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Twitter Tamps Down Rumors Of Being Acquired

February 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

 Twitter Inc Chief Executive Jack Dorsey stated that he sees value in the social media network remaining an independent company, tamping down recent speculation by analysts that it could be an acquisition target.

“I’ve always thought that there’s a lot of strength to our independence. We can work on every device. We can work through any medium,” Dorsey said in a response to a question at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference.

Some investment analysts reignited talk of a potential Twitter deal last week when Twitter reported a surprising rise in revenue and its first quarterly profit.

 The Walt Disney Co. expressed interest in 2016, though at the time Twitter shares were trading at about half the current price, meaning an acquisition by anyone would be much more expensive than two years ago.

Shares in Twitter closed at $33.44 on Tuesday, up 8 percent against a 0.3 percent rise in the S&P 500 Index. Dorsey’s comments came after the closing bell, and shares were unchanged afterward.

Is Xerox Making A Deal With Fujifilm

February 8, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Xerox is close to agreeing on a deal that would combine the printer and photocopier company with Japan’s Fujifilm in a bid to revive its fortunes and thwart an activist shareholder revolt.

Fujifilm is expected to make a stock and cash offer to Xerox that would give the Japanese group a 51 percent stake in the combined company, said a person with direct knowledge of the transaction terms.

A deal, which could be announced will value Xerox at $8 billion, which was the market value of Xerox at the close of trading on Tuesday.

Ties between the two companies date back to the early 1960s when they formed a copier joint venture, which has grown to generate almost half of the Japanese group’s total annual revenues of $21 billion.

However some analysts questioned the merit of Fujifilm investing further in Xerox’s business, which has suffered a 15 percent decline in annual revenue to $10bn over the past three years. Such a deal would break with the Japanese company’s strategy of branching into new areas such as pharmaceuticals and cosmetics to cushion the decline of its photo film sales.

Fujifilm said it would cut 10,000 jobs globally at its joint venture with Xerox, representing about 22 percent of its workforce at FujiXerox. It also lowered its full-year operating profit guidance by 30 percent to reflect related restructuring charges. The Japanese company is scheduled to hold a news conference on its business strategy tonight.

Courtesy-Fud

Snap Chat User Base Grows, Shares Soar

February 7, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Snap Inc surprised investors with a rebound in user growth for its Snapchat messaging app, showing resilience amid competition with Facebook Inc’s Instagram and sending shares up nearly 30 percent.

Paired with higher-than-expected revenue and improved margins, the user growth signaled loss-making Snap could be turning a corner as it grapples with other social media companies adding Snapchat-like features, analysts said.

Snapchat’s daily active users rose to 187 million in the quarter ended Dec. 31 from 178 million in the third quarter, beating analysts’ average expectation of 184.2 million users, according to financial data and analytics firm FactSet.

Daily active users rose 18 percent from a year earlier, reversing a trend of slowing growth. The figure is closely watched by investors who hope user growth can be translated into advertising revenue.

Chief Executive Evan Spiegel credited improvements to the version of Snapchat that runs on Android phones, saying the retention rate of new Android users rose by nearly 20 percent compared to a year earlier

“Our business really came together towards the end of last year,” Spiegel said in remarks prepared for a conference call with analysts.

Shares traded at $17.73 after the bell, up 26 percent after trading even higher earlier. They had not traded above Snap’s initial public offering price of $17 since July 10.

“This was a monster quarter relative to bearish expectations,” analyst Daniel Ives of GBH Insights said, cautioning however that “competitive headwinds abound with Instagram front and center.”

Nearly a year after Snap’s March IPO, analysts and investors have been watching to see if Snap can boost user growth amid competition from larger rival Instagram, which has added photo filters and other Snapchat-mimicking features.

To make its app more friendly to users and advertisers, Snap launched a redesigned app in November, splitting “friends” from content feeds.

The Venice, California-based company posted a net loss of $350 million, or 28 cents per share, compared to a loss of $170 million, or 20 cents per share, a year earlier. It was Snap’s fourth quarterly earnings as a public company.

 

Apple Takes Smartphone Lead Away From Samsung

February 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

Apple has leaped past Samsung as the world’s leading shipper of smartphones, according to two industry reports.

Though IDC and IHS Markit had differing numbers for the fourth quarter of 2017, the result was the same: Apple handsets surpassed Samsung in shipments for only the second time in history.

