg annoyed speakingWin McNamee/Getty ImagesMark Zuckerberg's Facebook was the initial target of the legal action that brought Safe Harbor down.High-profile American companies would likely be first in the firing line, privacy lawyer Susan Foster from law firm Susan Foster Mintz Levin told Business Insider. "I think we are likely to see a few high-profile investigations pretty quickly. However, data protection authorities don’t have unlimited resources, so initial investigations will probably be driven either by complaints from individuals ... or other large targets that will generate a lot of publicity in return for a relatively small investment in enforcement funds."

But at 4.30 PM (CET) on February 2, the European Commission made an announcement: It had a deal.

Negotiators had worked night and day, European commissioner Věra Jourová said. The result is Privacy Shield — a "new framework for transatlantic data flows protects the fundamental rights of European and provides legal certainty for businesses."

This isn't the end

So is this all done and dusted? Not quite.

For starters, the Article 29 Working Party is reserving judgement until it sees the full text of the Privacy Shield deal — something which has yet to be fully hammered out. In a statement, the group says it "looks forward to receive the relevant documents in order to know precisely the content and the legal bindingness of the arrangement and to assess whether it can answer the wider concerns raised by Schrems judgment as regards international transfers of personal data."

The European Commission doesn't technically need the Working Party's approval for Privacy Shield. But if the group finds it wanting, it means fresh legal challenges will be all the more likely.

Captain America (2004) #1MarvelThere are likely (legal) battles ahead for Privacy Shield.The Working Group has been evaluating the alternative mechanisms for data transfers — like pre-written "model clauses" that businesses can slot into contracts. It's holding off on this until it has the full text of the full arrangement, which it is asking for by the end of February.

"The WP29 will then be in position to complete its assessment for all personal data transfers to the U.S. at an extraordinary plenary meeting that will be organized in the coming weeks," it says.

"After this period, the WP29 will consider whether transfer mechanisms, such as Standard Contractual Clauses and Binding Corporate Rules, can still be used for personal data transfers to the U.S. In the meantime, the WP29 considers that this is still the case for existing transfer mechanisms."

In short: Alternative data transfer mechanisms are fine, for now. But the group may yet consider them unlawful.

Privacy Shield might end up in the courts

The new Privacy Shield is already being criticised in some quarters — notably Max Schrems, whose legal challenge against Safe Harbor sparked this whole drama.

nsa_aerialNational Security AgencyIt was concerns over NSA spying that kicked everything off."With all due respect, but a couple of letters by the outgoing Obama administration is by no means a legal basis to guarantee the fundamental rights of 500 million European users in the long run, when there is explicit US law allowing mass surveillance," Schrems said in a statement. "We don’t know the exact legal structure yet, but this could amount to obviously disregarding the Court’s judgement."

If the US doesn't enact root-and-branch reform of its surveillance regime, privacy activists argue, it's likely that Europeans' rights will continue to violated if their data is stored in America.

"A loose coalition of activists, officials and judges took down the original safe harbour arrangement," Georgetown University professor Abraham Newman wrote in The Financial Times on Tuesday. "There is no reason why they cannot do so a second time."

Schrems says that while "it is clearly too early for a final assessment," he expects there will be legal challenges — and that "depending on the final text I may well be one of them."

Original author: Rob Price
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Chinese New YearReuters/Olivia HarrisLanterns decorate a temple to celebrate Chinese New Year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 2, 2016.

Good morning! Here's what you need to know on Thursday.

1. A European member of parliament has accused Uber's European business of being "specifically designed, from the start, to reduce its tax liabilities."

2. Investigators believe a bomb most likely caused the explosion aboard a plane that was forced to return to the Somali capital of Mogadishu for an emergency landing on Tuesday, two US government sources said on Wednesday.

3. A Russian military adviser has been killed by mortar fire in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said Wednesday. The ministry said the officer was fatally wounded by mortar shelling from Islamic State.

4. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London on Friday and accept arrest if a UN panel investigating his case rules against him, he said in a statement on Thursday posted on the Wikileaks Twitter account.

5. A Texas jury said that Apple should pay $625.6 million for violating patents held by a US company devoted to patent litigation. Jurors agreed that Apple had infringed on VirnetX Holding Corporation patents in its iMessage and FaceTime services as well as in its VPN on Demand, according to VirnetX attorneys.

6. Google's search chief, Amit Singhal, is retiring, he announced on Wednesday. Singhal has been at Google for 15 years and will be leaving the company to spend more time doing philanthropic work.

7. The European economy is set to lose around €100 billion (£76 billion, $109 billion) if officials decide to re-establish border controls within the Schengen Area, according to the French government’s economic planning agency France Stratégie.

8. A wind farm that would be the largest in the world has been given the go-ahead in Britain. Offshore wind developer Dong Energy said Wednesday a final decision had been made to construct the 1.2 gigawatt Hornsea Project One scheme off the coast of Yorkshire

9. North Korea may be preparing a ballistic missile launch from a base on its east coast in addition to its announced plans to fire a space rocket, Japan's public broadcaster reported Thursday.

10. Lloyds is cutting another 1,755 jobs and closing 29 branches as it looks to increasingly automate its operations, Sky News reported on Wednesday.

And finally ... How the 'perfect body' for men went from chubby, to skinny, to muscular over the last 150 years.

Original author: Cyrus Engineer and Cyrus Engineer
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yahoo marissa meyerJulie Jacobson/APYahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.

The guessing game about potential Yahoo bidders is in full swing, following the company's announcement on Wednesday that it's open to consider any "qualified strategic proposals."

Big media and communications companies, as well as private-equity firms, are the primary suspects. Verizon, AT&T, News Corp., Disney, and Comcast have all been mentioned as potential bidders in previous reports.

And we'll likely get more leaked details about suitors and proposals in the coming weeks.

But it looks like News Corp., which was previously cited in several media reports, can be crossed off the list. The media giant, which owns the Dow Jones news service and the New York Post, has no interest in Yahoo, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Comcast also seems out of the race, as its CEO Brian Roberts hinted during Wednesday's earnings call that there's probably no imminent acquisitions planned at this point.

"...I sit there and look at those scenarios and many others that have been suggested and there's nothing we feel we have to do...our plan of record in 2016 is to execute on a business plan, stay focused, and I don't feel the need that we need to go and change the face of our company," Roberts said.

Verizon has remained silent so far, despite its CEO hinting at his interest in a possible deal. At Business Insider's IGNITION conference in December, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said that if "it turned out that parts of it, or all of it were for sale, we'd look at it like anything in the digital media area at this point, because it's so hot."

 

According to the Financial Times, several private equity firms, including Bain and TPG, are interested in Yahoo's core business. Jim Coulter, the co-CEO of TPG, was cagey when asked about Yahoo by Bloomberg's Emily Chang earlier on Wednesday:

 

According to a note by RBC Capital Markets, the list of buyers could get longer if Yahoo decided to break up its core business into smaller pieces, since the deal size would decrease.

"Given our base case does not value any individual display asset over $700M, a much wider range of companies can be bidders for YHOO's individual properties," RBC's note said.

But that may not be a choice because splitting up Yahoo's core would make it too complicated and not command the same type of multiple Yahoo wants out of the deal.

"Most likely the whole core [will be sold] because it's too hard to split out the various verticals," SunTrust analyst Robert Peck told us last month.

Original author: Eugene Kim
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Amazon bookstoreAly Weisman/Business Insider

Amazon's long-time executive Steve Kessel is in charge of running the company's new retail business, according to a report by Re/code's Jason Del Ray.

Kessel joined Amazon in 1999 and was part of the team that built the original Kindle. He's known to be close with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, as he was one of the 10 people who directly reported to him before leaving for a sabbatical in 2012.

In early 2015, Kessel returned to Amazon, but his role has been unclear until now. Re/code says he's been working on this project secretly for a long time.

