Silicon Valley Stories April 25, 2016

Tim-Cook-arms-event

Although slowing iPhone growth began to impact Apple’s bottom line numbers in the last quarter of the year, the company dominated Silicon Valley in 2015 as far as finances are concerned. In a survey of public tech companies in the Valley, total profit was $133 billion. Apple, alone, recorded profit of $53.7 billion dollars, responsible for 40% of the entire profit pool. The data was collected by SiliconValley.com.

Apple also ranked no. 1 by far in revenue, taking $234 billion in sales. Trailing far behind, the next closest was Alphabet (Google), at $74 billion …

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Silicon Valley Stories January 29, 2016

Strange Guardian article finds a few people who don’t want to work at Apple, presents it as news

I’m a fan of the British newspaper The Guardian, whose news coverage and features are often excellent (disclaimer: I’ve written a few articles for it myself), but a piece it ran last night is just plain bizarre. It attempted to explain the company’s slowing salestemporary or not – by suggesting that software engineers no longer want to work there.

Tellingly, Apple is no longer seen as the best place for engineers to work, according to several Silicon Valley talent recruiters. It’s a trend that has been happening slowly for years – and now, in this latest tech boom, has become more acute.

The evidence presented for this? One freelance developer, one unnamed “startup executive,” one software designer and two recruiters. Among the reasons given are the culture of secrecy (doh!) and the fact that “Apple notoriously doesn’t serve free food, which was unusual in 2012 and, in 2016 Silicon Valley, shocking for highly prized and pampered engineers accustomed to perk.”

The one sensible reason given was that some engineers want to work on new stuff, rather than the latest iteration of an already successful product. This is true, but it’s hardly news that one employer isn’t for everyone …

Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images via the Guardian

Silicon Valley Stories October 1, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 7.56.28 PM

Silicon Valley Business Journal reports that Apple has secured a deal to build another spaceship campus in Sunnyvale, California. The company will purchase Landbank Investments LLC’s planned Central & Wolfe campus which comes in at 777,000-square-feet at Central Expressway and Wolfe Road in Silicon Valley.

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Silicon Valley Stories August 5, 2015

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Congressional Black Caucus member and California Congresswoman Barbara Lee has called on Apple to release federal data on the diversity of its workforce, following a meeting with Tim Cook to discuss the issue, reports USA Today.

Apple is one of a number of tech companies that issues its own reports on employee diversity, but refuses to release data from its federally-mandated filing. Companies are required by law to file the information, but are not obligated to make it public …  expand full story

Silicon Valley Stories May 13, 2015

Tesla has taken its recruiting of Apple employees to the next level: the electric car and energy company has hired away Apple’s Senior Director of Corporate Recruiting, Cindy Nicola, to become Tesla’s new Vice President of Global Recruiting. Nicola has already noted her new role and start month of May on her LinkedIn profile.

Notably, Apple actually hired away Tesla’s Lead Recruiter in 2014 for its own electric car project, as we noted in our extensive profile of Apple’s automotive related hires. Interestingly, that former Tesla recruiter Lauren Ciminera has already left Apple to work on a new “confidential” project, according to her own LinkedIn page and confirmation from a source…

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Silicon Valley Stories April 7, 2015

Apple TV HBO Now

HBO’s new standalone streaming service called HBO NOW has officially launched on Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad. HBO NOW allows subscribers to watch the premium network’s movies and TV shows online. The service is similar to Netflix as it’s delivered over a high-speed Internet connection rather than cable or satellite and doesn’t require long-term committments through contracts. Here’s how to get HBO NOW works: expand full story

Silicon Valley Stories March 9, 2015

Shuttle-Bus

Apple is ensuring that its sub-contracted shuttle bus workers get a better deal, directly funding a 25% bump in their pay and requiring contractors to pay a higher hourly rate for split shifts–where drivers work both mornings and evenings but are kept hanging around without pay between the two …  expand full story

Silicon Valley Stories January 22, 2015

A former Apple engineer is heading Ford’s new Palo Alto research center

We learned today that Ford is staffing up a research and development center in Silicon Valley located in Palo Alto, California, and heading the automaker’s new R&D facility is a former Apple engineer.

Dragos Maciuca, who served as a senior controls systems engineer with mobile technologies at Apple since early 2013, will head the research center’s 125 scientists and researchers, Ford told CNBC.

Prior to his tenure at Apple, Maciuca worked in various technology and research roles including for automakers Nissan and BMW.

