There are multiple theories for the decline in pay, but a common one cited by analysts is simply that the new people being hired are paid less than those already on the job.
The average annual wage of all workers in the software services sector was $99,000 in 2012, about $2,000 less than the prior year, reported TechAmerica Foundation in its annual Cyberstates report.
The foundation is an affiliate of the industry trade group TechAmerca. It uses Labor Dept. data to assemble its report.
Matthew Kazmierczak, a senior vice president at TechAmerica, said if there is lots of hiring in an industry and the pay for new hires is below average, the average wage could go down.
The hiring could be below the overall salary average “if many of the new jobs are more ‘entry’ level or people without the same specialized skills or years of experience (managerial or otherwise) as a more seasoned employee,” said Kazmierczak.
“It is also possible that with the recession, wages [for new hires] dropped as more people were competing for jobs. So wages for new jobs are below average,” said Kazmierczak.
The Cyberstates report puts the tech labor force at 5.95 million in 2012, an increase of 1.1% from the prior year. Of that, 1.87 million workers are in software services jobs.
Software services, which includes government defined labor categories software publishers, custom programmers, computer facilities management and other computer related services, are the best paid and the largest segment of the tech work force.
Citing three unnamed sources, Bloomberg Businessweek reports that Amazon is planning to launch the set-top box this fall. However, the report doesn’t say how much the box will cost or how it will stand out from other devices like Apple TV and Roku.
It’s obvious why Amazon would want to launch its own TV box. Existing set-top boxes and game consoles don’t put Amazon’s services front and center, or they don’t offer Amazon video at all.
With its own product, Amazon can steer people toward its Prime Instant Video service and its a la carte video offerings.
Bloomberg claims that Amazon will likely allow competing video services such as Netflix and Hulu on the device, just as it does on the Kindle Fire. Still, Amazon’s own services will get more prominent billing.
But does the world need another cheap set-top box? That depends on what Amazon can bring to the table.
Just to speculate a bit, the company could offer tablet-to-TV streaming similar to Apple’s AirPlay–a feature not found on most competing devices–and it could extend its FreeTime service A to the television to highlight kid-friendly content.
Perhaps Amazon could also dabble in gaming by offering a controller that works with games from its own Appstore for Android.
Most of all, Amazon could undercut the competition on price, just as it did with the Kindle Fire. If the company can offer a sub-$50 set-top box with solid features and a simple interface, it could be a big hit.
That’s an impressive number considering that Google’s Glass eyewear, the major force in this market, isn’t scheduled for official release until sometime in 2014.
IMS Research is predicting that 9.4 million units of smart glasses will ship by 2016, with 6.6 million pairs shipping in that year alone. This year, smart glasses shipments are expected to grow 150% to hit 124,000 units.
IMS Research is crediting this year’s growth to developers’ buying early versions of Glass. Google also is selling as many as 8,000 pairs to testers, called Explorers.
In 2014, when Glass is expected to hit the market, IMS expects smart glass shipments to jump 250%.
What will drive the success of Glass is less about the glasses themselves and more about what they can do.
“The applications are far more critical than the hardware when it comes to the success of Google Glass,” said Theo Ahadome, a senior analyst at IHS, which is now part of IMS Research. “In fact, the hardware is much less relevant to the growth of Google Glass than for any other personal communications device in recent history. This is because the utility of Google Glass is not readily apparent, so everything will depend on the appeal of the apps. This is why the smart glass market makes sense for a software-oriented organization like Google, despite the company’s limited previous success in developing hardware.”
Google, he added, is betting that developers will produce compelling applications for Glass.
Ahadome noted that he expects developers to create Glass apps that will offer live updates for travelers, location reviews and recommendations, nutritional information and personal references.
Just this week, Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said Glass won’t be on the market for about a year.
“We’ve just started distributing it to the first developers,” Schmidt, told a BBC reporter. “It’s fair to say there will be thousands in use over the months and there will be changes made based on feedback. But it’s fair to say it’s a year-ish away.”
After facing a congressional battering over security concerns, Huawei’s carrier networking group is no longer focused on the U.S. market, and instead expects to find plenty of business in other parts of the world.
