Apple Explains Why Icahn’s Buyback Proposal Should Be Shot Down

December 27, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Apple’s annual shareholder meeting will be held on Feb. 28, and among 11 proposals to be discussed will be one from Carl Icahn. Revealed in a proxy statement filed by Apple on Friday afternoon, Icahn’s advisory proposal asks Apple to increase the size of its stock buyback program in 2014 to $50 billion. That’s a move the company’s board of directors recommends that shareholders vote against. Apple already increased the size of its dividend and stock buyback program to $100 billion this year, and it’s not taking kindly to Icahn’s repeated and querulous efforts to force its hand — as cordial as they may or may not be . “In March 2012, the company announced a quarterly dividend and share repurchase program totaling $45 billion,” Apple explains. “In April 2013, the board authorized a dramatic increase, more than doubling the size of the program to $100 billion, raising the dividend, and increasing the share buyback authorization to $60 billion. As such, the company is one of the largest dividend payers in the world and has the largest share repurchase authorization in history. The company has executed aggressively against the capital return program, spending $23 billion of the $60-billion share repurchase authorization in fiscal 2013 alone.” The proposal, and Apple’s recommendation against it, below: Shareholder Proposal of a Non-Binding Advisory Resolution Relating to the Company’s Capital Return Program The Company has been advised that High River Limited Partnership (“High River”), 767 Fifth Avenue, 46th Floor, New York, New York, 10153, a record holder of 1,000 shares of the Company’s common stock, intends to submit the following proposal at the Annual Meeting on behalf of itself and Icahn Partners LP, Icahn Partners Master Fund LP, Icahn Partners Master Fund II LP, Icahn Partners Master Fund III LP, and other beneficial owners, including Mr. Carl Icahn: “RESOLVED, that the shareholders hereby approve, on an advisory basis, High River’s proposal that Apple commit to completing not less than $50 billion of share repurchases during Apple’s fiscal year ending September 27, 2014 (and increase the amount authorized for share repurchases under its Capital Return Program accordingly).” The Company’s Statement in Opposition to Proposal No. 10 The Board recommends a vote AGAINST Proposal No. 10. The Board and management team are thoughtfully considering options for returning additional cash to shareholders and are currently seeking input from shareholders as part of the Company’s regular review

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Rdio Killed the Vdio Star

December 27, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Not even a year old, and already Vdio is taking a dirt nap. Rdio said on Friday that it is scrapping the nascent video-streaming platform with which it had hoped to take on Netflix and Hulu. “Despite our efforts, we were not able to deliver the differentiated customer experience we had hoped for, and so Vdio is now closed,” the company said in a message to users of the service. Evidently, Rdio’s bottom line has taken precedence over its dreams of becoming a global entertainment streaming platform.

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Target Says PIN Numbers Among Data Stolen in Breach

December 27, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Retail giant Target, still reeling from the disclosure that some 40 million credit and debit card numbers of its customers were stolen in a massive data breach, just announced that the among the information stolen were the personal identification numbers related to those cards. The company just issued a statement, which you can read in full below, saying that the data in question was “strongly encrypted,” meaning it would be difficult, if not impossible, for the attackers to put to use without significant computing power required to break the encryption. Target says it doesn’t keep copies of the encryption keys around, and the PIN information is only decrypted once it reaches the payment processor, someone like, say, First Data. “What this means is that the ‘key’ necessary to decrypt that data has never existed within Target’s system and could not have been taken during this incident,” the statement says. The breach affects people who used a credit or debit card at Target stores between Nov. 27 and Dec.

