The Five Biggest Things In Tech You Missed This Week: 1/16/16

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

 

Here are five things that happened in the world of technology this past week and why they’re important for your business (and mine). Did you miss them?

1 – Samsung may invest over $7 billion to supply flexible displays for future iPhones.

From ETNews: According to industries on the 13th, contract between Samsung Display and Apple regarding Flexible OLED Panels for iPhones has practically been decided. Samsung Display will provide the most supplies for Apple’s iPhones’ panels that are changing from LTPS (Low-Temperature Poly-Silicon) LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) to Flexible OLED.

Why this is important for your business:

You’ll be hearing a lot about OLED over the next few years as any device with a display will be turned into a more compact and flexible piece of equipment. Samsung (and LG, which recently announced its own line of “rolled up” displays) will be among the many hardware manufacturers that will eventually enable you to carry around small phones and tablets and then unroll them into larger, desktop size machines. The impact on productivity could be enormous.

2 – Microsoft is getting its swagger back

From the Dallas Business Journal: Morgan Stanley upgraded Microsoft stock on Wednesday, citing the Redmond, Washington-based company’s growing cloud business. The firm raised its price target for Microsoft stock to $66 from $57 and upgraded the stock to “overweight” from “equal-weight.” The move is a big vote of confidence for the company’s cloud business, which is on pace to replace revenue from computer-makers as the company’s biggest earner. Microsoft earlier this year said its cloud business is on track to reach $6.3 billion in annual revenue.

Why this is important for your business:

Microsoft is still the leading provider of business applications, databases and services to the business community. And although its dominance has been challenged in the past, new leadership has turned the company into a more dynamic organization that’s building new applications in the cloud and across platforms and regardless of operating systems. The company’s success not only benefits its tens of thousands of partners but its millions of customers who rely on its technology to run their businesses.

3 – A European court rules employers can read private employee messages.

From AP: – Europe’s top human rights court has ruled that an employer that accessed the private messages of an employee to check if he was completing his work was acting within its rights. The European Court of Human Rights said Tuesday that a Romanian firm – which fired a worker after finding 45 pages worth of personal messages in just over a week in 2007 – justifiably accessed his work Yahoo Messenger communications. It highlighted a Romanian court’s assessment that this showed he was “blatantly wasting time.”

Why this is important for your business:

Privacy remains a top issue around the world. The European Court’s decision gives more power to employers there to access employees’ data, regardless of the purpose. If you have operations in Europe, you’ll have more control over this data. If you’re located in the U.S. keep an eye out as this trend becomes more popular domestically. This is a warning sign to all your employees that their activities at work are subject to your scrutiny.

4 – Shares of Twitter fall to new all-time low.

From Newsweek: Twitter’s stock price continues to slide downhill, with no signs of recovery in sight. At the end of Tuesday, the social media network fell below the $20 line for the first time since going public at $19.63. For a moment on Wednesday, Twitter was at an even lower point at $18.88. The days of confident, triumphant Twitter in Wall Street, once touting a robust share price of $69, seems to be a thing of the past.

Why this is important for your business:

Millions of big business and small businesses, celebrities and other organizations rely on Twitter as their means for communications, marketing and services. As the company’s valuation falls, more pressure will be applied by its investors on management. Which means you’ll see changes not only in that management but also to Twitter’s features (for example, allowing tweets up to 10,000 characters) that may impact how you use the social media service.

5 – Two companies that leverage new ways to extract data business cards and websites raise a combined $30 million.

From Techcrunch we hear of Sansan, which has:

raised a $16.9 million Series C to help companies store and manage information scanned from business cards. While there are plenty of apps that promise to make business cards more manageable for consumer and enterprise users, Sansan hopes to win over new clients by combining its optical character recognition (OCR) technology with crowdsourced human transcription. Once business cards are uploaded and digitized, Sansan organizes them into a database to help employees share contacts and figure out which ones are good business leads.

From Marketwired we learn about Import.io, which has:

completed a $13 million Series A round of funding. The company has “developed a completely new way of extracting, processing, and delivering web data, solving an increasingly urgent need for data-driven businesses around the world,” said David Axmark, founder of MySQL and an angel investor in Import.io. “They are uniquely positioned to be the preferred provider of valuable web intelligence for companies large and small.”

Why this is important for your business:

Now, thanks to companies like Sansan and Import.io, information on websites and business cards can be extracted from those sources and pulled into a format where it can be used. Scanning and pulling data from business cards into a customer relationship management system has always been a headache for my clients. And compiling information stored on websites around the Internet to be used for marketing has, up until now, been primarily a manual task. As these companies evolve smaller firms like mine will be able to use data that has never been easily available before to grow our businesses.

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