“The new models from Apple played a key role in moving Apple ahead of Samsung in Q4,” said Ryan Reith, vice president for IDC’s Mobile Device Tracker report.

According to Apple’s own numbers, it’s selling about 10 iPhone per second — most of which are iPhone X’s.

Apple yesterday announced quarterly revenue of $88.3 billion, an increase of 13% year-over-year — an all-time record. International sales accounted for 65 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

Apple once before surpassed Samsung in handset shipments – in the fourth quarter of 2016. But that was considered an anomaly by analysts at the time.

“Apple had a good holiday quarter [in 2016], but it was also the same time Samsung was going through that whole issue with the Note 7 and the battery issue. So Samsung was having its own issues, while Apple was doing well,” Reith said. “There was no anomaly this quarter. There’s no question [Apple is] gaining traction.”

Apple shipments, Reith said, are driven by holiday sales because their new product release cycle comes just prior to that season.

“There’s a good chance they could see a soft first half of 2018. That’s not because they’re doing anything wrong,” Reith said. “That’s mainly because of the way the fanbase follows their new product. They rush out to buy the new product and then it sort of tapers off a little bit as you get closer to the September announcement for new products.”

While Apple may have passed Samsung, overall smartphone shipments declined 6.3% in the fourth quarter of 2017, and shipments for the whole year decreased just under 1% due to higher-priced “ultra-high-end flagship” models, IDC said.

IHS Markit research saw the market slightly different, with shipments dipping a bit less  (4.5%) from Q3 to Q4 while increasing 3.5% for the year.

Leading the market in the fourth quarter, Apple shipped 77.3 million smartphones, 1.2% fewer than in 2016, according to IHS. Samsung shipped 74.3 million units, down  2.2%.

Apple accounted for 20% of all smartphones shipped in the fourth quarter. Samsung followed at 19%, according to IHS.

IDC also pegged Apple’s shipments at 77.3 million in Q4, but it saw that as a 1.3% decrease year-over-year.

Although demand for the new higher priced iPhone X may not have been as strong as many expected, the overall iPhone lineup appealed to a wider range of consumers in both emerging and developed markets, IDC said. Apple finished second for the full year in 2017 shipping 215.8 million units, up 0.2% from the 215.4 million units shipped in 2016.

“Apple continues to prove that having numerous models at various price points bodes well for bringing smartphone owners to iOS,” IDC said.

Sprint Showing Signs Of Improvement, Beats Earnings Estimate

February 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

Sprint Corp reported quarterly revenue on Friday that beat analyst projections, as the No. 4 U.S. wireless carrier raised its free cash flow outlook for the 2017 fiscal year.

Shares rose 3.7 percent to $5.29 in early trading, a day after sliding 5.7 percent to their lowest in a year and a half.

The company has sought to strengthen its balance sheet by cutting costs and mortgaging a portion of its airwaves and equipment, but industry analysts have raised concerns about how it can adequately fund network improvements after merger talks with rival T-Mobile US Inc ended last year.

Sprint now expects $2.5 billion to $2.7 billion in operating income, up from its previous estimate of $2.1 billion to $2.5 billion. It expects adjusted free cash flow of $500 million to $700 million, compared to previous estimates of breaking even.

“We think recent weakness in shares is reflective of lowered investor expectations, while in-line to slightly better financial results could provide some near-term relief,” said Matthew Niknam, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, in a research note.

On the post-earnings conference call, Sprint Chief Executive Officer Marcelo Claure said Sprint would launch a mobile 5G network in the United States by the first half of 2019.

The company is also looking for ways to reduce the number of executives at the top, he said. Sprint cut costs by about $260 million in the quarter, excluding $100 million of hurricane-related charges.

Claure said “becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of (SoftBank Group Corp) could be a possibility” but that the decision would be up to SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son. Japan’s SoftBank owns a majority of Sprint and has been increasing its stake.

For the quarter, Sprint reported net additions of 184,000 phone subscribers who pay a monthly bill, compared to additions of 368,000 a year earlier.

Net operating revenue in the third quarter ended Dec. 31 was $8.24 billion, down from $8.55 billion a year earlier.

 

Amazon Has Largest Profit Ever

February 2, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Amazon.com Inc reported a profit near $2 billion, the largest in its history, as the online retailer attracted millions of new customers to its Prime fast-shipping club for the holiday season and as changes to U.S. tax law added to its bottom line.