“Apparently, due to whatever the geopolitical reasons, we are not focusing on the U.S. market,” said Li Sanqi, Huawei’s chief technology officer for the group, on Tuesday.
Last October, a congressional panel advised the nation’s telecom operators to steer clear of buying Huawei’s networking equipment for fears over the company’s alleged ties to the Chinese government.
The U.S. lawmakers’ claims against Huawei dealt a major blow to the company’s carrier networking group, which had spent years trying to cultivate business in the country’s telecom industry. U.S. officials worry that Huawei technology could be used by China to secretly conduct cyber espionage or hacking attacks.
Huawei has rejected the allegations and insists that its telecommunication equipment is safe to use. But for now, the company’s carrier networking group is dropping the U.S. from its priorities, despite the market’s size, Li said in a meeting with reporters. He estimated that the U.S. accounts for about 30 percent of the world’s carrier business.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to get into the U.S. market. Thirty percent, it’s a high-value market,” he said. But the carrier business in other parts of the world continues to grow, which he said was an encouraging sign for the company.
“We today face reality. We will focus on the rest of the world, which is reasonably big enough and is growing significantly,” he added.
One major market expected to help Huawei’s carrier networking group is China, which is preparing to launch new 4G networks. The country has more than a billion mobile phone accounts, and the nation’s tech regulators are expected to issue commercial 4G licenses later this year.
While that number may not be as high as it had been expected to be, it’s a strong start for the Android launcher, according to Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research.
“Most companies would be thrilled to have a half million downloads in 10 days,” said Gottheil. “It may be disappointing, but it’s still good news. Even if only half stick with it, that’s a lot more screen time than before for Facebook. Every user is a net win.”
Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.
Facebook Home, which became available for download on April 12, enables users to experience their smartphone through a Facebook-focused lens.
It doesn’t replace the Android operating system. Instead, it sits on top of it and includes a family of Facebook-related apps, while also working with the apps a user already has on his phone.
The launcher was first made available for Android smartphones, with a tablet version set to come later. And while some reports have said Facebook is in talks with Apple to create a version of Home for iOS, analysts have said it’ll never happen.
Gottheil pointed out Monday that though Facebook has more than 1 billion users, the number who use Android phones is much smaller. And the number of users who have an Android phone that works with Home at this point is smaller still.
The company reported that at the end of 2012, it had680 million monthly active mobile users.
Comparing the 500,000 downloads to the number of Facebook’s mobile users instead of its overall number of users, makes the downloads look much greater, Gottheil noted.
“Some people are Facebook fanatics, and Facebook Home makes sense for them,” he added. “A lot of others just want to try it. Remember that downloading isn’t using.”
According to PC Advisor the prototype of a client-side architecture that would replace the Web browser with a much more secure virtualized environment has been developed by Microsoft. Dubbed Embassies, the technology would have applications run in low-level, native-code containers that would use Internet addresses for all external communications with applications.
In a paper presented this month at the USENIX Symposium on Networked System Design and Implementation Microsoft researchers said Microsoft is trying to solve is the insecurity of today’s browsers, brought on by their complexity. In the 1990s, when browsers were introduced, the software was mostly responsible for formatting Web pages that were text, links and simple graphics.
Modern browsers have many more application programming interfaces (APIs) that are used for far more complicated tasks, such as video, animation and 3D graphics. This high level of complexity has brought a never-ending string of vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.
Embassies is Microsoft’s attempt to present a simpler alternative than the browser which can be a lot more secure. The architecture has a simple execution environment that would use only 30 functions in interacting with the client’s execution interface (CEI). Displaying content would essentially be a screencast from the container to the user’s screen.
Developers would be responsible for packaging their own libraries with their applications. If malicious code gets in, the container would prevent it from infecting the computer. Of course the downside of this is that developers of web applications are often terrible at security and for the system to work, these guys have to be on the ball.
Dish Network Corp, the No. 2 U.S. satellite television provider, offered to acquire Sprint Nextel Corp for $25.5 billion in cash and stock, a move that could endanger the proposed acquisition of Sprint by Japan’s SoftBank Corp.
Sprint shares soared as much as 17.8 percent after the announcement to their highest level since August 2008 and slightly topped the value of the Dish bid.
