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fu_cowwwboy 24 posts  |  Last Activity: Mar 25, 2015 4:01 PM Member since: Oct 9, 2013
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  • fu_cowwwboy by fu_cowwwboy Mar 25, 2015 4:01 PM Flag

    At this point, most people understand that advances in technology go hand-in-hand with privacy invasion. Your phone holds an incredible amount of information about you—it has your credit card info, your address, your birthday and more. But what people might not realize is just how frequently apps on their phone are tracking them. According to a new study by computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University, 12 of the most popular Android apps track their users location an average of once every three minutes.

    For the relatively small study, researchers downloaded software that logged when apps asked for contacts, call logs and locations on 23 Android users’ phones and tracked them over the course of two weeks. The study found that about a dozen popular applications, including Facebook, Groupon and The Weather Channel tracked location within 50 meters an average of 6,200 times over the 14-day period. That’s once every 3 minutes. That seems a bit excessive.

    “One of the reasons they’re doing this is because it’s very lucrative for advertising,” says Yahoo Finance tech reporter Aaron Pressman. “Mobile-based advertisers pay a premium if they have a location for obvious reasons. If you’re near a store or in a particular store showing you a certain kind of ad would be much more likely to get a reaction.”

    Pressman says that this data collection is a mixed bag—mostly because we don’t know where these databases will end up. “Will they be misused or will someone hack into them? If you become engaged in a lawsuit or divorce, these databases could be looked at by lawyers. It can rebound against you.” For the most part, however, the collection is pretty innocuous, says Pressman.

    Pressman says that the iPhone is a slightly better choice for those concerned with privacy. On the iPhone, apps must request permission to locate you or gain access to other parts of your phone. There is also a control panel that allows you to limit access. On the Android, there’s the disclosure of general monitoring by an app but no fine-grained control.

  • (Reuters) – Staff at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission were in favor of suing Google for violating antitrust rules before the agency settled its investigation in 2013, according a confidential report cited by The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

    The report by the staff of the FTC’s competition bureau argued that the owner of the world’s No. 1 Internet search engine illegally took information from rival websites to improve its own search results and placed restrictions on websites and advertisers. The report recommended suing Google for several of its business practices.

    The FTC settled its multi-year investigation of Google in 2013, concluding that the company had not manipulated its search results to hurt rivals.

    Details of the report, which the Journal said were inadvertently disclosed in an open-records request, come as European antitrust regulators decide their next steps in a four-year investigation of Google GOOG -0.27% .

    Representatives of the FTC and Google did not immediately return requests for comment.

  • fu_cowwwboy by fu_cowwwboy Mar 4, 2015 7:11 PM Flag

    Uber heads in new mapping direction with deCarta acquisition

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Uber Technologies is buying digital mapping specialist deCarta in a deal that may help the rapidly growing ride-hailing service lessen its dependence on navigation services from Google and Apple, an imposing pair of potential rivals.

    Although deCarta isn't as well-known as Google Maps, its technology is extensively used by consumers. The OnStar system built into cars made by General Motors Co. relies on deCarta, as do smartphone makers Samsung Electronics and BlackBerry Inc. In its early years, Google Maps even tapped into deCarta's technology, according to deCarta. The acquisition confirmed Wednesday will provide Uber's drivers with another way to find passengers summoning rides on the company's mobile app and deliver them to their destinations more quickly. DeCarta's technology also may help Uber provide more accurate estimates about the arrival times of its cars, which can now be ordered in more than 250 cities in 50 countries.

  • It's Google's loss and Oculus' gain as three-year Google X executive Mary Lou Jepsen has jumped ship to pursue new opportunities in the exploding virtual reality market, reports Re/code. Facebook bought Oculus back in March 2014.

    We don't know exactly what Jepsen was in charge of at the secretive Google X labs, where projects like the self-driving car, the seemingly ill-fated Google Glass, and Internet-via-balloon idea Project Loon got their start.

    But given that Jepsen was leading the Display Division, and that her time at Google saw the release of Google Glass, it seems like she was probably involved in that project, which is reportedly undergoing a pretty big shakeup.

  • Softcard, a mobile payments company developed by the largest wireless carriers in the country, never caught on with the mainstream.

    Now, the company is on the selling block.

