Tag: cash

Outsourcery was a tale told by an idiot

SormickA report into the crash of Cloud infrastructure and apps provider Outsourcery shows that the outfit died because it just ran out of cash.

The Statement of Affairs filed at Companies House said that sales were  below expectations, leading to funding shortfalls.  After its IPO it burnt through £17.7m of cash and £4m of secured debt from Vodafone.

In 2013, Outsourcery reported a net loss of £9.12 million. In 2014 its net losses were £7.6 million and in 2015 £6.22 million. So while it seemed to be getting better it was still losing money hand over fist.

Co-CEOs at Outsourcery, Piers Linney and Simon Newton, managed to attract interest from 12 bidders before it was sold to GCI Telecom for £4m.  This included £3.73 million for goodwill and nearly £270,000 for equipment. About 100 staff transferred to the new owners.

Outsourcery Plc, Outsourcery Group Ltd, Outsourcery Holding and Outsourcery Holdings were placed into administration. Outsourcery US and Outsourcery Mobile were not but these were largely dormant and the only assets were intra-company receivables.

Post sale, Vodafone was paid £1.8 million and then another £1.5 million toward its £5 million secured debt and £300,000 in accrued interest; Etive was owed £1 million plus £8,000 in interest.

Creditors’ claims are anticipated to be in the region of £1.9 million including £424,637 owed to Hewlett Packard International Bank, £165,244 to Fasthosts, £134,273 to Telecity and £112,937 to Bytes Software Services.

It was all a complete disaster and a cautionary tale for anyone who thinks that the word “cloud” is a license to print money.

Bitcoin Foundation is out of cash

irony31The Bitcoin Foundation is ironically bankrupt and has shed most of its staff.

Olivier Janssens, who was elected to the board last month wrote in his bog that the foundation has almost no money left, and just fired 90 percent of its people. Some will stay on as volunteers.

“The Bitcoin Foundation hates transparency,” he added. “If they would have been transparent then everyone would know there is no money left.”

Janssens attributed the foundation’s financial straits to two years of “ridiculous spending and poorly thought out decisions,” adding that the board has tried to remedy the situation by finding a new executive director. He called for the replacement of the entire board.

Janssens is a bitcoin millionaire and he wrote that he will donate “several 100k” to a special trust fund aimed at supporting core development of the digital currency and supplemented by crowdfunding efforts.

Patrick Murck, its executive director, wrote in a response to Janssens’ post, “The foundation is not bankrupt, but a restructuring is needed. Olivier basically jumped in front of our announcements on that and our annual report on the 2014 finances to be released next week, and he spun it very very negative.”

Admitting that the money has run out, board member Gavin Adresen wrote in another response that that the foundation was not bankrupt.

“The board needs to decide whether the responsible thing to do is to continue the organization with a much smaller organization and vision or to dissolve it.”
The Bitcoin Foundation has a few problems going for it.

Among its founding members are Charlie Shrem, who pleaded guilty to transmitting money linked to the Silk Road online drugs site, and Mark Karpeles, who presided over the collapse of MtGox, once the world’s largest trading place for bitcoin.

In May 2014, a number of Bitcoin Foundation members quit in frustration over the organization’s direction and issues related to a board election.

Tor wants government freedom

tor-browsingSecurity outfit Tor has said it wants to wean itself off US government cash.

In 2013, Tor received more than $1.8 million from the US government, about 75 percent of the $2.4 million in total annual expenses, according to their latest publicly available tax returns.

While Tor is grateful for the cash, it is worried that conspiracy theorists claim that the US spooks have the system wired up to be a honeypot.

The premise is that while  Tor is meant to keep you anonymous on the Internet but it’s funded in large part by the US government who does not want you to be anonymous. So it must be a way that the government locates those who want to be anonymous and tracks them down.

Technically this is tricky, but it is probably better for Tor if it was free of a government involvement – particularly when that government has been seen as a big fan of snooping.

Developers recently discussed the push to diversify funding at Tor’s biannual meeting in Spain, including setting a goal of 50 percent non-U.S. government funding by 2016.

Tor developers at the meeting also brought up the possibility of lobbying foreign governments within, for instance, the European Union.

However, increasing non-governmental funding is a major priority. Individual donations rose significantly in the last year and Tor plans on soliciting them much more aggressively in 2015. Every new download of Tor—there were 120 million in 2014—will be asked to donate to the project, a change expected to take place in the near future.

Tor is launching a crowdfunding campaign in May of this year.