Dish’s surprise bid on Monday is the latest twist in a wave of consolidation in the U.S. wireless industry. Dish had already made a counter-offer against Sprint for Clearwire Corp, the wireless company majority-owned by Sprint.
It was also the boldest step yet by Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen, who has bought billions of dollars worth of wireless spectrum in the last few years and has been seeking some sort of deal to make use of the airwaves.
“This is the culmination of a lot of years of work. Whether it be the purchase of spectrum, entering auctions, the acquisition of Sling Media, all those things come together now with the merger with Sprint,” Ergen said on a conference call with analysts and reporters.
Dish said it would pay $4.76 per share in cash and about 0.05953 shares in Dish stock for each Sprint share. The offer, which works out to $7 per share, represents a premium of roughly 12 percent to Sprint’s close on Friday.
Sprint said it would evaluate the proposal but declined further comment.
Dish claimed its offer represented a premium of roughly 13 percent above SoftBank’s existing bid. Sprint shareholders would own 32 percent of the combined company under the Dish offer compared with a 30 percent ownership in the SoftBank deal.
Some analysts said the Dish offer could lead to a bidding war with SoftBank.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if both parties revised their offers. The Dish bid strikes me as superior from an operational perspective because they operate a U.S. business,” said RBC Capital Markets analyst Jonathan Atkin.
Sprint, the No. 3 U.S. mobile services provider, agreed in October to sell 70 percent of its shares to SoftBank for $20.1 billion. That deal is currently being reviewed by regulators.
BlackBerry’s recent launch of the Z10 smartphone and the upcoming Q10 qwerty device were intended to put the company back in the thick of the smartphone wars, but BlackBerry seems to be defending itself from a new crisis every week.
In the latest mini-calamity, BlackBerry on Friday said it will seek a review by U.S. and Canadian securities officials of what it called a “false and misleading report” by investment analysts at Detwiler Fenton that said Z10 smartphones are being returned by customers in unusually high numbers.
Reaction to the Detwiler report, and others citing weak Z10 sales, apparently caused a 7.8% drop in BlackBerry stock on Thursday, down to $13.55 a share.
“Sales of the BlackBerry Z10 are meeting expectations and the data we have collected from our retail and carrier partners demonstrates that customers are satisfied with their devices,” said BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins in a statement Friday.
“Return rate statistics show that we are at or below our forecasts and right in line with the industry. To suggest otherwise is either a gross misreading of the data or a willful manipulation. Such a conclusion is absolutely without basis and BlackBerry will not leave it unchallenged,” Heins said.
The Detwiler report was shared with the investment firm’s clients but not directly with BlackBerry or the public. Detwiler could not be reached to comment.
Yahoo Inc is in discussions to purchase a controlling interest in Dailymotion, one of the world’s most popular online video websites, in what would be Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s largest deal since taking the reins in July, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.
Yahoo could acquire as much as 75 percent of Dailymotion, which is owned by French telecommunications firm France Telecom-Orange, according to the newspaper report, which cited anonymous sources.
Dailymotion could be valued at roughly $300 million, according to the report, which noted that the deal is not imminent and could fall apart.
“We are unable to confirm, deny or comment on speculation regarding potential talks between Yahoo and Orange at this time,” Dailymotion Managing Director Roland Hamilton said in an emailed statement.
Yahoo and France-Telecom Orange declined to comment.
France Telecom-Orange acquired Dailymotion for $170 million through a two-phase deal, with the most recent transaction closing in January. Dailymotion’s editorial and executive management operate independently of France Telecom-Orange.
Dailymotion is the No. 12 ranked online video Web property in the world, according to industry research firm comScore. It says Dailymotion has 116 million unique monthly visitors and more than 2 billion videos viewed. Google Inc, which owns YouTube, is the world’s No. 1 Web video property while Yahoo’s various websites ranked 10th on the list.
The transaction for Dailymotion would represent Yahoo’s largest deal since Mayer, a former Google executive, took charge last year. Yahoo has acquired several small mobile and web start-up companies since Mayer became chief executive last year.
The U.S. is woefully unprepared to face a full-scale cyber-conflict launched by a peer adversary, a report by the military’s Defense Science Board (DSB) warns.