    Google has made an offer to purchase Softcard for an amount less than $100 million, according to a person familiar with the matter. Separately, PayPal, the e-commerce giant owned by eBay, has also submitted an offer to acquire Softcard, according this person, who requested anonymity because of continuing ties to the company.

    The talks come just months after the high-profile launch of Apple Pay, Apple’s mobile wallet initiative that has gained the interest of merchants, banks and credit card companies around the world. Apple Pay’s early traction has forced other major Internet companies like PayPal and Google to step up their mobile wallet efforts, this person said.

    If any deal is made, it is not immediately clear what Google or PayPal would do with Softcard, a joint venture formed in 2010 and backed by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. The interest could lie in Softcard’s intellectual property patents, according to two people close to the company. It could also give Google a closer relationship with the wireless carriers involved in the joint venture, these people said.

    “We don’t have a comment, background, deep background, off the record steer, nod, wink or any other verbal or non-verbal response to these sorts of rumors,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

    A spokeswoman for PayPal did not immediately return calls and emailed requests for comment. A spokeswoman for Softcard card declined to comment.

    Softcard’s mobile app, which is available on both iOS and Android smartphones, allows customers to pay for items at more than 200,000 stores across the United States with a wave of their mobile device.

    But Softcard, formerly called Isis, failed to gain widespread traction with consumers, and has largely floundered in the five years since it has first launched.

    That has also been the case for Google Wallet, the search company’s failed attempt at offering consumers a way to pay for goods using a touch-free technology embedded in Android smartphones. Acquiring Softcard could reignite Google’s efforts in mobile commerce.

  • Samsung Extends Tizen Smartphone to Bangladesh

    Bloomberg News
    Samsung Electronics is taking its mobile operating system places.

    Three weeks ago, the company released in India the Samsung Z1, its first smartphone powered by Tizen, a homegrown alternative to Google Inc.’s Android operating system.

    This week, Samsung is pushing the Samsung Z1 into Bangladesh, a neighbor of India with more than 150 million people and a similarly low rate of smartphone penetration.

    After several missteps and rethinks, Samsung’s strategy for its Tizen smartphones is taking a clear shape: the company is aiming the fledgling platform squarely at first-time smartphone users, many of whom may not even have a bank account. The Samsung Z1 is selling in India for about $90.

    To that end, Samsung has been touting the “lightweight” nature of the Tizen operating system, meaning that it requires relatively little computing power and can handle most tasks without requiring pricey high-end specifications.

    That same lightweight approach has also allowed Samsung to use Tizen as the platform for many of the devices it is hoping will populate its “connected home,” from televisions to smart watches and home appliances.

    Despite concerns that Samsung’s new smartphone would face stiff competition in India, where several local handset makers are touting low-end smartphones — some of them in partnership with Google — Samsung says that its Tizen smartphones have received “positive responses” there.

    Positive enough, it seems, to at least push Tizen into a second country.

  • Samsung Extends Tizen Smartphone to Bangladesh

    Bloomberg News
    Samsung Electronics is taking its mobile operating system places.

    Three weeks ago, the company released in India the Samsung Z1, its first smartphone powered by Tizen, a homegrown alternative to Google Inc.’s Android operating system.

    This week, Samsung is pushing the Samsung Z1 into Bangladesh, a neighbor of India with more than 150 million people and a similarly low rate of smartphone penetration.

    After several missteps and rethinks, Samsung’s strategy for its Tizen smartphones is taking a clear shape: the company is aiming the fledgling platform squarely at first-time smartphone users, many of whom may not even have a bank account. The Samsung Z1 is selling in India for about $90.

    To that end, Samsung has been touting the “lightweight” nature of the Tizen operating system, meaning that it requires relatively little computing power and can handle most tasks without requiring pricey high-end specifications.

    That same lightweight approach has also allowed Samsung to use Tizen as the platform for many of the devices it is hoping will populate its “connected home,” from televisions to smart watches and home appliances.

    Despite concerns that Samsung’s new smartphone would face stiff competition in India, where several local handset makers are touting low-end smartphones — some of them in partnership with Google — Samsung says that its Tizen smartphones have received “positive responses” there.

    Positive enough, it seems, to at least push Tizen into a second country.

