Signs of the entire industry in a heap of trouble are everywhere. Rumors just bubbled up that Dell would axe 25% of its global sales staff – over 9,000 souls. HP is sacking 34,000. PC shipments, including laptops, have been awful for three years in a row.
It finally happened: a federal judge ruled that the NSA’s ravenous “metadata” collection of phone calls made in, to, or from the US violated the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches. What’s worse, the judge said: it hadn’t even prevented a single terrorist attack.
Blowback: What’s rising for US tech companies like a pile of fuming manure? The costs of working hand-in-glove with the NSA to build a seamless, borderless, indiscriminate spy dragnet. Now add an all-American cost to the pile: class-action lawsuits.
The government spy-services marketplace, part of Big Data, is juicy. Investors clamor to get in on it. Scores of startups have sprung up. The hottest one is Palantir. Its valuation jumped 50% in three months – to $9 billion! Its technologies, designed for the CIA to track terrorists, have transitioned to track you and me.
That the NSA might have tapped into Microsoft’s “cloud” services, along with Google’s and Yahoo’s, turned into a publicity nightmare. Now Microsoft, which collaborates tightly with the NSA and other agencies on a host of projects, counter-attacks. With very mixed results.
Even as the world was still desperately trying to figure out what exactly Bitcoin is, it was inducted into the Wall Street hype factory today by an analyst who touted it as the best thing since sliced bread – just when all heck was re-breaking out.
The first thing I noticed after I’d removed the glossy brochure from the envelope was the crisp $5 bill. I’m a sucker for free money. After peeling it off the letter, I started reading. It was from Google and involved a lot more money – in return for just about all my private data.
Another Edward Snowden revelation indicates that I, a humble, incoherent, harmless, and (mostly) law-abiding American, may have gotten tangled up in the NSA’s vast spying dragnet for inexplicable reasons of national security. It’s getting personal.
Four years after its creation, folks are still arguing over what bitcoin is: “investment opportunity of the millennium,” “part of a societal revolution,” a security, a currency, a casino token? Whatever. But US regulators now have a strategy for killing it as a currency.
Cisco CEO John Chambers had a euphemism for it during the earnings call: “challenging political dynamics” in China, without ever naming the NSA. Then there was India and others, including Russia where Snowden is holed up, and where sales outright collapsed.