MediaFile

WebOS: Are we there yet?

It looks like the 600 employees in Hewlett-Packard’s WebOS division will only have to wait a bit longer to know their fate.

New Chief Executive Meg Whitman told French newspaper Le Figaro that she plans to announce her decision on the operating system in the next two weeks.

“This is not an easy decision, because we have a team of 600 people which is in limbo,” she was quoted as saying in French, as per the translation by Google Translate.

 HP, which acquired WebOS when it bought Palm in 2010 for $1.2 billion, has been looking to sell the mobile software platform, sources have told Reuters.

WebOS employees have been in a limbo ever since HP decided to kill its webOS-based TouchPad tablet following poor sales.

HP’s answer to the MacBook Air

HP’s answer to Apple’s MacBook Air is in, and it’s called the Folio13. 

 The company is one of the latest PC firms to launch an “Ultrabook” — a name chipmaker Intel gave to the new super-thin laptops that use its processors — but this time, it’s targeting the business user.

The launch must come as a relief to the Silicon Valley company’s PC unit employees, suspended as they were in limbo for over a month as HP considered whether to jettison the division or not. HP decided only late last month to keep the leading seller of PCs within its fold.

Autonomy CEO’s terrifying prediction: the rise of the surveillance society

As a general rule, senior executives at technology companies tend to try to make the public feel excited about the future and about technology’s role to improve it.

Mike Lynch, the CEO of Autonomy, must not have gotten that memo; or he decided to ignore it.

During a talk at the Techonomy conference on Monday, Lynch described a dark world in which today’s celebrated technologies, such as social networking and smartphones, become the nefarious tools of a surveillance society.

Tech wrap: Yahoo finds interclick, pays $270 million for it

CORRECTION: The original headline falsely stated that Yahoo will pay $240 million for interclick. The correct amount is $270 million.

Yahoo will pay $270 million for interclick as it tries to revive its ailing online advertising business, even as the search and advertising giant continues to scout for potential bidders. Yahoo is paying $9 per share, or about a 22 percent premium, for the online advertising technology firm. “It’s not a transformational acquisition, but it helps Yahoo in a market they are not strong in … they have to take some steps to keep pushing forward,” BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis said. Among the parties interested in Yahoo are private equity firms Silver Lake, TPG Capital, Bain Capital, Blackstone, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Providence Equity Partners, Hellman & Friedman, Carlyle Group, and Russian technology investment firm DST Global, apart from rivals Microsoft and Google.

Olympus named six men, including a former Japanese supreme court justice, to investigate past M&A deals at the core of a scandal engulfing the endoscope and camera maker in a bid to stem an exodus of irate investors. None of the six have had any previous association with the company, an Olympus spokeswoman said. As yet, no deadline for the group to report its findings has been set, she added.

Tech wrap: Autonomy a done deal

Hewlett-Packard completed its $12 billion buy of British software firm Autonomy on Monday, the centerpiece of a botched strategy shift that cost ex-chief executive Leo Apotheker his job last month.

HP said its 25.50 pounds-per-share cash offer — representing a 79 percent premium that many HP shareholders found excessive — had been accepted by investors representing 87.34 percent of the company’s shares, well ahead of the 75 percent threshold needed.

The rushed announcements and concerns about the lofty price offered for Autonomy sent HP’s stock, and Apotheker’s credibility, plunging. But according to analysts, it would have been nearly impossible under British takeover rules for HP to extract itself from the Autonomy deal.

Tech wrap: Oracle and HP keep sparring

Oracle and Autonomy escalated their war of words on Thursday, sparring publicly over whether the British software firm had ever been shopped to the U.S. technology giant.

Autonomy, which Hewlett-Packard this year agreed to buy for $12 billion, is at the center of a debate on Wall Street over the tenure of fired HP CEO Leo Apotheker and the future direction of the company he once ran. The spat comes at an inopportune time for HP, fighting to salvage its reputation with investors.

