The Skinny

The Skinny

WRAL TechWire Publisher and Editor Rick Smith dishes out tidbits from the local technology sector. Read the latest articles…

Updated June 23

Premium Lock Exclusive: Google Fiber ready for Triangle competition, top exec says

Google Fiber formally disclosed launching the construction of its Triangle network today, but it's starting from behind. However, J. Erik Garr, the head of Google Fiber for the Triangle, says the company is ready to take on competition such as AT&T and Frontier, which have a big head start in the gigabit Internet market. He also talks about a wide number of issues in a Q&A with WRAL TechWire.

Google Fiber going in the ground in Triangle Google Fiber going in the ground in Triangle

Updated June 23

Premium Lock Google Fiber is here: Construction begins across Triangle

After years of lobbying for Google Fiber then waiting for service once the Triangle was picked as a site, the news many Triangle residents and businesses have hoped for is official: Construction of a 5,700 mile fiber-optic high-speed Internet and entertainment network by Google is finally getting under way.

Google Fiber installation underway in Triangle Google Fiber installation underway in Triangle

Updated June 23

Premium Lock In the name of hype, Lenovo launches a 'Killer' campaign

In light of the recent massacre in Charleston, a company in the U.S. would be well advised to stay away from a "Killer" campaign. But Lenovo is hyping what appears to be a new smartphone "Killer" in India and is offering a contest in which smartphone users can "bury" their old devices. Smart? Distasteful?

Lenovo's "Killer" teaser at Twitter Lenovo's "Killer" teaser at Twitter

Updated June 22

Premium Lock Red Hat pays hefty price for new CFO: $4M signing bonus, $9M in stock, $500,000 to move

How badly did red Hat want Frank Calderoni, the former chief financial officer of Cisco, to become its new CFO? Try $13.5 million in cash and stock - plus an annual salary of $685,000 and an annual bonus potentially matching that salary.

Frank Caldceroni Frank Caldceroni

Tags: Red Hat
June 22

Premium Lock NC budget showdown: Much at stake for startup, life science, tech sectors

Economic development So will North Carolina gain anew venture capital fund? Will the budget of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center be slashed to zero? Will crowdfunding ever pass? What will happen in terms of economic incentives? Bottom line: Who will fight for what to get passage?

June 18

Premium Lock Senate Majority Leader to Biotech Center: 'It can live on it's own'

N.C. flag      The budget from the North Carolina Senate zeroes-out funding for the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. And the Republican leader says it's time for the hub of the state's growing biotech and life science cluster to "live on it's own." The Biotech Center CEO warns it can't. Now it's up to the House to save funding in final budget negotiations.

Updated June 17

Premium Lock Biotech Center CEO on budget cut: 'We don't want life sciences to go the way of textiles, tobacco and furniture ...'

The proposed N.C. Senate budget calls for a zeroing-out of all financial support for the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. That wipe out would have a big impact on the state's life science industry, warns Biotech Center CEO Doug Edgeton.

Doug Edgeton  Doug Edgeton

Updated June 16

Premium Lock Fidelity Labs brings 'innovation catalyst' to American Underground

Fidelity Investments Startups in the Triangle will be able to earn some first-hand attention and advice from Fidelity Labs, the "innovation catalyst" and R&D group for the financial services giant. It's opening an office at the American Underground's downtown Durham office. Who knows, the Lab might just open the door to a Fidelity capital investment, too.

June 16

Premium Lock NC Senate budget plan cuts all Biotech Center funding

North Carolina's Biotechnology Center budget would be zeroed out - a slash of $13.6 million - under a proposed budget plan released by the N.C. Senate. The Biotech Center is scrambling to recover, noting that the House budget includes funding. Just two years ago, the Center, which helps fund startups and research all over the state and is a key factor to N.C.'s growing life science industry, was funded at $17.2 million.

