Category: Business

Xerox gets a new head

copycatXerox has appointed Jeff Jacobson, the president of its technology unit as its new CEO after the company splits its business process outsourcing unit into a separate, publicly listed entity.

Jacobson, 56, joined Xerox in 2012 and he was appointed the president of the technology business, which includes the company’s hardware and software offerings, in July 2014.

Xerox will house the company’s legacy printer business. Its business process outsourcing operations will be held under “Conduent”, which will be led by Ashok Vemuri.

Xerox, which announced the split in January, said its current CEO Ursula Burns would become the chairman of the printer company after the separation is completed at the end of 2016.

Blackberry debates killing off handsets

dodoIt looks like Blackberry has placed its handsets production onto death row and, failing a last minute appeal, could be headed for silicon heaven soon.

Chief Executive John Chen said a decision would be made by September on the future of the unit, which has suffered a sustained drop in sales in recent quarters.

He sees better opportunity in providing services that enable increasingly commoditized hardware to do more.

“I don’t personally believe handsets will be the future of any company,” he said.

However Chen said he had not given up on handsets yet and had made it his top priority to make its devices business profitable.

“The device business must be profitable, because we don’t want to run a business that drags onto the bottom line. We’ve got to get there this year,” he said.

A few years ago, BlackBerry was once the smartphone market leader. The company was practically destroyed by a weird two headed CEO structure which watched as it was replaced by Apple and Google’s Android.

It has worked to reposition itself as a software and service provider focused on device management for large organizations, with some success.  Less successful has been its handsets.

In its presentation to investors, the company said it expects the broader market for types of software it is producing to expand to $17.6 billion by 2019, from $525 million in 2012 and below $4 billion in 2015, powered by growth in medical, legal, financial and automotive industries.

Chen said that BlackBerry wants to grow its software revenue by 30 percent in this fiscal year, which he estimated would be double overall market growth, and to notch positive free cash flow.

Microsoft gets into the payments racket

Microsoft campusSoftware king of the world Microsoft is getting into the mobile payments racket just as soon as it gets out a few phones with its mobile OS on board.

Microsoft has introduced an NFC payment feature for users of Windows 10 Mobile devices in the US through its Microsoft Wallet app. Vole claims the move comes “in response to feedback” from its customers and with support from both MasterCard and Visa.

It is up and running on Microsoft Insiders, a group of early adopter customers who volunteer to preview new features, and general availability of NFC payments is promised for later this summer.

Vole has got the Bank of America, BECU, Chase, First Tech, Fifth Third Bank, People’s United Bank, US Bank and Virginia Credit Union . The launch date for each bank will be “posted when available,” according to Microsoft.

“Microsoft Wallet is a cloud-based payment technology that will make mobile payments simple and more secure for Windows 10 Mobile devices, starting in the US with our Lumia 950, 950 XL and 650,” the company says. “With Microsoft Wallet, you simply tap your phone on a contactless payment terminal and your default credit or debit card is charged.

“Store as many credit and debit cards as you want in your Microsoft Wallet so it’s easy to make purchases with the card of your choice. Switching takes just a tap of your finger. When you tap to pay, Microsoft Wallet sends a single-use transaction number and an encrypted security code that won’t work for any other purchase, person or device. This, plus the device PIN you use to unlock your phone, makes paying with Microsoft Wallet more secure than using the actual card alone.”


Adobe disappoints Wall Street

adobeSoftware maker Adobe appears to have disappointed the cocaine-nose jobs of Wall Street with its latest results. They are weeping…

It was not as if the results were bad, in fact Adobe Systems second-quarter revenue and full-year revenue forecast just about met analysts’ estimates, it is just that Wall Street hoped that they would see increased demand from the outfit’s Creative Cloud package of software tools.

Adobe has been focused on selling its software through web-based subscriptions, which ensures a predictable and recurring revenue stream. This helped Adobe’s cash rise for nine straight quarters and should mean that growth would be predictable going forward as most of the company’s clients were now on the subscription model

However Adobe’s forecast for the current quarter was largely below estimates – mostly because Adobe is always conservative on its outlooks and Wall Street suddenly seems to think that is a weakness.

Adobe’s second-quarter revenue rose 20.4 percent to $1.40 billion as more customers subscribed for Creative Cloud, which includes graphic design tool Photoshop, web design software Dreamweaver and web video building application Flash.

Revenue from the digital media business, which houses Creative Cloud, jumped 26 percent to $943 million, but fell just short of analyst’s estimates of $944.3 million, according to FactSet StreetAccount.