Shares rose more than 6.4 percent in extended trading, after previously closing down 4 percent on the Nasdaq.

Seattle-based Amazon is using fast shipping, television shows exclusive to its website and forays into new technology, such as its voice-controlled Alexa devices, to win and keep high-spending Prime members. Its $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market last year is helping it capture shoppers’ grocery sales, too.

The world’s largest online retailer said net income more than doubled to $1.86 billion, or $3.75 per share in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31. Its profit received a provisional $789 million boost from the U.S. Republican tax bill passed in December. Analysts on average were expecting just $1.85 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“This was another blow-out quarter for Amazon,” said GBH Insights analyst Daniel Ives. “The retail strength was eye-popping as the company had a banner holiday season and looked to capture roughly 50 percent of all e-commerce holiday season sales.”

As expected, the period running from before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday through New Years was Amazon’s biggest-ever by revenue. Sales rose 38 percent to $60.5 billion in the quarter, beating expectations.

The company’s fast delivery, like its two-hour Prime Now service, has helped win over holiday shoppers eager to avoid the crowds of big box retailers. Prime saw more than 4 million sign-ups in one week alone last quarter, and revenue from subscription fees grew 49 percent to $3.2 billion, Amazon said.

That figure is expected to rise this quarter in part because the company recently raised the fee for month-to-month Prime plans, affecting some 30 percent of subscribers, according to analysts at Cowen & Co. Some 60 million, or close to half of all U.S. households, are estimated to have Prime subscriptions.

Advertising and other revenue rose 62 percent to $1.74 billion.

Perhaps the surprise star of the past quarter was Amazon’s voice aide Alexa, embedded in the company’s Echo speakers and Fire TV players, as well as some cars and house gadgets. Millions of Amazon customers ordered goods by voice with Alexa in the past year, said Brian Olsavsky, Amazon’s chief financial officer, on a call with reporters.

“Our 2017 projections for Alexa were very optimistic, and we far exceeded them,” added Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and chief executive, in a statement. “We don’t see positive surprises of this magnitude very often — expect us to double down.”

LG PLans To Make Plasic OLED Displays

February 1, 2018 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

LG Display saved itself from the wrath of Wall Street after announce covering its lack-lustre performance by announcing that it will begin making plastic organic light-emitting diode panels at a new line in South Korea in the third quarter.

LG expects to start producing plastic OLED panels at a line in Paju, which lies to the north of Seoul, in the third quarter of 2018, it said on an earnings call on Tuesday, helping offset disappointment over the company’s dismal quarterly performance.

Operating profit in the fourth quarter of 2017 slumped 95 percent to its lowest in about two years, thanks to slumping iPhone sales, falling LCD panel prices, large OLED investment and an unfavorable exchange rate.

LG shares fell as much as two percent but later rose 6.2 percent to a four-month high after comments on the timeline for plastic OLED.

The South Korean firm did not provide any OLED panels for Apple’s iPhone X in 2017 and said in December that nothing had been decided about future supply for Apple.

Analysts think that LG Display has gotten a handle on its OLED turnaround and surer of itself. The company is planning to shift all its business to OLED by 2020.

LG’s operating profit for the quarter ended last month was the lowest since April-June 2016 and was short of what Wall Street expected.

Results were hit as LCD TV panel prices fell 20-40 percent last year after previous price hikes curbed demand for large-size TVs, said WitsView, part of research provider TrendForce.

LG expected panel shipments during the current quarter to fall by a high-single digit percentage due to lower seasonal demand but added that panel prices would likely stabilise at the end of the period.

“Although short-term earnings might be impacted by LCD panel prices, the share price will be driven by the firm’s progress in the OLED business,” said Park Sung-soon, an analyst at Baro Investment & Securities.

Courtesy-Fud

Is An IPO In Dell’s Future?

January 29, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

U.S. computer maker Dell Technologies Inc is investigating a range of options that could see the world’s largest privately held technology company grow further through acquisitions or go public, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Dell’s board of directors will meet later this month to consider the biggest shakeup in the company’s history since it acquired data storage provider EMC Corp for $67 billion in 2016, the sources said.

The Round Rock, Texas-based company, headed by its founder Michael Dell, is under pressure to boost its profitability after the EMC deal failed to deliver the cost savings and performance it projected, while higher component costs and a challenging data storage market have eroded its margins.

