ITI Daily News Roundup

01/30/2013

Key Issues

Workforce

Obama backs immigration reform for skilled tech workers.  The president speaks in support of changing immigration laws for foreign-born programmers and engineers, while U.S. senators introduce a new bill aimed at the same cause.  (CNET)

Bill to Boost Visas Cheers Tech Firms.  Tech companies that have been clamoring for an increase in the number of visas for highly skilled workers think chances are improving as support builds for a broad immigration overhaul.  (WSJ)

Measures in Obama proposal mirror high-skilled immigration legislation.  President's plan calls for "stapling" green cards to foreign graduates with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering or math.  (The Hill)

I-Squared now in play with Senate.  “Some of our nation's top technology markets like Silicon Valley, Seattle, Boston, New York and Salt Lake City are in desperate need for qualified STEM workers,” Sen. Orrin Hatch said.  (Politico Pro)

Senate GOP wary of immigration plan.  Some on the right are emerging as outspoken critics of the sprawling proposal.  (Politico)

Can a Silicon Valley startup solve state university woes?  San Jose State University is partnering with tech startup Udacity, which offers online computer science and mathematics courses. CNET's Sumi Das explains how the first-of-its-kind program could help students graduate faster and save money.  (CNET)

Google funds Raspberry Pi computers.  Some 15,000 Raspberry Pi microcomputers are to be donated to schools around the UK by Google as part of a push to improve computer science skills.  (BBC)

Cybersecurity & Privacy

CEOs Open to Cybersecurity Rules.  Fortune 500 companies in a range of industries back a system of voluntary cybersecurity standards, according to a Senate survey by a strong backer of a new legislative push to protect computer networks.  The findings suggest there might be a disagreement between the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and many of the nearly 300 companies that responded to questions from the Senate Commerce Committee chairman. The Chamber worked aggressively last year to defeat a bill to create a voluntary-standards regime and faulted the new survey.  (WSJ)

Companies eye cybersecurity information.  Only 26 per cent of respondents said they were fully satisfied with information on cybersecurity. In the UK, just one in five respondents said they were satisfied, compared to satisfaction levels of more than 70 per cent on legal and regulatory compliance issues.  (FT)

Global Trade

Ministers See Trade Facilitation, Agriculture, LDC Provisions As Basis For Bali Outcome.  Ministers and senior trade officials representing 21 key World Trade Organization members convened on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland over the weekend and agreed that trade facilitation, issues related to agriculture and issues of special interest to least-developed countries (LDCs) should be at the core of an outcome at the ninth WTO ministerial at the end of the year, according to the Swiss government.  (Inside US Trade)

Economy

Lawmakers see no deal in sight to stop sequester.  Deep spending cuts are likely to hit federal agencies, leaders in both parties say, as they remain pessimistic about reaching an agreement before March 1.  (Washington Post)

Consumer confidence in U.S. economy falls after tax increase.  An increase in Social Security taxes is leaving Americans with less take-home pay and a more negative outlook for the U.S. economy.  (AP)

Mobility & Cloud Computing

Latency 'big issue' in APAC cloud delivery.  Region's large geographical expanse results in high latency challenges, which is an issue cloud service providers operating here need to factor in as cloud adoption ramps up in Asia.  (ZDNet)

Want to unlock your phone? Fix the DMCA.  The anti-circumvention provision of the DMCA has been stifling research, slowing innovation, and annoying consumers for more than a decade. So why does it still exist?  (CNET)

Environment & Sustainability

Five trends driving action on sustainability in 2013.  Despite a contentious political climate, is there hope for progress with sustainability initiatives?  (GreenBiz.com)

Cheapest Wind Energy to Spur Deals in Brazil.  Acquisitions of renewable-energy companies in Brazil will rebound from a four-year low as wind- farm developers seek buyers and European companies expand, the industry’s biggest legal and financial merger advisers said. (Bloomberg)

What was missing from the sustainability conversation at Davos.  Sustainability needs to be embedded in all business conversations to help companies move from a "take-make-waste" approach to a circular economy.  (GreenBiz.com)

Tech Business

Marissa Mayer's early success at Yahoo could create more pressure.  Six months into her tenure, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has arrested the decline of the Internet portal and has won favor on Wall Street with stock buybacks, but a longer-term turnaround remains uncertain.  (San Jose Mercury News)

Facebook Seen Reporting Faster Sales Growth on Mobile-Ad Demand.  Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is reaping benefits of a deeper push into mobile advertising at the social network he founded almost a decade ago.  (Bloomberg)

