Sunday, January 4, 2015
Why doctors are excited about mobile blood pressure monitoring originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2015.
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In 2013, stock repurchases more than doubled to a record $72.3 billion, and the momentum has not slowed in 2014. Apple raised its plans to repurchase stock by $30 billion, committing to $90 billion of share purchases through next year; the Cupertino tech giant led Silicon Valley with nearly $26 billion in share repurchases in 2013, but will undoubtedly top that in 2014, having exercised more than half that amount in just two weeks at the beginning of the year.
But Apple is not alone. Eight of the 10 largest Silicon Valley tech companies announced or extended stock-repurchase plans in 2014, including $5 billion apiece from eBay and Gilead Sciences and an additional $13 billion from Oracle. The trend is not confined to the top of the SV150, however, as companies such as Adobe and SanDisk buy back shares, a tactic that inflates the popular earnings-per-share metric while reducing supply of the stock, which is likely to boost per-share prices.
"It's Finance 101 -- you improve your earnings by reducing your outstanding share balances," Brendan Connaughton, Chief Investment Officer of ClearPath Capital Partners, explained.
Santa Clara University finance professor Robert Hendershott notes that Apple and other prominent Silicon Valley tech companies are generating cash at historic rates, with little of the cyclicality endemic in the chip and networking sectors that dominated the region in past years, which can give the companies no choice but to push money back to investors.
"You can either sit on it to no benefit to the shareholders; you can invest it, but they're generating so much cash that it is hard to imagine them being able to invest it any...
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"The Interview" stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as journalists tasked by the CIA with killing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Its Christmas Day release was canceled by Sony after threats of violence by hackers linked to North Korea. But after an outcry, the release was reinstated in some independent theaters and now, through a few online video services.
Although the circumstances surrounding "The Interview" are unprecedented, experts say the release will be closely watched to see how moviegoers and theater chains react to a simultaneous debut. It's a challenge to the longstanding practice of "windowing" -- opening a movie first in theaters to maximize box-office revenue before making the movie available in other stages of home video, streaming and television.
"I can't say that this is the future," said Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst for Exhibitor Relations Co. "For this film, in particular, it works because of the saga that goes along with it. But it's nice to have a film we can actually use as a guinea pig for a video-on-demand release."
Sony released "The Interview" Wednesday on a variety of digital platforms -- Google Play, YouTube Movies, Microsoft's Xbox Video and a separate Sony website. It costs $5.99 to rent for 48 hours and $14.99 to purchase. It also will open in more than 300 smaller theaters on Thursday, though major chains are still holding out.
Carrying "The Interview" marks another step in Google's efforts to establish YouTube as an entertainment hub that features major movies and trendy musical videos -- not just cute clips of kitties. Google,...
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"China is going through an extraordinarily innovative period," said Eric X. Li, a venture capitalist and political scientist in Shanghai. "My bet is that five years from now, the most valuable company in the world will be a Chinese technology company. My second bet is that five years from now, the second-most-valuable company in the world will be a Chinese technology company."
The stunning success of Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, which went public on Wall Street in September, has been instrumental in paving the way: Founder Jack Ma, a former schoolteacher, is now China's richest man, and Alibaba has become a $263-billion juggernaut with far-flung interests in areas such as entertainment, mapping and banking.
"It proved one thing, which is you can grow a company pretty much from ground zero to a very high level. It gave young graduates a good example," said Lingyun Gu, an investment advisor at Beijing-based IDG Capital Partners.
China for years has been laying the groundwork to become an innovative tech power player, not just an electronics manufacturing machine. The government subsidizes and promotes numerous high-tech clusters around the country, and university-affiliated and independent incubators have stepped in to nurture young entrepreneurial talent.
Those efforts are beginning to pay off.
In the second quarter, investments in China's fast-growing telecommunications, media and technology companies totaled $5.35 billion across 214 deals, the cash coming from inside and outside China. That was seven times more than the $752 million the industry received in the year-earlier quarter, according to a recent MoneyTree...
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A 10-second ad for Verizon Wireless follows the 33-second highlight video, and a Verizon Wireless banner runs across the bottom. There's a link to download the NFL Mobile app for Verizon at the end. More than 3 million people views had been logged in after about 20 hours.
"We will be evaluating how people, publishers and marketers respond to this kind of co-branded video content," a Facebook spokesperson said. "We have nothing else to share at this time."
Facebook has been searching for professional produced content to deliver to its 1.35 billion users because video advertising tends to yield more revenue than traditional text-and-image based ads. But how the content owner and Facebook can reap the biggest gains off video remains a question. The first experiment is looking at whether showing the ad after the video plays -- without delay -- could ultimately be a better experience for all parties than YouTube-style "pre-roll" ads that viewers often skip or ignore.
The NFL has posted interviews and promo videos to Facebook, but this was the first time that the sort of game highlights the league closely protects distribution of have appeared on its page. The video was shared with a "custom" audience, according to the page, suggesting that the NFL is targeting the video to specific fans or specific...
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