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Date: Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 11:56

This chart from Benedict Evans of Andreessen Horowitz has the Apple bulls feeling pretty good this morning. After multiple quarters of margin declines, Apple has stabilized, and even grown its margins. 

apple margin

"Apple's performance in the margin department was one of the best over the past couple of years relative to our estimates, driven by stronger-than-expected cost improvements and solid product quality," said Brian White of Cantor Fitzgerald. "For example, Apple delivered 3Q:FY14 gross margin of 39.4%, much better than our 38.0% estimate and the company's outlook of 37% to 38%."

Katy Huberty at Morgan Stanley says Apple's gross margin was the "highlight" of the quarter, and it "removes the margin bear case."

This was one of those problems that dogged Apple. Nobody believed it could maintain its margins. As the margin compressed last year, the stock fell. When the margin falls, do Apple's profits.

Clearly, Apple has eliminated the margin concerns. Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray says this will help Apple's stock in the quarters to come. He's expecting further margin compression as the iPhone 6 rolls out. 

However, he says, "We believe the strength in gross margin in the June quarter will serve as a reassuring data point for investors as we enter what will likely be a couple quarters of sequential declines in gross margin."

SEE ALSO: Apple Earnings: Everything In Its Right Place

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Author: "Jay Yarow"
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Date: Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 11:31

530fatties7 1

If Facebook is like high school, then here we are: A page called "530 Fatties" based out of Yuba, California, has been taken down after its creators used the space to post photos fat-shaming obese people in the community.

530 stands for the county's area code.

A photo from a frozen yogurt establishment was posted to the page. The faces were later blurred out by CBS13 in Sacramento, but Kari Rae Lovell identified herself and her aunts in the photo when it appeared in "530 Fatties."

"Wow I'm in this pic so is my aunts and u guys will be sued and the police will be after the creator of this page," she posted in the photo's comments.

"This is 100% cyber bullying," another commenter posted.

The page was taken down at some point on Monday after CBS13 began investigating, but not before tons of photos were shared and saved. 

Jessi Lynn Howell is another victim of the page's shaming, and the 18-year-old tells CBS13 she's "still mortified" after she found the following photo posted to the group:

530fatties14

“It’s really hurtful and it’s really embarrassing,” she confessed to CBS13. “I know it’s probably someone from around here, and whoever it is they need to stop because that’s ridiculous.” 

Both women had shared the page with police, who still have yet to identify whoever is behind the group. It's unlikely that anything started anonymously on the internet will stay anonymous for long, especially in a case that involves cyberbullying and harassment. 

While most online bullying cases don't result in jail time, there have been many cases over the past several years where aggressors have been identified and punished for their online crimes. 

In January 2013, a Colorado high school student posted photos of classmates to Instagram under an anonymous username and made degrading and sexual comments underneath the photos. He was later charged with five counts of third degree harassment and was ordered to appear in juvenile court.

Back in 2005, two teenagers in Louisiana were arrested for making dualing websites targeting one another with derogatory names and homophobic slurs.

You can read the full story about the "530 Fatties" group from CBS13 here.

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Author: "Caroline Moss"
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Date: Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 10:29

tim cook apple

Good morning! We're looking at isolated thunder storms later in the afternoon in New York. It's the kind of thing where you have to bring an umbrella, but you probably won't use it. But if you risk not bringing it you get soaked. Annoying. Let's look at the news.

  1. Apple reported a solid, in-line earnings report and the stock did nothing in reaction. The main talking point from the earnings report: the iPad remains weak. Unit sales were down 9% on a year-over-year basis. 
  2. Interestingly, on the call, CEO Tim Cook talked a lot about IBM being key to getting iPad sales growing again. Apple just did a deal with IBM to sell more iPads to the enterprise. 
  3. Microsoft also delivered a snoozer of an earnings report and its stock did nothing.
  4. Reviews of Amazon's phone are out. Overall, it's an okay phone. But the problem is that it's competing with great phones. So, there's no big reason to buy it.
  5. LinkedIn paid $175 million for a business marketing company called Bizo.
  6. Kara Swisher reports that Google has not had talks to buy Spotify, though it does have a healthy interest in the company.
  7. Chris LaRosa, the YouTube product manager in charge of music, has quit the company to join a startup. This is a setback for YouTube's planned subscription music service.
  8. Ben Horowitz has a blog post on the biggest mistake CEOs make when starting their companies: The budgeting process.
  9. Chinese smartphone company Xiaomi completely copies Apple from the look of its phones to using "one more thing" in its presentations to its CEO dressing like Steve Jobs. And yet... one of its top executives denies that it copies Apple. Weird.
  10. Here's a fun one: the most expensive domain names of all time.

