ITI Daily News Roundup

02/08/2013

Key Issues

Economy

GOP Feels a Shift, Likes Dynamic on Sequester.  Despite early protestations against a sequester many members voted for, congressional Republicans are preparing to go past a March 1 deadline that would trigger across-the-board spending cuts without agreeing to alternative legislation.  (CQ/Roll Call)

Senate Democrats struggle to craft plan for sequester replacement.  “It's a work in progress,” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), the chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.  (The Hill)

Americans filing jobless claims falls 5,000 last week.  Fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, indicating companies continue to hire at a modest but steady pace.  (AP)

The data black hole that could suck the life out of the internet economy.  Data is the fuel of the internet economy – but what if it starts to run out? Inivisible web users and a data privacy black hole could cause web giants to rethink how they deal with customers, according to research.  (ZDNet)

What Nations Were The Most Forward-Looking In 2012?  Germany was the world's most future-oriented country in 2012, followed by Switzerland and Japan, according to the "Future Orientation Index," which is based on Google searches. Scientists say the index is "strongly correlated" to economic health.  (NPR)

Tax

White House and business split over tax.  Tensions between the White House and business community have risen after President Barack Obama proposed tax hikes on oil and gas companies, as well as on hedge fund executives, in a short-term fix to avoid $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts.  (FT)

Bold attempt to unlock tech cash reserves.  The tech industry’s near-$500bn treasure chest has become one of the stock market’s most alluring targets – and some creative minds in the investing world think they have finally found ways to unlock it.  The stash of nearly half a trillion dollars represents the cash and investments held by the 20 largest US technology concerns. It is the product of hoarding by companies with huge cash flows but a historic aversion to distributing their excess riches to shareholders.  (FT)

Workforce

5 reasons tech is hopeful on immigration reform.  Silicon Valley is upbeat that in 2013, Washington will finally deliver a fix for its high-skilled immigration woes, shaking off its fatalism over failed attempts in the past. 

(Politico Pro)

Business and Labor Unite to Try to Alter Immigration Laws.  The A.F.L.-C.I.O. and the Chamber of Commerce have formed an alliance to find a way for immigrants illegally in the United States to gain citizenship.  (NYT)

America’s Genius Glut.  While genuine immigration reform has the potential to fix a seriously broken system, four senators have introduced a bill to solve a problem we don’t have: the supply of high-tech workers.  (NYT op-ed/Ross Eisenbrey)

E-Verify's 'Hang Everyone' Approach.  Immigration reform proposals would make everyone an illegal until proven not to be.  (WSJ op-ed/Laura W. Murphy and Fred L. Smith Jr.)

Rubio rises despite immigration rift.  The choice of Marco Rubio to deliver the Republican reply to Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech, which he will do in both English and Spanish, caps a whirlwind period that has elevated him into a de facto party leadership position.  Only months after the 41-year-old Florida senator was forced to withdraw a plan to normalise the status of young people in the US without citizenship, Mr Rubio is at the centre of a renewed push in Congress for immigration reform.  (FT)

HP sets limits on student workers in China.  New rules from Hewlett-Packard, one of the world’s largest makers of computers and other tech products, reflect a major shift in how electronics companies view Chinese labor practices.  (NYT)

Global Trade

Who Can Compete With Silicon Valley?  Can Silicon Valley's remarkable success be replicated? Is there any city, community or region that can possibly compete with its stunning record of innovation, creativity, and wealth generation? Could another place become a similar magnet for the world's most brilliant minds?  (X Prize Foundation)

Slow growth projections may spell good news for Indian economy.  A decade-low 5 percent economic growth rate may sound like bad news, but with elections scheduled for 2014, the government may implement measures to improve the economic scenario. For the IT industry, projections point to increased IT spends across all sectors.  (ZDNet)

Geneva Services Group Picks Scheduling Approach To Attract BRICS.  Selected World Trade Organization members who seek to negotiate a plurilateral services agreement last week agreed to an approach for scheduling market access commitments that clearly signals their interest in attracting China and other emerging markets, as well as turning the agreement into a multilateral one, according to Geneva sources.  (Inside US Trade)

Cybersecurity & Privacy

W.H. rallying business cyber support.  The White House's meeting with corporate leaders might be a show of force for a possible public rollout of an executive order.  (Politico Pro)

Stop ignoring cybercrime.  While Vice President Biden and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov were dealing with Syrian rebels and other conflicts, some at the recent Munich Security Conference were focused on a topic with much greater implications for global security: cyber­threats. Unfortunately, those conversations revealed how strikingly little has been done to create international norms of behavior in cyberspace and the means to punish those who would deviate from them.  (Washington Post op-ed/Richard Clarke)

Fed still gauging extent of hacker breach, FBI on case.  The U.S. Federal Reserve said on Thursday it was still working to determine the extent its computer systems had been breached by hackers, adding that the incident was the subject of a criminal probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  (Reuters)

Defense industry eyes cyber prospects.  The growing threat of a cyberattack presents an opportunity for business growth for defense contractors.  (Politico Pro)

Tech associations raise concerns with EU's proposed cybersecurity rules.  Trade associations that represent tech giants such as Google, Amazon, IBM and Cisco argue that a proposed cybersecurity directive released by the European Union on Thursday is written too broadly and could slap burdensome new regulations on the tech industry.  (The Hill)

