iTunes Store Sets New Record with 25 Billion Songs Sold

CUPERTINO, California―February 6, 2013―Apple® today announced that music fans have purchased and downloaded more than 25 billion songs from the iTunes Store® (, the world’s most popular online music, TV and movie store. The 25 billionth song, “Monkey Drums� (Goksel Vancin Remix) by Chase Buch, was purchased by Phillip Lüpke from Germany. As the downloader of the 25 billionth song, Phillip will receive a €10,000 iTunes® Gift Card.

“We are grateful to our users whose passion for music over the past 10 years has made iTunes the number one music retailer in the world,� said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “Averaging over 15,000 songs downloaded per minute, the iTunes Store connects music fans with their favorite artists, including global sensations like Adele and Coldplay and new artists like The Lumineers, on a scale we never imagined possible.�

“In a lot of ways, iTunes has leveled the playing field for musicians. Whether you’re unsigned, indie, major, whatever—it’s the place most people go to buy digital music,� said Wesley Schultz, guitarist and lead vocalist of The Lumineers. “iTunes doesn’t exclude any musicians simply because they’re not yet established or popular.�

The iTunes Store is the world’s most popular music store with a catalog of over 26 million songs and over 25 billion songs downloaded, and is available in 119 countries. The iTunes Store is the best way for iPhone®, iPad®, iPod®, Mac® and PC users to legally discover, purchase and download music online. All music on the iTunes Store comes in iTunes Plus®, Apple’s DRM-free format with high-quality 256 kbps AAC encoding for audio virtually indistinguishable from the original recordings. iTunes in the Cloud lets you download your previously purchased iTunes music to your devices at no additional cost, and new music purchases can be downloaded automatically to your iOS devices.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

Press Contacts:
Christine Monaghan
(408) 974-8850

Lizzie Garlinghouse
(408) 974-0469

Apple, the Apple logo, Mac, Mac OS, Macintosh, iTunes Store, iTunes, iPhone, iPad, iPod and iTunes Plus are trademarks of Apple. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Internet and Telephone Acquires NECOM Solutions

Internet and Telephone LLC., a Massachusetts-based company provider of managed IT devices, VoIP telephone systems and voice and data services, recently acquired NECOM Solutions, making it Internet and Telephone's sixth purchase of a technology company within the New England region.

Through the acquisition, both companies will be able to offer more products, in addition to Internet and Telephone increasing its employee base with the company keeping all full-time NECOM personnel.

"Internet & Telephone and NECOM together will offer customers industry-leading managed IT services," Paul Cissel, co-founder and CEO of Internet and Telephone, said in a statement. "Both companies have years of network excellence, customized solutions and outstanding customer support. We will now offer more services, more technology solutions and more options with the same high levels of performance, reliability and support that our customers have come to expect from us."

The merging of the companies will be beneficial for all companies involved, according to Howard J. Britt, Jr., the founder, president and CEO of NECOM who will be responsible for assisting current NECOM customers with sales and services.

"This combination is highly complementary," Britt said in a statement. "The broad reach of our combined technology, the years of expertise of our dedicated employees and our shared commitment to exemplary service will establish Internet & Telephone as the premier Managed Service Provider in Massachusetts."

David Baker, a technology expert and investment officer at North American Management Company, echoed the same sentiment.

"This acquisition should be a win-win for all involved," Baker said in a statement. "The combined company is well positioned for growth and meeting the ever-increasing need for technology solutions, high-touch customer service and high-performance bandwidth."

NECOM Solution joins Internet and Telephone's five other acquired New England-based companies, which include Entegra Solution, Netway Internet, Russet Communications, TTLC Wireless and Airnet Connect.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

Facebook’s New GPS Mobile Feature

Mobility is changing the way industries operate, from healthcare to social media, and their Web-based appearance. Even social media networking guru Facebook (News - Alert) has been forced to undergo mobile reconstruction of the company.