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Author: "Jay Yarow"
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Date: Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 01:00

Amazon Fire Phone

Amazon's first smartphone, the Fire Phone, hits stores July 25, and comes bundled with a free year of Amazon Prime, which includes free shipping on thousands of items as well as a growing selection of free movies, books, and music.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos introduced the phone at its launch event by saying that the company decided to try something completely innovative and different.

The Fire Phone certainly is different thanks to its 3-D effects and camera mode that can automatically identify real-world objects, but it's still missing essential apps and services the iPhone and Android phones already have.

I gave the Fire a test-run over the weekend to check out what it had to offer. 

Using It

The Fire phone has two main hyped-up features: Dynamic Perspective, which allows the phone to react to how you hold, view, and move it, and Firefly, which can scan objects like books, movies, posters, QR codes, and household goods to give you more information about them.

Dynamic perspective gets showcased right off the bat through the phone's lock screen: It comes with 19 different interactive options that are undeniably cool, especially the first time you see them. Although they're a good introduction to what dynamic perspective can do (images on the screen appear to have depth, and the scene shifts as you move your phone), most people probably don't really care about what their lock screens look like. The feature comes in handy mostly for navigating the phone's interface and in games.

Dynamic Perspective

When you first get the phone, it takes a little while to get used to the one-handed gestures possible with dynamic perspective. You can tilt the phone side-to-side to reveal additional panels and up or down to auto-scroll, or angle it slightly it to reveal "layered" information, like Yelp reviews when you're looking at restaurants on a map.

After playing around with the phone for several days, I found myself using the gestures about 60% of the time, and just swiping the rest of it. I'd imagine that it's one of those things that you'd become more adapted to the more you used it though, and definitely valuable if you want to be able to do more with only one hand. 

Dynamic Perspective 2

Dynamic perspective really shines when it comes to games, though. I found "Snow Spin," a game that lets you use your head to control the path of a little snowboarding penguin, completely charming and immersive. Yes, you will look ridiculous playing, but it's unlike any other smartphone game experience out there. 

Amazon also just announced a list of some other apps that take advantage of feature, and released two new games from its own Amazon Game Studio. The promise seems to be that there are more to come, too. But that's a lofty promise. There's very little incentive for developers to start making special games for a brand new smartphone platform with 0% market share. As we've learned over and over, developers still prefer to make the best apps for iPhone first, then Android, then everything else.

The phone itself also takes advantage of dynamic perspective in fun, subtle ways: Every app icon on the phone looks like it has depth when you tilt it. The on-off switch in the Wi-Fi part of the settings pops out like a real button, and you can "visit" 3D-looking landmarks through maps. None of these factors would be your main motivator to buy the phone, but they prove that Amazon was paying attention to the details.

Amazon CaroAnother design quirk is its Enhanced Carousel. Although you can rearrange your apps just like you would on a more traditional smartphone, the carousel lets you scroll through the ones you've recently used, and, in some cases, take action right from the homescreen.

Generally, I liked using the carousel, but the format was definitely more useful for some apps more than others. Email was great because I could see (and respond to) recent messages. The calendar app let me check out everything that I had going on each day at a glance.

It would be amazing if Twitter or Facebook eventually integrated parts of their timelines into the home screen too. As is, you just get suggestions for other apps you can download.

As far as Firefly, Amazon boasts that it can recognize and give you information about over 100 million items, as well as recognize web addresses, phone numbers, or QR codes. Although I didn't find myself naturally using Firefly very often, there is something thrilling about watching your phone figure out what you're looking at. I found it most useful for identifying music, easily dialing a phone number that I had on a business card without having to type it in, and checking whether a physical book was also available for Kindle. Power users, on the other hand, might love it for scanning products to see if they're cheaper on Amazon than in-store.

Like the easy integration with Amazon Prime services, Firefly will encourage Amazon fans to spend more money, by making purchases completely seamless.

Like Amazon's Kindle Fire tablets, the goal of the Fire phone, and especially the Firefly feature, is to keep you locked into Amazon's world of shopping. And because it lets you compare prices of real-world objects to what Amazon sells them for, the feature is a showrooming nightmare.

Finally, there's Mayday, a feature that lets you hit a call button and have a live video chat with an Amazon representative if you have any trouble with your phone. The Amazon rep can even doodle on your screen to walk you through what you're supposed to do.

To be honest, I didn't need to use Mayday once. In fact, I totally forgot about it until my editor was reading this review and asked what I thought about it. So, that either means I'm a tech genius or the Fire phone is so easy to use you won't need Mayday at all. (However, Steve Kovach used Mayday when he tested the newest Kindle Fire tablet last year and found the Mayday representatives to be quite pleasant.)

