MediaFile

Tech wrap: PayPal darling takes Yahoo reigns

Yahoo named PayPal President Scott Thompson CEO as the company plows ahead with a strategic review in which discussions have included the possibility of being sold, taken private or broken up. Thompson, a former Visa payments software platform designer, joins the company five months after the firing of previous CEO Carol Bartz.

Thompson has been credited with driving growth at eBay’s online payments division. After the Yahoo appointment, some questioned if he could replicate his success as CEO of Yahoo. ”The risk element is that his background was in payments. And this is not a payment company, it’s a marketing, technology company,” said Lawrence Haverty, a fund manager with GAMCO investors, which owns Yahoo shares.

Eastman Kodak is working on a Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing that could be filed as soon as this month if it cannot sell its digital patents, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources. The newspaper said Kodak is in talks with lenders to secure about $1 billion in debtor-in possession financing to sustain it through any bankruptcy proceedings.

Microsoft said it is suing Britain’s second-largest electronics retailer Comet for allegedly creating and selling more than 94,000 sets of ”counterfeit” recovery CDs of its Windows operating system to customers buying Windows-loaded PCs and laptops. A spokesman for Kesa, which owns Comet, told Reuters that Comet provided the disks as a service to its customers between March 2008 and December 2009, but stopped the practice when Microsoft objected. He said Comet sold the disks as many buyers of PCs and laptops did not create their own recovery CDs and faced problems when their computers failed.

Securities regulators charged an investment adviser with using LinkedIn and other social media networking websites to lure investors by offering more than $500 billion in fake securities. The SEC alleged that Anthony Fields, 54, of Lyons, Illinois, made the fraudulent offers to sell securities through two sole proprietorships. The agency said Fields provided false and misleading information about clients, assets under management and even the history of his firm’s business.

Tech wrap: Nokia starts work on Windows phone

A girl tests out the new Nokia N8 mobile phone at the Nokia Flagship store in Helsinki September 10, 2010. REUTERS/Markku Ulander/LehtikuvaWork has begun on the first Nokia smartphones based on Microsoft software following the partnership announced by the companies last month, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop told Reuters.

RIM is battling wireless carriers over control of where key data related to mobile payments will reside in upcoming BlackBerry devices equipped with near field communication (NFC) technology, writes The Wall Street Journal’s Phred Dvorak and Stuart Weinberg.

A letter that had prompted Mark Hurd’s abrupt exit as chief of Hewlett-Packard Co was ordered unsealed by a Delaware judge, potentially revealing more details of his dramatic exit last year.

Ballmer skeptical of Apple share gains

Never one to let an opportunity pass to tweak a competitor, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer got off a few zingers at long-time rival Apple at the software giant’s analyst meeting on Thursday.

“Share versus Apple, you know, we think we may have ticked up a little tick, but when you get right down to it, it’s a rounding error,” he said. “Apple’s share change, plus or minus from ours, they took a little share a couple quarters, we took share back a couple quarters. But Apple’s share globally cost us nothing. Now, hopefully, we will take share back from Apple, but you know, Apple still only sells about 10 million PCs, so it is a limited opportunity.”

Shipments of Apple’s Mac PCs rose 4 percent in the June quarter, while the global PC market shrank 5 percent, according to Gartner.

Google and Microsoft – lunch of the frenemies at Sun Valley

Google is moving to steal Microsoft’s lunch with its plan to release a PC operating system that competes with Windows. But when Eric Schmidt and Bill Gates crossed paths in Sun Valley on Thursday, lunchtime was all pleasantries.

As Gates was walking out from one of the morning conference panels for lunch, reporters naturally surrounded him to ask for his thoughts about the new Chrome OS announced by Google this week.

Before Gates had a chance to answer though, Schmidt appeared from behind and joked “it would be better if you don’t make that comment,” provoking laughter all around.

For Google, less is more versus Microsoft

– Eric Auchard is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own – 
   
By Eric Auchard 

Sergey Brin eyes fellow Google co-founder Larry Page at launch of Google Chrome in Mountain View California on Sept. 2, 2008.

LONDON, July 8 (Reuters) – Google has entered the very lair of Microsoft by launching its own computer operating software.

Not rich enough to be a Mac person

Microsoft — ruffled by constant ridicule by Apple — launched its latest counter-punch last night with an explicit jab at its cool but expensive archrival in a prime-time ad featuring one thrifty young woman’s quest to find a 17-inch laptop for under four figures.

“Lauren”, a feisty, red-haired computer-shopper, is given $1,000 to score a laptop with a 17-inch screen, and told she can keep the change.

First stop: the Apple store. Cue disappointment. The cheapest Macbook laptop, with a 13-inch screen, is $999. Lauren consoles herself that she is “not cool enough to be a Mac person” anyway.

Don’t skip Vista — please!

Thinking of going straight from your trusted old Windows XP to Microsoft’s new Windows 7 operating system, bypassing the poorly received Vista?

Not so fast, Microsoft warned its corporate customers in a blog today.

“We know some of our customers are considering waiting for Windows 7 instead of deploying Windows Vista today,” says Windows senior product director Gavriella Schuster in the blog. “We want these customers to understand the following considerations, so they are not surprised later on.”

Leapfrogging Vista could mean falling into a hole where applications are no longer supported on XP but not yet supported on Windows 7, she warns.  

Google’s Chrome out of beta, but only Windows-friendly

Google has decided its Chrome Web browser is all grown up-or. Or at least it has outgrown its beta label.

Google launched its fifteenth release of Chrome on Thursday morning, marking the browser’s first step outside the test phase. After absorbing 101 days of user feedback, Google says the latest version is equipped with improved audio and video performance, bookmark features and privacy controls.

Google tests show Chrome runs 1.5 times faster than when the browser first launched in September, according to a Google spokesperson.

Is PC the new black? Ask Microsoft

im-a-pc.jpgLook out nerdy-cool Apple guy, the empire is striking back. And it’s got Eva Longoria Parker, Tony Parker, Pharrell Williams and Deepak Chopra on its side.

Microsoft is launching (another) new commercial campaign Thursday night. It takes aim at Apple’s “Mac vs. PC” campaign that has portrayed personal computers running Windows as clunky and uncool.

The commercial starts with a real-life Windows engineer who looks eerily similar to John Hodgman (the comedian who plays the role of “PC” in Apple’s commercials), saying “I’m a PC and I’ve been made into a stereotype.” After that is a montage of celebs and normal folk, saying “I’m a PC.”   Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, along with the aforementioned celebrities, makes an appearance in the ad.