Taking its marketing platform and mobile capabilities one step further, Facebook is creating a new smartphone application that will track a user’s location, which will help sell advertisements based on location and daily habits. This new marketing revelation has already reached mobile app companies like Singapore-based YPS and Sprooki, which created an application to help retailers engage with shoppers.

The YPS-enabled application a mobile device will first verify the GPS coordinates to identify the building the user is in. When combined with YPS, Sprooki is enabled to not only help retail stores market to their clients, but rather pitch them their products based on the shoppers bodily movements around the store. The Sprooki application will be able to monitor whether a shopper stands near a shoe rack or T-shirt collection, and allows retailers to market to each individual.   

Along with new marketing techniques, the new data-use policy informs users that the company many use information about their locations “to tell you and your friends about people or events nearby, or offer deals to you that you might be interested in,� Facebook said. It may also be used to send user’s notifications about any related information their areas.

Mobility is the new way of the world, and even chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg (News - Alert) believes it is an important development for companies, especially a social media website like Facebook.

“A lot of what we had to do last year was simply to improve our mobile development process,� Zuckerberg said. “The next thing we’re going to do is get really good at building new mobile-first experiences.�

Although Facebook has already had the GPS coordinates feature, which allows users to post their locations or check into a venue from their phone, the new feature will be constantly tracking their locations in the “background� of Apple’s (News - Alert) operating system.

This new GPS feature, while it adds to the mobile experience of a user, it may be crossing a fine line of privacy that users want to maintain despite how public social media has made their lives.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

RightAnswers Unveils Cloud CRM Solution Powered by NetSuite’s SuiteCloud Platform

RightAnswers (News - Alert), a provider of cloud-based knowledge management and self-service solutions, recently unveiled a new cloud CRM solution powered by NetSuite’s SuiteCloud Computing Platform.

“With the RightAnswers SuiteApp, organizations can reach new levels of success for customer service and company-wide support,� said Bill Pollie, vice president, Global Sales and Business Development at RightAnswers, in a statement. “Given that NetSuite (News - Alert) and RightAnswers are recognized leaders in their fields, this can provide customers a new and exciting cloud-based solution.�

The new RightAnswers SuiteApp combines CRM and knowledge management to deliver a complete solution that helps enterprise organizations manage and share knowledge to deliver an enhanced user experience. With this cloud CRM solution, organizations can provide solutions to customer inquiries without having to leave their NetSuite interface.

Customers get answers more quickly and easily through a Web-based self service. They can access solutions 24/7 conveniently from multiple channels including their Web browser, e-mail, smartphone, tablet and others, giving them the answers they need, when they need it.

The service also helps reduce call volumes and costs, decreased escalations and increased productivity. It equips organizations to handle customer inquiries and upcoming business initiatives or projects, track success with powerful analytics, enhance the customer experience and be more efficient in their business.

NetSuite’s SuiteCloud is a combination of cloud-based products, development tools and services designed to help customers and commercial software developers take advantage of the significant economic benefits of cloud computing. 

SuiteCloud Developer tools include workflow management, scripting, analytics, Web services and more, providing a comprehensive cloud customization environment whether you're extending NetSuite to fit your business needs or developing completely new applications.  “Partnering with RightAnswers allows our customers to take advantage of a leading knowledge management and self-service solution,� said Guido Haarmans, vice president, Business Development Technology Partners at NetSuite.

“The integrated nature of our products allows organizations to provide greater consistency in support responses for improved customer service, reduces support costs by providing self-service and mobile access to customers, better equips agents to handle repeat occurrences of known issues, and prepares organizations to better handle company-wide business and IT initiatives,� Haarmans added.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

The Rise of BYOD — Are Your Users on Board?

The Rise of BYOD -- Are Your Users on Board?

February 05, 2013

By , TMCnet Contributing Editor

The proliferation of the mobile device was bound to hit the corporate environment, yet few were prepared for the changes that would need to follow the bring your own device (BYOD) momentum. Today, mobile employees are using a wide range of mobile devices to access the network and supported applications. While this activity may improve productivity, it can also increase risk.