Here's what it looks like when you use Firefly on a book:

Amazon Fire Phone

In summary, the new software features in the Fire phone are pretty nifty, but they likely won't offer enough to entice people to buy Amazon's phone over a normal Android phone or iPhone.

The Basics

The first thing you notice about the Fire phone is how great the screen looks. It has a 4.7-inch screen, which is slightly larger than the iPhone 5S, which has a 4-inch screen. It also has an HD 1280x720 resolution that looked great even when I was playing with it outside.

For as great as the screen looks, though, I wish Amazon offered a "phablet"-sized, 5.7-inch option like Samsung's Galaxy Note 3. I've been using a phablet for months, and am addicted to the increased real estate. Since content consumption is hard-wired into the Fire's very existence — I watched more Prime Instant Videos in the last three days than I ever have before — it really feels like its screen should have a bigger option.

The other issue I had with the Fire phone was that, because it's running a modified version of Android, I couldn't download some of the apps that I usually would. Four of my basics — LinkedIn, Snapchat, Venmo, Secret — aren't available for the Amazon Fire yet. And if you use Google services like Gmail and Google Maps, you're out of luck. It's frustrating.

The camera, however, was a definite pro. My photos looked great, and it came with a host of fun editing tools baked in. For the selfie lover, you can whiten your teeth, reduce red-eye, and get rid of blemishes with a few easy swipes, while also futzing with your contrast and saturation all in one fell swoop. Plus, the magnetic headphones really didn't get as tangled as the model Apple ships with its iPhones.

The Math 

One of the biggest surprises when the Fire phone launched was the price. Rumors had pegged it as dirt-cheap, but it rings up at a more standard $199.99 with a two-year contract from AT&T. You can also get it for $650 through 24 monthly installments of $27.09. With that, though, you get a free year of Prime (usually $99), 32 GB of memory instead of 16 GB, and unlimited free online photo storage. How does that measure up to other options out there? Prime gets you free two-day shipping on many items from Amazon, access to thousands of free streaming movies and TV shows, and over 1 million streaming songs.

The Fire phone is about $100 cheaper than a 32 GB iPhone 5S, which you can get on contract for $299, and the same price as a 16 GB Samsung Galaxy S5, which is $199.99 on contract, and comes with the option to buy 64 GB more memory for $43.95.

The free Prime membership is definitely huge, but if you didn't already have one, be warned: I can almost guarantee that you'll end up spending the difference on new stuff (and Amazon thinks so, too).

Conclusion

Overall, the Fire phone is a solid deal: You get all the smartphone basics, with some added bonuses, for a price that's in line with the market. Neither the gesture controls nor Firefly are life-changing, but they're fun and useful.

The GIFs in this review don't do dynamic perspective justice: Go to an AT&T store if you're interested to check them out for yourself. If you are obsessed with Amazon and want to make it even easier to buy stuff off it or like to watch a lot of movies or shows on-the-go, buying the phone makes a lot of sense: You're essentially paying $100 for Prime and a phone built to take advantage of it.

However, if you care about getting the latest apps and services or having a big screen, you might want to consider other options. 

This is a phone for folks who only want to live in Amazon's world and don't need access to the latest and greatest apps and services rival devices offer. I suspect most people don't fall into that category though.

SEE ALSO: After Selling His Daily-Deals Site To Amazon For $110 Million, This Man Left The Company A Year Early To Start A More Ridiculous Version Of His Original Idea

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Author: "Jillian D'Onfro"
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Date: Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 00:25

satya nadella microsoft ceo

Satya Nadella just confirmed that the company was going to merge all of its major versions of Windows into one huge Windows platform.

Microsoft had been inching up to this for a while. At its developers conference in April, the company announced developer tools for "Universal Windows Apps" also known as the "Holy Grail" of app development.

These tools let developers write their app once to make the app compatible with all the major versions of Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox.

But that's not the same as consolidating the operating system itself, which is what Nadella just promised to do.

"This means one operating system that covers all screen sizes," Nadella said to analysts on the quarterly conference call. "We will streamline the next version of Windows from three operating systems into one single converged operating system for screens of all sizes."

He explained, "In the past we had multiple teams working on different versions of Windows. Now we have one team with a common architecture. This allows us to scale, create Universal Windows Apps."

This is a major departure from Apple's style and from Microsoft's previous approach.

Apple chose to cleave its tech products into two app eco-systems: iOS (mobile products, iPhone and iPad) and Mac OS (PC products, MacBook laptops, iMac desktop).

Under previous CEO Steve Ballmer, Microsoft took a similar approach of multiple operating systems that couldn't always run each other's apps.