Dell is reviewing a list of several possible acquisition targets that would boost its cash flow and expand its offerings, the sources said.

Dell’s review is at its very early stages and no deal is certain, according to the sources, who requested anonymity to discuss the deliberations. The company did not respond to a request for comment outside of regular U.S. business hours. The news of Dell’s review was first reported by Bloomberg.

Dell is also considering a sale or initial public offering (IPO) of its one of its fast-growing divisions, Pivotal Software Inc, the sources said. It may also consider a transaction with its majority-owned VMware Inc, a virtualization software maker. VMware shares, which have gained more than 62 percent in the past 12 months, touched an all-time high on Thursday.

Dell, whose technology portfolio spans servers, displays, workstations and gaming PCs, also has a security unit, RSA, and a cloud platform called Boomi.

The company has struggled with fierce competition in the storage market, as cloud-based rivals such as Amazon.com Inc’s AWS and Microsoft Corp’s Azure put pressure on prices. Dell’s infrastructure chief, former EMC executive David Goulden, departed last fall, and the firm has since been working to reorganize its storage operations.

The PC market, which Michael Dell helped shape by founding Dell in 1984 as a University pre-med freshman with $1,000 in savings, has remained stagnant due to the popularity of smart phones and tablets, shrinking by 0.2 percent in 2017, according to International Data Corporation.

A bright spot in Dell’s business has been its servers, helping its total net revenue grow to $56.7 billion in the nine months to Nov. 3, from $41.6 billion a year earlier. However, the company’s operating expenses soared from $10 billion to $17.3 billion, leading to an operating loss of $3 billion, up from a $1.6 billion operating loss a year ago.

 

Is IBM Making A Comeback

January 29, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

IBM’s revenue rose for the first time in 23 quarters, beating Wall Street’ estimates and indicating that the company is back, thanks mostly to its cloud ambitions.

The company forecast stable margins and revenue for 2018, buoyed by growth in its newer businesses such as cloud computing and security services.

IBM forecast an operating profit of at least $13.80 per share for 2018, compared with $13.80 in 2017 and market expectations of $13.92.  Wall Street would like to see something more positive from IBM given the figure improvements.

Some of this is due to taxes. IBM forecast a 2018 operating tax rate of 16 percent, plus or minus two percentage points, compared with a rate of 12 percent in 2017.

IBM’s Chief Financial Officer James Kavanaugh said on a conference call that tax would be a headwind in 2018. Kavanaugh said IBM would continue to “maintain a high level of investment” in 2018 as it boosts its capabilities on its high-margin “strategic imperatives” such as cloud, mobile, cybersecurity and data analytics.

That focus, started by Chief Executive Ginni Rometty, has helped IBM counter its faltering legacy hardware and software businesses and slow its revenue declines in recent quarters.

The company’s revenue finally rose in the latest fourth quarter, the first year-over-year increase since the first quarter of 2012, just after Rometty became CEO.

Revenue from IBM’s cloud business jumped 30 percent in the latest quarter. Revenue from all “strategic imperatives” rose 17 percent.

Total revenue increased 3.6 percent to $22.54 billion, beating analysts’ average estimate of $22.06 billion.

IBM swung to a loss of $1.05 billion from a year-ago profit of $4.50 billion, due to a $5.5 billion tax reform-related charge. Its adjusted profit of $5.18 per share beat estimates by a penny.

The company’s adjusted gross margins of 49.5 percent fell short of market expectations of 50.8 percent.

IBM shares were down 3.4 percent at $163.40 in extended trading.

Courtesy-Fud

Twitter Loses A Key Executive To Startup

January 24, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Twitter’s chief operating officer, Anthony Noto,  has decided to leave to become the CEO of financial startup SoFi.

Noto, one of Twitter’s most vocal executives, joined the social network in 2014.

“Anthony has been an incredible advocate for Twitter and a trusted partner to me and our leadership team,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said in a statement Tuesday.

Noto was instrumental in Twitter’s big push for live video on the platform, including a deal to stream NFL Thursday Night Football games in 2016. His departure, which comes a little more than two weeks before Twitter announces its earnings on Feb. 8, is yet another shake-up in the company’s executive ranks. Noto replaced former chief operating officer Adam Bain, who left in late 2016 after six years with the company.