AMD might get lots of Chinese cash

 Photo of China from satellite - Wikimedia CommonsThe dark satanic rumour mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn which suggests that AMD might be set to expand thanks to wodges of Chinese cash being thrown at it.

Since Intel paid AMD a billion for its anti-trust doings,  AMD’s bottom line has not been that good.

However it is still in a good position to churn out processors and video cards. This would make it a good deal for a buy out.  Some have suggested Samsung, but others Qualcomm.

But there is also one name which is cropping up on the rumour mill a lot more — a Chinese company called BLX IC Design Corp.

The sticking point to any buy out is that it would require the renegotiation of the licence with Intel over the x86 architecture, however an investment by a third company would work. Trade restrictions by the US government could prevent an outright purchase by an institution run by the Chinese government, but the US loves Chinese cash.

BLX has collaborated with AMD in the past, and does not need to buy the company to get what it wants.

The rumour, looked at  by Tom’s Hardware suggests that BLX IC Design could buy a share of AMD .  It controls the manufacturer of microprocessors Loongson Technology (MIPS architecture, family Godson), may make a strategic investment in technologies and products from AMD with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The Chinese chip designer could provide enough money to AMD to increase its capacity for research and development. The budget of AMD in research and development for this quarter will be about $ 200 million, well below the historical spending. As the company’s sales are shrinking, will not increase spending in this area, which could jeopardize its future and the long-term survival.

AMD bosses were in Beijing in late January and early February for meetings related to the possible deal.

Armed with Chinese cash, AMD could damage Intel with projects like Zen and K12 and put the fear of god into Nvidia. Its new partners could help it make inroads into the huge Chinese market and provide the Chinese semiconductor industry with much needed patents and R&D.


IBM gives cash to top suits

44ce1d7353cc797d6d0ad093f04f32c7Big Blue might be seeing its profits drop down the loo, but that has not stopped it paying bonuses to its top suits.

IBM has brought back annual performance bonuses for its chief executive and her top lieutenants for 2014 despite falling profits and a tumbling stock price.

According to a regulatory filing, the outfit withheld annual bonuses in 2013 at the executives’ own request.  The company has had more than 11 quarters of falling profits and is still trying to lose staff.

The bonuses returned as a feature of IBM’s executive compensation for 2014, according to a document filed with securities regulators on Friday, despite the fact that IBM’s net profit from continuing operations fell 7 percent last year and its stock shed about 14 percent.

IBM CEO Virginia Rometty will get a $3.6 million annual incentive payout for 2014, according to the filing. Chief Financial Officer Martin Schroeter and three other executives or advisers were also listed as getting smaller annual incentive payouts.

Rometty will receive a base salary of $1.6 million for 2015. This is her first rise in pay from the $1.5 million she got each of the last three years after taking up the post of CEO at the beginning of 2012.

She will also get a target annual incentive award of $5 million for 2015 and a long-term stock grant worth $13.3 million, which would be payable in 2018, according to the filing.

IBM last year withdrew its long-term plan to hit $20 per share in operating earnings for 2015 as it failed to get the sort of focus on higher-margin businesses such as security software and cloud services.

IBM has been divesting underperforming businesses in an attempt to move into the new era of cloud computing, a struggle shared by other established technology leaders.

No bonuses for the lesser suits, but at least they are not being fired.

Gmail to let users attach cash to emails

google-ICAmong the flurry of announcements at the hours-long Google IO conference yesterday, there was one that threatened to step on Paypal’s turf – sending cash will soon be as simple as sending an email.

Provided you have a Google account set up for Google Wallet with your bank, at least in the US it is now possible to send cash for free, and all you have to do is click on a $ sign under attachments. You can link up credit or debit cards as well, which Google promises will charge low fees – a flat fee of 2.9 percent. Receiving money is free.

Users will be limited to sending $10,000 per day, or $50,000 for each five day period, which will be more than enough for most casual users. Google says sending money with your Google Wallet balance is always free and “usually instant”.

For now Google is rolling out the feature to all US Gmail users who are over 18, and earlier access will be available if friends have the feature and are actively using it.

Google also says it has purchase protection which “covers you 100 percent against eligible unauthorised payments”.

The service, if it picks up, could threaten to bite at Paypal’s ankles. It doesn’t take much searching online to find complaints about the latter, and casual users are likely to be particularly interested. For small trading, sending a protected payment via email is going to be quick and easy.

Still, there will be those turned off by such services. Having an account phished or simply compromising your own password potentially puts your cash at risk.