Overstock.com CEO, Patrick Byrne, has said that his company would be one of the first to accept Bitcoin, where it will accept the digital currency in the second half of next year.
Byrne spilled the news during an interview with the Financial Times, where he said there is going to be a market in Bitcoin, and he wanted his company to embrace it. Byrne believes Bitcoin will hold its value better than the fiat-based dollar, thanks to the fact that it is mathematically constrained, versus the limitless printing of the dollar through the Federal Reserve and government authorities.
The Overstock.com CEO stated that his company would bank the digital currency in the event that similar digital funds increase in popularity. If, however, the digital currency begins to deflate, the company would transfer Bitcoins to dollars on a daily basis.
Oculus is securing talent every couple of weeks it seems, with the brain child of Doom and Quake, John Carmack, stepping on board as Chief Technology Officer not too long ago. Now have news that the VR outfit has secured a former EA Senior VP to join as the head of worldwide publishing.
This department is fresh, with the aim of the new department to help developers create games that work with the Oculus Rift. David DeMartini is the man for the job, and in a statement to Gamasutra, DeMartini described his position as "not particularly different from what I did for seven years" when he was involved with the EA Partners program.
He continued: "I'm figuring out how to partner effectively with big developers, small developers, all the way down to the individual who just wants to make something great for the Rift."
Major retailer Target is under fire after 40 million customers have been affected by a credit and debit card security threat, as some account information has hit the open market.
An unnamed bank had its security team purchase back stolen account information of its customers from an online forum, with account information available on sometimes sophisticated online trading places. It seems that credit cards were the main focus of the breach, with Target claiming there hasn't been impact to debit card PIN numbers.
This is a frustrating situation for Target, banks, and consumers - banks are hesitant to issue new cards, due to the high price ($3-$5 per card, on average), while customers are worried about their financial security.
Mark Zuckerberg is selling $2.3 billion worth of shares in the social network he founded, and is the CEO of. He isn't just selling the shares for cash, he's selling them to pay massive tax bills on options that he is exercising.
The sale is part of a 70 million share offering, with Zuckerberg selling 41.3 million of those shares. Marc Andreessen, a Facebook investor, is selling 1.6 million. According to a press release from the social network, Facebook "intends to use the net proceeds of the offering for working capital and other general corporate purposes."
Cyanogen Inc. secured $7 million in Series A funding a few months ago, but Series B funding has come and gone, with $23 million being secured. The Series B funding was led by Andreessen Horowitz, the same company that is working closely with Oculus VR and its latest Series B funding round.
One of the interesting points to take away from this is that Cyanogen Inc. is planning to launch a mass consumer brand or service late next year, or early 2015. We should hear more about the hardware side of things in the coming weeks and months, with the first CyanogenMod-powered smartphone, the CyanogenMod Edition of the Oppo N1 available.
We all know that Battlefield 4 is a jumbled mess right now across pretty much every platform its on, so it comes as no surprise that Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP has filed a class action lawsuit against EA.
The law firm claims that EA issued "materially false and misleading statements" regarding the quality, and playability of Battlefield 4. The lawsuit highlights the PS4 version of the first-person shooter, claiming that "players of Electronic Arts' games were being subjected to multiple glitches and significant crashes when attempting to play Electronic Arts' titles on PS4."
The bigger problem is that this is the second lawsuit the firm has slapped EA with, with the first an investigation to find out if EA misled investors regarding Battlefield 4's projected impact on company revenue. This is still an on-going case, something we'll be keeping an eye on.
If there's one thing that is great about living in Australia - other than our crappy Internet - its our consumer laws. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is taking up warranty issues with Apple, something that the iPhone maker has gotten away with for years.
Claims have pegged Apple with misleading consumers in respect to the details of faulty product replacement, refund and repair, the ACCC has hit Apple with a court order, which demands changes be made in Australia. The ACCC claims that Apple employees have been enforcing its own internal policies, which is a 14-day return and 12-month manufacturer warranty, versus those put in place by Australian law.
Apple will now offer a 24-month warranty in Australia, as well as beef up its repair and return policy. For those based in Australia, and consumers of Apple goods, this is a good win for consumers!
Microsoft is currently narrowing down its short list of potential CEOs to take over after a tumultuous tenure of current CEO Steve Ballmer. There are only a handful of potential candidates that have the skillset and experience to lead the Redmond, Washington-based company, which has more than 100,000 employees worldwide.
Ford CEO Alan Mulally was rumored to be a potential replacement, but Ford confirmed its CEO will lead the company through 2014. Meanwhile, Qualcomm COO Steve Mollenkopf was also a potential candidate, but Qualcomm announced Mollenkopf will be promoted to CEO as on March 4, 2014. Microsoft is reportedly looking for a replacement both internally and externally, and it's difficult to try and predict who will step in and lead one of the most powerful computer companies in the world.