As for what the former Apple engineer will focus on at Ford, Reuters has this:

Silicon Valley Stories December 12, 2014

apple

Around 100 protesters organized by the United Service Workers West union and the Rev. Jesse Jackson yesterday staged a “brief but lively” demonstration at the Apple Campus, calling on the company to create better pay and conditions for low-paid contract workers.

Jesse Jackson last month wrote to Tim Cook urging the company to create “world-class working conditions” for contractors like security guards, who are not entitled to the same job security and perks as direct employees. He requested a meeting with Cook, which took place a few days ago …

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Silicon Valley Stories November 26, 2014

jackson-apple

The Rev. Jesse Jackson has written to Apple CEO Tim Cook to urge the company to create “world-class working conditions” for low-paid contractors like security guards, requesting a meeting with Cook to discuss the issue, reports the San Jose Mercury News.

The paper reports a growing debate about the widespread use of contract workers by tech companies for low-paid roles, contract staff having none of the protections or perks afforded to direct employees …  expand full story

Silicon Valley Stories May 9, 2014

Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre Unveil Beats By Dr. Dre 2011 Holiday Product Line-Up

As part of the impending $3.2 billion Apple acquisition of Beats Electronics, Beats co-founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine will join Apple as senior executives, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal

But as Apple completes a deal to buy headphone and streaming-service company Beats Electronics LLC from Mr. Iovine and his co-founder, rap star Dr. Dre, both men are likely to take senior positions with the Cupertino, Calif., tech company, according to people familiar with the matter, commuting from the Los Angeles area to Silicon Valley—or meetings elsewhere—as needed.

The report does not seem to indicate that the two men will be full-time employees. Rather, it seems possible that the pair will commute and take meetings as needed. In the modern world of technology, working remotely is not a far-fetched possibility. If the deal closes, Iovine is also expected to resign as Chairman of Interscope, a record label…

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Silicon Valley Stories February 16, 2014

Those ongoing analyst predictions that Apple would buy Tesla may have been based on some sort of reality.  According the the SF ChronicleAdrian Perica, Apple’s head of mergers and acquisitions, met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk last spring.

A source tells The Chronicle that Perica met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk in Cupertino last spring around the same time analysts suggested Apple acquire the electric car giant…

Six months before Ahmad’s letter, Musk met with Perica and probably Cook at Apple headquarters, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect business relationships. While a megadeal has yet to emerge (for all of its cash, Apple still plays hardball on valuation), such a high-level meeting between the two Silicon Valley giants involving their top dealmakers suggests Apple was very much interested in buying the electric car pioneer.

But it is unlikely that Apple wanted to buy the car company and even more unlikely that Musk would sell it. In response to the acquisition rumors at the time, he tweeted the following:

But it’s highly likely that Apple would want to buy into one of Tesla’s major upcoming projects.

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Silicon Valley Stories December 27, 2013

Tesla taps Apple manufacturing veteran to lead vehicle manufacturing technologies

From Electrek:

Tesla seems to be joining many other Silicon Valley companies in hiring employees away from Apple. Only weeks after poaching Apple Mac Hardware Vice President Doug Field to run Vehicle Design, we have discovered that Tesla has made another notable hire from the Cupertino tech giant: Rich Heley. He was hired away from Apple in November and joined Tesla in that same month, according to his LinkedIn profile:

Silicon Valley Stories October 4, 2013

Unlikely fingerprint hack plus Airplane Mode from lockscreen prevents remote wipe

For those paranoid spy folks out there, SRLabs has pointed out an additional security weakness which could help an attacker use the fingerprint hack to access an iPhone 5s.

The fingerprint hack takes time: around half an hour of actual work, plus drying time. Provided you notice your phone has gone before the thief gains access, you can simply remotely lock or wipe the phone. But with Airplane Mode accessible from the control center on the lockscreen, a thief can simply enable this to prevent the phone being wiped while they are dealing with the fingerprint … 

Silicon Valley Stories September 25, 2013

The German hacker who successfully defeated Touch ID using a fingerprint lifted from the back of an iPhone has posted a video showing exactly how it was done.

While the hacker – who goes by the nickname Starbug – described the attack as “very straightforward and trivial,” he revealed in an email interview with arsTechnica that it required 30 hours of work using a scanner, high-res laserprinter and a printed circuit board etching kit.

It took me nearly 30 hours from unpacking the iPhone to a [bypass] that worked reliably. With better preparation it would have taken approximately half an hour. I spent significantly more time trying to find out information on the technical specification of the sensor than I actually spent bypassing it.

I was very disappointed, as I hoped to hack on it for a week or two. There was no challenge at all; the attack was very straightforward and trivial.