Amazon's retail ambitions were first revealed in November 2015 when it opened its first brick-and-mortar bookstore in downtown Seattle.

Aside from the bookstore, Kessel's team is also planning to open physical stores that sell things other than books, although it's unclear what they will be. Another idea it's testing is a store without a payments gateway, allowing the customer to pay with a smartphone app instead.

Amazon is planning to open a new bookstore in Southern California, based on the job listings spotted by Re/code. One of the jobs says it'll be in La Jolla or San Diego, the report said.

The news comes on the heels of a report that said Amazon could soon open 300 to 400 additional bookstores. Although the mall CEO who made those statements backpedaled Wednesday, saying his comments were "not intended to represent Amazon's plan," it's seems clear that Amazon is getting serious about the retail space.

Read the full report here>>

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

Original author: Eugene Kim
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tony hsieh zapposEthan Miller/GettyZappos CEO Tony Hsieh.

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh wants his employees to continuously explore new ideas. That's why there's a library of some of his favorite books at Zappos' Las Vegas headquarters.

Over the years he's recommended well over 20 business books — including his own, the 2010 bestseller "Delivering Happiness" — and you can always find what he's currently reading atop his cluttered desk.

"It's always interesting just to learn different perspectives, but to be careful of not trying to just say, 'Oh this book is the Bible, and we should copy that,'" Hsieh told Business Insider. "Instead, I want us t0 take the parts that make sense for Zappos and try to incorporate them."

Hsieh shared with us the four books he's recommending to everyone at the moment.

Original author: Richard Feloni
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In January, Microsoft said that 75% of its enterprise customers are testing Windows 10. 

New research from a company called Spiceworks shows that, while Windows 10 adoption in businesses is doing well, widespread adoption will probably still take a couple of years.

About 18% of Spiceworks customers are either testing Windows 10, or already have a bunch of employees using it, according to the company's research. 

Spiceworks offers a popular network monitoring app used used at thousands of companies, which monitors hundreds of millions of devices. It scanned these devices and discovered Windows 10 on 18% of its customer's networks.

Of those using Windows 10, 40% are running three or more Windows PCs, indicating that they've rolled out Windows 10 for at least some employees. That means the majority of them are still just testing Windows 10 on one or two PCs.

Of course the Spiceworks information is third-party data that only provides a picture of a subset of Microsoft customers. But the report provides a valuable update on one of Microsoft's biggest product transitions in years. 

Spiceworks users had previously revealed in a survey that about 40% of them would be taking the plunge and upgrading to Windows 10 within the first year the new OS was out. With 18% either using or testing, Spiceworks believes Windows 10 is still on track to hit that 40% true adoption number. 

Windows 10 adoptionSpiceworks 

Although there's been a lot of emphasis on Windows 10 popularity with consumers, businesses are Microsoft's most important customers. They pay Microsoft a lot of money to use Windows on an annual basis, and their use of Windows also helps Microsoft sell other products, from Office to its cloud, Azure.

So Microsoft's success with businesses is critical. Fortunately, by every indication, it looks like Windows 10 will do fine with them.

Windows 10 is currently doing best in North American businesses (19% of them have some Windows 10 PCs on their networks) followed by EMEA (18%), Latin America (16%) and APAC (14%).

And, at this point, Windows 10 is more likely to be used in large companies than in small ones.

Windows 10 by business sizeSpiceworks

Original author: Julie Bort
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gopro nick woodman ipoMike Segar/ReutersCEO Nick Woodman celebrates at GoPro's IPO with a few of the company's cameras in June 2014GoPro is having a bad day, and the company's investment in itself is probably making it worse.

The company reported earnings Wednesday posting a unexpected loss of -$0.08 per share versus expectations for earnings of $0.02 per share.

And this was merely the latest piece of bad news for the company which had pre-announced that its fourth quarter earnings would be disappointing.

