Posts Tagged ‘street-journal’

With Dell Buyout Poised to Be Announced Today, the Bromance Between Microsoft and Silver Lake Gets Serious

February 5, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Of all the complex aspects of the $23 billion leveraged buyout that is set to take PC maker Dell private — which sources said is likely to be announced sometime early today — one of the more interesting parts of the mega-deal is the evolving relationship between software giant Microsoft and private equity powerhouse Silver Lake Partners. As part of the massive and complicated transaction led by Silver Lake and founder Michael Dell, as reported yesterday by The Wall Street Journal and others, Silver Lake is ponying up $1 billion and Dell 16 percent stake in the company worth $3.8 billion, as well as $700 million more from his investment firm. There will also be $15 billion in bank debt too. Microsoft’s contribution will be to invest about $2 billion in a form of debt from its nearly $64 billion cash kitty. That’s in part to protect its important Windows operating system franchise, which has been under siege as the device market has moved swiftly to a mobile-based one at the expense of PCs. It’s a big check to write to do so, but one that it’s been willing to consider when it comes to Silver Lake, which has been on both sides of the table with Microsoft in recent years in big-money transactions. The most prominent was when Silver Lake was the seller and Microsoft the buyer in the $8.5 billion deal for Skype , the global telephony company, in mid-2011

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Here a Hack, There a Hack, Everywhere a Cyber Attack

February 4, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Who hasn’t come under some kind of cyber attack or another in recent days? It’s quickly becoming clear — and the recent batch of attacks has only reinforced it — that pretty much every company under the sun is at risk. The latest victim of digital miscreants is the U.S. Department of Energy, in an attack, the New York Times says, that resulted in the compromising of personal data on “ several hundred employees .” It is, of course, hard to know whether this incident is connected to the high-profile attacks upon that newspaper’s computers along with those of The Wall Street Journal (which, like this Web site, is owned by News Corp.), the Washington Post and Bloomberg News. The apparent targets were journalists who cover China. One can easily imagine a scenario where attackers acting in the pay of Chinese political leaders were tasked with learning as much as possible about “sources and methods,” which — in the intelligence business as well as in journalism — are the twin crown jewels of the trade: Who provides information that shows up in stories, and how that information is shared. The source of another attack, this one on Twitter , is as yet unknown, and may not be connected to the China-sourced attacks on the media organizations. When one rash of attacks comes to public light, it sort of behooves other companies to disclose attacks that may be wholly unconnected in order to soften the blow to a corporate reputation. When computer security disclosures take place in groups, it’s easy to conflate them and make them all seem like one big story, even if each disclosed incident may be unconnected. And these are only the companies that have admitted to being targeted in the latest round of incidents. It’s easy to imagine that there are probably more that decided it was not in their best interest to go public with the information, or that haven’t done so yet. In prior incidents, companies like Intel and Google have conceded that they, too, have been attacked by parties working in China. Disclosure may soon become the rule rather than the exception. According to new rules expected to be proposed Thursday before the European Union parliament, search engines, banks and utilities will be required to disclose attacks against them. The timing of the disclosures comes as the Obama administration is said to be working on a classified set of guidelines on the conduct and use of cyber weapons. While Twitter or news media organizations aren’t exactly considered critical infrastructure that if attacked would trigger a retaliation, the sheer volume and effectiveness of attacks suggest a time is coming when attacks against systems crucial to the flow of daily life, like power utilities and the banking system, will become more routine. Last month, government sources disclosed that Iran was thought to be behind a series of denial-of-service attacks against several U.S. banks

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Twitter Hacked, 250,000 User Accounts Potentially Compromised