Noto came to Twitter from Goldman Sachs as the social network was preparing to go public in 2014.

Twitter is also facing many other challenges, not just on its executive front. The company faces increasing scrutiny from Congress over the way the social network was used by Russian propagandists during the divisive 2016 US presidential election. Twitter said last week that Russian meddling was more widespread than it initially estimated and that it plans to notify more than 600,000 of its users in the US who liked or retweeted messages from Russian-linked accounts.

Noto is slated to become SoFi CEO on March 1, when interim CEO Tom Hutton will become a non-executive chairman of the board.

It will be hard for the company to replace Noto, who basically ran Twitter’s day-to-day operations, said Gartner analyst Brian Blau. The company still has to overcome stagnant user growth —  it’s been hovering around 330 million users — as other social networks, like Facebook with its 2 billion users, continue to flourish.

“You have a public company that has a known, popular brand in the mainstream that’s used heavily by a certain president and monitored by the media, but they still haven’t been able to truly capitalize on it,” Blau said. “It’s going to be interesting to see who wants to take [Noto’s] position.”

Twitter said Noto’s responsibilities within its business and revenue operations will be assumed by other members of the leadership team.

Shares of Twitter were down as much 3 percent Tuesday in early market trading.

Noto said in a statement he appreciated his time at Twitter.

Netflix Subscriber Base Surges, Beats Expectations

January 24, 2018 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Shares in Netflix Inc rose to a record high in after the video streaming service beat Wall Street targets for new subscribers in the fourth quarter.

At least eight brokerages raised their price targets for the company’s shares by as much as $50. Analysts at RBC Capital Markets and KeyBanc were most bullish, setting targets of $300 compared to the $248 it traded at on Tuesday.

In a statement after markets closed on Monday, Netflix said it added 6.36 million subscribers in international markets in the fourth quarter, beating analysts’ expectations of 5.1 million, according to FactSet.

It now has 117.58 million streaming subscribers globally.

“Overall, this was a ‘home run quarter’ for Netflix and should put any lingering worries to rest around sub(scriber) growth, international ramp, and the ‘negative’ possible effects from the (subscription) price increase,” GBH Insights analyst Daniel Ives said.

The company, which showcased popular returning series “Stranger Things”, “The Crown” and “Black Mirror” in the quarter, in October hiked its monthly fees for U.S. customers for the first time in two years.

“The subscriber growth validates management’s ongoing content investment, and should contribute to comfort with 2018’s increased $7.5-8.0B content spend and associated marketing to support the content slate and ever-growing library,” Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Graham said.

Netflix and its peers Hulu and Amazon.com Inc’s Prime Video are steadily increasing budgets for producing original shows as they gain market share from traditional cable TV providers.

Netflix spent $90 million on Will Smith action movie “Bright” last year, its largest investment in an original film to date, and is already planning a sequel and additional investment in original films.

“Netflix continues to prove out the thesis that Internet TV is replacing linear TV on a global basis,” Evercore ISI analyst Vijay Jayant said.

Out of the 44 analysts that cover Netflix’s stock, 28 now rate it at “buy” or higher, 14 at “hold” and two at “sell” or lower. The median price target for the stock was $250, only marginally above its trading price after Tuesday’s gains.

Hulu ended 2017 with 17 million subscribers while analysts estimate Amazon’s Prime service, which includes a free video subscription, has around 90 million customers.

Does Qualcomm Have a Bright Future

January 24, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

The financial future for Qualcomm in FY2019 is bright, according to a statement the company released today.

It estimates that its share profit will fall between $6.75 and $7.50 in fiscal 2019 Non-GAAP earnings per share on revenues of $35 billion to $37 billion.

The forecast sent its share price up as the company believes that Qualcomm is currently dramatically undervalued. This is what Fudzilla was talking about a while ago, as it took a hostile attempt for a takeover for investors to realize that Qualcomm is actually worth more than the Street thought.  

Qualcomm, as Fudzilla has reported before, is rejecting a hostile takeover bid from Broadcom and seems, so far to have fended off the unwanted advances.

Even if the takeover did happen, it could take up to 18 months for regulatory approvals, setting the roadmaps and plans significantly back. The takeover would not benefit Qualcomm shareholders, it is designed to benefit Broadcom shareholders. More importantly, Qualcomm doesn’t need any help to execute the 5G roadmap that is going to create significant revenues for the company in the mobile, PC, IoT and automotive industries. 

