Apple Increases Dividend, Share Buybacks In Bid To Appease Investors

The news came as part of Apple’s strong second quarter earnings report. The company also announced a 7-for-1 stock split.

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The Associated Press

Apple’s strong second quarter results took a backseat to a slew of other announcements the company made Wednesday, among them a dividend increase of 8%, an additional $30 billion increase in its stock buyback program to $90 billion and a 7-for-1 stock split.

The stock split, which will take effect in June and give investors of record 6 additional shares for every outstanding share held, was perhaps the biggest surprise. The move, as Chief Executive Tim Cook said on a conference call to discuss its results, is aimed at making Apple stock “more accessible to a larger number of investors.” Put another way, the split will make Apple shares cheaper for pension funds, institutional investors and, importantly, individual retail investors. Post-split, based on Wednesday’s closing price of $524.75 per share, Apple shares will trade at around $75, making them affordable enough for average investors to buy into the stock.

Apple’s increased dividend and share buyback program follows a widely publicized battle with billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn, who called for the company to return more of its cash pile, which is now in excess of $150 billion, to shareholders. Under the expanded program, Apple will increase its share buyback plan to $90 billion from $60 billion and its dividend by 8% to $3.29 per share. Further, Apple said it will increase its dividend payout annually going forward. The company currently pays out about $11 billion in dividends annually, making it one of the most generous payers on that metric in the world.

Icahn endorsed Apple’s moves in two tweets Wednesday, saying in one that he was “extremely pleased with results” but “will be happy when we see new products.” In another tweet he added that Apple remains “meaningfully undervalued.”

On the numbers, Apple beat analysts estimates for both revenue and net income. The company reported revenue of $45.6 billion and net income of $11.6 billion, against expectations of $43.6 billion on revenue and $10.2 billion on net income. Net income for the quarter grew at its highest rate in recent memory.

While the company sold more iPhones than analysts projected — 43.7 million units versus 37.7 million — it sold less iPads, only moving 16.4 million units against and expected 19.7 million.

Much of the discussion on the earnings call focused on the iPad sales figure, with analysts expressing disappointment with the results and Apple executives providing reasons for why they shouldn’t be. Cook cited two reasons for the difference in actual and expected sales: in the same quarter last year Apple had increased iPad supply while this year they reduced it, and at the end of December the company had a backlog of iPad Mini demand that spilled over into the first quarter whereas this year it didn’t.

“I can’t help but still be extremely excited about where we are,” Cook said in defense of the iPad’s performance.

The earnings results coupled with the increased dividend and share buybacks and stock split sent Apple shares soaring in after-hours trading after closing down for the day. Apple shares ended trading at $524.75, down $6.95, but leapt more than 7%, or around $40, to roughly $565 in after-hours trading.

Patience among Apple investors had been wearing thin lately in the absence of a dramatic new product launch. Cook has born the brunt of that pressure, with his tenure thus far marked by product refinement, international expansion and iteration rather than innovation. That has kept Apple’s business strong and stable, but hasn’t been able to ignite new growth. While Cook has hinted on previous earnings calls in the last year that new products would be launching throughout 2014, nothing new has been launched thus far. The company is widely rumored to release a new version of its Apple TV set-top box and, eventually, a wearable device, but there is still no indication when these might come.

Cook again was asked about Apple TV on Wednesday’s earnings call, and while he didn’t shed any new light on whether a new product was in the offing, he did say that 20 million Apple TV devices have been sold and that more than $1 billion of content has been bought directly off of them.

“We continue to make the product better and better,” Cook said, adding, “I’m feeling quite good about that business and where it can go.”

Still, Cook conceded that the best thing Apple could do for its business is make great products.

Throughout its resurgence, Apple’s staggering revenue and profit growth has been on the strength of new products: the original iPhone, the revamped iPhone 4 and its follow-up devices, and the iPad and its later iterations. The company tried diversifying its phone lineup this year with the iPhone 5c, but it was initially met with lukewarm reaction and didn’t provide much growth for Apple, which has basically been treading water for the past several quarters. (The company is still bringing in an insane amount of money, to be sure, but it isn’t growing at the rate that it is accustomed to). But this quarter iPhone sales gained steam, with the 43.7 million units sold marking its best-ever quarterly performance.