February 2, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Twitter disclosed on Friday evening that its systems had been attacked in the past week by an unidentified group of hackers. As a result of the the attack, the hackers may have had access to the usernames, email addresses and other sensitive information of nearly a quarter of a million twitter users. “This week, we detected unusual access patterns that led to us identifying unauthorized access attempts to Twitter user data. We discovered one live attack and were able to shut it down in process moments later,” the company said in a blog post . “However, our investigation has thus far indicated that the attackers may have had access to limited user information – usernames, email addresses, session tokens and encrypted/salted versions of passwords – for approximately 250,000 users.” On Friday evening, Twitter sent out emails to those users whose accounts may have been compromised, notifying them that the company had automatically reset their user passwords, and that they would need to create a new password in order to access the service again. The hack comes on the heels of a week of major, nationally publicized security issues with a number of major publications, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal (which, disclosure, is owned by News Corp., ATD’s parent company). In their stories on the hacks, both publications made allegations that the attacks stemmed from their investigative reporting efforts covering Chinese officials, and that the Chinese government may be involved in some capacity. The week also saw prolonged service outages from Amazon, Bank of America and other major institutions that touch the daily lives of hundreds of millions of people globally. Sources close to Amazon, however, told AllThingsD that the outage was related to internal issues . And on Friday, a source familiar with the matter told AllThingsD that Bank of America’s prolonged outage was again not related to the recent attacks on the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal or Twitter. In Director of Security Bob Lord’s company blog post, Twitter makes no indication as to who was responsible for Twitter’s security breach, nor does Lord connect the hack directly to any of the incidents affecting major Web companies this week. “The attackers were extremely sophisticated, and we believe other companies and organizations have also been recently similarly attacked,” Lord wrote in his post. As of Friday evening, Twitter has not disclosed, nor does not seem to know, who the group of hackers are.

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India to Western Tech Firms: To Sell It Here, Build It Here

January 8, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

India has proposed sweeping curbs on the import of technology products ranging from laptops to Wi-Fi devices to computer-network equipment. The proposed regulations, which were reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, would create an expansive “Buy India” mandate requiring a large percentage of the high-tech goods sold in the country to be manufactured locally. Read the rest of this post on the original site »

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At CES, Lenovo Attempts to Go Big With 27-Inch "Table Computer"

January 6, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Last year at CES, Lenovo was all about its “bendy” convertible Ultrabook, the IdeaPad Yoga, and the upcoming Windows 8 operating system. This year, the Chinese computer maker is going big. Literally. The company is wagering that consumers will want a giant, 27-inch, 17-pound “table PC.” Called the IdeaCentre Horizon, this Windows 8 table PC (table tablet? coffee-table computer?) is running on a third-generation Core i7 processor with Nvidia GeForce graphics. It has a full HD, multi-touch touchscreen display with a 16 by 9 aspect ratio. There’s a 720p front-facing camera for Web video chats. It’s also adjustable, so it can be propped up and viewed in different modes. With customized games from Ubisoft and EA, and compatibility with joysticks and other accessories, Lenovo is clearly trying to target the game-playing crowd in addition to average consumers, some business users, and 6’7″ basketball players

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Best Buy Claims It Lost $65,000 in a Day Matching Walmart’s iPhone 5 Discount

January 4, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Best Buy’s price-matching guarantee backfired last month when it lost about $65,000 in one day after Walmart advertised discounts on Apple’s flagship iPhone 5. And it was all my fault. The fact that Best Buy lost money based on Walmart’s promotion was exposed after it and several other retailers filed complaints against Walmart for false advertising tactics with about a dozen state attorneys general, according to The Wall Street Journal . In the case of the iPhone 5, Best Buy said it was compelled to match Walmart’s advertised price, even though it “concluded that Walmart didn’t actually have a sufficient number of iPhones available.” That syncs up with what I reported on Dec. 15 when Walmart’s promotion first went into effect. On that day, Walmart started offering the iPhone 5 at $127, compared to the original price of $190. It also started selling the iPad for $399, or $100 off. The discounts were only supposed to be available at its supercenters, or about 3,000 stores nationwide. After calling around to several stores in Washington and California the day the promotion went live, I determined Walmart’s inventory of devices and pricing were wildly inconsistent. Since it was difficult to find which stores had stock on hand, I recommended going to “one of the many stores that are offering to match the lowest prices this holiday season, including Best Buy and Target.” Over Twitter, at least one person told me that they took the advice and received discounted phones at Best Buy. Walmart said the false advertising accusations are untrue. According to the WSJ, the company said it shipped double the usual amount of iPhones during the promotion and that the phone was 98 percent in stock at stores that carried the devices. I hope that means I’m off the hook.

