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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 11

Spotify pays billions in royalties, and artists can make millions

Popular music artist Taylor Swift decided to pull her music from streaming service Spotify earlier this month, and now Spotify is firing back. In addition to paying more than $2 billion in music royalties for the right to stream music, Spotify says Swift - and other top artists - "are on track to exceed $6 million a year," with that number expected to double next year.

 

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"Lots of problems that have plagued the industry since its inception continue to exist," said Spotify CEO Daniel Ek. "As I said, we've already paid more than $2 billion in royalties to the music industry and if that money is not flowing to the creative community in a timely and transparent way, that's a big problem."

 

When Swift announced she was pulling her music from Spotify, it seemed like a rather curious choice. Ek also said that 80 percent of subscribers started as free users, and a music track that is played more than 500,000 times pays between $3,000 to $4,000 in royalties.

Microsoft's massive $2.5 billion acquisition of Mojang is now complete

Microsoft has officially acquired Mojang, the developer behind Minecraft, for a truly massive $2.5 billion. After announcing the deal in September, all the required paperwork is now done, with the deal now complete.

 

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Minecraft earned around $326 million in revenue last year across all of its game sales, ports and merchandising. Markus "Notch" Persson, Minecraft's creator and company co-founder, has left the company, as he said he wanted to "go back to doing Ludum Dares and small web experiments".

NVIDIA enjoys record Q3 revenues, with GeForce GPU revenues up 36%

NVIDIA has just posted its Q3 fiscal year 2015 results, which ended on October 26, with some impressive results. The chipmaker has posted a Q3 revenue of $1.23 billion, which is up 16% year-over-year, while revenues are at $3.43 billion, up 15% year-over-year.

 

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The company launched their second-generation Maxwell GPUs in the quarter, with the GeForce GTX 900 series performing, and selling well. NVIDIA's GeForce division also did well, which shouldn't be surprising, with their GPUs being the biggest revenue generator for the company. GPU sales were up 13% year-over-year, and quarter-over-quarter, with GeForce-branded GPU revenue up 36%. Gaming notebook sales are also up, more than double what they were last year. Tesla GPUs and GRID sales were also high, but no exact numbers were released.

 

NVIDIA's Tegra processor sold well over the three-month period, with a 51% increase year-over-year, with Tegra in vehicles being big business for NVIDIA. The company noted that over six million vehicles on the road right now have Tegra-powered infotainment systems. When it comes to mobiles, NVIDIA had quite a few products on the market with their chips: Shield, Google's Nexus 9 and some Chromebooks are powered by the company's Tegra K1 chip.

Qualcomm has shipped 861 million MSM chips this year alone

Qualcomm has unveiled its fourth quarter and fiscal 2014 results, with some huge numbers to show off to the world. GAAP Revenues for the quarter are at $6.69 billion, which is up 3% year-over-year. Income, hit $1.99 billion, up 25% year-over-year, with its net income being $1.89 billion, up 26% year-over-year.

 

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When it comes to GAAP fiscal 2014 results, the 12-month period saw Qualcomm enjoy revenues of $26.49 billion, up 7%. When it came to operating income, Qualcomm made $7.55 billion, up 4% year-over-year, while net income was $7.97 billion, up 16% year-over-year. Operating cash flow for the year was $8.89 billion.

 

Now let's talk chip shipments for the three- and 12-month periods: in Qualcomm's Q4 fiscal 2014, the company shipped 236 million MSM chips, a number that is up 24% year-over-year. Fiscal 2014 numbers are equally as impressive, with 861 million MSM chips shipped in the year, up 20% year-over-year. Total reported device sales for the September quarter through June quarter are quite large: approximately $243.6 billion, a number that is up 5% year-over-year.

Zalman goes bankrupt in an epic $3 billion fraud conspiracy

There will be quite a few of you shocked by this news, but Zalman are finished. The company has filed for bankruptcy in Seoul, after years of its owner, Moneual, bleeding billions of dollars out of the company. But this isn't the only part of the story, it is a full-blown conspiracy with layers of details.

 

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Futurelooks is reporting that former Moneual employees are now dishing out the goss, with these insiders saying that CEO Harold Park, VP Scott Park, and VP Won Duck-yeok working out a deal between them that would see Zalman "produce inflated sales and fabricated export data, allowing the company to qualify for increasingly large bank loans". This worked well for the trio, as over five years, the company were able to secure $2.98 billion in loans under false pretences.

 

The documentation, which was fraudulent, showed that parts were exported to the US "since the finished product is larger and more expensive" than the parts themselves. This trick allowed the company to false quality for bigger loans, but the ride is obviously over. Zalman Tech Co. Ltd has halted trading of its shares, with the company filing for bankruptcy protection in the Seoul Central District Court.

