Tag Archives: Register

Marissa Mayer Is Nominated To Serve On Walmart’s Board

Walmart exteriorcropped

Google’s top woman has been nominated to serve on the board of Walmart. The massive retailer corporation made the announcement today that Marissa Mayer could potentially take the board’s 16th spot.

And yes, it’s that same Marissa Mayer…you know…the same high-profile Google executive whose brother allegedly brutally beat up his girlfriend and threatened to throw her off San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge…

At only 36, Ms. Mayer will be the youngest person on the board if elected at the company’s shareholder’s meeting on June 1st. I was reading through different articles about her nomination to board, many questioned whether she is the right fit for the company’s board. She doesn’t really have much experience outside of Google, if any at all. She was hired at Google straight out of graduate school in 1999 and shuffled around at that Google ever since.

Is she a one-hit wonder? Can her leadership skills at Google translate over to other companies that operate in a completely different way? Walmart seems to think that she can be useful in helping them with their online services. Google benefits from learning about how a retail giant does business.

Anyway, it’s interesting news and I thought it is worth posting. She said this in a statement:

“I have long been a customer and admirer of the company. Walmart is an amazing story of entrepreneurship and, as one of the world’s most powerful brands, touches millions of lives every day. I look forward to contributing to Walmart’s continued growth, success, and innovation in the years to come”

And according to Forbes, she also serves on the boards of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Ballet, the New York City Ballet and the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

For more information:

The Register, “Google’s top female cheese nominated to serve on Walmart board” – click here

Wall Street Journal, “Wal-Mart Taps Google’s Marissa Mayer for Board Seat” – click here

Forbes, “Wal-Mart Names Google’s Marissa Mayer To Its Board” – click here

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Apple’s Share Price Finally Overtakes Google

Steve Jobs shows off the white iPhone 4 at the...

It might not really mean much but it’s definitely something the late Steve Jobs would have been proud to see. Yesterday, Thursday April 5th, Apple’s share price finally passed Google’s for the first time in its history. At 12:26 p.m. EST Apple’s share price was at $633.07 overtaking Google’s at $633.

By the end of the day, Apple closed at $633.68 and Google at $632.32. Apple has done very well recently and it seems like it can only get better. Google, however, has been struggling a lot. This year has not been a good year for Google so far. We’ll see how things end up.

 

For more information:

CNNMoney, “Apple overtakes Google” – click here

The Register, “Apple’s stock price swells above stuttering Google” – click here

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Viacom Wins Appeals Court Reversal Against Google

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

Uh oh, looks like Google might be in a bit of a mess. Remember that epic legal battle between Viacom and YouTube a few years ago? Well, it’s being given new life.

Back in 2007 Viacom sued Google for knowingly allowing users to post copyrighted material on YouTube. Google bought YouTube in 2006 for over a billion dollars and the video-sharing site was founded in 2005. Viacom, along with other companies, believe that YouTube wasn’t doing enough to take down their content and sought over $1 billion from Google. However, Google always believed that it shouldn’t be held responsible for what its users do and the company says that it takes down copyrighted content when notified.

Viacom and Google fought over this issue for several years until June 2010 when a lower court ruled in favor of Google. The court agreed with Google’s argument that it shouldn’t be held responsible if its users infringe copyright. The court upheld an interpretation of the 1998 federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that protects companies from liability for what its users do online. It was seen as a big victory for Google at the time.

Fast-forward almost two years later and this issue is back to give Google some headaches. Viacom filled an appeal in October 2011 saying that the dismissal of their lawsuit was “fundamentally flawed”.  Today, a panel of judges at an appeals court agreed with Viacom and reversed the decision of the lower court saying that it’s quite obvious that YouTube knew about the copyrighted content being uploaded but did nothing to stop it.

Viacom is obviously thrilled by the reversal and released a statement:

“This balanced decision provides a thoughtful way to distinguish legitimate service providers from those that build their businesses on infringement. The court delivered a definitive, common sense message to YouTube – intentionally ignoring theft is not protected by the law. We are confident we will prevail when the merits of our case are heard”

This also opens the door for several other companies who have issues with Google’s video-sharing website. It includes several sport leagues, music publishers, artists, and news agencies. They are delighted by the appeals court decision and will seize their chance to protect their material.

