Tag Archives: Microsoft

Ve acquires GDM Digital in eight figure deal

GDM currently works with companies including Microsoft, Coral, Lufthansa, IBM, Virgin Active and Audi. All 42 staff at GDM will be retained, bringing Ve’s total staff numbers to over 500, working in 18 offices worldwide.

GDM, which specialises in performance trading and real-time biddable media, will now offer clients the VePlatform to acquire, engage and convert customers at every stage of the e-commerce journey, in addition to a complete digital advertising service.

Ve is looking to expand its digital marketing offering

David J. Brown, CEO and co-founder of Ve, said: ‘What sets GDM apart from other ad tech companies is the incredible skill set and expertise of its staff. With all 42 of GDM’s talented staff on board, Ve will be able to expand its digital marketing offering rapidly.

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Microsoft, Yahoo Upgrades Shows Snowden Won, Obama Failed

According to Bloomberg,

Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden succeeded where President Barack Obama couldn’t — getting Microsoft Corp., Google Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. to upgrade computer security against hackers.

The companies are adopting harder-to-crack code to protect their networks and data, after years of largely rebuffing calls from the White House and privacy advocates to improve security. The new measures come after documents from Snowden revealed how U.S. spy programs gain access to the companies’ customer data — sometimes with their knowledge, sometimes without — and that’s threatening profits at home and abroad.

“These companies actively fought against numerous mechanisms that would have mandated far more secure data,” Sascha Meinrath, director of the Open Technology Institute at the New America Foundation in Washington, said in a phone interview. “Now they are paying the literal price.”

While Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook Inc. provide data to the government under court orders, they are trying to prevent the NSA from gaining unauthorized access to information flowing between computer servers by using encryption. That scrambles data using a mathematical formula that can be decoded only with a special digital key.

The NSA has tapped fiber-optic cables abroad to siphon data from Google and Yahoo, circumvented or cracked encryption, and covertly introduced weaknesses and back doors into coding, according to reports in the Washington Post, the New York Times and the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper based on Snowden documents. He is now in Russia under temporary asylum.

‘Government Snooping’

Microsoft is the latest company considering measures to ensure the protection of customer data and strengthen security “against snooping by governments,” according to Brad Smith, general counsel for the Redmond, Washington-based company.

Microsoft’s networks and services were allegedly hacked by the NSA, the Washington Post reported Nov. 26. Documents disclosed by Snowden suggest, without proving, that the NSA targeted Microsoft’s Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger services under a program called MUSCULAR, the newspaper said.

“These allegations are very disturbing,” Smith said in an e-mailed statement. “If they are true these actions amount to hacking and seizure of private data and in our view are a breach of the protection guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.”

Smith didn’t provide details about what the company is considering doing.

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Microsoft: Initial Xbox One Sales Exceed 1 Million

According to Bloomberg,

Sony Corp. (6758) said on Nov. 17 that it sold more than 1 million PlayStation 4 consoles in North America in the first day of release, topping initial sales for the predecessor PlayStation 3 in 2006. The PS4 goes on sale Nov. 29 in 30 countries in Europe and Latin America, followed by Japan on Feb. 22.

Microsoft Says Xbox One Sales Top 1 Million in Less Than a Day (Bloomberg)

Microsoft Says Xbox One Sales Top 1 Million in Less Than a Day (Bloomberg)

The two companies are competing for the attention of gamers and trying to revive a console market that shrank 32 percent to $13.3 billion from 2008 to 2012, according to market researcher NPD Group. Both are offering machines with upgraded graphics and more entertainment tie-ins. The Xbox One sells for $499, while the PlayStation 4 is offered for $399.

Microsoft, which has been pitching the Xbox One’s motion-sensing Kinect camera as a controller for all forms of living room entertainment, has focused its message on applications and exclusive content, including the games “Ryse: Son of Rome” and “Dead Rising 3,” and an upcoming live-action TV show from Steven Spielberg.

Microsoft rose 0.5 percent to $37.57 yesterday in New York and has gained 41 percent this year. Sony’s American depositary receipts fell 1.9 percent to $18.30.

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Sony Monitors PlayStation ‘Issues’ as Sales Top 1 Million

According to Bloomberg,

Sony Corp. sold more than 1 million PlayStation 4 consoles in North America during the first 24 hours of sales, though the company said some buyers reported glitches including the device suddenly turning itself off.

The sales, which top initial results for the predecessor PlayStation 3 in 2006, come as Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai tries to make the video-game console the centerpiece of a corporate turnaround strategy. Pressure has intensified on Hirai after the company last month surprised investors by reporting a second-quarter loss.

Sony is getting a head start on competing for the attention of game players with Microsoft Corp., which is releasing the Xbox One later this week. The Tokyo-based electronics maker has priced its console at $399, or $100 less than the Microsoft machine, as it seeks an edge in the $93 billion-a-year industry before the Christmas shopping season. Some players said the power-indicator light blinks before the device shuts down.

“No other consoles in the U.S. sold 1 million sets during the first day, so I think having some issue is not unusual,” Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute in Tokyo, said by phone. “In the long term, the major problem will be whether it can continue to provide interesting game software.”

