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The lack of central-backing of bitcoin, among other long-term concerns, has left investors worried about bitcoin - and the value of the most popular cryptocurrency dropped to just $290.83 over the weekend. The sudden decrease was a shocking 18 percent drop in less than 24 hours, though have increased at the start of the week back up to $330.
"It's actually a lot harder to get bitcoins than it is to spend them and there have been some suggestions that that's caused a supply/demand imbalance... PayPal integration would also improve that onboarding process," said Hugh Madden, bitcoin exchange ANX co-founder.
It's true that a growing number of companies are accepting bitcoin payments from customers, but the cryptocurrency's volatility, related to speculative trading, will remain a problem that won't go away anytime soon.
During the Sibos 2014 financial services industry in Boston, Bill Gates weighed in on the Bitcoin discussion, where he was asked about the digital currency and its potential to ease the cost of payment transactions for moving money from one place to another.
Gates was in favor of Bitcoin, where he said: "Bitcoin is exciting because it shows how cheap it can be. Bitcoin is better than currency in that you don't have to be physically in the same place and, of course, for large transactions, currency can get pretty inconvenient". Gates said that there will be a time in the near future where financial transactions will "be digital, universal and almost free".
Although Gates had positive things to say about Bitcoin, it wasn't all good news, as he is worried over the anonymity of the digital currency. He added: "The customers we're talking about aren't trying to be anonymous. They're willing to be known, so Bitcoin technology is key and you can add to it or you could build a similar technology where there's enough attribution where people feel comfortable that this is nothing to do with terrorism or any type of money laundering". After the mammoth year Gates had this year, I'm interested why he's not investing heavily into Bitcoin, yet?
According to The Wall Street Journal's sources, HP could be splitting itself into two separate companies, under the same roof. One side of the new HP would deal with its PC and printer operations, while the other would do software and services to its corporate and enterprise customers.
We should hear about the deal sometime today, according to The Journal's sources, with the separation to take place sometime in 2015. This could all be part of Meg Whitman's plans, as the fresh CEO of HP, joining back in 2011, promising a five-year restructuring project. This restructuring project included a major overhaul of the printer and PC business in 2012, and layoffs totaling 45,000 staff, which saves the company some $4.5 billion per year.
Microsoft might not make much money from its Windows Phone division, but that doesn't matter: it makes up for it in droves with the royalty fees from Android handset owners such as Samsung and HTC. It was recently revealed that Samsung has handed over $1 billion per year to Microsoft for the use of these royalties, making Microsoft bundles of cash for doing, well, not much at all.
Considering the Entertainment and Devices Division, where the Xbox brand, Kinect and Xbox Live sit, oh and not to mention Skype, and Windows Phone, only made $848 million last year - the $1 billion Microsoft raked in from Samsung means the company made more from its loyalty fees to just one company - Samsung - than it did for all of those massive brands and divisions, combined.
Remember, this is just the money Samsung pays Microsoft, and doesn't represent all of the other Android handset manufacturers on the market. Microsoft has quite the stranglehold on Android it seems, with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce approving Microsoft's purchase of Nokia having Microsoft said the authorities: "concluded after its investigation that Microsoft holds approximately 200 patent families that are necessary to build an Android smartphone".
It feels like so long ago that Facebook announced it was acquiring WhatsApp in a deal worth $19 billion in cash and stock, but the deal has just been approved by the European Union.
One of the bigger concerns about the acquisition in Europe was that the deal would hurt the communication in the telecom market, but the EU has said that the acquisition will not impact the competition. European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said: "We have carefully reviewed this proposed acquisition and come to the conclusion that it would not hamper competition in this dynamic and growing market. Consumers will continue to have a wide choice of consumer communications apps".
Just weeks out from Google's unveiling of the 5.9-inch Nexus 6 smartphone, the NVIDIA Tegra K1-powered Nexus 9 tablet and Android L, the company has reportedly met with the executives of Cyanogen Inc. to talk about an acquisition, which Cyanogen denied.
