Posted tagged ‘Technology’

Rumor: Apple May Buy Hulu

July 22, 2011

If rumors are true, it appears that Apple could be considering a purchase of popular online video service Hulu.

From CNN:

The Hulu rumor mill was already heating up over the past few days — we reported about a bidding war for Hulu, which is shopping itself around to potential acquirers after deciding not to go through with a $2 billion IPO.

Sweetening the deal is a promise of five years of programming for Hulu’s highest bidder, including two years of exclusivity for the programming on Hulu, consisting of content from the Walt Disney Company, News Corp. and Comcast’s NBC Universal.

While Microsoft is reportedly not interested in a second round of bidding for the online video company, Yahoo is still in play.

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Another Look at “New Journalism” and an Introduction to Tackable

February 17, 2011

My colleague at McGrath/Power Public Relations has an interesting post up today which takes another look at the so-called “New Journalism” and Tackable, a social journalism platform launching in partnership with the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune and 31 other newspapers across the San Francisco Bay Area.

Please check it out at the link below. Good stuff!

From Pass the Mic:

Pitched recently by a former co-worker and journalist Luke Stangel at an SVNewTech Meetup, Tackable epitomizes citizen journalism.  And based on the response they are getting from the likes of the Mercury News and other top tier news outlets, there seems to be some real promise here.  By their own words, Tackable is designed to give you a live look at everything happening in your city, right now. Connect instantly with people witnessing what you’re interested in. News organizations use the platform to write better articles, faster.

What Happens in Vegas…

February 2, 2011

As we turn the calendar from one year to another, what does it make you think about? New Year’s Resolutions? Back-To-School? The Super Bowl?

Well, if you’re like me and employed in the world of tech PR, it means one thing…the annual “Super Bowl” of consumer electronics events, the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

If you’ve ever attended CES then you know that the show has grown exponentially since its early days. There’s nothing quite like getting more than 140,000+ of your closest friends together in Las Vegas for 4 days of the latest and greatest gadgets and gizmos from some of the largest consumer electronics companies in the world. Each year, months of hype lead up to the show. Who’s going to be there? What are they going to be demonstrating? What’s the big, new “it” product? And this year was no different.

Quite a few major technology trends emerged from this year’s show floor that are sure to keep me busy throughout 2011. Some of the significant topics of discussion included the launch of dozens of new tablet devices, wireless 4G LTE and enhanced connected television technologies.

And if you thought that CES had lost its luster and prestige…think again! Last year was a major down year in terms of attendance for CES. But, it was the large crowd at this year’s show that caught the attention of many in the media:

“I must’ve gotten the following question fifty times in the past few days: what’s the coolest thing you saw at CES? Every time, I’ve given the same answer: the crowd…It’s what the size of the 2011 CES signifies about the consumer electronics industry, and about the cultural centrality of a set of devices and issues that used to be the sole province of geeks.” Jon Stokes, Ars Technica

“CES 2011 is back to normal. It was packed with vendors and attendees. The overall tone was extremely up beat… It was fun to walk the floor and see what was on display.” Bill Wong, Electronic Design

There was no shortage of big names at CES. Amongst those speaking in Las Vegas this year were Steve Ballmer of Microsoft, Rupert Stadler of AUDI AG, Boo-Keun Yoon of Samsung, Alan Mulally of Ford and Ivan Seidenberg of Verizon. Each gave a Keynote presentation and Mulally used his presentation to unveil the company’s first electric vehicle, the Ford Focus Electric. Did you miss any of the Keynote presentations? Don’t worry…in this day and age you can easily go back and watch all of them online on the CES website anytime you like.

We talked trends coming out of the show earlier, and in 2011, there was no shortage of hot button topics that everyone wanted to talk about. Here’s what members of the media had to say about what they saw on the show floor:

“From the very first press conference, the main theme from the show emerged: your next smartphone will likely connect to a 4G network. For business use, 4G on your smartphone or tablet means easier Internet back-ups, smooth video chats, and snappier Web viewing.” John Brandon, Inc. Magazine

“This year, the show was all about Android. We ushered in the era of dual-core Androids with LG and Motorola, we celebrated the 4G revolution with LG, Motorola, and Samsung, and we even got a glimpse at how Android works when screen resolution is bumped beyond the all-too-common WVGA, thanks to Motorola. Oh, and a little thing called Android 3.0 Honeycomb is going to transform the way we think about not only tablets, but smartphones too.” Brandon Miniman, PocketNow.com

Larger crowds, 4G and gadgets galore! These were some of the highlights of CES this year. I think we can safely say that the recession appears to be over and if CES is any barometer for the state of the industry, then we’re in for a big 2011!

