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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to open Center for Innovation this fall to inspire young entrepreneurs

When you're one of the world's richest e-commerce tycoons, there's not much left to do other than fund other projects. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has funded everything from nuclear fusion startups to commercial spaceflight ventures and everything in between. Today, we are learning that his next big venture is a center for innovation built at the Museum of History and Industry.

 

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After more than two years of development and $10 million from Bezos' own pockets, the Museum of History and Industry will open the doors to the Bezos Center for Innovation on October 12. The center aims to help visitors learn about the importance of innovation through many interactive exhibits. It will also showcase Seattle for being the birthplace of so many trailblazing companies such as Amazon. I feel that this Innovation Center is an amazing idea and a perfect way to teach children that bucking convention is sometimes the right thing to do.

Two more high-level executives exit from BlackBerry, could this be the beginning of the end

Today, we're getting reports that BlackBerry has lost two more high-level executives in the last few weeks. According to a recent report, T.A. McCann, BlackBerry's vice president of social networking, is said to have left the company two weeks ago, while the senior director of handheld applications, Marc Gingras, apparently left the company around the same time.

 

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The Wall Street Journal says that McCann was responsible for BlackBerry Messenger as well as all social networking applications on the BlackBerry's OS. He first came to the company through its acquisition of the contact management services company Gist back in 2011. Gingras was also the product of an acquisition in 2011 when BlackBerry scooped up the social calendar company Tungle.me.

 

News of these two executives leaving the company comes hot on the heels of yesterday's report that BlackBerry would lay off several thousand employees before the year's end. All of this is the direct effect of underwhelming sales from what can only be described as a failed launch of the new BlackBerry 10 devices.

Lenovo claims throne as largest PC manufacturer in the world

In the wake of turmoil at Hewlett-Packard, it appears that Lenovo has seized the opportunity to claim the throne as the largest PC manufacturer in the world. This claim comes as the latest numbers from the IDC and Gartner are released to the public. It appears Lenovo has managed a 1.7 percent gain in market share in the global PC market over the last year.

 

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While the margins are small, Lenovo managed to ship a little over 200,000 more units than HP's 12.4 million units shipped during the Q2 time period of 2013. Lenovo is sitting at 16.7 percent of global market share, while HP is floundering at around 16.3 percent. The once king of the world, Dell, is roughly four million units behind both companies with a market share of just 11.8 percent.

 

Up and comer Acer shipped roughly half the number of units that Lenovo did in Q2 and holds on to about 8.3 percent of the global sales market. Also notable is ASUS who shipped about 4.5 million units during Q2 and held onto a 6 percent market share.

Continue reading 'Lenovo claims throne as largest PC manufacturer in the world' (full post)

BlackBerry fires chief of US Sales, plans another round of massive layoffs

The days for BlackBerry just keep getting darker and darker as sales and revenue continue to slump for the once king of smartphones. Today, the Wall Street Journal reported that BlackBerry had fired its vice president of US sales, Richard Piasentin, late last month and said that more layoffs are coming across middle management in the sales and support divisions.

 

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This news comes shortly after CEO Thorsten Heins wooed shareholders at a meeting on Thursday which resulted in BlackBerry shares rising 3 percent just hours after the meeting was over. This new report of layoffs will stack on top of the 5000 BlackBerry workers let go during the previous fiscal year of 2012.

DirecTV and Time Warner Cable both place last minute bids for Hulu on July 5 deadline

July 5 was the deadline for all bidding proposals to buy the content streaming service Hulu. The date was set by the Board of Directors after bids were received from everyone including Yahoo, AT&T and the Chernin Group in recent weeks. Today, we found out that both DirecTV and Time Warner Cable also submitted their bids before the deadline was up.

 

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DirecTV apparently placed a bid to acquire the company as a whole, while Time Warner Cable reportedly offered up a proposal to become an investor alongside the service's current owners: Walt Disney Co., 21st Century Fox Inc., and Comcast.

