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Sales of PCs just grew for the first time in six years

Don’t look now, but the PC might not be dead. According to Gartner , collector of marketshare and industry metrics, worldwide shipments of personal computers just experienced the first year-over-year growth since 2012. Shipments totaled 62.1 million units, which is a 1.4 percent increase from the same time period in 2017. The report states “experienced some growth compared with a year ago” but goes on to caution declaring the PC industry as in recovery just yet. The top five PC vendors all experienced growth with Lenovo seeing the largest gains of 10.5% — though that could be from Lenovo completing a joint venture with Fujitsu. HP grew 6.1%, Dell 9.5%, Apple 3% and Acer 3.1%. All good signs for an industry long thought stagnate. This report excludes Chromebooks from its data. PC vendors experienced growth without the help of Chromebooks, which are the latest challenger to the notebook computer. Gartner points to the business market as the source of the increased demand. The consumer market, it states, is still decreasing as consumers increasing use mobile devices.

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Glasswing Ventures closes its artificial intelligence-focused fund with $112 million

One year after receiving a whopping $75 million commitment to invest in early stage companies applying artificial intelligence to various industries, Glasswing Ventures has closed its debut fund with $112 million.  It’s a significant milestone for a firm that purports to be the largest early stage investor focused on machine learning on the East Coast, and one of the largest early stage funds to be led by women. Founded by Rudina Seseri alongside her longtime investing partner Rick Grinnell and bolstered by the addition of former portfolio executive Sarah Fay, Glasswing so far has invested in three startups: BotChain (a company spun up from Glasswing’s early investment in the AI management company, Talla); Allure Security, a threat detection company; and Terbium Labs, whose service alerts companies when sensitive or stolen information of theirs appears on the Internet. For Seseri and Glasswing, the close is actually just the beginning. As she said in a statement: “Raising an AI-focused fund on the East Coast is just the beginning for Glasswing Ventures. As we embark on a journey to shape the future, we are laser-focused on investing in exceptional founders who leverage AI to build disruptive companies and transform markets. Beyond providing smart capital, we are firmly committed to supporting our entrepreneurs with all facets of building and scaling their businesses.” The story, for Seseri and her co-founder Grinnell actually begins nearly a decade ago at the venture firm Fairhaven Capital , the rebranded investment arm of the TD Bank Group. At the time of the firm’s launch in 2016, Glasswing was targeting $150 million for its first fund, with a 2.5% management fee and 20% carried interest (pretty standard terms for a venture fund), according to reporting by Dan Primack back when he was at Fortune . In a pitchdeck seen by Primack the firm was touting 4.25x return multiple on its investments including 6x realized and 1.8x unrealized in deals like Grinnell’s exit from EqualLogic (which was sold to Dell for $1.46 billion) and Seseri’s investments in Jibo (which is now basically worthless) and SocialFlow (which isn’t). Fay, who worked at a portfolio investment of Fairhaven’s, was brought on soon after the two partners launched their new venture. Glasswing definitely benefits from the firm’s proximity to Boston’s stellar universities.

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Tech-support scammers know EVERYTHING about my computer, Dell customer says

Enlarge (credit: David Precious / Flickr ) More than 30 months after surfacing, a tech-support scam targeting Dell computer owners continues to raise questions about how the callers know sensitive information, including PC serial numbers and the names, phone numbers, and email addresses customers gave to the PC maker. Most tech-support scams are opportunistic. A caller falsely claims she’s calling from Microsoft to warn of a serious, non-existent problem with a person’s Windows computer, even when the person happens to own only a Mac. The goal of the call is to trick the mark into purchasing software or technical support to fix the issue or to install software that gives the caller remote control over the computer. These types of rackets have been targeting owners of Windows computers from a variety of sellers for years . A scam targeting Dell customers, by contrast, uses sensitive details tied to their specific PC purchase, including the PC model, service tag number, and the contact information the customers provided at the time they made the purchase. Armed with those details, the caller has a much better chance of tricking the person into thinking the call is legitimate and, from there, ceding control of the computer or coughing up hundreds of dollars in fraudulent support costs. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Dell will soon be a public company (again)

Dell, which went private in one of the the largest leveraged buyouts in tech circa 2013, announced today that it will once again be going public through a relatively complex mechanism that will once again bring the company back onto the public markets with founder Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners largely in control. Dell’s leveraged buyout largely marked the final page in the company’s storied history as a PC provider, going back to the old “dude, you’re getting a Dell” commercials. The company rode that wave to dominance, but as computing shifted to laptops, mobile phones, and complex operations were offloaded into cloud services like Amazon Web Services, Azure and Google Cloud, Dell found itself navigating a complex environment while having to make a significant business transition beyond the PC era. That meant Dell would be beholden to the whims of public markets, perhaps laden with short-term pessimism over the company’s urgent need to find a transition. The transaction is actually an offer to buy shares that track the company’s involvement in VMWare, converting that tracking stock into Dell Technologies stock that would mark its return as a publicly-traded company. Those shares will end up traded on the NYSE, around five years later after its founder took the company private with Silver Lake Partners in a deal worth roughly $25 billion. Silver Lake Partners owns around 24% of the company, while Dell owns 72% and will continue to serve as the chairman and CEO of the company. This move helps the company bypass the IPO process, which would remove the whole time period of potential investors scrutinizing the company (which has taken on a substantial debt load). Dell said in its most recent quarter it recorded revenue of $21.4 billion, up 19% year-over-year, and over the past 12 months the company generated $82.4 billion of revenue with a net loss of $2.3 billion. The company said it has also paid down $13 billion of gross debt since its combination with EMC back in 2016. All this has been part of the company’s transition to find new businesses beyond just selling computers, though there’s clearly still demand for those computers in offices around the world. As it has expanded into a broader provider of IT services, it’s potentially positioned itself as a modern enterprise tools provider, which would allow it to more securely navigate public markets while offering investors a way to correctly calibrate its value.

