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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 93

Razer adds Rahul Sood, founder of VoodooPC, to their ranks as an advisor to their board of directors

Rahul Sood, known as being the founder of VoodooPC, has joined Razer's ranks as an advisor to the board of directors. Sood says that he sees the gaming-focused company as the spiritual successor to VoodooPC's previous work, with Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan feeling the same. Tan says:

 

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In fact, it was his work at VoodooPC that inspired us to enter the systems business, and I believe his advice will be invaluable to us here at Razer.

 

Sood will help the company with everything from product development to sales, so we should expect to see a touch of his magic on Razer's products in the coming months and years.

Amazon has stopped selling the digital download version of SimCity after numerous launch problems

Amazon has stopped selling the electronic version of SimCity after numerous problems with the launch. The physical copy of the game is still for sale, and the digital one should return once the connectivity problems are resolved by EA and Maxis.

 

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When either copy is selected for purchase, a warning is displayed:

 

Important Note on "SimCity": Many customers are having issues connecting to the "SimCity" servers. EA is actively working to resolve these issues, but at this time we do not know when the issue will be fixed. Please visit https://help.ea.com/en/simcity/simcity for more information.

 

The SimCity launch is starting to match the scale of problems that the Diablo III launch underwent last May. This should be yet another nail in the coffin for always-on games and DRM, but we doubt it will have much effect. EA has disabled certain non-critical features to help with connectivity problems and plans to bring more servers online. They've also said customers can request a refund, though not everyone is having success at getting one.


Google tipped off the EU about Microsoft's browser choice bug that led to huge fine

All eyes are on Google as a report says that they are the ones responsible for tipping off the EU that Microsoft's Windows 7 no longer gave a choice of browser after Service Pack 1. Google, in conjunction with Opera, are said to be the responsible parties for causing the investigation that led to Microsoft being fined $730+ million.

 

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Of course Google and Opera had lots to gain by Microsoft being forced to promote their browsers. What company wouldn't want their product being promoted when a competitor's product was installed? Furthermore, Google and Microsoft haven't been on the best of terms as of late. Looking at Microsoft's Gmail smear campaign, one doesn't have to wonder why.

EA refused refund and threatened SimCity customer with Origin ban

Many people are upset by the launch issues that SimCity has suffered from since its release on Tuesday. Some have gone so far as to request refunds, though EA doesn't seem to want to issue them, despite a statement from EA's global community manager saying that users could request one.

 

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Of course requesting a refund doesn't mean that a user will get one. "If you regrettably feel that we left you down, you can of course request a refund for your order at http://help.origin.com/contact-us, though we are currently still in the process of resolving this issue."

 

One extremely unhappy customer posted a transcript (see above) of his chat with Origin support. The support agent declined his refund request, to which he suggested he might ask his bank for one. The chat agent responded that disputing the charge would result in an Origin account ban.

 

EA is working on fixing the problem by patching servers and bringing more online, though it's not clear to what effect these patches have had. We'll keep you up-to-date on the ongoing SimCity launch problems.

Intel in talks with Apple over A series processor chip manufacturing

Reuters is reporting that Apple has approached Intel about taking over the production of its A series of processors. This move would bolster Intel's contract manufacturing business and would lessen Apple's need to keep rival Samsung around.

 

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The actual date and time the meeting took place is still a bit of a mystery though, with the report citing that the meeting took place sometime within the last year. It is also unclear if any deals were struck or terms made. We are sure that we would have heard something by now if anything was written in stone.

 

Should this switch in manufacturing take place, you should not expect to see any Clover Trail+ Atom processors in next-generation Apple mobile products. Intel would produce ARM-compatible Apple A series chips for use in its iPad and iPhone lines. Although, an X86 based iPad could spark renewed interest in a lot of techies who have moved on to other OS based tablets.