Cyanogen is now talking of a Series C round of funding, with some large tech companies and investors in deep talks with the company, which seeks a valuation of close to $1 billion. How can a company who makes a modified version of Android be worth that much money? Simple: Cyanogen is reportedly in talks with taking its CyanogenMod OS to India through a manufacturer called Micromax. Micromax, along with Samsung, own the majority of the smartphone market in India, which could be just what Cyanogen needs to get its OS into the hands of tens of millions of consumers.
With Google being denied the chance to acquire Cyanogen, it could mean a different direction for Android, considering many experts prefer CyanogenMod even over stock Android, which is what Google places on its Nexus devices. With the Android Silver program in trouble, and a failed acquisition of a company that heavily modifies, and sometimes for the better your mobile OS, where will Google go now if it had its hopes on this acquisition going through?
Auction house eBay has decided to spin off its PayPal business amid activist pressure from board members and shareholders, with two independent companies to begin in the second half of 2015. Devin Weng, head of the eBay "Marketplaces" business, will lead the independent eBay as CEO - and Dan Schulman, a former American Express executive, will be CEO head of the new PayPal unit.
"We are happy that eBay's board and management have acted responsibly concerning the separation - perhaps a little later than they should have, but earlier than we expected," said investor Carl C. Icahn. "As I have said in the past and have continued to maintain, it is almost a 'no brainer' that these companies should be separated to increase the value of these great assets and thus to meaningfully enhance value for all shareholders."
Corporate spinoffs are becoming more commonplace among major corporations, as shareholders and potential investors want to see better control over corporate operations. Depending on the economic climate - and the parties involved - it can lead to a strong boost in stock prices to win over board members.
Bill Gates has climbed back to the top of Forbes' list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, with a total net worth of $81.2 billion. The next richest American on the list of Warren Buffett, who has $13.4 billion less than Gates, with $67.8 billion.
Considering Gates has donated close to a third of his money, or around $30 billion, is massive. Gates has donated the $30 billion to charity, mostly through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. With that much money on its own, you could be the 16th most richest person in the United States. Over the past 12 months, Gates has added $9 billion to his net worth, mostly due to big gains in Microsoft shares.
Gates' return on his investments in Canadian National Railway and trash company Republic Services are also providing him with a nice injection of cash. He also owns a big chunk of stock in tractor maker Deere & Co. and South American McDonald's franchise, Arcos Dorados.
Following news that DreamWorks Animation is considering a sale to Japanese company SoftBank has created quiet optimism that this could help the studio long-term. The proposed $3.4 billion deal, with SoftBank offering $32 per share, would be able to give DreamWorks long-term financial stability that it needs to continue developing up to three new films per year.
Despite being known for "Shrek" and "Madagascar," the studio struggled with disappointing sales of "Rise of the Guardians" and "Turbo." Operating as a smaller, independent studio prevented the company from having a buffer - every new film must be a box office hit, or the company would feel it - though backing from a company such as SoftBank would help create new opportunities.
"I think they are sort of doing a 21st century version of what Disney did in the 1950s, when they went from being just an animation studio to doing living action," said Steve Hulett, Animation Guild business agent, in a recent statement to the Los Angeles Times. "They diversified, and that's the only thing you can do if you want to be a long-term player. Now it probably makes sense to sell."
Microsoft plans to open a new retail store at 677 Fifth Avenue in New York City, a few blocks away from Rockefeller Center - and not too far away from a rival Apple store. The company currently has more than 100 retail stores throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, with at least 10 more expected to open before the end of the year.
Learning from the success of the Apple store, where die-hard customers and curious onlookers wander in, Microsoft hopes its retail experience will help draw in potential customers. Even if a Microsoft store cannot draw the same attention as a rival Apple store, it's an important opportunity to allow consumers the chance to test new technologies they might be unfamiliar with.
"As our first flagship store, it will serve as the centerpiece of our Microsoft Stores experience," the company said in a blog post. "This is a goal we've had since day one - we were only waiting for the right location. And now we have it."