Posts Tagged ‘street’

Actually, the Pool Is Quite Deep

October 9, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

“Dick Costolo, Twitter’s chief executive, has prioritized finding a woman to be on the board, but has found it difficult.” “The issue isn’t the intention, the issue is just the paucity of candidates.” “… the pool for board-qualified women in technology is shallow …” “There is definitely a supply-side problem.” So asserts Twitter’s Chief Technology Officer, Adam Messinger when asked about women on boards … – New York Times, October 5, 2013 Wow. Where to begin? Let’s start with a fact: There are fewer women then men who write and debug software code for a living. No denying that. Now an observation: Having been in many, many board meetings over the years as a director, and other times as an adviser, I have never, not even once, been in a meeting where at any time, even for five minutes, any board member of any gender was asked to give a company directive in machine language, scratch out a decision policy in Ruby on Rails or, for that matter, code anything at all in any language. Image copyright hxdbzxy Most of the meetings I have attended have called on board members to ask questions, make introductions, discuss potential acquisitions or acquisition inquiries and, most importantly, to debate and discuss product strategies, marketing plans, management challenges, compensation structures, financial progress, financing options, investment decisions, how to deal with Wall Street and short- and long-term business goals. None of these topics requires a CS degree or years in the CTO’s office. Tech companies may well choose to have some engineering prowess on the board, but companies with nothing but technical directors will, in all likelihood, lose out to companies strategically advised by those with a diverse set of opinions, perspectives and experiences. The problem isn’t a “shallow pool” of qualified candidates; it’s a dearth of high-profile individuals with the right skill set. The real question is how many companies are building boards to provide actual advice versus how many are looking to put impressive, “A-list” names on a list. Sure, it would help any organization to have Marissa or Sheryl on the board, but as genuinely gifted as those two leaders are, they are not the only females in the Valley with demonstrable talent for thinking strategically, solving problems creatively, analyzing financial performance, negotiating terms and perhaps most importantly, assessing management skills

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BlackBerry’s Selling Off Its Corporate Jets

September 23, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Months before announcing a near $1 billion net operating loss and plans to eliminate 40 percent of its workforce, foundering smartphone pioneer BlackBerry bought a long-range private jet in which to ferry its executives around. The second-hand Bombardier Global Express jet was delivered to BlackBerry in July, smack dab in the middle of the gruesome fiscal second quarter of which the company warned on Friday, one that forced it to sack 4,500 employees. It was purchased for an undisclosed sum, but aircraft like it typically command prices upward of $25 million. Truly a poorly timed purchase for BlackBerry, which already owned two Dassault Falcon jets when it agreed to buy the Bombardier. Now in fairness, BlackBerry says it intended the Bombardier to be a replacement for the Dassaults. But the company hadn’t sold them when it made the purchase. Indeed, it still owns them today — though not for much longer. “Several years ago, the company bought two medium-range Dassault aircraft,” BlackBerry said in a statement. “Earlier this year the company decided to sell both planes and replace them with one longer-range aircraft. The company considered several options and selected a used Bombardier aircraft, which was eventually delivered in July.

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How Can You Miss Us if We Won’t Go Away?

September 20, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

First things first: We’re keeping the Steelcase hot-seat red chairs. Forever. In fact, we own quite a few now. And we’ll still be scooping and reviewing all things digital right here, at this Web address, for a few more months. So, while we appreciate the teary farewells we’ve been receiving today across the Web, they’re premature — not by just months, but by many, many years. What are we blathering about, you ask? Well, earlier today, the owner of this site — the Dow Jones unit of News Corp — issued a statement stating that, by mutual agreement, the AllThingsD team and the parent company had decided to part ways when our current contract is up on Dec. 31. The separation impacts both this website and our suite of conferences, including the most famous, the D conference, which we built together from scratch — with a whole lot of help from our stellar staff — 11 years ago. That statement is true. But you, dear reader, can’t get rid of us quite that easily.

