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It wasn't that long ago that rumors were circling that Facebook tried to acquire Snapchat for $3 billion, and then Google took a turn offering up $4 billion, but now it looks like we're finding out why Snapchat held off.
Snapchat Inc. is reportedly in talks with investors including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. for a round of funding that would see the company valued at $10 billion. This might not seem like that high of a number thanks to Snapchat seeing over 700 million "snaps" per day, and over 500 million stories viewed daily. Snapchat competes directly against Facebook, and even more so now that it was adding mobile messaging features to its service.
Snapchat's previous round of funding saw the company raise over $100 million with investors such as Lightspeed Venture Partners, Benchmark, Institutional Venture Partners, General Catalyst Partners and SV Angel.
Two developers have left the arms of The Last of Us developer Naughty Dog, jumping over to the Infinity Ward camp. Naughty Dog lost its Lead Game Designer Jacob Minkoff, as well as its Narrative Designer lead Taylor Kurosaki.
The duo will take on roles at Infinity Ward of Design Director and Narrative Director, respectively. Kurosaki had been with Naughty Dog in the 90s, left and came back in 2004. Minkoff had joined Naughty Dog in 2009, but left the company back in January. This isn't the only high up talent to leave Naughty Dog, as the Uncharted developer also lost its Creative Director to Visceral Games and EA earlier in the year.
While this might be the best news for Naughty Dog, it could be a resurgence for Infinity Ward after the very public departure of its co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella left to form Respawn Entertainment, which released Titanfall earlier this year.
Some GameStop customers have had to provide their fingerprints when they traded in their used games in some of the Philadelphia-based stores in the US. GameStop is using fingerprints to help authorities track criminals who trade-in used games.
One employee at GameStop talked with Kotaku, where they said that the new anti-crime measure has been in place for around a month now. One of the reasons behind the new system is that GameStop stores in the city received a mandate from GameStop's corporate HQ after Philadelphia police asked if they could offer stronger security measures.
This employee said that customers of GameStop in these fingerprint scanning equipped stores can no longer trade in games if they don't provide their fingerprints. The fingerprints that are collected are uploaded onto the online database Leads Online, according to the Philadelphia Police Department, reports CBS Philadelphia. According to customers of these GameStop stores that CBS Philadelphia interviewed, they aren't happy with these '1984' style measures, which makes them all feel like they're being treated like criminals.
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.