  • Reply to

    Accounting is RIGGED

    by mcjohnsongroupcm Feb 10, 2015 3:00 PM
    fu_cowwwboy fu_cowwwboy Feb 11, 2015 1:09 AM Flag

    It is called "Bezos Cash Flow".

  • Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) iOS just topped Google (NASDAQ: GOOG ) (NASDAQ: GOOGL ) Android in the U.S. for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2012, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. Apple claimed 47.7% of the U.S. market, up from 43.9% a year earlier, as Android's share slipped from 50.7% to 47.6%. iOS also topped Android in Japan and Australia.

    Source: Wikimedia Commons, Dan H

    Strong sales of the iPhone 6 and declining demand for Samsung(NASDAQOTH: SSNLF ) smartphones -- which account for about a fifth of the Android market -- contributed to that shift. During the fourth quarter of 2014, IDC reported that sales of iPhones surged 46% year over year to 74.5 million units, while sales of Samsung devices slipped 11% to 75.1 million units.

    Those numbers are quite impressive when we consider that Apple, which only launched two new phones per year, is starting to match the combined market share of dozens of Android devices in certain markets. Could Apple's victories in the U.S., Japan, and Australia be bright red flags for Google?

    Google's delicate balancing act just got tougher
    Investors should remember that Android is a dynamic, open source OS that Google doesn't really control. Google only monetizes Android when it funnels traffic through its search and app ecosystem, and when it takes its 30% cut of Google Play sales. As long as smartphone and tablet manufacturers bundle Google services with their phones, Google can monetize the OS.

    But other companies are also allowed to modify, or "fork," Android for their own purposes. Amazon did that with Fire OS, replacing Google's services with its own, while Chinese companies like Xiaomi install their own app stores instead of Google Play. An entire alliance of developers and companies, known as the AOSP (Android Open Source Project), has also emerged to prevent Google from claiming Android as its own OS. Even without forking Android, OEMs can undermine Google by launching competing app stores and favoring third-party cloud drives.

    To make matters worse, a large portion of the Android market consists of outdated devices. Last August, research firm OpenSignal found that only 20.9% of Android devices were updated to the latest version at the time, 4.4 (KitKat) -- meaning that many newer initiatives, like fitness apps, Google Fit (for 4.0+), and Google Now (for 4.1+) can't run on all Android devices.

    Due to all that forking and fragmentation, the actual percentage of Android devices that Google can monetize is likely much smaller than the OS's total market share.

    How Apple can exploit Android's fragmentation
    By comparison, Apple controls both iOS hardware and software, which allows it to maintain an iron grip over the entire ecosystem. There's also much less fragmentation, thanks to automatic updates. Apple recently reported that 72% of iOS devices already run iOS 8, while 25% remain on iOS 7.

    Apple's homogenous hardware specs across each generation make it easier for iOS developers to create apps without worrying about them crashing on incompatible hardware. It also makes it easier for Apple to quickly launch new services, like Apple Pay, HealthKit, and HomeKit, into the mainstream market. Meanwhile, Google's similar initiatives (Google Wallet, Google Fit, and Nest) could face problems due to Android fragmentation and hardware partners like Samsung launching competing services.

    As Google tries to deal with forked operating systems, fragmentation, and rebellious hardware partners, Apple's next-gen initiatives (mobile payments, smart homes, and the Internet of Things) could spread faster across its unified base of iPhone users.

    Low risks, low rewards
    Google's mobile strategy is to give away its free OS, preloaded with its popular services, to hardware manufacturers. That's a low-risk strategy, since Google doesn't take any overhead risks by manufacturing hardware that might flop. But it's also a low-reward one, since Google can't directly profit from sales of popular Android phones.

    When Google acquired Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in 2012, it wanted to replicate Apple's combined hardware/software ecosystem by launching first party phones. But Google's Moto X efforts flopped, resulting in steep losses, and the company sold Motorola's handset business to Lenovo for $2.9 billion last year. That retreat showed that Google just didn't have the stomach for making its own hardware.

    The Moto X. Source: Motorola
    Google is now trying to address fragmentation in lower-end markets with its Android One partnerships, but that doesn't counter its high-end market share losses to Apple in developed markets like the U.S., Japan, and Australia.

    What Google got wrong
    With Android, Google basically replicated Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT ) IBM "clone strategy" in the 1980s -- to spread itself across as many OEMs as possible to dominate the hardware market. But the key difference is that Windows is closed source, and Android is open source. If Microsoft had allowed its OEM partners to fork Windows and cut it out of the loop, it would have lost control of the PC market.

