China’s online and mobile commerce giant, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA), was slapped with a fine totaling 800,000 yuan (aprroximately $129,000) by Chinese regulators on pricing irregularities by third-party sellers involved in trading using its e-commerce services. Alibaba said on Friday: “The company has been fined 500,000 yuan ($81,000) for matters related to Singles’ Day […]
SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Volkswagen will work to develop budget SUVs and MPVs in China in a bid to improve its lagging market share in the country, the company’s chief executive for China, Jochem Heizmann, said on Sunday.
In a research note published on Friday, Oppenheimer has reiterated an Underperform rating on Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.(NASDAQ:AMD) stock while removing the price target. The sell-side firm attributed the bearish stance on the stock primarily to declining PC demand; which resulted in earnings and revenue miss for the company in its first-quarter 2015 (1QFY15) results. […]
(Reuters) – Representatives of Comcast Corp and Time Warner Cable Inc are preparing to meet officials from the U.S. Department of Justice for talks on the planned merger of the two cable giants, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.
Patently Apple reports that the long rumored Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) 12.9-inch iPad Pro will support Oxide TFT LCD; the report also went ahead and stated that the time frame within which this change will be experienced is going to be in 2015. Moreover, it stated that the iPads that will be shipped in 2016–2017 will […]
(Reuters) – Representatives of Comcast Corp and Time Warner Cable Inc are preparing to meet U.S. Department of Justice officials to discuss competition concerns raised by the planned $45 billion merger of the two cable giants, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) announced yesterday that it will finally be releasing a set of Office applications for testing on handsets running the Windows 10 platform. After releasing a beta version of universal touch-friendly Office apps on desktops and tablets in the last few weeks, the tech giant is now promising to release the full version […]
An internal review by BuzzFeed last week found three instances when editors deleted posts after advertisers or employees from the companyâ€™s business side complained about their content, according to a memo sent to staff members on Saturday by the news and entertainment websiteâ€™s editor in chief.
The three deleted posts â€” out of more than 1,000 expunged for other reasons, according to the memo â€” had criticized products or advertisements produced by the BuzzFeed advertisers Microsoft, Pepsi and Axe body spray, a Unilever product. In the memo, the editor, Ben Smith, wrote that they were â€œpulled after an editor fielded a complaint from a business-side BuzzFeed staff member who worked with a brand mentioned in the piece.â€
The disclosure of the deletion came four months after BuzzFeed unveiled editorial guidelines meant to highlight its continuing attempt to transform itself from a creator and aggregator of viral web content into a respectable digital news organization. It also followed an admission earlier this month by Mr. Smith that he had ordered editors to delete two other posts critical of BuzzFeed advertisers: Dove soap â€” also produced by Unilever â€” and the toy manufacturer Hasbro.
Mr. Smith later reinstated the two posts, saying he had overreacted when asking editors to delete them. He told staff members in a note that the posts had been erased after he took issue with their opinionated tone and not because of complaints from advertisers.
The three posts deleted under pressure from the companyâ€™s business side were removed before BuzzFeed published its editorial guidelines, and they were a small fraction of the 1,112 deleted posts identified by an internal review committee. The majority of those were not posts produced by the editorial department, or were removed because of what the review called â€œtechnical error,â€ according to the memo.
The three erased posts were deleted for different reasons, including the appearance of a conflict of interest and perceived bad taste, according to the memo sent to the BuzzFeed staff.
One post, written in 2013 by Mark Duffy, BuzzFeedâ€™s former ad critic, criticized a campaign for Axe body spray and was deleted after an unnamed advertising agency complained that it had accused the company of advocating â€œworldwide mass rape.â€ In the memo, Mr. Smith wrote, â€œI agreed that this was way outside even our very loose standards of the time.â€ Mr. Duffy was later fired from the company.
A second post, about Microsoft Internet Explorer, was written in March 2013 by Tanner Ringerud, a former business-side employee who had moved into an editorial role two months earlier. It was deleted after BuzzFeedâ€™s chief revenue officer complained that Mr. Ringerud should not have written it because he worked on a Microsoft ad campaign in his previous job with the company, creating the appearance of a conflict of interest, the memo said.
