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While America still reels over the Boston Marathon bombings and the fertilizer plant explosion near Waco in Texas, the House of Representatives have passed the cybersecurity bill CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act).
CISPA was passed by a 288-127 vote, receiving support from 92 democrats. From here, it will move to the Senate, then to President Obama's desk. CISPA, if you're not already familiar, will allow private businesses to share customers' personal information with any government entity, giving the government, and entities like the NSA, some serious power.
The way laws like this get passed, is by people who throw their hands in the air claiming that not letting something like CISPA pass, is because there are threats to "US economic security". Because, you know, there aren't any other issues with the US' economy right now. Mike Rogers, co-author of CISPA and the intelligence committee chairman, argued that cyberattacks and espionage, mostly from China, where an umber of high profile attacks have originated from, are a number one threat to US economic security.
On the House floor, Rogers said:
We have a constitutional obligation to defend this nation. This is the answer to empower cyber information sharing to protect this nation, to allow those companies to protect themselves and move on to economic prosperity. If you want to take a shot across China's bow, this is the answer.
According to an analyst with the ISI Group, Apple have sold around 38 million iPhone's in the last quarter, representing an 8% increase over the same quarter of last year. Brian Marshall, an analyst with ISI Group, said he's sticking with his estimate of 38 million iPhone's for Q1 2013.
Other analysts, such as Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets and Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray, have their bets on lower numbers, with 35 million and 35.5 million, respectively. These two analysts' estimates would have Apple seeing an increase of just 0% or 1% versus each quarter, Q1 2013 and Q1 2012. Most analysts are looking ahead, waiting for Apple's next move, which is rumored to be the iPhone 5S.
Personally, I don't think this can save them unless it is a big departure from what we know and love about the iPhone, and in particular, iOS. I hope we see a new premium iPhone (6) with iOS 7, with widgets and a much better UI, oh, and much cheaper than we have now. A 128GB offering would be nice too, maybe even 256GB. Apple could shake the market up again, and they need to considering Samsung are really pushing forward with so many devices being announced and released lately in all shapes and sizes catering to all markets, all over the world.
Rovio has brought on a new person to oversee the development of new games. Jami Laes is Rovio's new executive vice president of games and will oversee the Finnish gaming studio's new game development. Laes is no newcomer to the world of games as he has previously worked at EA and Digital Chocolate.
Rovio needs to expand beyond its hit series, Angry Birds, in order to continue as a gaming studio. Laes will play an important roll as the gaming studio works to develop other hit games. After all, there's only so long Angry Birds can be tweaked before people get bored of the game and move to something new.
Thinking back, this was a natural next step in my career. I have always been a huge fan of Angry Birds, and it has been great to see the phenomenal success that Rovio has already achieved. Even so, we've only seen a fraction of what can be achieved with great brands like Angry Birds and Bad Piggies, and I wanted to be a part of building that story.
Estimated sales numbers for the Nexus 10 aren't very positive. In fact, the estimates place sales of the Nexus 10 below that of the Microsoft Surface, which is widely regarded as a flop product. So, just how bad is it? Estimates suggest that Google has only sold somewhere between 680,000 and one million Nexus 10's.
Neither Samsung or Google provided data regarding tablet sales, but some interesting extrapolations by Ben Evans resulted in those numbers. Since the Nexus 10 features a relatively uncommon screen resolution, Evans was able to use Google's development data for screen sizes. Only 0.1 percent of devices hitting the Play Store featured the resolution present on the Nexus 10.
An estimate of 680 million Android users at the end of March was used, though this could be slightly off base. Even still, sales numbers of the Nexus 10 aren't good, especially when compared to Apple's. Apple managed to sell 36.9 million iPads in the second half of 2012 and 10 million iPad minis in Q4 alone.
Reports continue to pour in that seem to show Apple is faltering. The latest report is from the hit-and-miss DigiTimes who say that Apple have stopped placing orders for Mac components amid worse-than-expected PC sales. PC sales declines have hurt all PC manufacturers and Apple appears to be hit as well.
