The tech business week: Apple, Facebook offer egg-freezing benefit, Hailo exits North America


20 Oct 2014

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A digest of the top business technology news stories from the past week, beginning with the news tech giants Apple and Facebook will pay for employees to freeze their eggs.

Apple and Facebook to pay for workers to freeze their eggs

Tech giants Apple and Facebook will pay for employees to freeze their eggs, in a move deemed as an investment in staff and not as a tactic to get women to shelve their family plans for work.

Facebook recently began offering the benefit, and Apple will begin to do the same in January, spokespeople for the companies told NBC News.

Brigitte Adams, an egg-freezing advocate and founder of the patient forum Eggsurance.com, told NBC News companies are investing in women and supporting them in having the lives they want by offering this benefit.

On the other hand, Glenn Cohen, co-director of Harvard Law School’s Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics, wondered in a blog post whether women would take this as a signal that the firm thinks that working there as an associate and pregnancy are incompatible?

Hailo pulls out of North America because of too much competition

Taxi hailing app Hailo is pulling out of the North American market, after determining competition with similar services and marketing costs in North America far exceeds its ability to make a profit.

The company had recently attempted to raise its profile in the face of its two largest competitors, Lyft and Uber, by running significant promotional discounts.

However, because Hailo deals exclusively with established taxi drivers, rather than hired Lyft and Uber drivers, the cost to hire one of its competitors inevitably worked out to be cheaper than a Hailo cab.

In a statement, Hailo’s CEO Tom Barr said the London-based company will now focus it efforts on the European and Asian markets.

Internal memo from Satya Nadella outlines Microsoft’s new diversity plan

In a new internal memo circulated to Microsoft staff, CEO Satya Nadella has outlined plans for Microsoft to make positive changes when it comes to diversity at the company.

At the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Phoenix, Arizona, on 9 October, Nadella had said women in the tech sector should not ask for raises but instead trust karma. In the memo obtained by GeekWire, Nadella described the fallout that followed his remarks as “a humbling and learning experience” and went on to affirm his commitment to diversity.

“First, we need to continue to focus on equal pay for equal work and equal opportunity for equal work,” he wrote in the memo, and added Microsoft needs to recruit more diverse talent at all levels of the company, and expand training for all employees on how to foster an inclusive culture.

Qualcomm makes play for wearables and IoT by buying CSR for US$2.5bn

US chipmaker Qualcomm is to acquire UK Bluetooth specialist CSR plc for US$2.5bn in a move that will give it room to manoeuvre in the emerging market for wearable computing devices and the internet of things.

The acquisition will also give Qualcomm, maker of the popular Snapdragon processor found in the majority of smartphones today, an additional lead in the fast-moving automotives space.

Qualcomm has agreed to pay stg£9 a share for CSR, which represents a 56.5pc premium on the company’s share price.

Google shares fall after the big spender’s earnings disappoint

While analysts predicted an increase in net income for Google, the search giant posted a drop in profits to US$2.81bn after months of heavy spending on real estate and recruitment.

The forecast for Google’s financial results last week expected an increase in net income from US$2.97bn a year ago to US$3.69bn.

Google was just shy of meeting revenue expectations of US$16.6bn, though, and this figure was a marked 20pc year-on-year increase at US$16.52bn.

Intel reaps record third-quarter revenue of US$14.6bn

Record quarterly shipment of PCs, servers, tablets, phones and the internet of things has pushed chip giant Intel’s third-quarter revenue up 8pc or US$1.1bn year-over-year to US$14.6bn.

The third quarter marked the first time Intel has shipped more than 100m microprocessors in a quarter.

The company also reported net income of US$3.3bn, up 12pc from US$3.0bn in the year-ago quarter.

Intel’s earnings per share rose 14pc year-over-year, from US$0.58 to US$0.66, while its operating income of US$4.5bn reflected an increase of 30pc year-over-year from US$3.5bn.

Financial results this week

Major tech companies are scheduled to release their latest financial results this week. Consumer tech titan Apple and tech giant IBM are to report their results today, internet giant Yahoo! is set to report its earnings tomorrow, while software giant Microsoft and e-commerce empire Amazon are to report their results on Thursday.

Cell image via Shutterstock

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