The digital business week

4 Oct 2010

A digest of the top business and technology news stories from the past week.

HP makes Léo Apotheker its new CEO

The former CEO of SAP is to replace Mark Hurd in the driving seat of the largest technology company on the planet, HP. The technology juggernaut, which last year posted revenues of US$119bn and employs 310,000 people, has been searching for a new CEO for the past two months.

The HP Board also elected Ray Lane, managing partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, as a new member of the board and designated him as non-executive chairman. Both elections are effective 1 November.

Hurd stepped down as HP CEO over questions about his expenses. This came after an allegation of sexual harassment by a female consultant, however HP found it did not break its policy on the subject.

Yahoo! confirms three top executives are resigning

Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz has confirmed that three of its executives are leaving the company, including US media and advertising executive Hilary Schneider, US audience head David Ko and VP of Media Jimmy Pitaro.

All Things Digital found an internal memo from Bartz, asking the company to “stay calm” and said they had “a good plan in place.”

She said Schnieder would stay until a replacement is found for her.

Ko’s successor will be Raymond Stem, the company’s current biz development and partnerships head.

These resignations have called Bartz’s tenure as CEO into question. She was brought in to bring stability to Yahoo after a failed takeover attempt by Microsoft.

Kevin Rose speaks of Digg’s mistakes

Digg founder Kevin Rose believes the new aggregator lost momentum after pulling its engineers from designing new site features to improve its revenue sources during the recession.

Speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, Rose said if he could change anything on how the company evolved, he would hire more engineers to handle implementing revenue sources rather than pulling existing talent away from designing features for the site.

Digg suffered a backlash from its community after launching a new version of it, making it a more social experience.

Apple launches legal battle against Nokia – UK

Legal battles between Apple and Nokia have been ongoing in the US over smartphone technology but the fight has just moved to the UK.

Apple Inc. said it filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against Nokia Oyj in the UK, reports Bloomberg.  

The complaint – which relates to patent-infringement claims that Apple lodged against Nokia in December in the US – was filed recently in the UK High Court of Justice Chancery Division.

Nokia spokesperson Mark Durrant said this was an “unsurprising development”.

“It changes nothing in the fundamentals of the matter, which are rooted in Apple’s refusal to respect Nokia’s intellectual property and attempt to free ride on the back of Nokia’s innovation,” he said.

Facebook board member says IPO in 2012 ‘at earliest’

Facebook board member, PayPal co-founder and arch venture capitalist Peter Thiel has revealed it would be 2012 “at the earliest” before the social networking site Facebook would be ready to IPO.

Thiel reportedly told Fox News and Reuters that the company will not rush to IPO and taking a leaf from Google will not do so until late in the process.

Thiel said Facebook plans to remain private for “as long as possible” and that it would be “2012 at the earliest” before Facebook would go public.

AOL buys tech news blog TechCrunch for US$25m

TechCrunch, the highly influential news blog founded by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Michael Arrington, has been sold to AOL. Arrington, who is staying on at TechCrunch, said that after five years he was exhausted, not by the writing but by engineering problems.

“AOL of course fixes that problem perfectly. They run the largest blogging network in the world and if we sold to them we’d never have to worry about tech issues again,” Arrington said in a blog about the acquisition.