ITI Daily News Roundup

04/24/2013

Key Issues

Workforce

US Senate plans crackdown on visa 'abusers.'   Much of the immigration reform debate has centred on the need for more skilled engineers and scientists to help US companies innovate, with Silicon Valley leading the charge.  But official figures show that the leading recipients of H-1B visas are IT outsourcing companies, most of them based in India.  Robert Hoffman of the Information Technology Industry Council, which counts some outsourcers as its members, said there was a role for high-skilled temporary workers in the US economy, “particularly if it creates jobs and more opportunity in the US”. (FT)

US senator accuses Infosys, TCS of abusing H-1B visas, brands them as outsourcing firms.  Amidst Congressional debate on the comprehensive immigration reform, a top US Senator has accused big Indian IT companies - TCS, Infosys and Wipro - of abusing the H-1B visa system.  "There are some specific abuses of H-1B," Senator Richard Durbin, said during a Congressional hearing on immigration reform by the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, during which the lawmakers discussed threadbare the H-1B visa issues.  In fact, Senator Durbin went on to brand the top Indian IT companies as outsourcing firms.  (India Today)

Immigration bill could fix some Boston security issues.  A top Obama administration official said on Tuesday that an immigration bill starting to move through Congress would fix some border control weaknesses that may have contributed to last week's Boston Marathon bombings.  (Reuters)

Republican split on immigration blunts rebrand.  Since a bill to overhaul the nation's immigration laws was rolled out last week, a rift has emerged among conservatives that has played out in Senate hearings on Capitol Hill, on conservative talk shows and in social media such as Twitter and blogs.  (Reuters)

Cybersecurity & Privacy

Hacked A.P. Twitter Feed Jars Markets.  The Twitter account for The Associated Press was hacked on Tuesday and erroneously sent out a tweet saying there had been explosions at the White House, injuring President Obama.  (NYT)

Opinion: With cloud, privacy issues loom.  Unless we act now, we are approaching a time when other countries possess greater safeguards for personal privacy than those assured by the country founded on the ideals of universal liberty, writes Rep. Ted Poe.  (Politico Pro column)

CISPA tramples on Fourth Amendment rights.  President should fulfill promise to veto digital security legislation unless it includes consumer privacy protections.  (San Jose Mercury News editorial)

Google Glass privacy concerns come to the head.  Google Glass is amazing technology that will be ground-breaking when it hits the big time. Success will come with responsibility, and that's the concern.  (ZDNet)

Tax

Camp to brief on tax reform.  The lawmaker leads the push to set up the first rewrite of the Tax Code in more than 25 years.  (Politico)

Senate Democrat Baucus to retire, may boost tax revamp.  The tax code has not been substantially changed since 1986, when President Ronald Reagan struck a deal with a divided Congress to lower rates, and cut exemptions and special breaks.  Obama says he backs a major rewrite, but the disagreements over the details - which might include clipping popular tax breaks - make the project politically difficult.  (Reuters)

Internet tax supporters promise to allow amendments.  The sponsors of Internet sales tax legislation promised on Tuesday to allow floor votes on all relevant amendments.  (The Hill)

Close the Internet sales tax loophole.  If you’ve ever used eBay, you probably received a scary e-mail this week. The Senate is threatening small businesses, it warned. Complain to your legislators, it pleaded.  Actually, it isn’t, and you shouldn’t. (Washington Post editorial)

Global Trade

From Apple to mom-and-pops, Bay Area companies look to China for growth.  While the West Coast has long held deep economic connections to Asia, those relationships are growing faster than ever, from Apple to mom-and-pop entrepreneurs.  (San Jose Mercury News)

Apple Faces Quandary Over China Sales.  Despite Apple's second-quarter sales growth in greater China, the company is facing the next wave in the industry there, which is centered on less-expensive smartphones.  (WSJ)

Environment & Sustainability

Ericsson puts sustainability in context.  What you can learn from the 20th anniversary edition of the communications company's sustainability and responsibility report.  (GreenBiz.com)

Energy Storage Technologies Promise to Make Clean Energy Available Whenever Needed.  In addition to its status as a carbon-free energy source that can provide baseload electricity, hydropower also offers a window into a future where variable renewables — such as wind and solar — can be more widely integrated into the grid.  (CQ/Roll Call)

Regulation

Web censorship: the net is closing in.  Across the globe governments are monitoring and censoring access to the web. And if we're not careful millions more people could find the internet fractured, fragmented and controlled by the state.  (The Guardian column/Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen)

Safety Agency Backs Limits to Car Devices.  The guidelines, which are not mandatory, focus on communication, entertainment and navigation devices included by automakers.  (NYT)

S.E.C. Is Asked to Require Disclosure of Donations.  The Securities and Exchange Commission may soon make publicly traded corporations disclose all of their political donations, and business groups are already preparing a counterattack.  (NYT)

Conservatives want humble FCC chief.  A coalition of conservative groups is urging President Obama to pick a new Federal Communications Commission chairman who will take a light touch with new regulations.  (The Hill)

