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Fortune's latest list of the world's most admired companies sees that Apple, Amazon and Google continue to take top spots. The survey asks corporate executives to name the companies they admired the most.
Apple, Amazon and Google took out the top three spots, while Samsung, Microsoft and Facebook also found their way into the list. Apple continues to take out the number one spot, a position the company has held of seven consecutive years. Fortune does mention that investors are getting nervous waiting for the company to unveil its "next big thing".
Fortune says that Amazon has used both its "consumer-centric culture and super convenience" to "gobble up brick-and-mortar stores left and right". Fortune continues to gush over Amazon by saying that the company's "ambitions show no signs of abating: it recently jumped into the art market, and has started producing video, music, and literary content".
When it came to Google, Fortune wrote that the company "continues to find ways to make life easier (sometimes creepily so) via mind-blowing Internet products". Fortune also mentioned that Google spends considerable amounts of resources on "moonshot" projects, which has led to self-driving cars, Google Glass, and more.
The Japanese government believes bitcoin regulation needs to be a global endeavor among U.S., European and Asian governments, which will keep it more secure from possible money laundering. Meanwhile, US Congress should look at effective manners to regulate bitcoin and other virtual currencies, said Janet Yellen, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara wants to see how Mt. Gox and other bitcoin businesses or exchanges dealt with cyberattacks, which is a major security concern.
Since the bitcoin currency is unregulated, and no regular financial institutions are involved, there is concern over transactions - and taxes. Bitcoin owner identities also are not public information, so there is a certain underground feel to the still volatile currency.
"It's not just the Ministry of Finance; many other agencies are related," said Jiro Aichi, Japanese Vice Finance Minister, speaking during a recent news conference. "As for its legal position, a currency (under Japan's jurisdiction) would be coins or notes issued by the Bank of Japan. At the very least, we can say bitcoin is not a currency."
A new report from analytics firm Strategy Analytics has been published that looks at the number of Wi-Fi devices that are in use around the world today. According to the report, there are about 4 billion Wi-Fi devices in use globally.
The research firm expects that number to grow to over 7 billion devices by 2017. A more interesting statistic is that Wi-Fi capability is now embedded in 68% of all consumer electronics devices sold in the US. If you look at the number of products with Wi-Fi sold around the world, 57% of all CE devices have Wi-Fi.
The biggest product category for Wi-Fi devices is mobile phones and tablets. Strategy analytics says that 59% of all Wi-Fi enabled devices fall into the mobile phone and tablet category. The second most common category for Wi-Fi devices is in the mobile computer (notebook) category.
Just over a month ago Candy Crush Saga developer King secured the rights to the word 'Candy', which sent the world into a spin. King has now abandoned these efforts, according to documents posted by the US Trademark Office.
A document signed on February 24 states "the applicant hereby expressly abandons the application for trademark registration made". King filed the trademark all the way back in February of 2013, which was approved on January 15, 2014. The trademark would've allowed King to use the word 'Candy' in apparel, video games, computer hardware and much more.
A spokesperson for King has said: "King has withdrawn its trademark application for Candy in the U.S., which we applied for in February 2013 before we acquired the early rights to Candy Crusher. Each market that King operates in is different with regard to IP. We feel that having the rights to Candy Crusher is the best option for protecting Candy Crush in the U.S. market. This does not affect our E.U. trademark for Candy and we continue to take all appropriate steps to protect our IP".
New reports have surfaced that indicated that Google is actively trying to stop states from enacting anti-Glass driving laws, and has its own lobbyist leading the charge in Delaware, Illinois, and Missouri. Google's stance on the matter is that the technology is still in its infancy and not in widespread use, and therefor does not garner special legislation restricting its use.
"I'm not against Google or Google Glass. It may have a place in society," said Delaware state representative Joseph Miro, primary sponsor of a bill banning texting while driving and Google Glass behind the wheel. "My issue is that while you are driving, you should have nothing that is going to impede the concentration of the driver."
While Google is certainly correct in that statement for the moment, Google Glass is becoming more poplar and more people are being invited to purchase the product every day. Before the end of the year, Google Glass will be in hundreds of thousands of users hands, and we will begin to hear stories of how the wearable technology distracted drivers and caused accidents, but how many of those claims will actually be true? How many of them will be falsely over-hyped by the mainstream media who has no clue how the devices even work? It's only a matter of time before anti-glass campaigns kick off similar to those against cellphone use in vehicles, and unfortunately the majority of the public will bite hook, line and sinker.