Continue reading 'Zalman goes bankrupt in an epic $3 billion fraud conspiracy' (full post)

Rahul Sood leaves Microsoft, forms his own gaming company 'Unikrn'

You might remember Rahul Sood as the founder of VoodooPC, especially when he cut his birthday cake with that first-gen MacBook Air all that time ago. Well, Sood has left his post at Microsoft, to form his own gaming company known as Unikrn.

 

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Sood took to his LinkedIn page where he said that he's leaving a dream job, but adds that "this is the kind of crazy shit entrepreneurs do (or at least I keep telling myself that!". Sood started VoodooPC, something that was purchased by HP in 2008, and has been a part of the gaming community since, even joining Microsoft as the GM of Xbox, but moved over to helping early stage startups.

 

In his blog post, Sood said that his "gaming past continues to drive unrest inside me, starting with Voodoo, and then advising various companies including Razer and Vrvana, and now...".

Underwriters Laboratories acquires Futuremark, the makers of 3DMark

3DMark has been a staple of PC enthusiasts all across the world for over a decade, but the company behind it, Futuremark, has just been acquired by Underwriters Laboratories. Underwriters Laboratories is a safety testing organization, based in the US with offices in 46 countries, which analyzes the safety of technological products and their components.

 

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General Manager of UL's Consumer Technology Division, Stephen Kirk, talked about the acquisition: "Embedded software is now an important part of product design. With an increased focus on mobility, we see more and more products being connected, making the Internet of Things a reality. Consequently, software quality is a significant driver of product safety and performance; and we believe that benchmarking is an important way to help our customers to improve the performance of their products". He continued: "This acquisition provides us with an opportunity to build a new business line in testing a wide variety of technological devices so they offer the performance, safety and privacy that consumers expect".

 

What does UL have planned for future Futuremark products? We should see more professionally-orientated packages, similar to what PCMark's suite offers. Futuremark's Chief Executive, Jukka Mäkinen, said: "In recent years, we've expanded on to new platforms, our software has been adopted by the European Commission and national governments, and we've welcomed more of the world's leading technology companies into our Benchmark Development Program. We've accomplished a lot on our own, but with UL, we're in an even better position to achieve our goals".

Walmart testing online price matching to win over consumers

Retailer Walmart wants to win over consumers looking to open up their wallets this holiday shopping season, and is now considering matching online prices for in-store purchases. Walmart has started a trial run to match online prices in the following markets: Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Phoenix and northwest Arkansas.

 

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Walmart, the world's largest retailer, has matched rival in-store prices in the past - but with consumer spending to be the best it has been in the past few years - wants to better compete against Amazon and other e-tailers. Although this effort could end up hurting revenue, with many consumers shopping in its stores purchasing multiple items, Walmart hopes to provide consumers with incentives so they head to the store and spend even more.

 

Consumers that have been hesitant to spend large amounts of money during the holiday shopping season should find great deals - both online and in-store - as the economy continues to recover from years of consistent struggles.

Apple CEO Tim Cook says he is 'proud to be gay' in published essay

Apple CEO Tim Cook became the most prominent public company executive to come out of the closet, saying he is "proud to be gay" in a recently published essay. The Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights activist group, applauded Cook for making such a "courageous" decision - and noted he is the first openly gay Fortune 500 company CEO.

 

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"Let me be clear: I'm proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me," Cook said in his essay. "Apple is already one of the most closely watched companies in the world - and I like keeping the focus on our products and the incredible things our customers achieve with them."

 

Cook has never necessarily denied being gay with others, but wanted to make a public announcement to try to help others be comfortable, saying if it "can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it's worth the trade-off with my own privacy."

Comcast settles overcharging lawsuit, will fork over $50 million

Comcast will pay $50 million to end an 11-year-old class-action overcharging lawsuit that was filed by angry Philadelphia customers. The lawsuit was filed on December 8, 2003, and originally wanted $875 million from the cable giant.

 

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The payments, credits and free upgrades will be issued to subscribers in Philadelphia and four other local counties - and will help out curren and former subscribers from January 1, 2003 to December 31, 2008, according to legal documents.

 

Plaintiffs will receive a measly $15 payout, as just $16.67 million will be paid out in cash or customer credit - including four months of free Internet service upgrades, six free pay-per-view movies two free months of The Movie Channel, or one free month upgrade to Extreme 105 service.

Continue reading 'Comcast settles overcharging lawsuit, will fork over $50 million' (full post)

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