BuzzFeed deleted the post, which Mr. Smith said inspired the company to institute a â€œcooling off periodâ€ for business-side employees who move into editorial roles. During that period, they are prohibited from writing about brands whose ad campaigns they had worked on in their previous jobs.
The third post, titled â€œThese Brands Are Going to Bombard Your Twitter Feed on Super Bowl Sunday,â€ was deleted after BuzzFeedâ€™s business side complained that it criticized Pepsiâ€™s Twitter feed, which the business side was producing content for during the Super Bowl.
In the memo, Mr. Smith wrote that he had not considered that a BuzzFeed writer would write a post critical of advertising content being created by other BuzzFeed employees. â€œWe decided it was inappropriate and deleted the post,â€ he said.
Microsoft did not immediately return a phone call Saturday seeking comment. Unilever did not immediately respond to a phone call and an email. And Pepsi did not immediately respond to an email.
In a January 2014 email that Mr. Smith sent to Samir Mezrahi, the author of the post, and which was provided to The New York Times, he explained that the post was being deleted because â€œit felt like a kind of stunt.â€
Mr. Smith also wrote: â€œI donâ€™t think advertising and marketing are particularly interesting in general, but there just has to be a pretty high bar around writing about advertising that is going on in the building. It creates an appearance of a conflict Iâ€™m really uncomfortable with.â€
ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece aims for a deal with its creditors over a reforms package but will not retreat from its red lines, the country’s deputy prime minister told the Sunday newspaper To Vima, not ruling out a referendum or early polls if talks reach an impasse.
Reuters: April 19, 2015 12:40 am Reuters: Business News
Bidness Etc reports on the latest insider selling activity at Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD), Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC), and Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP). The details of the trade at each company are given below. Gilead Chief Scientific Officer and EVP Research and Development, Norbert W. Bischofberger sold 70,000 shares (reflecting 22.93% […]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – BMW is recalling 91,800 Mini Coopers in the United States to replace a defective sensor that may prevent the front passenger seat air bag from deploying in a crash, the German automaker said on Saturday.
RTTNews: April 19, 2015 12:09 am RTT - Breaking News
Facebook Inc. (FB: Quote)-owned messenger application WhatsApp now has 800 million monthly active users, according to WhatsApp founder Jan Koum.
In a Facebook post on Friday, Kuom said, “WhatsApp – now serving 800,000,000 monthly active users. Reminde…
argus media: April 18, 2015 11:50 pm Argus Media: Latest Energy News
Google is about to change the way its influential search engine recommends websites on smartphones in a shift that’s expected to sway where millions of people shop, eat and find information.
The revised formula, scheduled to be released Tuesday, will favor websites that Google defines as “mobile-friendly.”
Websites that don’t fit the description will be demoted in Google’s search results on smartphones, while those meeting the criteria will be more likely to appear at the top of the rankings — a prized position that can translate into more visitors and money.
To stay in Google’s good graces, websites must be designed so they load quickly on mobile devices.
If a website has been designed only with PC users in mind, the graphics take longer to load on smartphones and the columns of text don’t all fit on the smaller screens, to the aggravation of someone trying to read it.
Google has been urging websites to cater to mobile device for years, mainly because that is where people are increasingly searching for information.
The number of mobile searches in the U.S. is rising by about 5 percent while inquiries on PCs are dipping slightly, according to research firm comScore Inc. In the final three months of last year, 29 percent of all U.S. search requests — about 18.5 billion — were made on mobile devices, comScore estimated.
While most major merchants and big companies already have websites that will probably meet Google’s mobile standard, the new formula threatens to hurt millions of small businesses that haven’t had the money or incentive to adapt their sites for smartphones.
[…] new pecking order in Google’s mobile search may relegate some sites to the back pages of the search results, even if their content is more relevant to a search request than other sites that happen to be easier to access on smartphones.
