TIME deals

AT&T Aiming at Comcast With Planned $50-Billion DirecTV Merger

A view shows the AT&T store sign in Broomfield, Colorado
Rick Wilking / REUTERS

AT&T wants DirecTV but the proposed $50 billion telecom deal, which would be the largest in years and reshape the television business at a time of rapid change in the industry, would pose headaches for regulators already mulling a Comcast merger with Time Warner Cable

AT&T, the deep-pocketed national telecom giant watching policymakers gnash teeth about the proposed $42-billion merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, is close to sealing the deal on a big corporate marriage of its own. It’s soon-to-be partner, according to multiple reports Monday: satellite giant DirectTV

The proposed $50-billion merger between the two tech titans—which would be the largest telecom deal in years—is not unexpected, but multiple reports indicate a deal is closer than ever, perhaps just weeks away. AT&T and DirecTV are aiming to reshape the TV business at a time of rapid change in the industry. The deal would be another example of the decades-long consolidation of the telecom and cable industries.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, reports the two companies are discussing a deal that would involve a mix of cash and AT&T stock. Executives hope to hammer out an agreement in the next few weeks. DirecTV shares shot up nearly 6% in early trading Tuesday on the deal talk.

DirecTV has the second largest pay-TV subscriber base in the country but lacks a competitive broadband-Internet offering of its own. AT&T is moving ahead with its own broadband plans, but DirecTV’s satellite-TV business would be a major prize. AT&T, which is currently worth $185 billion, can definitely afford the deal.

A combined AT&T-DirecTV would hold a vast swath of wireless spectrum—the public radio signals that make smartphones and tablets work—and would also be better positioned to compete against Comcast, the industry Goliath.

U.S. broadband leader Comcast is currently trying to persuade regulators to let it buy Time Warner Cable in a $42 billion deal. That review will extend into next year, as would a review of a AT&T-DirecTV merger. Comcast’s proposed merger with Time Warner Cable, its smaller rival, already faces intense scrutiny from the Justice Department over competition concerns, not to mention the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which must ensure the deal advances the public interest. An AT&T merger with DirecTV would face equally intense scrutiny.

If AT&T and DirecTV join forces, the deal could complicate the review of Comcast’s bid for Time Warner Cable, because antitrust regulators might want to consider both deals simultaneously, the New York Times reports. That might throw a screwball into the notoriously understaffed FCC office.

The Times also suggests the deal might be a strategic move to rattle Dish honcho Charlie Ergen, the legendary media operator who is also on the prowl for acquisitions. Industry watchers have been speculating about a Dish-DirecTV merger for years, but most analysts believe U.S. antitrust regulators would not allow the nation’s two largest satellite-TV firms to become one company.

That’s why AT&T wants to buy DirecTV.

AT&T also appears to be taking advantage of the simmering furor about “Net neutrality“—the principle that all Internet users should have open access to the Internet—as well as the Comcast–Time Warner deal, to float a $50 billion deal of its own.

TIME Net neutrality

FCC Net-Neutrality Plan in Chaos

Tom Wheeler FCC Chairman
Tom Wheeler, chairman of the FCC, listens during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing in Washington on Dec. 12, 2013 Andrew Harrer—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Tom Wheeler appears to have misjudged public opinion and fellow commissioners as a campaign is mounted to urge him to adapt his proposal on allowing broadband providers to strike special deals with web giants for preferential treatment in the "last mile" to consumers

Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler is scrambling to change his “open Internet” proposal after a torrent of criticism from Internet giants, startups, venture capitalists, public-interest groups and consumers.

Net-neutrality advocates are mounting a campaign to persuade Wheeler to reclassify Internet broadband service under Title II of the Communications Act, which would subject companies like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T to “common carrier” regulation.

For decades, the FCC has regulated traditional phone service under common carrier provisions that require phone companies to connect all calls to people around the country. But in 2002, the FCC made the fateful decision to classify broadband as an “information service” not a “telecommunications service” — paving the way for Internet fast lanes and setting the stage for a decade of legal wrangling.

The FCC’s Internet-governance policies have been in limbo since a federal court struck down most of the agency’s 2010 open Internet order in January. That order prohibited broadband providers like Comcast and Verizon from blocking traffic like Skype or Netflix on wired networks or putting them into an Internet “slow lane.”