Regardless, the adoption of BYOD is well underway. In fact, according to this ZDNet report, 62 percent of companies will allow BYOD by the end of 2013. This momentum will generate a need for change within the enterprise and small business as an increasing number of devices outside the control of the IT department begin to access proprietary information and applications.

With clear policies in place and technology such as mobile device management applications, IT gains visibility and control of the devices accessing the network and employees are informed as to what constitutes acceptable use.

To gain a better idea of the current market trends, ZDNet and TechRepublic members were invited to weigh in on a BYOD survey. The results produced two surprising facts: more than 44 percent of organizations have embraced BYOD and another 18 percent plan to follow suit by the end of the year; 61 percent of companies already allowing BYOD have had their policies in place for more than a year.

Even with this growth, there are still organizations with no plans to adopt a BYOD policy, at least not in the near future. For many of these companies, security concerns topped the list for abandoning the BYOD trend. The companies that have adopted it, however, have implemented policies to direct the allowable devices, approved applications, appropriate uses and the allowable plans when corporate is footing the bill.

In a Good Technology (News - Alert) study, findings support the projection of the rapidly growing BYOD trend. Featured in this eWeek article, the study results suggest that 55 percent of the 100 companies surveyed are supporting BYOD not just in the U.S. market, but also in multiple countries. While a number of participants in France, Germany and Japan last year expressed concern over personal privacy, data controls and monitoring, many of these concerns are being alleviated by the trend itself.

BYOD has not just introduced the concept of users bringing their own devices to the job; it has also created a whole new industry of technology solutions that allow IT departments full visibility and control over these devices. Plus, more advanced solutions allow users to keep business data separate from personal data, eliminating the need to blacklist applications and limit personal use. The result is a safer device and a happier user.

While the BYOD trend continues, there will be new threats and concerns emerging on both the corporate and user sides. Fortunately, as innovation continues to emerge from key providers in this space, the available solutions to protect the network, the data and the user will ensure a seamless experience that promotes optimal efficiency.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

Keeping Customer Service Effective

» More Workforce Optimization Feature Articles

February 05, 2013

By Robbie Pleasant, TMCnet Contributor

Customer service is the first, last and best line of defense between a customer and dissatisfaction. As such, providing good customer service should be essential to businesses, and yet many feel that just adequate, or even “not that bad� are acceptable, and “good� is reserved for those rare occasions to indicate you’re doing something right.

Employees should, and usually do, have the power to provide customers with personalized offers, recommendations made to suit the customer’s needs and solutions to customer problems without going through the wretched hive of bureaucracy. The more they can provide for a customer, the happier the customer will be, which will reflect well on the business.

Speaking of, an organization should be able to both analyze and recognize the success of its employees. With analytics, quality evaluations, customer feedback and so on, it’s easier than ever to know just how good a job an employee is doing. As such, those who are doing a good job can be recognized and rewarded, while those with less than admirable performances can receive training to better help their customers.

To help with that, there are many systems and solutions that can help with customer interaction. For example, NICE Systems (News - Alert) has Customer Interaction Management solutions, which help improve customer interaction across all communication channels and points in real-time. It provides solutions for compliance and risk, as well as workforce optimization, operational efficiency, sales and retention, and more, ensuring the customer is always happy.

Making one customer upset can have a huge impact. One angry tweet is like proton torpedo down the ventilation shaft of your Customer Satisfaction Star, creating a chain reaction of retweets that can destroy everything. Customer service must always be at its best, so that happy customers can create a healthy business.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

» More Workforce Optimization Feature Articles

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Hyland Software Hits the 5,000 Customer Landmark

Hyland Software has been providing financial institutions — including banks, credit unions and lending organizations — with its enterprise content management (ECM) suite, OnBase, for more than 20 years, helping them better manage documents and provide better service to their customers. The company is celebrating the fact that it has delivered OnBase to its 5,000th financial services customer, 3Rivers Federal Credit Union (FCU).