RTTNews: April 18, 2015 10:42 pm RTT - Breaking News
The U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division is nearing a recommendation to block Comcast Corp’s (CMCSA: Quote,CMCSK: Quote) proposed $45.2 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC: Quote), Bloomberg reported Friday, citing people fam…
As May 1 date draws near for the release of Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, the hype increased for the DC Comic’s two big superheroes, Batman and Superman, being together in one film, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” as its first trailer gets leaked online. The Time Warner Inc’s (NYSE:TWX) movie division Warner Bros. […]
“Ham” the robot drew crowds at a Hong Kong electronics event this week. Designed by US firm Hanson Robotics, Ham can recognize and respond to human facial expressions in natural way. Please consider Aye, robot? With his lively eyebrows, winkled cheeks and eyes that follow you around the room – this state-of-the-art robotic head is […]
Cisco Systems had a public relations problem: Having invested $16 billion in the Chinese market, the technology giant was suddenly facing congressional scrutiny over its alleged complicity in building the so-called Great Firewall that helps China’s authoritarian regime censor information and surveil its citizens.
The San Jose, California, company endured a high-profile Senate hearing about its Chinese operations in 2008 and reaffirmed its “continued commitment to China.” But the issue wouldn’t die. A group of investors stormed the company’s annual meeting in November 2009, pressing a shareholder resolution that would force the company to prevent the Chinese government from using Cisco technology to engage in what critics said was widespread human-rights abuse.
That’s when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tossed the company a lifeline. Weeks after Cisco executives killed the shareholder initiative, Cisco was honored as a finalist for the State Department’s award for “outstanding corporate citizenship, innovation and democratic principles.” The next year, the company won the award. While the honors were for the company’s work in the Middle East, they gave Cisco a well-timed opportunity to change the subject and present itself as a champion of human rights.
What Clinton did not say at the State Department award ceremonies was that Cisco had been pumping money into her family’s foundation. Though the foundation will not release an exact timeline of the contributions, records reviewed by International Business Times show that Cisco had by December 2008 donated from $500,000 to $1 million to the foundation. The company had hired lobbying firms run by former Clinton aides.After the money flowed into the foundation, Clinton’s State Department not only lauded Cisco’s human rights record, it also delivered millions of dollars worth of new government contracts to the company.
Internet freedom advocates say Clinton’s moves helped Cisco whitewash its image and also raise questions about the sincerity of her often-stated commitment to human rights.
“Crony capitalism has defined Clinton’s career, from her tenure on the board of Walmart, to the Wall Street execs whom she surrounded herself with at the State Department, to her allegiance to Cisco, even as it violated principles on which she staked her tenure,” said David Segal, executive director of the Internet freedom advocacy group Demand Progress.
But the issue of Chinese repression — and Cisco’s role — was already known by then. In 2009, weeks after Clinton’s State Department had named Cisco a finalist for the secretary of state’s Awards for Corporate Excellence (ACE), a report from the Electronic Freedom Foundation noted “Cisco’s deep involvement” in building the Chinese government’s censorship system. The report pointed out that “Cisco engineers gave a presentation acknowledging the repressive uses for their technology.”
In 2010, the Clinton Foundation gave Cisco CEO John Chambers a high-profile speaking role at its “Turning Ideas Into Action” annual meeting. Cisco also won an ACE that year — just before the Human Rights Law Foundation filed a lawsuit against Cisco outlining what the foundation’s executive director, Terri Marsh, said was the “key role Cisco played in the design, construction, and maintenance of China’s Internet surveillance system.”
In an interview with IBTimes, Marsh said that “Cisco’s conduct has enabled an unprecedented and widespread crackdown on religious minorities, Tibetans, and democracy activists in China.” Cisco’s work in China, she said, “runs contrary to Secretary Clinton’s stated commitment to ‘a single Internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas.’”
She added: “We are disappointed that the State Department has chosen to reward rather than condemn such a company, and believe that the United States should instead be sending a clear message to American technology corporations that complicity in global human rights abuses is not acceptable.”
Daniel Wade, an attorney who represented Chinese dissidents in a lawsuit against Cisco, told IBTimes that “Cisco knew full well that its products were going to be used to suppress and facilitate the torture of democracy activists.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which today works with Cisco on an Internet encryption project, said Cisco technology enabled violent repression by the Chinese government.
“We have ample evidence to indicate that the technology Cisco created was instrumental in the tracking down of religious minorities, detaining them, and murdering them,” said Rainey Reitman, the EFF’s activism director. “Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a full public accounting.”