    That's the key challenge Android faces today: how to get its fragmented market to face the same direction again. If Android continues ceding market share to iOS throughout 2015, that long-term goal could be verytough to achieve.

  • Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) iOS just topped Google (NASDAQ: GOOG ) (NASDAQ: GOOGL ) Android in the U.S. for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2012, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. Apple claimed 47.7% of the U.S. market, up from 43.9% a year earlier, as Android's share slipped from 50.7% to 47.6%. iOS also topped Android in Japan and Australia.

    Source: Wikimedia Commons, Dan H

    Strong sales of the iPhone 6 and declining demand for Samsung(NASDAQOTH: SSNLF ) smartphones -- which account for about a fifth of the Android market -- contributed to that shift. During the fourth quarter of 2014, IDC reported that sales of iPhones surged 46% year over year to 74.5 million units, while sales of Samsung devices slipped 11% to 75.1 million units.

    Those numbers are quite impressive when we consider that Apple, which only launched two new phones per year, is starting to match the combined market share of dozens of Android devices in certain markets. Could Apple's victories in the U.S., Japan, and Australia be bright red flags for Google?

    Google's delicate balancing act just got tougher
    Investors should remember that Android is a dynamic, open source OS that Google doesn't really control. Google only monetizes Android when it funnels traffic through its search and app ecosystem, and when it takes its 30% cut of Google Play sales. As long as smartphone and tablet manufacturers bundle Google services with their phones, Google can monetize the OS.

    But other companies are also allowed to modify, or "fork," Android for their own purposes. Amazon did that with Fire OS, replacing Google's services with its own, while Chinese companies like Xiaomi install their own app stores instead of Google Play. An entire alliance of developers and companies, known as the AOSP (Android Open Source Project), has also emerged to prevent Google from claiming Android as its own OS. Even without forking Android, OEMs can undermine Google by launching competing app stores and favoring third-party cloud drives.

    To make matters worse, a large portion of the Android market consists of outdated devices. Last August, research firm OpenSignal found that only 20.9% of Android devices were updated to the latest version at the time, 4.4 (KitKat) -- meaning that many newer initiatives, like fitness apps, Google Fit (for 4.0+), and Google Now (for 4.1+) can't run on all Android devices.

    Due to all that forking and fragmentation, the actual percentage of Android devices that Google can monetize is likely much smaller than the OS's total market share.

    How Apple can exploit Android's fragmentation
    By comparison, Apple controls both iOS hardware and software, which allows it to maintain an iron grip over the entire ecosystem. There's also much less fragmentation, thanks to automatic updates. Apple recently reported that 72% of iOS devices already run iOS 8, while 25% remain on iOS 7.

    Apple's homogenous hardware specs across each generation make it easier for iOS developers to create apps without worrying about them crashing on incompatible hardware. It also makes it easier for Apple to quickly launch new services, like Apple Pay, HealthKit, and HomeKit, into the mainstream market. Meanwhile, Google's similar initiatives (Google Wallet, Google Fit, and Nest) could face problems due to Android fragmentation and hardware partners like Samsung launching competing services.

    As Google tries to deal with forked operating systems, fragmentation, and rebellious hardware partners, Apple's next-gen initiatives (mobile payments, smart homes, and the Internet of Things) could spread faster across its unified base of iPhone users.

    Low risks, low rewards
    Google's mobile strategy is to give away its free OS, preloaded with its popular services, to hardware manufacturers. That's a low-risk strategy, since Google doesn't take any overhead risks by manufacturing hardware that might flop. But it's also a low-reward one, since Google can't directly profit from sales of popular Android phones.

    When Google acquired Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in 2012, it wanted to replicate Apple's combined hardware/software ecosystem by launching first party phones. But Google's Moto X efforts flopped, resulting in steep losses, and the company sold Motorola's handset business to Lenovo for $2.9 billion last year. That retreat showed that Google just didn't have the stomach for making its own hardware.

    The Moto X. Source: Motorola
    Google is now trying to address fragmentation in lower-end markets with its Android One partnerships, but that doesn't counter its high-end market share losses to Apple in developed markets like the U.S., Japan, and Australia.

