Posts Tagged ‘execs’
Whatever value you see in game development schools, it’s clear that few of them tout gaming industry veterans who can lead by example. The University of Texas’ upcoming Denius-Sams Gaming Academy could solve this discrepancy by tapping two executives whose work many of us know by heart. Both legendary designer Warren Spector and Blizzard COO Paul Sams will guide (and sometimes teach) year-long post-baccalaureate certificate programs at the Academy that focus on creative leadership and game company management — yes, that means instruction from gurus behind the Deus Ex and Warcraft franchises, among other classics. The programs will also emphasize that all-important ability to finish a game, rather than mastering skills in isolation. The first students join the Academy’s ranks in fall 2014, although they’ll need to be exceptional to stand a chance of getting in — just 20 spots will be open in the first year.
Source: University of Texas at Austin
An anchor made on-air comments about tracking log in information more than a year ago. A big deal internally — but handled quietly.
Executives at the financial information company Bloomberg have known about journalists using the company’s terminals to spy on clients at least since September 2011 — more than a year before the practice turned into a scandal that threatens the company's relationships with its clients.
That month, Erik Schatzker, an anchor at Bloomberg TV and host of “Market Makers,” was reprimanded for making on-air comments about using terminal data to track the activities of at least one story subject, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation.
One source said the matter was a very big deal internally but was handled quietly.
“All the terminal guys freaked out,” said this source, referring to Bloomberg's army of salespeople who sell its $ 20,000 signature product. Bloomberg's 315,000 terminal subscribers, not its news operation, make up the vast majority of its revenue, which last year totaled $ 7.9 billion.
Schatzker declined comment, as did a Bloomberg representative, and a clip of Schatzker making the comment couldn't immediately be located.
Though no one outside Bloomberg's Manhattan headquarters complained about Schatzker's slip, executives at the time said they would disable the function that allowed journalists to access certain client data, said one source. But apparently that didn't happen until recently, and it only came to light after the New York Post reported that Goldman Sachs executives complained to Bloomberg about the ability of reporters to keep tabs on its bankers via the terminal. The Post also reported that JP Morgan Chase also believes that Bloomberg reporters tracked its employees.
The New York Times followed up the Post's report on Saturday with its own story saying that banking regulators at the Federal Reserve were concerned that they also were tracked by Bloomberg reporters. The Times story said that a preliminary investigation at Bloomberg revealed that “several hundred” reporters used a technique on the terminal, known as the “Z function,” to monitor client activities.
Part of the reason why nothing changed two years ago is because, while exposure of the practice shocked many outside observers, any Bloomberg terminal user with a moderate level of understanding knows that this kind of data is not only readily available, but also one reason why the company's terminals are so popular.
It is widely known, for instance, that every Bloomberg client has a profile page template and a company assigned email address. So, clients and Bloomberg employees can see how many times the profile of, say, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein (presuming he is a client) was looked up, but they can't see who precisely was checking him out. They can email him at his Bloomberg address, but odds are that he doesn't use it and would never see the message. Green, yellow, and red colored dots indicate whether someone is actively logged onto a terminal (green), logged on but inactive (yellow), or logged out/inactive (red).
Also visible were statistics over the previous week on what functions clients used the most — news, bonds, equities for instance — but not which actual stories or stocks were looked at. Reporters never had access to such information as trades, stock purchases, client messages, Bloomberg wrote in a blog post on its website.
This type of information has always been used by the terminal salespeople as a way to better serve client needs — knowing what features they are using and what stories they are reading helps them tailor products and services.
Editorially, this information was seen as so benign that surfacing it was an open practice, if not openly encouraged. Internally, reporters are taught to “harness the power of the terminal” to mine for stories, one former newsroom source said. Bloomberg reporters can see the aggregate number of readers for a specific story, but cannot identify the individual readers.
Indeed, not unlike at some other digital media companies, sources said half of the annual bonus for Bloomberg reporters is based in part on story views, so seeing which stories are gaining traction among readers is valuable in helping reporters determine what to chase. According to the former newsroom source, reporters pitch a lot of what Bloomberg calls “people movers” stories (i.e., a Morgan Stanley banker being hired by UBS) because they get a lot of traction among clients.
“I'm not sure what benefit you get out of exploiting this function other than to see if someone is logged in or not,” said one current newsroom source. “LinkedIn Pro is more useful and has better information for finding sources and helping to break news.”
Bloomberg moved quickly to put out the fire, saying in a blog post on its website titled “Safeguarding Customer Data” that it made a mistake and that last month it changed its policy “so that all reporters only have access to the same customer relationship data available to our clients.” The company also appointed Steve Ross, who was responsible for management of the terminal business, to the new position of Client Data Compliance Officer to ensure that “our news operations never have access to confidential customer data.”
Bloomberg News' editor-in-chief, Matthew Winkler, has yet to speak publicly on the issue — Dan Doctoroff, the CEO of parent company Bloomberg LP, wrote the blog post. Known as Bloomberg's standards enforcer, Winkler is famous for his bow ties, fierce temper and his high ethical standards, which include weekly internal memos expounding on the proper use of the words “but” or “announce.” Sources said he was in London on Friday but addressed the issue during the Friday morning global editors call by simply reminding everyone of the company's policy regarding client information.
