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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 49

ReportTT: Kim Dotcom ratted out Megaupload rivals

The US Department of Justice has just released a new batch of evidence against the infamous Kim Dotcom. Last week the US Government filed a 191-page document outlining its case against Dotcom that included evidence such as emails, Skype transcripts, and other information.

 

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Perhaps the biggest disclosure is that Dotcom had seeded information on, identified, and helped locate individuals who ran rival file sharing sites to Megaupload. Dotcom even went as far as contacting payment services to inform them of his competition's illegal activities. As all of this occurred, Megaupload thrived as its watched many of its biggest competitors fold under and their traffic slowly trickle into its service.

First major US retailer to accept Bitcoin in the second half of 2014

Overstock.com CEO, Patrick Byrne, has said that his company would be one of the first to accept Bitcoin, where it will accept the digital currency in the second half of next year.

 

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Byrne spilled the news during an interview with the Financial Times, where he said there is going to be a market in Bitcoin, and he wanted his company to embrace it. Byrne believes Bitcoin will hold its value better than the fiat-based dollar, thanks to the fact that it is mathematically constrained, versus the limitless printing of the dollar through the Federal Reserve and government authorities.

 

The Overstock.com CEO stated that his company would bank the digital currency in the event that similar digital funds increase in popularity. If, however, the digital currency begins to deflate, the company would transfer Bitcoins to dollars on a daily basis.

Former EA Senior VP joins Oculus VR as head of worldwide publishing

Oculus is securing talent every couple of weeks it seems, with the brain child of Doom and Quake, John Carmack, stepping on board as Chief Technology Officer not too long ago. Now have news that the VR outfit has secured a former EA Senior VP to join as the head of worldwide publishing.

 

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This department is fresh, with the aim of the new department to help developers create games that work with the Oculus Rift. David DeMartini is the man for the job, and in a statement to Gamasutra, DeMartini described his position as "not particularly different from what I did for seven years" when he was involved with the EA Partners program.

 

He continued: "I'm figuring out how to partner effectively with big developers, small developers, all the way down to the individual who just wants to make something great for the Rift."

Stolen Target credit cards hitting black market

Major retailer Target is under fire after 40 million customers have been affected by a credit and debit card security threat, as some account information has hit the open market.

 

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An unnamed bank had its security team purchase back stolen account information of its customers from an online forum, with account information available on sometimes sophisticated online trading places. It seems that credit cards were the main focus of the breach, with Target claiming there hasn't been impact to debit card PIN numbers.

 

This is a frustrating situation for Target, banks, and consumers - banks are hesitant to issue new cards, due to the high price ($3-$5 per card, on average), while customers are worried about their financial security.

Mark Zuckerberg is selling $2.3 billion worth of Facebook stock

Mark Zuckerberg is selling $2.3 billion worth of shares in the social network he founded, and is the CEO of. He isn't just selling the shares for cash, he's selling them to pay massive tax bills on options that he is exercising.

 

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The sale is part of a 70 million share offering, with Zuckerberg selling 41.3 million of those shares. Marc Andreessen, a Facebook investor, is selling 1.6 million. According to a press release from the social network, Facebook "intends to use the net proceeds of the offering for working capital and other general corporate purposes."

Cyanogen secures $23 million in funding, this is just the beginning

Cyanogen Inc. secured $7 million in Series A funding a few months ago, but Series B funding has come and gone, with $23 million being secured. The Series B funding was led by Andreessen Horowitz, the same company that is working closely with Oculus VR and its latest Series B funding round.

 

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One of the interesting points to take away from this is that Cyanogen Inc. is planning to launch a mass consumer brand or service late next year, or early 2015. We should hear more about the hardware side of things in the coming weeks and months, with the first CyanogenMod-powered smartphone, the CyanogenMod Edition of the Oppo N1 available.

EA slapped with class action lawsuit over Battlefield 4

We all know that Battlefield 4 is a jumbled mess right now across pretty much every platform its on, so it comes as no surprise that Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP has filed a class action lawsuit against EA.

 

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The law firm claims that EA issued "materially false and misleading statements" regarding the quality, and playability of Battlefield 4. The lawsuit highlights the PS4 version of the first-person shooter, claiming that "players of Electronic Arts' games were being subjected to multiple glitches and significant crashes when attempting to play Electronic Arts' titles on PS4."

 

The bigger problem is that this is the second lawsuit the firm has slapped EA with, with the first an investigation to find out if EA misled investors regarding Battlefield 4's projected impact on company revenue. This is still an on-going case, something we'll be keeping an eye on.

Apple forced to provide 2-year warranty in Australia

If there's one thing that is great about living in Australia - other than our crappy Internet - its our consumer laws. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is taking up warranty issues with Apple, something that the iPhone maker has gotten away with for years.

 

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Claims have pegged Apple with misleading consumers in respect to the details of faulty product replacement, refund and repair, the ACCC has hit Apple with a court order, which demands changes be made in Australia. The ACCC claims that Apple employees have been enforcing its own internal policies, which is a 14-day return and 12-month manufacturer warranty, versus those put in place by Australian law.

 

Apple will now offer a 24-month warranty in Australia, as well as beef up its repair and return policy. For those based in Australia, and consumers of Apple goods, this is a good win for consumers!

Don't expect Microsoft CEO news until 2014

Microsoft is currently narrowing down its short list of potential CEOs to take over after a tumultuous tenure of current CEO Steve Ballmer. There are only a handful of potential candidates that have the skillset and experience to lead the Redmond, Washington-based company, which has more than 100,000 employees worldwide.

 

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Ford CEO Alan Mulally was rumored to be a potential replacement, but Ford confirmed its CEO will lead the company through 2014. Meanwhile, Qualcomm COO Steve Mollenkopf was also a potential candidate, but Qualcomm announced Mollenkopf will be promoted to CEO as on March 4, 2014. Microsoft is reportedly looking for a replacement both internally and externally, and it's difficult to try and predict who will step in and lead one of the most powerful computer companies in the world.

 

In late August, Microsoft announced Ballmer would step down as acting CEO, which immediately put the rumor mill into overdrive. Over its 38-year history, Microsoft has only had two CEOs, founder Bill Gates and Ballmer, and the next CEO will have a very interesting task ahead - Microsoft is still a software giant, but has had trouble trying to break into the mobile market, and is adjusting to a cloud-based market.

Microsoft's Surface 2, Surface Pro 2 tablets are 'extremely popular'

The Microsoft Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablet models are selling out and have been difficult to find this Christmas shopping season. The devices are selling out at the official Microsoft Store and Walmart.com, while a quick look at Amazon.com shows a small supply of the surprisingly popular tablets.

 

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It's plausible Microsoft released smaller shipments to retailers - or the devices are truly becoming popular - but we won't know until early 2014, when analysts are able to estimate sales numbers. Microsoft and the retailers aren't confirming shipment figures, so analyst groups will be left to estimate how the Microsoft tablets did against rival tablets.

 

Microsoft has found it difficult to compete with the extremely popular Apple iPad and Android-based tablets, but the Windows 8-powered devices are best suited to make a major impact in the enterprise. Meanwhile, analysts believe the Surface 2 tablets will continue to fight for market share in 2014, as Microsoft continues a massive marketing and advertising campaign.

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