Motorola Mobility Risks EU Patent Complaint.  As Google Inc. (GOOG)’s antitrust clash over search-engine fair-play nears a possible settlement, its Motorola Mobility Holdings unit is embroiled in a separate European Union probe into its control of key patents in gadgets from Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPads to Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)’s Xbox console.  (Bloomberg)

Innovation

Google Execs Say 'The Power Of Information Is Underrated'.  Is it naive to believe that improved Internet access can help open up truly autocratic regimes like North Korea? Google executives Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, authors of The New Digital Age, say the power of information is underrated.  (NPR)

Hey Silicon Valley, innovation isn’t all about you.  Execs from Brown Brothers Harriman,Goodyear, the Mayo Clinic and Whirlpool — organizations that have more than 500 years of experience between them — talk about how they fuel innovation.  (GigaOM.com)

Tech Business

Mozilla Firefox OS smartphones sell out within hours.  Mozilla, better know for its Firefox Web browser, is trying to get into the smartphone business, and if its first step into the market is any indication, it may have a winner.  On Tuesday, the nonprofit organization rolled out to developers two smartphones running its Firefox OS mobile operating system. It sold out in just a few hours.  (LA Times)

Sleeping ad giant Amazon finally stirs.  Amazon.com Inc is known in the advertising industry as the "sleeping giant" because the world's largest Internet retailer harbors a trove of consumer-spending data that many marketers have called an unrealized opportunity.  (Reuters)

Facebook plans Iowa data center to help support Instagram.  Facebook is building a data center near Des Moines, Iowa, to bolster its computing power as it rolls out new services and as the growing use of smartphones increase the pressure on its infrastructure.  (San Jose Mercury News)

Falling TV sales hit LG Electronics.  That overshadowed record smartphone sales as LG tries to make up lost ground in the mobile phone market by focusing on emerging markets.  (FT)

ZTE optimistic over pickup in LTE, cloud opportunities.  The Chinese telecoms gear maker is looking to leverage an expected growth in demand driven by network upgrades and cloud computing solutions, as it looks to return to profit this year.  (ZDNet)

ITI Member News

As Profit Slips, Apple Looks to Reward Shareholders.  Timothy Cook, Apple’s chief, with an iPad Mini. Products like the Mini have smaller profit margins than some older Apple devices.  The technology giant, which reported the first decline in quarterly earnings in a decade, announced plans to spend more than $100 billion on stock buybacks and dividends.  (NYT)

Apple Snaps Growth Streak.  Apple reported strong demand for its iPhones and iPads, but posted its first profit drop in a decade and signaled that new products may not arrive as quickly as investors hope.  (WSJ)

Is Apple Looking For Tim Cook Replacement?  Apple board may have started secret search for new CEO, one report says.  (Information Week)

Canon, Nintendo find solace in Abenomics as weaker yen boosts outlook.  Super Mario creator Nintendo Co Ltd forecast a return to the black after two years of losses and camera maker Canon Inc raised its profit forecast by nearly 10 percent as a weaker yen, spurred by aggressive deflation-fighting policies, bolstered the outlook of Japan's tech companies.  (Reuters)

Google buys Wavii for $30 million, mirroring Yahoo's deal.  Google Inc has acquired Wavii, the Seattle-based startup behind a news summarization app, for roughly $30 million in cash, a person with knowledge of the matter said Tuesday.  (Reuters)

SAP to Double Africa Workforce as Europe Slows.  SAP AG (SAP), the biggest maker of business-management software, is pushing further into oil- and gas-rich African countries as growth in Europe remains subdued and Asian markets slow.  (Bloomberg)

BlackBerry's Keyboard Is Back—Will It Sell?  Research In Motion is pinning its hopes partly on the debut this week of the BlackBerry Q10, its first keyboard-equipped model since the BlackBerry Bold was introduced in 2009.  (WSJ)

VMware boosts quarterly revenue and sees a good year ahead.  With hybrid-cloud and network-virtualization products on the way, VMware expects more revenue growth this year on top of a strong first quarter.  (GigaOM.com)

Can chip companies profit off the maker movement? TI is betting on it.  Chipmakers are eying the maker community as a possible development community for the internet of things. Texas Instruments has two new offerings for this crowd.  (GigaOM.com)

Today on the Hill

Senate:  The Senate convenes at 9:30 a.m. ET and will vote on a motion to proceed to a bill that would allow states to collect taxes on more online purchases by their residents.  Senators also will vote on the nominations of Jane Kelly to be a judge for the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court and Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be director of the Office of Management and Budget.

House:  The House convenes at noon.  Members are expected to vote on legislation that would keep high-risk health pools created by the 2010 health care overhaul open through the end of the year by shifting about $4 billion from other programs authorized by the law.

1600 Penn.

President Obama is on the road today, headed to Dallas, Tex., for events during the next two days.  Tonight at 7:30 CDT, the president will deliver remarks at an event for the DNC.  Tomorrow, President Obama will attend a memorial service for the victims of the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Tex., and the official opening of the President George W. Bush Library.

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