Adobe forecast third-quarter total revenue of $1.42-$1.47 billion, implying year-over-year growth of 16.4-20.5 percent. But the forecast was largely below analysts expectations of $1.47 billion.

Wall Street analysts expect the company’s revenue to rise between 19-22 percent over the next four quarters.
Adobe’s second-quarter net income rose 65 percent to $244.1 million, or 48 cents per share. Excluding items, Adobe earned 71 cents per share, beating analysts’ estimates of 68 cents.

Zuckerberg keeps Thiel on board

18k4vqhmynbhnpngFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has decided to keep venture capitalist Peter Thiel on the social notworking company’s board of directors, despite weeks of controversy over whether it was appropriate.

It was revealed that Thiel was using his fortune to mount a vendetta on Gawker magazine which once outed him for being gay. He ploughed millions into a court case against Gawker after it ran a sex tape of US wrestler Hulk Hogan shagging his best friend’s wife.

Some felt it was not appropriate for Thiel to  remain on the board of a company that now plays such a powerful role in publishing.

At Facebook’s annual shareholders meeting yesterday, every board member was up for re-election. The decision was made by shareholder vote, but ultimately fell to Zuckerberg, who controls more than 60 percent of the total voting power on the Facebook board.

Facebook’s leadership was tightlipped about the controversy over Thiel continuing as a member of the company’s board.Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg said that Thiel acted on his own and not as a Facebook board member.

Facebook recently launched a programme that pays publishers, including the New York Times and Buzzfeed, to produce videos for its Facebook Live tool. Gawker Media, Gizmodo’s parent company, recently joined that programme

Tech firms want the UK to stay in the EU

European flagAn unholy cabal of 34 tech companies has penned a letter to Rupert Murdoch’s vehicle The Times suggesting that it’s better for the UK to stay in the European Union than make a rapid exit this coming Thursday.

The firms claim that staying in the EU makes it easier for them to do business and that many surveys have shown that upstarts, small and medium sized businesses and investor and large corporations think so too.

The letter claims that a vote to leave will put the skates on the UK’s burgeoning tech industry.

Here’s the full list of senior IT suits who have put their name to the billet doux:

Kazuo Abe, MD, Hitachi Europe; Tobias Alpern, CEO, iPlato Healthcare; Justin Anderson, CEO, Flexeye Group; Sarah Atkinson, VP, Communications, CA Technologies; Michel van der Bel, UK CEO, Microsoft; Olly Benzecry, Chairman, Managing Director, UK & Ireland, Accenture; Susan Bowen, VP & General Manager EMEA, Cogeco Peer1; Victor Chavez, Chief Executive, Thales UK; Virginia Choy, CEO, PretaGov Ltd; Julian David, Chief Executive Officer, techUK; Nick Denning, CEO, Diegesis; Paul Green, Creative Director of Iotic Labs Ltd.; Nicola Hall, Managing Director, Ingenica Solutions; Simon Hansford, CEO, Skyscape; Andrew Hartshorn, Managing Director, Methods Advisory Limited; Andy Isherwood, Managing Director, UK and Ireland, Hewlett Packard Enterprise; Paul Kaye, Managing Director, Intelliqa; Michael Keegan, Senior Vice President, Head of EMEA Product Business and Chairman UK & Ireland, Fujitsu; Tom Mockridge, Chief Executive Officer, Virgin Media; Kim Nilsson, CEO, Pivigo; Carlos Oliveira, CEO & Founder, Shaping Cloud; Yoge Patel, CEO, Blue Bear System Research; Gavin Patterson, Chief Executive Officer, BT; Rupert Pearce, Chief Executive Officer, Inmarsat; James Rigby, Chief Executive Officer, SCC; Peter Rodgers, Chief Executive Officer, 1060 Research; Ben Roome, CEO, at800 ; Philip Sheldrake, Managing Partner, Euler Partners ; Francis Toye, CEO & Founder, Unilink; Elizabeth Vega, Chief Executive Officer, Informed Solutions; Cormac Watters, Managing Director, UK, SAP; Craig Wilson, Regional General Manager, CSC; Sarah Windrum, CEO, The Emerald Group; David Stokes, CEO, IBM UK

Apple squashes “right to repair” bill

Details of Man working with electrial components

Details of Man working with electrial components

Extensive lobbying from Apple has managed to save its users from a bill which would have meant they could have helped save the planet by repairing their own gear.

The New York state legislation that would have required manufacturers to provide information about how to repair devices like the iPhone so they could be fixed locally and kept going long after Apple believed they should be scrapped.

