Software giant Microsoft has appointed Satya Nadella as its next chief executive.
Working with Microsoft for the last 22 years, Satya is Microsoft’s third chief executive in the company’s nearly four-decade history. Founder Bill Gates was the longest-serving head of Microsoft, who was replaced by Steve Ballmer.
The 1967-born Satya will take charge of the new role immediately and will also become a part of the Board of Directors. Satya was promoted from the position of executive vice president of cloud and Enterprise group.
“During this time of transformation, there is no better person to lead Microsoft than Satya Nadella,” said Bill Gates, Microsoft’s Founder and Member of the Board of Directors.
Satya’s claim to the top job lies in his blend of technical and people skills. “Satya is a proven leader with hard-core engineering skills, business vision and the ability to bring people together.”
He is also expected to draw on product innovation skills in his new role. “His vision for how technology will be used and experienced around the world is exactly what Microsoft needs as the company enters its next chapter of expanded product innovation and growth.”
Born and educated in India’s tech city of Hyderabad, Satya came to the US for post-graduate studies, and after a stint with Sun Microsystems, he joined Microsoft in 1992, where he led strategy and technical shifts, including Microsoft’s move to the cloud and the development of one of the largest cloud infrastructures in the world supporting Bing, Xbox, Office and other services.
Satya is looking forward to the challenge and understands the need for speed. The opportunity ahead for Microsoft is vast, says Satya. “But to seize it, we must focus clearly, move faster and continue to transform. A big part of my job is to accelerate our ability to bring innovative products to our customers more quickly.”
“Having worked with him for more than 20 years, I know that Satya is the right leader at the right time for Microsoft,” says Steve Ballmer, who announced on 23 August 2013 that he would retire once a successor was named.
In his first email as the chief executive, Satya expressed his emotions openly to the employees. “Today is a very humbling day for me. It reminds me of my very first day at Microsoft, 22 years ago. I had a choice about where to come to work. I came here because I believed Microsoft was the best company in the world.”
Satya has made his priorities clear – breaking the rules of the game. “Our industry does not respect tradition — it only respects innovation. Our job is to ensure that Microsoft thrives in a mobile and cloud-first world.”
He acknowledges the role of family in his work. “A lot of what I do and how I think has been shaped by my family and my overall life experiences.”
Being a little philosophical, Satya paraphrased Oscar Wilde: “We need to believe in the impossible and remove the improbable.”
A keen learner, Satya admits that he loves to buy books. “I buy more books than I can finish. I sign up for more online courses than I can complete. I fundamentally believe that if you are not learning new things, you stop doing great and useful things. So family, curiosity and hunger for knowledge all define me.”
His vision for future is of a “software-powered” world. “It will better connect us to our friends and families and help us see, express, and share our world in ways never before possible. It will enable businesses to engage customers in more meaningful ways.”
Bill Gates, previously Chairman of the Board of Directors, will stay on the board as technology advisor, and will support Nadella in shaping technology and product direction. John Thompson, lead independent director, will become the chairman.
UPDATE 4 February 2014: In a release issued earlier today, Microsoft has confirmed the appointment of Satya Nadella as its new chief executive. As Satya Nadella becomes the third CEO of Microsoft, he brings a relentless drive for innovation and a spirit of collaboration to his new role. Many companies, he says, “aspire to change the world. But very few have all the elements required: talent, resources and perseverance. Microsoft has proven that it has all three in abundance.”
News reports about the possibility of Satya Nadella taking charge of Microsoft as the next chief executive has produced mixed reaction from the industry.
Microsoft has reportedly prepared a shortlist of potential candidates being considered for the difficult job of heading the technology giant that’s trying hard to change direction.
A report by Bloomberg suggests that Satya Nadella is the most likely candidate to take up the top job.
Satya has been with Microsoft for most his career – since joining the company in 1992. The 1967-born understands Microsoft’s culture very well. This understanding is crucial while introducing change.
He has worked in different divisions of Microsoft, leading diverse projects.
Currently, Satya is executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group, which builds and runs Microsoft’s computing platforms, developer tools and cloud services. Satya and his team deliver the “Cloud OS”, Microsoft’s next generation backend platform.