The report, released in January, and first reported on by The Washington Post on Tuesday, is based on an 18-month study of the resilience of U.S. military systems to cyberattacks.
It reflects the perspective of 24 members of a DSB Task Force who interviewed more than four dozen Department of Defense (DoD) officials, members of the U.S. intelligence community, policy makers and security practitioners from private industry, academia and national laboratories.
The conclusions in the report are grim, even by the often Cassandra-like standards of the cybersecurity industry.
“The benefits to an attacker using cyber exploits are potentially spectacular,” the report warns. “Should the United States find itself in a full-scale conflict with a peer adversary, attacks would be expected to include denial of service, data corruption, supply chain corruption, traitorous insiders, kinetic and related non-kinetic attacks at all altitudes from underwater to space. ”
The attacks could cause U.S. guns, missiles and bombs to fail, misfire or be directed against the country’s troops. Supply chains could be disrupted, resulting in critical shortages of food, water and ammunition. “Military Commanders may rapidly lose trust in the information and ability to control U.S. systems and forces,” the report noted.
The impact of a full-scale cyberassault on the civilian population would be even greater with the power grid, communications infrastructure, financial networks and fuel distribution infrastructure all getting crippled. “In a short time, food and medicine distribution systems would be ineffective; transportation would fail or become so chaotic as to be useless,” the report said.
The report offers several recommendations on what the government and the military need to do to address the problems. Among them is the need for a strong deterrent capability in cyberspace, the development of a strong incident response capability based on a thorough understanding of an adversary’s cyber capabilities, and the need for robust cyber offensive capabilities.
U.S. broadband providers deliver nearly the residential broadband speeds they advertise, with a few of large providers even exceeding the promised service, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission said in a new report.
On average, U.S. broadband providers surveyed in September delivered sustained speeds at 97 percent of advertised speeds, up slightly from the FCC’s July broadband report, and up from 87 percent in the agency’s August 2011 report.
The new report found that cable provider Comcast delivered 103 percent of promised download speeds during peak hours, Cablevision delivered 115 percent, Verizon’s Fios service delivered 118 percent, and satellite provider ViaSat’s Exede service delivered 137 percent. ViaSat offers 12Mbps download, and 3Mbps upload service for US$49.99 to $129.99 a month, depending on the data cap.
Providers not meeting their advertised download speeds during peak hours included Qwest at 82 percent and Windstream at 81 percent. Verizon’s DSL service delivered 88 percent of advertised download speeds. The FCC report said AT&T’s speeds were 87 percent of advertised speeds, but a company spokesman disputed that characterization.
The FCC report found that DSL tended to deliver the worst performance compared to advertised speeds, with DSL giving customers 85 percent of advertised download speeds. Cable delivered 99 percent and fiber 115 percent.
The report also said U.S. residential broadband customers are migrating to faster speed tiers. Since the FCC’s last broadband report, the average speed tier that customers subscribed to increased from 14.3Mbps to 15.6Mbps. Nearly half of broadband customers who subscribed to speeds of less than 1Mbps six months ago have adopted higher speeds, and nearly a quarter who subscribed to speeds between 1Mbps and 3Mbps have upgraded, the FCC said.
Mark Shuttleworth, the CEO of Canonical Ltd., told CIO Journal that the newsmartphone OS will be available in October in two large geographic markets, without committing that one of them would be North America. Developers will also be able to access the OS on the Galaxy Nexus smartphone from Samsung in late February.
Canonical provides services for corporations that use Linux-based software called Ubuntu. A Ubuntu smartphone could be used to link to a large display in an office, even wirelessly, to access Windows applications kept on backend servers.
Canonical could not be reached to comment on the report.
Despite the promise of Ubuntu in a smartphone or other device, analysts widely regard its chances of catching on as slim. Already, corporations are adapting to smartphones and tablets running Google’s Android or Apple’s iOS that employees bring to work. Company IT shops have adapted to the consumer devices by installing mobile device management software on the corporate network to provide added security and controls across the largest smartphone platforms.
One analyst, Jack Gold of J. Gold Associates, dismissed the value of an Ubuntu smartphone, even though such a device could provide some value to Linux developers inside organizations.