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"Reaching the 5,000 financial services customer is a huge milestone for us. It shows the ongoing value that ECM brings to financial institutions to become more efficient in their processes and comply with industry regulations," said Michelle Shapiro, Hyland's financial services industry marketing manager, in a statement. "3Rivers is the perfect representation of this milestone, and we're delighted to welcome them as a new customer."

Located in Fort Wayne, Indiana, 3Rivers FCU was no stranger to the benefits of an ECM solution before choosing OnBase, having previously relied on a different ECM solution. However, as its needs changed, 3Rivers found that its ECM solution wasn't capable of keeping up with the company's new requirements. As such, 3Rivers was on the lookout specifically for a solution capable of keeping up with its growth.

The credit union ultimately decided on OnBase after attending Hyland Software's annual user conference, during which it became clear that the company would be able to keep pace with 3Rivers. Indeed, Hyland aims to become a partner with its customers, helping them to leverage ECM to its fullest degree to achieve increased efficiency, speedier operations and outstanding member service.

OnBase's record management functionality will be able to help 3Rivers store records to meet compliance timeframes, as well as purge records that are no longer needed, while its workflow functionality will enable faster member service with mortgage lending.

In January, Hyland Software acquired three new customers — Community Choice Credit Union, Global Lending Services and Minnequa Works Credit Union — while in October, the company released the OnBase Insurance Field Adjuster App, the first of its kind to be developed for Windows 8.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

It’s ‘Hammer Time’ at NBCU’s Restructured Cable Division

NBCUniversal is rejiggering its cable division, adding a new focus on digital distribution and Hispanic content, as well as refocusing its post-Comcast (News - Alert) merger cable nets. The freshly named “Cable Entertainment Group� unit will be spearheaded by Bonnie Hammer, who is moving into the role of Cable Chief and will be responsible for a full 50 percent of NBCU’s operating cash flow.

After the NBCU and Comcast tie-up, the combined portfolio of networks was a tangle of oversight, split between Hammer, who was responsible for E!, G4, USA Network, Syfy, Cloo, Chiller, Wilshire and Universal Cable Prods, and NBCU Cable Executive Lauren Zalaznick, who headed up Bravo, Oxygen, Style, Sprout (News - Alert) and TV One. Hammer will now take over the entirety of the cable portfolio, while Zalaznick is moving to a newly created executive vice president position aimed at “innovation, digital, monetization and emerging technology.�

Zalaznick will play a critical role when it comes to expanded revenue streams; she will be the architect of NBCU’s ongoing TV Everywhere strategies (which it used to great effect during the Olympics), and digital distribution to over-the-top (OTT) players such as Amazon and Netflix. She’s also tasked with innovation when it comes to home entertainment windowing strategies for multiscreen and multiplatform releases. Additionally, NBCU digital properties Fandango and Daily Candy will continue to report to Zalaznick.

Her dedicated focus on digital distribution will also dovetail with a secondary area of expertise in the consumer products division, the company added, and she will remain involved with sales and marketing in the Integrated Media Group initiatives such as Women at NBCU and Hispanics at NBCU.

Speaking of the rapidly growing Hispanic front, former Univision CEO Joe Uva will assume another newly crafted role as chairman of Hispanic enterprises and content for the Telemundo and mun2 networks.

Uva was appointed "so our coverage better represents this shifting landscape of [50 million Hispanics]," NBCU CEO Steve Burke said. He will be tasked with extending NBCU’s Hispanic presence.

Burke added that these moves were born out of a need to streamline. “Now, more than ever, we need to simplify our organization and take advantage of the breadth of our assets," Burke said in a statement. "At the same time, we need to focus more on innovation and emerging technologies. These organization changes are designed to do just that."

Hammer and Zalaznick will begin their new roles effective immediately, and Uva will start on April 3.