Outside of the iPad and iPhone sales, Apple made a point to highlight the strong performance of its iTunes business, which along with software and services generated $4.6 billion in revenue during the quarter. There are now 800 million iTunes accounts, executives said.

All this is overshadowed by the fact that Apple has more than $150 billion in cash. While companies like Google and Facebook are aggressively making large purchases that could potentially lead to new businesses — like the Oculus Rift for Facebook and Nest for Google — Apple has opted to let its cash trickle out through dividends and share repurchases. This has drawn a lot of criticism, as most other technology companies are in fact increasing their spending on research and development and acquisitions, while Apple seemingly is not.

Cook moved to squash that misconception Wednesday as well, noting that Apple has acquired 24 companies in past 18 months.

“That shows that we are on the prowl you could say,” Cook said, adding that Apple “will not underinvest” in its business.

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Is This the New Google Maps App for iOS?


Google Maps Paris 640A San Francisco-based developer posted screenshots on his blog late last night that are allegedly from the Google Maps app for iOS 6, which is rumored to be in the works.

The developer, Ben Guild, doesn’t reveal how he obtained the screenshots in his blog post, and they’re quite blurry (a sample is below). Nonetheless, they clearly show some kind of map app for iOS that has Google iconography (the car icon is a giveaway). Parts of one image have been redacted, but the LTE indicator is visible, which shows the device in question is an iPhone 5.

Without citing a source, Guild says the app is in “alpha,” and he reveals a few tidbits about the upcoming Google Maps app: It will be vector-based, like Apple Maps; it will feature two-finger rotation to any angle; it’s “super-fast” and it will support the larger screen of the iPhone 5.

Whether this is a true leak or just some developer trying to attract attention to his apps is up to you, but Google has been rumored to be working on a new version of Google Maps for iOS 6. Earlier reports suggested it may already have been finished and was just awaiting Apple’s approval.

Apple has been taking a lot of heat over its new Maps app for iOS, which is demonstrably inferior to the old Google Maps app in many ways. It has no street view or public-transit directions, and it’s said to serve up erroneous data much more often than Google’s service. The problems even led the company to issue a rare public apology. However, its 3D renderings and offline viewing abilities have earned praise, plus it features turn-by-turn navigation.

Do you think these Google Maps screenshots are the real deal? Have your say in the comments.

Google Maps iOS 6 rumor

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Google May Be More Valuable Than Apple — By One Measure at Least


For the past year or so, the financial press has been watching as Apple has claimed and then forfeited its status as the world’s most valuable company.

In that case the measure is market capitalization and Apple’s main rival is ExxonMobil. However, if you look at another stat — enterprise value — Apple has just been eclipsed by Google.

What is enterprise value? Essentially, it’s the value of a company’s business. If you strip away Apple’s $145 billion in cash and Google’s $45 billion then Google now has an enterprise value of $241 billion vs. $233 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal, which notes that Google surpassed Apple in EV last week.

Is this a valid metric? Investopedia notes that “many consider it to be a more accurate representation of a firm’s value” and EV represents the “theoretical takeover price.”

The issue isn’t necessarily settled, though. It’s unclear whether The WSJ took into account Apple’s recent $17 billion debt offering, which would lower its amount of on-hand cash.

Meanwhile, if you go by market cap, Apple is still worth $100 billion more than Google. As of Wednesday morning. Apple’s market cap was $378.5B vs. $278.4 billion for Google. ExxonMobil’s was $396.2 billion.

Image via Getty, Justin Sullivan

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Kirsten Powers and others who’ve read the Google ‘anti-diversity’ memo slam hysterical media coverage

Now that the author of the infamous “anti-diversity” memo that reportedly compelled some women at Google to stay home from work has been fired and the deceptive headlines have been written, maybe the media could take a breather and, you know, read the actual memo?

The Federalist was among those outlets republishing the complete text of the memo that reportedly violated Google’s code of conduct.