His current job puts him in a position of driving growth where innovation and key account management are prerequisites of success – exactly what Microsoft needs to reinvent itself in the cloud-era where it is competing not with hardware companies, but with services companies like Amazon.com which is redefining the rules of the game.
He is a technical expert – he has a Master of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Microsoft realises that the future is not in enterprise but in cloud-based computing, and what could be a better choice than Satya to take the company in that direction? He is the cloud-computing guy for Microsoft, a software giant that’s traditionally been a personal computing company, where enterprise software lived in computers.
He has been at the forefront of Windows Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform which helps in building and managing applications and services through Microsoft-managed datacenters around the world.
He began his career with Sun Microsystems in its technology team and later joined Microsoft as the senior vice president of research and development.
He can follow the research approach to innovation and help put Microsoft in a strong position globally as a services company.
He was born and raised in India’s technology city – Hyderabad, where Microsoft’s largest offshore research centre is based.
As the company moves away from being a software powerhouse to a services company, Satya will bring to table the required technical expertise blended with strong marketing thinking, similar in nature to late Steve Jobs of Apple Inc.
However, Satya has his challenges. In an organisation with reportedly few takes for the top job, he has a challenging culture to manage.
Microsoft is known to be a career company, where employees join after college and stay till retirement. The organisational culture will require a lot of smart-work to introduce changes.
Second, Microsoft has had only two chief executives in its 39 years of existence – founder Bill Gates, and the current CEO Steve Ballmer. Securing acceptance for his role as the third CEO, from the 100,000-strong workforce worldwide will be a major task for Satya.
If appointed as the CEO of Microsoft, Satya will join the elite club of India-born chief executives of major multinational companies, and will be in the company of Indra Nooyi who heads Pepsi, and Anshu Jain, the chief executive of Deutsche Bank.
All Indian currency notes issued before 2005 will soon go out of circulation, as per a new directive issued by the Reserve Bank of India on 22 January 2013.
From 1 April 2014, all currency notes issued prior to 2005 will need to be exchanged at any bank in the country.
There’s no need to have an account with the bank where the notes are being exchanged. The notes can be exchanged until 30 June 2014.
From 1 July 2014, the depositor will need to provide a proof of identity and proof of address, if the number of notes being exchanged in more than 10.
The apex bank has not set a deadline for accepting old notes by banks.
To be able to tell if the note is pre-2005 or not, a close look at the note reveals the year of issue. All notes issued after 2005 will have the year inscribed on them. All notes where the year of issue is not mentioned are pre-2005 notes and should be returned to banks.
The move has caused a mixed reaction from people.
It’s a really good move by the RBI, which will do something good for the nation, all illegal money holders is under pressure.. Check mate!!!
— Relin Jose P.M.™ (@RelinJose) January 23, 2014
RBI is subjecting citizens to yet another heckle at its end: when you count money, keep checking the date of print of notes! — Vimal (@Vimaljoshi) January 23, 2014
The aim of the initiative is to move to a cashless economy, RBI says. However, experts are inferring that the move is aimed at tackling the growing problem of black money in the economy.
The sheer size of currency notes that are in circulation is likely to make this exercise extremely challenging for banks. This is likely to create long queues at bank-branches, most of which are already under-staffed and struggle to cater to walk-in customers.
This RBI’s currency phaseout measure is so new to India.. Will create a bank rush of a different sort.Hahah But seriously hope it works. — Aditi 🙂 (@aditi_34) January 23, 2014
Questions are being raised about the effectiveness of RBI’s directive in curbing black money.
Then there are questions about the 2005 cut-off. What about the black money ‘earned’ after 2005?
RBI to withdraw all currency notes printed before 2005. Hope all pre-2005 scam money was converted into dollars.
— Faking News (@fakingnews) January 22, 2014
There’s a tongue-in-cheek question about the new governor’s intentions behind the move.
RBI withdraws pre-2005 currency notes to curb black money. Pertinent question: Where do you get the new Raghuram Rajan autographed notes?
