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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 60

MPAA wins $80 million settlement in suit against Hotfile

The MPAA has won a 3-year long lawsuit against Hotfile, a file sharing service that payed users to upload and share various files including pirated movies. Today the two parties agreed on an $80 million settlement, and Hotfile was ordered to cease all operations unless it implement's digital fingerprinting of files.

 

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"This judgment by the court is another important step toward protecting an Internet that works for everyone. Sites like Hotfile that illegally profit off of the creativity and hard work of others do a serious disservice to audiences, who deserve high-quality, legitimate viewing experiences online," said MPAA Chairman and CEO Chris Dodd.

 

This is yet another big win for the MPAA against online piracy, and even though only a fraction of the $500 million the MPAA was seeking was ordered, Hotfile may not survive this outcome. At the current time, Hotfile has removed all premium offerings from its service, and it is unclear if any future payments will be made to it users.

Spotify pays 'more than two times more' than YouTube to artists

Spotify has just launched a new set of tools that artists, managers and others can use to track the popularity of their music on the music streaming service. Spotify continues to focus on communicating to the music industry that its service is great for artists, and that all of the bad words you hear about music streaming isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

 

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Spotify provides an analytics dashboard, which allows artists a real-time look at just how much their content is being listened to. Also included in this, are details on listeners, such as age, gender, location of their listeners and more. Spotify one-ups this though, providing details on just how the royalties are paid out from Spotify.

 

It also shows other avenues where Spotify exposes artists to the public, with the music streaming company saying that it pays "more than two times more" than ad-supported services like YouTube, and "significantly" more than traditional and online radio services. Spotify holds just 30% of the profits, giving the remaining 70% to its artists.

Apple patents yet another method for unlocking your iPhone

If unlocking your iPhone via your fingerprint was not easy enough, Apple has been granted a patent on yet another unlocking method. The new method would all you to unlock your phone by simply looking at it. This time Apple wants not only your fingerprint to be saved on the device, but for your face to be digitized and saved as well.

 

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Apple says that in addition to simply unlocking the device, this facial recognition could be used to launch or open up specific apps on the device. Android has had this functionality for a while now, and so has Apple. About two years ago, Apple was awarded a similar patent that used different control methods for facial recognition. With the companies recent purchase of PrimeSense, they could take this patent very far.

OCZ announces Chapter 11 bankruptcy asset acquisition by Toshiba

In what is certainly one of the last pages in the OCZ saga, the company announced this afternoon that it has signed an asset purchase agreement with Toshiba Corporation to acquire substantially all of OCZ's assets in a chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding for $35 million.

 

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The acquisition will land Toshiba access to OCZ's proprietary controller, firmware, and softeare and well as the engineering teams responsible for these technologies. OCZ will continue to operate and server existing and future customers during a transition phase, and Toshiba will provide the company with the capital to operate during this period. The sale is expected to finalize within the next 60-days.

Continue reading 'OCZ announces Chapter 11 bankruptcy asset acquisition by Toshiba' (full post)

Google pushes its employees to use Macs, not its own OS, or Windows

You would think that if you walked into the Google HQ, that you'd see Chromebooks sprawled everywhere, but that is not the case. Google's OS of choice, is Apple's Mac OS X platform, with the company imposing Mac use to all its employees.

 

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The company supports most operating systems, including Windows, Linux and its own Chrome OS. Google System Engineer, Clay Caviness, says: "There was a time when Macs were a small part of the Google fleet, but as of now if you start at Google and want to use a platform other than Mac you have to make a business case."

 

I can see where Google is coming from, Macs are great, and overall, more 'stable' than Windows. I think this is in part to Macs being more secure, and its user base is nowhere near the size of Windows' user base. But, everyone has their preferences. Google's Chairman, Eric Schmidt, had some interesting things to say about the 'superiority' of Macs versus PCs, where he compared Android devices with Macs.

Continue reading 'Google pushes its employees to use Macs, not its own OS, or Windows' (full post)

As iPhone 5S production improves, Foxconn hires more workers

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Foxconn has hired more workers, and thanks to its high volume production capabilities, iPhone 5S availability is improving and is now able to meet consumers' demand.

