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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 105

Microsoft to support CalDAV, CardDAV sync, Google extends ActiveSync until July 31

Users of Microsoft products and Google's online calendar and contact services can breathe a sigh of relief. Google has agreed to Microsoft's six-month extension request, meaning the Exchange ActiveSync protocol will continue to function until July 31, rather than being phased out today.


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During this time period, Microsoft will be working on a confirmed fix. In other words, Microsoft has decided to support CalDAV and CardDAV, Google's new method of syncing data from their online services. Microsoft has said they will "enable Windows Phone users to continue to connect to Google services after July 31, 2013."


Microsoft had tried to move users to their product, saying that it would continue working without a hitch. It's good to see two tech giants working together for the better of the consumer.

LG enjoys a profitable Q4, improved income in all divisions - life's good

LG have released their quarterly and year-end earnings, and we're seeing the South Korean electronics giant post a net profit of $80.75 million. Revenues overall saw a decline of 6% from last year, but operating profit soared from $342.06 million for 2011, to $1.01 billion last year.


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LG's TV division saw record sales and a full-year profit of over $480 million, while their cellphone division revenue for Q4 was the highest throughout 2012, where they shipped 8.6 million smartphones.


I'm sure that can be contributed toward the Optimus G and Nexus 4 handsets, which are both stellar devices.

Judge Lucy Koh rules that Samsung didn't willfully infringe on Apple patents

The Apple versus Samsung lawsuit just got more interesting, with Judge Lucy Koh handing down some of the first rulings in the case's post-trial proceedings. Koh granted an Apple motion to invalidate some claims of a Samsung patent, but denied five others.


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Koh found th at Samsung did not act willfully in infringing on Apple's patents, which means Apple's chance of getting triple damages associated with the suit are now gone. Koh rejected Samsung's request for a new trial, too. What happens from here is anyone's guess, but we could see a reduction in the $1.049 billion infringement verdict, but she hasn't offered any rulings on that just yet.


You can read much, much more on it here.

Amazon's e-book business is doing very well, still won't talk Kindle sales, though

When you've got nothing nice to say, the rule is to say nothing nice at all, so it looks like Amazon are playing this game with Kindle sales, as their lips are still sealed shut. On the flip side, their e-book business is churning through money like it's nothing.


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Amazon's e-book business is now a very tidy "multi-billion dollar category" for the US-based retail giant. Amazon had sold out of their e-reader last year, with Amazon's CFO, Tom Szkutak, saying during their earnings call yesterday that if they didn't sell out of their Kindle's, they would've had much higher sales numbers - all without unveiling just how many they sold.


Szkutak was pushed by an analyst who wondered why the company's revenue was lower than expected for Q4, where the CFO cited a number of reasons - sales of consumer electronics fell short of expectations, as well as the shortages of the Kindle Paperwhite. He said:


We are thrilled to have Paperwhite in our lineup - it's the best e-reader out there, but we couldn't keep up with demand. We would have had more sales in Q4 if we could keep up with demand. The team is working hard to have good stock going forward on that product.

Continue reading 'Amazon's e-book business is doing very well, still won't talk Kindle sales, though' (full post)

Apple trademarks their retail store design

Apple had an interesting 2012 in terms of patents and trademarks, but one of the first (and I'm guessing, of many) trademarks for 2013 is something a little different - the design and layout of their retail stores.


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Apple have tried for a couple of years now to trademark their iconic store designs, with the US Patent and Trademark Office rejecting their trademark twice. The USPTO said that Apple's design weren't "inherently distinctive", forcing the Cupertino-based giant to file a 122-page document arguing their case - this document included consumer surveys and photos of their storefronts.


On their third try, Apple were approved for their trademark which covers the use of a "paneled facade" of glass, recessed lighting units, and line rectangular tables. Apple have also got protection on their glass staircases, in case you were wondering.

Philips drops out of the consumer electronics business, surprises no one

Philips have just bowed out of the consumer electronics market, and are now focusing all of their energies into the medical equipment and lightning businesses. Philips have sold their consumer electronics business to Japanese manufacturer Funai Electric Co. for $201 million.