“Chairman Wheeler has heard the American people, and he has changed the item significantly to make Title II a more robust option,” a senior FCC official told TIME on Monday. It’s unclear what that would actually mean, because the draft proposal has not yet been released to the public.

The Internet has become a new public utility, many Net-neutrality advocates argue, and should be treated as such. The nation’s largest cable and phone companies fiercely oppose that idea — fearing greater regulation — and are mobilizing their lobbyists and allies on Capitol Hill to push back.

The FCC’s eighth-floor executive office has been thrown into chaos amid a mounting backlash that shut down its phone lines as a growing number of open-Internet advocates camp out in front of their office.

“Since Wheeler’s proposal was first reported in the media we’ve sent hundreds of calls to the FCC on a daily basis,” says Tim Karr, senior director of strategy at D.C.-based public-interest group Free Press, a longtime Net-neutrality-advocacy group.

Wheeler, the former top cable and wireless-industry lobbyist, is facing a crucial vote on Thursday about whether to advance his plan to allow broadband providers to strike special deals with Internet companies for preferential treatment — sometimes called “paid prioritization” — in the “last mile” to consumers’ homes.

Wheeler says he supports the idea of an open Internet — and opposes a system in which deep-pocketed tech titans can discriminate against startups — but he failed to anticipate the depth of public opinion on this issue, not to mention skepticism by his fellow Democratic FCC commissioners.

Late last week, commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said she has “real concerns” about Wheeler’s plan and called for the FCC to delay next week’s crucial agency vote on the matter. Commissioner Mignon Clyburn has also raised concerns.

Wheeler plans to press ahead with Thursday’s vote, an FCC official told TIME late on Monday. The vote wouldn’t enshrine the new rules, it would only approve what’s called a “notice of proposed rulemaking” (NPRM), and make the draft proposal available for public review and comment.

“It’s not even halftime and they’re 20 points down,” a senior tech-industry executive told TIME. “But they have a deep bench and there’s plenty of time left.” If Wheeler does not feel he has the three out of five votes needed to approve the NPRM, he has the power to postpone the vote until the FCC’s next meeting. But it appears he’s moving forward.

The crisis facing the FCC is not surprising. For nearly a decade, the FCC has been trying to implement rules that would ensure that the Internet remains open for the next generation of tech startups like YouTube, Skype and Netflix. Open-Internet advocacy groups appear to be trying to mobilize a grassroots response like the one they successfully mounted against the 2012 SOPA/PIPA Internet copyright bills.

Last week, more than 100 Internet companies — from Google down to the smallest startups — sent a letter to the FCC expressing alarm over the agency’s proposed Net-neutrality rules and imploring regulators to protect Internet openness.

“Young, high-tech firms have represented all net new job growth in this country for the last 30 years,” wrote Julie Samuels, executive director of Engine Advocacy, the nonprofit tech policy group that organized the letter. “It is these startups that drive our economic prosperity, create jobs and improve our lives. Yet these companies stand to suffer the most when faced with uncertain, discriminatory rules that threaten the open Internet.”

Wheeler’s plan — which was leaked to the press two weeks ago — would allow companies to strike paid-prioritization deals as long as they acted in a “commercially reasonable manner subject to review on a case-by-case basis.” Wheeler has not defined what type of agreement would be considered commercially reasonable, but even if he does, it’s unlikely that most Net-neutrality advocates would support the plan.

Open-Internet advocates have long considered such Internet “fast lanes” to be anathema to Net-neutrality principles because they would give deep-pocketed companies an advantage over startups.

“Startups are often unable to compete at scale to overcome, negotiate with and manage thousands of discriminatory carriers and networks,” says Samuels. “Young, high-tech firms must rely on the certainty of nondiscriminatory rules to continue to grow, create jobs and build new technologies. This is why we urge the FCC to protect the open Internet.”

On Monday, Wheeler prepared to circulate a new proposal that would stop short of Title II reclassification, but would make that option more realistic for the FCC. But after nearly a decade of patchwork Net-neutrality protections, open-Internet advocates remained skeptical.