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Google Brings Ancient Bible Scrolls, Ten Commandments Online


Google is making it much easier yet again to see ancient scripture right in the comfort of your own home. The search engine giant announced on Tuesday that it is bringing some of the earliest known copies of part of the Bible to the online world, along with other texts more than 2,000 years old.

Google is partnering with the Israel Antiquities Authority to launch the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library, an online collection of 5,000 images of scroll fragments. Among the texts is the Book of Deuteronomy, which includes the Ten Commandments, and part of Chapter 1 of the Book of Genesis, which is seen in the picture above and measures in at about 10 cm.

Google said the initiative will shed “light on the time when Jesus lived and preached, and on the history of Judaism.”

“Millions of users and scholars can discover and decipher details invisible to the naked eye, at 1215 dpi resolution,” Google said in an official blog post. “The site displays infrared and color images that are equal in quality to the Scrolls themselves. There’s a database containing information for about 900 of the manuscripts, as well as interactive content pages. We’re thrilled to have been able to help this project through hosting on Google Storage and App Engine, and use of Maps, YouTube and Google image technology.”

The news comes just more than a year after Google put online five manuscripts of the Dead Sea Scrolls,which are ancient documents which include the oldest known biblical manuscripts. These documents were written more than 2,000 years ago on pieces of parchment and papyrus and were preserved in dark caves until recently.

Google’s partnership with the Israel Antiquities Authority is a part of a greater effort to bring cultural and historical materials online. The company’s most recent initiatives include the Yad Vashem Holocaust photo collection, Google Art Project, World Wonders and the Google Cultural Institute.

Image via Google/Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library

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Google’s DeepMind AI was Told to Teach Itself How to Walk and This is What it Came Up With

Google’s artificial intelligence company, DeepMind, has developed an AI that has managed to learn how to walk, run, jump, and climb without any prior guidance. The result is as impressive as it is goofy.

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What Does Your State Google The Most?

As the year ramps up to its end of seasonfinale, its always interesting to look backthrough the lens ofGoogle’s top searches to see what issues got our hivemind ticking over the past 12 months. In 2014, it was Robin Williams, Ebola, the FIFA World Cup, Malaysia Airlines, and Ice Bucket Challengesthattickled our curiosity and had us typing away inGoogle.

To show the particular quirks of each state, online real estate finder Estatelylooked at data fromGoogle Trendsto find outwhat each state Googled more than any other state over the course of 2015.

The2016 Presidential candidates, terrorism, space exploration, Syria, gun control, and a huge amount ofcelebrity culture were some of the morecommon overall themes. While maybe not reaching nation-wide intrigue,searches such as what does bae mean? Donald Trump hair,man bun, and Dad bod did make their rightful appearanceshere and there.


  • Same-sex marriage

  • Ken Stabler (football player who passed away in 2015)

  • Ben Carson (presidential candidate)

  • Laverne Cox (actress)


  • Barack Obama

  • “Game of Thrones” (HBO series)

  • 3D printing


  • 2nd Amendment

  • Jen Welter (pro football player and first female coach in NFL)


  • Blood moon prophecy (apocalyptic beliefs about the end of the world)

  • Syrian refugees

  • Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (terrorist organization)

  • ISIS (another name for the same terrorist organization above)

  • “19 Kids and Counting” (reality TV show)

  • Josh Duggar (reality TV show personality)


  • Kim Kardashian (reality TV personality)

  • Stephen Curry (pro basketball player)

  • Drought

  • Water conservation

  • Love wins

  • U.S. Housing Bubble

  • iPhone 6s

  • “Spy” (2015 film)

  • “Spectre” (2015 film)

  • Ben Affleck nanny

  • Leah Remini Scientology (actress who left the Church of Scientology in 2015)

  • Chile earthquake

  • Mark Zuckerberg (CEO of Facebook)

  • Volkswagen scandal

  • Donald Trump hair

  • Donald Trump racist


  • Syrian civil war

  • Water on Mars

  • Mass shootings

  • Keystone Pipeline


  • Speaker of the House

  • Frank Gifford (pro football player/broadcaster who passed away in 2015)


