Welcome to “The Week in Tech,” where we recap some of the most interesting technology and mobile stories from the past week.
This week we highlight the end of the deal between Netflix and Epix, Marissa Mayer’s twins, HP’s layoff offers, and AOL’s purchase of Millennial Media.
Netflix ends deal with Epix, loses blockbuster movies
Netflix has decided not to renew its agreement with Epix, the company who supplied the streaming video service with popular movies. Thus, hits such as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Wolf of Wall Street, and World War Z won’t be available anymore.
Following its strategy of successfully developing its own award-winning TV shows, Netflix has been working hard on producing original films, and thus believes the loss of Epix movies won’t be much of a loss at all. Impending releases include a film written by True Detective writer and director Cary Fukunaga, a comedy starring Adam Sandler, and a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sequel.
Hulu saw an opportunity and immediately struck a deal with Epix to carry all of the movies that can no longer be seen on Netflix.
While Netflix subscribers do seem to lose out in the short term, all is not bleak in the future. Netflix’s deal with Disney begins in 2016, which brings in hits from Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm. And given Netflix’s track record of developing original TV programming – which has garnered plenty of Emmy award nominations and wins – we should expect some quality feature films coming from their studio.
Marissa Mayer is having twins!
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced that she is expecting twin girls. She also announced that she will only take two weeks of maternity leave and “work throughout.”
Mayer is in a lose-lose predicament.
On one hand, Yahoo is in a critical stage of its lifecycle. Her presence is surely needed as the company navigates its way after the spinoff of its massive stake in Alibaba, which essentially kept the Yahoo afloat the past few years.
On the other hand, she’s having twins, for God’s sake! Take care of your children! Her priorities as a parent are surely being questioned by mothers everywhere.
This comes at time where Silicon Valley companies have begun to offer more time off for new parents. Yahoo itself allows new mothers to take 16 weeks off. Adobe gives 26 weeks paid leave. And Netflix provides a full year.
So Mayer is sending a mixed message about increased benefits for new mothers. But with Yahoo’s cloudy future, she may not have a choice.
HP asks employees to become contractors or be fired
In the latest round of layoffs by troubled HP, the company is giving its employees an ultimatum: Take a new job at a contracting partner or be fired with no severance. Ouch.
HP’s Enterprise Services Department has been struggling and looks to cut its workforce and minimize downsizing costs at the same time. Thus, the company is offering jobs at Ciber, a consulting partner that resells HP products, to those employees who are being cut.
Some of these employees are complaining that offers from Ciber are extremely low. One HP employee claimed an offer of $30,000 less than his current salary, while others say they’ll be paid one-half of what they were making at HP.
Or they can just walk away with nothing. The typical severance paid by HP to laid-off employees is one week for each year of service, and HP has made it clear that’s not on the table.
Tough times and decisions for both HP and its employees.
AOL buys Millennial Media
AOL has purchased Baltimore-based advertising technology firm Millennial Media for about $238 million to expand its presence in serving mobile ads for brands.
This acquisition makes a ton of sense for AOL, who is now owned by Verizon. A key reason for the mobile carrier’s purchase of AOL was the potential to monetize and grow Verizon’s mobile audience using AOL’s advertising technology. Buying Millennial Media adds to AOL’s advertising mobile ad offerings, thus further expanding this strategy.
For Millennial Media, this acquisition is bittersweet and puts an end to a slide that started in 2012. When the company went public three years ago, its valuation soared to an astonishing $2 billion on the potential of the money to be made delivering ads on mobile phones and tablets.
But the company fell behind the likes of Facebook, Google, and Twitter, who were able to monetize their large audiences effectively, and thus sold for one-eighth of its market value on the day of its IPO.
What do you think of these stories? Have you read other interesting mobile and technology stories this week that are worth mentioning? Feel free to add your thoughts to the comments.