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Remember that massive barge that Google was working on that had so many people wondering what the firm was up to. The thing was envisioned as a sort of floating party house and showroom that would allow Google to show off its products to various people.
It appears Google has had second thoughts about its floating palace for tech and is sending the four-story structure on the barge to the scrap heap. The massive barge has been sitting in Portland Harbor since October of last year and has a four-story structure made from shipping containers.
The barge in Portland was supposed to be towed to NYC once finished for its unveiling. This week the barge was towed from the dock where it has been moored with reports indicating the barge itself had been purchased while the shipping containers will be scrapped. There is no word on why Google is abandoning the project.
Over the last few years, several firms have tried to buy wireless operators in the US with varying degrees of success. We have seen mergers of US telecom firms blocked by courts while firms from outside the US have had more success moving into the US market, such as Sprint and Softbank. A French company called Iliad has made a bid for T-Mobile US and a result of that bid is that its stock price has dropped 13% in trading.
Iliad made a cash offer for T-Mobile US of $15 billion for 56.6% of the wireless firm. Iliad says that T-Mobile has a "disruptive position" in the US that is very similar to the position Iliad has in France.
Sprint parent company Softbank and T-Mobile have already reportedly agreed to broad terms for a deal that would see Softbank buy into T-Mobile. The Iliad deal may be easier for T-Mobile to pull off since it will have no red flags for regulators concerned about competition in the US market.
Microsoft is currently in the middle of a legal campaign that sees a US court trying to force the software giant to turn over email that is stored on servers housed in Ireland. The catch for Microsoft is that to comply with the US law and court order, it will have to break European Union law. EU law says that only local courts can make the decision to release data stored on local servers.
The court order issued by the US court requires Microsoft to turn over any data it controls, regardless of where that data is stored. The crux of the argument form the US court is that even though the data is physically stored outside the US, the company that controls the data is in the US and therefore must obey US law.
In the end Microsoft is in a bad place, turning the data over to the US court will violate EU law and not giving it to the US court will violate law in the US. Microsoft will likely appeal the ruling so it's not clear yet if it will have to turn the data over.
Tesla Motors has reported its Q2 2014 results, which saw the electric car maker pull in non-GAAP revenue of $858 million, and non-GAAP earnings per share of $0.11. The non-GAAP revenue is up a huge 55% from the same period of last year.
The company delivered 7,579 vehicles in the three-month period, building a total of 8,763 vehicles in that time. Tesla has said that it is "on track" to deliver over 35,000 vehicles for the whole of 2014. Analysts had expected Tesla to report non-GAAP revenue of $810.61 million, so Tesla just edged out those expectations for the quarter. Shifting to normal accounting metrics, which are much easier to understand, Tesla Motors had revenue of $769 million for the quarter, losing $0.50 per share.
Moving into Q3, Tesla expects to build around 9,000 vehicles for the three-month period. The company expects to reach 10,000 vehicles per year on a run-rate basis by the end of 2014, which would see revenue growth expand for 2015.
How are the console wars going? Well, according to Sony's latest financial report, the PlayStation 4 outsold the Xbox One three to one in Q1 2014. Sony has said how many consoles it sold separately between the PS3 and PS4, but combined, they sold some 3.5 million units in the first three months of the year.
In the same period of 2013, the company sold just 1.1 million units, so I would say the majority of those 3.5 million units would've been PS4s. Its competitor, Microsoft, and its finanical report that was announced last week saw shipping numbers for the Xbox One and Xbox 360 sitting at 1.1 million total. So when we see Sony selling 3.5 million PlayStation consoles versus just 1.1 million Xbox consoles, we can see that Sony is kicking some major ass here.
Sony generated a huge $2.5 billion in sales from its Games & Network Services division, something that is credited to the launch of the PS4.
If you use an Apple device that has a small rectangular charger, a new product has landed that you may like. The product is called the NomadPlus and it is designed to turn the Apple Charger into a portable battery.
The Apple charger itself slips into the back of the NomadPlus battery so it can charge the battery when plugged into the wall. Power comes from a 1500 mAh battery inside the small Nomad case. The company says it has enough power to recharge an iPhone to 70%.
The NomadPlus battery measures 2.75" x 1.33" x 1.10" and weighs in at 2.1 ounces. It does support pass-through charging and charges the iPhone before charging its own battery pack. The NomadPlus is up for pre-order now for $39.
Sprint is looking into a new budget wireless plan that will limit access to the mobile web for users to only connect to Facebook or Twitter. That might work out perfectly for some users if they only use the internet to connect to social networks while on the go.
For another $10 per month, users could get access to Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest in addition to Facebook. Adding another $5 per month would allow the user to stream a music app of their choice. Sprint will offer these new plans as part of its Virgin Mobile pre-paid service.
The plan will be called Virgin Mobile Custom and is aimed at giving users on a budget more choices. Initially the plan will only allow the user to choose between those four apps. The plan will be available at Walmart and has 20 minutes of talk and 20 texts per month.
Apple has announced that it plans to shed about 200 workers from Beats Electronics after it takes over. Apple gobbled up Beats in a deal worth about $3 billion this year. A person familiar with the restructuring plans says that Beats workers in human resources, finance, and other roles with overlap between Beats and Apple will be let go.
The source claiming to know Apple's plans didn't want to be identified since the plans aren't public at this time. Beats was the largest purchase in Apple history and gains Apple a line of high-end headphones and a streaming music service.
No official comment has been made by Apple or Beats at this time on the layoffs. The Beats headphones often sell for hundreds of dollars per set making them high-end and a good fit with Apple's high-end product mix.
We only just reported that most of Crytek's leadership at its Texas, US-based studios had left, but now we have just found out that Deep Silver have acquired the rights to Homefront: The Revolution from the struggling studio. Deep Silver will continue development of the game at its new Nottingham-based studio.
A new studio called Deep Silver Dambuster Studios will now get to work on Homefront: The Revolution, which is still expected to launch in 2015 for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC. Hasit Zala, who was the Director on the game with Crytek, left Crytek a few weeks ago, but has reemerged as the lead for the game at the new studio.
Crytek only purchased the rights to Homefront from THQ during its bankruptcy in early 2013, but are now going through their own financial issues. Crytek's press release on the matter explains: "Firstly, Crytek has been in extensive discussions with leading producer and distributor of digital entertainment products, Koch Media, regarding the acquisition of rights for the "Homefront" IP. On completion of the proposed acquisition, the Homefront team from Crytek's Nottingham studio would transfer their talents to Koch Media in compliance with English law and continue their hard work on upcoming shooter, "Homefront: The Revolution". Both parties hope to finalise and implement a deal soon".
We've been reporting for a few weeks now that Crytek were in trouble, but the company assured the public that all was good just a few days ago. Now we're hearing that Crytek has just downsized its Texas-based US studio, moving the development of the free-to-play co-op shooter Hunt: Horros of the Guided Age to their main offices based in Germany.
When Crytek announced it was downsizing its Texas studio, it didn't say that its senior staff, including studio head David Adams, had quit over a week ago. Why did they quit? Well, they weren't getting paid, "according to people familiar with goings-on at the company" reports Kotaku. Most of the studio, which is made up of around 30-35 people, are now gone, which is why Crytek was forced to move the development of Hunt to its Frankfurt-based office.
Crytek only opened the Texas, US-based studio in January 2013, so it didn't last that long.