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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 5

FCC questions carriers on throttling practices for subscribers

A lot of the mobile phone users out there aren't happy with the throttling that their carriers perform when they go over what the carrier feels is fair use for data. Late last week FCC chairman Tom Wheeler dismissed Verizon's reason for throttling some users and announced that the commission will be questioning other carriers as well.

 

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Verizon plans to throttle the top 5% of LTE users on unlimited plans starting in October when the network is under heavy load. Verizon claims that speed for these users would go back to normal when the network is less congested. Verizon noted that this practice is widely accepted in the industry.

 

Wheeler said "All the kids do it" isn't a good reason. "My concern in this instance-and it's not just with Verizon, by the way, we've written to all the carriers-is that it is moving from a technology and engineering issue to the business issues ... such as choosing between different subscribers based on your economic relationship with them ," Wheeler said.

Twitch CEO apologizes over changes, says that improvements are coming

Twitch has landed itself in some hot water in the last 48 hours, with some changes after its acquisition by YouTube. 24 hours ago, the company announced it was undergoing some serious changes that would see the use of unauthorized music in Twitch streams silenced for 30-minute periods.

 

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Emmett Shear, Twitch's CEO, took to Reddit to answer some questions from users. The new rules about the use of unauthorized music don't apply to live broadcasts, and it will not affect games that feature original compositions. Reddit users were firing off some good points, that will see Rock Band playthrough videos muted because of the music that is copyrighted within the game.

 

The company was quick on pushing through changes though, where Twitch took to a blog explaining the new changes, that come after the news of the changes from yesterday. The maximum time limits applied to highlights have now been removed, and the company has said it is rolling out an "appeal" button for videos that have been flagged as violations. What do you think of these changes? Do you think Twitch has been sucked up into the big bad world of mega corporations that is Google?

Netflix now has more subscription revenue than HBO

Netflix has been clear that it wants to be like HBO, the company is working hard to make that happen. Netflix announced in its most recent earnings report that it has more subscription revenue than HBO, indicating it is well on its way to being more like HBO. That isn't to say that Netflix has profits on the same order as HBO though.

 

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Netflix currently has about one-seventh as much profit as HBO rakes in. As far as subscription revenue goes, Netflix racked up $1.146 billion compared to HBO pulling in $1.141 billion. "They still kick our ass in profits and Emmys, but we are making progress," CEO Reed Hastings wrote. "HBO rocks, and we are honored to be in the same league."

Vizio recalls TVs due to faulty stands increasing tip over risk

We hear plenty about recalls of faulty cars for defects that can cause injury to owners, but we rarely hear about TVs being recalled. TV maker Vizio has done just that with a recall that has been expanded to cover 245,000 E-Series TVs that were sold between late 2013 and mid-2014.

 

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The TVs covered in the recall are 39-inch and 42-inch units and the recall is due to faulty stands that cause an increased risk of tip over. This can be particularly problematic for homes with small children who are more likely to be injured if the TV tips over.

 

The TVs in the recall include model numbers E390-B0, E390i-B0, and E420i-B0 sold between December 2013 and June 2014. Vizio says that the defect that can lead to tip over isn't visible on the outside of the TV. No injuries have been reported, but 51 TVs in the recalled line have tipped over.

Mass Effect creator Casey Hudson leave BioWare

BioWare has just lost a key player to its ranks, with Casey Hudson leaving the company. Hudson was an Executive Producer on the Mass Effect series, but it looks like he's not leaving BioWare to join another company, he has explained that he just needs to "hit the reset button".

 

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Hudson wrote: "While I feel that the time has come, this is without a doubt the most difficult decision of my career. BioWare is as magical a place today as it was when I started. The projects we are working on are some of the most exciting and prestigious in the world. The talent in our teams is second to none. And the people here are some of my closest friends. I've spent more time with many of you than my own family, and I have enjoyed every day of it".

LinkedIn made to pay 6 million USD to underpaid employees

The social network for people who have to wear ties on a day to day basis, LinkedIn, has been forced by the US Department of Labor to pay out 6 million USD after being found guilty of breaking wage laws.

 

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LinkedIn was found to have broken federal wage laws in California, Illinois, Nebraska and New York, and subsequently had to pay over 3 million in back wages, plus over 2.5 million in damages to 359 people, including former employees and those still at the firm. Although the company was caught out by the Department of Labor, it did praise LinkedIn for how it responded - agreeing to pay every cent and taking steps to ensure it didn't happen again.

 

"Talent is LinkedIn's number one priority, so of course, we were eager to work closely with the Dept. of Labor to quickly and equitably rectify this situation," a spokesperson for LinkedIn said to CNET. "This was a function of not having the right tools in place for a small subset of our sales force to track hours properly; prior to the DoL approaching us, we had already begun to remedy this."

Gmail moves unsubscribe links to the top of emails

Unsubscribe links for mailing lists are movin' on up in Gmail. It used to be that you would have to dig around at the bottom of a message from a mailing list to find the unsubscribe link. Google has now changed that with the addition of unsubscribe links at the top of the email.

 

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The point of this is to make it easier for folks to get of lists that they don't want to be on to begin with. Google was testing the feature with a limited number of users and is now rolling it out live for all users.

 

Gmail says that the new feature is better for email senders as well and makes mail less likely to be marked as spam. If the email includes an unsubscribe link, it automatically gets moved to the top next to the senders email address.

Pinterest adds messaging to allow conversations about pins

Pinterest has added a new way for users of its website to talk about the things they pin. Starting this week Pinterest has added a new chat feature that allows users to talk about their favorite things without having to leave the Pinterest site or app.

 

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Pinterest is hoping that the new messaging feature will make it easier for people to chat about their favorite things without leaving the website. Pinterest says that it has over 2 million pins set each day and last year it allowed the users of its app and site to share pins with others via email and notifications on the site.

 

A group of Pinterest users dubbed Power Pinners has been working with the site to refine the product and make it ready for roll out. The messaging service lacks a persistent contact list. That is because it doesn't want to be a messaging service like others out there. Messaging will be available when you Send a Pin and choose a contact; the conversation appears in the lower left corner when the pin is sent.

Google and Barnes & Noble team to fight Amazon via same day delivery

Amazon has been offering same day delivery of certain items from its website for a while now in some parts of the US. That same day delivery service is something that Google and Barnes & Noble want to compete against Amazon with so they have teamed up to make it happen.

 

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Google and Barnes & Noble will been offering book buyers in some parts of the US same day deliveries from local Barnes & Noble stores. The same day delivery service will be offered in Manhattan, West LA, and the San Francisco Bay area via Google Shopping Express.

 

Google Shopping kicked off about year ago and lets buyers in serviced areas get times from stores like Costco, Walgreens, Staples, and Target stores that can be delivered within hours of the purchase. Barnes & Noble CEO Michael Huseby views the service as a test and an attempt to link digital and physical products.

Microsoft eyes retail store near Apple's flagship Fifth Ave location

Microsoft has wanted to compete directly with Apple's retail presence for a long time, but hasn't been able to pull that off. A rumor is circulating that Microsoft is set to open a large new retail store on Fifth Ave in New York City not far from where Apple has its iconic Fifth Ave location.

 

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Microsoft is eyeing a two-story building at 677 Fifth Ave that is vacant and is only a few blocks from the Apple store. Apple certainly has popular and iconic products with the iPad and iPhone among other things, while Microsoft lacks any really popular products.

 

Surface tablets continue to lose money for Microsoft. Perhaps a new retail location could help sales, but a new store near an Apple location doesn't seem to be something that would change the market.

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