    What Google got wrong
    With Android, Google basically replicated Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT ) IBM "clone strategy" in the 1980s -- to spread itself across as many OEMs as possible to dominate the hardware market. But the key difference is that Windows is closed source, and Android is open source. If Microsoft had allowed its OEM partners to fork Windows and cut it out of the loop, it would have lost control of the PC market.

    That's the key challenge Android faces today: how to get its fragmented market to face the same direction again. If Android continues ceding market share to iOS throughout 2015, that long-term goal could be verytough to achieve.

  • Reply to

    Motley Fool: AMZN's Accounting Games

    by dean2222 Feb 6, 2015 6:40 PM
    fu_cowwwboy fu_cowwwboy Feb 8, 2015 7:23 PM Flag

    amzn is clearly rigged.

  • Steve Jobs may not be rolling in his grave, but he's probably shaking his fist.

    Google (NASDAQ: GOOG ) (NASDAQ: GOOGL ) , the company he promised to go to "thermonuclear war" with for stealing the iPhone, looks poised to poach yet another brilliant idea. Reports have emerged that the search giant is plotting its own ride-hailing service to compete with Uber, the start-up valued north of $40 billion in which Google is a major investor.

    UberSource: Uber via Twitter

    Under normal circumstances this would be big news, but the move is particularly backstabbing because a Google exec sits on Uber's board. David Drummond, Google's Chief Legal Officer, has been a director at Uber since 2013, and recently informed the rest of the board that his company is working on a ride-hailing app that would directly compete with Uber. Uber executives have seen screenshots of a ride-sharing app used by Google employees, according to a report by Bloomberg, and the board is considering whether to ask Drummond to resign.

    Google's new ride-hailing app would be a companion and a logical extension of its ambitions to create a self-driving car. Looking ahead with this vision, we could all one day order self-driving taxis with our smartphones. Notably, Uber on Monday also announced a partnership with Carnegie Mellon to work on self-driving technology.

    Whereas Uber and Google have worked closely together, and Uber is featured on Google Maps, the move smacks of the same kind of thievery the search giant pulled off with the iPhone -- Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL ) invention that has become arguably the most successful branded product in history. And while Uber may not be the next iPhone, it's certainly one of the most revolutionary business ideas of the decade. So with that in mind, let's take a closer look at the similarities here.

    Fool me once
    Apple never went to thermonuclear war over Android, but it did go to legal war, suing Samsung, the biggest Android user, for patent infringement. Former Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, sat on Apple's board from 2006 until 2009, when he was forced to resign. Apple's iPhone came out in 2007, and the Android emerged a year later. The details are murky, and Schmidt has denied any wrongdoing, but he would have had access to proprietary and privileged information that could have aided and assisted Android's development. The similarities in design would appear to indicate Android was at least somewhere between borrowing and stealing.

    Of course, Uber is a different animal. Its genius is more in the concept and execution rather than in the technology and creativity like the iPhone. Uber already has competitors, such as Lyft and Gett, but Google is in a different weight class from any other foes the company has faced thus far.

    Uber is a private company so we don't know how much they're making, but much like the iPhone's story, Uber's early success in disrupting an industry has been quite impressive. Unlike traditional taxi companies, Uber does not need to pay for drivers or cars, it simply needs to provide the platform. The model is also highly scalable as revenues were projected to grow 300% last year. Some analysts project the company to bring in $10 billion in revenue this year, and at a valuation around $40 billion, the company would be the year's biggest IPO if it decided to go public.

    Given Google's dominance in maps and general information, It's not a surprise that it would want a piece of this pie. For all the company's success though -- it's the world's most trafficked website with a market of $360 billion and profits of $15 billion -- the company is essentially a one-trick pony, relying on advertising, primarily through Adwords, for nearly all its revenue. At times, the company feels more like a glorified science fair attached to a giant cash cow of a search engine. Among its many projects that seem to have fizzled out are Google Glass, a gas-guzzling jetpack, and a hoverboard.

    Meanwhile, Google has a history of copying many other Internet companies, including Yelp, Groupon, Microsoft, and Facebook, often without much success. The initiative into ride-sharing makes sense for Google, especially if the self-driving car dream ever comes true, but its track record in aping other companies has been a poor one, which is good news for Uber. Still, if I had a Google employee on my board right now, I would be thinking twice about keeping him there.