Comcast is steadily consolidating its TV strategy into a business unit-led approach. Post-merger, it created the NBC News Group to act as an umbrella for NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC, while the NBC Sports Group is a rubric for NBC Sports, NBC Olympics, NBC Sports Network and Golf Channel.

Edited by Allison Boccamazzo

Gig. U Awaits Approval for North Carolina Network’s New Gigabit Project

February 04, 2013

By Colleen Lynch, TMCnet Contributor

The North Carolina Next Generation Network, with the help of Gig. U, has officially put together a request for proposals for their new project to build a gigabit network in a large region of North Carolina.

The announcement was made on Friday, February 1, and the deadline for the proposals is scheduled for April 2. If the request is granted, the project will begin immediately, and within a speedy 18 months, the service will be made available.

The North Carolina Next Generation Network is comprised of four universities in the state; North Carolina State, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Duke and Wake Forest, in addition to six communities within the state.

Those involved with the project are hoping to convince both new and existing broadband providers to offer bids on the proposed network, which will offer broadband download speeds of at least 1 Gbps.

“It’s an experiment,� said Gig. U’s Executive Director, Blair Levin, when discussing the project in a statement. “What have we got to lose? The cost of bringing these universities and communities together to organize a plan for encouraging broadband deployments is very small. But the upside in terms of the innovation and economic development for these communities is huge.�

These benefits include advances in telemedicine, distance learning and new industries that will help create new jobs.

Levin conceded, however, that this project is ambitious – even before it got off the ground.

“The economics for building a new fiber infrastructure are hard. But we’re trying to help communities figure out ways to change the math,� he said.

Already, Gig. U is ahead of the game and prepared to move forward should the request be granted, having raised $200 million in private investment for the new networks. The company believes this project will move forward not only because of the money pledged for it, but the amount of already available customers.

“Knowing ahead of time that you will have customers for a service that you are spending a lot of money to build is incredibly beneficial,� Levin noted. “If you don’t have to build your network unless you know you will have a take-rate of 25 percent, you’ve greatly reduced your risk.�

So with high hopes and expectations, Gig. U and the North Carolina Next Generation Network await the approval for their plan, and although it is challenging, Levin calls it “a challenge we welcome.�

Edited by Allison Boccamazzo

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Americans Have the World’s Most Expensive Healthcare, Not the Best

Healthcare in the United States costs more than it does anywhere else in the world, but Americans aren’t necessarily seeing better outcomes.

Wake Forest University professor of economics and health policy, Michael Lawlor, released a statement yesterday saying that healthcare in the U.S. displays not only the highest but also the most rapidly advancing expenditures of any other country. He also stated that the Affordable Care Act, while expanding access to healthcare, does not do enough to address rising costs.

Medical inflation in the U.S. has slowed since the recession of 2008, but medical expenses are consuming a larger and larger share of household budgets. Despite the recession, medical prices have risen faster than prices in any other product or service category.

Lawlor uses life expectancy as an indicator of healthcare quality. Japan has an average life expectancy of 83 years, and Germany has an average life expectancy of 80.5 years. The U.S. falls under 80 at about 78.7 years.

“Average American consumers, even if covered, do not get a greater quantity of healthcare services or even more convenience for the high cost they pay for healthcare compared to the average developed country,� Lawlor pointed out. “They simply pay more for each unit of that quantity.�

In September 2012, the Institute of Medicine issued a report stating that the healthcare system had wasted $750 billion in 2009. The money, which accounted for 30 percent of all healthcare expenditures, was lost to fraud, administrative costs and unnecessary procedures.

Furthermore, the Institute stated that 75,000 people who died in 2005 would have lived if they’d received the quality of care that is available in the states with the highest rated medical systems.

“The threats to Americans' health and economic security are clear and compelling, and it's time to get all hands on deck," says Mark Smith, who was chairman of the Institute’s panel. Smith also serves as president and CEO of the California Healthcare Foundation.

“Our healthcare system lags in its ability to adapt, affordably meet patients' needs and consistently achieve better outcomes.�

Edited by Allison Boccamazzo