Viacom seems to have a love-hate relationship with Google. Viacom has a reputation for being quite litigious and so it suing Google is to be expected – but the two of them have also been working with each other. Viacom now has YouTube channels set up and receives revenue from it. And just yesterday it was announced that a deal was made so that online users could rent Paramount Pictures (a subsidiary of Viacom) movies from YouTube’s rental store.

Awkward….anyway, we’ll see what happens between these two as they get ready to rehash this old argument.

For more information:

The Guardian, “Judge reanimates Viacom’s $1bn copyright suit against YouTube” – click here

CBSNews, “Revived Viacom suit spells trouble for Google” – click here

The Register, “Viacom’s anti-Google copyright case rises from the dead” – click here

Reuters, “Viacom wins reversal in landmark YouTube case” – click here

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Britain and Brazil Are Concerned About Google’s “Vague” Privacy Policy

Google is getting a lot more pressure from international privacy watchdogs. This time it’s coming from Britain and Brazil.

Britain’s deputy information commissioner, David Smith, made his first public comments against Google’s new privacy policy last week. His comments against Google’s more intrusive privacy policy was made a week after it took effect. He criticized Google at a conference in Westminster where he said that Google’s new privacy policy is “too vague”:

“The requirement under the UK Data Protection Act is for a company to tell people what it actually intends to do with their data, not just what it might do at some unspecified point in future. Being vague does not help in giving users effective control about how their information is shared. It’s their information at the end of the day”

Other European regulators have recently said that Google’s privacy policy is misleading and fails to disclose the whole truth to its users. The EU data protection authorities are currently working on an investigation of Google and will have their results some time soon. Their preliminary finding was scathing and said that Google’s new privacy policy was difficult to understand “even for trained professionals”.

The European Union takes the privacy of its people very seriously. Their data protection laws from the 1990s are one of the toughest in the world and they recently announced that they plan to revise their laws to make it more stringent and uniform. There is a plan to introduce a “right to be forgotten” which will allow people to demand Internet companies remove personal data about them permanently. Of course, Google is extremely worried that more privacy protections for Europeans will harm their bottom line. The company has been lobbying European authorities for a while now, trying to block any chance of more protections for Europeans to pass.  David Smith said this about the right to be forgotten,

“Google can’t just say: I’m just a messenger, I have no responsibility at all for the messages I carry. Given their dominant role and their huge influence here they have a responsibility to ensure they operate in a fair and reasonable way. Where things are drawn to their attention and it can be established they are delivering content which is defamatory, where it is harmful to individuals and there is no public interest justification Google have a responsibility not to serve up that information”

It’s a good thing that European regulators are keeping a close watch on Google. Let’s hope that they support their harsh words for Google with real action against the company. Later this month, the French data protection authority, CNIL, will release their full report. Data protection authorities from all EU member nations will respect the findings and coordinate their actions against Google. It may include hefty fines and even criminal prosecution if Google doesn’t comply with their laws.

Alright, let’s move away from Europe and head on over to South America – Brazil to be exact. The Brazilian Justice Ministry wants some serious answers from Google and they want it very soon. Brazil doesn’t want to play games with the company and has said that if Google’s privacy policy breaks their laws they will sanction Google. Brazil said a full investigation of Google is imminent if Google doesn’t respond back with satisfactory answers justifying their new privacy policy. The ministry’s Department of Consumer Defense and Protection is particularly concerned about how understandable Google’s new privacy policy is and whether users are fully aware of the implications of using Google’s products.

Interesting – things could get a lot worse for Google and a lot better for the average Internet user. We’ll wait and see how things develop.

For more information:

The Register, “Google’s privacy policy: Incoherent and confusing” – click here

The Telegraph, “Google’s privacy policy branded ‘too vague’” – click here

The Guardian, “Google’s privacy policy ‘too vague‘” – click here

Reuters, “Brazil questions Google’s new privacy policy” – click here

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