The report cites sources in the "upstream supply chain." These suppliers are worried that shipments might not resume until late May. They say that at the end of 2012, Apple placed aggressive orders, either missing the impact their iPad is having on the PC market or expecting not to be hit by the PC decline.
We will know more about how Apple performed this quarter when they release their financial results on Tuesday.
This morning Twitter announced a new music service called #Music. Going live today, #Music will be centered around four tabs; popular, emerging, suggested and #nowplaying.
The first two tabs will give users an idea of what is hot, and a fresh new way to discover new artist. The suggested category will suggest new music based on your listening habits.
This new service stemmed from Twitter's acquisition of the popular website We Are Hunted, which was based around a Spotify app that streamed music based around top tracks endorsed by reputable blogs. The new service is said to be integrated with Spotify, Rdio and iTunes, but is not yet live as of this writing. However, it is expected to launch before the end of the day.
There has been much speculation over a deal between Intel and Apple in which Intel would pick up the ARM chip manufacturing contract that Apple wants to pull from Samsung. A while back we covered the rumors here at TweakTown.
During Tuesday's quarterly earnings report conference call, Intel CEO Paul Otellini put to rest all of the speculation when a reporter asked if the rumors were true. Otellini, not looking to drum up further speculation, answered with a resounding "No."
Intel already provides Apple with the processors for its notebook and desktop computers and sees Apple's A series of processors as direct competition to its ARM line. The company is not looking to enable the competitor any further, but Otellini did leave the door open to possible future deals if they involved multi-foundry options. "It would be great if we could form a strategic relationship with a customer so that it went beyond just a single foundry transaction," said Otellini.
Not all that glitters is gold, and this morning Bitcoin investors who traded on the Bitfloor Bitcoin exchange are waking up to that hard to learn lesson. Bitfloor has announced that it has been forced to cease all operations due to reasons "outside of our control."
Bitfloor, while not as popular as Mt. Gox, was still a key player in the Bitcoin game. In the wake of last week's Bitcoin crash, the exchange has had its bank account closed and as a direct result, must end all trading. We are guessing that when the massive sell off was over, the bank deemed Bitfloor too much of a risk and opted to part ways in an act of self-preservation.
Roman, the founder of Bitfloor, had the following to say:
"I am sorry to announce that due to circumstances outside of our control BitFloor must cease all trading operations indefinitely. Unfortunately, our US bank account is scheduled to be closed and we can no longer provide the same level of USD deposits and withdrawals as we have in the past. As such, I have made the decision to halt operations and return all funds. Over the next days we will be working with all clients to ensure that everyone receives their funds. Please be patient as we process your request."
Apple's shares received yet another stab in the heart, getting themselves stuck in a riptide below $400. Now we have chip vendor Cirrus Logic, a company that Apple has used for a long time now for iPhone audio chips reporting some not so great earnings.
Barron's latest node from Needham & Co analyst Vernon Essi Jr. says that one of the big reasons Cirrus will miss their quarterly revenues is because Apple is "losing its mobility mojo". The analyst says that the guidance "indicates that the recent fears of Apple's lackluster iPhone demand in 2013 are warranted" and that sales "are more likely in the 55M range for 1H2013 vs. Street forecasts that are above 60M units".
Right now, Jay-Z is a part-owner of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets, but if Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian has his way, he'll soon replace the rapper as the part-owner. Jay-Z announced earlier today that he intends to become an agent for NBA players, which means he'll have to sell his 0.067% stake in the Nets.
These shares, are what the Reddit co-founder are after, and he actually tweeted his interest in the Nets earlier this week. Ohanian hit Twitter up again on Wednesday, posting the above tweet. In the thread he linked to, he makes a compelling case on what he could bring to the table if he had that sliver ownership of the Nets:
I realize it's a token amount. But I actually live in Brooklyn and I'm pretty good with the Internet - I reckon that could be helpful. Also - AMAs from ALL THE PLAYERS.