But while shareholders hoping to own the stock for the long-term have certainly endured losses over the last few months — shares of GoPro are down about 80% in the last six month — the company was also a huge loser on an investment in itself during the fourth quarter.

"Commencing in the fourth quarter of 2015, GoPro has acquired approximately 1.5 million shares of its Class A capital stock at an average price per share of approximately $23.05, representing a total share repurchase of approximately $35.6 million through December 31, 2015," the company said in its earnings release.

Based on GoPro's closing share price of $10.71 on Wednesday, GoPro's 1.5 million share repurchase is worth about $16 million.

Said another way, the company lost about $19 million buying back its own stock.

GoPro said Wednesday that it has another $264.4 million available under its current repurchase plan to buyback its stock.

Original author: Bob Bryan
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drake hotline bling videoOVOThe first 60 second ad features Drake

Facebook's photo-sharing app Instagram has doubled the length of its video ads to 60 seconds as part of its continuing efforts to siphon advertising dollars from television. 

You can see the new, longer ad format featured with a TMobile ad starring musical artist Drake and a Warner Brothers movie trailer. It will be rolling out to all advertisers over the next few weeks. 

Facebook has long said that its targeting and metrics make its video ads, including on Instagram, superior to broadcast TV advertising.

The decision to allow longer videos will give advertisers more options, including letting them reuse longer formats that they're already paying for on TV or other platforms like YouTube. 

Regular Instagram users can only post videos up to 15 seconds in length, but Instagram had previously allowed advertisers to post 30-second video clips.

"60-second video gives brands more creative flexibility to reach people that want to be inspired," James Quarles, global head of business and brand development at Instagram, said as part of a statement via email.

Although Facebook didn't break out Instagram ad revenue on its most recent earnings, COO Sheryl Sandberg did say that the business was "growing nicely."

The CEO of an ad network recently told Business Insider that almost half the Instagram ad impressions it served in November were video as. 

"This content type is experiencing a meteoric ascent to prominence in Instagram ad campaigns much faster than expected," Jamie Tedford, CEO of Brand Networks said. 

After Facebook's Q4 earnings, Wall Streeters attributed part of its strong growth to Instagram. Barclay’s Paul Vogel estimated that Instagram revenue will "eclipse" $1.3 billion in 2016.

If Instagram manages to steal more of the big advertising bucks from television, that prediction might just come true. 

Original author: Jillian D'Onfro
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eddy cueAPEddy Cue, Apple's services chief.

Apple's software has been slipping in recent years, pioneering tech blogger Walt Mossberg argues in a piece published in the Verge on Wednesday.

Mossberg spent the most time slamming the built-in Mail app on the iPhone, a critical piece of software for many users.

The default mail app is "slow and unreliable," according to Mossberg, and making things worse, it doesn't seem to want to play nicely with Gmail, one of the most popular email services in the world with over 1 billion users.

In my experience, Mossberg is right: The built-in mail client on the iPhone has been lacking for a while.

Mossberg wrote:

Apple claims this is an issue beyond its control, or the control of any other email app vendor, because Gmail uses nonstandard technology that gives a speed advantage to the search giant's own apps and sites. (Google has told me otherwise in the past.)

Apple's excuse reveals its anxiety over a growing focus for the company: online services. This is an area where Apple trails its big competitors: Google still owns maps, Facebook Messenger regularly tops the App Store charts, and Spotify continues to gain new subscribers even as Apple pushes its music-subscription service.

For what it's worth, I don't buy it. I use Microsoft Outlook on the iPhone, and it works perfectly fine with Gmail. Outlook is snappy and modern, complete with threaded messaging, email snoozing, and sophisticated filtering that ensures that what lands in my inbox is an actual message from another human. It's what I want from Apple's built-in app.

And I'm not the only person who thinks Outlook is a significantly better email client than Apple's. Business Insider's Stephen Tweedie agrees, as do several other writers here and at our sister publication, Tech Insider.

