News

Microsoft Figures Show Growth But Profit Loss

Posted in News on 23 July 2014
The numbers were mixed for Microsoft when the computer giant issued its fourth-quarter financial results.
 
While the company saw an increase of 17 percent growth in revenue — higher than predicted by most — a seven percent drop in profit somewhat marred the positive news. That decrease was attributed to Microsoft taking over Nokia.
Microsoft’s chief executive officer, Satya Nadella, downplayed any loss in a press release pointing to a positive revenue where the cloud is involved.
 
“We are galvanized around our core as a productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world, and we are driving growth with disciplined decisions, bold innovation, and focused execution,” he said. “I’m proud that our aggressive move to the cloud is paying off – our commercial cloud revenue doubled again this year to a $4.4-billion annual run rate.”
 
Analyst Daniel Ives, with FBR Capital Markets, told Reuters the numbers reflect a positive direction for the company.
 
“These results are good enough for the Street and this is another step in the right direction,” Ives said. “Nokia was a bit worse than the Street was expecting but that is not totally surprising given the massive growth challenges that business faces in the field.”
 
The numbers didn’t seem to worry Wall Street, though, as shares rose 0.3 percent in after-hours trading Tuesday.
 
Tuesday’s report wasn’t all dollars and cents, either — Microsoft reported some impressive figures when it comes to user growth. Office 365 Home and personal subscribers grew to more than 5.6 million, that’s a gain of more than one million users in the quarter.
 
Amy Hood, executive vice-president and chief financial officer for Microsoft, is already looking to the future.
 
“As we enter fiscal 2015, we are focused on aligning our resources to strategic investments that we believe will deliver the next wave of innovation, growth, and long-term shareholder value,” she stated in the company’s release.
 
 

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Apple Records Revenue, Profit Growth

Posted in News on 23 July 2014
Apple’s chief executive officer pointed to “strong sales of iPhone and Mac and the continued growth of revenue from the Apple ecosystem” as the reason behind strong third-quarter figures.
 
The company issued a release Tuesday noting quarterly revenue of $37.4 billion and quarterly net profit of $7.7 billion, or $1.28 per diluted share.
 
Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said this showed the company’s highest growth rate in the past seven quarters.
 
The numbers are up from the same quarter last year. In 2013, third quarter figures for Apple showed revenue of $35.3 billion and net profit of $6.9 billion, or $1.07 per diluted share.
 
“We generated $10.3 billion in cash flow from operations and returned over $8 billion in cash to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases during the June quarter,” said Luca Maestri, Apple’s chief financial officer, in the release. “We have now taken action on over $74 billion of our $130 billion capital return program with six quarters remaining to its completion.”
 
However, the company also noted tablet sales — once again — dropped. The decrease was nicely offset, though, by a 12.7 percent increase in iPhone sales from one year-ago. In the third quarter alone, Apple reported iPhone sales of 35.2 million units.
 
That increase, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, is largely attributed to Apple gaining a better foothold in countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China.
 
Cook hinted the final quarter, and 2015, could see even more impressive numbers as Apple is on the cusp of releasing new products for consumers.
 
“We are incredibly excited about the upcoming releases of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, as well as other new products and services that we can’t wait to introduce,” he stated.
 

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Pinterest Top Social Network, Google No. 1 Search Engine: Report

Posted in News on 23 July 2014

Social Media Sites, Search Engines Ranked According to User Satisfaction

Pinterest

Social media users continue to have a love-hate relationship with Facebook.
 
While a large share of Americans continue to use the social network, satisfaction with the site remains unimpressive, although rates have improved since last year.
 
According to the newly-released American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), Facebook gained eight percent to come in at a 67 percent satisfaction rate — but that was recorded before the news broke that the social network was manipulating users’ news feeds as part of a mood experiment.
 
LinkedIn satisfaction rates also increased by eight percent to 67— the site’s highest score to date— tying it with Facebook while Twitter’s rates climbed six percent to hit 69 — a gain ACSI attributed to users’ response to its updated site design and better integration of photos and videos.
 
It was Pinterest, however, that topped the social media list with a 76 percent satisfaction rate. The site has steadily gained the approval of its pinners over the past three years due to its improved features and search functions.
 
Just behind Pinterest was Wikipedia, down five percent to 74. YouTube rose three percent to 73 while Google+ remains unchanged at 71 after plummeting nine percent a year ago.
 
