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Sharp Corp., Samsung Electronics Co., and six other makers of LCD panels have agreed to pay $388 million to settle price-fixing claims by direct purchasers of the products. Sharp, Japan's largest panel maker paid $105 million, Samsung, who are the world's largest TV maker, paid $82.7 million and then we have Chimei Innolux Corp who are Taiwan's largest maker of display panels, paying $78 million.
The price-fixing isn't just for a few years, according to a class action, or group lawsuit filed in 2007, this has been going on from 1999 to 2006. Where the companies allegedly fixed prices of the panels, driving up prices for purchasers who bought the screens or goods containing them.
The U.S. Justice Department investigation ended in guilty please from LG Display Co., Chunghwa Picture Tubes and Sharp. The companies agreed in 2008 and 2009 to pay $585 million in criminal fines.
This is something that should develop into 2012, but early reports are that the European Commission just announced a few hours ago that they have opened a formal antitrust proceeding to investigate whether a number of international e-book publishers have engaged in anti-competitive practices affecting the sale of e-books in Europe, "possibly with the help of Apple."
Publishers that were identified in the antitrust investigation include Hachette Livre (Lagardère Publishing, France), Harper Collins (News Corp., USA), Simon & Schuster (CBS Corp., USA), Penguin (Pearson Group, United Kingdom) and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holzbrinck (owner of inter alia Macmillan, Germany).
The Commission says it will investigate whether these publishers and Apple have engaged in illegal agreements or practices that would "have the object or the effect of restricting competition" in the European Union or in the European Economic Area (EEA). The Commission isn't stopping there, either. They're also looking into "agency agreements" between the publishers and e-book retailers, in collaboration with the UK Office of Fair Trading.
Facebook are moving to some new [evil?] headquarters with a most interesting address. Apple have 1 Infinite Loop, Genentech have 1 DNA Way, Microsoft have 1 Microsoft Way and now Facebook have joined the club with 1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park, 94025.
As seen above on a new business card from a Facebook employee, the new address is baldly displayed. Facebook were looking at a name of 1 Social Circle, but that is pretty close to Google+ with its Circle friends list, which obviously led to Facebook choosing a different name.
Facebook are in the process of transitioning between their current Palo Alto buildings to the new Menlo Park HQ.
Apple and Samsung have butted heads once again, but this time, on U.S. soil. More precisely, a San Jose, Ca. court at the end of last week. In April of this year, Apple sued Samsung for "copying the look and feel" of its iPhone and iPad in its Galaxy range of phones and tablets.
Apple then expanded the suit to include another 13 models, such as the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Nexus S and Droid Charge. The full trial is set to go ahead on July 30, 2012, but Apple were pushing for a temporary sales injunction on the contested Samsung devices in the U.S. as that date arrived. It seems Apple are scared of Samsung, and so they should be.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh refused Apple's request, stating it was an "extraordinary remedy." She was unconvinced that Apple would suffer irreparable harm should Samsung continue to sell their devices pending the court case, where she continued:
Given the evidence Samsung presented, it seems likely that a major beneficiary of an injunction would be other smartphone manufacturers.
It looks like Apple retail stores are in for some competition from the fun-sounding creation from Google and Telstra: Androidland. Androidland was unveiled at Telstra's retail outlet in Bourke St, Melbourne, where its based in the 154 square metre space which brings together interactive technology, games and on-site experts to explain the features of Google's Android OS.
Executive Director of Telstra Mobile, Warwick Bray, said that its the first time a mobile carrier had teamed up with Google to create an Android-dedicated retail presence. He added:
Over the past 12 months we've seen a huge growth in the number of customers coming in-store and asking us about Android phones and tablets. With Androidland we wanted to create a retail environment like no other that helps us to answer customer questions in a fun, interactive way. The result is a world-first collaboration that goes beyond conventional product displays by allowing visitors to get hands on with a range of popular mobile services and apps found on Android devices.
Google is reportedly shopping around with multiple retailers and shipping couriers in an effort to create a service that would compete with Amazon's Prime one-day shipping option. Google could even offer same-day delivery on certain items, which would actually be better than Amazon's offering.
The way it differs to Amazon, is Google's service would not have them selling items directly to the customer, but rather allow them to handle the delivery process through deals and companies such as UPS and local couriers. When a customer is checking out at a particular retailer, Google's system would kick in and offer expedited delivery services.
WebOS, it's gone. WebOS, it's back. Now HP is set to announce the fate of WebOS within the fortnight, according to CEO Mig Whitman in an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro.
Whitman hasn't hinted at what direction HP might take with WebOS, but she has said that HP have a team of roughly 600 people in limbo and that they need to have another operating system. WebOS has been up in the air, which I'm sure most of you all know about. HP's TouchPad tablet had its priced slashed to $99 and enjoyed some huge sales in that time.
HP did acquire Palm in April 2010 for the tidy sum of $1.2 billion, with WebOS a key part of that deal. HP have recently announced plans for Windows 8 tablets, which will arrive next year with Windows 8. More news as it comes.
Social game developer Zynga are set to start talking with potential public investors on Monday ahead of a mid-December IPO. Reuters have some early details, with reports of Zynga wanting to raise around $900 million by selling 10-percent of its stock at a range between $8 and $10 per share, for a valuation of around $10 billion, according to the report.
It was speculated previously that Zynga would be eyeing down the hallway of between $15 and $20 billion, but those estimates are quite off from what we've recently seen. What is contributing to the scale down in valuation? Well, Zynga have concerns over larger economic issues such as the ongoing financial crisis in Europe, and the poor reception that other tech IPOs have had recently.
Super Mario 3D Land hit the Nintendo 3DS and store shelves on November 11, and has since become the fastest-selling Mario game in Nintendo's history by selling more than 500,000 copies since launch.
Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword which was released on the Nintendo Wii on November 20 has sold 535,000 copies, which makes it the fastest-selling Zelda game ever. Black Friday is filled with wonderful things, even with the way the world's economies are right now.
The two releases also spiked Nintendo 3DS and Wii systems, with the 3DS sales tripled (by 325-percent) compared with sales the week of November 6th, the week before Super Mario 3D Land launched out of its green pipe. The week of its debut, however, sales rose 49-percent from the previous week.
Microsoft's Xbox 360 may be in its seventh year of its life, but it has just closed the biggest sales week in the history of the console by selling more than 960,000 consoles in the U.S. alone during the week of Black Friday.
More than 960,000 consoles were sold, with 800,000 being sold in a 24 hour period. Kinect also saw a huge boost with more than 750,000 sensors being sold across the U.S. in both standalone packages as well as bundles. Microsoft aren't stopping there, come December 6th, the "next generation of TV entertainment will begin" with the availability of a new Xbox 360 experience, and the launch of the first group of custom entertainment apps on Xbox LIVE.