Say what you want about the tech sector, but it’s never boring. Any given week will keep tech investors flooded with product announcements, earnings surprises, and crazy strategy shifts that absolutely nobody saw coming.
These are three of the most shocking pieces of tech news this week.
1. Mr. Schmidt goes to Burma
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) chairman and ex-CEO Eric Schmidt turned heads by taking a trip to Myanmar this week.
What’s so shocking about that? Company leaders take long trips all the time, usually to sell something or set up a partnership in a new region. Surely, Schmidt’s visit to Burma falls into one of those two categories.
But no, this is not business as usual at all. Schmidt walked into a democratic backwater that’s known to punish dissenters and free-speech advocates with impunity — and asked the government to open up free speech on the Internet.
Just a couple of years ago, this would have been tantamount to stretching out your arms and asking for handcuffs. The military junta stepped aside after 50 years in power, and the new Burma does look much healthier. Still, it’s one thing to say so from the outside and another to ask for reform on Burmese soil. Schmidt also asked North Korea for more open online communications on a recent visit.
More online traffic will certainly lead to more ad clicks for Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), but Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) really does seem to have a greater goal than simple profits. It wants to change the world. “Technology empowers individuals,” Schmidt told Burmese students. “One mobile phone in one village can record injustices.”
2. TIBCO missed again
Tibco Software Inc. (NASDAQ:TIBX) used to laugh at analyst estimates and shove them aside, beaten to a pulp. Then the data-analysis expert would raise guidance for the next period. Lather, rinse, repeat.
But the good times aren’t rolling so smoothly anymore. Tibco Software Inc. (NASDAQ:TIBX) has only met or even missed earnings targets in three consecutive quarters, including this Thursday’s report. This time, a modest top-line miss was followed by disappointing guidance for the next quarter. Shares plunged as much as 17% on the news, though the damage narrowed to 9.4% by Friday’s market close.
CEO Vivek Ranadive unveiled friction in his North American sales operations three quarters ago and installed a new team to run the domestic show. The new staff is not getting results as quickly as Vivek might have wanted, leaving the CEO “disappointed” in another quarter of weak American sales.