MediaFile

Tech Summit Q&A, final day: Verizon, Foursquare, LivingSocial

Being social,  going local, and paying for the privilege were hot topics on the last day of the Reuters 2011 Global Technology Summit.

Verizon CFO Fran Shammo got testy when Reuters reporter Jim Finkle asked him if he would reconsider charging mobile customers in addition to their data plans to tether their devices:

Shammo went on to explain Verizon’s decision to replace unlimited mobile data mobile plans with tiered pricing this summer.

Privacy matters more when you’re mobile and Foursquare co-founder and CEO Dennis Crowley sought to reassure users of his social networking service that their information is safe in his hands.

Local commerce using social networking tools has taken off. In this clip, Crowley discusses a future source of revenue and how it benefits merchants:

Tech Summit Q&A, day 3: “Unsexy” tech companies

The third day of the 2011 Reuters Global Technology Summit saw a lot of discussion about the valuation and  potential of “sexy” social networks and lesser known startups.

Saad Khan, Partner at CMEA Capital, talked about investing in LiveOps and Pixazza, two companies the former which he called “unsexy”, and how they “stitch together the world’s labor force.”

One could say that Real Networks Chairman Rob Glaser, who saw his company’s Real Player go from being the standard used in streaming media on the Web to a bit-player, is familiar with what is and isn’t “sexy”. Here he is talking about revamping his company around phenomena:

Tech Summit Q&A, day 2: Symantec CEO talks privacy

Online security was a theme on day two of the 2011 Reuters Global Technology Summit.

Enrique Salem, the CEO of software security maker Symantec, suggested ways consumers can protect their privacy:

Tech M&A was also on the table.

Neil Rimer of Index Ventures gave his two cents on Microsoft buying Skype.

Reuters: “Does the Microsoft-Skype deal make sense?”

Rimer: “Yes, I think so. I think it is a phenomenal property that still is relatively underexploited. And a lot of the most promising plans that we had when we were investors in Skype still haven’t been carried out, so I still think there is a ton of opportunities ahead”

Tech wrap: Blame game at HP

What is responsible for Hewlett-Packard’s bleak profit outlook? Ask CEO Leo Apotheker and he’ll blame it on “missed opportunities” in a troubled division under his predecessor Mark Hurd.

Apotheker, who took over in September, plans to spend heavily to revamp the beleaguered unit to focus on consulting, cloud computing and higher-margin businesses.

Dell reported profits that blew past Wall Street estimates and raised its fiscal 2012 outlook for operating income for fiscal 2012, sending shares in the No.2 PC maker up in after-hours trading.

Rent-a-Google

Google, in a new bid to diversify its way out of an overwhelming dependence on search ad revenue, has once again taken aim at a giant in another industry. Having disrupted the disruptor that is Apple in the smartphone arena, Google is now challenging Microsoft’s 800-pound-gorilla status in the enterprise market.

Chromebooks for Business, unveiled at the Google I/O developer’s conference in San Francisco, ties together a number of threads the company has been dangling — not the least of which its seemingly Quixotic venture into the computer hardware game. But with hardware partners Samsung and Acer, Google is doing what Google does best: create a mechanism (inexpensive netbooks) that increases dependency on its cloud ecosystem — just like its advocacy of high-speed Internet connections that support its core business.

But this time there is potential revenue attached to that other agenda, and a genuinely viable business model. For $28 a month (less for schools) you get everything you need in hardware, software and service — including machine upgrades. Those machines boot up in seconds, connect to WiFi hotspots effortlessly, can tap into Verizon’s 3G data network if necessary (at an extra cost) and are elegantly tied in with (what else?) Gmail, Google Voice, Google Docs.

Tech Summit Q&A, day 1: AOL’s Tim Armstrong, Arianna Huffington

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong and Editor in Chief of The Huffington Post Arianna Huffington joined us Monday for the premiere of the 2011 Reuters Global Technology Summit.