Since his first day on the job, BlackBerry's new CEO, John Chen, has been focused on rebuilding the company from the ashes left over from his predecessors tenure with the company. That does not mean that he would not sell off key components of the company if the right offer was made. During an interview with CNBC, Chen told reporters that he would sell off BlackBerry Messenger, the company's widely popular messaging service, if the price was right.
"If somebody comes to me with $19 billion I would definitely sell it," Chen said. "I mean, I would recommend to the board to take it." He was of course referring to the total selling price that Facebook acquired WhatsApp for earlier this week. Unfortunately it seems that the greatly inflated acquisition of WhatsApp has set a false precedence or "bar" if you will at what companies value their messaging services at.
Unfortunately what I feel is happening is that another .com bubble is inflating, and eventually the market will not be able to sustain all of these $1 billion, $3 billion, and $19 billion valuations, causing the bubble to burst the same way it did in the late 90s. It feels like every tech company, start-up, and company fork is being valued at $1 billion plus these days, and that trend does not seem to be slowing at all. Eventually something will have to give, and the aftermath will not be pretty if history is any indication.
T-Mobile might be the smallest of the four major carriers in the US, but it is putting pressure on other carriers to match its offers. AT&T has announced a move that is likely in response to pressure from T-Mobile that anyone with friends or family outside the US will appreciate.
Starting on February 28, anyone on an AT&T Mobile Share plan will be able to send unlimited text messages from the US to just about any other country at no cost. The change also makes voice calls placed to other countries like Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean with a monthly plans selling for $5 per month.
The minutes on that plan are a penny each. AT&T previously charged people $10 per month for international texting and a higher per minute rate for calls to other countries.
Samsung and PayPal have announced that they have teamed up to allow users of the Samsung Galaxy S5 announced this week to make more use of that fingerprint scanner the smartphone offers. PayPal will allow the S5 user to use the fingerprint scanner to login and shop at any merchant that takes PayPal.
That includes online and in-stores that accept PayPal. The use of the fingerprint scanner means that the user won't need to memorize a password or login info for multiple websites. PayPal says that is provides a secure wallet in the sky and no personal details are stored on the device.
The S5 has FIDO Ready software that can communicate securely between the fingerprint sensor on the device and the PayPal service in the cloud. The only information shared between the device and PayPal is a unique encrypted key that verifies the user's identity. The fingerprint authentication service will launch on the Galaxy S5 in April and will be offered in 26 markets.
When Facebook pushed its offer of $16 billion onto the table to acquire WhatsApp, the company's founders would've had their hearts drop - in utter surprise because its last funding round had them pegged at a value of around $1.5 billion.
In WhatsApp final round of funding, which took place in July last year, it secured $52 million from a valuation of around $1.5 billion. WhatsApp grew exponentially between July 2013 and just a few days ago when it was acquired by Facebook for $16 billion in stocks and cash. The sole investor in WhatsApp, Sequoia, owned around 20% of the company, which is now worth a cool $3 billion.
At $3 billion, Sequoia has seen an amazing 50x return in its investment in WhatsApp... something that nobody could complain about, that's for sure.
Stephen Elop, the ex-Nokia CEO, has taken control of Microsoft's Devices and Studios division, which includes a bunch of Microsoft's most important lines of products. This includes Xbox, Surface and the company's game and entertainment studios.
Don Mattick left the post last year for Zynga, where Julie Larson-Green took over. Larson-Green is moving on to another role, leading the "My Life & Work" time in Microsoft's Application and Services Group, where she will serve as its Chief Experience Officer. Larson Green wrote in an internal memo: "I want to thank each and every one of you for welcoming me and supporting me as the leader of Devices & Studios over the past 7 months. I'm very proud of what we have accomplished during such a short timeframe. We launched Xbox One, Surface 2 & Pro 2, blockbuster games like Forza and Ryse, a brand new Xbox Music and Video service, PPI, and some amazing unannounced innovations just to name a few...".
There were rumors that the ex-Nokia CEO would take over as the CEO of Microsoft, but does this position suit him more? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.