“Chairman Wheeler is feeling the grassroots pressure against his pay-for-prioritization proposal,” says Craig Aaron, president and CEO of Free Press. “But he still isn’t giving Internet users the Net-neutrality protections they demand. He needs to abandon the flimsy and failed legal approach of his predecessors and reclassify Internet service providers as the common carriers they are.”

TIME technology

Twitter Gives You a Way to Shut Up Your Talkative Friends

The social network will let users "mute" messages from other users on their timelines without the muted person's knowledge, thereby avoiding the awkward process of having to unfollow, or put up with, your extremely talkative IRL friends

Twitter rolled out new feature Monday to let users better manage the deluge of tweets they receive.

Users can now “mute” people they follow, removing those people’s tweets and retweets from their own timelines. The muted person won’t know that he or she has been silenced. It’s a stealthy way to read less content from certain users without having to unfollow them. A person can easily be muted or unmuted at any time, Twitter said in a blog post.

“Mute gives you even more control over the content you see on Twitter by letting you remove a user’s content from key parts of your Twitter experience,” the company said.

Though Twitter had been experimenting with the feature in recent weeks, it announced Monday that muting will be available to all users of the company’s iOS and Android apps, as well as the Twitter.com website. Some other Twitter applications, like TweetDeck, already allowed muting.

The feature is part of Twitter’s overall strategy to make its service more accessible to a wider range of people. Following a successful initial public offering, Twitter’s stock has tumbled in recent months as investors worry about the social network’s ability to attract new users. CEO Dick Costolo vowed that Twitter would make changes to its interface this year to make it easier to understand and manage. The company overhauled user profile pages in April as part of this effort.

TIME Big Picture

Where Computing Is Headed, from PCs to Smartphones

The PC industry’s doldrums continue, yet many seem to be scratching their head as to why. The common answer is to blame tablets.

While there is truth to the tablet’s role in the shrinking PC market, some important context is still missing from this puzzle.

What many don’t initially observe is that since about 2007, the PC market — specifically the notebook segment — began to over-index to the consumer segment. Meaning that, gradually, more notebooks sold around the world each year were to the consumer segment rather than the corporate segment. Note this chart from Benedict Evan’s slide deck Mobile Is Eating the World.

 

During the PC’s run when more PCs were shipped to corporate segments than consumer ones, the corporate buying cycle was like clockwork — every two to three years. Refresh cycles were predictable. As PCs and notebooks became more saturated in enterprise environments, the PC’s run continued as it bled over into the consumer segment. Consumers, who either only used a desktop PC at work or had no PC at home, started to bring PCs into the home.

The observation that gets lost is that the consumers who caused the PC to over-index to the consumer segment were not early adopters. If you are familiar with the concept of the diffusion of innovations, you know the late adopter parts of the market are much larger in terms of volume than the early adopter parts of the market.

As the late part of the early majority and the following segments started buying PCs, we saw growth, but more consumer PCs were sold than corporate PCs as a part of the overall mix. The trouble with this, which the past few years of PC decline has evidenced, is that people in the later years of these consumer markets behave differently with electronics. Many in this late-state early majority, late majority and laggards buy tech based more on needs than wants. More to the point, once a product is acquired, these people generally don’t replace it until it’s “beyond repair.” Technology products’ life cycles are extended when this very large part of the consumer segment gets into the market.

By this time, the market is to the point where it’s fully mature and reaching “post maturity.” Around this time as well, costs for components also come down, become mature, and generally can and will last longer. The perfect storm hit the PC industry where a significant part of the install base bought their PCs, and the maturity of the hardware allowed them to last for quite some time, dramatically extending the life cycle of the product for customers who won’t replace it until it breaks.

This is where we are today: The PC segment has reached a fully mature replacement market and growth is declining. So what observations from the fully mature PC segment can we glean for mobile?

While the PC is not a “one per person on the planet” product, the smartphone, for the most part, is. The total addressable market is significantly larger. The PC install base will settle around 1-1.2 billion, while the smartphone install base will settle around 4-4.5 billion. However, we have an install base of around 1.5-1.6 billion smartphones now, with the bulk — approximately 70% — in full replacement markets.

Because of this, I divide the smartphone market into two segments: There is a mature segment, rapidly going to post maturity, and there is an immature segment, which is the quarter to half a billion first-time smartphone owners coming on each year for the next few years. The two largest markets from an install base standpoint of smartphones are China (approx 525m currently) and the U.S. (approx 225m currently). Per my PC observations, I’ll focus on these two markets.

