Posts Tagged ‘business’

Dropbox Goes Business Class With New Enterprise Tools

November 13, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Dropbox today is relaunching its products to make them more enterprise-friendly. Rather than creating two separate offerings for personal and business use, the company rebuilt its core file hosting product to allow enterprise users to control what their employees have access to, and to allow consumers to separate their personal files from their work files. That means company admins will have enterprise-grade tools like shared audit logs, remote wipe and account transfer when an employee leaves a company, centralized billing, two-step verifications and 24/7 customer service. Meanwhile, individual users will have both a personal folder they control, as well as a work folder they share with their company. The product will cost $795 per year for five users, and $125 per additional user per year. It is to launch in beta this month, and more broadly next year. Dropbox is already a significant business product — at least according to Dropbox. The company claims that its 200 million-plus users save more than 1 billion files every day. “That’s more tweets than on Twitter,” points out Dropbox CEO Drew Houston. “And it isn’t 140-character snippets, it’s your most important stuff.” And according to an internal count, four million companies use Dropbox today, including 97 percent of the Fortune 500. Now Dropbox is going to take those businesses more seriously. But that doesn’t mean it’s splitting off separate tools. It means it’s adding corporate-grade tools to the core Dropbox product. “Some people think there’s a consumer version of Dropbox and then there’s this different enterprise version of Dropbox,” Houston said. “We think that’s ridiculous. There should be only one.” Switching between two products would waste users’ time, he argued. Dropbox had to spend a year rebuilding its products to add the new enterprise-class controls the company unveiled today. “We’d been nervous,” Houston said. “If we clear off your computer, we might remote wipe all your baby photos.” Yet, there’s more work to be done. The new version of Dropbox doesn’t include employee collaboration tools

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Square Discontinues Monthly Flat-Rate Plan

November 9, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Square said it is discontinuing a monthly flat rate plan it had designed for larger businesses. “Over the past year we heard from many of our customers that caps and limits in the program were inhibiting growth—at a certain point, rates went back up the more you sold,” the company said in a post on its Web site . “So, effective February 1, 2014, we’re replacing the Square monthly pricing program with one low per-swipe rate for your business. We want our pricing to be simple: no more limits or complicated monthly caps at all. Just one low, flat per-swipe rate for your business.” The company said those enrolled in the program can keep it through the end of January, but the company said it has no plans to bring back the monthly rate plan. Square’s standard rates are 2.75 percent of a transaction where a credit card is swiped and 3.5 percent of manually entered charges, plus a 15-cent fee.

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Workplace Equality Is Good for Business

November 4, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Long before I started work as the CEO of Apple, I became aware of a fundamental truth: People are much more willing to give of themselves when they feel that their selves are being fully recognized and embraced. At Apple, we try to make sure people understand that they don’t have to check their identity at the door. We’re committed to creating a safe and welcoming workplace for all employees, regardless of their race, gender, nationality or sexual orientation. As we see it, embracing people’s individuality is a matter of basic human dignity and civil rights. It also turns out to be great for the creativity that drives our business. We’ve found that when people feel valued for who they are, they have the comfort and confidence to do the best work of their lives. Read the rest of this post on the original site »

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FCC to Vote to Ease Limits on Foreign Ownership

October 25, 2013  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The Federal Communications Commission is set to raise the 25 percent investment limit on foreign investment in U.S. radio and TV stations. Acting chairwoman Mignon Clyburn put the item on the commission's agenda for its Nov. 14 meeting. Had the decades-old 25 percent ownership been eased in the 80s, Rupert Murdoch wouldn't have had to jump through hoops and become a U.S. citizen to purchase the stations that eventually formed the basis of the Fox network. Groups like Univision Communications might also have had an easier time structuring investment. Over the years, support for easing the rule has come from all sectors of the business, but particularly from minority groups, as a way to help minority broadcasters that often find it difficult to find capital and new investors. "Approval of this item will clarify the commission's intention to review, on a case-by-case basis, proposed transactions that would exceed the 25 percent benchmark that restricts foreign ownership in companies holding broadcast licenses," Clyburn said Thursday in a brief statement. The item is likely to get a positive vote from all three commissioners. "Under our rules, a foreign company can indirectly hold more than a one-quarter stake in our nation's largest wireless carriers, cable operators, cable programmers, and Internet backbone providers. Yet that company cannot own a similar interest in a single radio station in rural Kansas. This disparity makes no sense, especially considering the difficult financial circumstances facing many broadcasters. Now is the time for the commission to revise this out-of-date restriction," said FCC commissioner Ajit Pai in a statement. Several groups that had lobbied for the rule to be changed praised the action, including the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, the Coalition for Broadcast Investment, the National Association of Media Brokers and the National Association of Broadcasters. "This is a textbook example of a deregulatory initiative that benefits underserved communities," said David Honig, MMTC president.