For years, Apple was happy to provide the best physical computer or phone for users to access services from internet-focused companies like Google. But as the company looks for new growth avenues as iPhone and Mac sales stall, it's realizing that it needs to catch up — which is why it's building three new data centers in the next two years.

CEO Tim Cook is fond of saying that there are certain achievements that only Apple can pull off, thanks to its integration of hardware, software, and services. But increasingly, competitors like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon can do all three as well, and they have a decisive advantage over Apple when it comes to services. Catching up will be a bigger challenge than fixing a buggy Mail app.

Original author: Kif Leswing
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gopro hero 4 sessionScreengrab via YouTubeGoPro reported really ugly fourth-quarter results on Wednesday.

The digital-camera maker posted an unexpected earnings loss as its growth slowed and new products failed to catch on with consumers as expected.

GoPro reported an adjusted earnings-per-share (EPS) loss of $0.08 and sales of $436.6 million for the crucial holiday quarter.

Shares were halted for news pending just before the earnings announcement and fell by as much as 20% after trading resumed.

Analysts had estimated that GoPro posted $0.02 in adjusted EPS, near the lower end of a range of -$0.01 to $0.17, according to Bloomberg. Revenues were expected at $434.9 million.

Guidance for Q1 revenues was lighter than expected, at $160 million to $180 million, with $287.2 million expected.

In the earnings statement, GoPro CEO Nicholas Woodman said that the company saw the need to improve its software to make it easier for customers to edit content.

The company announced a personnel change, with Brian McGee as the new chief financial officer to succeed Jack Lazar from March 11.

GoPro had given guidance for Q4 last month that was below expectations.

The company had cited slower-than-expected sales and a lack of product launches in Q4, as it announced plans to lay off 7% of its workforce.

During the last quarter, GoPro cut the price of its new Hero4 Session model, raising analysts' eyebrows and prompting a downgrade on the stock from Morgan Stanley.

The concern was that this model, and others before it, were not quite catching on with consumers who could easily use their phones and other devices to capture and edit point-of-view footage.

GoPro shares had collapsed 80% over the last 12 months ahead of the company's earnings announcement, and were down 71% from its June 2014 IPO.

Here's a chart showing the drop in shares after-hours:

Screen Shot 2016 02 03 at 5.00.33 PMGoogle

Original author: Akin Oyedele
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Marissa MayerEthan Miller/Getty ImagesMarissa Mayer, president and CEO of Yahoo.Around the time proponents of stack ranking like Microsoft and GE were ditching the system in favor of more employee-friendly management strategies, newly appointed Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer embraced the strategy with the unveiling of her quarterly performance review (QPR) system.

Shortly after joining the company in 2012, she implemented the employee performance review process, which had managers score their employees and distribute them into "greatly exceeds," "exceeds," "achieves," "occasionally misses," and "misses" categories, with a target percentage of employees to be distributed into each.

Now, as Mayer comes under fire from investors over Yahoo's management and insufficient turnaround, Yahoo also has a lawsuit to contend with surrounding its controversial QPR system.

In the lawsuit filed on Monday, former Yahoo editor Gregory Anderson accuses Yahoo of implementing its performance review system knowing that stack ranking had been criticized and rejected by larger employers because it was "subject to abuse, often resulted in claims of discrimination, and needed to be closely monitored in application and effect." 

He says the rules implementing the QPR process were vaguely drawn, were communicated on a need-to-know basis, differed from department to department, and would change quarterly to achieve headcount-reduction targets.

Anderson further alleges that even if all employees on a team were performing well or at the same level, managers were required to place some of them in "occasionally misses" and "misses" buckets, resulting in good employees being let go.

Yahoo would not comment on the lawsuit but stands by its performance review system. A spokeswoman told Business Insider: "Fairness is a guiding principle of our annual review and reward process. Our performance review process was developed to allow employees at all levels of the company to receive meaningful, regular, and actionable feedback from others."