Should 5s owners worry that, now that the technique is known, it could be replicated in 30 mins? The answer is ‘it depends, but probably not’ …  expand full story

Silicon Valley Stories March 19, 2013

Police arrest Polish gypsy crime ring targeting Apple/electronics stores responsible for $3M in loot

SiliconValley.com reported police in Torrance, Calif. have arrested four suspects claiming to be part of a “Gypsy family” from Poland that is responsible for targeting Apple retail stores and other electronics retailers across the country. The group is accused of stealing around $3 million in property over the last year, and police have so far recovered more than $20,000 worth of Apple products:

The suspected thieves arrested March 8 in Hawthorne are believed responsible for 17 crimes at Apple (AAPL) stores in Manhattan Beach, Pasadena, Canoga Park, Glendale, Brea, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and Irvine, along with a MacMall in Torrance, a Microsoft store in Mission Viejo, and other businesses across Los Angeles and Orange counties, including Best Buy, Costco, PetSmart, Sam’s Club, Sports Authority and Wal-Mart, Torrance police Sgt. Robert Watt said.

During the crime and others like it, the men would stand in a position to block employees from seeing the women behind them. The men selected items from shelves and passed it to the women, who would hide it inside their oversized dresses and overcoats, and purses, Watt said.

Once the suspects were arrested, police recovered more than $20,000 worth of Apple products, Watt said.

Silicon Valley Stories December 10, 2012

factory-unlocked-iphone-4s-running-t-mobileAfter confirming a partnership with Apple to bring products to market in 2013 last week, T-Mobile today announced plans to bring its enhanced iPhone-compatible 4G network to even more areas. Chief Technology Officer for T-Mobile USA Neville Ray announced on the company’s blog that the carrier’s enhanced network will now be available in Atlanta, Seattle, and Minneapolis. T-Mobile will also continue to enhance its network in Oakland, San Francisco, and the Silicon Valley:

Continuing our fast-paced work to strengthen our already competitive 4G experience in major metro areas across the country, we’ve just announced technology advancements in three additional major metro areas, including Atlanta, Seattle and Minneapolis. Additionally, we have continued to expand on enhancements made last month in Oakland, San Francisco and the Silicon Valley to cover more surrounding cities.

T-Mobile also pointed out: “Internal tests of unlocked iPhone 4S devices running over 4G (HSPA+) on our 1900 MHz network recorded on average 70% faster download speeds than iPhone 4S devices on AT&T’s network.”

A full list of areas included are below: expand full story

Silicon Valley Stories November 28, 2012

Mercury News reported that Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple has broken ground on a Santa Clara campus that is set to be home to 1,200 employees. The location is just short of the city limits of Cupertino, and it is a 296,000 square-foot space set to be developed by Peery Arillaga. It is said to be a two six-floor building campus—not to be confused with the massive Spaceship-like campus Apple currently has plans for. Earlier this month, we highlighted a few other Apple land grabs, which many believe are temporary offices until the new campus that is set to hold 14,000 employees is completed in mid-2016. The first six-floor building at the new Santa Clara location that is 188,000 square feet will be completed mid-2014, while there’s no word on the second.

Source: Mercury News

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Silicon Valley Stories October 18, 2012

It turns out yesterday’s report about Apple buying Color for “high double digit millions” was mostly off base. At least that is according to AllThingsD:

What’s really happening is that Color’s engineering team — about 20 people, comprising almost the entire company — is being “acqhired” by Apple at what’s being called a “nominal” price of something like $2 to $5 million, according to multiple sources familiar with both sides of the situation. To repeat, there are no “double-digit” millions involved, according to many people familiar with the deal.

Apple is not buying Color’s technology, intellectual property, domain names or liabilities. Those are being left with the company, which still has considerable cash in the bank — something like $25 million — and is going to be wound down.

The engineers could help with Apple’s photo and video-sharing capabilities across devices, or maybe Apple is just getting a HR jump on the competition in the red hot Silicon Valley talent marketplace.

Color is said to be winding down, with the $25 million it has left in the bank going to investors. expand full story

Silicon Valley Stories August 14, 2012

Update: List of items stolen (and returned)

According to a report from MercuryNews, suspects are now in custody for the recent burglary of the Silicon Valley home of Steve Jobs that contained more than $60,000 worth of computers and personal items:

The deceased Apple co-founder’s home on the 2100 block of Waverley Street in Palo Alto was burglarized July 17, said Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Tom Flattery, a member of the high-technology crimes unit…More than $60,000 worth of “computers and personal items” were allegedly stolen, but Flattery declined to say whether they belonged to Jobs, who died last year at the age of 56, or another family member.