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Dell To Become A Publicly Traded Company Once Again – Ubergizmo

Ubergizmo Dell To Become A Publicly Traded Company Once Again Ubergizmo Some of you may remember that Dell went private in 2013 after a $25 billion buyout by founder and CEO Michael Dell and investment firm Silver Lake. There were reports a few months back that the company was thinking about going public once again and ... and more »

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Dell is going public again

Dell went private back in 2013 to reorganize without quite so much external pressure to perform. Now, however, it's ready to go public once again. The company has unveiled a plan to buy its own tracking stock in a $21.7 billion deal that, in exchan...

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A look back at the best tech ads of the last 35 years

Last week the Association of Independent Commercial Producers announced the winners of its annual awards honoring the best moving image marketing of the year and Apple’s “Welcome Home” ad took home the prize for Advertising Excellence in the single commercial category. Directed by Spike Jonze , the person behind movies like Her and Being John Malkovich , the musical short film follows the journey of a young woman, FKA Twigs , as she returns home from a challenging work day to an empty apartment. After asking Siri to “play something she’d like” her world is literally transformed as the music of Anderson .Paak’s “Til It’s Over” spills out of her HomePod . With stunning visuals (most of which were not CGI ) and captivating choreography, Jonze breathes life into a product that got mixed reviews after its release in February. This made us think, what other tech commercials have grabbed our attention in the last 35 years and transformed how we think about technology? Here are a few of our favorites.   “1984” It’s hard to talk about transformative tech ads without mentioning this one first. This Super Bowl ad from 1984 was directed by Ridley Scott (who directed Alien in 1979) and was the world’s introduction to the Macintosh personal computer. The ad draws some not-so-subtle connections between PC consumerism and soulless corporate office spaces of the 1980s to George Orwell’s dystopian ‘1984.’ In the commercial, a depiction of Big Brother speaks hypnotically to a mass of identical workers as a woman in bright colors streaks through the crowd, mallet in hand. With Olympian effort, she sends it flying into the screen, disrupting the status quo of personal computing and promising the world that with the Macintosh “1984 won’t be like ‘1984′.”     “Dude, You’re Getting a Dell” Noticeably less high-concept than the introduction of the Macintosh, this 26-commercial campaign still captured a lot of attention in the earlier 2000s. The spots feature a character named Steven — a stereotypical easy-going, cool teenager who has a particular knack for charming parents into buying Dell computers for their families. A popular spot for Dell, the commercials even launched the star Ben Curtis into a little bit of fame himself. The actor recently appeared in a 2017 off-Broadway show,  The Crusade of Connor Stephens.   “Get a Mac” Confession time: I loved these commercials as a kid.

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How to buy an HDR monitor

High dynamic range (HDR) TVs and projectors have been around for years now, but PC displays have been the neglected stepchild. It was only just last year that HDR monitors like Dell's UltraSharp 27 4K started to appear. Luckily, things changed for th...

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How to buy an HDR monitor

High dynamic range (HDR) TVs and projectors have been around for years now, but PC displays have been the neglected stepchild. It was only just last year that HDR monitors like Dell's UltraSharp 27 4K started to appear. Luckily, things changed for th...

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By keeping its head in the cloud, Microsoft makes it rain on shareholders

Thanks in part to its colossal cloud business, Microsoft earnings are drenching shareholders in dollars. For the quarter ending March 31, 2018 the tech ringer from Redmond saw its revenue increase to $26.8 billion (up 16%) from $23.2 billion, with operating income up 23% to $8.3 billion, up from $6.7 billion. Income was a whopping $7.4 billion (up from $5.5 billion) and diluted earnings per share were 95 cents versus analyst expectations of 85 cents per share, according to FactSet. Despite the earnings beat, shares of the company stock fell as much as 1% in after hours trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange. Floating much of Microsoft’s success for the quarter was the continued strength of the company’s cloud business, which chief executive Satya Nadella singled out in a statement. “Our results this quarter reflect the trust people and organizations are placing in the Microsoft Cloud,”Nadella said. “We are innovating across key growth categories of infrastructure, AI, productivity and business applications.” The company also returned $6.3 billion to shareholders in dividends and share repurchases in the third quarter 2018, an increase of 37%. The company notched wins across the board. In addition to the growth of its cloud business, Microsoft also recorded wins from LinkedIn, which saw revenue increase 37% and Surface revenue increasing 32%. The Surface numbers are notable because it’s perhaps the first indication that its hardware successes aren’t necessarily limited to the Xbox (insert Zune joke here).

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