Code/red: Target CEO Taken Off Store Shelves
// HAPPENING TODAY
- The jury in the Apple v. Samsung case will reconvene to check its math.
- TechCrunch Disrupt kicks off in New York City.
- Marty Cooper, creator of the world’s first handheld cellphone, stops by the State of the Net conference in Washington, D.C.
- NewFronts continue.
- Alibaba may finally file its IPO papers.
Shouldn’t Have Gone to the Board Meeting Wearing the Jacket With the Big Target on It
Target is scheduled to release its first-quarter earnings later this month and when it does, shareholders best brace themselves. CEO Gregg Steinhafel stepped down effective immediately this morning, and his resignation does not bode well for the company’s performance. In a statement announcing the move, Target’s board said Steinhafel holds himself “personally accountable” for a nasty holiday data breach that compromised the credit card information of some 70 million customers. Which is interesting because Steinhafel, in his own resignation letter, stopped short of taking full responsibility for the breach. It’s not known if Steinhafel also holds himself “personally accountable” for Target’s “giant failure” of a Canadian expansion or the perpetually declining foot traffic at its stores. But if he doesn’t, Target’s board clearly does, and this sudden change in leadership ahead of earnings inspires little confidence in the company’s upcoming financials.
“I Just Made It All Up on the Shitter …”
The author of a bogus Secret rumor claiming Apple’s new EarPods will include biometric sensors: “I hope Apple does come out with a device like this. Because regardless how much of an accidental troll I am, it would be a pretty neat device.”
Sure, You Can Laugh Now
President Barack Obama: “We rolled out healthcare.gov. That could have gone better. In 2008 my slogan was ‘Yes We Can.’ In 2013 my slogan was ‘Control-Alt-Delete.'”
Great Long-Awaited Take on E-Commerce, Twitter
Twitter isn’t taking a cut of any of the sales that might originate from Amazon’s new #AmazonCart hashtag.
DirecTV Mulling New “MIA Sunday Ticket” Package
What happened to DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket deal? The satellite TV company’s license to show NFL games expires at the end of the upcoming season, and the NFL has flirted with the idea of selling that package to other bidders, including Google. But by the end of 2013, DirecTV and the NFL were supposed to have a deal in place. Since then, crickets. It would be nice to get an update on Tuesday, when DirecTV reports Q1 earnings, but we have a hunch this deal won’t be announced for some time. But perhaps Direct will have something to say about its dance with AT&T.
Medical Device Community Watches in Horror as Apple Snatches Brains
Joe Kiani, CEO of medical device firm Masimo: “Some of the talent [Apple has recruited] has access to deep wells of trade secrets and information. They are just buying people. I just hope Apple is not doing what we’re doing.”
Yahoo Advertisers See Tumblr as Half-Empty
It has been nearly a year since Yahoo acquired Tumblr, and the company has yet to disclose any significant revenue attributable to the $1.1 billion deal. Indeed, in its last few earnings releases, the only mention Yahoo has made of Tumblr was in a link to the corporate blog it hosts on the site. Tumblr was supposed to bring Yahoo a younger audience and the ad dollars that come with it. Why aren’t we hearing about them? Perhaps because Tumblr, which doesn’t know much about its users besides their email addresses, is too hard of a sell for advertisers. “Tumblr doesn’t get the same amount of traffic as some other sites, and the ask is bigger,” former Tumblr media evangelist Mark Coatney told the New York Times. “Real-world identities are valuable to advertisers. Tumblr doesn’t have that.”
If We Call It the Google Yaptok, It’d Be a Natural for Ikea
Designer Gadi Amit on Google’s Project Ara modular smartphone: “There’s a strong psychological effect for something you customize and tailor. If you are assembling an Ikea chair, even though the chair isn’t of the highest quality, you still feel for it much more. Hands-on experience is something a lot of people cherish. It’s the democratization of design.”
Fred Wilson Tapped to Deliver Annual “Apple Is Doomed” Address
Come 2020, the top three tech companies in the world by market cap will be Google, Facebook and a new venture we’ve not yet heard of. This according to Union Square Ventures founder Fred Wilson, who this morning told attendees of TechCrunch Disrupt that Apple will have given up its market cap crown by decade’s end. “Apple is too rooted to hardware,” Wilson said. “Hardware is increasingly becoming a commodity. Apple’s stuff in the cloud is largely not good. I don’t think they think about data and the cloud in the way you need to think about things.” (Side note: Wilson sold off his Apple stake in 2009 when the company’s shares were trading somewhere around $90. And where are they trading today?)
And Who Knows? Maybe Google Will Buy Them Someday for $1.65 Billion …
Sequoia Capital’s Roelof Botha pitches YouTube in a 2005 investment memo: “They have built a very easy-to-use, fast-growing service that taps several strong veins: user-generated content, online advertising, wide proliferation of inexpensive digital video capture devices, and continued broadband adoption. The company has also developed code snippets that allow users to embed YouTube videos directly into other sites. In this way, the company is building a wide content distribution network, in addition to its direct-to-site traffic.”
The Largest Vocabulary in Hip Hop and two great papers from the Journal of Interdisciplinary Science Projects: “Lumberjacking Minecraft Style: Is It Possible to Knock Down a Tree by Punching It” and “How Many Lies Could Pinocchio Tell Before It Became Lethal.”