Entrepreneur, venture capitalist and HP board member, Marc Andreessen, referred to Oracle as an “oldline” software company and took a jab at outspoken CEO Larry Ellison: “Larry is one of my idols,” Andreessen said. “I wouldn’t quite say my role model.”

Tech wrap: Amazon fights iPad with Fire

Amazon.com Inc introduced its eagerly awaited tablet computer on Wednesday with a price tag that could make it the first strong competitor in a tablet market that has been dominated by Apple Inc’s iPad. The new device, priced at $199, may have the biggest impact on other makers of tablets and e-readers, such as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Barnes & Noble Inc, maker of the Nook.

“It’s a Nook killer,” said Scot Wingo, chief executive of ChannelAdvisor, which helps merchants sell more on websites including Amazon.com. “And it’s a very compelling offering if you’re not in the Apple ecosystem already.”

See how Amazon’s Fire stacks up to Apple’s iPad 2. Also a cool graphic breaking down the top 4 tablets.

Tech wrap: Facebook strikes a chord

Facebook unveiled new features that center on the way users listen to music and watch TV, offering tie-ups with the likes of Spotify and Hulu, as it attempts to make media an integral part of its service. The features, which also include ways for users to spiff up profiles in a magazine, photo-heavy style, were introduced on Thursday during Facebook’s annual f8 developers’ conference in San Francisco by Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg.

For Facebook, a deeper integration of music, movies and other media into its service makes it more likely that users will spend more time on its site, enabling the company to generate more advertising dollars.

Serial entrepreneur and Stanford professor Steve Blank believes the moves by the world’s dominant social network are more of a threat to Apple than to Google.

Tech wrap: HP shake-up?

A change could be underway at the top at Hewlett-Packard. The company’s board convened on Wednesday to discuss the possibility of ousting CEO Leo Apotheker after less than a year on the job and may appoint former eBay chief Meg Whitman to fill in as interim CEO, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters. HP’s board of directors has come under increasing pressure in recent months after a raft of controversial decisions has left investors uncertain of the company’s leadership.

Newly minted Apple CEO Tim Cook will try his hand as star presenter at an October 4 company event widely expected to include the launch of the latest version of the tech behemoth’s iPhone handset, according to a report on AllThingD. Sources told the website that the plan is to make the iPhone 5 available to consumers within weeks of the event. Apple has yet to officially announce or even acknowledge that the new device exists at all. For those tired of yet another story about a rumored release date, there was something akin to a confirmation on Wednesday from an unlikely source: former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. Gore, an Apple board member, apparently told a tech conference that the next-generation phone will indeed be available next month. Oops?!

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt traveled to Washington on Wednesday to face critics who say his company has become a dominant and potentially anti-competitive force on the Internet. Schmidt told a Senate antitrust hearing that his company has not “cooked” its search results to favor its own products and listings, despite accusations to the contrary from senators and other Web companies.  “Google is in a position to determine who will succeed and who will fail on the Internet,” said Republican Senator Mike Lee, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel. Google has been broadly accused of using its clout in the search market to stomp rivals as it moves into related businesses, like travel search.

Tech wrap: HP TouchPad’s second coming?

In an interview with Reuters, the head of HP’s PC business Todd Bradley gave the throngs of people who lined up outside stores to snap up discontinued and deeply discounted TouchPads hope that the company wouldn’t abandon them, saying the tablet could be resurrected. This, as the TouchPad was on track to become the second-best selling tablet of all time behind Apple’s iPad.

GigaOm’s Ryan Kim says HP’s revelation muddies the waters, making the biggest maker of PCs in the world seem indecisive, which hurts it’s stock price.

There are lessons to take away from HP’s TouchPad firesale, argues Jon Collins of The Register. Chief among them is that there’s a massive pent-up demand for tablets from any manufacturer at the expense low-end PC and netbook sales.