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Google Street View Driver Goes on a Hit-and-Run Spree in Indonesia

September 14, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Earlier this week in Indonesia, a driver of one of Google’s Street View cars, which travel the world capturing current pictures of their surroundings for the company’s mapping services, hit two minivans and a truck before being detained by police, the AFP reported . The man was apparently afraid of the cost of the first incident, and fled. Pictures of the banged-up Google-branded Subaru can be found here .

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‘Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Heading For $950 Million, Analyst Projects

September 14, 2013  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Lionsgate’s upcoming “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is projected to gross $950 million in worldwide box office, according to a new Wall Street analyst’s report. Alan Gould of Evercore predicted that the film, starring Jennifer Lawrence, will gross $375 million domestically and another $575 million internationally. Last year’s “The Hunger Games” grossed $408 million in... Read more

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‘Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Heading For $950 Million, Analyst Projects

September 14, 2013  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Lionsgate’s upcoming “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is projected to gross $950 million in worldwide box office, according to a new Wall Street analyst’s report. Alan Gould of Evercore predicted that the film, starring Jennifer Lawrence, will gross $375 million domestically and another $575 million internationally. Last year’s “The Hunger Games” grossed $408 million in... Read more

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FCC Schedules First Major Spectrum Auction in More Than Five Years

September 13, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

The Federal Communications Commission announced that in January it will hold its first significant spectrum auction in more than five years . Image copyright Erick Margarita Images The commission said that it will auction off a 10MHz portion of nationwide spectrum known as the PCS H block on Jan. 14, setting a minimum price of $1.56 billion. Some of the proceeds will go toward creating a mobile network for police, fire and other first responders . “I am pleased that the FCC is moving expeditiously to implement Congress’s direction to auction this spectrum,” acting commission chair Mignon Clyburn said in a statement. “This will be the first major spectrum auction since 2008, and will help close the spectrum gap as well as contributing to the goal of making mobile broadband available to our nation’s first responders.” CTIA-The Wireless Association, the cellphone industry trade group, praised the move. “We are pleased that the Commission is moving to make the H block available and hope its auction will be the first of several over the next few years,” CTIA vice president of government affairs Jot Carpenter said in a statement. “There’s a lot more work to be done, but today’s announcement is a welcome step forward.” Update: While there is pretty uniform agreement that more wireless spectrum, not all agree it makes sense to auction the H block by itself, arguing there would be more interest were it paired with other spectrum, even if that meant holding off to an auction later in the year.

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One Microsoft On, Ballmer Out, ValueAct In — Get Ready for the Next Shoe to Drop at Microsoft

September 1, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

It would seem that all it takes to be in a position to make big changes at Microsoft is $2.2 billion. That’s the value of the tiny 0.8 percent stake that ValueAct had compiled, which was enough to get the software giant to agree last week to give the activist shareholder the option to take a seat on its board . Let’s be clear — although Microsoft tried a take-the-trash-out-on-Friday-before-Labor-Day move, which was also a deadline for ValueAct to notify Microsoft if it planned a proxy battle — the news was unprecedented in the history of the company. As voiced to me by many longtime observers and also investors, the notion that shareholders had become so disgruntled that the once-powerful company determined that it would lose a proxy fight pretty much says it all. Here’s how The Wall Street Journal’s Shira Ovide correctly put it : “Few companies of Microsoft’s size have welcomed activist investors on to their boards, for fear of disruption and conflict. And in recent decades it would be unheard of for an outside director, who simply agitated for change, to be placed on a board.” In fact, ValueAct — which is considered a management-friendly activist investor — manages only $12 billion in its fund, and so had to have a lot of investor support to put the true pressure on Microsoft. As it turned out, it did not have to, gaining the right to join the board and presumably more, with little fuss. The ValueAct news came soon after the announcement last week that longtime CEO Steve Ballmer would step down within 12 months. And — while Microsoft tried its best to deny any link between the two major events — they were clearly coupled. And mostly ill-timed, coming only weeks after Ballmer had outlined a major new strategy and reorganization for the company, called “ One Microsoft .” Now, according to numerous sources close to the situation, brace yourself for the next of many shoes to drop, in what appears to be a sequencing of events related to new management and perhaps a new configuration for the company itself

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Can Salesforce Keep Its Cloud Business Growing?