“I can’t see any enterprises willingly adopting an Ubuntu phone,” Gold said. “I don’t even see many users wanting one, either, unless they are techies.
More than a quarter, or 28 percent, of those quizzed in a recent Pew Internet Project survey said Facebook has become less important to them than it was a year ago, with about the same proportion saying they expect to spend less time on the social network in 2013. More than a third of users said the amount of time they spend on the site has decreased over the past year.
Things got heated when respondents were asked open-ended questions about their experiences on the site — feelings of exhaustion, frustration and irritation were a theme among some users. Some sample responses: “I was tired of stupid comments.” “It was not getting me anywhere.” “Too much drama.” “I got tired of minding everybody else’s business.”
Those answers represent the views of a certain type of user, said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet Project and a co-author of the report. While people on opposite ends of the social networking spectrum will either love new technologies or hate them, it’s the ones in the middle trying to figure things out who regularly raise questions, he said.
“These are the guys who say ‘It’s not worth it’ for a while. It’s a common story playing out on Facebook today,” he said.
The majority of users, or 59 percent, said Facebook is as important to them today as it was a year ago, and 69 percent said they plan to spend the same amount of time on the site this year as in the past.
But 61 percent of the Facebook users surveyed reported they had at some point taken a break from the site for several weeks or more, citing a lack of interest, irrelevant content or being too busy. About 9 percent of those who took a “Facebook vacation” said there was too much drama, gossip and negativity on the site.
The company identifies three types of accounts that don’t represent actual users: duplicate accounts, misclassified accounts and undesirable accounts. Together, they added up to just over 7 percent of its worldwide monthly active users last year.
Facebook disclosed the figures in its annual report filed with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission.
Duplicate accounts, or those maintained by people in addition to their principal account, represent 53 million accounts, or 5 percent of the total, Facebook said.
Misclassified accounts, including those created for non-human entities such as pets or organizations, which instead should have Facebook Pages, accounted for almost 14 million accounts, or 1.3 percent of the total.
And undesirable accounts, such as those created by spammers, rounded out the tally with 9.5 million accounts, or 0.9 percent of users.
Facebook said it continually tries to improve its ability to identify these duplicate or false accounts. It also noted that there’s a higher percentage of such accounts in developing countries such as Indonesia and Turkey, compared to developed markets like the U.S. and Australia.
Using a fake name is against Facebook’s policies and it encourages users to report friends who use false names or set up fake accounts.
“We have a dedicated User Operations team that reviews these reports and takes action as necessary,” along with technical systems in place to flag and block potential fake accounts based on name and anomalous site activity, a company spokeswoman said.
Shipments of smartphones with screens 5 inches or larger will more than double this year, as consumers are increasingly drawn to the large screen sizes offered by the phones, according to a prediction from IHS iSuppli.
The company said it expects shipments of such phones to reach just over 60 million units in 2013, up from 25 million units in 2012. The entire smartphone market is expected to be around 836 million handsets, which means the large-screen phones will make up about 7 percent of the market. In 2012, large-screen phones accounted for about 4 percent of all smartphones, said IHS iSuppli.
Demand for large-screen handsets is strongest in Asia, where customers find the screen size easier for Asian text input, said Vinita Jakhanwal, director of mobile and emerging display research at the company.
At last week’s International CES in Las Vegas, two Chinese cellphone makers unveiled new phones with large screens. ZTE’s Grand S has a 5-inch, full high-definition (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) screen, while Huawei’s Ascend Mate has a 6.1-inch screen. That screen pushes further the boundary between phone and tablet and is the largest yet featured on a smartphone.
Enabling the growth in large-screen smartphones is expansion in production capacity of such screens at major display makers, like Sharp, LG Display and Japan Display, a company formed in late 2011 when Sony, Toshiba and Hitachi merged their small and medium-size display businesses.
Supply of 5-inch and larger screens is still a little tight, but new and more advanced production lines coming from these companies, and later from Chinese display makers, will help free up supply to meet the increasing demand, said Jakhanwal.
For display makers, the growing market is good news. The screens on such smartphones are often high-end products with high resolution that command a higher price and better profit margins than 3-inch and 4-inch class screens where competition is fierce, said Jakhanwal.