Renewable energy for huge data centers is the in-thing right now, as it should be, with companies such as Facebook, Apple and Google all striving to push for renewable energy. Mountain View-based Google are looking to pump 48MW of wind power into their data center in Oklahoma.
Google want to supply their Mayes County location with 48MW of wind energy from Apex's Canadian Hills Wind Project, but they're not buying power directly at the source - instead, they're striking a deal with the Grand River Dam Authority. The Grand River Dam Authority is a utility, where Google will purchase the wind power on top of what is already supposed from the GRDA at present.
This new deal should see the data center continue on its green path of energy, while giving the site room to grow. Wind power will crank up in Google's data center once the Canadian Hills effort it up and running later on in the year.
Even though EA hasn't been doing so well financially lately, they've managed to scrape some cash together to acquire the online gaming studio ESN. ESN is the developers of the Planet web-based games framework. ESN announced the acquisition on their blog and declined to disclose the purchase price.
The two companies had worked together previously, most notably on Battlefield's Battlelog.
The ESN team is extremely happy to announce that we now are a part of the Electronic Arts family. During the past few years we have been working closely together with EA and DICE to build Battlelog for Battlefield 3. We couldn't be more excited about this opportunity and the team is looking forward to focus all of its energy on DICE, Battlelog and the Battlefield series.
Now that they have had an influx of cash, due to the acquisition, they are also looking to hire more talented developers and designers:
As we're teaming up with EA and DICE, we are looking for more talented developers and designers to join our studio and help create some of the best online game services out there. Find out more on the Careers section.
It's likely that EA will use ESN's online experience and IP to continue to position itself in a location that is more in-line with where the market is moving. As more and more gamers are switching to social gaming, EA has been left out in the cold. This acquisition is likely just a small move in its bigger overall plan to adjust t
Apple made the decision to jump ship to its own Maps creation over a year before the contract between the two companies was set to expire, according to The Verge, who cites two independent sources familiar with the matter. The decision came sometime before Apple's WWDC event last June and sent Google off to the races to develop an iOS Google Maps App.
The sources say that the app is incomplete and not set to be released for several more months, but there is one coming. Apple appears to have decided to go with their own Maps app mainly because they felt that the older Google Maps in iOS were falling behind Android, namely the fact they lacked turn-by-turn directions.
Google's CEO has been quoted as saying, "what were we going to do, force them not to change their mind? It's their call." He added that Google has "not done anything yet" in regards to an iOS Maps app. Besides, any app would still have to be approved by Apple. Google Maps VP Brian McClendon has stated that he's committed to offering Google Maps on all platforms, a sign that an iOS app should be forthcoming.
If for whatever reason a Google Maps app doesn't end up on iOS, I'm going to be rather disappointed. Apple's mapping system is not very good, and is much worse than what Google had provided.
Google play is seeing quite the acceleration in app downloads, thanks in part to all of the Android activations they are now seeing every day. Google would like to celebrate this occasion and has decided to offer collections of apps from popular developers at a discounted rate of on $0.25. I wonder if the price will be $0.50 at 50 billion downloads.
Users will see apps from developers such as Gameloft, Electronic Arts, Rovio, Runtastic, Full Fat and others, as well as collections of movies, books, music albums, and magazines. The discounts will start later today, so it's highly encouraged to take a look at Google Play today so that you can take advantage of cheap apps.
Android is still behind Apple and iOS in this one metric. The App Store managed to hit 25 billion downloads in March of this year, so Google Play isn't too far behind. Thanks to Android's significant market share, it shouldn't be too long before the Google Play Store catches, and surpasses, the Apple App Store in downloads.
Facebook has been hit with around 50 lawsuits that all relate back to their flopped IPO. In addition to these 50 lawsuits, securities lawyers who are representing Facebook investors are expecting hundreds of arbitration claims against brokers and securities firms who sold shares of Facebook for the IPO.
"IPOs are the most attractive kind of suit for the plaintiff's bar," said John Coffee, a law professor at Columbia University. Coffee estimates that at least one-third are thrown out, but many of the rest conclude in settlements that amount to around 2 to 3 percent of the alleged losses. It appears Facebook could be shelling out quite a bit of money.
The main issue in most of these cases centers on the allegation that investors weren't warned enough in disclosures that Facebook's growth and revenue was taking a hit from users switching to mobile devices. Both Facebook, its underwriters, and the Nasdaq are facing quite a bit of legal exposure in these lawsuits. We'll be sure to keep you updated on how they are progressing.