The headquarters of Yahoo Inc. is shown in Sunnyvale, California May 5, 2008.  REUTERS/Robert GalbraithThomson ReutersYahoo headquarters in Sunnyvale, California.Gripes against stack ranking systems aren't isolated to Yahoo. Many large corporations — including IBM, Microsoft, GE, and Accenture — have done away with the practice in the past several years as a result.

Former GE CEO Jack Welch popularized stack ranking more than 30 years ago. In a USA Today interview from 2005, he described this system as "taking care of your very best, being sure the valued middle is cared for, and weeding out the weakest." He considered the strategy an act of kindness that let employees know where they stood.

But under new management, GE decided to eliminate formal, forced ranking about 10 years ago, according to Quartz.

"It existed in more or less the same form since I started at the company in 1979," GE's head of human resources, Susan Peters, told Quartz. "But we think over many years it had become more a ritual than moving the company upwards and forwards."

Microsoft also did an about-face on its employee ranking system. According to a 2012 Vanity Fair article, the large majority of employees under then-CEO Steve Ballmer found stack ranking to be the most destructive force within the company, saying that it "effectively crippled Microsoft's ability to innovate."

As Business Insider's Nicholas Carlson writes in his book, "Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!":

Because someone would have to be ranked worst even on teams full of all-star performers, Microsoft's most talented employees refused to work together. Because employees were not judged on their own work, but on how well they did relative to their peers, they would actively seek to undermine each other.

Microsoft eventually shed the practice in late 2013 after Ballmer's departure.

Steve BallmerAPFormer Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.According to Carlson, in 2013 Mayer received complaints from managers who said they felt "uncomfortable" telling employees they had "missed" when they didn't feel they had. "I understand we want to weed out mis-hires/people not meeting their goals, but this practice is concerning. I don't want to lose the person mentally," said one employee. 

Carlson writes that stack ranking forced Yahoo teammates to directly compete with each other, prevented talented people from working in the same group together, and caused employees to prioritize tasks that got them closer to their personal goals over doing anything collaborative. "Somebody always had to 'occasionally miss.' Even if no one ever missed," he writes.

In a statement to Business Insider, the Yahoo spokeswoman said of its QPR system: "We believe this process allows our team to develop and do their best work. Our performance review process also allows for high performers to engage in increasingly larger opportunities at our company, as well as for low performers to be transitioned out."

Many management experts see stack ranking as a thing of the past, saying companies will increasingly focus on individuals.

Data from management research firm CEB shows that 6% of Fortune 500 companies have already gotten rid of rankings, and Kris Duggan, CEO of enterprise software company BetterWorks, predicts that over the next three years, that number will be closer to 50%.

Duggan sees companies moving to a model where there's regular coaching instead of pitting employees against each other. It will be more "what do you need from me, what do I need from you, and how do we both have a mutual discussion around what it's going to take to win," she says. "And it's a very different perspective."

Original author: Rachel Gillett and Richard Feloni
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Cisco CEO Chuck RobbinsBusiness Insider/screen captureCisco CEO Chuck Robbins

Cisco on Wednesday said it will be buying Jasper Technologies for $1.4 billion.

That includes a cash payment for the company, assumed equity awards, and additional retention incentives for Jasper employees who join Cisco.

Jasper makes a cloud-based network service for Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

It has raised $205.3 million in venture funds.

New CEO Chuck Robbins has been saying that Cisco's next big bet will be in IoT (or as Cisco calls it, the Internet of Everything). That's when everyday objects get sensors and apps and join the Internet from your automobile to your toothbrush. Cisco has predicted that IoT will become a $19 trillion market in the next decade.

Jasper has been doing well in this young IoT network market. It has more than 3,500 enterprises customers, Cisco says.

Its claim to fame is that it allows IoT devices to connect to the internet over cell networks offered by global service providers. Jasper's customers can then manage the devices through Jasper’s software-as-a-service cloud platform.

Jasper CEO Jahangir Mohammed will join Cisco to run a new IoT Software Business Unit and will report to Rowan Trollope, Cisco senior vice president and general manager, IoT and Collaboration Technology Group.

