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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 117

Verizon happy to follow T-Mobile if consumers don't want contracts

Verizon's CEO has said that the company would be happy to follow in T-Mobile's footsteps and become a no-contract carrier if that is what consumers want. He noted that it's not too difficult to change to a no-contract model and the company is waiting to see how consumers react to T-Mobile's move.

 

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Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam:

I'm happy when I see something different tried. We can react quickly to consumers' shifting needs.

 

Dropping contracts isn't unheard of. Portions of Europe already operate without contracts and consumers don't seem to mind paying the full price for devices. Whether American consumers will be open to the idea remains to be seen. T-Mobile argues that consumers save money due to decreased monthly service fees.

 

AT&T has also expressed interest in dropping smartphone subsidies in exchange for lower monthly rates.

DEA complains they can't tap iMessage due to encryption

CNET obtained a copy of an internal memo sent by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that complained about their inability to intercept iMessage messages. This is just the latest of law enforcement complaints that new technologies make tapping communication more difficult.

 

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Apple's iMessage utilizes end-to-end encryption making it near impossible for DEA to obtain copies of the message. They were able to discover the iMessage issue after requesting a record of text messages from Verizon. When they received the copies, they realized that the user had utilized iMessage. "It became apparent that not all text messages were being captured."

 

FBI director Mueller:

There is a growing and dangerous gap between law enforcement's legal authority to conduct electronic surveillance, and its actual ability to conduct such surveillance. We must ensure that the laws by which we operate and which provide protection to individual privacy rights keep pace with new threats and new technology.

 

Should Apple be required to implement a method to allow federal agents legal access to iMessage communications?

AMD says NVIDIA bitter over Sony using AMD in PlayStation 4

AMD's representitive believes that NVIDIA may be bitter over Sony's choice to go with AMD in the PlayStation 4. His reasoning? A statement by NVIDIA's Tony Tamasi saying how the GTX 680 outperforms the PlayStation 4. He added that the 680 had been out for a year and a half.

 

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If the PS4 ships in December as Sony indicated, it will only offer about half the performance of a GTX 680 GPU, which launched in March 2012, more than a year and a half ago.

 

AMD's director of ISV relations Neal Robinson responded:

Well, of course they're going to do that. They're a little bitter. For us, really by looking at the APU that we designed, you can't pull out individual components off it and hold up and say, 'Yea, this compares to X or Y.' It's more than just a CPU doing all these amazing calculations and a GPU doing calculations. We are now going to be able to move certain tasks between the two.

 

It's true that the hardware being used in the PlayStation 4 isn't the latest and greatest. But AMD is able to offer both the CPU and GPU as a package, allowing certain optimizations that can work in the PlayStation 4's favor. We'll have to wait and see what Microsoft brings to the table with the Xbox 720.

Disney closes LucasArts, upcoming Star Wars games canceled

Famous game studio LucasArts has been closed by Disney as a result of Disney trying to minimize risk. LucasArts is responsible for two decades of classic games, including such favorites of The Secret of Monkey Island, Full Throttle, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

 

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After evaluating our position in the games market, we've decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company's risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games. As a result of this change, we've had layoffs across the organization. We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles.

 

Any current games in development have been scrapped. This means that Star Wars 1313 will not be seeing the light of day. Instead, Disney plans to license the right to make games based upon the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises to other developers.

SEC revises its stance on the corporate use of social media to inform investors

This morning the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it has revised the way it believes companies should use social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook to inform their investors about company information.

 

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The revision comes after the commission investigated Netflix CEO Reed Hastings over a post on Facebook about his personal holdings in the company, which caused the company's stock value to rise. The revision requires companies to notify investors that their social media accounts could post information that could affect stock values.

 

"Personal social media sites of individuals employed by a public company would not ordinarily be assumed to be channels through which the company would disclose material corporate information. Companies should review the Commission's existing guidance - it is flexible enough to address questions that arise for companies that choose to communicate through social media, and the guidance does so in a straightforward manner."