In late August, Microsoft announced Ballmer would step down as acting CEO, which immediately put the rumor mill into overdrive. Over its 38-year history, Microsoft has only had two CEOs, founder Bill Gates and Ballmer, and the next CEO will have a very interesting task ahead - Microsoft is still a software giant, but has had trouble trying to break into the mobile market, and is adjusting to a cloud-based market.
The Microsoft Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablet models are selling out and have been difficult to find this Christmas shopping season. The devices are selling out at the official Microsoft Store and Walmart.com, while a quick look at Amazon.com shows a small supply of the surprisingly popular tablets.
It's plausible Microsoft released smaller shipments to retailers - or the devices are truly becoming popular - but we won't know until early 2014, when analysts are able to estimate sales numbers. Microsoft and the retailers aren't confirming shipment figures, so analyst groups will be left to estimate how the Microsoft tablets did against rival tablets.
Microsoft has found it difficult to compete with the extremely popular Apple iPad and Android-based tablets, but the Windows 8-powered devices are best suited to make a major impact in the enterprise. Meanwhile, analysts believe the Surface 2 tablets will continue to fight for market share in 2014, as Microsoft continues a massive marketing and advertising campaign.
Coby Electronics 32-inch flat screen HDTVs with the model number "TFTV3229" are being recalled due to potential fire risk, according to media reports.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) confirmed there have been at least six reports of TVs overheating, emitting smoke, or igniting in small fires. No reported injuries related to the faulty TVs.The TVs were sold starting in August 2011 until November 2013 at Best Buy, Fry's Electronics, H.H. Gregg, Toys 'R' Us, ABC Warehouse, P.C. Richard and Son, Sears/Kmart, and Nebraska Furniture Mart.
Coby was a Chinese-based high-definition TV manufacturer that is known for selling low-cost, entry-level HDTVs that are drastically cheaper than rival models from Samsung, Sony, LG, Sharp, and other competing companies. Unfortunately, Coby USA is no longer in operation, so the retailers are handling the recall.
Visit the CPSC website to see if your Coby TV is currently being recalled.
Is Google feeling festive, or is the Mountain View-based giant feeling a little T-101ish? Well, Google has acquired robotics engineering company Boston Dynamics, which is best known for its quadrupeds, and super-impressive robots.
We've already seen BigDog, a motorized robot that is capable of walking through ice and snow, the Cheetah - which is capable of running at 29 miles per hour, and a convincing humanoid known as
Arnold Schwarzenegger PETMAN. We don't know the business side of the deal, or the exact amount of money it took to acquire the robot maker.
We do know that a $10.8 million contract that the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) had with Boston Dynamics would still be honored after it has been acquired by Google. Something else I find fishy, is that a year ago the Director of DARPA left the defense agency, moving to... Google. Now Google acquires a high-end robotics maker? Yeah... Skynet is getting closer, folks.
Today VIA announced that it has filed suit against a subsidiary of Asustek as well as four of its employees over allegations of misappropriations of trade secrets. The civil lawsuit has been filed in the Taipei District Court with VIA seeking damages equating to $138 million US.
The lawsuit states that misappropriation of VIA intellectual property related to USB technology occurred and names Asmedia Technology, Asustek, Asmedia Chairman Jerry Shen, Asmedia President Lin Chewei, and other Asmedia employees as those responsible for the misappropriation.
"As a long-time leader in IC design and technology innovation, VIA strongly believes in the importance of protecting intellectual property rights," commented Wenchi Chen, CEO of VIA Technologies, Inc. "In addition to protecting interests of VIA and our shareholders, the aim of this suit is to ensure our industry operates in a healthy market environment that fosters innovation and promotes fair competition."
There are some multimillionaires out there thanks to the digital currency, Bitcoin, but now you can purchase a $7.85 million Las Vegas home with Bitcoins. A casino owner who is now a commercial developer, is selling the Vegas home, accepting Bitcoins as payment.
Jack Sommer said he thought of the idea to sell his $7.85 million mansion from his two sons, who make and trade Bitcoins. Sommer said: "The advantage is that we're expanding our market and adding some notoriety." The house itself sounds gorgeous, as it features marble from China, Iceland and Brazil, a full basement, staff quarters with Jacuzzis, and a secret garden. It also has 39 air-conditioning zones fed from a 120-ton cooling tower.
Back in January, Bitcoins were trading at $10, now they're trading at around $870. Transferring $7.85 million in Bitcoins, and then a flash crash happening a few days later, plummeting the real-world value of Bitcoins would hurt, a lot.
Michelle Lee, was an executive with Google, but is now the new Deputy Director of the United States Patent & Trademark Office. Lee was previously in charge of patents and patent strategy at the search giant, so this new job isn't too far from her previous position.
