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The Google X team has come up with some pretty incredible ideas and technologies, so with a new Microsoft forming over the last couple of months, Microsoft's Research division has created a new Special Projects Group that has the sole task of creating disruptive technologies that could help both the company, and the world.
ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley is behind the report, noting a recent job listing that asked for candidates that would focus specifically on hard and interesting problems, such as networking, systems, distributed computing, devices, UX design, cloud, mobility, machine learning / artificial intelligence, data center technologies and big data.
Better yet, Norman Whitaker, who was the former Deputy Director of the Information Innovation Office at DARPA is said to be leading the new division. When he was with DARPA, he was working on self-driving vehicles, and other automated bots.
Microsoft has just announced it is donating $1 billion to US schools, to make sure that kids have the technology required to get online, and learning technology skills themselves.
This isn't the first time Microsoft has stepped up to fund schools, with a new device pricing program that should make PCs much more affordable. The company will be offering sub-$300 systems from Acer, ASUS, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, Panasonic and Toshiba. Microsoft is hoping the move will see kids becoming loyal Windows fans in the future.
This comes directly from Cameron Evans, Microsoft's CTO of Education, where he added that any eventual sales are secondary to its first goal of improving education.
Samsung has just posted its earnings report for the first three months of 2014, with the company seeing $51.8 billion in revenue for Q1 2014, which is up ever so slightly year-over-year.
As for profits, we have $8.2 billion in operating profits, and $7.3 billion in net profit. Samsung's mobile business did quite well, providing $30.29 billion of the $51.8 billion in revenue, and $6.2 billion of the operating profit - meaning mobile is pretty much everything for Samsung right now. The South Korean-based company saw mobile operating profits jump 18% from the end of last year, thanks to the success of the Galaxy S4 and Note 3 smartphones.
We should see some even bigger numbers in the next six months or so, thanks to the Galaxy S5 already off to a big start. As for tablets, Samsung said that sales on slates remained "solid" with total shipments reaching close to 13 million in Q1 2014.
If you have heard or know about Twitch, then you'll know how big it is - but just how big? Well, according to video solutions company Qwilt, Twitch is leading the live video streaming game in the United States, by a long shot.
Twitch is currently enjoying a massive 43.6% of all live streaming viewership in the US, with its closest competitor WWE only seeing 17.7%. Even Ustream only pulls in 10.9%, while ESPN is struggling with 6.3%. Qwilt describes Twitch as "Yankee Stadium, Lambeau Field, Madison Square Garden, Estadia Do Maracana and Wembley all rolled into one" on its website. Most would look at that and laugh, but with those streaming numbers, how can you say otherwise?
As it stands right now, a new infographic states that Samsung has sold more Galaxy S5 smartphones on the day of its launch than Apple did iPhone 5S smartphones when it launched last year.
iQmetrix is behind the numbers, measuring the sales of the Galaxy S5 over its launch weekend - from April 11-13, sampling over 15,000 stores across the US, comparing them to sales of the iPhone 5S from September 20-23, 2013. iQmetrix's data says that the Galaxy S5 accounted for 25% of total phones sold in the US and Canada during its launch, while the iPhone 5S only accounted for 18% during its launch.
From here, we know that Samsung had great launch day sales of the Galaxy S5, where it hopes to ship 35 million Galaxy S5 smartphones in Q2 2014 alone. Apple on the other hand, just announced it had sold 43.7 million iPhone's in its last quarter - but those 43.7 million iPhone's are all iPhone's sold - iPhone 5, 5S, 5C, and so on. Right now, Samsung seems to be really putting the pressure on Apple.
The man responsible for designing the two best smartphones ever made is stepping down from his position today. Scott Croyle, HTC's lead industrial and user experience designer has announced that he is leaving HTC after 6 years. Croyle says that he is departing from HTC to work on his own projects, but will continue working on HTC designs independently.
"HTC remains at the forefront of smartphone innovation. Scott Croyle will be focusing on special projects and dedicated on next generation developments," said HTC in a statement. Design duties will be handed over to Johna Becker, with Sense UI design passed on to Drew Bamford, one of HTC's leading UI designers.
Google, Apple, Adobe and Intel have recently reached a settlement that accused the four Silicon Valley companies of collusion, with each company promising not to poach employees from one another. The class-action lawsuit was originally filed in 2011, and was the brainchild of former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, designed to help keep wages lower.
The lawsuit, which included more than 64,000 high-tech employees in Silicon Valley from 2005 to 2009, originally included companies such as Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar. Disney paid $9 million to settle the matter for Lucasfilm and Pixar, while Intuit paid $11 million to resolve the legal issues.
"This settlement should result in much higher salaries for folks who are in high-demand positions," said Rob Enderle, Enderle Group principal analyst, in a statement to the San Jose Mercury News. "You will start to see bidding wars between companies, and those will start to drive salaries up."
In the mid 1900's most states adopted laws that forced car manufacturers to only sell their vehicles through independent local dealers instead of through their own sales dealerships. While these laws prevented market domination of a single manufacturer, it has become a hinderance for smaller manufacturers such as Tesla to get their vehicles sold in many states. Today the Federal Trade Commission finally voiced its opinion on the banning of direct Tesla vehicle sales by several states.
"For decades, local laws in many states have required consumers to purchase their cars solely from local, independent auto dealers. Removing these regulatory impediments may be essential to allow consumers access to new ways of shopping that have become available in many other industries," reads a post written by FTC directors Andy Gavil, Debbie Feinstein and Marty Gaynor.
As announced earlier this week, Microsoft has finally closed the deal on its acquisition of Nokia's devices and services division. Todays finalization sees Microsoft take full ownership of the Nokia Lumia line of smartphones, something the company says is pivotal in taking Windows Phone to the next level. Microsoft says that it will continue to support the Nokia Asha and Lumia X line of non Window's phones, but it is still unclear if they will release any new non windows phone models.
"Today we welcome the Nokia Devices and Services business to our family. The mobile capabilities and assets they bring will advance our transformation. Together with our partners, we remain focused on delivering innovation more rapidly in our mobile-first, cloud-first world," Microsoft's CEO, Satya Nadella said.
Rumors are flying that Google will soon shut down, or at least dismantle its Google+ service. The rumors suggest that Google would remove Google+ as a product, but continue it flowing in the background as a service instead.
TechCrunch has said: "What we're hearing from multiple sources is that Google+ will no longer be considered a product, but a platform - essentially ending its competition with other social networks like Facebook and Twitter". According to one of TechCrunch's anonymous sources, Google+ would no longer compete directly against Facebook and Twitter, and would end the forced integrations of Google+ into Google services like Gmail and YouTube.
Another source, as well as the Financial Times' anonymous source has said: "One person familiar with Google said the company planned to refocus its social media efforts soon. Its Hangouts messaging and video-chat app will be given greater prominence, alongside photos, while the Google+ branding may take a back seat, this person said".
Of course, Google is in damage control mode, stating that there are no such plans to shut down its social network. A statement that a Google spokesperson gave to Marketing Land: "Today's announcement has no impact on our Google+ strategy - we have an incredibly talented team that will continue to build great user experiences across Google+, Hangouts and Photos".