The U.S.

This market has been a defining one for mobile in many of the same ways it has for the PC. With smartphone penetration nearing 70% in the US, we are well into a mature replacement cycle market. But to get to where we are now, we have a huge install base of the late-state early majority, late majority and laggards who are in the market and will increasingly become so during 2014 as we drive saturation to 80-85%.

As in the PC space, we are already seeing the “I’ll replace it when it dies” mentality impact smartphones. This is stalling year-over-year growth, and making it harder for the likes of Apple and Samsung to drive the masses to their latest devices. While the refresh rate of smartphones will remain approximately 24 months for a percentage of the market, I sense there is a growing percentage who will wait a bit longer. Perhaps 2.5 years will be more common rather than two or less, as it will be for some segments.

The issue? Are there more people who will need to be persuaded to upgrade than there who will do it routinely because of their love of technology? This last bit is tricky but there is hope. For example, it is for the reasoning I just laid out that the time is right for Apple to release a larger-screen iPhone. That, plus perhaps longer battery life, enhanced security thanks to 64-bit and a few other simple features, could significantly move the needle for Apple in the U.S. (Note this ChangeWave survey indicating nearly half of all smartphone buyers who are intending to purchase a smartphone plan want to buy one with a screen size around 5″.)

The U.S. is an iPhone-dominated market, with Samsung gaining ground little bits at a time with each new Galaxy release. Both need to start moving the needle or we will continue to see refresh rates extend. Every PC OEM we speak to regularly follows the “give them a reason to upgrade” mantra. This is a key theme for consumer markets and applies to PCs, smartphones and tablets once they reach maturity.

China

China is crazy. It’s unlike any market I study in-depth. The swings of market-share as a percentage of quarterly sales by different vendors is staggering.

Xiaomi, in less than two years, is shipping more smartphones than Samsung each month. China is saturated with half a dozen and growing key Android OEMs all going after each other with new device releases every quarter or so.

Could you imagine in the U.S. having six to eight smartphone manufacturers releasing new devices every quarter? Or even twice year? It would seem like overkill, but in China it isn’t. Selling a few million each quarter is being fueled by rapidly releasing hardware. The average smartphone lifecycle in some parts of China is 11 months, and in upscale areas it is seven months. While the smartphone market in China looks and feels mature — and in some cases even post-mature — it really isn’t. While Xiaomi is all the rage, we have no solid data about what Xiaomi’s loyalty rates are. Are consumers jumping to different brands just to try the hot thing every year? The question of what are fads versus what are sustainable trends is much harder to predict in China.

While I sense many of the same PC market observations apply to mobile in the U.S., they are not applying to China. Significantly, China has more smartphones than PCs and is largely now a mobile-first (and for a growing percentage, mobile-only) market. All of this is to say that mobile can learn nothing from the PC segment for China, which is a point in itself.

Perhaps the strategic dynamics of a mature market, and eventually a smartphone-saturated one like China will behave fundamentally differently than the U.S. If this is true of China, will it also be true of India (where PC penetration is less than 10%), Indonesia, and Brazil? I suspect this is the case, but we are in such early days that it’s hard to tell. Which makes it fascinating.

If you are interested in diving more deeply into where computing is going, I’m speaking at a conference called Post Modern Computing on June 4th in San Francisco. I encourage you to check it out.

Bajarin is a principal at Creative Strategies Inc., a technology-industry-analysis and market-intelligence firm in Silicon Valley. He contributes to the Big Picture opinion column that appears here every week.

TIME

Uber Offers Private Jet Service to Cannes for 1%ers Who Don’t Plan Ahead

Because bullet trains are declasse

In its never-ending pursuit of the stranded commuter, taxi startup Uber will offer private jets from Paris to Cannes during that peak commute time for the 1%, the Cannes Film Festival.

Users will be able to hail a jet on the app from May 12 to May 18. The service, offered in partnership with Goodwill Airlines, will allow travelers to hail a black car to Paris’ Bourget airport, followed by a private jet to Nice, followed by another black car to Cannes, all in a few easy swipes on the smartphone.