To be clear, Microsoft will still sell different editions of its operating systems, for instance, a Windows Pro edition, a Windows Enterprise edition, a cheap one tightly bound with Bing for low-price devices (which we'll see by the holiday season, Nadella says). But under the hood, they will be more alike than different.

And the company will "unify our stores, our commerce and developer platforms," Nadella promised.

This is hugely important to developers. A good billion people use Windows every day. But as long as Windows was chopped up into a bunch of different operating systems that didn't work together, all of those PC customers didn't add up to phone, tablet, or living room console app customers.

Sounds like we'll see the new consolidated Windows with Windows 9, which is rumored to be the next version of that could be available in 2015.

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Author: "Julie Bort"
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Date: Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 00:21

Eric Schmidt Dances Gangnam Style

Eric Schmidt is the former CEO of Google and currently serves as its chairman.

He was originally brought in as the "adult supervision" for founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, but, as one of the most vocal senior executives at Google, he's also said some pretty controversial, provocative, or bizarre things over the years. 

We've rounded up a sample of some of his weirdest quotes.

On privacy: "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."

Source.



On Google's famous "Don't Be Evil" rule: "When I showed up, I thought this was the stupidest rule ever, because there's no book about evil except maybe, you know, the Bible or something."

Source



On competition: "Our business strategy is not to compete."



See the rest of the story at Business Insider






Author: "Jillian D'Onfro"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 23:42

william shatner

Last week Facebook debuted a new app, Mentions, for celebrities and public figures to use to keep up with their followers.

Only those with verified pages can download the iPhone app,. No brands or regular Facebook users allowed. So for laypeople to get the story on Mentions, our best bet is through William Shatner, Marketing Land reports.

Shat took to his Tumblr to dissect the new app, captain's log style. He compared Mentions to a similar app called Pages, which anyone can download, though it packs many of the features Mentions promises.

The verdict? "It seems to be ill conceived," Shatner writes.

Comparing it with the Pages app across five categories, including the feed and posting ability, Shatner declared he liked "both" three times and "neither" twice. At the end of his post he wrote he plans on using Mentions, Pages, and the basic Facebook app in the future. 

His post is packed with the humor we've come to expect from the actor. Before he starts his review process, Shat points out that new Mentions users are forced to follow another celebrity. He notes the first suggested celeb on his phone was his former "Star Trek" costar, fellow social media icon, and longtime feuding adversary George Takei. Shatner writes he rolled his eyes and went with a different star, Robert Downey Jr., who he then hid from his feed. The captain follows no one.

Shatner also gave some polite advice for other celebrities looking to try out Mentions. He writes, "If you have this app please turn off notifications because if you post something your phone spends the next hour sending you notifications of every person who makes a comment."

SEE ALSO: Shakira broke a Facebook world record

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Author: "Joey Cosco"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 23:32

Apple Genius Bar

Apple is facing a class-action lawsuit from former employees who say the company owes them unpaid wages, according to a Re/code report.

Around 20,000 former employees from Apple's retail and corporate divisions allege they missed breaks and meals, and did not receive their final paychecks in a timely manner.

They have filed suit in California's Superior Court.

The plaintiffs in the suit are represented by attorney Tyler J. Belong in San Diego. 

Apple's earnings came out today, but the company did not respond to a request for comment. 

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Author: "Sam Colt"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 23:25

bezos3Amazon has been pretty adamant when it comes to the financials of its cloud infrastructure unit, Amazon Web Services: Not disclosing it because it's not required to.

But that may soon be bound to change. According to a report by VentureBeat, Amazon may soon be forced to open up its books for AWS because of an SEC rule that requires companies to file separate reports for entities with revenue, profits, or assets over 10% of the entire company. 

In other words, once AWS' business grows large enough, Amazon will have no choice but to disclose its financials. And that may happen in just a couple of years.

The VentureBeat report cited an analysis by Pacific Crest Securities that projected AWS revenue to grow 58% this year to $5 billion. Last year, AWS had $3.1 billion in revenue and $1.9 billion in the year before. 

“AWS remains on a hyper growth trajectory despite the law of large numbers and remains on pace to essentially double revenue every two years,” the research note said.

At this rate, AWS will surpass $10 billion in sales within the next two years. Amazon as a whole had $74.4 billion in revenue last year.

AWS SVP Andy Jassy believes breaking its numbers would put AWS at a huge disadvantage. “I think in really fast-growing, nascent markets, like the cloud is, there’s a lot of competitive intelligence when the leader gives out those types of metrics — so, as long as we don’t have to, we don’t disclose it,” he said at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference last week.

