Auction house eBay has decided to spin off its PayPal business amid activist pressure from board members and shareholders, with two independent companies to begin in the second half of 2015. Devin Weng, head of the eBay "Marketplaces" business, will lead the independent eBay as CEO - and Dan Schulman, a former American Express executive, will be CEO head of the new PayPal unit.
"We are happy that eBay's board and management have acted responsibly concerning the separation - perhaps a little later than they should have, but earlier than we expected," said investor Carl C. Icahn. "As I have said in the past and have continued to maintain, it is almost a 'no brainer' that these companies should be separated to increase the value of these great assets and thus to meaningfully enhance value for all shareholders."
Corporate spinoffs are becoming more commonplace among major corporations, as shareholders and potential investors want to see better control over corporate operations. Depending on the economic climate - and the parties involved - it can lead to a strong boost in stock prices to win over board members.
The U.S. Justice Department announced four accused members of the "Xbox Underground" hacker group have been charged for their roles in launching attacks against the U.S. military, Microsoft, and other game studios.
Two of the members, Sanadodeh Nesheiwat, 28, and David Pokora, 22, have pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud and copyright infringement. They both face up to five years in prison when they are sentenced in early 2015.
As part of the 18-count indictment that was recently unsealed, Nathan Leroux, 20, and Austin Alcala, 18, also contributed to the hacking activities - which included stealing more than $100 million of software and data related to military pilot training and Xbox gaming information. Xbox Underground also took pre-release copies of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Gears of War 3 as part of their criminal activities.
Supermarket chain Supervalu and Albertsons confirmed it was hit in yet another data breach this year, with customer data at risk all over again. This most recent attack took place sometime in late August or early September, with the malware installed to target payment card transactions at retail grocery stores.
"We care greatly about our customers, and the safety of their personal information will continue to be a top priority for us," said Sam Duncan, SuperValu CEO and President, in a press statement. "We've taken measures to install enhanced protective technology that we believe significantly limited the ability of this malware to capture payment card data and we will continue to make these investments going forward."
Evolving point-of-sale (POS) malware is proving difficult for retailers to defend against, as significant data breaches continue to rack up. Some cybersecurity previously warned retailers that aren't quick to make changes could be the victim of follow-up attacks, as cybercriminal groups are aware they are susceptible to attack.
Microsoft today unveiled its Windows 10 operating system, a push into the future to try and help desktop and PC users forget about the Windows 8/8.1 debacle. During an invite-only event in San Francisco, the company showed off Windows 10, which mixes live tiles with the familiar UI of Windows 7, including a Start menu and taskbar. The "Metro" start screen and the regular Start Menu of older versions of Windows have been blended together, to provide a more cohesive user experience.
Starting tomorrow, Microsoft will open up a Windows 10 technical preview for PCs and laptops, with additional device support expected in the near future. The company hopes to make a transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10 much more comfortable than the headaches that followed many users as they tried to embrace the touch-centric Windows 8/8.1. Additional details about the OS will be unveiled in early 2015.
Microsoft chose to skip the Windows 9 name and help usher in the idea that its OS needs to be robust and compatible with a wider variety of different products: "Windows 10 will run across an incredibly broad set of devices - from the Internet of Things, to servers in enterprise datacenters worldwide," the company boasted. "Some of these devices have 4 inch screens - some have 80 inch screens - and some don't have screens at all. Some of these devices you hold in your hand, others are ten feet away. Some of these devices you primarily use touch/pen, others mouse/keyboard, others controller/gesture - and some devices can switch input types."
The Edinburgh Airport has become the first airport in the UK to test Google Glass, in an attempt to improve service to air travelers. Employees would be able to pull up flight details and other relevant information to help assist customers as they prepare to fly out of the airport.
"We're always looking for new and innovative ways to improve the airport experience for our passengers and Google Glass trial is a great example of how we're thinking out the box," said Gordon Dewar, Edinburgh Airport chief executive. Over the next few months we'll be able to establish whether this product is suitable for an airport environment."
If airport officials determine Google Glass isn't the right wearable for its employees, companies such as Kopin manufacture industrial wearables.
