If there’s one thing that Silicon Valley executives love more than having fancy product launch parties it’s avoiding taxes by funneling profits through Ireland. Bloomberg has written a profile of the person behind the tech industry’s tax magic, a man by the name of Feargal O’Rourke who heads up the tax division at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Ireland. In all, Bloomberg says that O’Rourke has advised tech giants such as Google, Facebook and LinkedIn on ways to stash profits safely away from the tax man by moving them through Ireland, whose government has come under criticism for allegedly enabling tax dodging through the use of tax loopholes designed to attract foreign investment. More →
It seems social networks still have a long way to grow. Forbes has come out with its annual list of the fastest-growing tech companies and has found that social networks LinkedIn and Facebook grew faster than any other companies over the past year. Forbes has now named LinkedIn the world’s fastest-growing tech form for two years in a row, which the publication attributes to the social network’s strength in “recruiting tools, advertising and subscriptions.” The list, which is generated from data on companies’ 12-month sales growth, three-year average sales growth and estimated earnings per share growth, also shows that Apple is still the third-fastest growing tech company in the world despite perceptions that the company’s growth has stalled in recent quarters, and Facebook sites in the No.2 spot.
A Russian forum member claims to have stolen 6.46 million encrypted LinkedIn passwords and posted them online, according to Finnish security firm CERT-FI. The passwords are encrypted with SHA-1, and although it is very secure, around 300,000 of the weaker passwords may have already been exposed. The social networking site announced on Twitter that it is looking into the incident. “Our team is currently looking into reports of stolen passwords,” the company said. “Stay tuned for more.” It is recommended that LinkedIn users change their passwords as a precautionary measure.
Microsoft’s internal Tellme team is working on implementing speech recognition software into the Redmond-based firm’s portfolio of software and hardware products. Microsoft will build the feature into its new Windows 8 operating system, its Bing search engine, Windows Phone, Kinect and Xbox, Azure and other products, ZDNET has learned. We already know Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone Mango release will offer voice-to-text and text-to-voice functionality, but Tellme senior director of sales and marketing Ilya Bukshteyn told ZDNET‘s Mary Jo Foley that the HTML 5 speech tag will allow Microsoft to develop Windows 8 applications that are “speech capable.” The Tellme team is capable of taking conversational speech, querying your social networks and creating appointments, too. For example, one might say “I’m meeting Zach Epstein for sushi in Philadelphia on Wednesday,” and the voice-recognition tech can pull “Zach Epstein” from LinkedIn or Facebook, setup a calendar event and search for sushi in Philadelphia using Bing. Of note, it looks like we’re still several years away from seeing devices capable of deciphering natural conversation. Read on for more information. More →
Spotify has teamed up with Klout, the online social influence measuring website, to offer U.S. invites to its unlimited streaming music service that launched Thursday morning. Simply sign up for a Klout account to get started and, if you have enough influence across various social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you could qualify for immediate free access to Spotify. Spotify’s free ad-supported service is currently available by invite only in the U.S., though the paid services are open to all. Klout is also offering one month of Spotify Premium service if you get five of your friends to sign up. We’re loving Spotify so far and if you want to skip the wait without paying, Klout is definitely your best bet. More →
We would like to extend a warm, Apple-rumor fueled welcome to Mr. Kevin Kenney. Technology blogs have picked up on the hiring of Kenney, a San Francisco-based mechanical engineer, by iDevice maker Apple, Inc. Via Kenney’s LinkedIn profile, we see that he is now a “Senior Composites Engineer” for the Cupertino-based company. The engineer has spent the last fourteen years working for Kestral Bicycles where, as 9to5 Mac reports, he was “building carbon fiber bicycles.” The hiring has ignited rumors of carbon fiber iMacs, iPads, and iPhones — personally, we’re holding out for a carbon fiber Magic Mouse. Kenney has worked for Apple on a contract basis for the past several years, and his name is on at least one carbon fiber-related Apple patent. If you read that the iPhone 6 will be made of composite materials , you now know where the rumor started. More →
AllThingsD is reporting, by way of LinkedIn, that PayPal has just snatched up the VP of Global Design from Apple. The lucky lady is said to be Sarah Brody who has worked on the original iPhone, original iPod nano and was a “critical aspect in the design of” MobileMe. In addition to working on the aforementioned projects, she’s also responsible for the design of the product packaging boxes that are pictured above. Maybe PayPal’s website won’t look so sketchy anymore with this new hire? More →
9to5Mac is reporting that Apple recently acquired a small Bluetooth headphone company based in San Francisco around two months ago. Their source has not disclosed a purchase price, and Wi-Gear as a company is no longer operational. Wi-Gear manufactured A2DP stereo headphones under the brand name iMuffs and even a Bluetooth adapter that enabled older iPod and iPhones to get in on the action. After some snooping, 9to5Mac found that the co-founder of Wi-Gear is now an iOS Bluetooth Engineer at Apple on LinkedIn, thus giving credibility to the story. It’s said that Apple plans to create and manufacture their own brand of Bluetooth headphones, though it isn’t clear whether this would be a replacement for the wired headset that comes with Apple’s music devices, or something like a stereo Bluetooth accessory. Maybe even a new Bluetooth headset to replace their less-than-stellar first go at it?
BlackBerry users with a penchant for schmoozing and climbing up both corporate and social ladders are probably squealing with excitement this morning LinkedIn for BlackBerry has finally been released. Offering the most commonly used features such as network updates, messages, invitations and connections, the app also has the ability to integrate with the stock BlackBerry Calendar, Contacts and Messaging apps. LinkedIn for BlackBerry is available for Bold, Curve and Tour users running OS 4.3.0 and above and is available OTA here. More →
It’s all part of the natural progression; social networks developed to bring all our friends and family together into one place, and now we turn to new tools to bring all of our social networks into a single portal or hub application. The hub application, in this instance, is Microsoft Outlook and the new tool is the LinkedIn connector which brings your LinkedIn contacts into your favorite productivity application. The new LinkedIn Connector piggybacks upon the Outlook Social Connector and will display the profile picture and recent activity from any LinkedIn contact that you email. We can only hope that the next stop is MySpace — what corporate Exchange-lovin’ individuals wouldn’t want that? More →