But Jassy and the crew at AWS should feel pretty good about themselves, if AWS does grow fast enough to take 10% of Amazon’s overall business. As the Pacific Crest report says, AWS' growth trajectory is on pace to surpass Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, VMware, and Yahoo. 

“This places AWS into a unique camp of some of the most valuable internet and software franchises that exists today,” it said.

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Author: "Eugene Kim"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 22:00

ellison wildlife party

After Oracle CEO Larry Ellison bought the Hawaiian island of Lanai in 2012, he told reporters that he planned to turn the island into a model for sustainable living.

On Sunday, July 20, he took a step closer to his mission of saving the earth when he and girlfriend Nikita Kahn hosted a VIP-packed fundraiser for the California Wildlife Center. The CWC is a nonprofit that rescues sick, injured, or orphaned animals in California.

The fundraiser took place at Ellison's restaurant Nikita, located on Malibu's ritzy Carbon Beach, where Ellison also owns 10 oceanfront homesA number of celebrities were in attendance, including Bradley Cooper and Kathryn Bigelow.

The event ultimately raised $600,000, which the CWC will use towards opening a new facility and surgery center.

The party took place at Ellison's restaurant Nikita, a pricey Mediterranean eatery that looks out over the ocean in Malibu, California. Here, Vanity Fair's Julie Miller and Haute Living's Laura Schreffler enjoy the patio with another guest.



Ellison hosted the party with girlfriend Nikita Kahn, an animal rights activist and philanthropist.



Kahn gave a rallying speech during the party. "Recently, we had a lot of very young seals come up on the beach in Malibu because they were too small and weak to feed themselves,” she said. "The California Wildlife Center came to the beach, picked them up, fed them, and cared for them until they were big enough and strong enough to be released back into the wild. I didn't even know an organization like that existed. I was so impressed with how they responded to the emergency, I decided I had to get involved."



See the rest of the story at Business Insider






Author: "Madeline Stone"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 21:21

Apple Store Stanford

Apple released its second quarter earnings Tuesday.

Here's what you need to know, in charts:

iPhone sales were right in line with expectations.

iPhone Sales

iPad sales growth continues to shrink. It's down 9% year over year.

iPad Sales

iPhone and iPad Average Selling Prices (ASP) continue to decline:Apple ASP

Apple is still the iPhone company:

AppleRevenueColumn

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Author: "Sam Colt" Tags: "ASP"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 21:14

iPhone Sales

Apple on Tuesday reported its earnings for the July quarter. Revenue was largely in line with expectations at about $37.43 billion on $1.28 earnings per share, and so were iPhone sales, at around 35.2 million units sold for the quarter — up about 13% year-over-year.  

Though iPhone sales are steadily rising on average each year, growth of the device year-over-year actually seems to be slowing down since the end of 2012, around the release of the iPhone 5. Apple last year released two iPhone models for the first time, the iPhone 5S and 5C, but is expected to release at least one larger iPhone model this year with a 4.7-inch screen.

Several reports say Apple will also unveil an even bigger 5.5-inch iPhone model this fall, possibly to sate consumers attracted by the large Android-powered handsets, though the launch of that phone may be delayed due to production issues.

SEE ALSO: LIVE: APPLE EARNINGS ARE IN LINE WITH EXPECTATIONS

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Author: "Dave Smith"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 21:12

benjamin black

Last year Amazon's cloud computing business, Amazon Web Services (AWS), brought the company $3.8 billion in revenue.

As LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman, along with entrepreneurs Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh, illustrate in their new book "The Alliance," this multibillion-dollar business wasn't the brainchild of CEO Jeff Bezos or even an executive. It came from Benjamin Black, an employee who had been with the company a little over a year.

It was 2003, and Black was recently promoted to website engineering manager. As Black explains in a blog post, he wrote a short paper that outlined a way to restructure Amazon's infrastructure, and at the end "mentioned the possibility of selling virtual servers as a service."

He writes that he worked on the paper with his boss, vice president of IT infrastructure Chris Pinkham, and that they drew from the ideas they had discussed with their team.

"We presented the paper to Bezos (he doesn't do slides), he liked a lot of it, and we went back to work," Black writes.

Bezos put Pinkham in charge of leading the project that would become AWS, and championed the unorthodox idea. Bezos was "on board from the beginning," Pinkham's former employee Christopher Brown previously told Business Insider.

"When Amazon's board questioned whether the company should tackle something so unrelated to online retail," Hoffman, Casnocha, and Yeh write, "Bezos defended the idea and pushed it through."

AWS launched in 2006 and today, Brown says, "it's part of Amazon's culture" and "the way they stay ahead of the competition."

The authors of "The Alliance" think this story is a great case study in good management, since Bezos listened to and recognized a smart idea, no matter whose it was. 

