Posts Tagged ‘tech’

As Obama Speaks, Tech Industry Praises Immigration Reform Proposal

January 29, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Amid wide-ranging discussion of U.S. immigration reform — including a set of bipartisan principles introduced this week and a speech by President Barack Obama on the issue today — tech companies are particularly optimistic about a bill introduced this morning that is focused on highly skilled workers. The Immigration Innovation Act , proposed by Senators Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Marco Rubio, R-Fla. and Chris Coons, D-Del., would increase the H-1B visa cap from 65,000 to 115,000 and establish triggers for more visas in response to market demand. It would also loosen green card rules for people who are dependents of visa recipients and people with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math from U.S. universities. Early criticism of the bill has targeted the fact that it is a “ piecemeal change ” rather than comprehensive reform, but it’s possible that it could be included in future broad legislation, which hasn’t been proposed yet. But tech leaders were quick to praise the bill, with companies such as Intel , Hewlett Packard and Google and industry groups issuing statements this morning specifically in support of the Immigration Innovation Act, which has already been nicknamed I-Squared. The bill “is a significant step forward in ensuring that the U.S. economy has the workforce and intellectual capacity it needs to enhance innovation, spur job creation and improve our economy,” said HP VP of global government relations Gregg Melinson. “The current focus on immigration reform presents the best opportunity we have seen in years to make needed fixes to the employment side of the immigration equation,” wrote Intel government relations director Peter Muller. Though his most closely watched remarks were about undocumented immigrants, Obama spoke specifically to the tech industry, saying that one in four high-tech companies was started by an immigrant.

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2012 VC Investments Off 10 Percent, Dragged Down by Biotech and Cleantech

January 18, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

The rental prices in San Francisco and the traffic on 101 might give you the feeling the tech industry is in a bubble time, yet again. But not everything in tech is healthy. U.S. venture capital just had a down year, for one thing. That’s in large part because dollars dedicated to new funding in biotech and cleantech fell significantly in 2012. Overall, VCs put $26.5 billion in 3,698 U.S. deals in 2012, a decrease of 10 percent, according to the new MoneyTree report from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA). Biotech investment dollars dropped 15 percent in 2012 and cleantech investments 28 percent. There were fewer first-time fundings for biotech and medical device startups than any year since 1995. Still, venture capital was flowing quite normally to software companies. Not only was that the single largest investment sector in 2012, investments grew 10 percent to $8.3 billion, an 11-year high. If you slice all the categories, including those above, to look at companies whose businesses are on the Internet (that’s 25 percent of total U.S. venture capital dollars), investments were down five percent to $6.7 billion. But still, 2011 had been a record year for Internet funding, so that’s the second-highest total since 2001.

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Tech Resolutions (Comic)

December 31, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

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"Something Ventured" Set to Air in January: The Risky Dudes Who Wrote the Checks That Made Silicon Valley

December 24, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

“Something Ventured: Risk, Reward, and the Original Venture Capitalists” is a documentary that celebrates — pretty much without a lot of criticism — the very first venture capitalists who were behind the tech giants launching companies like Apple, Intel, Cisco, Atari and Genentech. “Something Ventured” is being aired starting in January on public television stations nationwide. The film — which premiered at SXSW last year — focuses on the key VCs, including investor Arthur Rock, Kleiner Perkins’ Tom Perkins, Sequoia Capital’s Don Valentine and New Enterprise Associate’s Dick Kramlich. It’s full of great stories from them and others, such as remembering the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’s proclivity to not worry too much about showering. And there are some tasty quotes, too: Perkins: “I don’t know how to write a business plan. I can only tell you how we read them. We start at the back, and if the numbers are big, we look at the front to see what kind of business it is.” Rock: “Steve Jobs is a national treasure. He is so visionary, and so bright. I had to fire him, though.” Valentine: “I’m not interested in entrepreneurs who will do it our way

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Modria Wants You to Settle Your Workplace Problems (and Even Patent Disputes) Online

November 24, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

As anyone who’s ever gotten wrapped up in an online-commenting flame war knows, the Internet doesn’t have the best reputation for resolving disputes. Too often, the discussion doesn’t stray far from “I’m right!” versus “No, I am!” But conflicts arise online all the time, as Colin Rule knows. The “online dispute guy,” as his coworkers once called him, cut his tech teeth at eBay and PayPal, where he led the group that stepped in when buyers and sellers clashed. Now, Rule has spun off from eBay to become the CEO of Modria, one of a slew of organizations trying to solve more and more types of disputes online. Modria launched Monday with $1.25 million in seed funding, with The Wall Street Journal also reporting that the company is seeking about $4 million in its Series A round.