The action plan includes plans to continue to grow the Qualcomm core business, a new $1 billion cost reduction program and extend attention to NXP acquisition and peace with Apple. 

The last two are very interesting as Qualcomm told shareholders that even if it doesn’t manage to acquire NXP, it would use the money for a large share repurchase. The shareholders would have a clear win. Having Cristiano as a president brings a confidence that the Apple and any other legal battlers might settle in financial 2019 (September 30 2018). 

Overall, Qualcomm has good chances to grow even further in its core business including mobile phones. It has scored some of the rebellious customers from China including Meizu as a licensee and it is on the verge of entering a connected PC market. This can be a potentially important catalyst as Qualcomm could have much better battery life compared to its Intel competition. Let’s not forget  that Qualcomm SoC have integrated 4G LTE X16 modem with Gigabit LTE support and the upcoming Snapdragon 845 has 1.2 Gbit modem and significantly faster CPU and GPU. 

The company has already announced a phone form factor for 5G designs that will help customers ship 5G enabled phones in 2019. The automotive business unit also managed to win Volkswagen for infotainment in early 2017 and has just announced Jaguar and Land Rover design wins, as well as Honda Accord 2018. It also pulled off a design in China with BYD. 

Qualcomm Low Power Bluetooth SoC QCC5100 will enable earbuds with TrueWireless Stereo, Qualcomm aptX HD audio, Integrated Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and third-party voice assistant services. All that will fit in your ear and play for several hours. Qualcomm scored almost a 100 percent design wins with its Mesh – Self Organizing network technology that you see with many customers as router packs. This magical technology works great with Google routers, Orbi and a few other big names and currently doesn’t have any competition. 

Overall 2018 looks to be a good year for Qualcomm and there is no way how Broadcom can benefit, and therefore the Qualcomm board urges its customers to stay away from Broadcom’s offer.

Courtesy-Fud

Brave Browser To Give Out $1M In Crytocurrency

January 19, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Browser maker Brave is doling out about $1 million worth of cryptocurrency-backed tokens it hopes will help develop a better online advertising system.

Brave developed a technology called the Basic Attention Token (BAT) designed to pay publishers, YouTube contributors and others who today rely on advertising revenue or subscription payments. For now, you can set up Brave to send BATs to websites you visit, but in the future, Brave plans to make BATs a currency for online ads.

To get the tokens, you have to be one of the 200,000 or so people who install or run the latest personal computer version of the browser and accept the grant of BAT. With more than a million Brave users each month (a tiny fraction of better-established browsers), you aren’t guaranteed one of the $5 freebies, but Brave plans more promotional grants.

Brave, led by Mozilla and Firefox co-founder Brendan Eich, is part of a movement to make browsers more assertive on our behalf. Brave blocks ads and ad trackers by default, which can make websites load faster, save your battery, cut your data usage, keep your online behavior out of advertisers’ hands and even protect against malware. Chrome, Safari and Firefox are all taking various measures to rein in ads, though none go as far as Brave.

Nuking ads is gratifying if you find them intrusive, but of course, ads also pay the bills at websites large and small. Would you pay $10 a month to use an ad-free Facebook?

Brave isn’t out to destroy online advertising, though — only to replace today’s system, in which the browser itself targets the ads toward your interests without sharing private details with anyone else. It hasn’t begun showing ads yet.

To distribute BATs to publishers you might want to help fund, you can buy them online — or accept a promotional grant like Wednesday’s from Brave. The company set aside 300 million of them in a “user growth pool” to lure individuals, advertisers and publishers into the BAT ad economy. But unusually for online ad tech, Brave will give you a cut of the online ad revenue, too.

You can’t convert BATs into bucks unless you’re a publisher, though. So don’t expect to cash in directly from Brave’s BAT promotion.

Its system is powered by the technology of cryptocurrency — specifically by the Ethereum Project’s ether. Casual users don’t need to know the inner workings. Brave can take the BAT you’ve earned from online ads and distribute it to websites and publishers automatically depending on how often you visit various sites. More than 2,500 websites so far have signed up to receive BAT payments.

