Posts in category Business

AppsBuild 2016BusinessDevWindowsWindows 10Xamarin

Microsoft integrates Xamarin into Visual Studio for free, will open source Xamarin runtime

Microsoft today announced that Xamarin is now available for free for every Visual Studio user. This includes all editions of Visual Studio, including the free Visual Studio Community Edition, Visual Studio Professional, and Visual Studio Enterprise. Furthermore, Xamarin Studio for OS X is being made available for free as a community edition and Visual Studio […]

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AppsBusinessfunding dailyGamesMarketingMediaMobilePlaybuzzsponsored content

Playbuzz scores $15 million in funding for sponsored social content

Playbuzz said it has raised $15 million in funding from Saban Ventures and Disney for its business of providing sponsored content. Playbuzz helps publishers and content creators distribute their content in ways that boost engagement and social distribution. For instance, New York-based Playbuzz helps promote sponsored content by distributing it through slide shows, flip cards, galleries, […]

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BusinessEducationLearning PathsLinkedInLinkedIn Lynda.comLyndaLynda Newsonline education’s new Learning Path program plans the courses needed to land the job you want has launched a program called Learning Paths to help you land your next job, curating its courses by specific job titles. The idea is to give you a starting point to learn more about a particular profession. To start, the online education company offers 53 job titles with multiple courses listed under each one […]

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AppsBusinessChris HeatherlyDisneyGamesMarvel Avengers Alliance 2Mobile

Disney hopes Marvel: Avengers Alliance 2 will blast its way to success on mobile

One of Disney’s most successful social games to date is Marvel: Avengers Alliance, which debuted on Facebook in 2012 and grew to 70 million players. Now, the sequel is coming out, but in a very different world — with target platforms in the $34.8 billion mobile game market. Disney Interactive Games and Marvel Entertainment are […]

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Sprint now lets you get Amazon Prime for $11 per month, $132 per year. But why?

ANALYSIS: U.S. telecommunications giant Sprint has a “unique offering” in store for its customers today — it will now let them sign up to Amazon Prime for $11 per month as an add-on to their usual monthly plan. There’s little question that Amazon Prime, replete with streaming video and music, and super-fast deliveries on goods, is […]

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AppsBig DataBusinessCommerceDevEntrepreneurGabe LeydonMachine ZoneMarketingMediaMobileMobile Summit 2016Social

Machine Zone’s Gabe Leydon freaked out East Coast media, now will speak at SF Mobile Summit

VB EVENT: Within two years, a relatively unknown company called Machine Zone has exploded to become one of the largest mobile gaming companies in the world, all on the back of a single successful mobile game, Game of War. The company’s CEO, Gabe Leydon, has since become one of the sharpest critics of the multi-billion dollar ad industry. […]

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BusinessGamesGDC 2016IntelIntel University Games ShowcaseRandi Rost

Intel event highlights college student games that should be published right now

One of the delightful surprises at the recent Game Developers Conference in San Francisco was the Intel University Games Showcase, which featured some of the most innovative games being built by teams of college students. I attended the event in the vast upper level of the Metreon and was very pleasantly surprised at how good the demos […]

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BusinessGamesMobileWilly Wonka & the Chocolate Factory SlotsZynga

Zynga hopes Willy Wonka slots mobile game will be its golden ticket

Zynga said earlier this year that it is launching 10 new games that could turn around its fortunes in mobile games. And it is launching one of those titles this morning. The social-mobile game company is targeting a broader group of gamers with its mobile titles, and it hopes the billion-plus casual mobile gaming fans […]

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ApprovedBusinessBusiness and finance

Analyse this

WHAT is the most influential contemporary book about the world economy? An obvious choice is “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”, a 696-page analysis of inequality by Thomas Piketty, a French economist. There is another candidate: “Valuation”, a 825-page manual on corporate finance and shareholder value. Some 700,000 copies of it encumber the bookshelves of MBA students, investors and chief executives around the globe.

