ITI Daily News Roundup

01/25/2013

Key Issues

Tax

U.S. companies face tax scrutiny overseas.  From England to Italy to Australia, many governments are taking a second look at companies’ tax bills — and their own laws — for ways to boost taxes during economic hard times.  (Politico Pro)

Cameron calls for action on tax.  UK Prime Minister David Cameron has said that countries must work together to clamp down on tax avoidance.  "Individuals and businesses must pay their fair share," he told leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos.  (BBC)

Cameron: We must focus on trade, taxes, transparency.   Free trade, transparency and a crackdown on tax cheats will be at the heart of Britain's G8 presidency, Prime Minister David Cameron told the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday as he set out his vision for a more competitive Europe.  Cameron said the questions of fairer taxes, more open trade and greater transparency apply just as much to the developed countries of the G8 as to poorer nations.  And he dismissed the idea that speaking out on the issue of taxes and transparency made him anti-capitalism or anti-business.  Poor practice by some firms has an impact on those that play by the rules, he said.  (CNN)

Workforce

Senators unveil high-skilled immigration bill.  A bipartisan bloc of senators is circulating an early version of a high-skilled immigration bill that would increase the number of H-1B visas and green cards available to those with specialized, in-demand skills.  The measure is called the Immigration Innovation Act of 2013 — or the I-Squared Act — and, according to the draft, it is the product of Sens. Orrin Hatch, Amy Klobuchar, Marco Rubio and Chris Coons.  (Politico Pro)

Republicans shift gears on immigration ahead of reform debate with Obama.  The rise to prominence of Republicans with softer views on "amnesty" could improve the prospects for a deal this year.  (The Hill)

Column:  Jeb Bush and Clint Bolick: Solving the Immigration Puzzle.  The nation's capital is awash with ideas about how to fix America's immigration policy. The sudden ferment on this issue, which was largely dormant since efforts at comprehensive reform were torpedoed five years ago, is as welcome as it is overdue. The growing consensus on both sides of the political aisle that something needs to be done should not be squandered, for such opportunities are rare and fleeting.  (WSJ)

Foreign Investors Trade Dollars For U.S. Residency.  While analysts expect President Obama to push ahead with plans to overhaul the U.S. immigration system this year, the administration has already demonstrated support for the EB-5 program. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will be opening a new office by summer to oversee the program and address the booming interest.  (NPR)

Column:  Carter: The Sad State of Our Science, and How to Fix It.  It’s not that the frontiers of science don’t continue to advance. It’s that hardly anybody is paying attention.  (Bloomberg)

Apple fires supplier after discovering underage workers.  Apple found 74 underage workers at one company and then reported the labor agency to local authorities, it says in its latest Supplier Responsibility report.  (CNET)

Economy

Imagining a future when machines have all the jobs.  Martin Ford saw it everywhere, even in his own business.  Smarter machines and better software were helping companies do more work with fewer people. His Silicon Valley software firm used to put its programs on disks and ship them to customers. The disks were made, packaged and delivered by human beings. Now Ford’s customers can just download the software to their computers — no disks, no packaging, no delivery workers.  ‘‘It is getting easier and easier to avoid hiring people by taking advantage of technology,’’ Ford says.  (AP)

Cybersecurity & Privacy

'Cyber 9/11' may be on horizon, Homeland Security chief warns.  With the possibility of a massive cyberattack hitting the U.S. in the near future, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano urges the government to pass cybersecurity legislation.  (CNET)

Hacktivist anger over US government's 'ludicrous' cyber crackdown.  Andrew Auernheimer, a 'trailer-park troll' from the same web community as Aaron Swartz, faces 10 years in jail for data breaches. Why is the US prosecuting in such draconian fashion?  (The Guardian UK)

Web giants may face privacy cases.  Libel expert says Facebook, Google and Twitter's Ireland presence opens them up to lawsuits from people abused by bloggers and tweeters.  (The Guardian UK)

In a French Case, a Battle to Unmask Twitter Users.  In yet another struggle over speech on the Internet, a French court told Twitter to identify people who had posted anti-Semitic and racist entries on the social network.  (NYT)