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Here’s How Bravo’s "Silicon Valley" Stars Pitch Start-Up Investors (Slides)

November 6, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

While Americans geared up for Election Day coverage on Monday evening, much of Silicon Valley was glued to a different channel. It was the premier of “ Start-Ups: Silicon Valley ,” the Bravo-produced reality show which follows a group of twentysomethings through the trials of tech entrepreneurship. It’s been the hot topic of the technorati for months, all of whom were eager to see just how drastically wrong a big cable network would portray the tech scene. Bravo didn’t disappoint. I spent the evening at one of the many Bay Area viewing parties with a group of tech reporters, entrepreneurs and other industry folk. Like any subculture enamored with itself, we took great joy in watching what amounted to something everyone expected: Strings of tech buzzwords. Engineers reciting equations amid kegstands. Waxing philosophically over Valley “ecosystems” while poolside. In essence, a laughable caricature of our own little world. The highlight, by far, was watching brother and sister duo Ben and Hermione Way pitch their start-up idea, “Ignite,” to angel investor Dave McClure. After Hermione takes a nap under McClure’s desk (yes, really), the siblings walk a skeptical McClure through their vision of a health app for smartphones. We’ve managed to get our hands on a copy of the pitch deck the two created for investors, which give some insight (but not much) into their company vision

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Facebook Plans Press Event for "Gifts" Nov. 1

October 18, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Here’s yet another tech company with a press event lined up for the next couple weeks: Facebook is inviting reporters to “come see what’s new with Facebook Gifts” at the FAO Schwarz store in Manhattan Nov. 1. Facebook unveiled the ability to buy physical gifts for other users last month.

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The Fine Print on Twitter’s Latest Developer Dustup With IFTTT

September 21, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Despite being constantly connected to a smartphone, there are things that hapoen on the Web when I’m not paying attention. (Shocking, I know.) IFTTT — short for “If This Then That” — has been one of my favorite services to keep tabs on people and companies when I’m not paying rapt attention to Twitter and Facebook. It works with a number of existing Web services like Facebook, Twitter, RSS feeds and the like. Say someone important like Twitter CEO Dick Costolo decides to tweet something. As a Twitter beat reporter, I want to know what Dick has to say when he says it. Using IFTTT, I can have the service send me an email, an SMS, even a phone call. It’s very useful, especially when, you know, I want to try and get some sleep. Sadly, in an email today to its users, IFTTT announced that it was ending support for Twitter triggers, one of what I’d call the most useful parts of the service. When I saw the email in my inbox, I was instantly bummed. The way the email was worded, too, made it seem like IFTTT was the latest in a string of companies affected by Twitter’s recent overhaul of its developer guidelines (currently a hotbed of contention in the tech community that relies upon Twitter’s platform to power their services). “In recent weeks, Twitter has announced policy changes* that will affect how applications and users like yourself can interact with Twitter’s data

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With Glass, Google Gives a Fashion Icon a New Toy (Video)

September 13, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

DVF It’s tough being a rich and famous fashion mogul. You’ve seen the best of the world. You have exclusive access to private events. You have expensive tastes — as you should. And then all of the sudden, Google hands you a fancy new toy. That’s been the case for famed designer Diane Von Furstenburg, who’s been playing with Google Glass , the tech company’s wearable augmented reality glasses hardware. Von Furstenburg (or DVF, for short) used them to document her days in the lead up to New York Fashion Week, the premier runway event of the haute couture world, where designers the world round come to show off their new clothing lines. DVF basically used Glass as a personal diary in the days leading up to her runway show, capturing the sights of Manhattan along with showing the hardware off to her suite of models. It’s also the first actual video that’s been shot using the glasses — unlike the highly criticized, completely produced promotional video that showed what Google imagined Glass would be able to do one day. What better way to upstage your fashion contemporaries, then, by slapping a pair of unreleased, unobtainable Glasses that just so happen to be color-coordinated with your entire new line? After meeting Sergey Brin at a conference, DVF thought it would be fah-bu-lous to include Glass in her own work. Brin was kind enough to loan her a number of pairs, complete with Google staff, who taught the models how to use the things. The timing of all this was interesting, too. In allowing Glass to make some high-profile appearances this week (Wall Street Journal reporter Spencer E. Ante got to play with a set as well ), Google could stay on the radar while Apple dominated the news . And if Google looked future-focused even as iPhone 5 was being nicked as an incremental step, well, all the better. Check out the video below to see rich people playing with their new toys.

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"The Jury Has Now Spoken": Apple CEO Tim Cook’s Memo to Employees on Patent Win Over Samsung

August 25, 2012  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

After Apple’s legal victory over Samsung in the much-disputed patent infringement battle earlier today, its CEO Tim Cook sent a memo to the tech giant’s employees. Cook, who took over at the company exactly a year ago, said Apple had gone to court “very reluctantly and only after repeatedly asking Samsung to stop copying our work.” He stressed that the lawsuit “has always been about something much more important than patents or money. It’s about values.” The memo was similar, though perhaps more emotional, than a company statement earlier today. Apple said, in part, “The lawsuits between Apple and Samsung were about much more than patents or money. They were about values. At Apple, we value originality and innovation and pour our lives into making the best products on earth. We make these products to delight our customers, not for our competitors to flagrantly copy.” Here is the full Cook memo, which was obtained by 9to5Mac : Today was an important day for Apple and for innovators everywhere. Many of you have been closely following the trial against Samsung in San Jose for the past few weeks. We chose legal action very reluctantly and only after repeatedly asking Samsung to stop copying our work. For us this lawsuit has always been about something much more important than patents or money. It’s about values. We value originality and innovation and pour our lives into making the best products on earth. And we do this to delight our customers, not for competitors to flagrantly copy. We owe a debt of gratitude to the jury who invested their time in listening to our story. We were thrilled to finally have the opportunity to tell it. The mountain of evidence presented during the trial showed that Samsung’s copying went far deeper than we knew. The jury has now spoken.

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