  • Amtrak

  • Pope Francis

  • Beau Biden (former Attorney General of Delaware who passed away in 2015)

  • Kendrick Lamar (rapper)

  • Nicki Minaj (rapper)


  • Obamacare

  • Marco Rubio (presidential candidate)

  • Concealed weapons permit

  • Trump net worth

  • House prices


  • Blood Moon 2015

  • Whip dance

  • Stanky leg dance

  • Serena Williams

  • Blake Shelton divorce


  • Nepal earthquake

  • Bruce Jenner (previous name of reality TV personality Caitlyn Jenner)

  • Chrissy Teigen (model)

  • Apple Watch

  • “Furious 7″(2015 film)

  • Selfie stick

  • Radio Shack (filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2015)

  • “Pitch Perfect 2” (2015 film)


  • Refugees

  • “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2” (2015 film)

  • Gun control

  • Vaccines

  • Windows 10 (operating system released in 2015)


  • Super Blood Moon


  • Religious Freedom Restoration Act

  • Jared Fogle (former Subway pitchman/sex offender)


  • Elizabeth Banks (actress)

  • “Bachelorette” (reality TV show)

  • “The Bachelor”(reality TV show)


  • World Series

  • Koch Industries


  • American Pharaoh (Triple Crown-winner)

  • Dusty Rhodes (pro wrestler who passed away in 2015)

  • Rand Paul (presidential candidate)

  • Kim Davis (County Clerk of Rowan County)


  • Ashley Madison hack (online dating website marketed to people in committed relationships that was hacked and had user names released in 2015)

  • Blue Bell recall (delicious ice cream)


  • Amy Schumer (comedian)


  • New Horizons (space mission)

  • Trevor Noah (new host ofThe Daily Show”)

  • Benjamin Netanyahu (Prime Minister of Israel)

  • Freddie Gray (Baltimore man who died in police custody, sparking protests)

  • Police brutality

  • Misty Copeland (ballet dancer)

  • Nuclear program of Iran

  • Iran nuclear deal

  • Moses Malone (basketball player who passed away in 2015)

  • Loretta Lynch (newly appointed U.S. Attorney General)

  • Real estate

  • Edward Snowden (computer programmer, leaker of classified documents)

  • Ta-Nehisi Coates (writer, journalist, educator)

  • Viola Davis (Emmy Award-winning actress)

  • Bill Cosby (comedian)

  • al-Qaeda (terrorist organization)

  • Don Lemon (CNN TV personality)


  • Charlie Hebdo (French satirical magazine attacked by terrorists in 2015)

  • “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (TV show)

  • Aziz Ansari (actor/comedian)

  • Jon Snow (character in “Game of Thrones”)

  • Opioid addiction and dependence

  • Republican primary

  • Eddie Redmayne (Academy Award-winning actor)

  • Justin Trudeau (newly elected Prime Minister of Canada)

  • John Oliver (comedian)

  • “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” (TV show)

  • “Inside Amy Schumer” (TV show)

  • Vladimir Putin (President of Russia)

  • Dad bod


  • What is transgender?

  • Marriage equality


  • Black Lives Matter (activist movement campaigning against violence toward black people)

  • Scott Weiland (musician who passed away in 2015)

  • Cecil the Lion (famous lion killed by a Minnesota hunter in Zimbabwe)


  • “Straight Outta Compton” (2015 film)

  • B.B. King (blues musician who passed away in 2015)

  • U.S. Supreme Court

  • Bobbi Kristina Brown (daughter of singer Whitney Houston; passed away in 2015)

  • Booty (there was a lot of talk about booty in 2015)

  • Megyn Kelly (FOX TV personality)

  • Common Core State Standards Initiative


  • Amy Schumer photo

  • Right to keep and bear arms


  • Wolves


  • Kaley Cuoco (actress)


  • Floyd Mayweather (pro boxer)

  • Khlo Kardashian (reality TV personality)

  • Lamar Odom (pro basketball playerwho overdosed in a Nevada brothel in 2015, married toKhlo Kardashian)