Disney missed this opportunity when it fired animator John Lasseter in 1995 for wanting to pursue computer animation. He joined the team that eventually became Pixar and now serves as the studio's chief creative officer.

The authors explain how managers can learn from Bezos' example:

Unlike John Lasseter's bosses at Disney, Bezos was open to the entrepreneurial contributions of Amazon's individual employees — even when those ideas were outside what Wall Street (and even his own board of directors) considered the company's core business. AWS represents precisely the kind of value creation any CEO or shareholder would want from their employees.

Want your employees to come up with multibillion-dollar ideas while on the job? You have to attract professionals with the founder mindset and then harness their entrepreneurial impulses for your company. As Intuit CEO Brad Smith told us, "A leader's job is not to put greatness into people, but rather to recognize that it already exists, and to create the environment where that greatness can emerge and grow."

SEE ALSO: Brilliant Management Advice From LinkedIn's Billionaire Founder

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Author: "Richard Feloni" Tags: "AWS"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 21:05

Apple announced its iPhone and iPad sales for the second quarter of 2014 Tuesday.

Here's the rundown:

iPhone unit sales: 35.2 million versus 35.3 million expected

iPad unit sales: 13.3 versus 14-15 million expected

The iPhone numbers are nearly in line with analyst expectations, but Apple missed again on the iPad. iPad sales are down 9% year over year.

Here are some charts breaking down iPhone and iPad sales:

iPhone Sales

iPad Sales

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Author: "Sam Colt"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 21:05

jeff weiner, linkedin

LinkedIn just bought a business marketing company called Bizo for $175 million.

LinkedIn's David Thacker writes that Bizo's team has been part of its API Partner Program for a while and the acquisition will help it establish  "a comprehensive B2B marketing platform for brands." 

Bizos helps advertisers find and target new businesses. 

This news comes soon after LinkedIn announced that it was buying Newsle last week. LinkedIn is funding this deal 90% with cash and 10% with stock. 

Here's the full blog post from Bizo, which was founded in 2008 and has raised about $20 million in capital:

When we started Bizo just over six years ago, our goal was to build an unbeatable team, culture and product to help B2B marketers drive greater revenue and results.  We have come a long way towards delivering against this vision and at the same time see a huge amount of opportunity ahead of us.

As we focus on the road ahead, I couldn’t me more thrilled to share the exciting news that LinkedIn has agreed to acquire Bizo.

We have been a LinkedIn partner for a while now, and when we started to develop that relationship a few years ago, it became readily apparent that we shared very strong and positive employee cultures, and that we both had a similar way of thinking about building out our respective businesses, with core customer-first and member-first mindsets.  

LinkedIn’s mission is to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful, while Bizo’s is to help B2B marketers get to the right people.  We realized that our respective missions are incredibly well aligned, and we believe that combining forces will accelerate our ability to execute against the huge opportunities ahead.  The combination of LinkedIn and Bizo greatly increases our ability to be the most effective platform for B2B marketers to reach their audiences, nurture prospects and acquire customers. 

We see incredible opportunities in the coming years to continue to scale our mission beyond what we ever thought possible -- and create a big win for our customers, employees, and LinkedIn members.   For more context on the announcement from LinkedIn, please see their blog post.

Thanks to all of the Bizo team, customers, partners, shareholders and supporters for your incredible dedication and support over the past 6+ years.  We have a lot of exciting work ahead of us – stay tuned!

SEE ALSO: Some Companies Once Banned Their Employees From Using LinkedIn

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Author: "Jillian D'Onfro"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 20:08

danica patrick godaddy

It is estimated that more than 500 URLs have been bought and sold for $1 million or more.

We scoured domain name resource DN Journal and put together a list of documented million-dollar, domain-only sales. Some have been squatted on for 20 years and have only recently traded hands.

Not surprisingly, sex- and gambling-related domains are some of the biggest money makers.

Check out the most expensive domain names of all time >

NOTE: Web businesses have other assets and are not domain-only sales, so they were not eligible for this list. For example, Insure.com was bought for $16 million as a fully-operating, profitable company. DN Journal reports only the domain names sold after 2003 because prior sales are not verified by credible sources. 

MM.com — $1,200,000

Date sold: July 2014

MM.com was sold for $1.2 million through Sedo in July 2014. It was purchased by Hangzhou Duomai E-Commerce Co. Ltd, a company behind other domain names Game.com, JZ.com and 4.cn.



eBet.com — $1,350,000

Date sold: October 2013

A man named Rick registered eBet.com in 1996 and held onto it until September, when he agreed to sell the domain.