 

No word on how much each bid was for, but with Yahoo's bid around $1.1 billion, we can assume that similar offers were in the same ballpark. It looks like Hulu will get purchased by someone, and let's all hope that the service actually improves over the current state it is in.

Microsoft wanted to buy Zynga before Xbox chief jumped ship

By now everyone on the planet has heard about Don Mattrick, the former Xbox chief at Microsoft, leaving the company to head up Zynga. A new report from Bloomberg is claiming that back in 2010, the then Xbox Executive tried to purchase Zynga when it was at the top of its game.

 

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The report claims that back in 2010, Mattrick held negotiations with then Zynga CEO and founder Mark Pincus about Microsoft acquiring the company or even purchasing major titles like Farmville. The negotiations clearly fell through and here we are three years later with Mattrick now heading up the company he once tried to buy.

 

It's rumored that Mattrick left Microsoft because of the massive restructuring that is underway which will consolidate several departments into one, such as Windows Phone and Windows merging into a single entity. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has now taken over full control of the Xbox division and rumors are forming that point to that being a permanent thing.

Sony trademarks "Playstation TV" brand, looks to take on Apple and Microsoft

It's no secret that Apple and Microsoft both want to become king of the content delivery world. With Apple pushing Apple TV and Microsoft building its next-gen console, the Xbox One, around the home theatre experience, it is very clear that the next few years will be all about who can capitalize on this new and emerging market.

 

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This morning, it appears that Sony has plans to toss its own hat into the content delivery market with its upcoming Playstation 4. We are learning that Sony has officially re-trademarked a new brand named "Playstation TV." This could mean that the PS4 will have similar functionality to the Xbox One or it could mean that Sony is just scooping up anything related to its IP in the event that it wants to head down that road in the future.

 

Additionally, this trademark is nothing new as Sony has actually held it since 2006, but let it expire earlier this year. Whether or not the lapse in ownership was intentional is still up in the air, but we are sure that Sony is planning something along the lines of content delivery.

Shazam gets $40 million in funding from America Movil

Shazam, the app known for its music tagging abilities, has received $40 million in funding from America Movil, the largest wireless carrier in the Americas. This funding will be used to make a bigger push into Latin America though partnerships and other initiatives.

 

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Shazam is looking to partner with Latin American wireless companies to pre-install Shazam on the devices they sell. This will help gain new users and drive further use and engagement. Shazam boasts a user base of more than 350 million people and an active user count of 70 million.

 

Shazam chairman Andrew Fisher says that these numbers are due to a much faster app that allows users to quickly tag songs in a TV show or commercial. Shazam sees more than 10 million tags per day.

Samsung's record quarter doesn't impress investors

Samsung have just had a record quarter, where they're estimated to have pulled in their highest-ever revenue and profits for a quarter - estimated at $49.9 billion and $8.3 billion, respectively.

 

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This huge profit from Samsung is a 47% year-on-year increase, and represents a 54% growth compared to last year. But, Reuters is reporting that investors were hoping to see profits closer to $8.89 billion, which means Samsung's early estimates are 6.4% below expectations. We should have the full earning results later this month, where everything will be laid out in front of us.

 

Reuters and Bloomberg are blaming the lower than expected profits on the "disappointing sales" of the Galaxy S4, which has sold over 20 million units in two months. But, this is coming at the expense of increased marketing costs and distribution channels weren't justified in investors' eyes as the S4 still couldn't compete with the iPhone 5 launch numbers.

Continue reading 'Samsung's record quarter doesn't impress investors' (full post)

Samsung hires former Sprint exec to handle their operator sales in the US

Danny Bowman, former Sprint executive, has been scooped up by Samsung. Bowman has become the Chief Sales and Operations Officer at Samsung Telecommunications America, as of Tuesday.

 

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Bowman will also be in charge of operator sales and operations, and will help out with Samsung's long-term strategic initiatives. Before landing the gig at Samsung, Bowman was an employee of Sprint for quite some time, and was one of several executives who Sprint let go early last year as part of the company's restructuring plan.

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