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Will Time Warner Provide Al Jazeera America With Ad Sales Support?

October 24, 2013  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Today Al Jazeera America passed the 50 million subscriber mark thanks in part to a new agreement with Time Warner Cable, which adds the net to its subscriber base and to Bright House Networks. It's a major milestone for the network, though perhaps not a financial watershed: according to the New York Times, Time Warner may actually be the one making money on the deal, if (as suggested) Al Jazeera is paying the cable company to sell ad sales support and marketing. "We appreciate the vote of confidence that Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks have given to our brand of unbiased journalism and look forward to working with them as Al Jazeera America continues to grow," said Ehab el Shihabi in a statement sent out earlier today. Sources in the buying world hadn't yet heard whether Time Warner Cable is repping the network, but Shihabi didn't deny it. Al Jazeera is in the odd position of not really needing advertising—the network is programming a very, very low six minutes of clutter time per hour (that's below any network except the kids' networks, which are monitored by the FCC), and much of it is direct response. Since AJAM is funded by the government of Qatar (Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the country's progressive leader, has a reported net worth of some $2 billion personally), it's run essentially by fiat. A spokesperson for TWC said that the MSO wouldn't discuss any of the terms of the agreement, but given that the network's inventory doesn't exactly seem to be top priority at the moment, the partnership would make sense. (There's also the matter of brands worrying about associating brands with Al-anything .) Ratings for the network have been slight, frequently hash marks on the Nielsen chart, but news nets are notoriously slow to grow—Fox Business Network, launched in 2007, scored its first non-election prime-time wins against rival CNBC in May.

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NetSuite Acquires HR Software Player TribeHR

October 22, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Interesting development in the enterprise cloud software business today. NetSuite, the company that sells a cloud-based enterprise-resource management suite — applications that are used to run a company’s operations — is extending into the human resources area. NetSuite (that’s CEO Zach Nelson in the picture) said today it would acquire TribeHR, which is a player in the Human Capital Management space, and which, like NetSuite, goes after mid-market companies. So think of it as a Workday or a SuccessFactors for smaller companies. TribeHR is a four-year-old company based in Waterloo, Canada, and it has 450 customers in 50 countries. Financial terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed, but NetSuite said it will talk about it in more detail when it reports quarterly earnings later this week. It’s NetSuite’s second acquisition this year. In January it got into the retail point-of-sale business by acquiring Retail Anywhere . Looks like NetSuite is going to remain acquisitive for the time being. NetSuite shares rose by less than one percent after the deal was announced to close at $109.19 today. The rise probably had more to do with the fact that JMP Securities hiked its price target on NetSuite to $115 from $98 in a research report today. And the reason for that was word from SAP over the weekend that it intends to cut back on development of Business ByDesign , a product that was created to compete with NetSuite.

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Managing Platforms Is a Human Art

October 21, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Image copyright Pictofigo In March 2012, I left the suburban enclaves of San Jose and went on safari to Kenya. Early in the trip I toured the Ngorongoro crater, filled with African lions, rhinos, hippos and giraffes. But my favorites were the monkeys. I loved Curious George as a boy. Seeing George’s real cousins, I asked our tour guide, “Can I give a banana to the monkey?” I had become the real-life Man with the Yellow Hat. The tour guide responded with an immediate and stern refusal, “Absolutely not.” He explained with a calm voice, “If you give a banana to a monkey you will destroy our ecosystem. You will teach monkeys to beg, and not forage, for food. You will pose danger to your fellow safari goers who might not have bananas to offer. And your action will cause other actions, for the plants, the wolves, the trees and everything else. You must not give a banana to the monkey.” He was right, and I knew it. Prior to visiting Kenya, I had managed the seller platform at eBay for over eleven years.

