The tech business week: Google’s new CFO, Facebook developer conference

30 Mar 2015

A digest of the top business technology news stories from the past week, beginning with the appointment of Ruth Porat as internet search giant Google’s new CFO.

Google appoints ‘most powerful woman on Wall Street’ as CFO

Search giant Google has appointed Ruth Porat, former CFO of Morgan Stanley and widely regarded as the most powerful woman on Wall Street, as its new chief financial officer.

Porat led the Morgan Stanley team advising the US Department of Treasury in terms of handling the financial crisis led by sub-prime mortgages. She is a strong advocate of improving trust levels in the financial sector.

In 2013, US President Barack Obama nominated Porat to be the next deputy secretary of the Treasury but she withdrew herself from the process.

In 2014 Institutional Investor magazine named her Best Financial Institutions CFO and the Politico Women Rule series named her the “most powerful woman on Wall Street.” She has been described in The New York Times as a “tireless worker” with a knack “for escaping unscathed from tough situations”.

Facebook’s brilliant plan to dominate the mobile and internet of things economies

Facebook is on track to be the glue that makes e-commerce actually stick for consumers. And not only that, it could be Facebook that will eventually get your fridge to talk to your supermarket when you run out of milk.

At the F8 developer conference last week, Facebook showed that with Messenger Platform, which is now being opened up to third-party app developers, and Messenger Business, which could change e-commerce forever, it is morphing from a social network to a sophisticated internet and communications giant.

Facebook also revealed a glimpse into how big a contribution the company is making to the apps economy and with new SDKs specifically for the internet of things, Facebook is intent on stealing a march on Apple, Google and Microsoft.

Analyst values Apple at US$1trn – that’s US$1,000,000,000,000

Brian White, an analyst with Cantor Fitzgerald, has added a few zeros onto what consumer tech giant Apple may be valued at, claiming that by year’s end, following the release of the Apple Watch, the company will be worth US$1trn.

“Next month, Apple will enter its first new product category in five years, while media reports over the past several weeks have highlighted potential new areas of future innovation,” said White. “Also, we believe Apple’s iPhone portfolio and position in China have never been stronger.

“Finally, Apple has shown its commitment to returning cash to shareholders, and we expect more in April. We believe the combination of these forces will drive the market to reward Apple’s stock.”

Global Payments acquires Dublin e-payments player Realex for €115m

Global Payments has acquired Realex Payments, a provider of electronic payment processing for internet companies and retailers, for €115m.

Realex founder and CEO Colm Lyon said the deal means merchants can avail of Global Payments’ unmatched international presence, entering new markets and driving their global e-commerce business like never before. 

Global Payments plans to invest further in its European expansion.

Kodak working on a comeback thanks to swathes of unused patents

Kodak, the photography giant that failed to modernise when photography went digital and made bankrupt in 2012, is targeting an innovative comeback.

With decades of patents knocking around its offices, Kodak sits on a potential goldmine of ideas. Chief executive Jeff Clarke has a team essentially “mining” the company’s catalogue of patents, trying to find workable, scalable projects.

Some of these, the The New York Times reported, include new phone screens, “nanoparticle wonder inks” and cheap sensors that can indicate when foodstuffs go bad.

Design of the times – HTC loses second design chief in a year

If there is one trend that is deciding who wins and loses in smartphones today it is design, and for HTC, which appears to be finally getting its house in order, news that its VP of industrial design Jonah Becker is moving on must be daunting indeed.

Becker’s departure comes just 11 months after HTC’s long-time design chief Scott Croyle left HTC.

The news arrives just as the stakes have never been higher for mobile devices. Apple senior VP of design Jony Ive fundamentally re-established the principles of good design in the mobile phone industry through consecutive iterations of the iPhone.

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