Global Trade

ITA Expansion Proponents Aggressively Cut Back Proposed Product List.  Countries seeking to expand the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) last week agreed to begin dramatically reducing a list of products that have been proposed for inclusion in an updated deal, with the aim of creating a smaller list by spring that can attract a greater number of supporters. Consistent with demands by U.S. business groups, these negotiators are hoping to conclude the talks quickly, perhaps by sometime this summer.  (Inside US Trade)

U.S., TPP Partners Working On Environmental Cooperation Language.  The United States is working with Chile and Peru in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations to forge common language in the environment chapter with regard to cooperative commitments in the area of environmental conservation. One source said the focus on cooperative elements could help to yield some progress in the talks in the near term, especially because negotiations on tougher issues like enforceability remain stuck.  (Inside US Trade)

U.S., EU May Put Some Issues On ‘Separate Tracks’ In Expected FTA Talks.  The United States and the European Union, which are expected to endorse the launch of comprehensive trade negotiations as early as next month, are considering an approach that would allow different areas to progress at different speeds, even though both sides are likely to maintain that the negotiations represent a “single undertaking.”  (Inside US Trade)

China slaps duties on some EU and U.S. chemicals.  China has imposed anti-dumping duties on European and U.S. exporters of two chemical solvents, the Commerce Ministry said on Friday, in the latest round of trade restrictions involving China and the West.  (Reuters)

Innovation

Happy ‘Data Innovation Day’.  A think tank holds events around the first annual “Data Innovation Day,” bringing public and private sector tech leaders together.  (Washington Post)

‘Eight great technologies' benefit from £600m in government funding.  Science minister David Willetts sets out plans for spending in space, robotics, computing and energy storage.  (The Guardian UK)

Will Big Data turn us into Google-driven drones?  For all that Big Data promises, I worry that the nearly infinite ability to crunch numbers and tell us what we want will steal our identities and kill spontaneity. Already Amazon tells us what we want to buy; Google tells us what we want to read and Apple tells us what songs we want to hear. What’s next?  (San Jose Mercury News)

Mobility

Google asks FCC for wireless spectrum, but don't get too excited.  The company has requested frequencies across the 2524-2546 and 2567-2625 MHz ranges. However, a source tells CNET that the testing isn't for delivering any service to consumers.  (CNET)

Stations could part with spectrum.  The FCC will conduct an incentive auction that will give broadcasters the ability to sell their licenses.  (Politico)

Energy & Sustainability

McDonald’s, Unilever, Pepsi, Adidas make news at Davos.  Sustainability gets attention amid theme of “resilient dynamism” at global leaders’ summit.  (GreenBiz.com)

What the President's focus on climate change means for clean tech.  By framing the issue as one of human costs and opportunities, Obama opened the door to action.  (GreenBiz.com)

Tech Business

Samsung warns on smartphones slowdown. Samsung Electronics has warned that its smartphone business will be hit this year by growing price competition and slowing demand in developed markets, even as it confirmed record earnings for 2012.  (FT)

Belkin buying Linksys.  It looks like Cisco is jettisoning Linksys and the rest of its home networking business unit after all.  (CNET)

Akamai sells digital ad-targeting technology to MediaMath.  Akamai Technologies Inc., the Cambridge Internet company, has sold a technology that enables marketers to target online advertising to a New York company called MediaMath for an undisclosed amount.  (Boston Globe)

Moving From Wall Street to the Tech Sector Proves Tricky.  As more financiers jump to the technology sector, some find that big investors are skeptical that they have what it takes to nurture a young company.  (CNET)

Huawei Creeps up on Apple, Samsung.  As Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc. try to defend their dominance in the smartphone market, the latest data show China’s Huawei Technologies Co. coming third in terms of market share for the first time, indicating that a rapid increase of smartphone users in China and other emerging markets may be starting to alter the global landscape.  (WSJ)

Swinging From 140 Characters To Six-Second Videos, Twitter Launches Vine.  Twitter launches Vine, a video-sharing app that allows users to post succinct videos directly onto tweets. The app is reminiscent of Instagram and seems familiar at a time when animated GIFs are all the rage.  (NPR)