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Why Al Jazeera’s Cable Move Could Cost Much More Than $500 Million

January 4, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Al Jazeera could have been the first really serious player to make a big bet on Web video news. Instead, it’s placing a giant bet on cable TV . Why? I asked yesterday, and many of you replied. Thanks! Your answers break down into two basic schools of thought:* Al Jazeera wants to be on American cable TV because of optics. That is: Its Qatari owners think being on American cable TV will validate it as a Very Serious News Operation, like CNN — just being on YouTube won’t cut it. So according to this line of thought, Al Jazeera will spend anything to make that happen — even $500 million for a cable network many thought was worth far less.

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Intel’s Push Into Web TV Hits Delays

January 2, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Intel Corp.’s effort to develop an Internet-based TV service and associated hardware is taking longer than expected, people familiar with the company’s plans say, in part due to delays in reaching content agreements with media companies. The chip maker’s surprise interest in the crowded pay TV business was disclosed last March by The Wall Street Journal, which reported Intel had told media companies it hoped to launch a service by the end of 2012. The timing now seems uncertain. Read the rest of this post on the original site »

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New York Makes Subway Arrival Times Available to Mobile Apps

December 28, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

There are plenty of apps that offer up info on New York’s popular subways. But, until today, none offered exact train arrival times. New York is now serving up that information via mobile apps for seven of its lines, with plans to add more lines over time. The Metropolitan Transit Agency on Friday offered up an iOS test app for the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and S shuttle lines. The data will also be on its Web site and in a feed that can be used by other app developers. “This is what generations of dreamers and futurists have waited for,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota, in a statement. Well, I’m not sure about that. Those in San Francisco and other places have long had that data, but it’s still useful that it is coming to one of America’s busiest public transit systems. “The ability to get subway arrival time at street level is here,” Lhota said. “The days of rushing to a subway station only to find yourself waiting motionless in a state of uncertainty are coming to an end. Now, you can know from the comfort of your home or office whether to hasten to the station, or grab a cup of coffee as part of a leisurely walk.” MTA says its Subway Time app can handle 5,000 requests per second, and builds on the countdown clocks that are already in place inside many subway stations. But, as The Wall Street Journal explains , the task of expanding this feature to cover the entire system is formidable. The real-time train location information comes from new computer-connected sensors that were installed along the first set of lines at a cost of more than $228 million over 11 years. Adding such sensors across the remaining two-thirds of the system will take years and hundreds of millions more. And a separate project to extend cell service to underground stations won’t be completed until 2016.

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Hulu’s Employee Owners Are Just Employees Again, Which Means Some May Be Ex-Employees Soon

December 26, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Hulu’s employees used to be owners, too. But those days are over, so they’re going to have be happy with a paycheck and some bonuses. That’s the upshot of a new long-term incentive plan I’m told the video site is prepping. It’s meant to replace the equity stakes Hulu’s employees cashed out earlier this fall. And it should be going into effect soon. The move is a small but symbolic: Hulu used to be a start-up, and the people who worked there had the potential for a big payout if things went really, really well. But investor Providence Equity Partners sold its stake in the site in October , and that let Hulu employees sell too. The company’s value doubled, to $2 billion, in five years, so many of them did do well. But not sit-on-a-beach-and-count-your-money well. Now, it’s purely a Big Media asset — Hulu is co-owned by Comcast, Disney and News Corp

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