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Nokia Yanks Here Maps From Apple’s App Store

December 27, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Here Maps, the mapping service that Nokia touted as an alternative to Apple’s first ill-starred iOS Maps app , is gone from the App Store today, and evidently iOS 7 is the reason. “We have made the decision to remove our Here Maps app from the Apple App Store because recent changes to iOS 7 harm the user experience,” Nokia said in a statement. “iPhone users can continue to use the mobile Web version of Here Maps under m.here.com , offering them core location needs, such as search, routing, orientation, transit information, and more, all completely free of charge.” It’s not clear how, exactly, iOS 7 harmed the Here Maps experience, though some report that the app became quite buggy with the advent of Apple’s latest mobile OS. Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

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Judge Says NSA Phone Surveillance Is Legal

December 27, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

A federal judge in New York ruled Friday that the National Security Agency’s broad collection of U.S. phone-customer data is lawful, dismissing a complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. The decision by U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III came just days after another federal judge, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in Washington, ruled that the NSA program “almost certainly” violated constitutional protections against unreasonable searches.

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Intel Bets on Video Everywhere With Investment in Taiwan’s SanJet

December 27, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Intel Capital, the investment arm of the world’s biggest chipmaker, made a bet on ubiquitous video today with a stake in SanJet, a Taiwan-based company that makes small video cameras and DVRs that are designed to be worn, mounted on the dashboards of cars, and go pretty much anywhere. Intel didn’t disclose the size of the investment — that will probably come later in a regulatory filing — but it did say that it came out of its $100 million Connected Car Fund and is intended to boost development of in-car video products. You can see some examples of the car cameras and a few other products in action at SanJet’s YouTube site here . SanJet is a four-year-old company that designs action-video cameras comparable to those turned out by GoPro, the popular sports-oriented video camera outfit , but with more of an emphasis on day-to-day, as-you-go recording. You might wear one while you ride your bike or as your drive your car. One model has a tubular shape that’s similar to the Ion Air Pro . The deal amounts to Intel Capital’s fifth investment in Taiwan this year. Last year, it invested $352 million in 150 deals, most of which were outside North America.

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QOTD: Sneaky Snaps

December 27, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Back when we had cameras that weren’t in our phones, it would be really strange to just walk up to someone and take a picture of them, or kind of place the camera on the table and try to sneak a picture of someone as they’re ordering food or something. – Kristen Wiig, talking about the “weird phenomenon” of ubiquitious/surreptitious photographs , on Vulture.com

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Buh-Bye From AllThingsD! More Staff Highlights: Fried, Goode and "Everyone Likes Mike" Isaac.

December 27, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Like that proverbial pumpkin, at the stroke of midnight on Dec. 31, All Things Digital goes poof . As I noted earlier , while the archives of what we have written since April of 2007 — close to 38,000 posts — will remain in the digital ether for your perusal, and the whole staff of AllThingsD is headed for new pastures, that’s not yet ! Before we part, I asked the staff to send me their favorite posts. Yesterday, I put up those of Peter Kafka, Arik Hesseldahl and Liz Gannes , and now it’s time for three more (and more after that!). Without further ado: INA FRIED 1. Interview: Apple CEO Steve Jobs on How the iPhone Does and Doesn’t Use Location Information Key line: “‘As new technology comes into the society there is a period of adjustment and education,” Jobs said.

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U.S. Christmas Day Shoppers Bought More on iOS Than Android

December 27, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

If you purchased something from a mobile device on Christmas Day, chances are that device was an iPhone or an iPad. So says IBM, whose latest Digital Analytics Benchmark Report found that purchases made from iOS devices accounted for about 23 percent of the online shopping done on Christmas Day in the U.S. According to Big Blue, which tracked millions of transactions from approximately 800 U.S. retail websites, that’s about five times as many purchases as the 4.6 percent that were made from Android devices. What’s more, those purchase were generally more costly. iOS users spent an average of $93.94 per order, versus $48.10 for Android — nearly double

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Technology Fuels New Police Cruiser

December 26, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

To the untrained eye, it looks like almost any other New York Police Department cruiser combing the city’s streets — but this squad car has just as much brains as it does brawn. It is the department’s prototype “smart car,” outfitted with the latest gadgets in public safety. It has two infrared monitors mounted on the trunk that record any numbers it sees—such as license plates and addresses. It has surveillance cameras and air sensors capable of sending real-time information to police headquarters. The NYPD says it is the cruiser of the very near future. Read the rest of this post on the original site »

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