“Even with improvements across the board, e-business—and social media in particular—doesn’t do well in terms of user satisfaction,” ACSI chairman and founder Claes Fornell said in a press release. “It is rare to see strong growth in an industry with such low customer satisfaction. However, several of the major players seem to have realized that their long-term prospects may be in jeopardy unless they do better.”
 
When it comes to search engines, Google topped the list with an eight percent jump to an ACSI score of 83.
 
“Google has some of the most satisfied customers in all of ACSI, and given its enormous lead in search engines, it is unlikely that the competition is going to dislodge Google’s very loyal customer base,” said ACSI director David VanAmburg.
 
Bing dropped four percent to 73 and tying MSN, which decreased by one percent. Yahoo plummeted seven percent to 71, its lowest score yet and its third consecutive decline. AOL came in last with a 70 percent rate, a decrease of one percent over last year.
 

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Java Developer

Posted in Jobs on 22 July 2014
Experience & skills required: 
 
- Passion for software
- 4+ years’ experience in JEE environment.
- Good knowledge of design patterns
- Good knowledge of Spring and Hibernate
- Familiarity with Java annotations and dependency injection
- Good knowledge of RESTful API
- Very good knowledge of SQL including stored procedures
- Good knowledge of JavaScript frameworks (AngularJS, ExtJS, jQuery)
- Knowledge of web technologies (HTML5, CSS, CSS3)
- MongoDB knowledge
 
Excellent opportunity to join a technology driven company, and work in a cross functional and collaborative environment, in a role that will allow you to have a great deal of influence. As a JAVA Developer with our client you have a strong passion for software technology, an ability to directly contribute to product development, and will make sure that the delivered product is highly reliable and of good quality. 
 
 

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Junior Java Developer

Posted in Jobs on 22 July 2014
Location: Galway
 
A major software company in Galway is seeking a junior to mid-level programmer for their cloud services department.
 
The right candidate will become an expert for various integration scenarios for the company financial service solutions, liaise with customers and clients to map requirements to technical implementations.
 
You have:
 
- 3+ years' post-grad experience in SW development
- Strong OOP programming skills
- Excellent Java knowledge and perhaps experience with C/C++ 
- Knowledge of the software development life cycle
- Knowledge of a second language would be a plus
 
 

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New Facebook Feature Allows Users to Save Items From News Feed

Posted in News on 22 July 2014
Facebook has debuted a new feature that enables its members to save items that appeal to them from their news feeds.
 
Dubbed simply as ‘Save,’ the tool allows users to save links, articles, videos, music and other items from the news feed to look at later. All saved items are kept private unless the user opts to share with his or her friends.
 
“Every day, people find all sorts of interesting items on Facebook that they don’t have time to explore right away,” Facebook software engineer Daniel Giambalvo said in a blog post.
 
“Now you can save items that you find on Facebook to check out later when you have more time.”
 
To view saved items, simply go to the ‘More’ tab on mobile or click the link on the left-hand side of Facebook on the Web. The list of saved items is organized by category, enabling users to swipe right on each item to share it with your friends or move it into your archive list.
 
Facebook will periodically show users reminders of their saved items, such as article links, in their news feeds.
 
Save will come to all iOS, Android and Web users over the next few days.
 

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Delete these 9 things from your resume

Posted in Tips on 21 July 2014
As young professionals, we want to blow away employers with our credentials. That means we often pack everything we can into a résumé with little regard for the reader's time and attention.
 
Well, we live in a hectic world, and employers don't have time to sift through our autobiographies for the information that matters.
 
Open your résumé and cut out these nine items. They are unnecessary, and won't help your job search.
 
1. Anything from high school-and a lot from college (Part I)
You're an adult in the real world. After college, nothing from high school matters. If you're a recent college graduate and need to lean on college credentials, only list the most impressive extracurriculars—not every club you joined.
You will never hear this: "Treasurer of your freshman dorm? Wow! When can you start?"
 
2. Your résumé bullet points 5-10
The difference between you jobless and you with a job is the ability to quickly explain yourself.
- People don't have time to read about everything you've done.
- Decide what matters and what needs to go.
- Only include four bullet points.
- After four bullet points, the reader wanders off and ... Hey! Come back here. I'm not done yet!
 
3. A lot from college (Part II): A list of your college classes
Which matters more: a course you took on business management, or the company you created for a class project? Employers don't care that you took Supply Chain Management 357, but they do care about the skills you gained from it.
Again, if you must rely on your time in college, spare the course titles and focus on the experience.
 