N.C. Biotech Center    N.C. Biotech Center

Updated June 16

Premium Lock Former UNCW startup center director has big plans for Wilmington

Jim Roberts has new plans for entrepreneurship and startups in the Wilmington area even though his tenure as head of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UNC-Wilmington ended in March. What's he up to other than putting on two events designed to drum up investor interest?

Full Steam Ahead Awards 2015 Full Steam Ahead Awards 2015

Updated June 11

Premium Lock Raleigh startup CellBreaker promises to switch miffed cell users in 7 days

Promising to help wireless customers to break contracts without paying early termination fees and setting up a new account within seven days, Raleigh-based CellBreaker formally launched service Thursday. Right now, customers can use CellBreaker "for free."

June 11

Premium Lock Eco development moving but crowdfunding, VC fund sit; Uber's regulation play

WRAL's Mark Binker reports that economic development is moving again in the General Assembly. However, there's nothing apparently going to happen quickly on two other items entrepreneurs and investors are wanting. But in other startup news, Uber makes a regulatory play. There's also news on renewable energy credits.

Economic development Economic development

Updated June 10

Premium Lock Tonight Show's hilarious spoof: 'Pros and cons of female Viagra'

So what's the biggest risk in taking the 'female Viagra" from Raleigh's Sprout Pharmaceuticals if the FDA approves it? Having the pharmacist say over the PA system: "Female Viagra for Linda." So says Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show.

June 10

Premium Lock Duke survey's good job news: Wages going up, companies keep hiring

There's good news for workers wanting raises as well as for people seeking work in a new survey from Duke University and CFO Magazine: Companies are hiring more full-time workers and outsourcing less. Meanwhile, wages are expected to rise more 3 percent.

Updated June 10

Premium Lock Raleigh startup to offer marketplace for people wanting out of cellphone contracts

CellBreaker, the Raleigh-based startup that aims to help people break cellphone contracts with no early termination fees, is launching a new service Thursday: A "contract justice marketplace" where wireless customers can switch carriers and service providers can gain new customers.

Cellbreaker offers a way out for wireless customers Cellbreaker offers a way out for wireless customers

Updated June 9

Premium Lock Epic showcases 'Fortnite' at Apple show - but player frustration mounts

Epic Games, the Cary-based gaming technology company that Apple showers with love, showcased the latest updates of its next big game on Monday on Apple's big stage. But the game is still a long way from being released, and the people wanting Zombie combat are getting antsy.

Updated June 8

Premium Lock What's the holdup on crowdfunding, new venture fund in NC?

Crowdfunding  North Carolina's General Assembly continues to drag its collective feet on crowdfunding legislation even as other states such as Texas continue to embrace the means of providing more people access to investment in startups. And frustration in the entrepreneurial community is growing. Plus, no news on a new $120 million venture fund. What in blazes is the holdup?

Updated June 5

Premium Lock Triangle must be one: Two new studies show the need to create one MSA

A new entrepreneurship study from the Kauffman Foundation omits any mention of the startup hot spot known as the Triangle? Why? Because Raleigh and Durham aren't considered to be one metro statistical area. Another study also breaks the Triangle in half, triggering data that could - make that should - be a lot better. When will triangle leaders act?

Where's RTP? Kauffman study ignores Triangle Where's RTP? Kauffman study ignores Triangle

Updated June 5

Premium Lock Pyrrhic victory? FDA could 'even the score' by denying 'female Viagra' approval

Sprout Pharmaceuticals scored a major victory in its battle with the FDA to win approval for a so-called "female Viagra." But in arousing support for flibanserin with an aggressive "Even the Score" campaign that even included Congressional support, Sprout angered the FDA. How will the drug agency respond when a final decision is made in August?

Cindy Whitehead  Cindy Whitehead

Updated June 4

Premium Lock Cisco's new CEO unveils 'my' team - minus CTO Warrior, other top execs

UNC-Chapel Hill graduate Chuck Robbins unveils the management team he wants when he takes over as Cisco CEO next month. The group of 10 doesn't include Chief Technology Officer Padmasree Warrior and other familiar Cisco names.

The Robbins team at Cisco The Robbins team at Cisco