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Tech News: At Facebook Inc's First Shareholders Meeting, Concerns Went Beyond Share Price


Plus, a new model for calculating how much energy is saved by the cloud, a Microsoft Corporation president's mistake, and Audible will no longer give authors $1 for each audiobook sold.

Facebook's First Shareholder Meeting Sees Mostly Stock Price Complaints

Yesterday, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) held its first shareholders meeting since before its notorious IPO, when the social network company became the first American company ever to debut on the stock market with a value of over $100 billion. We all know what happened next: The company's stock price declined 37% since its debut at $38. Investors used their time at yesterday's shareholder meeting to let Mark Zuckerberg know that they were not happy about that decline, and Zuckerberg acknowledged it as a "theme" of the meeting.

Concerned shareholders also asked Zuckeberg about the threat of Google+ (NASDAQ:GOOG) and rival photo-sharing sites, and of course, user privacy, after last week's revelation of the NSA's PRISM program, which involves major tech companies providing the government with user data. That being said, the largest concern was still share price.

To address its floundering stock price, Facebook made a large push toward producing effective mobile ads last year. Now, mobile ads account for a total of 30% of the company's entire revenue. Even so, revenue growth remains well below the level of two years ago, before the company went public. That probably has less to do with a botched IPO than heightened competition.

As for those competitors, Zuckerberg told the agitated shareholders, "None of the trends that we see right now seem like they should get in the way of our success in any meaningful way." Moreover, he added that the number of comments and likes posted by Facebook users "has gone up per person about 50%," signifying a growth in engagement. What matters to the shareholders, however, is if that growth in engagement can translate into a higher share price.

We Knew Cloud Computing Saved Energy, but Thanks to a New Model, We Can Now Figure Out How Much

A new report by Berkeley Lab and funded by Google finds that businesses can save significant energy by moving their software into cloud computing. This finding is nothing new, as research into cloud computing has shown for several years that it promotes energy efficiency. The most exciting thing about Berkeley's work, however, is a new, publicly available model that allows anyone to examine and measure the energy required and carbon emissions of various scenarios for cloud computing. IT specialists at companies across the world can input data about their company, including data center type, types of servers, and geographic location, and see how much energy could be saved by putting business software like email and spreadsheets into the cloud, instead of hosting their own servers.

Most often, the gains in efficiency that companies experience when moving to cloud-based computing and storage come from not having to run any servers because cloud data centers -- hosted by companies like, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL), Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:AKAM), and, Inc. (NYSE:CRM) -- do it for them (and their servers are generally of higher quality and are more efficient).

The model is called the Cloud Energy and Emissions Research Model (CLEER).

Xbox Executive's Advice for Those With No Internet Connection: Stick With 360

The Xbox One, the new video game console from Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), is set to launch in November, and a lot has been said about a divisive feature that requires the system to be connected to the Internet at all times. In an interview with Spike TV yesterday at E3, the video game industry's major trade show, Xbox Executive Don Mattrick called the $499 console a "future-proof choice," claiming that a system devised to be used only online allows for more connections between games and users, between gamers and their friends, and between games and related online content.

When asked how gamers without Internet access will be able to play the new Xbox One, Mattrick answered, "Fortunately we have a product for people who aren't able to get some form of connectivity. It's called Xbox 360." The interviewer was somewhat shocked by the brazen answer and asked if Microsoft's plan for offline users was for them to use the older console, to which Mattrick replied, "Well, if you have zero access to the Internet, that [360] is an offline device."

On top of the much debated constant connectivity issue, Xbox One will also put limitations on used games. Every game will need to be installed to the system's hard drive, and when the game had already been installed to another system, there will be a fee required to play the game (that fee has not yet been specified).

On the other hand, Sony Corporation's (NYSE:SNE) new PlayStation 4 will include neither forced connectivity nor a limited on used games, and neither does Nintendo Co, Ltd.'s (OTCMKTS:NTDOY) current Wii U console -- that is, these systems don't include these features yet. For all the uproar over Microsoft's approach to its new system, the company may be blazing the way for next generation video games business models, for better or for worse.

(See also: Occupy PlayStation Meets the Xbox One Percent.)

Audible Ends Service That Paid Authors $1 for Every Audiobook Sold

Launched in April 2012,'s "Audible Author Services" program paid an author $1 for every audio book sold on either,, or iTunes (NASDAQ:AAPL). The program was backed by a $20 million fund. Now, the Amazon-owned audio book company has announced that the program will end as of June 30.

In an email to authors, Jason Ojalvo, the Vice President of Author Services at Audible, wrote, "You will receive your final quarterly $1 honoraria report and check for April 1 - June 30, 2013 in late August. From the outset, the $1 honoraria was only slated to be a one-year program to make you more aware of your audiobooks and their place in your growing book portfolio, alongside print books and eBooks."

The letter goes on to urge authors to continue to market their audiobooks through Audible, Amazon, and iTunes, and to make sure all their books have been converted to audiobook, offering as a primary resource, an Amazon platform where authors, studios, and actors can all meet to make a book into an audiobook.

It is likely that ending this program will reintroduce some variety and competition into the audiobook market.

Follow me on Twitter: @JoshWolonick and @Minyanville
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