  • Wes Craven (film director)

  • Selena Gomez (actress)

  • Kylie Jenner (reality TV personality)

  • “San Andreas” (2015 film)

  • Amber Rose (musician/model/actress/fashion designer)

  • Pitbull (rapper)

  • The Weeknd (musician)

  • Britney Spears (musician),

New Hampshire

  • Deflategate

  • Heroin

  • Paris terrorist attack

  • Hillary Clinton (presidential candidate)

  • Donald Trump (presidential candidate)

  • Carly Fiorina (presidential candidate)

  • Jeb Bush (presidential candidate)

  • Ted Cruz (presidential candidate)

  • Terrorism

New Jersey

  • FIFA (governing body of international soccer tournaments thats being investigated for bribery/corruption crimes in 2015)

  • Hilary Clinton email

  • Yogi Berra (baseball player/manager who passed away in 2015)

  • Chris Christie (presidential candidate)

  • Pierre-Paul hand (pro football player Jason Pierre-Paul who blew off part of his hand in a fireworks accident)

New Mexico

  • Pluto (the dwarf planet)

  • Ronda Rousey (MMA fighter)

  • Holly Holm (MMA fighter)

  • Animas River (site of a massive 2015 spill of water containing toxic heavy metals)

  • Wiz Khalifa (rapper)

New York

  • Greece

  • Democratic Socialism

  • Omar Sharif (actor who passed away in 2015)

  • Netanyahu Congress (Israeli Prime Minister who made a speech to Congress in 2015)

  • Julianne Moore (actress)

  • “Mr. Robot” (TV show)

  • Angela Merkel (German Chancellor and Time Person of the Year)

  • Drake (rapper)

  • Martin Shkreli (CEO who dramatically raised prescription drug prices)

  • Gigi Hadid (model)

  • Bashar al-Assad (President of Syria)

  • Islamophobia

  • Charlie Sheen HIV (actor announced hes had HIV for four years in 2015)

  • Jihadism

  • Jennifer Aniston wedding (actress married in 2015)

  • American Apparel (clothing company that filed for bankruptcy in 2015)

  • Kanye West (rapper)

  • Rihanna (musician)

  • Hoverboard scooter

North Carolina

  • Concealed carry permit

  • Blake Miranda divorce (country stars Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert announced they were divorcing in 2015)

  • Confederate flag meaning

North Dakota

  • NFL Draft


  • Marijuana legalization (a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana was not approved by voters in 2015)

  • Anna Duggar (wife of reality TV personality Josh Duggar)

  • Randy Quaid (actor)


  • Je suis Charlie (solidarity message for French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo)

  • Stuart Scott (ESPN sportscaster who passed away in 2015)

  • Caitlyn Jenner (reality TV personality formerly known as Bruce Jenner)

  • Patricia Arquette (actress),

  • Jordan Spieth (pro golfer who won the U.S. Open and The Masters in 2015)


  • Syria

  • Iran

  • Hassan Rouhani (President of Iran)

  • “Tamasha” (2015 film)

  • Islam

  • Ukraine

  • Nicky Jam (musician)

  • Shakira (Musician)

  • Dilma Rousseff (President of Brazil)


  • Jon Snow dead (character from “Game of Thrones” who died in the Season 5 finale or did he?)

  • Pope Francis visit

  • War on terror

  • Dick Van Patten (“Eight is Enough” actor who passed away in 2015),

  • “Creed” (2015 film)

  • Carrie Underwood baby

  • Royal baby

  • Blake Lively baby

Rhode Island

  • Brian Williams (NBC journalist suspended for telling an exaggerated story)

  • Adele (musician)

  • Taylor Swift (musician)

  • Justin Bieber (musician)

  • Charlie Sheen (actor)

  • Wet Seal (clothing company that filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 2015)

  • Ariana Grande (musician)

  • Tom Brady (pro football player)

South Carolina

  • Charleston shooting

  • Trump for President

  • Nae nae dance

  • Confederate flag

South Dakota

  • “Back to the Future” (popular 1985 movie that got a lot of attention because the characters in it travel to the future the year 2015).