Amazon buys speech-recognition company in challenge to Apple's Siri.  Amazon.com said on Thursday that it acquired speech-recognition company Ivona Software, a sign the world's largest Internet retailer may be looking to develop more services similar to Apple's Siri voice-based search product.  (San Jose Mercury News)

China's Alibaba and partners to invest $16 billion in logistics network.  Alibaba Group, which runs China's largest e-commerce platforms, and its partners will spend 100 billion yuan ($16.08 billion) in the first phase of investment to build a logistics network, a local newspaper reported on Friday.  (Reuters)

ITI Member News

Microsoft profit dips ahead of Office revamp.  Microsoft Corp's quarterly profit edged lower as Office software sales slowed ahead of a new launch, offsetting a solid but unspectacular start for its Windows 8 operating system and sending the company's shares down 1.4 percent.  (Reuters)

Microsoft: Grasping touch in enterprise productivity.  The future could see touch gestures move beyond use in games and casual consumption, to more applicability in business productivity tasks such as executing commands on data sets by finger-drawing symbols.  (ZDNet)

Intel's Yolo low-cost smartphone debuts.  Intel's low-cost smartphone will be sold for the first time in Kenya, the chipmaker announced today.  (CNET)

Cisco's $475 Intucell buy marks another step in its long history of Israel acquisitions.  The world’s largest maker of networking equipment has bought its tenth Israeli start-up after 15 years of investing in the country.  (ZDNet)

Apple’s Cook says firm in ‘prolific’ period of innovation.  Apple CEO Cook says firm is as innovative as it was 28 years ago, when it introduced the Mac.  (Washington Post)

Apple's Smartphone Fight Intensifies.  The iPhone ended the year with a blowout quarter in the U.S.market, but there are signs that Apple may have to do more to persuade shoppers to buy its priciest models.  (WSJ)

Apple's China dilemma: market share or cachet?  Apple Inc's third straight disappointing quarter signals an urgent need for the global technology leader to drum up new revenue - and China may provide the answer.  (Reuters)

Dell Deal Done Differently.  J.P. Morgan will not be trying 'staple financing' in the potential Dell deal, a possible ramification of a court decision criticizing what was once a common practice on Wall Street.  (WSJ)

SAP Specifies Revenue Guidance.  Bill McDermott, co-chief executive of German software giant SAP, said soaring sales from its superfast database analysis tool and its cloud-computing operations might propel the company's revenues to €21 billion or €22 billion ($28 billion or $29 billion) by 2015.  (WSJ)

BlackBerry 10: How RIM is reaching out to developers.  Persuading developers to get on board is essential for the success of BlackBerry 10. Here's what RIM has done so far and a rundown of the tools developers can use to build for BlackBerry 10.  (ZDNet)

China's Lenovo sees RIM as M&A option, CFO says.  A senior Lenovo executive said on Thursday that the Chinese computer maker may consider Research in Motion as a takeover target, sending the Blackberry maker's shares up 2 percent just a week before it launches a make-or-break line of redesigned smartphones.  (Reuters)

Nokia U.S. Effort in Doubt as IPhone Beats Lumia 10-to-1.  Nokia’s attempt to spearhead its comeback via the U.S. is falling short as its Lumia smartphones are failing to stop consumers from snapping up Apple Inc. iPhones and handsets running Google Inc’s Android software. (Bloomberg)

Autodesk expands San Francisco offices (again).   Design and engineering software giant Autodesk will expand its San Francisco office footprint as the demand for 3D modeling and printing soars.  (San Francisco Chronicle)

1600 Penn.

The President has no public events on his schedule.  Meanwhile, at 11:00 a.m. ET, the Vice President, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Deputy U.S. Attorney General Jim Cole, and other Administration officials will hold a roundtable discussion on the Administration’s efforts to reduce gun violence at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Today on the Hill

House:  The House is in a pro forma session beginning at 2 p.m. 

Senate:  The Senate is not in session.   The chamber returns to work on Monday, January 28, at 2 p.m.

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