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Bitcoins have slowly but surely been plowing their way into the market, where they represent a billion dollar market. Bitcoins are an open source, unregulated peer-to-peer currency, with around 10.9 million bitcoins in circulation on a single marketplace.
Bitcoins, at the moment, have a value of around $90, with the 10.9 million of them creating the billion dollar market. Bitcoins have stayed mostly away from the media's attention, but with the digital currency continuing to grow at breakneck speeds, I'm sure we're going to see some intervention soon enough. This rings especially true as bitcoins are used regularly as the currency of choice for the black market, assassins and drug dealers.
The digital currency does have a big upside, in the way that governments in economic troubles freeze citizens' bank accounts - bitcoins are safe from that. They're also easy to transfer between people without requiring citizens' personal information. There are of course downsides, with the growth of the digital currency possibly creating a bubble which will eventually pop, with people losing hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Around this time last year Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made a very hefty $13 billion when the social network went public, and now Zuckerberg could be looking at a tax bill of around $1 billion.
The founder of Facebook was prepared for the taxes, which could've been why he sold $1 billion of shares on the day - trying to keep his handful of money a little lighter for the tax man. Zuckerberg has also been nice to charity, where he has given around $500,000,000 (that's $500 million!) to the SIlicon Valley Community Foundation, which should offset his tax bill by a decent margin.
Lenovo is said to be in talks with NEC to buy its mobile phone business in an effort to cut its losses after two years of being in the red. Reuters has confirmed sources statements that the two companies are in fact working on a deal to put Lenovo into the mobile phone game.
NEC's mobile phone division is a joint venture with Casio with NEC owning a 70-percent stake in the business. NEC is also said to have talked with domestic buyers, but no deal was struck.
While NEC's phone sales make up just 6-percent of the Japanese mobile phone market, Lenovo could parlay this into an enterprise level smartphone company that could rival BlackBerry. Lenovo already has many corporate clients it could push phones onto as well as a vast and loyal consumer following that would snatch up a Lenovo branded smartphone in a heartbeat.
Horace Dediu of Asymco, estimates that T-Mobile could sell around 3.4 million iPhones this year, totaling 10% of their total subscriber base. This might have seemed like a stretch just a few days ago, but with the US-based company's new "UNcarrier" initiative, this could be an easy estimate to beat.
Dediu's estimates are based off trends from AT&T, Verizon and Spring, as well as the percentage of total subscribers that each operator has been activating. The Asymco analyst notes that the sales patterns are consistent across all of the carriers, and that the longer Apple's iPhone is available, the higher the activation rate.
The analyst also estimates that iPhone sales across the top four US carriers will break through 53 million in 2013, which will account for 17% of the 320 million subscribers, an increase of 14% year-over-year.
Amazon have acquired Goodreads, who have a platform that is great at suggesting books to users. Amazon have announced previously that they were acquiring one or more popular reading recommendation engines, without any clear plans on what they were going to do with their acquisition.
We can piece together that the retail giant is looking to help their Kindle reader line, as well as their array of Kindle apps. Amazon's vice president of Kindle Content, Russ Grandinetti has said "Goodreads has helped change how we discover and discuss books and, with Kindle, Amazon has helped expand reading around the world -- together, we intend to build many new ways to delight readers and authors alike." The two companies are expecting the deal to be finalized in Q2, which isn't too far away at all.
Google have begun their pilot scheme for a same-day delivery service in the San Francisco Bay Area, where it will potentially open up to other areas in the near future.
The Mountain View-based search giant are offering testers a six-month period of deliveries from retailers in the area, free to the consumer, with all of the shopping taking place in a single online store. Testers of the same-day delivery service will be able to select from a number of local stores, including the big ones like Target, Staples and more.
The deliveries are then dispatched for a specific time, based upon the consumers' delivery instructions. Google are still reportedly working on a pricing scheme, but this could cost below $70 per year in order to compete with Amazon Prime.
I'd really like to see all of the Google delivery drivers to be wearing Google Glass, using the on-board Maps app for directions and delivery instructions - that would be very cool.
Apple drop Samsung like they're hot, South Korean electronics giant won't be making iPad mini displays anymore
Apple are wanting to move away from their kryptonite slowly, with David Hsieh from NPD Group's DisplaySearch stating on Thursday that Apple will rely more on Taiwan-based firm Innolux, and China's Century Display for touch panels in their next-gen iPad mini.
Innolux unveiled their plans to ship their first touch panels for smart devices with their touch-on-display technology later this year. DigiTimes has also reports that Apple will shift their reliance away from Samsung, and offering their business to LG Display, Sharp, Japan Display and AU Optronics for the iPad mini.
Businessweek have a very interesting piece on Samsung, which goes right into the heart and soul of the South Korean company. We know Samsung are willing to try anything and everything when it comes to smartphone form factors, where we see anything from smaller displays (under 4-inch) right up to the 5.5-inch Galaxy Note II.
But on the flip side, it's not just about offering a multitude of devices, it's about knowing when and how to play them out. It was only a couple of years ago that Android didn't exist, and now we have around one billion Android-based devices in the wild.
One of the parts of Businessweek's article is quite interesting, in that they state that Samsung executives are paranoid - but not in a bad way. Being paranoid means you never stop, like other companies I won't mention, and you continue to innovate in the hopes of keeping your existing customer base, and securing more.
The new logo, seen below, first popped up in Spotify's new TV ads. The logo has since been integrated on Spotify's website, though Spotify's apps have been updated to use a new logo based upon the new design. Spotify will likely adjust the logo with the next update released to the apps.
What do you think of the new logo? It's most likely been changed due to Spotify's redoubled efforts to expand its userbase. The new logo is streamlined and cleaner than the old logo and definitely looks more professional. We'll see if it helps Spotify expand in the United States and abroad.
Finally a patent judge making some sense. A federal judge has ruled that mathematical algorithms can not be patented, meaning that the lawsuit against Rackspace is no longer valid. Uniloc USA sued Rackspace saying that the processing of floating point numbers via the Linux operating system violated their patent.
Chief Judge Leonard Davis cited a ruling by the US Supreme Court in which they determined that mathematical algorithms cannot be patented.
Rob Tiller, Red Hat's Assistant General Counsel for IP:
NPE patent lawsuits are a chronic and serious problem for the technology industry. Such lawsuits, which are frequently based on patents that should never have been granted, typically cost millions of dollars to defend. These suits are a plague on innovation, economic growth, and job creation. Courts can help address this problem by determining the validity of patents early and with appropriate care. In this case, Judge Davis did just that, and set a great example for future cases.
Red Hate defended Rackspace in the matter because they supply Linux to Rackspace. Red Hat has a history of standing behind customers.