  • Steve Jobs may not be rolling in his grave, but he's probably shaking his fist.

    Google (NASDAQ: GOOG ) (NASDAQ: GOOGL ) , the company he promised to go to "thermonuclear war" with for stealing the iPhone, looks poised to poach yet another brilliant idea. Reports have emerged that the search giant is plotting its own ride-hailing service to compete with Uber, the start-up valued north of $40 billion in which Google is a major investor.

    UberSource: Uber via Twitter

    Under normal circumstances this would be big news, but the move is particularly backstabbing because a Google exec sits on Uber's board. David Drummond, Google's Chief Legal Officer, has been a director at Uber since 2013, and recently informed the rest of the board that his company is working on a ride-hailing app that would directly compete with Uber. Uber executives have seen screenshots of a ride-sharing app used by Google employees, according to a report by Bloomberg, and the board is considering whether to ask Drummond to resign.

    Google's new ride-hailing app would be a companion and a logical extension of its ambitions to create a self-driving car. Looking ahead with this vision, we could all one day order self-driving taxis with our smartphones. Notably, Uber on Monday also announced a partnership with Carnegie Mellon to work on self-driving technology.

    Whereas Uber and Google have worked closely together, and Uber is featured on Google Maps, the move smacks of the same kind of thievery the search giant pulled off with the iPhone -- Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL ) invention that has become arguably the most successful branded product in history. And while Uber may not be the next iPhone, it's certainly one of the most revolutionary business ideas of the decade. So with that in mind, let's take a closer look at the similarities here.

    Fool me once
    Apple never went to thermonuclear war over Android, but it did go to legal war, suing Samsung, the biggest Android user, for patent infringement. Former Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, sat on Apple's board from 2006 until 2009, when he was forced to resign. Apple's iPhone came out in 2007, and the Android emerged a year later. The details are murky, and Schmidt has denied any wrongdoing, but he would have had access to proprietary and privileged information that could have aided and assisted Android's development. The similarities in design would appear to indicate Android was at least somewhere between borrowing and stealing.

    Of course, Uber is a different animal. Its genius is more in the concept and execution rather than in the technology and creativity like the iPhone. Uber already has competitors, such as Lyft and Gett, but Google is in a different weight class from any other foes the company has faced thus far.

    Uber is a private company so we don't know how much they're making, but much like the iPhone's story, Uber's early success in disrupting an industry has been quite impressive. Unlike traditional taxi companies, Uber does not need to pay for drivers or cars, it simply needs to provide the platform. The model is also highly scalable as revenues were projected to grow 300% last year. Some analysts project the company to bring in $10 billion in revenue this year, and at a valuation around $40 billion, the company would be the year's biggest IPO if it decided to go public.

    Given Google's dominance in maps and general information, It's not a surprise that it would want a piece of this pie. For all the company's success though -- it's the world's most trafficked website with a market of $360 billion and profits of $15 billion -- the company is essentially a one-trick pony, relying on advertising, primarily through Adwords, for nearly all its revenue. At times, the company feels more like a glorified science fair attached to a giant cash cow of a search engine. Among its many projects that seem to have fizzled out are Google Glass, a gas-guzzling jetpack, and a hoverboard.

    Meanwhile, Google has a history of copying many other Internet companies, including Yelp, Groupon, Microsoft, and Facebook, often without much success. The initiative into ride-sharing makes sense for Google, especially if the self-driving car dream ever comes true, but its track record in aping other companies has been a poor one, which is good news for Uber. Still, if I had a Google employee on my board right now, I would be thinking twice about keeping him there.

  • Reply to

    Motley Fool: AMZN's Accounting Games

    by dean2222 Feb 6, 2015 6:40 PM
    fu_cowwwboy fu_cowwwboy Feb 7, 2015 4:19 AM Flag

    capital lease accounting trick? very interesting!