Lee will be in the position at the USPTO in an interim position, with the former director of the USPTO, David Kappos, stepping down in February to pursue interests in the private sector, with Teresa Stanek Rea as the acting director since. Lee will now be the Deputy Director until the USPTO finds a permanent replacement, but there's no word on when this might happen.
Apple has just landed a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, under US Patent No. 8,603,574, which is for a "Curved touch sensor' that details a manufacturing technique that would make an accurate, curved touch surface, without deficiencies caused by substrate warping or deformation.
The iPhone maker notes that current touch panel technologies are hard to work with, due to "desired thinness of the substrate and thin film". In order to escape these issues, Apple's newly awarded patent allows for a technique that deposits a conductive thin film over a flexible substrate, while it's in a flat state. AppleInsider reports: "Once the electrodes are in place, the substrate package is joined to a curved "forming substrate" and subsequently heated. The process results in a non-deformed curved touch sensor stackup with a thin film that benefits from the high-temperature anneal."
This should mean that we'll see a curved iOS-based device in the future, but how much longer will it be before we see it? Will it be the iWatch? Maybe a curved iPad? Most will expect a curved iPhone, to keep up with the Samsung Galaxy Round and LG G Flex smartphones.
It looks like Apple is taking control of Japan's tablet market, where its iPad and iPad mini slates make up six out of every ten tablets sold in the country, according to BCN, which measures electronic sales across the country.
The top of BCN's list was the iPad Air, which was followed closely by the iPad mini. On BCN's charts, one variant of Apple's iPad was listed as first, second, fifth, eighth, ninth, and tenth place - total domination by the Cupertino-based giant. The slates on the top ten list that weren't built by Apple, were Google's Nexus 7 tablets (both the 2012 and 2013 editions).
Something that shouldn't be stated, but has been, is that Samsung is looking to "lower its dependence" on its smartphone business. The news is coming from Korea's ETNews, who says that Samsung wants to not rely on its smartphones business as a revenue generator.
Instead, it will look at other areas to beef up its massive profits, instead of just smartphones. ETNews' sources say that Samsung's "focus will be placed on smartphone derivatives in the short term, such as peripherals and accessories" while it works on wearable devices, like its Galaxy Gear smartwatch.
Just 10 days ago we reported that Bitcoins reached over $1000 in value each, which at the time was a meteoroic 4000% increase, year-over-year. Now? The digital currency has dropped to around $800 each, from their peak at $1200 just days ago.
Few thought that Bitcoins would reach parity with gold, some thought there was no end in sight, but you can't dispute the fact that the digital currency has stumbled, with no exact science or past on how it will react. Will it go down to $100 each? Will we see another country completely embrace it and see it skyrocket past $2000?
With China's central bank refusing to consider Bitcoins as legal tender, the drop in price quickly happened. But, the Chinese government didn't put an all-out ban on the digital currency, with all citizens still able to use Bitcoins legally. The central bank's refusal to use them is what hurts the most, as it could spread quickly throughout the world.
If you want to support independent games, and didn't want to use that pesky fiat-based, central bank currency - well, this is music to your anti-mainstream ears!
Bitcoins can now be used to purchase Ouya consoles, which is great because it means you don't need to use a credit card. Unfortunately, if you want to purchase games on the Ouya console, you'll still need your credit card - which I don't get. If you're going to support Bitcoin, do it all the way, or not at all. Ouya does state that PayPal support is coming soon.
Yesterday we reported that Apple had inked a deal with China Mobile for the iPhone, but now China Mobile itself has denied the report. This is strange, especially given that it was The Wall Street Journal's sources who were talking about the deal.
China Mobile spokeswoman, Rainie Lei said: "Talks between China Mobile and Apple on cooperation are still going on and we currently do not have anything to announce." I'm sure we'll hear something in the coming days, but for now there is no deal reached between the two giants.
As I first reported yesterday, the US House of Representatives has been hearing arguments on a new bill that could put an end to many of the frivolous patent lawsuits filled each year by so-called patent trolls. As expected, the bill has passed in the House with support from both sides of the isle.
Known as the Innovation Act 325-91, the bill will now make its way to the senate where it is expected to pass with a bipartisan majority as well. Once it is finished in congress, the bill will make its way to President Obama's desk and he also is expected to sign it into law. If this does happen, we could see an end to the era of east Texas shell corporations that exist only to file and buy low-quality, low-detail patents that are so vague that they can be claimed as part of many technologies.
This is the first step into patent reform, and hopefully the next step will be a complete overhaul of the United States Patent and Trade office. With companies now patenting seeds, human, animal and plant genes, and even specific code, we need to work hard to prevent these sort of things from happening. If not, then I am afraid that we may see an immense slowdown in technological and scientific innovation and breakthroughs for decades to come.