There's been a lot of speculation that Cisco was gearing up to do another big acquisition. People have been gossiping about Cisco buying storage vendor NetApp, or security company FireEye, though sources close to Cisco have been denying that Cisco wasn't interested in either of those companies.

Original author: Julie Bort
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ocadoREUTERS/Suzanne PlunkettAn Ocado leaves the Ocado depot in Hatfield, southern England July 21, 2010.Ocado, an online grocery delivery group that also creates a whole heap of technology that it can sell to other businesses, just posted an incredible set of numbers in its full-year results statement.

But it is noticeably silent on the elephant in the room — a rumoured takeover bid by mammoth tech rival Amazon.

Investment banks like Credit Suisse are telling investors that Ocado should give up and sell up while rumours are swirling that Amazon is prepping its takeover bid.

However, Ocado chose not to take the opportunity in its results statement to make a statement about its position on a potential takeover.

But Ocado posted a pretty killer set of results, with profits soaring 65% year-on-year and revenue skyrocketing to over £1.1 billion ($1.5 billion):

ocadoresultstableOcado

Other highlights from the financial statement included:

New customer acquisitions up over 20%, with active customers up 12.4% to 509,000. Order volumes grown by 16.8% to an average of over 195,000 orders per week. Further innovation and increased activity to protect our intellectual property with 73 patent applications (covering 32 innovations) filed by the end of the year — basically tech that the company can hive off and licence or sell for more cash eventually. Continued expansion of our technology team to over 700 technology professionals with plans to increase this to around 1,000 by the end of 2016.

Investors are clearly very happy — shares jumped by over 6% within the first few minutes of trading:

ocadosharesGoogle Finance

However, what was notably absent from the long statement provided by Tim Steiner, Chief Executive Officer of Ocado, in the company's results posting was any mention of the takeover rumours.

Last month, rumours persisted about Amazon launching a takeover bid for the online grocery retailer.

According to the Daily Mail's Market Report, speculation in the City of London suggests that Amazon has "advisers beavering away on a potential approach to the British online supermarket."

OcadoOcadoSpeculation about Ocado being bought by Amazon has been around for a while now, and several major banks, including Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs have already expressed their belief that Ocado shouldn't try to resist if Amazon was to make it an offer.

The speculation is being driven by the fact that Amazon is looking to expand its Pantry service. Pantry offers a service that is essentially identical to Ocado's — grocery delivery.

But Amazon is a multi-billion dollar global giant, whereas Ocado has yet to expand outside the UK. That's why the investment banks think Ocado should roll over if Amazon comes knocking. Simply put, if Amazon wants to take on Ocado, it will win. 

Amazon Pantry currently offers customers a limited-range of dry groceries with around 4,000 items on offer. Each box can hold up to 20 kg. Orders are £2.99 ($4.27) for the first box and 99p ($1.42) for subsequent boxes, and are available to Amazon Prime customers.

Business Insider has reached out to Amazon for comment on any potential takeover approach, and will update this story if and when we hear back.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

Original author: Lianna Brinded
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larry pageGetty / Justin Sullivan Alphabet CEO Larry Page.

Good morning! Here's the technology news you need to know this Tuesday.

1. Alphabet, Google's parent company, overtook Apple to become the most valuable company in the world. Last night, the company was worth roughly $544 billion (£378 billion). At that point, Apple's market capitalisation stood at $534 billion (£371 billion).

2. About one in seven people on the planet now use WhatsApp, according to Facebook, which owns the messaging platform. By contrast, Messenger has 800 million users and Instagram has more than 400 million.

3. MPs have expressed their misgivings about Britain's proposed new spying law in a critical report. There are concerns that the Investigatory Powers Bill as it currently stands is too vague about key terms, and this is worrying businesses that could be affected by it.

4. Microsoft Research is investigating whether it is possible to put data centres deep under the sea, according to The New York Times. The project, code-named Natick, would submerge data centres underwater, using fibre optics to transfer data back to land.