Amazon revenue up 22% to $21.3 billion during holiday quarter.  Amazon.com Inc. saw big sales during the holiday season, reporting Tuesday that fourth-quarter revenue rose 22% to $21.27 billion from the same quarter a year earlier.  (LA Times)

2013 'turning point' for ailing Japanese tech giants.  Companies such as Sony and Panasonic should consider paring off loss-making business units and focus on their core competencies to return to profit and compete better with regional rivals.  (ZDNet)

Exclusive: Nest has raised another $80M, now shipping 40K+ thermostats a month.  Learning thermostat maker Nest has closed on $80 million to keep growing, and we’ve heard it’s shipping 40K to 50K thermostats per month. The round was raised at an $800 million valuation and the company could reach a million per year shipment rate by the Summer.  (GigaOM.com)

ZTE sharpens focus on high-end smartphones to boost margins.  China's ZTE Corp, the world's fourth-biggest handset maker, plans to ship more high-end smartphones this year to help increase profit margins and revenue, a senior company executive said on Wednesday.  (Reuters)

Biggest 'full HD' smartphone unveiled.  South Korea's Pantech unveils a smartphone with a 5.9in (15cm) screen - the biggest to offer a 1080p resolution display.  (BBC)

Chinese firm wins A123 despite U.S. tech transfer fears.  China's largest auto parts maker won U.S. government approval to buy A123 Systems Inc , a maker of electric car batteries, despite warnings by some lawmakers that the deal would transfer sensitive technology developed with U.S. government money.  (Reuters)

ITI Member News

Office for touchscreens launches, but not for Apple or Android.  Microsoft's retooled version of its Office software is hitting the market as the company tries to extend one of its key franchises beyond personal computers.  (San Jose Mercury News)

In Thailand, Power Comes With Help From Skype.  Thaksin Shinawatra, the country’s most famous fugitive and a former prime minister, has harnessed the Internet and mobile technology to create an unusual way of governing.  (NYT)

Eric Schmidt's digital future: drone wars, virtual kidnaps and privacy chats for kids.  Chairman of search giant believes criminals and terrorists will exploit the internet, but more connectivity will help billions.  (The Guardian)

Google's Plan to Snatch Shopping From Amazon Is Working.  Quietly, Google has been retooling in a bid to beat Amazon as the place to shop — and some early evidence suggests the search giant isn’t crazy to try. (Wired)

Award to Apple Isn't Raised.  A U.S. judge overseeing the court case between Apple and Samsung over mobile device patents decided not to raise the $1 billion in damages that a jury awarded to Apple.  (WSJ)

Apple announces 128GB iPad.  The tech titan announced that it’s doubling the amount of storageavailable on the iPad — something that may appeal to business customers.  (Washington Post)

BlackBerry 10 Critical to Research in Motion.  The long-awaited smartphone has been designed to retain, and bring back, the corporate users that once propelled the BlackBerry maker to success.  (NYT)

Mobile stars line up for Qualcomm dominance.  Qualcomm is largely running away with the smartphone and tablet field. Analysts are openly wondering if there's any competition for Qualcomm.  (ZDNet)

Dell Founder Seeks Majority Control Using Personal Funds.  Michael Dell is seeking majority control of Dell Inc. (DELL) in a buyout that would combine his 15.7 percent stake in the company with as much as $1 billion of his personal funds, said people familiar with the matter.  (Bloomberg)

China's Lenovo logs record quarterly profit, beats forecasts.  China's Lenovo Group Ltd, on track to become the world's top maker of personal computers, reported a record quarterly profit, up by a third from a year earlier, as it gained more share in the PC market and made inroads in the smartphone business.  (Reuters)

VMware dives more than 20 percent to new lows amid dour 2013 forecast.  VMware stock dropped more than 20 percent in Tuesday trading after the company announced a restructuring and 2013 forecast that disappointed investors and analysts.   (San Jose Mercury News)

Broadcom Predicts Sales Short of Estimates.  Broadcom, a maker of chips that help mobile devices connect to the Internet, predicted first-quarter sales that may fall short of some estimates, citing tepid demand for semiconductors used in phone networks.  (Bloomberg)

1600 Penn.

There are no public events on the President's schedule.  However, in the afternoon, he will be interviewed by Jose Diaz Balart of Telemundo and Maria Elena Salinas of Univision to discuss immigration reform.  

Today on the Hill

House:  The House is not in session today.

Senate:  The Senate convenes at 9:30 a.m.  The primary legislative focus for the remainder of the week will be on HR 325, the legislation passed by the House to raise the debt limit for three months.  At 2:30 p.m., Senator Kerry will give his farewell address as he transitions to his new role as Secretary of State. 

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