"Network Solutions contacted me on August 29th with a $50,000 offer. I did not think anything of it, as I get these all the time," Rick wrote on his blog. "I countered at $1.8M and went about my business. On September 3rd voila the buyer comes back at $1MM ... So I think, how to get that number where I can live with and at the same time they can live with. So I counter at $1.35MM and that was my final offer. I hear nothing until the following Friday. September 16th. They accept the offer!"

 



Cameras.com — $1,500,000

Year sold: 2006

"Cameras.com attracted the highest bid in the live domain auction conducted by Moniker.com at the recently concluded T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East Conference in Hollywood, Florida," The DN Journal wrote in 2006.

"The winning bidder, Sig Solares (the CEO of Parked.com), wasted no time ponying up the $1,500,000 due, making that domain the first from the live auction that we have seen change hands."



See the rest of the story at Business Insider






Author: "Alyson Shontell"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 20:05

elon musk tesla model x Tesla Design Studio in Hawthorne, California February 9, 2012

Tesla is getting serious about its next vehicle, the highly anticipated Model X. So serious that the company is shutting down production of the Model S sedan for two weeks at its factory in Fremont, Calif. to install new equipment.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is revealing his grand ambitions for a multi-vehicle lineup with this move. The Model X, with its exotic falcon-wing doors and highly touted mashup of "SUV and minivan," will be built on the same assembly line as the award-winning Model S, Bloomberg reports.

This will crank up the plant's output by 25%, if all goes according to plan. Tesla plans to install $100 million in new robots so it can construct both cars at the same time  no easy task for a startup automaker that has so far only managed to build one vehicle at a facility that was formerly shared by Toyota and General Motors.

But there's no question that Tesla needs to allow Model S production to take a brief hit in July in order to lay the critical groundwork for the Model X, the vehicle whose overriding mission is to provide consumers with a cheaper, family-oriented electric car. Tesla wants to begin delivering the Model X by spring 2015.

The decision to retool the Fremont plant may not sit well with Model S customers, who are already being asked to wait until late October to take delivery of their cars. But from Musk's perspective, the assembly line needs to be upgraded now to increase Model S production to meet both domestic and, increasingly, Chinese demand.

SEE ALSO: The First Person Ever To Die In A Tesla Is A Guy Who Stole One

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Author: "Matthew DeBord"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 19:55

microsoft ceo satya nadella

Microsoft reported its Q2 2014 earnings Tuesday afternoon.

Here's the score:

Revenue: $23.38 billion

EPS (GAAP): $0.55

It was a miss on EPS, which Microsoft says is due to the Nokia acquisition. Microsoft says the Nokia acquisition accounted for a $0.08 per share loss. When Microsoft gave guidance last quarter, it didn't account for the Nokia acquisition.

Bing search ad revenue is up 40%, and Microsoft says it now has 19.2% of the U.S. search market share.

Microsoft added 1 million consumer subscribers to Office 365, its subscription Office service, last quarter. It now has more than 5.6 million subscribers.

Big number: Cloud revenue is booming. It's up 147% and it's on an annualized run rate of more than $4.4 billion. This includes all of Microsoft's cloud businesses like Office 365, Azure, etc.

You're going to see Microsoft bragging about this chart a lot:

microsoft cloud annual run rate chart

Surface revenue was $409 million. But expect that to be a bit better next earnings report once Microsoft is able to sell its new Surface Pro 3 tablet for a full quarter. Microsoft's head of investor relations Chris Suh told Business Insider in an interview Tuesday that the Surface Pro 3 is selling at a faster rate than the last two Pro models.

The stock did nothing in after-hours trading.

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Author: "Steve Kovach" Tags: "GAAP"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 19:52

Tim CookApple delivered a relatively boring June quarter earnings report

The numbers were all pretty much in line and the stock barely moved on the news. 

Revenue of $37.43 billion was slightly lighter than expected, but EPS of $1.28 was ahead of expectations (full numbers are below).

If there's a story to be told from this earnings report it's that the iPad in the U.S. is surprisingly weak. 

Apple sold 13.3 million iPads, down 9% an a year-over-year basis, and lighter than the 13.8 million analysts expected. 

On the earnings call, CEO Tim Cook said the iPad "met our expectations, but not yours." 

During the Q&A with analysts, he dug in further on the iPad. He said the market is "bifurcated" with the developing markets delivering strong growth. In the BRIC countries, "iPad did well," said Cook. In China, growth was over 50%. In the Mid-East, it was over 60%. But in the U.S., Cook said, "the market is weaker there."

He continues to believe the iPad business can grow. He said that if you look at projections from third party firms, the tablet market should be bigger than the PC market next year. He says that Apple's new partnership with IBM should deliver a shot in the arm and boost iPad sales.