These sources unanimously described Winkler as untouchable and said he likely would not suffer any repercussions from the revelations. Whether the newsroom's relationship with its clients and sources is equally ironclad remains to be seen.
On the earnings call after Intel launched its Q1 numbers, its executives dealt with many concerns from analysts, including some asking what to get out of the business in Q4. According to CEO Paul Otellini and CFO / EVP Stacy Smith, among the reasons for investors to be optimistic are the prospects of less expensive touch display computer systems powered by its approaching Bay Path (quad-core Atom) and Haswell processors. Just how inexpensive you ask? According to Otellini, as transcribed by SeekingAlpha:
We have a particular specification for ultrabooks, which is the item that Stacy stated is visiting be centered at as reduced as $ 599 with some [diverse] SKUs to $ 499. If you look at touch-enabled Intel based notebooks that are ultrathin and light utilizing non-core processors, those prices are going to be down to as reduced as $ 200 probably.
We ‘d put more weight in those figures if they were rate tags affixeded to items or a minimum of from the OEMs that will construct them, but at least there’s a target. Whatever takes place, there makes certain to be a flood of new ultrabooks, tablets, convertibles and detachables hitting the streets later on this year, and if the price is right (along with some Windows 8 tweaks) perhaps they’ll be worth the delay.
When Dish announced their new ad-skipping tech, response was fairly muted. Sure it was some cool technology – the experience is seamless in that you notice maybe the first second of a commercial and then a little notification pops you over the commercials entirely – but TV execs are reportedly upset by Dish’s unilateral decision.
Fox’s Peter Rice said it was “a strange thing to do” and NBC is still evaluating it. However, what is really interesting is that Dish decided to go ahead with the service at all.
The system works because Dish is currently recording all prime-time network content onto its Hopper DVRs. This content consists of all of the big shows – Grey’s Anatomy, Parks and Recreation, etc. – parceled out and ready to watch. The consumer doesn’t even have to set a reminder. The content is just there.
This is amazing news for broadcast TV. It allows a few unique things to happen. First, it ensures content discovery is forefront in the consumer’s mind. When you roll into the ABC channel, for example, you might want to watch your favorite ABC show (that I can’t think of any ABC shows off the top of my head is a testament to the problems broadcasters are facing right now, but that’s a different post) and you pop into the ABC folder. There, next to your favorite show, is another show that’s gotten great ratings or at least good word of mouth. There are a couple of episodes saved so it’s easy to just drop into the show without any problem. Imagine if, a few years ago, Lost or another huge, sprawling epic drama was available online immediately after it aired. This sort of episode saturation is a new paradigm for TV watching, one that even time-shifting advocates didn’t foresee.
Second, it ensures that every show will get a fair shot and, more important, broadcast shows will be seen in a different, more “premium” light than cable shows. As it exists today, the service only works for prime-time broadcast networks. You can always pop over to HBO GO and the like, but what about the rest of those reality shows like American Pickers, Real Housewives Of Reseda, American Gothic Skull Pickers, and Man Vs. Food Vs. Wild? If you want to view the entire season at once, you’re going to have to figure out some alternative source.
Now we come to the ad skipping. Considering Dish’s Hopper is a win-win for broadcasters and consumers alike, what’s the problem? Dish tried something new and made the unilateral decision to programmatically simulate what consumers are doing anyway. Clearly the networks see this feature as going just a bit too far. Obviously everyone with a DVR skips over commercials. It’s a given and it’s the way things work now. However, for Dish to formalize the process programmatically is a wild move. It’s akin to a movie theatre allowing folks to vote on whether the audience will see those inane pre-feature ads and previews.
I personally believe the value given by making entire seasons available immediately far surpasses any damage ad-skipping could do. By recording every single prime time TV episode, Dish creates fans. These fans will eventually watch that broadcast content live and maybe watch previous episodes in the ad skipping interface. For TV execs to even consider this technology to be bad for the media is evidence of an unnuanced and calcified worldview. But, then again, what else is new?
We managed to catch not one, but two of Sprint’s execs yesterday at CTIA Wireless 2012: Director of Product Marketing John Tudhope and VP of Product David Owens. While our discussion was centered primarily around the company’s announcements at the show — Sprint Guardian, HTC’s EVO V 4G for Virgin Mobile and HTC’s EVO Design 4G for Boost Mobile — we were able to ask a few questions about the state of Sprint’s LTE deployment and the associated value proposition. Want to find out more? Take a look at our video interview.
Incoming search terms:
Microsoft says effectively 70 percent of all Android smartphones sold in the United States today are covered under its patent portfolio, not mentioning the fact that they’re also suing Motorola Mobility and NOOK maker Barnes & Noble over their Android devices.
