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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 55

RumorTT: Robert Downey Jr to be the face of HTC's smartphone range

HTC are hoping that getting the man who plays Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr, to be part of their new marketing plans. The news comes from Bloomberg who are reporting that "two people with knowledge of the plans" leaking the deal to the publication.

 

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Downey would receive $12 million for a two-year deal and it will feature himself, not Iron Man or Marvel, and he will also have final creative control over the campaign's elements. I think Downey would be good for HTC, but marketing isn't the only thing they need right now - they need more phones, tablets and more consumers to pay attention. Marketing with Iron Man himself will definitely have people looking, but will we see Downey tweeting from his iPhone like other stars have been busted in the past?

Pirate Bay founder receives two-year sentence for hacking Logica

Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, one of the Pirate Bay founders, was arrested last September on charges that he was part of the hacking against Logica. Logica is an IT company that manages tax documents and services for Swedish companies.

 

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The Pirate Bay founder was accused of hacking into the company, where he gained access to records of thousands of people and illegally transferred money. Prosecutors said Warg gained access to 24,200 Danish crowns (US$4281) online, and attempted to transfer a total of around US$904,000. The Pirate Bay founder has of course denied the charges, with the district court in Sweden stating: "The hacking has been very extensive and technically advanced. The attacker has affected very sensitive systems."

 

Warg was already serving a one-year sentence for his sharing of copyright-protected files through the Pirate Bay, after which he failed to show up for a hearing on the charge. Warg went into hiding and was found and arrested in Cambodia last September. These two years will now tack onto the end of his one-year sentence.


Microsoft investigated building an e-commerce site to take on Amazon, Ebay

According to the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft recently considered entering the e-commerce market. Rolling out an e-commerce site would have put Microsoft in direct competition with Amazon and Ebay, the two current market leaders in the e-commerce market.

 

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A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed the program:

 

Project Brazil was an incubation to enable a more direct commerce model between customers and brands and merchants. We remain committed to finding new and differentiated ways to enable a richer, more task oriented approach to e-commerce and online advertising.

 

E-commerce is an important marketplace. The market continues to expand, with estimates saying it will reach $1.3 trillion this year, which is up 18 percent from last year. The e-commerce site would have been part of Windows and eventually other products such as Xbox and Windows Phone.

Continue reading 'Microsoft investigated building an e-commerce site to take on Amazon, Ebay' (full post)

ReportTT: Skype's Project Chess investigated legal and technical issues with making Skype calls readily available to government

More and more continues to surface regarding the NSA and its spying programs. Now the New York Times has reported that Skype worked on a secret project roughly five years ago and involved fewer than a dozen Skype employees. Project Chess, as it's called, was started to investigate the legal and technical issues with making Skype calls readily available to the government.

 

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Many believed that changes instituted by Microsoft were to make it easier to snoop on calls. Thanks to the leaked Prism documents, it's known that Skype had joined back on February 6, 2011. According to the report, Microsoft officials will no longer affirm that Skype calls cannot be wiretapped.

 

There's still a lot we don't know about NSA spying and Prism, though it's starting to become abundantly clear that all digital communications could be tapped by government agencies fairly easily.

Google takes a sip of Starbucks, offers Starbucks' free Wi-Fi users trial offer for Google Play Music All Access

Sitting at Starbucks sipping on a coffee while enjoying their free Wi-Fi? You'll now be shown a free trial offer which will give you access to Google Play Music All Access. The deal started this week, which saw the two companies partnering up to connect Starbucks' free Wi-Fi offer promotional deals to content on Google Play.

 

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Starbucks will now be displaying an advertisement for Google Play Music All Access, where they will be promoting features of Google's music service and offering a click-through for a free trial. Clicking through will offer up a full browser page where you'll see the full features of the service, offering a 30-day free trial. It also offers the same $7.99 discounted price when signing up before June 30, but doesn't offer this deal beyond Starbucks customers.

MakerBot acquired by Stratasys

MakerBot, one of the hobbyist 3D printer manufacturers, has been acquired by Stratasys, a major global player in the professional 3D printing market. Stratasys makes 3-D printers capable of printing objects as solid as plastic injection molded objects with incredible resolution.

 

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MakerBot, meanwhile, produces lower cost options for those who want 3D printing at home. MakerBot isn't going away and will likely benefit from this merger. According to the company's blog post, "MakerBot's mission remains the same and will continue to operate as a separate subsidiary within Stratasys, once the transaction is complete."

 

We're excited to see what will come of this merger. Hopefully we will see cheaper, better 3D printers that are easier to use.

ReportTT: Microsoft almost acquired Nokia, talks have now broken down

According to a Wall Street Journal report, Microsoft and Nokia were close to striking a deal that would see Microsoft acquiring Nokia's device business. According to sources familiar with the matter, talks were taking place as recently as this month, though they are unlikely to be revived after Microsoft walked away.

 

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The two companies were reportedly close to an oral agreement over the acquisition before talks broke down. The deal would have likely made use of Microsoft's off-shore cash piles that amount to nearly $66 billion. This would have been great for Microsoft because it would have incurred a massive tax bill to bring the cash home.

NVIDIA set to license out Kepler technology to mobile manufacturers

It looks like NVIDIA is taking a different, and great new path with their business - where they'll shift from simply making their own GPU's and SoC's to licensing their technology to other manufacturers.

 

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NVIDIA will begin by offering their Kepler GPU architecture, which the company state is the world's most advanced and efficient GPU, and the reference design for their next-generation Tegra mobile processors. Licensees of NVIDIA's technology will receive designs, collateral and support to integrate Kepler into their devices. NVIDIA will also license their vast visual computing portfolio, which will open up to licensees the intellectual property necessary to make their own GPU's.

 

The company have had trouble getting into the mainstream with their Tegra processors, as good as they are, it's still not mainstream. This new path could lead to a much better future for NVIDIA, as OEM's will most likely just dive onto this plan versus spending buckets of money on their own internal R&D.

Facebook CEO met with Samsung to discuss possible partnerships

Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has met with Samsung's head of handsets to talk about possible partnerships to boost advertising sales from mobile devices. This comes shortly after the recently launched HTC First was deemed a failure by most. AT&T quickly reduced the purchase price to just $0.99 with a new contract.

 

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It's not clear if Facebook would like to create another device like the HTC First with Samsung, or if a partnership would include something different. Facebook's CEO has pledged to invest in products to reward investors. Facebook's stock price is down 37 percent since it launched in May 2012.

 

Facebook declined to comment on the visit.

Adobe beats expectations with $1.011B in revenue, $0.36 EPS

Adobe has performed better than expectations by posting second-quarter revenues of $1.011 billion and earnings-per-share of $0.36. Analysts had predicted that Adobe would post earnings-per-share of just $0.34 on $1 billion in revenue. While not massively higher than expectations, it is good news for Adobe that they performed better than expectations.

 

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Creative Cloud seems to be the highlight in the earnings report. Adobe reported that they had 700,000 paid Creative Cloud members, up from the 479,000 reported during the first-quarter earning's report.

 

It's important for Adobe to continue adding Creative Cloud subscribers as Adobe has transitioned the Creative suite to a cloud-only subscription model.

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