Groupon has decided to launch their mobile payment system, Groupon Payments, across the United States after a successful pilot program for Groupon in the San Francisco Bay Area earlier this year. Groupon Payments is baked into the latest version of the Groupon Merchants application for the iPhone and iPod touch, and will let merchants run credit card payments as well as the ability to scan and redeem Groupons.
Groupon have specific rates for swiped transactions using the required audio jack accessory, or the case-based reader. MasterCard, Visa and Discover all get slapped with 1.8% plus a $0.15 fee per transaction. American Express, as usual, is more expensive at 3% plus the same $0.15 per transaction fee.
The company have stated that there are no hidden costs, or monthly fees, and that merchants will have their credit card payments deposited into their bank accounts overnight, versus the competitions way of making them wait it out for a few days. In order to lock in the low transaction rates, merchants will need to run deals with Groupon, which is a bit of a hassle.
Dallas-based air carrier, American Airlines, are offering their entire crew of 17,000 flight attendants free Samsung Galaxy Notes. American Airlines' roll out will begin later in the year, and will continue into the middle of 2013.
By the middle of next year, the air carrier will put Notes in the hands of each of their 17,000 cabin crew members, where they'll use the phablets to manage fligiht manifests, track premium passenger meal preferences and monitor weather and gate information, all in real-time, on WiFi-equipped flights. The Notes will also sport the flight attendant manual, as well as features such as processing for in-flight meal and drink purchases.
#firstworldproblems would be in the fact that the crew are only getting Notes, and note the Note IIs, but you can't really complain when its free, can you? Another thing is that this news is great, for the crew that will still be employed by American Airlines come mid-2013, as the air carrier announced that 11,000 American mechanics and ground workers would be out of jobs by November.
Apple sure knows how to turn a profit. A preliminary virtual teardown by IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis Service tries to take a stab at what the individual parts cost and how that all adds up. This preliminary teardown found that the estimated cost for materials that go into the iPhone 5 16GB is $199.
Apple sells that same iPhone 5 16GB, which costs $207 after adding manufacturing costs, for $649. Of course, this bill of materials doesn't include any software costs or research and development costs. Moving up the ladder, the 32GB iPhone runs $217 and the 64GB costs Apple $238. The only difference between these models is the NAND memory.
"With the base model carrying a $199.00 BOM, the iPhone 5's components are expected to be slightly more expensive compared to the iPhone 4S model," said Andrew Rassweiler, senior principal analyst, teardown services, for IHS. "The low-end iPhone 4S with the same memory density as the base-model iPhone 5 carried a BOM of $188.00, according to a preliminary estimate issued by IHS in October 2011. While the price of some components, such as NAND flash, has fallen during the past year, the iPhone 5's overall BOM has increased mainly because its display and wireless subsystems are more expensive compared to the iPhone 4S."
I'm sure everyone remembers where they were on that fateful day when Apple was awarded $1 billion for Samsung infringing on their patents. Well, in a case like that, the plaintiff can request that the judge triple the damages awarded and, according to an unnamed source cited by The Korea Times, it looks like Apple is planning to do just that.
As if the $1 billion wasn't enough, Apple could very well be planning on going for $3 billion. The Korea Times believes that this is "when the world sees the American technology giant turn into a patent monster." And it's very likely. As of late, Apple has been increasingly litigious and it shows no signs of stopping.
However, there are signs that the judgement could be overturned during an appeal by Samsung. For starters, the jury foreman has been doing too much speaking to the media proudly proclaiming, "We wanted to make sure the message we sent was not just a slap on the wrist ...We wanted to make sure it was sufficiently high to be painful, but not unreasonable."
The jury instructions specifically said this was not the point of the damages, but he has also said that they were able to come to the decision without reading the 700 pages of jury instructions. Apple will be hard-pressed to get awarded triple damages and it looks like Samsung has a good chance on appeal.
Samsung is trying to take away some of the press from the new Apple iPhone 5 by releasing a new advertisement on YouTube. The new 90 second clip compares the two devices and draws attention to the features that the Galaxy S III has that the iPhone 5 doesn't. They also call attention to Apple being behind the times. Take a look for yourself:
The ad probably isn't exactly fair to both sides--it was produced by Samsung after all--but it does have some good, valid points to make. More importantly, it's trying to bring fresh attention to the device ahead of the ever important holiday shopping period. The device will be five or six months old by the time that rolls around.