Can we just agree to drop the patents-as-weapons meme? When effective licensing enables companies to share IP, the metaphor falls apart
Frank X. Shaw (@fxshaw) January 12, 2012
The second one is of course a bit disingenuous, since pretty much every player in this industry employs patents as weapons, will at some point, or wishes they were in a position to do so.
Shaw isn’t alone in his endeavor to try and get a response out of the Google camp, by the way.
Here’s Brad Smith, Microsoft’s EVP and General Counsel, tweeting:
Brad Smith (@BradSmi) January 12, 2012
And here’s Horacio E. Gutiérrez, Corporate VP and Deputy General Counsel, tweeting:
How should the smartphone industry resolve IP disputes in the software stack? Let’s try licensing
Horacio Gutierrez (@horaciog) January 12, 2012
We love this stuff. We want more. Come on, Google, it’s your turn. Keep this going.
Update - no comment needed:
Frank X. Shaw (@fxshaw) January 12, 2012
We wouldn’t bet the farm on those “Apple is building an HDTV” rumors just yet, but tonight the Wall Street Journal reports the company is still interested invading the living room in a real way, based on “vague” talks with media executives. That vision includes a TV that packs wireless streaming with AirPlay to deliver TV shows and movies as well as technology it’s developed to tie-in DVR storage and iCloud, but also focuses on personalized, synchronized access across other devices including phones and tablets. Naturally, voice and gesture recognition are mentioned, although the reports indicate Apple itself is staying cagey about what devices it’s working on and that it hasn’t tried to license content for any new products — yet. Getting media and telecommunications companies to play ball with any solution will be the key (just ask CBS why it turned down Apple once before) to making this all go — or at least beating efforts by Google and Microsoft to the punch — so there will likely be more boardroom leask before we find out exactly what hardware plans may be in store.
CarrierIQ is having a difficult time making friends. Nearly two weeks after Massachusetts congressman Edward Markey asked the FTC to open an investigation on the data collection company, it appears his wish may be granted. According to anonymous government officials close to the Washington Post — and confirmed by CarrierIQ itself — senior officials from the company visited the nation’s capital yesterday to discuss the matter with representatives from the FTC and the FCC, as well as a few congressional staffers. The Federal Trade Commission itself hasn’t confirmed that it’s opening a probe into the situation; regardless, it’s certainly evident that the government’s beginning to look very close at the company’s practices. It’s great news for privacy advocates, but whether it amounts to any changes remains to be seen.
Verizon execs propose speed-based pricing for LTE data plans, say LTE has ‘drawn the interest of Apple’
Paying for data overage is the new hotness in the wireless biz, and Verizon was the latest to dive head-first into the nasty world of usage-based pricing for its wireless data plans just a few weeks ago. But how about paying for speed instead? Seems both outgoing Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg and CFO Fran Shammo commented today that the company’s shiny new LTE network could support charging different rates depending on the speed subscribers select — just like in the landline internet business — though they wouldn’t commit to implementing such a system just yet. Speaking of LTE, Seidenberg also mentioned that he “expects” Verizon’s first LTE phone to launch in February (likely the LG we saw or HTC’s Mecha, if we had to guess), coming in on the early side of its 1H 2011 plan — and what’s more, he’s saying more LTE-equipped devices will launch than originally anticipated. We certainly won’t complain about that.
On the undying topic of the iPhone, Seidenberg’s basically holding the same line he’s maintained for some time, which is that the companies’ “interests are coming together” and that the phone will come when “Apple thinks it’s time.” The gem, though, is that Seidenberg specifically says that Verizon’s adoption of LTE has attracted Apple’s attention and helped it score the iPad — and seeing how Verizon’s cobbled-together iPad / MiFi bundle doesn’t support LTE, we can only assume it was a peace offering to help the two companies come together and prepare to work together more closely down the road. Question is, just how soon would Apple like to play the LTE card?
Can’t get enough updated products out the door this week, can ya, Acer? Well, today those spreadsheet-loving executives out there are in luck as Acer’s updating its business-targeted Veriton line up. That attractive 21.5-inch all-in-one up there is the new Veriton Z410G, but it’s more than just silver and black good looks — it’ll be avilable with a Pentium E5700 processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 320GB hard drive for $ 719. On the lower end there’s the $ 599 18.5-inch Z2900G, which differentiates itself with a resistive touchscreen and an dual-core Atom D525 processor. For the smaller form factor inclined, Acer’s also unleashing the $ 399 Veriton N282G and $ 449 N281G nettops. The former is powered by a dual-core D525 Atom processor and NVIDIA’s Ion 2 platform, while the latter is stuck with an Atom D425 processor and Intel’s GMA 3150. Both are outfitted with 320GB of storage and 2GB of memory. The prices do seem are slightly higher than Acer’s consumer counterparts, but can you really put a price on Acer’s added Veriton ControlCenter, which includes QuickMigration and PowerSaver software? Until Acer’s next batch of updates, we leave you with the full press releases after the break.
Gallery: Acer Veriton nettop and all-in-one
Continue reading Acer updates Veriton all-in-ones and nettops for the business execs
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