  • With tech giant Apple having recently reported record-smashing earnings for its September-December 2014 quarter largely due to the overwhelming response to the new iPhone 6 models, CEO Tim Cook said that the demand for the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus handsets has been "staggering" and "hard to comprehend."
    According to the figures shared by Apple in its latest quarterly earnings report, the company sold a record high number of iPhones - nearly 74.5 million units, to be precise - during the three-month period which ended December
    2014.
    Against the backdrop of reports that most of the customers who purchased the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones had switched over from Android handsets, Cook told the Wall Street Journal that previous iPhone users accounted for barely 15 percent of the iPhone 6 customers.
    Cook also said that, during the 2014 fourth quarter, Apple saw a record number of first-time iPhone buyers and former Android-handset owners switching to the iPhone. The disclosure implies that Samsung - which is the biggest manufacturer of Android smartphones - is apparently losing its dominance of the smartphone market.
    Highlighting the fact that most iPhone 6 buyers shifted from Android-based phones, Cook said in Apple's latest quarterly-earnings call that "the current iPhone lineup experienced the highest Android switch rate in any of the last three launches in any of the three previous years."

  • With tech giant Apple having recently reported record-smashing earnings for its September-December 2014 quarter largely due to the overwhelming response to the new iPhone 6 models, CEO Tim Cook said that the demand for the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus handsets has been "staggering" and "hard to comprehend."
    According to the figures shared by Apple in its latest quarterly earnings report, the company sold a record high number of iPhones - nearly 74.5 million units, to be precise - during the three-month period which ended December
    2014.
    Against the backdrop of reports that most of the customers who purchased the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones had switched over from Android handsets, Cook told the Wall Street Journal that previous iPhone users accounted for barely 15 percent of the iPhone 6 customers.
    Cook also said that, during the 2014 fourth quarter, Apple saw a record number of first-time iPhone buyers and former Android-handset owners switching to the iPhone. The disclosure implies that Samsung - which is the biggest manufacturer of Android smartphones - is apparently losing its dominance of the smartphone market.
    Highlighting the fact that most iPhone 6 buyers shifted from Android-based phones, Cook said in Apple's latest quarterly-earnings call that "the current iPhone lineup experienced the highest Android switch rate in any of the last three launches in any of the three previous years."

  • Google spent a record $16.83 million last year and surpassed cable and telecom giant Comcast for the first time in lobbying the federal government, according to a new Consumer Watchdog report analyzing records filed by big tech and communications companies with the Clerk of the House.

    “They’ve been very concerned about privacy regulations. They’ve been active in the space about net neutrality,” said John Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s privacy director, in an interview Wednesday with the Mercury News. “They’ve just, I think, got the money to throw around and pressure policymakers the way they want to go.”

    Google’s lobbying of federal regulators and lawmakers grew by 20 percent from 2013. Comcast was close behind at $16.8 million, but down 10 percent from the previous year.

    Once considered Democrat-leaning, Google has increasingly sought to influence both sides of the aisle, hiring as its top lobbyist Susan Molinari, a former GOP congresswoman, in 2013. Simpson said his figures also don’t count all the “soft lobbying” Google and other tech companies do when they bankroll like-minded think-tanks and other organizations.

    Simpson (who is no fan of Google, as we’ve reported previously) said the amount of money spent by tech and communications companies is outrageous and should concern the public.

    “Policy-making isn’t about big ideas, it’s about big bucks,” he said. “Google doesn’t do anything unless it benefits their own bottom line. They might put it in the guise of ‘Don’t be evil,’ but they’re much more ruthless and calculating than people understand.”

  • Google spent a record $16.83 million last year and surpassed cable and telecom giant Comcast for the first time in lobbying the federal government, according to a new Consumer Watchdog report analyzing records filed by big tech and communications companies with the Clerk of the House.

    “They’ve been very concerned about privacy regulations. They’ve been active in the space about net neutrality,” said John Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s privacy director, in an interview Wednesday with the Mercury News. “They’ve just, I think, got the money to throw around and pressure policymakers the way they want to go.”

    Google’s lobbying of federal regulators and lawmakers grew by 20 percent from 2013. Comcast was close behind at $16.8 million, but down 10 percent from the previous year.

    Once considered Democrat-leaning, Google has increasingly sought to influence both sides of the aisle, hiring as its top lobbyist Susan Molinari, a former GOP congresswoman, in 2013. Simpson said his figures also don’t count all the “soft lobbying” Google and other tech companies do when they bankroll like-minded think-tanks and other organizations.

    Simpson (who is no fan of Google, as we’ve reported previously) said the amount of money spent by tech and communications companies is outrageous and should concern the public.