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Philips' CEO, Frans van Houten talked to The Wall Street Journal, saying "Since we have online entertainment, people do not buy Blu-ray and DVD players anymore."


This is true though - as most consumer electronics are pretty much identical these days as the content displayed on them is completely online. Myself, I use a Samsung Smart TV and don't use any of the 'smart' features apart from two times in eight months I've used Skype. Everything comes from a networked media player, streaming from my QNAP NAS. There should be many changes in the consumer market with more players shifting and changing in the coming years.

Google donating 15,000 Raspberry Pi computers to UK students

Google, as part of its Google Giving program, is providing 15,000 UK students with Raspberry Pi computers. The Raspberry Pi is a cheap $35 computer that uses an ARM processor on a tiny integrated circuit board. Google is looking to inspire more students to learn coding, which is why they have donated the funds to purchase 15,000 units.


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Some quick math and we find out that Google has donated just over $500k for these boards. The announcement was made at Chersterton Community College in Cambridge by Google Chariman Eric Schmidt and Eben Upton, co-founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Google has partnered with six educational organizations in the UK to identify which students to give the units to.

CBS forced to respond to injunction that prevents CNET from talking torrents

CBS Interactive has filed a response to an injunction that is keeping CNET's journalists from talking about bit torrent technology. The injunction alleges that by CNET talking about, and linking to, P2P software that can be used for illegal purposes, they are encouraging users and causing it to become more pervasive.


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CBSI has responded to the injunction claiming just the opposite. They say that because they provide warnings about not using the technology to infringe on copyrights, they are actually doing more good. They warn that the software is still publicly available and wouldn't come with these warnings if found by a Google search.


If CBSI were enjoined from linking to sites that offer downloads of BitTorrent clients, those sites would still remain available to the public and would still be easily found by a simple search on Google - albeit without the warning against infringement that CBSI provides. Moreover, the public interest would be damaged by denying legitimate and truthful information about a pervasive technology, as well as by impending non-infriging uses.


The bit torrent technology has many benefits and uses besides illegal downloading. Bit torrent swarms can provide theoretically unlimited bandwidth and download speed because they can provide an unlimited number of peers. It also works great for redundancy as one server can go down and the file is still available from many other sources, albeit at a reduced speed.

Continue reading 'CBS forced to respond to injunction that prevents CNET from talking torrents' (full post)

Crytek opens new studio in Austin, Texas, fills it with former Darksiders developers

THQ was broken apart last week, with bits and pieces being sold to other companies in various forms. Now we're hearing that Crysis developer, Crytek, have just opened up a new studio based in Austin, Texas, and have filled it with some of the core developers from Vigil Games.


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Vigil Games are the guys and girls behind Darksiders, but with THQ sinking, they were left without anything to do, until Crytek come to their rescue. Ex-Vigil co-founder, David Adams, has now become the CEO of the newly-formed Crytek USA Corp., where he has said:


I'm thrilled to be a part of the newest Crytek studio, which will boast some of the brightest development talent in the industry. The studio's launch represents Crytek's commitment to delivering diverse and high quality content to players everywhere.

Continue reading 'Crytek opens new studio in Austin, Texas, fills it with former Darksiders developers' (full post)

Canadian officials looking into WhatsApp privacy practices

WhatsApp is the subject of a joint report by Dutch and Canadian authorities which asserts that the app is violating privacy laws in both countries. The problem is that the app requires access to both users and non-users in a user's address book, which is apparently against the law in Canada and Netherlands.


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"This lack of choice contravenes (Canadian and Dutch) privacy law. Both users and non-users should have control over their personal data and users must be able to freely decide what contact details they wish to share with WhatsApp," said Jacob Kohnstamm, chairman of the Dutch Data Protection Authority.


According to the report, WhatsApp stores mobile numbers of non-users from a user's contact list, which violates Dutch privacy laws. The Dutch Data Protection Authority has said that financial penalties could be imposed if WhatsApp continues this practice. WhatsApp has committed to making changes to protect users' privacy.

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