Inequality and shareholder value are linked in the minds of many folk, who blame investors and managers for stagnant wages and financial crises. Ruthless corporations are a big theme in America’s election campaign. The near-collapse of Valeant, a drugs firm, seems to illustrate a toxic business culture. Its shares have fallen by 73% this year. It is restating its accounts and is in negotiations with its lenders and under investigation by regulators. Valeant describes itself as “bringing value to our shareholders”. While there is no indication of fraudulent or illegal practice, the company could end up joining a pantheon of corporate fiascos that includes Enron (which pledged to “create significant value for our…Continue reading

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ApprovedBusinessBusiness and finance

Recovery phase

Hoping for a miracle

DISASTER struck Malaysia Airlines twice in 2014. In March, flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, a Boeing 777 carrying 239 passengers and crew, disappeared an hour after take-off. Experts think it crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, though no one is sure why. Only a few fragments of debris have turned up, off Africa’s coast. Four months later Russian-backed militia in eastern Ukraine shot down MH17, another 777, killing all 298 people on board. Two years on, Malaysia’s struggling national carrier is still flying, but its financial health remains under scrutiny.

Both crashes appeared to have been beyond the firm’s control but hurt business nonetheless. Customers deserted the airline. Chinese flyers feared it was jinxed: sales in China, a crucial market, fell by 60% immediately after the first crash. Shortly after the second disaster, in August 2014, Malaysia’s government renationalised the airline, rescuing it from collapse.

In fact the airline was in a mess before the two tragedies. Malaysia last made a profit in 2010. In 2013 the firm lost $356m. As demand for air travel in the…Continue reading

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ApprovedBusinessBusiness and finance

Million-dollar babies 

THAT a computer program can repeatedly beat the world champion at Go, a complex board game, is a coup for the fast-moving field of artificial intelligence (AI). Another high-stakes game, however, is taking place behind the scenes, as firms compete to hire the smartest AI experts. Technology giants, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Baidu, are racing to expand their AI activities. Last year they spent some $8.5 billion on research, deals and hiring, says Quid, a data firm. That was four times more than in 2010.

 In the past universities employed the world’s best AI experts. Now tech firms are plundering departments of robotics and machine learning (where computers learn from data themselves) for the highest-flying faculty and students, luring them with big salaries similar to those fetched by professional athletes.

Last year Uber, a taxi-hailing firm, recruited 40 of the 140 staff of the National Robotics Engineering Centre at Carnegie Mellon University, and set up a unit to work on self-driving cars. That drew headlines because Uber…Continue reading

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ApprovedBusinessBusiness and finance

Blinded by the light

Some prospects are still dazzling

IN SOME respects this is a bumper era for solar energy. Last year, for the first time, the world invested more in photovoltaic cells than in coal- and gas-fired power generation combined. This year, new solar installations in America are expected to more than double (see chart ). China, which now has more solar capacity than any other country, plans to triple it by the end of the decade.

Yet this week two of the rich world’s most prominent solar-power developers have been flirting with disaster. Cheered on by yield-hungry creditors and investors, they had expanded too quickly, reliant on heavy borrowing and financial engineering. Not for the first time, some energy firms fooled themselves into believing that newfangled technologies and funding mechanisms could let them defy laws of financial gravity.

On March 29th SunEdison, an American firm that…Continue reading

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ApprovedBusinessBusiness and finance

Hail, César!

Mr Alierta found his chair comfortable

SIXTEEN years was surely too long for anyone to remain as boss of Spain’s largest telecoms company, Telefónica. During his spell in charge, César Alierta, 70, who at last agreed to hang up his receiver this week, created a giant. Telefónica expanded far and wide in Latin America and Europe, yet the benefits to shareholders were hard to see.

A former stockbroker who was famously fond of cigars, Mr Alierta became one of the most powerful businessmen in Spain. Under his guidance, Telefónica’s debt-fuelled expansion mirrored Spain’s own overheated economic boom and subsequent slump. Early on he had shown caution: his tenure began with his cleaning up the mess that resulted from Telefónica’s dud investments during the dotcom bubble. Then, like bosses at other big Spanish firms such as Santander, a bank, Mr Alierta was tempted to splurge. Telefónica bought BellSouth’s Latin American mobile operations in 2004; acquired O2, a British telecoms firm, in 2006; and invested in China. By 2007 its market value exceeded €100 billion ($150 billion).

Its heft did help…Continue reading

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