After just six months with Yahoo, CEO Marissa Mayer receives $1.12 million bonus

After just six months on the job as CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer has received a tidy $1.12 million bonus as part of a compensation package she received when she took the job. Mayer's annual salary is $1 million, and she's also eligible for a $2 million bonus annually, based on meeting certain performance goals set by the Yahoo board.

 

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Mayer has also received numerous stock and options compensation, which are worth a mammoth $56 million, including $14 million to make up for the fact she left Google and lost wages in the process. Other bonuses are possible, and it all comes down to the results she can provide. Considering Yahoo shares have increased by around 50% since she took control of the company, investors wouldn't be complaining about her bonuses at all.

Samsung confirmed to acquire a 3% stake in Sharp for $112 million

Samsung have invested around $112 million in Sharp, which will see them acquire a 3% stake in the company. Sharp and Samsung have previously done business, but this will solidify that relationship, especially with Sharp struggling right now.

 

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Sharp make LCD panels for large TVs, as well as small- and medium-sized panels for mobile devices. Samsung will benefit greatly, especially in their affiliate Samsung Display Co. The move will also see Sharp not rely on Apple so much, it could even stop Apple from having exclusive access to next-gen display technology. Sharp have been pushing full steam ahead with their IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) display technology, which provides higher pixel density, with lower power consumption for panels being baked into smartphones, tablets and other devices.

 

The company are hoping that the strong demand for these IGZO panels will help them be a star once again, but until now they've been having issues with low production yields, stopping them from offering the displays into more phones, or having the ability to offer them outside of Japan.

HTC continue to crumble, sales drop even more in February

HTC are continuing to trip over themselves, with February 2013 sales dropping 44% year-over-year, reaching a new three-year low. Looking at the month-over-month numbers, sales have dropped 27%.

 

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The Taiwanese smartphone maker is hoping that this is the bottom, and that there's only improvements heading into the future with their new flagship One smartphone reaching the market at the end of the month. First quarter results are usually tough for handset makers, who normally enjoy a strong fourth quarter.

 

But, HTC didn't have a strong fourth quarter, and January wasn't much better. HTC are in some trouble right now, with the competition heating up from Samsung and even LG, let alone the iPhone juggernaut.

Beats' music streaming service gets closer to reality, secures $60 million investment

The online music streaming service market is going to get even more crowded as Beats continues to push forward with plans to launch their own streaming service known as Daisy. We've reported rumors about Beats possibly working with Apple in regards to the latter starting a streaming service, though this looks less likely with the news of Beats securing a $60 million investment.

 

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The $60 million investment comes from Access Industries, Marc Rowan, James Packer, and some others. The investment will be used to help launch Daisy, which is currently backed by Beats Electronics LLC. Co-founder Jimmy Iovine:

 

Beats was always about helping people re-discover the magic in the experience of listening to music. Now that we are well along the way to addressing the quality of audio playback with Beats headphones and speakers, Daisy allows us to re-introduce the same magic into the process of music discovery and consumption.

 

This, coupled with rumors of YouTube possibly launching their own streaming service, could lead to increased competition in the marketplace.

Continue reading 'Beats' music streaming service gets closer to reality, secures $60 million investment' (full post)

Microsoft fined 561 million euros ($732 million US) for browser choice error

Microsoft has been hit with a massive 561 million euro fine, which equates to around $732 million US, for removing the option to pick a different default browser in Windows 7 SP1. Microsoft had previously settled the EU over claims that making Internet Explorer the default browser was anti-competitive.

 

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Microsoft had agreed to provide the option of several different web browsers when Windows was installed or configured. When the company released Service Pack 1 for Windows 7, the option to select a web browser was removed. Microsoft says that a technical error prevented the option screen from showing.

 

It took Microsoft 14 months and complaints from the EU to get the problem resolved. The EU has now fined Microsoft over the issue, though it's not as bad as it could have been. EU law allows for the fine to be up to 10 percent of the company's revenue, meaning the fine could have been as high as $7.4 billion.

 

"We take full responsibility for the technical error that caused this problem and have apologized for it," a Microsoft spokesperson said.

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