 

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Apple has a 3-5 business day shipping time on the iPhone 5S, which is much better than the 2-3 week wait from last month. Foxconn hires around 300,000 workers at its Zhengzhou site, which is dedicated to manufacturing the iPhone 5S, and some of its most key components. The Journal's source, who was an "executive who declined to be named", said: "we have been churning out about 500,000 iPhone 5Ss everyday, the highest daily output ever."

Bitcoin tips over the $1000 mark, a 4000% increase in 12 months

Bitcoins are massive business right now, with the value of the digital currency passing $1000 for the first time ever. This is a gigantic milestone for the digital currency, and represents a 4000% year-over-year increase in value.

 

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People who have sold their Bitcoins early would be feeling quite ill right now, with an early Bitcoin owner purchasing 10,000 Bitcoins for just $50. He ended up giving his Bitcoins away, but if he had held onto those 10,000 Bitcoins, it would be worth a very swift $10 million today. The Winklevoss twins purchased $11 million worth if Bitcoins back in April, which cost them $120 a piece - an investment that has turned into $90 million or so right now.

 

I was so close to getting into Bitcoin when it first launched, but backed off - even a small investment back then would be worth magnitudes more now, which makes me a sad man.

US government busted pirating military software, pays $50m settlement

We all know how harsh the US government is on piracy and illegal activities, and while we have Vice President Joe Biden saying things like "piracy is theft, clean and simple", the same government he works for was doing just that: stealing.

 

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The US government has been in a multi-million dispute with Apptricity, a software company that makes enterprise software that manages the US Army's troops and supply movements. The deal struck between Apptricity and the US government was signed in 2004, and allowed the US government to use Apptricity's software on five servers and 150 standalone devices.

 

The company explains: "The Army has used Apptricity's integrated transportation logistics and asset management software across the Middle East and other theaters of operation. The Army has also used the software to coordinate emergency management initiatives, including efforts following the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti."

Continue reading 'US government busted pirating military software, pays $50m settlement' (full post)

PayPal announces support for prepaid gift cards for online purchases

Today PayPal announced that it has began supporting prepaid gift cards through PalPal Checkout for online purchases. This is big business for PayPal and many online retailers who do not normally accept prepaid gift cards because they do not have an address attached to them.

 

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PayPal will be collecting a 2.9-percent fee per purchase as well as a $0.30 per transaction fee each time you swipe the gift card. This new offering from PayPal is yet another push to generate even more revenue streams and should prove to be quite profitable over the holiday season. Would you rather receive a gift or a gift card over the holidays? Let us know in the comments.

OCZ's fall from grace: A timeline of what led to today's events

Back on October 14th TweakTown first heard a rumor that OCZ was entertaining an offer from Toshiba acquire the company. This was a big deal as OCZ's CEO had recently announced that his company had been having issues acquiring NAND flash modules to build its SSDs. The company had also just posted some very bad losses for Q3 2013, and everything looked ripe for Toshiba to pick up the company for a song.

 

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Soon after, the rumors died down and we mostly thought that they had been just that, Rumors. Fast forward a few weeks and on November 4th, I broke a developing story about Toshiba's stock falling by more than 22-percent in just hours after the market opened. I reached out to OCZ to which a reply never came. By the end of the day, the stock had fallen by more than 30-percent to just $0.65 per share, a 52-week low. Upon opening the next day, OCZ saw its stock fall another 30-percent to $0.44 per share.

 

By November 9th, OCZ's stock was back up to $0.85 per share which was widely attributed to the release of the new SSD that was seeing great reviews across the web including TweakTown. Ten days later on November 19th, TweakTown received word that OCZ had laid off 15-percent of its workforce in an effort to ease its massive $2 million per month cash burn. It appeared as if the SSD manufacturer was attempting to dig itself out of the deep hole it had fallen into. At this point the company's stock had leveled off at around $0.70 per share.

Continue reading 'OCZ's fall from grace: A timeline of what led to today's events' (full post)

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