Equifax CEO Steps Down in Aftermath of Massive Data Breach

Today’s topics include the post-breach resignation of Equifax CEO Richard Smith; Broadcom's introduction of new mobile GPS chips with improved location accuracy; a report that Google plans to establish an independent online shopping unit; and why Microsoft Teams will replace Skype for Business.

Equifax's massive data breach has claimed another victim. CEO and Chairman of the Board Richard Smith announced his retirement effective Sept. 26.

"The cyber-security incident has affected millions of consumers, and I have been completely dedicated to making this right," Smith stated. "At this critical juncture, I believe it is in the best interests of the company to have new leadership to move the company forward."

Smith had been the CEO of Equifax since 2005, earning $1.45 million a year, and is being replaced by two different Equifax executives. Current board member Mark Feidler is taking over as non-executive chairman and Paulino do Rego Barros Jr. as interim CEO, while a search for a permanent one begins. Smith is the third Equifax executive to retire in the wake of the breach; on Sept. 15, the company announced the retirement of CIO David Webb and CSO Susan Mauldin.

Broadcom says its next-generation Global Navigation Satellite System chips will use half the power and offer much greater location accuracy than its existing chips when they start appearing in new mobile devices starting in 2018.

The new model features a dual frequency design that allows data to intersect from two satellite-generated location points, improving location accuracy to about 10 inches. That's much better than today's 16-foot location accuracy from single frequency GPS chip. The new model chips also use less than half the power of previous generation chips, which will have a proportional impact on the battery life of mobile devices that incorporate them.

“Improving accuracy and reducing battery consumption would solve two big pain points for GPS use today," said Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research.

Google is reportedly planning to spin off its online shopping services operation into a separate business unit to satisfy European Union regulators' demands that the company level the playing field for rival comparison-shopping sites. The stand-alone Google Shopping unit will have to rely on its own revenues to bid with other shopping sites for ad placement on Google's product search results page.

Earlier this month, Google proposed an auction system letting rival sites bid for ad spots on web search results pages. It's unclear how the new proposal to spin out Google Shopping into a separate unit will go down with EU regulators and to operators of rival shopping services.

While such a move would separate Google's search business from its shopping service, rival sites would still need to bid and pay for ad placement—something they have already rejected.

Microsoft Teams, the chat-based group collaboration app released in March 2017, will soon replace Skype for Business, Microsoft's unified communications software platform for enterprises. Skype for Business offers group communication features, specifically tailored to business environments that are now trickling into Teams.

"To achieve our vision for intelligent communications, we are bringing comprehensive calling and meetings capabilities into Teams, along with data and insights from the Microsoft Graph, and a strong roadmap of innovation to empower teams to achieve more," said Lori Wright, general manager of product marketing at Microsoft Teams and Skype.

Microsoft Graph is a collection of APIs that can be used to build intelligent apps using data from other Microsoft cloud sources. Although Teams will replace the Skype for Business client software, Microsoft plans to continue supporting Skype for Business on both cloud-based Office 365 plans and on-premises deployments for an unspecified time.