— Purple Just Exploded (@purpleXplodes) January 23, 2014
Acclaimed filmmaker Rohit Gupta has been honored by India’s prestigious Limca Book of Records for his award-winning feature film Life! Camera! Action…
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Size does matter. For Apple Inc, thinner the better. The world’s leading technology company today introduced the world’s thinnest tablet.
Hoping to lure Christmas shoppers early, Apple Inc unveiled thinner iPads and faster Mac computers ahead of a competitive holiday shopping season.
The new thinner one-pound iPad Air will sell for US$499 in the US from 1 November.
Apple promises up to 10 hours of battery life on the thin iPad Air which runs iOS 7 and A7 chip.
The price of MacBook Pro with sharper retina display starts at US$1299 for the 13-inch Macbook Pro, and US$1999 for the 15-inch Macbook Pro in the US.
In a major deviation for its standard practice, Apple is also offering free upgrades on iOS, its operating system called Mavericks, and business software.
Explaining the unexpected move, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook told reporters: “We are turning the industry on its ear, but this is not why we’re doing it. We want our customers to have our latest software.”
Mavericks, the new operating system will also lower batter consumption. With energy-saving core technologies in OS X Mavericks, you can surf the web longer on a single charge, says Apple. “Watching iTunes HD video is now more efficient, so you can watch more video when you’re not plugged in. App Nap regulates applications you’re not using so they consume less energy.”
Apple is also reported to launch its must awaited ultra-high definition televisions with 65- and 55-inch screens by the end of next year.
Riding on the popularity wave of iPhone 5S, Apple has continued its dominance in the US smartphone market. The iPhone 5S helped Apple increase September smartphone by 39%.
An Indian-origin scientist researching in the field of cancer will be receiving a $17 million fund from the US medical science funding body, said an official statement Tuesday.
Indian-origin scientist gets US funding for cancer research
With Google and Apple working hard to introduce the latest advancements to their operating systems, freelance app developers have been working equally hard to produce the most useful apps for like-minded customers.
This guide lists five of the top apps for both iPhone and Android phones for the UK, dissecting the best picks for both of these operating systems, and leaving their respective app stores at your mercy.
TuneIn Radio is arguably the best internet radio app for Android or iPhone available today. The user-friendly interface opens the gates to over 70,000 radio stations and two million podcasts delivered right to your phone wherever you are, and all for free! Whether you’re into blue grass or metal, Romanian news channels or sports commentary, you’ll find it all within TuneIn Radio’s exhaustive listings. Treat your ears and tickle your fancy with stations from all over the world operating around the clock, all streamed through this powerful app.
UGO Cab Finder offers a taxi booking app for both the iPhone and Android, to get you home as quickly and cost efficiently as possible.
The intuitive and user-friendly app is just the tip of the iceberg, though, since the service you will receive as a result of the app is second to none. Simply type in the point of departure, the destination, and the date and time you need your cab and let the powerful UGO engine do the work in finding you a local taxi service at a price that suits you.
It’s nationwide across the UK so you’ll never be stuck again without the number of a taxi after you install the UGO app, no matter where you are!
Pocket (formerly Read It Later) is a cleverly designed app perfect for those who don’t have much time on their hands between tasks, or who have patchy mobile reception and need to make the most of every scrap of signal they get.
This free app allows users to ‘pocket’ web pages and videos of interest for later use, and even gives the user the ability to sync these precious snippets with other devices to make it even easier to keep up-to-date with reading tasks.
The now ubiquitous Snapchat app brands itself as ‘real-time picture chatting’, and boasts that it is up to ten times faster for sharing pictures than standard MMS services.
Snapchat is built on spontaneity, conferring upon its users ability to capture glimpses of their special moments and share these with friends and family. While some users attempt to use the app for strange pass times, the majority use this powerful and free app to capture the transient beauty of a sunset, or the burst of excitement felt upon seeing a particular sight.
If you’ve been looking for an intuitive way to compare the millions of flights offered by thousands of airlines worldwide, and to shop for the lowest prices supplied by these airlines, as well as the best deals offered by travel agents, Skyscanner is the best way to go.
