News Roundup: New Tech Orders, Big Earners and Silicon States

roundup of the week’s tech news including Forgetting about Facebook, and the Slow Death of Nokia.

Tech's Highest-Paid

Equilar has just released its rankings of the top 200 Highest Paid CEOs, and it doesn’t half make you green with envy. Average CEO pay was up 6%, and four of the ten highest paid were in the technology sector, with Oracle’s Larry Ellison earning a mighty $78 million in 2013. Other tech-types included in the list were LinkedIn’s Jeffrey Weiner who raked in $49 million, Marissa Mayer took in just under $25 million and Salesforce’s Marc Benioff earned a nice $22 million.

New Tech Orders

So Apple and IBM have announced a new alliance. Under the new agreement, there’ll be hundreds of enterprise-class iOS apps and all sorts of other goodies that will bring Apple into a space it has traditionally shunned and let IBM get in on that mobility thing that’s going on. It’s not the first time the two companies have tried to work together and there’s obviously plenty of discussion about whether this is the start of something big or a damp squib. What is certain however, is that things are a changing; Chromebook sales are rising at an impressive rate and a new look Microsoft is finally admitting that its marketshare is closer to 14% than 90%. Who knows how all this pan out.

Silicon States

According to a new study, California is the World’s 8th largest economy, between Brazil and Russia. Now most of that money is no doubt thanks to the tech sector, but does that mean Silicon Valley should become its own state? Tim Draper still thinks so. His dream to split Cali into six separate states; Jefferson, North California, Central California, South California, West California and Silicon Valley is one step closer to becoming a reality. His petition has gained the 800,000-odd signatures needed to get a referendum on the ballot in 2016. We covered this a while go but now it’s a real possibility, not just the ramblings of an over-excited tech guy. Quite why he wants to do this is a mystery known only to Draper himself, and there is some controversy around how legit all the signatures are, but it’s unlikely to actually happen.


The usual dose of NSA headlines

-          The UK’s rushed DRIP bill is now law, Ed Snowden isn’t impressed.

-          Australian politicians are looking to punish anyone reporting on future leaks.

-          Apparently the NSA have been checking out your nudie photos.

-          Google may have not been entirely honest about their relationship with the NSA.

-          Snowden says Dropbox is bad and you should use Spideroak instead, while other Cloud companies can still save their reputation.

-          You can check out all the different tools GCHQ use to spy on you.

-          A new UN report is pretty damning about the spying activity, one UN chief says people like Ed Snowden deserve protection.

-          Germany may take a leaf out of Russia’s book and revert to typewriters.

-          Glenn Greenwald recently did a Reddit AMA.

-          Someone sent the NSA a mixtape that can’t be decrypted.


More international tech tension this week. Apple phones were branded a ‘national security threat’ by the Chinese state broadcaster, something Tim Cook’s company strongly denied. Meanwhile Germany is considering treating big US tech companies such as Google like utilities. The move would allow stronger regulation and prevent any monopolies on services such as search. Google have declined to comment.

I don’t think the US Government is helping with the worldwide backlash against its big companies. The ongoing battle to force Microsoft to hand over data held on Irish servers, for example, is exactly how to reduce trust in foreign services and push people to choose local alternatives.

Facebook Forgotten

Despite the outrage, the furore over Facebook’s emotion study seems to have died down. The campaign to shun the network for 99 days never really got going, and people seem quick to forget similar news about other FB studies fairly quickly. Outrage that the company may be tweaking your feed to show more extreme political views is yet to really get going.

M&A Action

Good news for the UK’s IT industry; less companies are going bust! Recession? What recession?

Meanwhile acquisition fever is still going strong. Salesforce has got its hands on RelateIQ, Microsoft has bought InMage, Yahoo!’s spree now includes streaming startup RayV, LinkedIn has gobbled up Newsle while Twitter now owns CardSpring and Netsuite has acquired Venda.

Elsewhere Israel’s Orbotech has bought Wales’ largest tech company SPTS, Netboss has acquired Ventraq Business Analytics, Chef now own Tower3, Zimbra has snapped up Mezeo and Lexalytics acquired Semantria.

Microsoft vs. Nokia, BlackBerries vs. V BlackPhones

Not long ago the Finnish PM was blaming Steve Jobs for taking all of his country’s jobs. Looks like he should have saved his ire for Satya Nadella. The CEO sent a big email around to employees this week outlining the company's future direction. In short: Mobile-First, Cloud-First. What he saved for a separate email was laying the off of 14% of the company workforce, most of which will be culled from the Nokia division. Combine this with the retiring of the Nokia brand and you’ve basically got the extinction of a former tech giant.

In other MS news, the company’s search engine Bing is starting to comply with the EU’s ’Right To Be Forgotten’ rulings, it’s yet to be seen if they’ll make such a big deal as Google did. Microsoft researchers have declared that recycling passwords is actually ok. Security experts everywhere must be bursting a blood vessel.

BlackBerry are continuing their attempts to stay relevant. Aside from their super-angular Passport phone, the Canadian company are about to drop their own Siri/Cortana/Google Now voice assistant. Aside from joining the party after everyone else, they forgot to give it a fun name, and have instead opted for the more mundane “BlackBerry Assistant app.” Slightly more fun, however, is the apparent rivalry BB have developed with Blackphone, the super-secure ‘NSA-proof’ phone. A blogpost on the BB site called the Blackphone “Inadequate for Businesses” and said they should stick with their tried and tested devices. Toby Weir-Jones, CEO of Blackphone maker SGP Technologies hit back in a post of his own claiming, “The only thing sustaining them is the inertia of their remaining enterprise and government customers.” Meow.

We Should All Avoid Tech

A bunch of new tech studies are out. Bottom line; we don’t know what tech is called and we should all avoid it anyway. According to Samsung, the average house now contains 19 devices, which gives us rashes due to Nickel allergies and makes us less sociable even when we’re not using them.

You may remember that the creator of the GIF finally told the world it should be pronounced “JIF.” But that’s not all we say wrong. eBay did a nice study and outlines all the subtle differences in how we say techy things. 57% of people say URL, 38% say web address. 44% say desktop, 30% say wallpaper.  Check it out and see where you stand on owned vs. pawned.


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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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