YouTube stars also can sign up to receive BAT payments — something could be of interest given YouTube’s tightening rules for who can get ad revenue — and Brave plans to expand to those who post videos on the Twitch game-watching site, too. So far more than 1,400 YouTube publishers have signed up to receive BAT. It’s not yet clear how much revenue they’ll receive from the 310,000 or so people who use the PC version of the browser, but as ad blocking spreads, BAT payments could help offset lost ad revenue.

Microsoft Takes 1st Place In Top 100 Global Technology Leaders List

January 18, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Thomson Reuters Corp unveiled its “Top 100 Global Technology Leaders” list with Microsoft Corp in the no. 1 spot, followed by chipmaker Intel Corp and network gear maker Cisco Systems Inc.

The list, which aims to identify the industry’s top financially successful and organizationally sound organizations, features U.S. tech giants such as Apple Inc, Alphabet Inc, International Business Machines Corp and Texas Instruments Inc, among its top 10.

 Microchip maker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, German business software giant SAP, and Dublin-based consultant Accenture round out the top 10.  The remaining 90 companies are not ranked, but the list also includes the world’s largest online retailer Amazon.com Inc and social media giant Facebook Inc.

The results are based on a 28-factor algorithm that measures performance across eight benchmarks: financial, management and investor confidence, risk and resilience, legal compliance, innovation, people and social responsibility, environmental impact, and reputation.

The assessment tracks patent activity for technological innovation and sentiment in news and selected social media as the reflection of a company’s public reputation.

The set of tech companies is restricted to those that have at least $1 billion in annual revenue.

According to the list, 45 percent of these 100 tech companies are headquartered in the United States. Japan and Taiwan are tied for second place with 13 companies each, followed by India with five tech leaders on the list.

By continent, North America leads with 47, followed by Asia with 38, Europe with 14 and Australia with one.

The strength of Asia highlights the growth of companies such as Tencent Holdings Ltd, which became the first Asian firm to enter the club of companies worth more than $500 billion, and surpassed Facebook in market value in November.

British Company Sues Uber, Alleges Ad Fraud

January 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

A British mobile ad firm has filed a lawsuit against Uber Technologies Inc to force the ride-hailing company to pay millions of dollars of bills that Uber had refused to pay after claiming that ads being generated were fraudulent.

Fetch Media Ltd filed its lawsuit on Tuesday in the same California federal court where Uber had sued Fetch in September, accusing the agency of billing it for nonexistent, nonviewable or fraudulent ads, and failing to pass back rebates and commissions.

Uber voluntarily dismissed that lawsuit on Dec. 22, two weeks after the case was reassigned to U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, and said it would instead pursue related claims in a San Francisco state court.

Ad fraud, sometimes called click fraud, is a persistent issue in online advertising, occurring when automated programs mimic legitimate users by clicking ads.

Fetch, a London-based unit of Japan’s Dentsu Inc, suggested that Uber dismissed its federal case on concern it might lose after it was assigned to Rogers, who has overseen other litigation involving the San Francisco-based company.

 In Tuesday’s lawsuit, Fetch asked that Rogers be assigned to determine both companies’ contractual responsibilities, and direct Uber pay more than $19.7 million of invoices still owed for 2017.

“Fetch does not believe that Uber can avoid federal-court scrutiny of its incorrect contract theories so easily,” the company said.

Uber did not immediately respond on Wednesday to requests for comment.

The Association of National Advertisers, a trade group, last May estimated that marketers would lose $6.5 billion in 2017 because of fake web traffic caused by “bots.”

Uber said in September that it had hired Fetch to place ads to encourage new riders to download the Uber app, and would pay for “legitimate clicks” that helped attract riders.

But it said Fetch wrongly claimed credit for app downloads that occurred without ads ever being clicked. Uber said it paid Fetch more than $82.5 million, but that Fetch’s failure to stop ad fraud contributed to at least $50 million of damages.

According to Uber, the alleged fraud surfaced in early 2017 as customers began complaining about where its ads appeared.

 Uber said, in one example, it had asked Fetch not to place ads on Breitbart.com, the conservative news website run by Steve Bannon, a former strategist for U.S. President Donald Trump, but that ads appeared there anyway.

In court papers, Fetch called Uber a “faithless business partner,” and said it had helped Uber monitor ad fraud despite not being contractually required. Fetch also said its work helped Uber register more than 35 million riders.

The case is Fetch Media Ltd v. Uber Technologies Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 18-00015.

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