Dan Porter, former OMGPOP CEO, leaves Zynga

Dan Porter, the former CEO of OMGPOP before it was bought out by Zynga for a rumored $210 million, is leaving Zynga, the company has announced today. Zynga is currently in the process of building Draw Something 2 and Zynga's COO David Ko has acknowledged Porter worked on the sequel.

 

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Developing and launching games is a team effort, and we're proud of the great work the Zynga New York team has done with Draw Something 2. Our follow up to the original hit is even more social and engaging, and we're excited to get it into the hands of our players globally. We thank Dan Porter for his efforts in making the Draw Something franchise a success and wish him well in his future endeavors. We're proud to see talent like Sean Kelly take a bigger leadership role as the Head of our New York studio and lead the team to the global launch of Draw Something 2.

 

Porter is just the latest in what seems to be a never ending stream of employees leaving Zynga after it went public in 2011. Zynga has appointed VP Sean Kelly to take over as head of the New York office. Kelly has been with the company since 2009.

Ex-Windows Phone general manager heads to Amazon to head up new secret project

Former Windows Phone general manager Charlie Kindel has been scooped up by Amazon to take point on a new top secret project at the e-commerce mammoth. The project involves cloud computing and mobile services, but no other information is available.

 

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On his LinkedIn profile, Kindel mentions that he is putting a new team together that will be responsible for heading up a completely new area for Amazon. He is hiring cloud and mobile developers as well as managers, and experienced testers.

 

Kindel left Microsoft in 2011 to work on a startup called BizLogr, a company that developed an automated tool that uses a calendar to create mileage logs that is used to calculate per-mile deductions for the business use of your personal car. Kindel will remain with BizLogr as the owner and founder.

Google facing fines after failing to update privacy policy in the European Union

Google is facing fines this morning after six European Union data protection regulators started enforcement measures over the company's failure to fix flaws in one of its new privacy policies.

 

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France's National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties started follow-up measures in line with French laws after a meeting with Google brought forth no changes. UK, German, Spanish and Dutch authorities are also considering enacting similar follow up procedures.

 

The CNIL notified Google's Chief Executive Officer Larry Page in October, saying Google "empowers itself to collect vast amounts of personal data about Internet users without demonstrating that this collection was proportionate," and asked the company to align its policy with EU rules.

 

The follow-up measures could result in heavy fines for Google, but if you look at the scale of things, CNIL's heaviest fine to date was 100,000 euros ($128,340) against Google and that is but a mere drop in the bucket for such a large company.

Apple planning to expand Siri based on 12 new job postings

A while back I reported on Apple posting a Siri based job that expressly required OSX development, which I thought might lead to integration of Siri into OSX. Over the weekend, Apple listed 12 new Siri based jobs that lend further credit to my prediction that Siri is coming to Mac devices.

 

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The list consist of mostly software engineers who will be charged with "helping invent new techniques for conversational interaction, and building practices, processes, and standards that will become a foundation for design and innovation far into the future."

 

Other Siri job listings include Runtime Engineer, Hadoop Engineer, Monitoring Architect, Integration Engineer, Build / Release engineer and a pair of Data related Software Engineering positions. Of course Apple is keeping silent on if Siri will make an appearance on OSX. Another safe bet is that the company is working hard on integrating Siri with the less powerful hardware of the cheaper iPhone expected to release later this year.

Dell to continue to concentrate on PCs and tablets

If you thought Dell were going to be moving away from the consumer space in the midst of their effort to go private, don't worry - Michael Dell has your back. The company founder said there's no reason to worry in a company memo that Dell published through the SEC.

 

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Dell has said to his employees that the company will "significantly increase investment" in PCs and tablets once they go private. He hasn't exactly laid out the company plans on the table, but he has said that there will be a shift away from valuing gross margins, which is a great thing. This means that the company won't take in as much profits, but they'll want to drive sales of their products in other ways - experimentation, marketing, pushes into developing markets, and more.

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