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SAP Cutting Back on Development of Business ByDesign

October 20, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

German software giant SAP appears close to ending active development of its Business ByDesign suite of applications. The company said Saturday that it will shift its development resources away from the software platform aimed at smaller businesses and instead move the Business ByDesign applications into its mainstream HANA cloud software platform, as part of a larger effort to unify all of its applications on HANA. SAP disputed a Saturday report by German magazine WirtschaftsWoche ( English translation here ) that portrayed the move as essentially sounding a death knell for the product, calling it the “biggest flop” in SAP’s history. The publication claims that Business ByDesign cost the company 3 billion Euros and required seven years of development work. But after three years on the market it has only managed to attract 785 customers and brings in no more than 23 million euro ($31.5 million) in annual revenue. Either way, SAP’s new plans for Business ByDesign mark a rare market retreat for the company, which has been aggressive in its efforts to rejigger it’s existing suite of applications to run more off-premise, or in the cloud. Launched in 2010, Business ByDesign is SAP’s Enterprise Resource Management suite aimed at small- and medium-sized businesses. ERP is a fancy way of describing software that’s used to run a company’s operations and basic business processes such as supply chain, manufacturing capacity and paying suppliers. SAP’s main rival in the category is NetSuite, the cloud software firm occasionally known as “Larry Ellison’s other company,” because the Oracle CEO invested in its founding. SAP spokesman Jim Dever said the company’s plan for Business ByDesign is a little more nuanced than the total shutdown of the product, as portrayed by WirtschaftsWoche

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More iPhone 5c Supply Chain Rumors

October 18, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Has Apple reduced orders for its new iPhone 5c? A growing chorus of reports suggests that it has. Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple has told manufacturing partners Pegatron and Hon Hai to ramp down production of the device. Reuters echoed that report later the same day, and now NPD DisplaySearch is making similar claims . In a report published Friday, the research outfit said recent channel checks suggest that Apple has dialed back iPhone 5c production by 35 percent, while increasing iPhone 5s production by 75 percent. NPD attributes the 5c production cuts to demand weakened by the device’s higher-than-expected price. “Rumors about iPhone 5c being ‘cheap’ were circulating as early as Q3 2012,” NPD analysts Tina Teng and Shawn Lee theorize. “The fact that the iPhone 5c is nearly identical to the iPhone 5 — and is not cheap — disappointed some consumers.” Perhaps. That’s certainly an easy explanation for such production cuts following a nine-million-new-iPhones-sold opening weekend . But easy explanations aren’t always accurate, and as similarly pessimistic reports about iPhone 5 demand last year proved, supply chain production volume rumors sometimes aren’t the best information on which to gauge iPhone sales. Things can go from “FLASH: Apple has cut orders for iPhone components due to weaker-than-expected demand!” to “My bad! Apple actually sold 47.8 million iPhones this quarter” pretty quickly. As Apple CEO Tim Cook said in January , “I’d recommend questioning the accuracy of any kind of rumor about build plans. I’d also stress that even if a particular data point were to be factual it would be impossible to interpret what it really means to our business. Our supply chain is very complex and we have multiple sources for our components

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Hulu Names Mike Hopkins CEO, Forssell Out

October 17, 2013  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

As reported , Hulu has struck a deal to make former Fox Networks Group president of distribution Mike Hopkins its new CEO, effective immediately. Less expectedly, interim CEO Andy Forssell will leave the business he's run for the past six months after serving as the company's head of content. Forssell has overseen quite a few changes at Hulu recently, including the introduction of a broad slate of originals and co-productions unveiled at its upfront earlier this year. Hulu is the most traditional and TV-like of the new wave of digital networks that includes Netflix, over-the-top service (and perpetual litigant) Aereo, and, increasingly, portals like AOL, Yahoo and YouTube. This year's NewFront ad buyer presentation was easily the slickest of a disparate (and disorganized) lot, but speculation about instability among stakeholders has made many in the market wary. If nothing else, the choice of Hopkins to lead the company suggests that Disney and 21st Century might not, in fact, starve trying to order a pizza together (NBCU is barred from making management decisions as a condition of its merger with Comcast)—the appointment from within of a new CEO bodes well for the decision-making abilities of the joint venture's partners. “After an extensive search, Mike was simply the best candidate for the job," said Anne Sweeney, co-chairman, Disney media networks and president, Disney/ABC television group. "He has a strong understanding of programming, digital distribution and consumer behavior, and a great vision for Hulu’s next chapter." What that vision will consist of remains to be seen—the company's The Awesomes premiered recently with a sponsorship (Jack Link's) behind it, and it's set to roll out more originals in the coming months. But the departure of Forssell isn't exactly a ringing endorsement of the original content strategy. “On behalf of the Hulu board I want to thank Andy Forssell for his leadership during this past year, and for the vital role he played in building Hulu into the amazing product it is today," said Fox Networks Group chairman and CEO Peter Rice. "We wish him the best on his next venture." Whatever Hopkins has planned, he'll certainly have the cash to do it: "With the foundation you have built, the significant capital infusion of three quarters of a billion dollars, and our partners aligned and fully supportive of what we need to get it done, the sky is the limit for Hulu," he said in a note to staff made public by the streaming service today.

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