Just select your ideal holiday location and dates of travel, pick a few quick options, and let Skyscanner’s clean and hassle-free interface do the rest. You’ll never go back to price comparison sites or manual data mining after experiencing the power of this free app.
The guide above should provide you with the information your require to make an informed decision about the best apps for your particular device, and leave you enlightened as to which apps are the hottest on the market today.
Gary Smith is a tech blogger who loves to follow the latest developments in the world of apps, games and all things techy.
License: Creative Commons image source
A New Zealand woman carrying out a sophisticated fraud to the value of NZ$719,000 has been sentenced to 10 months’ home detention.
Former company director Sonia Klair was sentenced at the Auckland District Court after pleading guilty to 64 charges brought by the Commerce Commission under the Crimes Act, in relation to her running a business which engaged in false billing practices, also known as pro-forma invoicing.
This is the first time the Commission has brought charges under the Crimes Act. Previous prosecutions and resulting financial penalties imposed under the Fair Trading Act (FTA) had provided insufficient deterrence from such conduct.
Sonia admitted operating a scheme which involved sending “special offer” documents to recipients offering to “renew” online business directory listings with Klair’s company NZ Look Ltd (NZ Look), even though the recipients had no previous listing with that business.
NZ Look subsequently forwarded invoices, and in some cases debt recovery notices, seeking payment for services recipients had not agreed to acquire, or had agreed to acquire on the basis of a misrepresentation made to them.
Judge Field said that this was sophisticated offending which occurred over a substantial period of time. He said that Sonia saw an opportunity to make money and that her offending involved particular planning and preparation. The Judge considered Klair’s motivation for the offending was pure greed.
Between July 2008 and August 2010 the offending resulted in a total turnover of more than $719,000.
This type of “fake billing” is viewed seriously by enforcement agencies due to the significant financial gains that can be made by offenders and the consequent losses to New Zealand businesses.
In 2012 the Serious Fraud Office, NZ Police and Commerce Commission took a multi-agency approach with “Operation Edit” to target recidivist offenders who engage in this type of conduct.
Similar frauds by different groups have duped thousands of New Zealand businesses in the past few years, according to media reports. One such report by investigative programme Campbell Live (TV 3) reported one group may have duped companies to the tune of NZ$1 million.
The Commerce Commission’s Consumer Manager Stuart Wallace warned businesses to be wary of any unusual invoices they received and to ensure that they had good payment systems in place.
“To avoid being scammed it is important that all businesses, no matter what size, have an established system for approving invoices and make sure that all relevant staff know how it works.”
“That should give staff the confidence to ignore the pressure placed on them by people sending these false invoices. Some can be very pushy and persistent in their demands for payments which they have no legal right to receive,” said Stuart.
Ask for proof that the advertisement was agreed to – no proof, no payment.
Verify the booking with colleagues.
Ask for specific evidence that the publishing company has been commissioned by an organization to publish the magazine on their behalf.
Keep records of telephone conversations discussing advertising, including date, what was discussed and who it was discussed with.
Have an advertising booking system in place and ensure all staff are aware of it.
Inform the company in writing that the advertisement they are charging you for was not authorized and will not be paid for.
Seek legal advice if threatened with legal action.
In the U.S. file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. In New Zealand, inform the Commerce Commission. (Source: Consumer Fraud Reporting)
With violence against women getting more gruesome and frequent in India, a new mobile application by a New Zealand developer could offer some safety help.
The free app privately monitors users’ location during an activity or task and raises a pre-set alarm if they don’t ‘’Get Home Safe’.
The app could be helpful for women returning home late at night, elderly going for a walk, children walking home from school alone, and people working unsupervised.
App users register with GHS what they intend on doing, such as walking home after dark, and the time they will be ‘home safe’, for example in 15 minutes.
The app records GPS location data and watches over the user’s movements throughout their chosen activity.
If something unforeseen happens and the user doesn’t stop or extend tracking as planned, an alarm is raised and the GPS information is sent to pre-selected personal emergency contacts.
As the alarm is sent from the GHS servers not the phone, users don’t need a working phone or coverage for the alarm to be raised.