Did you go to CES this year? What was your biggest takeaway? What was your most memorable moment (at the event…not in Vegas)?

Gartner Acquires Burton Group

January 5, 2010

Gartner has  announced that it has acquired Burton Group, Inc. for approximately $56 million in cash.  The acquisition is expected to expand Gartner’s product and service offerings, and increase its IT research market opportunity.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Gartner made the purchase, expected to expand its product and service offerings and increase IT research-market opportunities, Dec. 30. Burton, an IT research and advisory firm that has 41 research analysts and 40 sales and client-service employees, comes with projected 2009 revenue of $30 million.

Gartner has typically focused on advising companies’ chief information officers and senior IT executives, while Burton has built its business by advising “front-line IT professionals,” said Gartner Chief Executive Gene Hall.

“Burton Group is a great strategic fit for Gartner and should enable us to offer a more complete solution to every level and functional expert within an IT organization,” Hall said.

Excluding charges related to the deal, Gartner said the acquisition should “moderately” boost per-share earnings this year and increase them “at least” 4 cents to 6 cents in 2011.

From ZDNet:

In a statement Tuesday, Gartner said that it acquired Burton Group on Dec. 30 for $56 million. The Burton Group has 41 analysts , 40 sales folks and annual revenue of $30 million. Gartner paid $64 million for AMR, which had $40 million in revenue.

Like the AMR purchase, Gartner said that it will use the Burton acquisition to expand its offerings and IT research. Under generally accepted accounting practices, the Burton purchase will dilute earnings by 10 cents a share to 12 cents a share in 2010 and modestly add to earnings in 2011. Excluding charges, Burton will be “modestly accretive” to earnings in 2010 and add 4 cents a share to 6 cents a share in 2011.

Microsoft Announces 3,000 Layoffs

May 5, 2009

Microsoft has announced that it has aid off 3,000 employees from its U.S. and worldwide locations as part of a previously announced cost-cutting initiative.

From InformationWeek:

“This is difficult news to share,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, in an e-mail to employees. “Because our success at Microsoft has always been the direct result of the talent, hard work, and commitment of our people, eliminating positions is hard.”

Microsoft in January said it planned to trim a total of 5,000 jobs from its workforce. Ballmer said Tuesday’s action means the company has “mostly” reached that objective.”We are moving quickly to reach this target in response to consistent feedback from our people and business groups that it’s important to make decisions and reduce uncertainty for employees as quickly as possible,” said Ballmer.

Ballmer added that Microsoft could cut more than the originally announced 5,000 jobs if economic conditions worsen or fail to improve. “As we move forward, we will continue to closely monitor the impact of the economic downturn on the company and if necessary, take further actions on our cost structure including additional job cuts,” Ballmer said.

TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington Taking Leave of Absence

January 28, 2009

Michael Arrington, founder of the influential technology blog TechCrunch, announced today that he is taking a leave of absence after suffering from several instances of physical and verbal abuse, including a death threat last summer.

From TechCrunch:

Yesterday as I was leaving the DLD Conference in Munich, Germany someone walked up to me and quite deliberately spat in my face. Before I even understood what was happening, he veered off into the crowd, just another dark head in a dark suit. People around me stared, then looked away and continued their conversation.

Generally at events people come up to me to talk about their startups. My reaction varies depending on how much sleep I’ve gotten and how many times I’ve been pitched in the previous hour. Sometimes I sit down and watch a demo. Sometimes I give them my card and ask them to contact me. Yesterday I was battling the flu, jetlag and little sleep, and had been battered for three days straight with product pitches from entrepreneurs desperate for press. The event was over and I was on my way back to my hotel. The last thing I wanted was another product pitch as I hurried to the car that would drive me to Davos for the next event. So when I saw this person approach me out of the corner of my eye, I turned away slightly and avoided eye contact. Sometimes that works. But in this case all it did was make me vulnerable to the last thing I expected.

In the past I’ve been grabbed, pulled, shoved and otherwise abused at events, but never spat on. I think this is where I’m going to draw a line.

TechCrunch is a successful startup in its own right, and I’m proud of what we’ve built over the years. We are aggressive proponents of the startup community, and do what we can to give exposure to new ventures that previously had little chance at public exposure. I generally enjoy attending and speaking at events, talking to entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, and debating whatever the topic of the day is with others.