August 29, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Salesforce.com, the poster child of the software-as-a-service revolution, will be reporting its quarterly results after the markets close today, and it’s a bit of a head-scratcher about what to expect. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect the company to report non-GAAP earnings of seven cents per share on sales of about $940 million, and they’d like to see guidance for another seven cents on sales of a little more than $1 billion for the quarter ending in October. A lot has happened at Salesforce during the past three months. In June, it dropped $2.5 billion for the email marketing firm ExactTarget, which is its biggest acquisition to date, eclipsing even its huge deal for Buddy Media from last year. Secondly, CEO Marc Benioff has mended fences with Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. On June 27, they held a rare joint conference call at which they explained their newfound bromance over cloud computing. The main point, they said at the time, is that they have a lot of shared customers who want their respective applications to work together. So now Salesforce’s primary customer relationship management application is designed to work with Oracle’s human resources and financial apps. In return, Salesforce is using Oracle’s Exadata hardware and basing its technology on Oracle databases. Finally, there’s some lingering concern about Japan. Recall that the government of Japan is now Salesforce’s biggest customer. (It used to be Hewlett-Packard .) If last quarter is any indication, with Japan’s yen gaining strength against the U.S. dollar , Salesforce is likely to take a hit on the currency exchange. These currency headwinds caused some troubles last quarter, and ate into the company’s sales by about $18 million . That, combined with guidance that disappointed the Street, caused Salesforce shares to take a bit of a bath and fall by more than five percent the next day. The fundamental story at Salesforce hasn’t changed, though it is now seeking to grow in lots of areas outside it primary application base. Sales grew last year by 34 percent, but expenses grew by nearly 37 percent. Benioff has long argued that the transition to the cloud is happening now, so now is the time to invest aggressively and take as much business away from traditional software companies — like Oracle, SAP and Microsoft — in as many lines of business as possible. Hence the ExactTarget deal.

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Facebook Jumps Past $40 as Mobile Numbers Surge

August 23, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Facebook’s biggest bulls are growing more confident by the day, and the numbers are showing it. Shares of the social giant surged past $40 on Friday morning, jumping on news that engagement and time spent on the site per user continues to increase — especially on mobile devices. “Engagement remains a concern for some, but we continue to believe that Facebook’s strong mobile usage is offsetting desktop declines and that competing services are having only a modest impact on Facebook,” J.P. Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth said in a research note on Thursday evening. He’s not kidding. According to comScore data released last night, desktop-use minutes on Facebook per unique viewer have declined year over year in July, from 439 last year to 351 last month, a trend seen across much of the industry. But those losses come at the great benefit of mobile usage, which nearly doubled year over year, from 508 per unique viewer in July of 2012 to 914 last month. That’s a very good thing for the company, considering its new mobile revenue products seem to be working well. As of the last earnings call, Facebook said that nearly half of its ad revenue business now stems from mobile devices , a massive shift in little more than one year after the company’s initial public offering. Not only did that number shock the Street — which has remained wary of the stock since its debut — it inspired new investor confidence; shares reached an all-time high on Friday morning, at $40.14, up 51 percent since the company reported earnings just a few weeks ago. As for those competing services, they aren’t taking a massive chunk out of Facebook’s market share at the moment. According to that same comScore data, Facebook’s share of “total Internet minutes spent” grew to 15.8 percent over the past year, while non-Facebook social services like Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp only hold 2.3 percent of Internet minutes.

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