Digital Transformation Requires Total Organizational Commitment

Cartoon of many on couch at psychologist's office with caption: "My profession has probably been transformed again just since we started this session." Wherever you turn, businesses are facing tremendous disruptive pressure. What’s interesting is that the theory about how firms should be dealing with this massive change is itself in flux, transforming if you will, as organizations come to grips with the idea that the most basic ways they do business are being called into question. Just over a year ago when I researched this topic,… Read More

Google’s U.K. tax deal sparks criticism

Google sign Vince Smith Flickr

(Reuters) – Britain’s opposition Labour party demanded on Sunday that the finance ministry explain how it arrived at a back tax payment by Internet giant Google that has put the government on the back foot.

The settlement of 130 million pounds ($185 million) for the period since 2005, announced just over a week ago, was hailed by the government as a major success but criticized by other parties, and could be examined by European Union antitrust regulators.

In a letter to Conservative finance minister George Osborne, Labour’s parliamentary spokespeople for finance and justice asked him to provide more information on the deal to restore public trust in tax authorities.

“We would urge you to address the widespread concerns that have been expressed about the lack of transparency surrounding the deal,” Seema Malhotra and Charles Falconer wrote in the letter.

They asked for additional information on whether Diverted Profits Tax had been levied on Google, and further details on the basis that authorities had used to arrive at the figure of 130 million pounds.

Google says it is paying all the tax that is due.

Tax avoidance has become a hot political issue in Britain, where people question whether the burden of strengthening public finances has been shared fairly.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has already challenged Prime Minister David Cameron to defend the deal, and the party has called for an investigation by the National Audit Office, while the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has said it will investigate the arrangement.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Cable, streaming and Viola Davis star at the SAG Awards

Television was praised as gutsy and bold as the Screen Actors Guild Awards honored shows that illuminate the lives of transgender parents and imprisoned women. That's TV as in cable channels and streaming services, with commercial networks nearly shut out at Saturday's awards ceremony and forced to hear their competition lauded in ways that broadcasters rarely are these days.

Will the Bubble Burst? Ask Your Cabbie

badmarket There are too many headlines and articles about bubbles, market crashes, negative interest rates and venture-backed unicorns. Why write one more? Because I believe there is a much more pragmatic way to evaluate what you are reading from all the “experts.” Experts armed with mountains of data and statistical analysis predict the stock market is going to crash, while at the same… Read More

Halo character teased for Killer Instinct

Halo in my Killer Instinct!

Microsoft and developer Iron Galaxy are keeping the teases coming for the new season of downloadable content for Killer Instinct.

It looks like the Halo character Arbiter is coming to Microsoft’s free-to-play fighting game. Developer Iron Galaxy teased the power-sword wielding character during the Killer Instinct World Cup tournament that is happening right now in San Antonio as part of the Penny Arcade Expo South event. In the video that teases the fighter, you can clearly see the Arbiter firing up his weapon before the clip cuts to the Killer Instinct logo. Obviously, Microsoft is planning for crossover characters like these to keep current Killer Instinct players engaged and spending money. The company is also likely incorporating Halo to bring in new fans and to bring back lapsed players to the fighting game.

Killer Instinct is a notable game for this generation of consoles because it is one of the first and biggest free-to-play fighting games. Prior to the launch of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, free-to-play games were rare. But studios began experimenting with the business model early after the release of those systems. This has led to a market where a developer can constantly support a fighting game with three years of content without having to charge an upfront price for the game.

Check out the Arbiter tease below:

This tease comes after we’ve already seen two characters confirmed for Killer Instinct Season 3.

In August, at the Gamescom fan convention in Germany, Iron Galaxy announced it is bringing the Battletoads character Rash into the mix. He has already debuted during a testing period where players were able to give feedback about what they liked about the character and what they would like to see changed.

And Iron Galaxy previously teased Kim Wu for the third season as well. She is now confirmed, and players are getting a chance to try her out at PAX South. On top of that, the studio released the following trailer for the new fighter:

More information:

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Nokia-Samsung patent verdict expected within days

A man walks at the Samsung Electronics' headquarters in Seoul January 7, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

(Reuters) – Nokia and Samsung are expected to settle their two-year patent dispute within days, with analysts forecasting a one-time payment of hundreds of millions of euros for the Finnish company.

Nokia entered into a binding arbitration with South Korea’s Samsung in 2013 to settle additional compensations for a five-year period starting from early 2014.

The International Chamber of Commerce’s arbitration court is due to make its ruling on the issue imminently.

Nordea analyst Sami Sarkamies, one of few analysts to give a precise estimate, said the verdict could boost Nokia’s operating profit by about 700 million euros ($758 mln) this year, forecasting the court will stipulate an annual patent fee of 300 million euros.

“Samsung has been paying Nokia probably 100 million per year, and the rate could now come up to around 300 million euros (per year). The settled rate will also be paid retrospectively for the last two years,” Sarkamies said.

“But they have already booked perhaps 100 million a year from Samsung to their income statement, so the EBIT impact for this year could be around 700 million euros.”

Sarkamies has a “hold” rating on Nokia shares, which have fallen 9 percent since last April when it announced a 15.6 billion euro takeover of French network gear rival Alcatel-Lucent, due to be completed this quarter.

Investors have worried about the integration process and special terms negotiated by the French government, but the share price could get a boost if the settlement with Samsung is much bigger than analysts forecasts.

Last month, Sweden’s Ericsson said that a patent license deal with Apple Inc would help lift its intellectual property rights revenue by up to 40 percent in 2015, sending its shares up sharply.

Nokia, which once dominated the global mobile phones market, is now focused on telecom network equipment but still holds on to a portfolio of phone patents.

It said last month that the International Chamber of Commerce had advised that the settlement with Samsung is expected by the end of January.

A Nokia spokesman declined to comment on Saturday, saying the company had nothing to add beyond the previous statement.

($1 = 0.9233 euros)

(Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Susan Fenton)

One Sidecar, Up With A Twist

sidecar I’m old enough that when someone says Sidecar, I immediately think of Cointreau, lemon juice and cognac, shaken and served up. What’s remarkable to me is that the folks at GM, one of the country’s most venerable industrial enterprises, heard “Sidecar” and instead saw an interesting enough opportunity to find $39 million in cash to buy a shuttered company. Read More