If you're looking for a positive with the iPad, it's this: Apple says 50% of people buying iPads are new to the iPad. This suggests the market has room to grow. Further, Cook said the iPad Mini has 100% customer satisfaction.

The market once again shrugged at the weak iPad number because the iPhone was solid.

Apple sold 35.2 million iPhones, up 13% on a year-over-year basis, and right around analyst expectations of 35.3 million units sold for the quarter. 

On the earnings call, Cook said iPhone sales were strong across its three product tiers. It sells an entry level iPhone 4S, a mid-tier iPhone 5C, and high-end iPhone 5S. Cook said growth of the 5C was stronger this year than the iPhone 4S, which was the comparable phone in the line up last year.

China was really strong for Apple. On the call, Cook said iPhone units were up 48%. He also said that Mac sales were up 39% in China. 

This runs contrary to what many people expected. As competition from Android increases in China, people thought Apple would weaken. Instead, it's doing very well. Speaking with Reuters, CFO Luca Maestri, said that Xiaomi, the Android phone maker that's making waves, is not taking share from Apple, but rather it's taking share from other Android phone makers.

Overall, it was another strong quarter from Apple. 

Here are the numbers. All expectation numbers come via Bloomberg:

  • Revenue: $37.43 billion, up 6% year-over-year, versus $38 billion expected
  • EPS: $1.28, up 20% y/y, versus $1.23 expected
  • iPhone unit sales: 35.2 million, up 13% y/y, versus 35.3 million expected
  • iPad unit sales: 13.3 million, down 9%, versus 13.8 million expected
  • Macs: 4.4 million, up 18%, versus 3.9 million expected
  • iPod unit sales: 2.9 million, down 36% y/y, versus 2.3 million expected
  • September quarter revenue: $37-$40 billion versus $40.4 billion expected
  • September quarter gross margin: 37-38% versus 37.5% expected
  • iPhone ASP: $561.06, compared to $596 last quarter
  • iPad ASP: $443.58 compared to $465 last quarter
  • Cash/securities: $164.5 billion, with just $26.8 billion held domestically

This post is being updated as we write. If you want the latest, hit refresh on your browser, or just click here.

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Author: "Jay Yarow"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 19:41

The 24th edition of the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) is currently underway off the coast of Hawaii. Held on every even-numbered year, RIMPAC is the largest international maritime exercise in the world

This year's exercise involves 49 surface ships, 6 submarines, over 200 aircraft, and 25,000 personnel from 22 nations. China, Indonesia, the U.S., the Philippines, Singapore, Japan, Korea, Mexico, and Canada are just a few of the countries whose militaries are in attendance. 

Although RIMPAC is primarily concerned with military coordination, the exercise also aims to enhance the countries' collective capability to undertake future humanitarian missions

But one notable participant already is violating RIMPAC's spirit of cooperation — China recently sent a spy ship off the coast of Hawaii, apparently to spy on the exercises. 

Sharing training methods is a major component of RIMPAC. Here, a U.S. instructor teaches members of the Mexico Naval Infantry Force to breath compressed air.

Mexico Naval Infantry Force RIMPAC

Nations cooperate in joint training operations. Here, Korean SEALS provide security alongside U.S. Marines and Peruvian Special Forces. 

South Korean Navy Seals

A U.S. Marine and his trained infantry dog operated alongside Korean SEALS and Peruvian Special Forces.

US Marines RIMPAC

U.S. Special Forces also practiced a range of aerial-based maneuvers, such as fast-roping into a simulated battlefield from an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter. 

RIMPAC Marine Training

This RIMPAC also marked the first time that an E model AH-64 Apache helicopter conducted deck landing qualifications on an amphibious assault ship. 

Apache Helicopters RIMPAC

A large portion of RIMPAC focused around naval operations and amphibious assault.

Landing Craft Air Cushions

Here, a U.S. Marine Corps amphibious assault ship charges through the surf. 

US Marine Corps Amphibious Assault Ship

Indonesian Marines also practiced amphibious assaults with their own vehicles. 

Indonesian Amphibious assault ship

The U.S. Marine Corps used RIMPAC to test one of their newest vehicles: UHAC, a massive equipment transport. 

UHAC Marines

Officers from the Singapore Navy and Army were present to watch the UHAC's test run. 

Singapore Navy and Army officials

Aside from the UHAC, the Marines tested the Legged Support System (LS3), a mule-like quadrupedal machine that can carry up to 400 pounds of gear. 

boston dynamics

SEE ALSO: 11 intense photos of the largest multinational military exercise in Southeast Asia

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Author: "Jeremy Bender" Tags: "RIMPAC"
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