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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 107

Judge rules Google must turn over documents to Apple in Samsung case

A judge has ruled that Google must turn over information about how it searched its documents to Apple. Judge Paul S. Grewal ruled in the latest Samsung and Apple fight that Google's argument of the discovery being too burdensome was not the case and ordered Google to turn over the requested documents within 48 hours. Google had previously argued Apple was not entitled to the documents.

 

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He also noted the irony of Google's argument: "The court cannot help but note the irony that Google, a pioneer in searching the Internet, is arguing that it would be unduly burdened by producing a list of how it searched its own files." Documents must be provided to Apple within 48 hours.

 

Grewal argues that the documents will aid in discovering whether or not Google's production was sufficient. The latest lawsuit is between Apple and Samsung and does not directly involve Google. Google, however, is being brought into it by Apple who asserts that most of the infringing functions are part of Android.

NVIDIA's Q1 earnings better than expected, stock climbs in after-hours trading

NVIDIA has announced its first-quarter earnings. The earnings ended up beating out expectations, but still aren't as good as last quarters. NVIDIA pulled in a total of $77.9 million in profit, which is down 55 percent from last quarter. It is, however, up 29 percent year-over-year.

 

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Revenue came in at a total of $954.7 million. This follows the same trend as the profit: down from last quarter, up year-over-year. Tegra sales were down as NVIDIA works to transition to the newer Tegra 4. NVIDIA hopes Tegra 4 will power growth for the company this year.

 

Investors are happy with how NVIDIA is performing, along with their $1 billion buyback and dividend program. In after-hours trading, NVIDIA's stock has risen one percent to $14.05.

Sony doesn't expect to lose money on the PlayStation 4 at launch, unlike what happened with PS3

Sony has said that it doesn't expect to lose money when it launches the PlayStation 4. Unlike the PlayStation 3, the new next-generation console features mostly standard PC hardware, making it both cheaper and more readily available. Additionally, Sony didn't have to spend money developing the hardware as someone already did that for them.

 

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According to Sony CFO Masaru Kato, Sony expects to not incur a major loss at launch. On the conference call held earlier today when they announced a profit for the first time in five years, Kato said, "Unlike PS3, we are not planning a major loss to be incurred with the launch of PS4."

 

At the time we developed PS3, we made a lot of in-house investments to develop the chip, the Cell chip. Development of the chip saw the silicon processing and all the facilities invested by us ourselves. But this time, yes we have a team working on chip development, but we already have existing technology to incorporate and also product investment and all the facilities will now be invested by our partners, other foundries, so we don't have to make all the investment in-house.

 

We are still waiting on actual pictures of the console, but from what Ubisoft developers are saying, the console is quite the capable machine. We have yet to see what Microsoft has in store for the next Xbox, but we believe from rumors that it will feature a similar PC-like hardware scheme.

RumorTT: Microsoft considering $1 billion bid to buy Barnes & Noble's Nook business

Microsoft is already a major investor in Barnes & Noble's Nook business, and now rumors are coming in that the Redmond, Washington based giant is considering buying the Nook business outright for a reported $1 billion.

 

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Last year Microsoft invested $300 million in the Nook in exchange for a 16.8% stake. Now with reports that Barnes & Noble is planning to pull out of the hardware business altogether, it only makes sense for Microsoft to swoop in and buy the hardware business outright.

 

This would put Microsoft in direct competition with the likes of Amazon and even Google's Play Books. The big question is whether or not Redmond will keep the device running Android, or will we see a Windows 8 version of the Nook released. Would Microsoft even keep the Nook branding? Only time will tell I guess.

OUYA raises $15 million in new funding, said to help with game development and retail sales

The crowdfunding world was blown away when the OUYA raised more than $8.5 million during its Kickstarter campaign for the tiny Android gaming console.

 

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This morning OUYA announced that it has secured an additional $15 million in funding from investors to help with game development, as well as its upcoming retail launch.

 

Investors include Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers. Other investors include the Mayfield Fund, NVIDIA, Shasta Ventures and Occam Partners. The company has also announced that general partner Kleiner Perkins and former EA executive Bing Gordon will be joining OUYA's board of directors.