Here’s a clip of Tim Armstrong answering why he thinks the expansion of AOL’s local news service Patch is a sound investment.

And another clip of Tim Armstrong, this time talking about one of two Tech CEOs he admires:

Sony not out of the woods

Sony cranked up its video game networks over the weekend starting with the Americas after an unprecedented breach led to the theft of personal information from more than 100 million user accounts.  But experts continued to  criticize the Japanese electronics giant for failing to plug other potential holes in its vast global network.

Using little more than a web browser, a search engine and a basic understanding of security systems, one researcher found more than five entryways into Sony’s systems in the United States and elsewhere shortly after the story went to press. ”"Sony still has several external security issues that need to be addressed,” John Bumgarner, chief technology officer for the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit, tells Reuters’ Jim Finkle.

Bloomberg weighed in on Monday to lay out how hackers of Sony’s networks and others have Amazon.com’s cloud computing services to launch attacks, citing unnamed sources.

Tech wrap: Yahoo battle with Alibaba heats up

Yahoo’s battle with Alibaba intensified as they issued contradictory statements over the Chinese company’s transfer of a major Internet asset to its CEO. Analysts said the handover of Alipay, an online e-commerce payment system, to Alibaba CEO Jack Ma has reduced the value of Yahoo’s 43 percent Alibaba stake.  Yahoo said it had been blindsided by the deal, while Alibaba countered that Yahoo was aware of the transaction by virtue of having a board seat, now held by former Yahoo Chief Executive Jerry Yang, who is also a Yahoo director.

PR agency Burson-Marsteller, in the spotlight after it was revealed that Facebook had hired the firm to run a smear campaign against Google, said it will give the employees in charge of the operation extra training instead of firing them, The Daily Beast’s Dan Lyons writes.

Cisco Systems is expected to cut thousands of jobs in possibly its worst-ever round of layoffs to meet Chief Executive John Chambers’ goal of slashing costs by $1 billion. Four analysts contacted by Reuters estimated the world’s largest maker of network equipment will eliminate up to 4,000 jobs in coming months, with the average forecast at 3,000. That would represent 4 percent of Cisco’s 73,000 permanent workers. It also has an undisclosed number of temporary contractors.

Tech wrap: Facebook smear campaign blows up

Facebook admitted to hiring PR firm Burson-Marsteller to plant negative stories about Google, The Daily Beast reported. Burson urged journalists to investigate claims that Google was invading people’s privacy and offered to help privacy advocate Christopher Soghoian write an op-ed on the matter for national newspapers. The plot backfired when Soghoian rejected Burson’s offer and posted online an email exchange between them.

Facebook adopted a warning service to help users avoid clicking on dubious Internet links. The new warning service by Finnish startup Web of Trust calculates the reputation of 31 million Web pages and updates the ratings twice an hour, based on feedback from some 20 million users.

The recent hacker attack at Sony and other corporate data breaches are attracting more class-action lawyers eager to score a payday, though huge monetary settlements may be elusive, writes Dan Levine. At least 25 lawsuits have been filed against Sony in U.S. federal courts over the theft of user data from the PlayStation game network, according to Westlaw, a Thomson Reuters legal database. The challenge for plaintiffs’ lawyers lies in establishing a loss of value or additional costs suffered because of a hack, Levine adds.

Ask a tech bigwig

Wondering what makes a successful tech startup?

Have a pressing question about the future of Web media?

Want to know what a CEO of a social network thinks the company is really worth?

The Reuters Global Technology summit is your chance to ask world leaders in mobile communications, online publishing, personal computing, social media and more what you want to know.

The summit runs from Monday, May 16 to Thursday, May 19.

We’ll reveal the summit speakers here at 8:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.  So, be sure to check back.

***Update***

Monday speakers:

Arianna Huffington
AOL CEO Tim Armstrong
Nvidia founder and CEO  Jen-Hsun Huang
Opera founder Jon von Tetzchner
SEMI Europe President Heinz Kundert
Gemalto CEO Olivier Piou