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Since being introduced in 2009, it has taken years of existence before the bitcoin cryptocurrency started causing concern for most lawmakers. Now, many US states are seeing different oversight and possible regulation of bitcoins - and the matter isn't going to get any easier.
State and federal agencies want to try to regulate bitcoins, even while saying the cryptocurrency isn't a traditional currency, while many supporters want a hands-off approach. However, state regulators are watching one another to see what is happening, and how interactions with bitcoin backers can be done in a respectful, knowledge sharing manner. States such as New York and Texas want to have some type of bitcoin licensing system, and others will wait-and-see on possible oversight.
"In order to prevent money laundering, we need to have some points within the ecosystem where the financial intermediaries have some sense of who they're dealing with," said Benjamin Lawsky, New York financial services superintendent. However, the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau doesn't necessarily disregard bitcoin, but warns supporters they are effectively "stepping into the Wild West."
The Internet of Things market is growing rapidly, and is attracting more attention from US technology and telecoms buyers, according to the Hampleton Partners' report. More than $9.4 billion has been spent since 2011 to help acquire IoT suppliers, with a whopping $5 billion of that spent during 2014 so far.
Expect to see Intel, Texas Instruments, Juniper Networks, Johnson Controls and AT&T become more active in acquiring - and creating partnerships - that will help bolster their IoT product lines. There will be an estimated 28 billion Internet-connected devices by 2020, and a global market valued at more than $7.1 trillion - and that figure will only grow as reliable Internet continues to be expanded worldwide.
Meanwhile, IoT will be one of the fastest growing market segments, and spending to support the blossoming market is expected to be $59 billion by 2020. Such wide market growth presents excellent opportunities for manufacturers, especially by releasing consumer technology solutions.
LG's CEO has just stepped down, with Dr. Jong-Seok Park citing health problems as to why he's stepping down from the company. He will be replaced by Juno Cho from LG's holding company.
With the company posting record high sales, and increased profits, a change of leadership could continue this into the future. The G3 is doing well, and the company seems to be capitalizing on it, which is good to see.
President Obama has just signed the E-Label act into law today, which will see the logos on the back of our smartphones not required in the future.
The labels will be replaced by software on the device itself, with the device that will benefit the most being the iPhone, which has logos splashed along the bottom of it. The E-Label law passed through the House unanimously, and then again through the Senate without an issue. Manufacturers can now remove the logos, which will also save them money.
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom said he is "broke," after spending upwards of $10 million on legal expenses, and is now forced to represent himself at a bail hearing next week. The Simpson Grierson law firm stepped down representation of Dotcom two weeks ago, but hasn't issued a public statement regarding the case. The FBI says Dotcom received more than $200 million in "criminal proceeds," as Dotcom traveled the world, living an extremely high-profile lifestyle.
"The [US authorities] have certainly managed to drain my resources and dehydrate me, and without lawyers I am defenseless," Dotcom recently said. "They used that opportunity to try and get my bail revoked and that's what I'm facing."
Dotcom faces extradition to the United States to face piracy charges - as the US government continues to be heavily influenced by copyright groups, lobbying politicians and lawmakers - as Dotcom wished he didn't try to become involved in New Zealand politics. In addition to dumping millions into the failed campaign, many Dotcom supporters eventually turned on him.
To counter package theft, and make e-commerce shopping and delivery easier, San Francisco Bay Area startup Doorman will deliver packages to customers. The service costs $4 per package, or frequent ecommerce buyers can pay $19 or $29 per month for the silver and gold packages. Deliveries are made from 6:00PM until midnight, currently available only in San Francisco.
"Once it arrives, we notify you on your phone and then you use the Doorman app to schedule a delivery on your phone until midnight, seven days a week," said Zander Adell, Doorman founder.
Doorman is designed to make it more convenient for residents to receive their packages, while also helping prevent against theft. Throughout some parts in the Bay Area, package theft - taken off house porches and from apartment doorsteps - as thieves tend to take packages while people are away from their house in the afternoon.
Amazon is trialling a new marketplace for service providers, something it calls Selling Services, which wants to hook buyers up with professionals who can install, or perform services.
This will have shoppers buying a product that requires installation, like a wall-mounted TV, after which they'll be offered the opportunity to look at an approved list of local service providers. If you do find an installer that can do what you require, click the Add the Cart button and it'll be included with your purchase. The Amazon-approved installer will be covered by a money-back guarantee, with the e-commerce giant running a business background check for any and all service providers, and personal background checks on technicians.
Amazon will take 20% of the service fee on jobs worth up to $1000, while jobs over $1000 will see Amazon taking 15%. Background checks will cost $50 per business, and $40 per participating employee. Amazon is trialling Selling Services in over a dozen cities and surrounding areas across the United States.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) wants Visa and Mastercard to "recommit their efforts" in the evolving fight against illegal activity online. And the focus isn't on counterfeiting or gambling - it's dedicated to online copyright infringement.
Following the demise of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the RIAA and MPAA have gone back to the drawing board in their continued fight against Internet piracy. Political lobbying remains an active objective that won't go away, with the group's calling upon politicians to continue pressuring companies.
Here is what Leahy said (via press statement): "In recent years, strides have been made to help reduce online infringement-and payment processors have played a role in that progress. But more can and should be done.
Hewlett-Packard saw a 2.5 percent drop in its Q4 revenue, as it saw lackluster sales for enterprise computing hardware to businesses. The company's revenue fell from $29.13 billion earlier this year to $28.41 billion in Q4, with net income dropping from $1.41 billion down to $1.33 billion year-over-year.
Despite the drop, HP continues to show pride in its businesses: "I'm excited to say that HP's turnaround continues on track," said CEO Meg Whitman. The company says "we stabilized our revenue tractor, strengthened our operations, showed strong financial discipline, and once again made innovation the cornerstone of our company."
The US economy is recovering, but the PC market has struggled - and while HP does have tablets it offers to consumers and business users - the company has struggled to compete against the Apple iPad and Google Android-powered devices. As such, HP relies heavily on its value-added resellers (VARs) to drive sales of PCs, servers, software, and other products to their business partners.
Japanese electronics company Sony will try to cut costs by reducing TV and smartphone product lineups, and spend more in its PlayStation game console line and invest more in image sensors. Sony wants to push its PlayStation video game division, hoping to ramp up sales up to $13.6 billion, as the console industry continues to heat up.
We're not aiming for size or market share but better profits," said Hiroki Totoki, Sony's chief of mobile, recently noted in an investor conference. Sony will sacrifice sales while trying to ensure its TV and smartphone businesses are able to turn a profit.
The electronics company has struggled - especially as the Japanese and US economies suffered in recent years - but is taking a closer look at its financials.