  • Ed Sheeran (musician)

  • Fitbit (a device that measures how many steps you take between your sofa and the fridge)


  • Fred Thompson (former actor and Tennessee Senator who passed away in 2015)

  • National Rifle Association


  • James Harden (basketball player)

  • Bandidos Motorcycle Club (a motorcycle gang that engaged in a massive shootout with the Cossacks motorcycle gang in Waco, Texas in 2015)

  • Joaqun El Chapo Guzmn (Mexican drug lord)

  • Hurricane Patricia

  • Clock boy (14-year-old Texas student Ahmed Mohamed who was arrestedafter bringing a homemade clock to school)

  • Planned Parenthood video

  • Lion hunting

  • Miranda Lambert divorce

  • Jade Helm (a popular conspiracy theory that claims the annual U.S. military training exercise was really a cover for a full-scale invasion of Texas)

  • Filibuster

  • Greg Hardy (pro football player)


  • Transgender

  • Man bun (male hair style)

  • Spotify (digital music service)

  • Apple TV

  • “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015 film)

  • “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015 film)

  • “Jurassic World” (2015 film)

  • “Ant-Man” (2015 film)

  • Planned Parenthood (non-profit organization)

  • “Sister Wives” (TV show)


  • Bernie Sanders (presidential candidate)

  • “The Daily Show”(TV show)

  • Climate change

  • 87th Academy Awards


  • Abdel Fattah el-Sis (President of Egypt)

  • Islamic State (terrorist organization)

  • Boko Haram (terrorist organization)

  • Recep Taytip Erdogan (President of Turkey),

  • Muhammadu Buhari (President of Nigeria),

  • Narendra Modi (Prime Minister of India)


  • Leonard Nimoy (actor who played Spock on Star Trek passed away in 2015)

  • Super Bowl

  • Amanda Knox (American woman acquitted of murder in Italy)

  • Left Shark

  • “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015 film)

  • Microsoft Surface (tablet)

West Virginia

  • “Magic Mike XXL” (2015 film)


  • Rep. Paul Ryan (newly elected Speaker of the House)

  • What does bae mean?

  • Koch brothers

  • Political activities of the Koch brothers


  • Mars (4th planet from the sun)

  • U.S. Constitution

  • Blake Shelton andGwen Stefani

  • Firearm

  • Playboy (magazine that announced it would cease showing photos of naked women)

  • AR-15 (type of firearm)

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New York City Launches Digital Toolkit for Small Businesses


New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Thursday announced the city’s first Digital Toolkit for small businesses, a new education program aimed at helping the small businesses of New York City develop their online presence and social media strategies. The program will be administered by the city’s Small Business Services department at their local education centers throughout the five boroughs.

NYC’s Digital Toolkit is of a series of courses that will explain how a small business can incorporate technology and social media into their business strategy for marketing, sales and customer service. It will also include an online component with best practices and website design templates.

“The digital toolkit will help New York City’s entrepreneurs with the resources they need to engage more consumers online,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The web can open up worlds of opportunities for these businesses, but many of them presently lack even their own website, let alone a social media campaign.”

The program was created in partnership with Mashable, Google, Tumblr and Weebly.

“Mashable is proud to work with Mayor Bloomberg and the City of New York to create this program that will help the small businesses that run the city that never sleeps,” said Stacy Green, Mashable‘s head of marketing and communications. “We’re happy to share our digital expertise to give back to the city where our company is headquartered.”

Tumblr and Weebly provided customized website templates and Google provided information and best practices for search engine optimization and search engine marketing.

New York City’s Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne will launch the Digital Toolkit and teach the program’s first course on Thursday, September 20th.

The Digital Toolkit grew out of a survey done by Small Business Services which found that the city’s small businesses were most interested in learning how to incorporate social media and website design into their business strategies.

This program is part of New York City’s effort to bring a digital focus to all New Yorkers through The Digital Roadmap. Other recent initiatives include turning payphones into WiFi hotspots and rolling out a map of all the tech companies headquartered in New York last June.

For more information go to:

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