Of course, this ad probably won't do very much to the demand of the iPhone 5. People were lined up as the device was announced in San Francisco last week and they'll likely do the same thing next year. It's worth taking a look at the comments on YouTube, they're always good for a hearty laugh.
AMD can't hold an executive if they tried. They've been leaving one after another and even sometimes two or more at a time. Yesterday, AMD announced that CFO Thomas Seifert was resigning and now, it's coming out from the Wall Street Journal that AMD's Client Division chief, Chris Cloran, is leaving the company.
Chris Cloran was in charge of all of the client products, such as the CPUs that are used in consumer desktops, and reportedly was responsible for "about 80percent of AMD's revenue." AMD has said Lisa Su will take over as Interim Client Division chief. She hasn't been with the company very long, only joining last December.
In other news, Thomas Seifert's resignation has come with a bit of new information. It has been reported that he is looking for a CEO position elsewhere after he spent time as AMD's Interim CEO in the wake of Dirk Meyer getting canned in January, 2011. He served until August, 2011 when Rory Read took over.
You might not know them by name, but Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka are the co-founders of BioWare. Both men have announced their retirement not just from BioWare, which they founded close to 20 years ago, but from their positions at Electronic Arts.
On top of this, they're also heading out of the game industry completely. Muzyka is entering philanthropy, with Zeschuk heading into craft brewing. Muzyka took to his blog, where the now ex-game developer reflected on his years in the industry:
It's not often that you can truly say you were able to pursue and achieve your dream job; I know how lucky I am to be able to say that now, in my early 40s.
Building BioWare over the years with Ray and the many other people involved was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I'll cherish it always.
Microsoft is pushing for original content on their Xbox 360, where they're hired a former CBS Network Television Entertainment Group president, Nancy Tellem. Tellem will be responsible for a new production studio in Los Angeles that will be creating interactive and linear content for the 360.
Tellem's role at Microsoft will be as President of Entertainment & Digital Media, meaning that she will also be in charge of pushing the Xbox more toward a consumer destination, rather than just a gaming console. Tellem has said:
The Xbox is already a consumer favorite, and we now have a tremendous opportunity to transform it into the center of all things entertainment - from games, music and fitness to news, sports, live events, television series and movies - so consumers have one destination for all their entertainment needs. I look forward to building a studio team that embraces the challenges of creating true interactive content that the Xbox platform supports and to work with talent to create content that will change the way entertainment content is experienced and delivered.
Telstra are offering customers who sign up to their $80 and above Every Day Connect plans for 24 months, 1GB of extra data allowance per month, for the first twelve months. The offer lasts from today, until the 31st of October.
Telstra's $80 Every Day Connect Plan includes $800 worth of calls and MMS, as well as unlimited SMS, and unlimited voice calling between 7am-7pm every night to standard Australian numbers. This plan comes with 1.5GB of data, meaning it gets 2.5GB total with the offer Telstra have until October 31.
Business customers haven't been left out, with the telco offering the $80 and above Business Performance Plan, or $60 and above Business Performance BYO plan receiving 1GB of extra data every month for the first twelve months of a new 24-month contract. Considering Telstra are about the launch the 4G-capable iPhone 5, this is definitely music to customers' ears. You can check out Telstra's 4G phone range here.
The mobile phone patent wars are alive and well and the ITC has agreed to investigate some of Apple's products at Motorola's bequest. The ITC will investigate certain iPhones, iPods, iPads, and Macs after Motorola requested an inquiry last month. Motorola is curious if Apple violates section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 by using patents Motorola holds.
Of course, with any legal action, decisions will be a long time coming. The case first has to be assigned to an administrative law judge. Once assigned, that judge will schedule an initial hearing that will take a look at the evidence. The judge will make a ruling that will then be reviewed by the ITC's panel of judges.
It could be several months before we hear anything on this front. Apple and Motorola have not yet commented on this story. This just seems to be the start of Apple's legal troubles as they are also being harassed by HTC and Samsung over 4G patents. Could this finally be the payback for their years of trolling?
The French magazine Closer has been banned from publishing topless pictures of Kate Middleton, Prince William's wife. Apparently they are for his eyes only. (How many more Bond references can I sneak in here?) Closer has already published 14 pictures and this ban prevents further publication or selling of them to other markets where they have yet to be published.
