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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 13

Microsoft to announce major job cuts this week says source

Microsoft is one of the largest technology firms in the world and according to sources familiar with the software giant's plans, the company will be announcing major job cuts this week. Microsoft is said to be planning the largest round of job cuts in the last five years as the company looks to slim down.

 

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The job cuts could be announced as soon as this week according to sources who claim to be familiar with plans at Microsoft. Exactly how many jobs are on the line is unknown, but the sources say that these cuts could be larger than the 5800 workers Microsoft shed in 2009.

 

In 2009 when the 5800 workers were shed, that was about 5% of Microsoft's global workforce. The software giant currently has over 127,000 employees, counting those gained in the Nokia merger. Some of the cuts are expected to be in marketing departments for businesses like the global Xbox team.

Lionsgate Entertainment and Alibaba Group team for streaming content

Lionsgate Entertainment and Alibaba Group have announced a new streaming content agreement has been put in place. The agreement will see hit films and TV programming from Lionsgate come to leading Alibaba properties. The agreement covers blockbuster films like Divergent and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse among other content.

 

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The content will be offered by the Alibaba group as a premium subscription offering and will be offered exclusively through the latest generation Alibaba set top boxes. TV series that will be coming to the streaming service include The Royals, a show that will debut on E! early next year, Nashville, Mad Men, and Weeds among others.

 

"We're pleased to collaborate with Alibaba, a world-class brand that is well known and respected among consumers throughout China," said Lionsgate Chief Executive Officer Jon Feltheimer. "Alibaba is the kind of entrepreneurial company with whom we like to be in business, and the launch of our streaming service in China underscores our commitment to innovation and leadership in delivering premium content to digital platforms around the world."

Dish Network wins court decision for Hopper DVRs

Dish Network has one of the coolest whole home DVR systems in the satellite TV realm in the US and it is called the Hopper. The Hopper DVR will allow you to watch the same recorded shows in any room of your home and includes place-shifting tech built-in to allow you to stream your shows remotely to other devices and transfer content to your mobile device to view on the go.

 

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That means if you are going on vacation and want to shoot the latest episode of your favorite show from your DVR to your iPad for the trip, you can do that. Fox has been fighting Dish Network in court to get that export feature ruled illegal, but so far, Dish has prevailed at every turn.

 

Fox recently asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to stop Dish from streaming its content over the internet to its subscribers. The appeals court ruled against the injunction for Fox this week, but the case is continuing. NBC, Fox, ABC, and CBS all sued Dish two years ago to block the ad skipping feature of the Hopper DVR system, and failed in that attempt.

PC hardware market valued at over $21.5 billion, what consoles?

Jon Peddie Research, or JPR, has a new report out that sees the PC hardware market valued at a huge $21.5 billion. This figure is over twice the amount of the console gaming market, which should see people finally seeing that the PC market is just as, if not more important than the console market.

 

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JPR Senior Analyst Ted Pollak said: "We continue to see a shift in casual console customers moving to mobile. While this is also occurring in the lower-end PC gaming world, more money is being directed to mid- and high-range builds and upgrades by gamers". Pollak continued, saying that PC gamers simply aren't interested in gaming consoles, something he calls "pure content consumption platforms".

 

He added that PC gamers have no problems paying thousands of dollars for "the ability to play games at very high settings" while also having the ability to do other desktop tasks, such as content creation and video editing "with maximum horsepower at their disposal in a desktop ergonomic environment".

Continue reading 'PC hardware market valued at over $21.5 billion, what consoles?' (full post)

Maximum problems continue: Homefront director resigns from Crytek

Crytek is continuing to ride this downward spiral, with the game director of Homefront: The Revolution, Hasit Zala resigning from his position at Crytek UK. Earlier this month, Crytek UK development manager Ben Harris also left the company, along with a slew of other people.

 

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A person "connected to Crytek UK" according to Kotaku has said: "It creates a weird scenario as there are now no upper management. Everything is just continuing on a downwards spiral". Another person "connected to the studio" said "People haven't been paid for a long time".

 

Crytek has been maximum silence over the issues, but the cat has to get out of the bag soon enough. We're either going to see a brick wall get hit, or we're going to hear about delays on titles soon enough.

