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A labor rights organization has accused Samsung and Lenovo of working with a Chinese supplier that uses child labor in its factory. The China Labor Watch sent in an undercover investigator that found child labor, overtime and pay abuse of younger employees in the HEG Technology factory. HEG reportedly uses facial recognition software to ensure no underage workers are hired at its facility, and an outsourcing company is used to hire students.
Child Labor Watch previously found a different Samsung supplier using child labor in its factories earlier in the summer, as Korean and western companies receive criticism when these types of reports surface. Samsung is no longer working with that supplier.
Samsung said it would like to do a joint investigation "for more precise verification," also saying: We find it regrettable that CLW issued the allegations today without any mention of our statement."
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is suing Half-Life and Counter-Strike developer Valve, claiming that the company is breaching Australian Consumer Law. The reason? Valve doesn't offer refunds of any kind, and now the ACCC is putting its foot down as these actions are against Australian consumer law.
ACCC Chairman Rod Sims explains: "The Australian Consumer Law applies to any business providing goods or services within Australia. Valve may be an American based company with no physical presence in Australia, but it is carrying on business in Australia by selling to Australian consumers, who are protected by the Australian Consumer Law." "It is a breach of the Australian Consumer Law for businesses to state that they do not give refunds under any circumstances, including for gifts and during sales. Under the Australian Consumer Law, consumers can insist on a refund or replacement at their option if a product has a major fault," Sims continued. "The consumer guarantees provided under the Australian Consumer Law cannot be excluded, restricted or modified."
Valve has since responded, with Doug Lombardi saying: "We are making every effort to cooperate with the Australian officials on this matter, while continuing to provide Steam services to our customers across the world, including Australian gamers."
Where it gets interesting, is Valve's refund policy, which states: "As with most software products, unless required by local law, we do not offer refunds or exchanges on games, DLC or in-game items purchased on our website or through the Steam Client. Please review Section 3 of the Steam Subscriber Agreement for more information." Within that refund policy, it reads "unless required by local law" so in this instance, local law requires a refund if the product is deemed faulty. An interesting turn for Australian gamers, and Valve right now.
Online merchants are embracing bitcoin payments from customers, even though the cryptocurrency has been described as volatile by some financial investors. However, retailers admit that bitcoins still don't amount for much of overall transactions, but expect it to slowly grow as more consumers become familiar with owning and using bitcoins.
Overstock.com estimates that it will see $6 million to $8 million in bitcoin-related sales in 2014, and will continue to support its use. Using online bitcoin wallets from services such as Coinbase or Blockchain allow consumers to have easy access to their bitcoins while shopping. Companies using bitcoins allow a bitcoin payment processor to holding the bitcoins, removing a difficult roadblock that has kept some retailers on the sidelines.
"We don't have to deal with the actual holding of the bitcoin: it's the payment processor that takes the currency risk for us," said Bernie Han, Dish Network COO. "That's what makes it appealing for us and I guess for other merchants as well."
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reportedly will head to China sometime in September as the Chinese government launches an antitrust investigation targeting Microsoft. The Chinese government said it doesn't believe Microsoft was transparent regarding Windows and Office sales, and Chinese antitrust regulators also want to investigate Internet Explorer and the Windows Media Player.
The timing of the antitrust probe seems rather confusing, with Microsoft settling antitrust issues in the United States and Europe more than 10 years ago. Furthermore, the popularity of Google Android and Apple iOS devices in the smartphone and tablet markets has forced Microsoft to revamp - problems that didn't exist during previous antitrust investigations.
Microsoft and other major corporations have a delicate relationship with China, amid growing antitrust probes that seem to target western companies. As Washington and Beijing continue to blame one another for spying and snooping, it looks like Microsoft, Google, and other companies are getting caught in the crossfire - if Microsoft gave the Chinese government access to data, for example, western lawmakers and journalists will heavily criticize the company.
Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee commands some serious behavior changes in his employees, where during one factory visit, workers were told to not look at Lee through the windows as he entered the building. Why? Because they should not look down at him.
Factory employees were told to park their peasantry vehiecles in the rear lot so that Lee wouldn't have to see them, as they weren't nice enough for him to look at. In the bathrooms, mints were provided to improve employees' breath, and a red carpet was laid out for the chairman to walk down as he entered the factory.
A few months ago, Lindsay Lohan filed a lawsuit against Take Two, the publisher behind Grand Theft Auto V, where she alleged that the publisher used her likeness in GTA V. But now Take Two's lawyers are firing back at the actress, saying that she filed the lawsuit "for publicity purposes".
Take Two is now aiming to have the lawsuit dismissed, with legal fees being pushed across the desk in Lohan's direction. Lohan's complaint alleged that Take Two "incorporated her image, likeness, clothing, outfits, [Lohan's] clothing line products, ensemble in the form of hats, hair style, sunglasses" and jeans worn by Lohan into GTA V as the character Lacey Jonas.
Technology giant Hewlett-Packard is recalling 5.6 million power cords, model LS-15, which were shipped with HP and Compaq notebooks, along with mini-notebooks and docking stations. HP received almost 30 reports of overheating cords that melted or charred, with 13 claims of minor property damage and two minor burn claims, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The cords were sold to consumers from September 2010 to June 2012, and consumers using this type of AC adapters should immediately stop using the power cords and unplug it. HP is offering free replacements for customers impacted by the safety risk. If you have a model LS-15 power cord, call 877-219-6676 - or visit the HP "Recalls" portion of the website to learn more.
"HP believes that certain power cords shipped with notebook PC products and AC adapter accessories may pose a risk of a fire and burn hazard to customers," HP said on its website. "We are taking this action as part of our commitment to provide the highest quality of service to our notebook customers."
It looks like EA will be rolling in cash that it has made from add-on content and DLC sales this year, with an estimated $1 billion or more for 2014 alone, according to Bloomberg.
John Reseburg, a spokesperson for EA, confirmed with Bloomberg that the Madden NFC add-on content revenue has grown by a gigantic 350% year-on-year in the financial quarter ending June 30. Madden NFL 15 will be a "major contributor" to EA's expected revenue growth in its sports sector according to Reseburg.
It wasn't long ago that we were reporting that according to multiple sources, Google were in the process of acquiring Twitch in a deal worth $1 billion. But now Amazon has confirmed today that it has reached an agreement to acquire Twitch for $970 million, with the deal closing in the coming months.
Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, said: "Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month - from The International, to breaking the world record for Mario, to gaming conferences like E3. And, amazingly, Twitch is only three years old. Like Twitch, we obsess over customers and like to think differently, and we look forward to learning from them and helping them move even faster to build new services for the gaming community."
Twitch CEO Emmett Shear had the following to say: "Amazon and Twitch optimize for our customers first and are both believers in the future of gaming. Being part of Amazon will let us do even more for our community. We will be able to create tools and services faster than we could have independently. This change will mean great things for our community, and will let us bring Twitch to even more people around the world."
Google has just announced it has agreed to purchase Gecko Design Inc. for an unknown amount of money, with Gecko Design's president and four other employees joining the ranks of Google's super-secret Google X labs.
Gecko Design has worked on countless projects, and while you might know who they are (don't worry, I don't either) you've probably seen, or use a product that they've worked on. The company was founded back in 1996, and is based out of Los Gatos, California, specializing in designing consumer electronics before it started getting into manufacturing.
Jacques Gagné, president of Gecko Design spoke with The Wall Street Journal, where he said that people seek his company as they don't know how to turn their ideas into real products, especially when it's something completely new, that someone else hasn't thought of yet. This is what attracted Google X to Gecko Design, according to Gagné. Gagné also teased that his company began working with Google last year on a project for the secret lab, but declined to add any details to that. So we can presume that it was this project that had the companies talking, leading to the acquisition.