Environment & Sustainability

Carbon limit to raise US permit prices.  States in the northeastern US that are members of a pioneering greenhouse gas cap-and-trade scheme have proposed a steep cut in its emissions limit that is expected to cause a significant rise in the price of the region’s carbon dioxide permits.  The reduction in the emissions limit under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is expected to push permit prices up from about $2 per short ton of carbon dioxide on Friday to about $10 in 2020, according to RGGI Inc, the group that administers the system.  (FT)

Green-friendly Europe’s dirty secret: It’s consuming a lot more coal.  New dependence shows how hard it can be to stick to ambitious climate policies, analysts say.  (Washington Post)

Innovation

Smartphone, sure, but how about a smart-sprinkler?  A company called SmartThings sells kits that let you rig 'dumb', everyday objects up to smartphones and tablet computers.  (Marketplace)

Mobility             

Churches, NFL Fight to Save the Cordless Microphone.  An alliance of churches, Broadway producers and the NFL is trying to save the cordless microphone, which is used to amplify the voices of preachers, divas and referees, but whose airwaves are coveted by big tech companies.

BYOD takes root among India SMBs.  Low-cost smartphones and locally-developed software are lowering barriers for small and midsize businesses to mobilize their employees, but enterprises remain skeptical of the bring-your-own-device trend.  (ZDNet)

Energy & Sustainability

The human component of technology convergence.  Schneider Electric's Melissa O'Mara discusses the importance of providing global access to energy and how cities are the laboratories of energy and technology convergence.  (GreenBiz.com)

What can business learn about sustainability from higher ed?  There's a good case to be made that universities are leading the way.  (GreenBiz.com)

Tech Business

U.S. appeals court takes up closely watched patent fight.  A federal appeals court is set to consider a case closely watched by Google Inc, Facebook Inc and other technology companies that could determine how far the patent system should go in protecting software inventions.  (Reuters)

Amazon to launch virtual currency.  This week, the retailing giant said it will soon offer its own currency, called the Amazon Coin.  (Marketplace)

LinkedIn beats Wall street forecasts; shares jump 10% after hours.  Meet the social network that Wall Street has befriended.  LinkedIn wasn't the initial public offering that got all the hype. But it has quietly become the social network that has consistently exceeded analysts' expectations.  (LA Times)

Helping Start-Ups With Local Support and National Networks.  Startup America Partnership, a nonprofit organization started in January 2011, seeks to offer entrepreneurs practical help, like brainstorming and connecting with clients in other states.  (NYT)

New products, acquisitions spur Akamai's 2012 revenue to $1.3B.  Online networking company reports a 19 percent revenue increase last year, on the back of new products, acquisitions and margin growth from improvements in network efficiencies.  (ZDNet)

Tom Siebel’s $100M big data energy startup C3 finally emerges as a player.   Famed entrepreneur Tom Siebel finally details just what his big data energy startup C3 has been up to. C3 is four years old, has raised a $100 million, and is now demonstrating real products and customers. (GigaOM.com)

ITI Member News

Dell to repatriate $7bn of overseas cash.  Dell plans to ship as much as $7.4bn of the cash it holds in foreign countries back to the US to help finance its proposed buyout, breaking ranks with other big US technology companies that have kept most of their liquid reserves abroad to avoid a big tax hit.  (FT)

Apple Jumps After Saying in Discussions to Return Cash.  Apple Inc.’s board and management are actively discussing the return of more cash to shareholders and considering a proposal that it issue preferred stock.  (Bloomberg)

Judge narrows Google patent suit against Microsoft.  A U.S. judge narrowed a patent lawsuit brought by Google's Motorola Mobility unit against Microsoft Corp, finding that parts of three Motorola patents are invalid.  (Reuters)

Qualcomm Is Surest Bet in the Mobile Market.  One Street.com contributor thinks that as long as the mobile devices race continues, Qualcomm is the surest bet in this unreliable sector. If its first-quarter earnings are any indication, this chip giant is not done rewarding investors, he said.  (CNBC)

Cognizant forecasts at least 17% revenue growth for 2013.  Cognizant Technology Solutions has forecast a revenue growth at least 17% for 2013, lower than its revenue growth in 2012. Excluding the revenue from an acquisition it made, the growth target is even lower but analysts said it was not necessarily a cause for worry.  (Economic Times)

Could Xbox go 'digital first'?  Edge magazine is reporting that Microsoft has a controversial new business model in mind for the next Xbox console – an always online system with no room for pre-owned games.  (The Guardian)

Sony CEO Sells Property Instead of TVs as Revival Stalls.  Sony Corp. President Kazuo Hirai is relying on selling real estate to make the company’s first profit in five years as he struggles to find products able to compete with Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. devices.  (Bloomberg)

Intel-based phablet on the way from Asus.  The 7-inch Asus Fonepad, which would be the first Intel-based phablet, is expected to debut at the Mobile World Conference later this month.  (CNET)

1600 Penn.

The President has a light public schedule today.  Just before 4 p.m. ET, the President will deliver remarks at the Armed Forces Farewell Tribute in honor of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. The ceremony is being held at Joint Base Myer-Henderson in Virginia.

Today on the Hill

House:  The House is not in session.  Members reconvene at 2 p.m. ET on February 12.

Senate:  The Senate is not in session.  Senators reconvene at 2 p.m. ET on February 11, and continue consideration of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

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