4. Vague descriptions
Don't write: "Maintained a large database and assisted with organization's fundraising efforts."
That's the worst way to put it. Where are the specifics? The sizzle?
Do write: "Maintained a database of 42,000 donors and helped the organization raise $11.4 million during the 2013 capital campaign."
See? Details make all the difference.
 
5. The third page of your résumé
A two-page résumé from a 20-something is questionable, which means three is out of the question.
Give employers a tight, shrewdly worded one-page résumé. Don't make it longer to impress them. It won't. Less is always more.
 
6. The words "such as" and "utilize"
"Such as" and "utilize" scream, "I want to come off as smart! Please hire me!"
Exchange "such as" for "like" and "utilize" for "use."
Oh, and don't use "amazing." It's overdone.
 
7. Microsoft Word as a skill
Of course you know how to use Word. So does your grandmother. Leave this "skill" off the list.
 
8. The phrase "responsible for"
How many times does this phrase appear on your résumé? "Responsible for" is flat and uninteresting. Use words like "oversee" and "managed," which demonstrate leadership.
 
9. A selfish mission statement
"I am an energetic marketing professional who enjoys social media management and developing branding strategies."
Stop talking about what you like to do, and start talking about what the company needs:
"I am an energetic marketing professional who wants to help your company build its brand and grow business."
The difference in tone is striking.
 
 

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Twitter Taken to Task for Lack of Transparency on Workforce Diversity

Posted in News on 21 July 2014

Civil rights activists are demanding Twitter follow the lead of its peers by releasing its workforce demographics data.

The charge, being led by U.S. civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson, is to convince the microblogging network to release the ethnic and gender breakdown of its workforce — a new trend started by Google in May that has since been followed by Facebook, Yahoo and LinkedIn. Intel, HP, Microsoft, and Cisco already post data on their websites while Pandora, eBay and Apple have promised to soon release their own transparency reports.

twitter social mediaJackson, leader of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Color of Change, has promised to launch a Twitter-based, social media and online petition campaign to its subscribers to demand the social network release its stats.

Twitter, Jackson said, is ignoring his agency’s request for transparency and corporate responsibility, adding that the “lack of inclusion of Blacks, Latinos and women in technology is deplorable.”

“There should be nothing to hide,” Jackson said. “Transparency is a critical value necessary to maintain the trust and confidence of your consumers, and the general community.  Silicon Valley and the tech industry, at their best, can be a tremendously positive change agent; at your worst, you can hold on to old patterns that exclude people of color and women from opportunity.  You have demonstrated that you can solve some of the most challenging complex problems in the world.   Inclusion is a complex problem – if we put our collective minds to it, we can solve this one, too.”

Rainbow PUSH sent a letter to all of the major tech companies following Google’s disclosure last month, asking them to follow suit and be transparent about the makeup of their workforces.

“You can’t fix, what you don’t know, or what you don’t recognize.  You have to pull the glass out of the wound, before the healing process can begin,” the letter from Jackson reads.

“I urge you to voluntarily and publicly disclose your EEO-1 report and the racial and gender make up of your workforce in an expeditious manner.  Take the glass out of the wound.”

Twitter has yet to respond to the challenge.

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Google's Shopping Push & Its Impact on Ecommerce Sites

Posted in News on 21 July 2014

Google won’t be satisfied until it worms its way into every facet of your life.

Not content with being the world’s most-used search engine or owning the No. 1 source for online video, it’s now pushing into an arena that’s long been dominated by another web giant, Amazon. That’s right: Google’s going all-in with e-commerce.

The company confirmed in early July that it will begin focusing its considerable muscle on promoting and growing Shopping Express, which debuted in 2013. The service allows people to browse goods from nearby stores and then order them online, with a one or two-day turnaround for delivery.

Why is Google pushing into retail? What will this mean for other e-commerce and retail sites, most notably Amazon? Read on to find out.

Why Google is Pushing Into Retail

There’s actually a very simple reason why Google has decided to push into the retail space, and it has nothing to do with wanting to help customers get easier access to goods online and everything to do with money.

Google is not happy that Amazon has become the go-to destination for product searches. In every other search category, Google is the dominant search engine, from queries on maps to restaurants to finding obscure information. But when someone wants to find a product and compare prices on it, they head not to Google but to Amazon.

This does not sit well with Google, because it’s losing out on potential ad dollars. Its advertising is based on search volume, and since its search volume is (relatively) low for products, it’s missing out on dollars. Hence the need to beef up its retail services in the hopes of getting more people to do product searches, which in turn will lead to more advertisers forking over money.

