All posts on June, 2016


Malware

Crime Pays: Ransomware Bosses Make $90K Annually

If crime doesn’t pay, Russian ransomware bosses wouldn’t know it. The average Russian ransomware boss makes $90,000 a year — or 13 times the average income for citizens in the country who stick to the “straight and narrow,” according to a recent Flashpoint study. What does a ransomware honcho do for those rubles? Basically, the job calls for supporting and maintaining the malware.

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Deals

Microsoft and LinkedIn Go All In

Microsoft on Monday announced an agreement to buy LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional social media network, for $26.2 billion in cash. The acquisition furthers Microsoft’s effort to extend the breadth of its content portfolio and to integrate its offerings into its platform of cloud services. The companies jointly announced the deal.

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Mobile

Can Huawei Overtake Apple and Samsung?

Huawei says it is working hard to overtake Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy line in the worldwide smartphone market. If you were to ask anyone over the last eight years if that were possible, you would have heard a resounding “no.” The marketplace is changing, though, and anything is now possible. Today Apple, Google and Samsung are enormous, but the rate of smartphone growth has slowed.

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Space

Musk Envisions Wagon Train to Mars

Elon Musk fleshed out his vision for establishing the first colony on Mars in a recent interview. As soon as 2018, Musk’s SpaceX venture could launch an unmanned spacecraft to the red planet, he said, and that could be followed by future unmanned flights every two years — timed for when the Earth and Mars orbits position the planets closest together.

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Tech Buzz

Google and the Birth of the People-Delivery Drone

Larry Page is rumored to be building a flying car, apparently dropping a whopping $100M into the effort. Surprisingly, this actually makes more sense to me than a self-driving car does, because it potentially solves two problems at once: You won’t have to fly the thing yourself; and it eliminates the need for roads for those who commute to work. Roads could be just for moving heavy stuff.

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Smartphones

Drops and Spills Don’t Faze Samsung Galaxy S7 Active

The water- and shatter-resistant Samsung Galaxy S7 Active on Friday became available exclusively from AT&T. Consumers who have eligible service can get the Galaxy S7 Active for $26.50 monthly for 30 months on AT&T Next, or $33.13 monthly for 24 months on AT&T Next Every Year. With a new two-year wireless agreement, customers who opt for AT&T Next also can get a free Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch.

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Government

The Tricky Business of Crafting Solid Cloud SLAs

In the five years since the U.S. government put a clear emphasis on utilizing cloud technology, federal procurement offices have engaged in seemingly endless tinkering of contracting vehicles to promote cloud adoption. The core element of virtually every type of federal cloud procurement contract is the service level agreement, upon which billions of dollars of cloud investments are based.

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Home Tech

Devs Light Up for Alexa

Amazon last week announced the availability of more than 1,000 different skills for its Alexa voice assistant technology. Third-party developers have created the vast array of new capabilities for the highly popular line of consumer products that use Alexa, including the Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap and Amazon Fire. The announcement comes less than a year after Amazon released the Alexa Skills Kit.

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Strategy

The Marginal Customer

I start a lot of client engagements with a simple question: Who’s the customer? It’s amazing the answers that I get. Some people know the customer’s demographic and business or personal needs, and they focus on those things. Others don’t even grasp the difference between a customer and a consumer. You might expect this if you are working in the B2C rather than B2B space.

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Transportation

Larry Page May Be Blazing a Trail for Self-Flying Cars

Google cofounder Larry Page reportedly is working with two Silicon Valley startups to develop a flying car. One is Zee.Aero, which Page personally has funded since its launch in 2010, when it set up shop next to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. The firm reportedly has filed a patent application for a small, all-electric vehicle that could take off and land vertically.

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Mobile

Uber Tosses Its Drivers a Few Bones

Facing growing pressure from labor unions and regulators across the U.S. and key overseas markets, Uber on Monday introduced a series of new apps and benefits for its core group of drivers. The goal is to make their working hours more productive and profitable. Among the new apps are Driver Destinations, which lets drivers restrict ride requests to their current routes.

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Exclusives

SugarCRM CTO Clint Oram: Make Every Customer Experience Extraordinary

SugarCRM cofounder Clint Oram is one of the original architects and developers of the Sugar application. As the company’s CTO, he currently leads SugarCRM’s corporate development strategy and alliances teams. The biggest CRM challenge right now is that “technology is changing the way customers work with companies,” Oram said. “Technology has driven speed and relevancy expectations through the roof.”

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Tech Law

Supreme Court Snubs Google’s AdWords Appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear Google’s appeal of a lower court ruling in a suit alleging the company used deceptive practices in the sale and placement of advertising through its AdWords program between 2004 and 2008. Google, a unit of Alphabet, sought to overturn the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals September 2015 ruling that the lawsuit could go forward as a class action case.

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Strategy

Creating the Right Business Culture for Success

In an era when technology is changing the ways people conduct every aspect of their lives, it’s not a surprise that business leaders have come to depend on it as the lever that will elevate their sales and marketing performance to the next level.
Productivity has increased because of technology, and the implementation of technological tools has had a direct effect on sales effectiveness.

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Tech Law

Yahoo Publishes NSLs Following Freedom Act Reforms

Yahoo last week published the text of three National Security Letters it received from the FBI in 2013. The letters demand the names, addresses, length of service, and electronic communications transactional records — existing transaction and activity logs and all email header information — of the targets. However, they do not ask for any content — either the subject lines or bodies of emails.

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Analytics

Facebook AI Digs Deep Into User Content

Facebook on Wednesday introduced DeepText, an artificial intelligence-fueled text analytics engine. “Text is a prevalent form of communication on Facebook,” wrote Facebook software engineers Ahmad Abdulkader, Aparna Lakshmiratan and Joy Zhang in a post describing its capabilities. “Understanding the various ways text is used on Facebook can help us improve people’s experiences with our products.”

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