5. Alphabet lost $3.6 billion (£2.5 billion) on moonshot projects in 2015. The so-called "Other Bets," which includes everything from self-driving cars to internet beaming high-altitude balloons, were broken out for the first time ever on Monday, as part of Google's reorganisation into the Alphabet holding company.

6. Twitter stock is cheaper than it's ever been since the company went public, meaning it could make an appealing acquisition. The company, which had a market cap of $11.47 billion (£7.97 billion) last Friday, still has 300 million users and is on track to book $3 billion $2 billion in revenue this year, up 50% from last year.

7. Gmail now has more than a billion monthly active users, up from 900 million in May 2015. Other Google products with more than a billion users include Search, Android, Maps, Chrome, Youtube, and Google Play.

8. Hundreds of Uber drivers protested the company outside its New York headquarters. The group is protesting "fare cuts and just overall deteriorating conditions," a representative for the group said.

9. Phones made by China's Xiaomi — the world's third biggest smartphone maker — are going on sale in the US for the first time. However, some of Xiaomi's latest devices, such as the high-end Mi Note, will not be available. Further still, the phones will not run on 4G networks in the US.

10. Ashley Madison has introduced a feature that allows users to cover photos of their faces with a mask in order to help them protect their identity. The feature, which is being introduced after hackers published photos of AM users on the dark web, puts a digital Casanova-style mask over its customers' faces.

Original author: Sam Shead
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Apple World GalleryJirasak Panpiansin/AppleA photo taken by Jirasak Panpiansin in Chaiyaphum Province, ThailandApple has launched a new ad campaign aimed at iPhone photography and says it has found the best photos taken on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. 

The campaign, called World Gallery, showcases work from around the world and will be featured in 85 cities across 26 countries, according to iMore

The theme of this years selection is people, children, and men doing normal things. Apple has mixed together famous photographers with shots from every users.

Here are the best pictures, as chosen by Apple:

Original author: Max Slater-Robins
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ChinaReuters/Olivia Harris A woman prays under Chinese lanterns ahead of Chinese New Year celebrations on February 8 at a temple in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 1, 2016.

Good morning! Here's what you need to know on Tuesday.

1. Alphabet, Google's parent company, has overtaken Apple to become the most valuable company in the world. Alphabet closed Monday at $518 billion, but in after-hours trading on Monday, Alphabet spiked over 5% following a strong earnings report.

2. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) came out on top of real-estate mogul Donald Trump in the Monday night Iowa caucuses, multiple networks projected. Cruz gave a victory speech at his HQ at the end of the night.

3. Ashley Madison, which was the target of a major data breach, has introduced a safety feature it believes will protect its customer's identities: a mask. More than 37 million users were affected by the hack last year.

4. JPMorgan Chase is partnering with start-up Digital Asset Holdings to launch a trial project using blockchain technology that could reduce the cost and complexity of trading, the Financial Times reported.

5. Samsung will announce its next phone, the Galaxy S7, on February 21. The South Korean giant sent invitations to the press for an event in Barcelona.

6. One of Russian President Vladimir Putin's most loyal allies has stirred fear among Kremlin critics by releasing a video showing opposition leader Mikhail Kasyanov in the cross-hairs of a sniper's rifle.

7. Members of the Hezbollah militant group were arrested on charges they used millions of dollars from the sale of cocaine in the United States and Europe to purchase weapons in Syria, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) said on Monday.

8. Scientists in Britain have been given the go-ahead to edit the genes of human embryos for research, using a technique that some say could eventually be used to create "designer babies."

9. Gmail now has more than 1 billion monthly active users, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said on Alphabet's earnings call Monday afternoon. That's up from 900 million in May 2015.

10. Super Bowl 50 will be one of the most highly guarded sporting events in American history as security services pile resources into preventing any repeat of the deadly attacks in Paris and San Bernardino.

And finally ... Adele has told Donald Trump he doesn't have permission to use her music in his campaign.

Original author: Cyrus Engineer and Cyrus Engineer
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