“FATHER LENNON, have you some money? Buy Standard Oil.” That’s what John D. Rockefeller is said to have told his golf partner, a priest, when he heard the news in 1911 that the Supreme Court had ruled his oil company was to be broken up into 34 smaller firms. It was good advice. Within a few years the value of those firms rose threefold. The net worth of Rockefeller, who owned more than 25% of each, grew from about $300m in 1911 to $900m in 1913, around $23bn in current dollars. A break-up of today’s tech titans—Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple—could also unlock vast value, say some with an eye on the industry. If the most radical plan, proposed by Elizabeth Warren, a leading Democratic contender for America’s presidency, were fully implemented, by some calculations the parts spun off alone could be worth over $2trn—roughly half the value of the four complete firms today. Get our daily newsletter Upgrade your inbox and get our Daily … [Read more...] about Dismembering Big Tech
During a joint press conference in London with President Emmanuel Macron of France this week, President Trump threatened to impose tariffs on French goods such as champagne, in retaliation for a new tax on large tech companies. As he spoke, Macron’s digital affairs minister, Cédric O, was in Washington, DC, trying to build support for even stronger actions against Google and other tech giants. “Tech platforms have a footprint in our economies and our democracies that is a huge challenge for public power,” O said, during a visit to WIRED’s offices in San Francisco, one stop on a week-long, cross-country trip that involved meeting lawmakers, regulators, and academics to discuss antitrust tactics. O says French and European ideas about restraining tech’s power are catching on in the US—and that France’s digital services tax is just the start. Macron signed that new levy into law in July. It takes 3 percent of digital sales from companies with … [Read more...] about France Plans a Revolution to Rein in the Kings of Big Tech
Do you find it hard to relax and switch off because you spend so much time on your phone? You just need to download another app. The popular New Zealand station Sleep Radio, which plays ambient music to help its listeners doze off, is now available on smartphones, to help people who use their devices late at night. Listeners have been tuning in from around the world. Meanwhile, Apple has announced a suite of new tools for the next iPhone operating system that allow you to set time limits on how much you use particular apps, and quieten the flood of notifications. Apple’s new system is called Screen Time, while Google, which plans similar features for its next Android phone operating system, speaks of “digital wellbeing”, a particularly sinister marketing buzzphrase. Is there a new kind of digitally enabled wellbeing that is somehow more exciting than boring old analogue wellbeing, of the sort you might experience while looking at a tree? I’d better install … [Read more...] about Got a problem with big tech? Big tech has the solution to that!
While Tampa Bay residents are beginning the process of removing the sandbags from their homes and getting back to the business of daily living in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, the city’s multi-millionaire real estate developer, Jeff Vinik, is busy with plans of his own. Last year, Vinik and Bill Gates’ Cascadia fund jointly acquired a swath of waterfront property in Tampa Bay.The two intend to turn the $3 billion parcel of real estate into a model of intentional urban development. And an integral part of that, Vinik tells me, is bringing technology investment and entrepreneurship to the city. We’ve heard this song before at TechCrunch, with a seeming endless stream of cities from Coeur D’Alene, to Charlottesville, Va., to New Orleans planting a flag for technology development and business incubation. What’s different is that Vinik is putting his capital behind these projects. These days, the conversation has taken on a new dimension: Amazon has … [Read more...] about As a relieved Tampa assesses its future, one of its millionaires plants a flag for VC and tech
IBM reported its Q4 earnings at the close of trading today, and while its revenues were the 15th-straight quarter of declines, Big Blue beat analyst expectations both on sales of $22.1 billion, and non-GAAP earnings per share of $4.84. Analysts were expecting EPS of $4.81 on sales of $22.04 billion. Non-GAAP net income was $4.7 billion compared with $5.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014, down 19%. It also posted full-year revenues of $81.7 billion, with full year non-GAAP EPS of $14.92, down 10% on 2014, citing the divestiture of its “System x” business to Lenovo. As a point of comparison, last quarter the company missed on revenues of $19.3 billion and revised down its full-year profit forecast to between $14.75 and $15.75 per share for the full year. Wall Street looks like it’s not completely pleased with these numbers. After declining 1.43% in trading today, after hours the stock is down around 0.77% in after-hours trading. … [Read more...] about IBM Beats In Q4, But Sales Of $22.1B Are The 15th Straight Quarter Of Decline For Big Blue
New York Times tech writer Nick Bilton interviewed Apple CEO Steve Jobs in 2010. At the end of the conversation, Bilton asked Jobs what his kids thought of Apple’s new tablet, news of which was dominating websites, newspapers, and magazines. Jobs’ answer surprised him: it turned out Steve’s kids hadn’t tried the iPad yet. “We limit how much technology our kids use at home,” Jobs said. Bilton, stunned, reached out to Walter Isaacson, Jobs’ hand-picked official biographer, to find out whether he believed this to be true. Isaacson said that it was. “Every evening Steve made a point of having dinner at the big long table in their kitchen, discussing books and history and a variety of things,” he said. “No one ever pulled out an iPad or computer. The kids did not seem addicted at all to devices.” Teenagers who spend upwards of five hours a day are more likely to have a risk factor for suicide. It would be easy to write off … [Read more...] about If tech addiction is screwing up our kids, what should tech giants be doing?