But the bill mysteriously failed to get a vote, ending any chance of passage this legislative session. Similar measures have met the same fate in Minnesota, Nebraska, Massachusetts and New York.

It is a quaint way that US lobby groups keep their steel-capped boots on the throats of democracy by gumming up the proceedings.

New York State Senator Phil Boyle (R) who sponsored the bill was disappointed that it was not brought to the floor.

Gordon-Byrne said lobbyists from IBM, Apple, Xerox and Cisco were particularly active in working against the legislation.

Right to repair laws would protect consumers and help the environment by insuring that devices last longer, thus reducing electronics waste. If you or a business can affordably repair a broken device, you may have less incentive to buy a new one, the logic goes.

The Corporate oligarchs who have rule the US since the country revolted against its lawful constitutional monarch, oppose right to repair legislation because it would relax their total control over their products.

Consumer Technology Association once claimed that anyone posing as a repair shop to reverse-engineer such a device to create counterfeit devices.

New Yorkers will have to wait until next year before right to repair legislation has another chance.


South Australian hospitals depend on ancient code

Ayers Rock/Uluru in central Australian desert, Northern Territory. 1992.The South Australian Government has warned about patient safety if it is forced to stop using an ancient crucial software system in country hospitals.

The system called CHIRON, is used at 64 country health sites in South Australia, including at the Mount Barker Hospital. It is based on MS-DOS and is so old it can remember when dinosaurs were its first patients.

But CHIRON’s maker, an outfit called Working Systems demanded the State Government stop using it because the licence expired in March last year.

But the  Government said complying would jeopardise patient safety and there would be a material risk to SA Health’s ability to provide an effective health service.

The Government says that without CHIRON hospital staff would not have access to critical information such as patient allergies to medication and there was potential for new patient data being lost or incorrectly recorded.

But Working Systems said that is the government’s fault for not buying new software. CHIRON was updated in 2003, so the government had plenty of time.

Working Systems said that it was impossible to get a licence extension for CHIRON was not possible because it was too old and no longer supported.  In 2014 the Government assured Working Systems it was seeking a replacement.

In fact that system, called EPAS, was dogged by delays, controversy and cost blowouts. It is currently only operating at three sites, including Port Augusta.

A court will decide what the government will have to do and the trial will start in December.


Chinese court bans iPhone 6 sales

big-trouble-in-little-chinaFruity cargo cult Apple is having Big Trouble in Big China after its iPhone 6 phone was banned from by a court because Jobs’ Mob is alleged to have stolen the designs of a Chinese company.

A Chinese regulator has ordered Apple to stop selling two versions of its iPhone 6 in Beijing after finding they look too much like a competitor, but Apple insists that sales are going ahead while it appeals.

While Apple is hoping that Chinese sales will save its bacon, the outfit is having huge problems getting its goods to market behind the bamboo curtain. Apple’s iBooks, iTunes Movies, music service has also been banned in China. Meanwhile what is left of Apple’s business faces completion from local brands including Huawei and Xiaomi.

The order by the Beijing tribunal said the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus looked too much like the 100C model made by Shenzhen Beili, a small Chinese brand. The order was issued in May but reported this week by the Chinese press.

Apple said a Beijing court stayed the administrative order on appeal and the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus still were on sale.

Already Apple has to share the name “iphone” with a Chinese bag maker, which got the name first. Apple said it would appeal that judgement too.

VW goes electric

b299405f6eafe0ac98ce9d9405a17663 (1)Adolf Hitler’s favourite car company Volkswagen has decided that the only way to avoid being caught out fudging emission readings is to make more cars that are electric.

Volkswagen wants to make 30 electric plug-in models by 2025 as part of a cunning plan to overhaul its global strategy which has been limping along since it was caught lying about how environmentally friendly is cars were.

Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller on Thursday articulated a new vision for the automaker up to 2025, describing electric cars, ride-hailing services and cost cutting as critical to the company’s future.

Volkswagen, which also owns Audi and Porsche, will “significantly” reduce the number of models it makes and will slash almost $9 billion in spending.

This will go some way to help pay the $18 billion it will need to cover the costs of its emissions scandal.

The bet on fully electric vehicles will be paired with an investment in battery technology, though Mueller provided few details of what that would entail. Among the electric vehicles already in the works are the Porsche Mission E sports car, billed as a Tesla fighter, and the Audi e-tron quattro luxury electric crossover concept.

It is a brave move. The electric market is not really established yet, and although some countries like Holland are talking about banning petrol cars, electric cars are still too pricy for the great unwashed to afford.

If VW pull it off, it will be in the vanguard of the electric revolution and go a long way to removing the stain left by the emissions scandal.