“GHS actually calls for help when you can’t, it’s truly amazing and really could save someone’s life,” says Kiwi entrepreneur Boyd Peacock, who developed the app with design company Firebrand.
“Who knows you’ve gone for that run or bike ride? Who knows you’re walking home late at night from the pub or bus stop, or that you’re driving the back road home this time?
“Who knows where your secret fishing spot is? Who knows exactly where you are working this afternoon? Who will know if you don’t get home safe?
“Regular alarms prompt you to check-in, so if you ever did need help the alarm would be raised far quicker and your last location mapped by our servers,” he says.
Boyd wishes to provide ‘peace of mind’ for families with teenagers doing after school or weekend activities, especially as so many youngsters now have phones.
“GHS is not your mother, your boss or big brother and it’s certainly not the police. GHS does not judge or ask probing questions”.
“The neutrality of GHS provides a guardian for the activities in life that may carry a small element of risk giving people reassurance that their actions are being privately monitored should anything unforeseen happen.
While the app is free to download from iTunes app stores, it is free in the email alert only format. Within the app users can also choose to buy pre-paid text messages for 50 cents each, with a minimum purchase of $2.59, and use the text alert method. Unused text alerts are credited back to users if they check in on time.
Users can opt to send their emergency contacts a pre-trip itinerary to allow them to follow the activity in real time or share ‘home safe’ summaries via social media.
The GHS idea was inspired after Boyd read about a boating accident in Southland’s Foveaux Straight in 2012 when a group of fishermen’s boat sank with all their mobile phones and emergency equipment on board.
“I thought to myself, if only someone was monitoring the use and location of a smart phone on board it could have been apparent much earlier that the fishermen had capsized and even where it happened, the alarm could have been raised much earlier,” Boyd says.
“GHS sends alarms independently of mobile phone coverage so if the fishermen had set regular half hour alarms with GHS then the alarm would have been raised as soon as they missed their first check-in and their last known location identified,” he said.
While the app is currently available only in Apple’s New Zealand App Store, it will be rolled out into the New Zealand Google Play store for Android users late August and then internationally in coming months.
Canada has launched a new guide and web tool to help newcomers settle and integrate in the country.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s new publication, Welcome to Canada, will assist immigrants in preparing to come to Canada and to help them navigate their way during their first months.
“The new edition shows our commitment to helping the citizens of tomorrow experience a smoother transition into their new community and into the Canadian workforce,” says Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.
Twice as long as the previous edition, the new guide is developed in consultation with several federal partners and experts in the field of integration, and has been reviewed by new immigrants.
The guide features practical information on many different topics including how to access language classes, basic information about Canada’s education system, laws and the justice system, the labour market and much more.
For the first time, the Welcome to Canada guide includes examples of immigrants to Canada who have successfully integrated. The guide was enriched by advice and anecdotes from Nick Noorani, himself an immigrant and an expert who specializes in immigrant integration and career outcomes.
“Canada has given me more than I could ever have dreamed of,” says Nick. “And through my experiences I can help future immigrants succeed in Canada and this guide is a big part of that.”
This is the first time the Welcome to Canada guide has been revamped since it was first introduced in 1997. Like Discover Canada citizenship study guide, Welcome to Canada is available in PDF or E-book format.
Similarly, the immigration department launched another interactive tool – Living in Canada Tool, also intended for newcomers. The new tool comes on the heels of the success of the Come to Canada Wizard, the online immigration assessment and application tool,
The Living in Canada Tool produces a semi-customized settlement plan filled with tips, next steps, and useful links based on user responses to the initial questionnaire. Users can also find local immigrant-serving organizations with the integrated Find Services map, and can bring with them their customized settlement plan for additional, personalized support.
To help newcomers integrate, the Government has tripled settlement funding since 2005-06 and remains committed to ensuring the distribution of settlement funding is fair, that immigrants receive the same level of service, regardless of where they choose to settle, says the immigration minister.
Poor cancer patients in India would welcome Indian apex court’s decision, dismissing Novartis’ appeal for a patent for its anti-cancer drug, Gleevec. The Supreme Court judgement, delivered by Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Ranjana Desai, has called for a strict interpretation of section 3(d).