    “Policy-making isn’t about big ideas, it’s about big bucks,” he said. “Google doesn’t do anything unless it benefits their own bottom line. They might put it in the guise of ‘Don’t be evil,’ but they’re much more ruthless and calculating than people understand.”

    Here is Consumer Watchdog’s list of the 2014 lobbying amounts for five other tech firms:

    Cisco spent $2.35 million in 2014, a 25 percent decrease from 2013.
    IBM spent $4.95 million, a 30 percent decrease.
    Intel spent $3.80 million, a 13 percent decrease.
    Oracle spent $5.83 million, a 3 percent decrease.
    Yahoo spent $2.94 million, a 6 percent increase.*

  • fu_cowwwboy by fu_cowwwboy Jan 17, 2015 10:49 PM Flag

    Softcard, a mobile payments company developed by the largest wireless carriers in the country, never caught on with the mainstream.

    Now, the company is on the selling block.

    Google has made an offer to purchase Softcard for an amount less than $100 million, according to a person familiar with the matter. Separately, PayPal, the e-commerce giant owned by eBay, has also submitted an offer to acquire Softcard, according this person, who requested anonymity because of continuing ties to the company.

    The talks come just months after the high-profile launch of Apple Pay, Apple’s mobile wallet initiative that has gained the interest of merchants, banks and credit card companies around the world. Apple Pay’s early traction has forced other major Internet companies like PayPal and Google to step up their mobile wallet efforts, this person said.

    If any deal is made, it is not immediately clear what Google or PayPal would do with Softcard, a joint venture formed in 2010 and backed by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. The interest could lie in Softcard’s intellectual property patents, according to two people close to the company. It could also give Google a closer relationship with the wireless carriers involved in the joint venture, these people said.

    “We don’t have a comment, background, deep background, off the record steer, nod, wink or any other verbal or non-verbal response to these sorts of rumors,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

    A spokeswoman for PayPal did not immediately return calls and emailed requests for comment. A spokeswoman for Softcard card declined to comment.

    Softcard’s mobile app, which is available on both iOS and Android smartphones, allows customers to pay for items at more than 200,000 stores across the United States with a wave of their mobile device.

    But Softcard, formerly called Isis, failed to gain widespread traction with consumers, and has largely floundered in the five years since it has first launched.

    That has also been the case for Google Wallet, the search company’s failed attempt at offering consumers a way to pay for goods using a touch-free technology embedded in Android smartphones. Acquiring Softcard could reignite Google’s efforts in mobile commerce.

  • fu_cowwwboy by fu_cowwwboy Jan 17, 2015 9:33 PM Flag

    Softcard, a mobile payments company developed by the largest wireless carriers in the country, never caught on with the mainstream.

    Now, the company is on the selling block.

    Google has made an offer to purchase Softcard for an amount less than $100 million, according to a person familiar with the matter. Separately, PayPal, the e-commerce giant owned by eBay, has also submitted an offer to acquire Softcard, according this person, who requested anonymity because of continuing ties to the company.

    The talks come just months after the high-profile launch of Apple Pay, Apple’s mobile wallet initiative that has gained the interest of merchants, banks and credit card companies around the world. Apple Pay’s early traction has forced other major Internet companies like PayPal and Google to step up their mobile wallet efforts, this person said.

    If any deal is made, it is not immediately clear what Google or PayPal would do with Softcard, a joint venture formed in 2010 and backed by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. The interest could lie in Softcard’s intellectual property patents, according to two people close to the company. It could also give Google a closer relationship with the wireless carriers involved in the joint venture, these people said.

    “We don’t have a comment, background, deep background, off the record steer, nod, wink or any other verbal or non-verbal response to these sorts of rumors,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

    A spokeswoman for PayPal did not immediately return calls and emailed requests for comment. A spokeswoman for Softcard card declined to comment.

    Softcard’s mobile app, which is available on both iOS and Android smartphones, allows customers to pay for items at more than 200,000 stores across the United States with a wave of their mobile device.

    But Softcard, formerly called Isis, failed to gain widespread traction with consumers, and has largely floundered in the five years since it has first launched.

    That has also been the case for Google Wallet, the search company’s failed attempt at offering consumers a way to pay for goods using a touch-free technology embedded in Android smartphones. Acquiring Softcard could reignite Google’s efforts in mobile commerce.

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