YouTube in talks to fund premium Hollywood content

YouTube has made no secret that it wants more premium content on its website for viewers to enjoy. For YouTube more premium content means more viewers and more ad revenue as major brands are less likely to advertise on poor quality homemade video.

 

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YouTube is tipped to be in talks with independent and Hollywood producers to fund new premium content according to two sources claiming to be familiar with these negotiations. YouTube execs have reportedly been making the rounds over the last few months to explore what sort of content could be offered on the network.

 

It's unclear at this time how the program for premium content would be structured. One source claims that YouTube might offer between $1 million and $3 million to producers for a series of programs and might contribute marketing funds as well. Another source says that the deal is for videos shorter than 30 minutes and of network TV quality.

Vending machines evolving, going high-tech with better products

Vending machines in the United States are evolving because of advanced technology and more affordable development prices. Instead of just selling cheap candy and soda, many vending machines now offer everything from beauty products to electronics, or higher quality food.

 

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Denis Koci's Burritobox, selling hot burritos to visitors via his Box Brands companies, recently rolled out six more machines - featuring hand-rolled burritos which can be customized with sour cream, guacamole, and other choices. The company also has interest in Pizzaboxes and other niche food vending machines which can be in shopping malls, near parks, and other locations with high foot traffic.

 

"There is a lot of innovation happening in vending machines," said Omar Khedr, IBISWorld industry research analyst, in a statement. "It's occurring in niche markets like organic foods, propelled forward by access to new technology and convenience."

Continue reading 'Vending machines evolving, going high-tech with better products' (full post)

Google legal chief shines light on EU right to be forgotten delistings

The controversial "right to be forgotten" ruling in Europe has seen Google censor news articles and remove search results - and now the company has shed some light on the process itself.

 

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Google's chief legal officer, David Drummond, penned a statement, published in the Guardian, in which he put forward the company's case. "When it comes to determining what's in the public interest, we're taking into account a number of factors," Drummond wrote. "These include whether the information relates to a politician, celebrity or other public figure; if the material comes from a reputable news source, and how recent it is; whether it involves political speech; questions of professional conduct that might be relevant to consumers; the involvement of criminal convictions that are not yet "spent"; and if the information is being published by a government. But these will always be difficult and debatable judgments."

 

That Google is having to decide the validity of each request on a case by case basis is testament to its power - delisting results is at the company's discretion. Of course, Google is not able to remove articles or websites from the internet, but as by far the largest search engine on the planet, taking down searches tends to considerably reduce the access to such pages. But Drummond asserted that adapting to the European ruling will be part of a learning curve. "Only two months in our process is still very much a work in progress," Drummond wrote. "It's why we incorrectly removed links to some articles last week (they've since been reinstated). But the good news is that the ongoing, active debate that's happening will inform the development of our principles, policies and practices."

Britain joins the US in banning uncharged smartphones from flights

Britain has now joined the United States in demanding that travelers have fully-charged smart devices before they're allowed to board flights.

 

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Britain's Department for Transport has said that, "in line with" advice from the US, prospective passengers can be harassed into proving their devices are powered up - otherwise they may not be allowed to board certain flights. "Passengers flying into or out of the UK are therefore advised to make sure electronic devices being carried in their hand luggage are charged before they travel," the Department said in a statement.

 

It's likely to be viewed as a rather over-the-top move, much like the recent decision by US policymakers. As anyone who has had the pleasure of air travel will know, sometimes it's not always possible to keep your device charged up - especially when charging stations at airports can be limited. British Airways recently announced it would outright ban uncharged devices from flights before reversing the decision, and allowing passengers the option of having their phones or tablets forwarded to their destination in the mail.

Samsung investigating child labor claims in Chinese production factory

Korean electronics company Samsung is under fire due to suspicions one of its suppliers uses child labor to help keep costs down. The latest round of accusations are courtesy of China Labor Watch, a U.S. activist group that tracts illegal workplace behavior in China.

 

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Some employees in the Dongguan plant are reportedly under the age of 16, and work 11 hours a day, 7 days per week, while not receiving overtime pay. If the allegations are true, it's a tragic situation that unfortunately we seem to hear more information about.

 

"We are urgently looking into the latest allegations and will take appropriate measures in accordance with our policies to prevent any cases of child labor in our suppliers," Samsung noted in an emailed statement to Reuters.

Continue reading 'Samsung investigating child labor claims in Chinese production factory' (full post)

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