India’s Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA) has described the ruling as a huge victory for human rights. Y. K. Sapru of CPAA says, “Our access to affordable treatment will not be possible if the medicines are patented.”
The ruling is a landmark for the interpretation of section 3(d) of the Patents Act 1970 which prevents patenting of new forms of already known molecules, also known as evergreening, unless the new drug offers a significant enhancement in efficacy.
The Swiss pharmaceutical company argued that better physico-chemical qualities would satisfy the test of enhanced efficacy.
Rejecting Novartis’ argument, the Supreme Court held that the physio-chemical properties of the drug may be beneficial for patients in some manner but they do not meet the standard of efficacy required by Section 3(d).
At the root of the case is Novartis’ Gleevec, a drug used to treat chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), a type of blood cancer. Novartis’ price for its version of the drug, Gleevec or Glivec, is INR 120,000 (USD 2400) per month, while generic versions are available for INR 8,000 (USD 160) to INR 12,000 (USD 240) per month.
Cancer Patients Aid Association procures the generic versions at discounted prices, and provides them to their members at subsidised rates. About 25% of the generic versions are provided free of cost to cancer patients.
Anand Grover, Senior Counsel and Director of Lawyers Collective HIV/AIDS Unit, who represented CPAA in this matter, says that the Supreme Court’s interpretation of section 3(d) keeps it intact. “It is alive and kicking. It gives life to Parliament’s intent of facilitating access to medicines and of incentivizing only genuine research.
“By refusing patent monopolies on minor changes to known molecules, this judgment will facilitate early entry of generic medicines into the market for other medicines and diseases too. The impact will be felt not only in India, but also across the developing world.”
In the past, Section 3(d) was also used as one of the grounds to disallow patents for minor modifications of several antiretroviral (ARV) medicines used to treat people living with HIV.
The Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+) had been filing oppositions to patent applications on ARV medicines on the basis of section 3(d). “This is a crucial victory for people living with HIV and other diseases who can continue to rely on India for access to affordable treatment,” says Loon Gangte of DNP+.
The ruling will have significant benefit for many developing countries – as much as 98% of generic drugs that India manufactures are exported to other poor countries.
Leena Menghaney for Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), which relies on Indian-made generic drugs to treat AIDS and other diseases in Africa and many poor countries, says Novartis’s attacks on the elements of India’s patent law that protect public health have failed.
“The Supreme Court’s decision prevents companies from abusing the patent system to get secondary patents on existing medicines, to block price-busting generic competition on HIV and other essential medicines. This confirms that all patent offices in India have to use this interpretation and the law is now clear and must be strictly applied.”
Novartis has fought this battle for more than a decade. In 1998, Novartis filed a patent application in India for a product patent on the beta-crystalline form of imatinib mesylate (imatinib mesylate). The basic molecule, imatinib, had been discovered in the early 1990s and therefore was not patentable in India. India had not joined the WTO club then.
In 2005, the Chennai Patent Office heard patent oppositions filed by CPAA, represented by Lawyers Collective HIV/AIDS Unit, and other Indian generic companies.
In 2006, the Patent Office rejected Novartis’ patent application on several grounds, including section 3(d). Novartis has been fighting this battle since.
In an expected reaction, Novartis says it will not invest on research and development in India, and will move its R&D facilities to “favourable destinations”.
The company will continue to introduce products in the country, but not invest in R&D here, Novartis India Vice-Chairman and Managing Director Ranjit Shahani told a media briefing in Mumbai.
Experts in pharmaceutical industry have expressed concerns over the implications of the decision. “The pharmaceutical industry is driven by innovation, and they need to be able to recover their cost of drug development,” said an industry observer in the United States.
“If cheaper alternatives are available in the market, major drug developers will struggle to recover money, and this will affect future drug development.”
It takes anywhere from $1 billion to $2 billion to develop a drug, and the complete process ranging from research to securing patent takes 12 to 15 years for one drug.
(With inputs from a media release by Lawyers Collective HIV/AIDS Unit and Cancer Patients AID Association)