 

The company is well into the shipment process for all of its Kickstarter backers and is preparing its retail launch in the coming months.

New Zealand government announces that software is no longer patentable

The New Zealand government has passed a bill that prevents software from being patented in the country any more. The New Zealand Institute of IT Professionals praised the decision saying that it would lead to innovation on a large scale.

 

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The new policy was part of an amendment to the existing patent bill, which redefines three basic principles:

 

  1. A computer program is not an invention and not a manner of manufacture for the purposes of this Act.
  2. Subsection (1) prevents anything from being an invention or a manner of manufacture for the purposes of this Act only to the extent that a claim in a patent or an application relates to a computer program as such.
  3. A claim in a patent or an application relates to a computer program as such if the actual contribution made by the alleged invention lies solely in it being a computer program.

 

I see this as a major step forward and I am sure that the folks over at the Electronic Frontier Foundation are ecstatic this morning. However, not all is as it seems.

 

The bill still allows the patenting of software when it can be tied to a specific piece of hardware, such as Apple iOS (iPhone and iPad), or the software that runs your Samsung Smart TV. So, while this is a step in the right direction, there is still much room for improvement.

Sony releases fiscal year results, sees first full-year profit in five years

This morning Sony has released its full-year financial report for the 2012 fiscal year that ended in March. While the report is quite long and at points very boring, the major news is that the company managed to squeeze out its first full-year profit in five years.

 

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Strong smartphone sales are being attributed to the new profits, alongside its Vita console. Net income was approximately $458 million which is up from a loss of over $2 billion in 2011. Not all is good news for the electronics giant though, PlayStation 3 sales were down significantly, alongside LCD TV sales, which fell a staggering 38-percent.

 

Sony said that it expects smartphone sales to increase in 2013 by 27-percent and its LCD TV business to rebound by 16 million units before the fiscal year is up. The company can also expect to see a surge in console sales this fall when its still unpictured PlayStation 4 launches.

EA confirms staff layoffs and restructuring, 10% of all EA staff have been laid off

EA took some time during their recent earnings call to announce that they have laid off around 900 workers, with Blake Jorgensen, Vice President of EA saying: "Our cost reduction plans will reduce our overall headcount by approximately 10 percent".

 

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Jorgensen continued, saying that the restructuring plan and resignation of CEO John Riccitello cost the company around $15 million more than they had estimated in their recent estimate guidance. He also added that they're working toward achieving a 20% operating margin, which is a goal within reach after the layoffs.

World of Warcraft sees its subscriber numbers fall 1.3 million in past three months

Things aren't looking so great for Activision Blizzard. The company revealed today that World of Warcraft saw its subscriber base decline by 1.3 million over the past three months. For the period from January to March, the World of Warcraft subscriber count dropped from 9.6 million to 8.3 million.

 

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CEO Bobby Kotick:

Though the majority of our subscriber decline occurred mainly in the East, where we have more subscribers and lower revenue per subscriber, we saw declines in the West as well. We believe in the long-term value of this franchise and will continue to commit substantial resources to World of Warcraft.

 

Activision Blizzard reported net revenues of $1.32 billion and earnings-per-share of $0.40. These beat their guidance of $1.16 billion and EPS of $0.29.

Apple looking to get hands on Android source code records in latest Samsung battle

Apple is attempting to put its hands on Android source code records held by Google. The company asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal to force Google to turn over documents in relation to Android. Apple asserts that Google is improperly withholding information about search terms used to turn up documents requested by Apple.

 

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According to Mark Lyon, a lawyer for Apple, "It's a question of transparency. We have concerns that they're not doing a full search." Matthew Warren, a Google lawyer also representing Samsung, argues that Apple is not entitled to the search terms as it may lead to "future discovery that we don't think they're entitled to" and give Apple "ideas about how to proceed that they wouldn't have had."

 

This is just the latest battle between Samsung and Apple. The lawsuit, 12-cv-630, involves newer smartphones produced by both companies, including the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S 3. We're sure there will be plenty more arguing between the companies before we get any meaningful resolution.

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