But I can’t say my job is much fun any more. Startups that don’t get the coverage they want and competing journalists and bloggers tend to accuse us of the most ridiculous things. It hasn’t been worth our time to respond to these accusations; I always assumed that our work and integrity would speak for itself. But as we’ve grown and become more successful the attacks have also grown. On any given day, when I care to look, dozens of highly negative comments are made about me, TechCrunch or one of our employees in our comments, on Twitter, or on blogs or other sites. Some of these are appropriately critical comments on things we can be doing better. But the majority of comments are among the more horrible things I can imagine a human being say.

Luckily my tolerance level for verbal abuse has risen proportionately to our growth, so I can handle most of the verbal abuse thrown our way. I can even handle it when my so called friends decide it’s in their best interest to spread negative rumors about us privately. I believe that it has changed me as a person to the point where I generally don’t trust people until they’ve earned it. Before TechCrunch I assumed most people were essentially good, and assumed that an individual was trustworthy until proven otherwise. Today, its exactly the opposite.

But like I said, I draw the line at being spat on. It’s one step away from something far more violent.

Something very few people know: last year over the summer an off balance individual threatened to kill me and my family. He wasn’t very stealthy about it – he called our office number, sent me emails and even posted threats on his blog, so it wasn’t hard to determine who he was. The threats were, in the opinion of security experts we consulted, serious. The individual has a felony record and owns a gun. Police in three states became involved and we hired a personal security team to protect me, my family and TechCrunch employees.

At over $2,000 a day we couldn’t keep paying for security indefinitely. And the police were helpful but couldn’t do much based on the threats until he acted. We had the option of getting a restraining order but that just tells the person exactly where you are (the places they can’t go). So for a week I was literally in hiding with my parents at their home. The TechCrunch office was empty, and the police made regular checks to see if things were ok. One evening they almost arrested one of our employees who stopped by the office to pick up something.

Seeing my parents fear for their lives and not understand how or why their son was in this position changed me, made me a much less forgiving person in general.

I write about technology startups and news. In any sane world that shouldn’t make me someone who has to deal with death threats and being spat on. It shouldn’t require me to absorb more verbal abuse than a human being can realistically deal with.

The problem is that I love what I do when I’m not hiding from some crazy fucker who wants to kill me or being spat on by some unhappy European entrepreneur we didn’t write about.

I’ve decided the right thing to do is take some time off and get a better perspective on what I’m spending my life doing. I’ll be taking most of February off from writing, and decide what the best future for me is while sitting on a beach somewhere far away from my iPhone and laptop. I’ll be continuing to write this week and cover news from the World Economic Forum in Davos, then I’ll take time off starting next week.

I hope that some of my peers will realize that competitive pressures do not give them carte blanche to accuse us and others of literally anything that pops into their head and repeat it publicly or privately. I want them to compete hard with us, but fight clean. I want them to realize that their words influence others who may be inclined to “take matters into their own hands” under the mistaken impression that threatening to kill someone, or physically attacking them, is somehow righteous. And I hope that my peers who tend to sit on the sideline while others attack will start to take a stand against it.

We write about technology and entrepreneurship. These things are important, but not so important that we should fear for our safety or the safety of our families.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Arrington, well-known in Silicon Valley for breaking tech news as well as reviewing start-up companies, said he is leaving the blog at least through February because the abuse has intensified. The final straw came Tuesday at a conference in Germany when “someone walked up to me and quite deliberately spat in my face,” he said.

“I draw the line at being spat on,” Arrington wrote in a blog post. “It’s one step away from something far more violent.”

Arrington, 38, also revealed on his blog Wednesday that someone threatened to kill him and his family last summer. Arrington said the individual called the TechCrunch office, sent him emails and posted threats on the blog. Arrington hired personal security, which cost more than $2,000 a day, and police in three states were involved in the situation.

“For a week I was literally in hiding with my parents at their home,” Arrington wrote. “I write about technology startups and news. In any sane world that shouldn’t make me someone who has to deal with death threats and being spat on.”

Arrington, a former corporate attorney and Internet executive, launched TechCrunch in 2005 and has become a highly trafficked blogger for many Silicon Valley venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. Many tech start-ups hope to get featured on his blog because of its wide-ranging exposure.

He’s also spent significant time writing about corporate news, as he’s had several scoops about discussions between Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) about potential deals. Yahoo rejected Microsoft’s $47.5 billion takeover bid last year, but rumors continue to swirl that Microsoft may still have interest in Yahoo’s search business. Arrington’s reporting on the subject has proven to move markets several times.

But his style is often criticized because he’s previously advised companies that he’s written about or accepted paid ads from them. His journalistic integrity has also been put to question, as he recently wrote a blistering post bashing PR firms and saying TechCrunch will break every embargo it agrees to. An embargo is an agreement between a source and news provider that information doesn’t get published until a certain date or conditions have been met.