The best way to do this, Google figures, is to mimic Amazon and become a seller itself, ensuring that people will associate Google with shopping in the same way they associate Amazon. There’s a lot at stake here. The online ad tracking firm eMarketer predicts that consumer packaged goods companies will spend $4.2 billion on direct-response digital ads in 2014.

What Is Google Shopping Express?

Google Shopping Express launched last year in an effort to compete with Amazon and other digital retailers. It’s essentially a service for those who don’t have the time or inclination to run to a store that’s only a few miles away. Google becomes the middle man, dispatching delivery trucks to pick up the items from those businesses and deliver them.

The company has so far formed partnerships with a number of major retailers, including Walgreens, Toys R Us and Target. Of course, why wouldn’t you want to partner with Google? Retailers only stand to benefit from offering another way to get their items out.

The three most important things to understand about Google Shopping Express are:

The Battle with Amazon

For Google, it’s not Amazon per se that’s the threat; the two are very different companies and Amazon is retail-based, not dependent on advertising. So Google’s battle to win e-tail share from Amazon is not personal, as it is for Google’s battles with spammers. This is all business.

To win the battle, Google needs to make some major inroads on mobile product searches. That is where the company is most vulnerable, especially since Amazon introduced an app a few years ago that allows people to not only look up and compare pricing on items they’re looking at in stores but also scan bar codes of the actual products to get information on them, such as Amazon user ratings.

Google also has been frustrated by Amazon’s refusal to buy product listing ads, which companies such as eBay and Zappos have invested in heavily. Instead, the site relies on people coming directly to it to do searches and the organic search results from Google.

The Future of E-Commerce?

Whether Google Shopping Express can make a dent in the online retail business remains to be seen. It’s unwise to underestimate Google. Even when a new idea seems to struggle, such as the Google+ social networking platform that was initially aimed at siphoning off users from Facebook, the company finds a way to tweak it and make it work. Google+ became not so much a Facebook competitor but a complement to it that businesses can use to help boost their search rankings.

Part of the problem with Google product searches has been the lack of immediacy. When you look up products and compare prices on Amazon, you can then click a button to buy the product. That has not been the case for Google. You have to either do a whole new Google search for the seller of the product or shift over to Amazon to make the purchase; it’s a lot easier to just start at the latter.

Google claims Shopping Express is simply providing a better service for its users, helping to cut out steps from the shopping process. Since people are so darn impatient these days when it comes to online anything, you’d best make the process as streamlined as possible if you want to keep them.

Google says its aim with Shopping Express is to eventually be able to deliver products within the same day as they are ordered. That would help it compete with Amazon, which offers quicker and quicker turnarounds, though the whole drone delivery thing remains far off in the future.

Hurting Other Sites

If Shopping Express takes off, and there’s every reason to believe it will based on Google’s track record with new projects, it will definitely hurt other e-commerce sites. Expect many of them to beat a path to Google’s door to partner, because if you can’t beat them, join them. To Google, however, the primary goal is simply getting greater product search share. Seems like a complicated way to go about it.

 

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Bing Now Accepting Right to Be Forgotten Requests in Europe

Posted in News on 21 July 2014
Microsoft has also begun to forget.
 
The company’s search engine, Bing, is following Google’s lead and has now begun to take requests to eliminate search results in Europe.
Bing has released a request form for Europeans wishing to take advantage of the recent ‘right to be forgotten’ edict issued by Europe’s top court.
 
“If you are a European resident and want to request that Microsoft block search results on Bing in response to searches on your name, please use this form,” reads Bing’s request form page.
 
“We encourage you to provide complete and relevant information for each applicable question on this form. We will use the information that you provide to evaluate your request. We may also consider other sources of information beyond this form to verify or supplement the information you provide. This information will help us to consider the balance between your individual privacy interest and the public interest in protecting free expression and the free availability of information, consistent with European law. As a result, making a request does not guarantee that a particular search result will be blocked.”
 
The European Union Court of Justice sided with privacy advocates in late May, saying search engines must either edit or erase online search results if they are found to violate a person’s privacy.
 
The Court ruled that search engines such as Google and Bing are, in certain circumstances, “obliged to remove links to Web pages that are published by third parties and contain information relating to a person from the list of results displayed following a search made on the basis of that person’s name.”
 
European regulators have asked Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, along with other search engine providers in Europe, to attend a collective consultation meeting about the EU’s right to be forgotten ruling, according to IDG News.
 
It will be hosted by the Article 29 Working Party (A29WP), whose job it is to oversee data protection authorities across the EU. The meeting is set for next Thursday in Brussels.

 

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