Wise to Stay Out

May 21, 2015 // 0 Comments

By Ian King Carl Icahn makes a pretty compelling case for why Apple should get into the television market. The billionaire investor says people spend a quarter of their free time watching TV, and that the market, which he says is worth about $575 billion, excluding advertising, is more valuable than smartphones. Sounds nice on paper, but the reality is that the economics of building a TV set are very different from those of mobile phones or laptops. The key difference is that the entire product essentially hinges on one component: the display. In many TVs, the screen accounts for about 80 percent of the production cost, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In a smartphone, it’s about 20 percent, says market research firm IHS, which leaves plenty of room to differentiate with other features. Whereas savvy smartphone shoppers look at software, memory, processing power, and other tech specs when deciding on a phone or computer, people tend to choose TVs based on [...]

Fake Facebook Shares

May 7, 2015 // 0 Comments

By Anthony Effinger and Katherine Burton The pitch seemed irresistible: Here was a chance to connect with a money man for billionaire Carlos Slim. But the supposed financial whiz, who called himself Ken Dennis, wasn’t who he said he was, authorities now claim. In truth, he’s Troy Stratos — and is now standing trial in a bizarre fraud case that provides a glimpse into how money and influence flow through Silicon Valley. A powerful investment consigliere; a Facebook Inc. insider; the ex-wife of comedian Eddie Murphy: this story has all that, and more. It begins one evening in December 2010. Divesh Makan, who today manages the fortunes of Silicon Valley billionaires, was working at Morgan Stanley advising well-heeled clients. He shot an e-mail to David Ebersman, then the chief financial officer of Facebook: “I wanted to introduce you to Ken, who runs the funds for the Slim family and related parties,” wrote Makan. “I will leave it to you to connect. Best, Divesh.” With [...]

Strategy Talks

May 4, 2015 // 0 Comments

By Aaron Riccadela and Jack Clark The chief executive officers of SAP SE and Inc. held discussions last year about possible strategic alliances between the two companies, people with knowledge of the matter said. The talks also included a potential acquisition of Salesforce by SAP, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations were private. The discussions between Salesforce Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff and SAP CEO Bill McDermott began after Benioff contacted McDermott via telephone before SAP reported quarterly earnings on April 17, 2014, said the person. “There is no truth whatsoever to the suggestion SAP is considering or ever did consider acquiring Salesforce,” said Nicola Leske, a spokeswoman for SAP. “Any such suggestion misses the point that salesforce automation is a 20th century solution to 21st century business opportunities.” Salesforce, which has a market capitalization of $48.1 billion, is working with financial [...]

Competition Should Be Terrified

May 3, 2015 // 0 Comments

By Ian King The technology industry’s greatest rivalry may be turning into an unstoppable collaboration. Relations between Apple and Samsung Electronics appear to be thawing since the war waged by Steve Jobs forced these onetime corporate comrades to end lucrative supply contracts and engage in costly legal battles. In August 2014, Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook agreed to begin winding down the patent suits with Samsung, and the two companies are teaming up again on new products. Samsung will manufacture the main chip for the next iPhone, as well as displays for other Apple products, and it is budgeting $14 billion for new plants and equipment that are expected to accommodate, among other things, its big new client. From this alliance, Apple gets access to one of the biggest, most sophisticated chip manufacturing operations in the world to help it continue outselling the competition. Samsung gets crucial new orders for its core chipmaking group to make up for [...]

Ordered to Suspend Services

April 30, 2015 // 0 Comments

By Denyse Godoy Uber Technologies Inc. was ordered to halt its activities in Brazil, adding another country to the list where the car-hailing service faces legal obstacles. Judge Roberto Luiz Corcioli Filho of the State of Sao Paulo Court of Law accepted a request from a taxi drivers union and set a fine of 100,000 reais ($34,000) a day, to a maximum of 5 million reais, if Uber violates his order to stop operating. “The company is providing a clandestine service,” the judge wrote in a ruling on Tuesday. The taxi union had said that providing rides on demand in the country is the exclusive right of drivers with a license for the purpose, which Uber and its personnel don’t have. “Thousands of professional taxi drivers are being harmed daily by the dizzying expansion of the company,” Corcioli Filho wrote. Uber was banned from operating in Portugal on Tuesday following claims that its drivers should be required to have the permits required for taxi drivers. The San [...]

Commute to You

April 28, 2015 // 0 Comments

By Belinda Lanks Self-driving cars will certainly change our habits on the road. But truly autonomous vehicles will also affect how we work, says Tim Brown, chief executive officer and president of design consultancy IDEO. Brown and his team take a design-based approach to helping companies and organizations innovate, by finding interesting intersections between human needs and the possibilities of technology. Every now and then, IDEO designers take the opportunity to muse on an intriguing concept without a paying client. Such was the case with the driverless car. Without having to navigate city streets, people will be more productive during their commute. IDEO also envisions self-driving trucks—which the designers have dubbed “mules”—delivering everything from new jeans to grilled cheese. Most radical of all: Your workplace could be set on wheels to travel to you, rather than you to [...]