First case against algorithm could reboot U.S. law

December 22, 2014

A market manipulation prosecution essentially turns on whether one program duped another. That makes proving criminal intent seem futuristic at best. Similar obstacles could trip up other cases where software is the de facto defendant. Judges will tackle the issue in 2015.

Tim Cook’s pride may expand corporate talent pool

October 30, 2014

The Apple CEO’s decision to speak publicly about being gay should help advance the march toward acceptance. As boss of the world’s biggest company by market value, Cook could inspire others, giving C-suites and boardrooms more choice. They could use it.

Facebook and Google catch glimpse of split future

October 9, 2014

Symantec and EMC may join eBay and HP in breaking up. These old-time tech companies have become unwieldy, often by acquisition. Relative newcomers like Facebook, Google and Alibaba are following a similar growth path. Investors are on board now, but their carve-up time will come.

Larry Ellison cedes driver seat with hand on wheel

September 19, 2014

The Oracle founder is stepping down as CEO, but his 25 pct stake in the software giant – and dual role as chairman and chief technology officer – ensure he’s far from relinquishing control. Splitting his old job between two executives could, however, lead to a bumpy transition.

Microsoft’s China dream sorely strains credibility

August 5, 2014

After 22 years, it’s hard to believe how little the U.S. tech giant has achieved in China. The country looks to account for just 2 percent of Microsoft’s revenue. Cloud services and Xbox sales may multiply that. But an antitrust probe raises the cost of business - possibly too high.

Oracle deal provides partly cloudy forecast

June 23, 2014

In a way the $5.3 bln deal for Micros is a relief for shareholders. Even if it’s the start of an M&A binge, it’s not at a crazy valuation. Then again, longtime partner Micros is more an add-on than a way to supercharge Oracle’s effort in the cloud. That challenge remains for now.

Samsung software bet rests on future beyond phones

June 16, 2014

The Korean group has launched a smartphone running its own operating system instead of Google’s Android. Samsung is unlikely to challenge the search giant’s lead in handsets. But it may have more success with software that can control televisions, appliances - and even cars.

U.S. firms get caught in China spying crossfire

May 26, 2014

China has threatened to block foreign companies due to a cyber espionage row with the United States. For most groups, the People’s Republic is still a small proportion of sales, but a bigger share of potential new orders. China’s weapon is shutting them out from future growth.

Oracle needs to read Cisco cautionary tale

December 5, 2011

Empires built on acquisitions can run into problems as they sprawl. That’s doubly so in tech, where obsolescence is a risk. Oracle has used database profits to buy new businesses. So far, so good - but Cisco’s record suggests success will be hard to sustain.

Mike Lynch should try to buy Autonomy back

May 24, 2012

The software group’s founder is leaving HP months after the U.S. tech giant bought it for $11 bln. Other Autonomy execs had already gone. Having overpaid, HP is suffering the cultural woes of M&A. As for Lynch, he could yet exploit the mess to buy his baby back at a decent price.