Weeks after the burglary on July 17, police arrested Kariem McFarlin, 35, who is currently in jail on $500,000 bail, but other specific details regarding the crime are not available. We know that Laurene Powell Jobs and family were likely not living in the home at the time of the robbery, as during July the property was undergoing renovations with construction barricades and scaffolding surrounding the house. Forbes snapped photos of the property under construction (below) on July 4:

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Silicon Valley Stories July 5, 2012

Reuters interviewed the U.S. judge today who dismissed Apple’s patent court case against Motorola, and the details behind the jurist’s reasoning for tossing the lawsuit are as interesting as they are controversial.

Richard Posner sits on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago and disputes whether software and related tech industries should even have patents for their products.

“It’s not clear that we really need patents in most industries,” said Posner, referring to the slew of features in smartphones that are legally protected. “You just have this proliferation of patents. It’s a problem.”

Posner, 73, argued the pharmaceutical industry better deserved protection for its intellectual property because of the, as Reuters coined it, “enormous investment it takes to create a successful drug.” He tossed Apple’s lawsuit against Google’s Motorola Mobility last month and denied an injunction against the sale of Motorola devices using Apple’s patented technology.

The judge attributed Apple’s scramble to attack competitors allegedly using its technology to a “constant struggle for survival.”

“As in any jungle, the animals will use all the means at their disposal, all their teeth and claws that are permitted by the ecosystem,” Posner contended.

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Silicon Valley Stories April 25, 2012

Apple CEO Tim Cook meets with Ferrari CEO

Earlier this week, during a trip to Silicon Valley, Ferrari CEO Luca di Montezemolo gave a speech at Stanford University and met with Apple CEO Tim Cook and “heads of Google” for sit down meetings. The report comes from Ferrari’s website, which claimed Cook and Montezemolo had a “two-hour face-to-face meeting.” There is not much information about what the two chiefs talked about, but Montezemolo said the two companies share a similar passion for design and that he was impressed with Cook’s “availability and openness”:

Passion was also the golden thread at the friendly meeting with Tim Cook: ”I was impressed by his availability and openness,” Montezemolo said leaving the headquarters after a 2-hour face-to-face meeting. “We’re building cars, they build computers. But Apple and Ferrari are connected by the same passion, the same love for the product, maniacal attention to technology, but also to design.”

Tim Cook wanted to see the FF from close up, Montezemolo had used to drive to Cupertino, admiring the shapes and the interior of the 4-door 4×4 from the Prancing Horse, excited about the sound of the 12-cylinder engine. Excitement Ferrari has always been stimulating all over the world and also here in Silicon Valley.

Silicon Valley Stories January 23, 2012

Image: Virgin America

Steve Jobs’ recent passing on Oct.5 sparked intense reactions all over the world, ranging from musical tributes to moving gestures by competitors to tributes from fans and late night talk shows. More than two and a half months later, it is still heartwarming to see big brands pay respect to the values Jobs stood for and to his achievements.

Virgin America adorned the side of their Airbus A320 jet with the now famous “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” quote famously used in Steve’s 2005 Stanford University commencement address (from earlier quote from Stewart Brand, who used it in the farewell edition of the Whole Earth catalog in 1974 – thanks Josh). A spokesperson for the Silicon Valley-based airliner owned by British tycoon (and fellow entrepreneur) Richard Branson told MacRumors that it chose the quote “as part of an internal plane naming competition.” 

There are clearly legions of Steve Jobs fans at Virgin America, too.  Or at least one big fan.

The tail N845VA has been seen on the Orlando to SFO route, and it seems to be based in San Francisco.

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Silicon Valley Stories January 19, 2012

It appears the U.S. Justice Department has some solid evidence against companies including Apple, Google, Adobe, Intuit, Pixar, Lucasfilm and Intel.  TechCrunch obtained a document from the DOJ that is now posted to Scribd.  Among the pieces of evidence, include:

The DOJ settled with the six companies, but a class action lawsuit is pending.  The complaint regards entering into non-poach and no bidding war agreements. The above mentioned companies allegedly lowered employee compensation artificially while hindering mobility.

The plaintiffs seek damages for any salaried employee who worked for one of the defendants during a 4-year period in the late 2000s. That means a lot of Silicon Valley tech workers could receive a payout if the defendants lose or settle the case. The civil case will be heard by Judge Koh in San Jose starting January 26th, 2011

The defendants, including Apple, asked the case to be dismissed, stating that the DOJ found “no overarching conspiracy” and that these bilateral agreements were separate. expand full story

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