The ride will cost $8,930, which can be split between three jetsetters, and if the price tag seems a bit high for a scrappy independent film maker, Uber will knock another $34 off of the airfare with the promo code “AirUber.”

TIME technology

Music Industry Guru Totally Destroys the Apple-Beats Deal

Beats By Dr. Dre & GRAFF Diamonds Special Event
The Million Dollar Headphones by Beats by Dr. Dre & Graff Diamonds, displayed on January 31, 2014 in New York City. Noam Galai—2014 Getty Images

Music industry critic Bob Lefsetz is not a fan of Apple’s reported plan to buy Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion. The writer known for calling out industry bigwigs by name took to his blog to outline many reasons why the acquisition would be a desperate move on Apple’s part.

“Tim Cook is an operations guy, he’s clueless, the company has no vision and this is evidence of it,” Lefset wrote. “Anybody with a brain knew that streaming was eclipsing downloads. Except at Apple, where they were adhering to Jobs’s philosophy. But it turns out Apple had no Plan B, no streaming service ready to be launched when necessary. It’s like they never read Clayton Christensen’s Innovator’s Dilemma, despite it being vaunted in the tech press for over a decade. If you rest on your laurels, you’re gonna be history tomorrow.”

Lefsetz went on to say that we no longer live in an “Apple world” because the company can’t release dominant new products like the iPod, iPhone and iPad. He also speculates that Apple is mainly after Beats Music, the Spotify-like on-demand streaming service launched in January, and not the Beats by Dre premium headphones that are the core of Beats’ business. “Jimmy [Iovine] insisted upon selling the whole thing,” Lefsetz wrote. “Makes sense, it gives Apple the illusion of cash flow/profit and it allows Jimmy to take his money off the table all at once.”

Though Lefsetz said that Iovine’s deep industry connections would be a boon for Apple, he mocked the actual products Beats produces. “Jimmy has created nothing other than wealth,” he said. “The headphones are mediocre and Beats Music is a me-too service. There’s no story here. Other than a desperate company making a deal with someone with something they need.”

Apple’s acquisition of Beats, which was widely reported Thursday, could be officially announced as soon as this week.

TIME Rumors

Apple’s iPhone 6 Could Arrive One Month Early? Maybe, Maybe Not

But beware: the story's once more sourced to the enigmatic "supply chain."

As my colleague Harry McCracken illustrated in a deft chronicle of all the misguided rumors about Apple’s forever-elusive HDTV last Thursday, supply chain “sources” aren’t the surest hook on which to hang your prognostication hat. But that’s precisely where this new rumor about Apple releasing its next iPhone a month earlier than expected stems from.

Reuters, citing media in Taiwan (in turn citing the mysterious supply chain) reports that Apple’s going to unveil the next version of its iPhone a month earlier than expected.

Since all the iPhones from the iPhone 4 forward have debuted in September — and everyone’s assuming that holds for this next round — Reuters says we could see the sixth iteration with a 4.7-inch screen in August, followed by larger screen models (in the 5-inch diagonal range) in September. The current iPhone 5 and 5s both sport 4-inch diagonal screens.

Reuters notes the supply chain had told it earlier that 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch versions of the next iPhone are a lock. It says Taiwan’s Economic Daily News (as well as the supply chain) are saying Apple intends to produce some 80 million next-gen iPhones. Since the iPhone launched in June 2007, Apple’s sold over 500 million units worldwide.

TIME Technologizer

Parrot’s New Bebop Drone Can Do Amazing Things

Bebop Drone
Parrot

From its image-stabilized camera to Oculus Rift integration, this is one powerful personal drone

In the emerging world of consumer drones, the most important company in the world happens to be a French one, Parrot, which was formerly best known for making Bluetooth audio products. Back in 2010, it announced the AR.Drone, a $300 quadricopter with onboard cameras, controllable from your iPhone, iPad or Android device.

Watching it whir off into the sky or hover in place was a revelation: I still remember the moment when a friend of mine demoed his AR.Drone by sending it soaring around his living room during a dinner party. It made me interested in drones in a way reading about them never could.

Parrot released version 2.0 of the AR.Drone in 2012. And now it’s announcing an all-new model, the Parrot Bebop Drone. Rather than replacing the AR.Drone, the Bebop takes the same concept, pulls out all the technical stops and emphasizes the idea of using a drone for aerial photography–at the launch event in San Francisco, Parrot CEO Henri Seydoux called the Bebop a “flying camera.”