‘Isolated Incidents’

Sony Monitors PlayStation ‘Issues’ as Sales Top 1 Million (Bloomberg)

Sony Monitors PlayStation ‘Issues’ as Sales Top 1 Million (Bloomberg)

Sony is aware some consumers reported issues with their PS4 systems and is monitoring for additional reports, Satoshi Fukuoka, a Tokyo-based spokesman, said in an e-mail today.

“We think these are isolated incidents and represent a very small percentage of total units shipped to consumers to date,” Fukuoka said, declining to elaborate. The company is still making and shipping the consoles, he said.

The company’s website said problems associated with the blinking light include no picture or sound coming from the television.

Sony American depositary receipts rose 1.9 percent to $18.85 at 1:52 p.m. in New York. At the close in Tokyo, Sony rose 0.9 percent to 1,862 yen. The benchmark Topix index gained 0.2 percent.

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Most U.S. Stocks Decline After Dow Briefly Reaches 16,000

According to Bloomberg,

Most U.S. stocks fell after the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose above 16,000 for the first time, spurring concern that equities have risen too far, too fast.

Consumer companies and commodity stocks led the retreat. Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) slid 1.7 percent after Bank of America Corp. cut its rating to underperform from neutral. Tyson Foods Inc., the largest U.S. meat processor, advanced 2.3 percent after reporting revenue above analysts’ estimates on a gain in prices and sales volumes for beef and chicken.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) slipped 0.4 percent to 1,791.53 at 4 p.m. in New York. Earlier, it topped 1,800. About three stocks fell for each that rose in the gauge. The Dow average gained 14.32 points, or 0.1 percent, to 15,976.02. About 6 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, in line with the three-month average.

“We’ve moved pretty far pretty fast,” Kevin Caron, a Florham Park, New Jersey-based market strategist at Stifel Nicolaus & Co., which oversees about $150 billion. “Obviously there’s a potential for a little bit of a pullback.”

While four years of earnings growth and the Federal Reserve’s near-zero interest rate have led the S&P 500 on a 165 percent rally since March 2009, they have also driven valuations to a three-year high. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, speaking at the Reuters Global Investment Outlook Summit, said he is “very cautious” on equities.

The S&P 500 trades at 17 times reported operating profit, a 20 percent increase from the beginning of 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Last week, the benchmark’s valuation reached the highest level since May 2010.

Continued Stimulus

“As we keep going and making new highs, we get into new territory and the air keeps getting thinner and thinner up here,” Tim Hartzell, who helps manage about $425 million as chief investment officer at Sequent Asset Management, said via phone from Houston. “Everybody is watching Yellen and feel comfortable that she’ll continue QE, maybe even put more into the system.”

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Silicon Valley Nerds Seek Revenge on NSA Spies With Coding

According to Bloomberg,

Silicon Valley Nerds Seek Revenge on NSA Spies With Super Coding (Bloomberg)

Silicon Valley Nerds Seek Revenge on NSA Spies With Super Coding (Bloomberg)

Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. are fighting back against the National Security Agency by using harder-to-crack code to shield their networks and online customer data from unauthorized U.S. spying.

The companies, burned by disclosures they’ve cooperated with U.S. surveillance programs, are protecting user e-mail and social-media posts with strengthened encryption that the U.S. government says won’t be easily broken until 2030.

While the NSA may find ways around the barriers, the companies say they have to assure users their online connections are secure and data can’t be grabbed when transmitted over fiber-optic networks or digitally stored.

Microsoft Corp. is convinced it must “invest in protecting customers’ information from a wide range of threats, which if the allegations are true, include governments,” Matt Thomlinson, general manager of trustworthy computing, said in an e-mail. He didn’t provide details.

Internet companies including Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple Inc. are trying to distance themselves from news reports that they gave the agency data on electronic communications of Americans and foreigners or have lax security.

While the companies are trying to prevent the NSA from gaining unauthorized access to their data, they say they comply with legal court orders compelling them to provide the government information.

The NSA has tapped fiber-optic cables abroad in order to siphon off data from Google and Yahoo, circumvented or cracked encryption, and covertly introduced weaknesses and back doors into coding, according to reports in the Washington Post, the New York Times and the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

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Microsoft CEO Candidate Elop: to Mull Windows Shift?

According to Bloomberg,

Former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop (Bloomberg)

Former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop (Bloomberg)

Stephen Elop, a candidate to replace Steve Ballmer as Microsoft Corp.’s chief executive officer, would consider breaking with decades of tradition by focusing the company’s strategy around making the popular Office software programs like Word, Excel and PowerPoint available on a broad variety of smartphones and tablets, including those made by Apple Inc. and Google Inc., said three people with knowledge of his thinking.

Elop would probably move away from Microsoft’s strategy of using these programs to drive demand for its flagship Windows operating system on personal computers and mobile devices, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the 49-year-old executive hasn’t finalized or publicly discussed his analysis of the business. Most of Microsoft’s software has been tied to running on Windows.

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