ROCCAT has announced that it is shipping its new Tyon gaming mouse, which features a dorsal fin, 16 assignable buttons, and 31 distinct functions. ROCCAT has made its new Tyon gaming mouse available at Best Buy, too.
All of those buttons and functions allows ROCCAT's Tyon to be an "efficient, combat-ready and aestherically facscinating masterpiece for all genres, including MMO, RPG, and more". René Korte, Founder and CEO of ROCCAT said: "Today's games demand that players master the different layers and dimensions of gameplay, whether on land, at sea, in air or space. The efforts placed on perfecting the Tyon is beyond comparison and we are confident that it will take gaming to the next level".
ROCCAT's new Tyon gaming mouse features a two-click button which is placed between the mouse wheel, providing a comfortable mid-finger action, known as the Dorsal Fin. Tyon features 576KB of on-board memory to save all of your settings and macros, an 8200DPI Pro-Aim Laser Sensor that ensures you get your target, and programmable dual lighting RGBY illumination for both the lower rim and wheel of the Tyon.
ROCCAT's Tyon is available online and at Best Buy right now for $99.99.
Online music service eMusic is dropping major record labels as it plans to leave "the mainstream music business" and return back to the independent music scene. Of note, the company will drop music from Sony, Warner and Universal - a bold move at a time when streaming and digital download services try to cozy up to the big record labels.
eMusic was one of the original music services which began offering subscriptions for listeners, and was one of the best known services to find new indie music. The decision will also drop indie artists that have their music distributed using major record studios.
"Beginning Oct. 1, 2014, the leading download-to-own music retailer will be exiting the mainstream music business and exclusively offering independent music," the company said in a public statement. "The company's goal is to build the most extensive catalog of independent music in the world."
The little-known Lizard Squad hacker group recently disrupted online servers of Destiny and Call of Duty: Ghosts, as the group continues to rack up victims. This is more troubling for Destiny, one of the most anticipated game launches of the year, as it was only released on Sept. 9 and has a large following. Lizard Squad has been relatively dormant the past few weeks, staying out of the headlines as it prepared distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against Destiny and CoD: Ghosts servers.
Following its initial introduction to the world, the group received a large amount of criticism from gamers, game industry officials, and fellow hackers. After the group issued a fake bomb threat against an American Airlines flight carrying a Sony executive, many wondered how much longer the group would be able to operate.
The U.S. government has arrested Hammad Akbar, CEO of InvoCode, a company known to sell a type of spyware designed to snoop on mobile users. The app in question, StealthGenie, allowed users to record outgoing and incoming calls, intercept calls, activate a device and monitor surrounding conversations within a short distance, and track email, SMS messages, voice mail, and other critical phone behaviors.
It would only take a few moments to successfully install the spyware on a phone, which would give the app user a frightening amount of surveillance capability. Akbar reportedly tried to advertise and sell the spyware app over the Internet, with a focus on helping users catch cheating partners and spouses.
"Selling spyware is not just reprehensible, it's a crime," said Leslie Caldwell, Assistant Attorney General, in a press statement. "Apps like StealthGenie are expressly designed for use by stalkers and domestic abusers who want to know every detail of a victim's personal life - all without the victim's knowledge. The Criminal Division is committed to cracking down on those who seek to profit from technology designed and used to commit brazen invasions of individual privacy."
Bill Gates has climbed back to the top of Forbes' list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, with a total net worth of $81.2 billion. The next richest American on the list of Warren Buffett, who has $13.4 billion less than Gates, with $67.8 billion.
Considering Gates has donated close to a third of his money, or around $30 billion, is massive. Gates has donated the $30 billion to charity, mostly through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. With that much money on its own, you could be the 16th most richest person in the United States. Over the past 12 months, Gates has added $9 billion to his net worth, mostly due to big gains in Microsoft shares.
Gates' return on his investments in Canadian National Railway and trash company Republic Services are also providing him with a nice injection of cash. He also owns a big chunk of stock in tractor maker Deere & Co. and South American McDonald's franchise, Arcos Dorados.