 Bebop Drone
Parrot

The Bebop has a camera with a 180-degree fish-eye lens (up from 93 degrees in the AR-Drone 2.0), capable of capturing 14-megapixel still pictures and HD video. It uses three-axis stabilization to keep the imagery from getting wobbly as it cruises. It also packs four-antenna Wi-Fi based on the latest technology, 802.11ac MIMO, so it can stay in contact with the ground and–unlike previous models–transmit live streaming video of what it sees to your phone or tablet.

Including its removable hull, the whole package measures about 15 inches across and weighs around 14 ounces. Unlike the AR.Drone, it’s specifically designed for indoor flight as well as outdoor use, and includes new safety features (if you brush up against one active propeller, they all shut down).

Bebop Controller
Parrot

Two of the Bebop’s most intriguing features are optional. Parrot is going to sell an Android-powered gizmo called the Skycontroller, which can be used with or without an iPad. It provides yoke-style controls for maneuvering the Bebop, plus its own industrial-strength, built-in Wi-Fi for extra-robust communications with the Drone.

And if you happen to own the Bebop, the Skycontroller and an Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset–not yet a commercial product, but available in a developer edition–you’ll be able to plug the Rift into the Skycontroller. Then you can don the headset and get a drone’s-eye view of the world, streamed in real-time. (More prosaically, you’ll also be able to connect a Bebop to a computer via USB cable to download and share whatever it captured while it was airborne.)

See below for a brief video I shot at Parrot’s San Francisco event, where multiple prototype Bebops bopped around the courtyard of the former U.S. Mint building. The company is still finishing up work on this drone, which it plans to ship it in the fourth quarter of this year for a price it isn’t yet disclosing.

TIME Companies

Samsung Chairman in ‘Stable Condition’ After Heart Attack

Samsung Chairman Lee Urges New Businesses as Economy Stays Slow
Lee Kun-hee, chairman of Samsung Electronics Co., arrives for a company meeting at the Shilla hotel in Seoul on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 Bloomberg—Getty Images

Lee Kun-hee, the head of South Korea’s largest business group underwent an emergency operation in Seoul over the weekend. Lee who took over from his father in 1987 is credited with transforming Samsung into one of the most recognized tech brands in the world

Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee is in stable condition after suffering a heart attack late on Saturday night.

After complaining of respiratory difficulties, the 72-year-old tech tycoon was rushed to Samsung Medical Center in Seoul where doctors performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on him.

“He is now recuperating in a stable condition after undergoing an operation,” read a statement issued by Samsung Medical Center on Sunday.

The Samsung chief has reportedly been plagued with respiratory-related health issues since undergoing lung surgery in the early 1990s. Samsung has yet to comment on how the latest incident may affect his relationship with the company.

His 45-old-year son, Jay Y. Lee, serves as vice chairman of Samsung Electronics and is being groomed to take over the enterprise once his father steps down.

Lee is often credited with transforming Samsung into one of the most recognized tech brands in the world, after taking over the company from his father in 1987.

[WSJ]

TIME Companies

IBM Chief Says Better Times Lie Ahead

The sign at the IBM facility near Boulder, Colarado
The sign at the IBM facility near Boulder, Colo. Rick Wilking—Reuters

Virginia M. Rometty says embracing new technologies like cloud computing can help reinvigorate the U.S. tech giant. Having jettisoned less profitable aspects of the business, the firm of more than 400,000 employees is turning to new fields

The head of IBM says the company is poised for growth, putting an end to years of stagnant stock prices and flagging competitiveness.

CEO Virginia M. Rometty, 56, said during an interview with the New York Times that things had long been “rocky” for IBM, but that a clear vision was now at hand for pursuing fresh avenues.

“We are transforming this company for the next decade,” she said. “That is not a one-year job, not when you’re a hundred-billion-dollar company.”

Having jettisoned less profitable aspects of the business, the firm of more than 400,000 employees is turning to new fields — cloud computing, says Rometty, is one example that can become an exciting venture for IBM.

“I feel very good about the direction and how we’ve crystallized it,” she added. “We are making progress, and we just need to keep moving with speed.”

[NYT]

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