The further publishing ban of pictures includes posting them online or in any print material. The judge has also demanded that all files of the pictures be handed over to representatives of the royal family in 24 hours or they would face steep fines. For each day's delay, they will face a fine of 10,000 euros.
"The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcome the judge's ruling," said a spokeswoman for St James's Palace, using the British royal couple's formal title.
The ruling doesn't affect anyone else, such as the company in Ireland who has already published the pictures, or the wide availability on the internet. But, will the royal couple seek to have Google banned? They have already initiated a criminal investigation, hoping to prosecute the Closer's editor and the photographer(s) who took the pictures.
Google took a bold step in supporting free speech by refusing to remove that controversial Mohammad clip that has created mass protest across the Middle East and Africa. The video which resulted in the death of four Americans in Libya portrays the Prophet Mohammad in a negative light, a blasphemous and illegal act in Muslim countries.
Google, however, has blocked access to the clip in countries where it is illegal, such as India and Indonesia, and in Libya and Egypt, given the sensitive state that is currently present. Google has issued a statement on the matter, saying that it is consistent with the principles they had in 2007:
"We've restricted access to it in countries where it is illegal such as India and Indonesia, as well as in Libya and Egypt, given the very sensitive situations in these two countries. This approach is entirely consistent with principles we first laid out in 2007."
Iran has blocked access to YouTube over this latest controversy. What's interesting to note is that the video had been around for some time. It didn't go viral like this until a blogger posted about it and it got picked up by a mainstream TV network.
Yahoo to give each employee a smartphone of their choice, get to choose from Apple, Samsung, Nokia or HTC
Microsoft aren't the only ones giving out devices to boost morale, and push their new hardware, but Yahoo are looking to give out some free tech, too. Business Insider has received some e-mails, where CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer, has offered each Yahoo employee a new smartphone.
They can choose from a new Apple, Samsung, HTC or Nokia smartphone and it's all part of a plan the company calls "Yahoo! Smart Phones, Smart Fun", and is aimed at providing employees with the same class of device that Yahoo users are using.
Yahoo employees don't get to choose from low-end gear, either, they get to choose from Apple's new iPhone 5, Samsung's Galaxy S III, HTC One X, HTC EVO 4G LTE or Nokia's Lumia 920. Yahoo are going one better here, though, offering to pay for the employees' data and phone plans, too. Nice move, Yahoo.
Microsoft are holding a launch event for their upcoming Windows 8 operating system, which will be held in New York on October 25. The event will likely lead up to a midnight launch of the OS on October 26.
Microsoft's iPad competitor, Surface, should be part of the event, and we're guessing a slew of slates, desktops, Ultrabooks and other devices will be on show, too. Microsoft's Windows 8 launch is important, not just to the company, but the consumers.
It's the first time the Redmond-based company have supported a machine architecture other than x86 and IA-64, as Windows 8 RT supports ARM-based processors. It's an exciting time, and we should have countless reviews of Windows 8-based devices for you guys and gals to flick through in the coming months!
Google have just acquired Nik Software, the developers behind professional photography applications like Capture NX, and its Efex Pro series. But there is a jewel beneath the rough here, in the form of the developers' Snapseed app.
Snapseed is a much simpler app, for both desktop and iOS-based users. Snapseed is an efficient, easy-to-use photo-editing application for iOS, featuring tilt-shift and centre focus modes that let you play around with your beloved picture of your food, or whatever else you'd like to snap photos of. At the moment, it costs $4.99, but the Google acquisition might drop this to free to compete with the Facebook-owned Instagram.
Considering Google have just hit 400 million users on their social network, Google+, it is about time the Mountain View-based company bring out their own Instagram-like photo sharing service. Both Nik Software, and Google's Senior Engineering VP, Vic Gundotra have both been quiet regarding the exact plans post-acquisition. I'm sure they're still celebrating, snapping photos of their food and applying filters, laughing maniacally.
Apple's shares traded over $700 per share today, joining just a few other companies in the scotch-and-cigar $700 club, like Google. The Cupertino-based company enjoyed the elevated share prices due to the huge demand for the iPhone 5.
Considering Apple sold 2 million iPhone 5's in just 24 hours - it's no surprise their share prices surged. Apple also opened at another all-time high this morning, with their market cap expanding to $656 billion.
Do you think we're going to see Apple's share prices go much higher this year? Do you think we'll see $750? More? We've still got some news to come from the company, we should expect the announcement of the iPad mini, refreshed iMacs, and more.