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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 95

Apple vs Samsung patent war gets interesting, Samsung damages cut by $450 million with a new trial on order

There would've been smiles on the faces of corporate ladder of Apple when they were originally victorious with their patent lawsuit against Samsung but now the fun is dissolving. Judge Lucy Koh has ordered that the $1.05 billion awarded to Apple six months ago get cut by a hefty $450,514,650. Not chump change by standards.

 

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There are now some questions that would like to be asked about Samsung's per-product damages to 14 of their devices. Judge Koh has now said there's enough going on to require a new trial. This could go two ways, with Samsung proving victorious and getting their damages cut, or removed - the flip side is that Apple may well lose the $450 million, but if victorious for a second time, could be awarded much more on top of their original $1.05 billion.

 

Interesting times once more, for both companies and consumers.

RumorTT: T-Mobile to abolish contract plans this month

A new rumor has popped up saying that T-Mobile will end its phone contracts sometime this month. T-Mobile has already announced that they would be moving away from phone subsidies and plans, but a firm date for when the transition would be complete was never given by the company.

 

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According to the rumor, T-Mobile will "kick their uncarrier efforts off on March 24." The rumor also says that we can expect an announcement before that date, possibly as early as March 4. You should expect no more contracts for T-Mobile. Those currently on contracts will remain on them until they expire or the user upgrades to a new device.

 

Early termination fees will be no more as there are no longer any contracts. T-Mobile should be instituting an equipment installment plan, such as $30 per month, so that devices will be no more than $99 initially.


New Zealand High Court reverses decision to let Dotcom's legal team see full evidence against him

In what can only be described as a weird turn of events, the New Zealand High Court has overturned a previous ruling that granted Kim Dotcom's legal team full access to all the evidence against their client before his extradition hearing later this year.

 

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The initial ruling came from Judge David Harvey, who had to step down earlier this year, after making impartial comments relating to the case. This lead to the prosecution filing an appeal which was granted this morning. The new ruling was that since this was an extradition trial, and not a criminal trial, it did not merit the same considerations with regards to evidence.

 

Dotcom's team plans on taking its case to the New Zealand Supreme Court in an effort to settle this matter once and for all. The team is seeking to see all the evidence in the case in order to judge if any illegal measures were taken by the US and New Zealand governments in Dotcom's arrest. The team says that illegal warrants as well as illegal surveillance was carried out for months beforehand.

ReportTT: FCC will be investigating cell phone unlocking ban

Earlier this year, the Library of Congress made it illegal to unlock cell phones. Previously, this had been specifically exempted from Digital Millennium Copyright Act, much like the specific exemption for jailbreaking smartphones. Interestingly enough, it was decided that jailbreaking tablets is illegal.

 

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According to TechCrunch, who spoke to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, the FCC will be investigating the matter of smartphone unlocking because the "ban raises competition concerns; it raises innovation concerns." He added, "It's something that we will look at it at the FCC to see if we can and should enable consumers to use unlocked phones."

 

Obviously, most consumers believe that they should be able to unlock their devices, though the carriers have their own arguments about why unlocking should be illegal. They subsidize the purchase of the phone so that it is cheaper to start with, but they earn back the money over the life of the contract. This is also the reason they have early termination fees.

 

What do you think about the legality of unlocking phones?

Samsung hires UK judge who forced Apple to apologize to Samsung

In an interesting move, Samsung has hired the UK judge who forced Apple to issue a public apology to the firm. Samsung has brought the judge onto their legal team to help them fight claims of infringement levied by Ericsson. Clearly this could end up being a conflict of interest, though it is apparently not illegal.

 

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Sir Robin Jacob is reportedly not working on any projects that relate to Apple. If judges continue to be hired by companies they ruled in favor of, some legislation will have to be passed as this has the potential to create some serious conflicts of interest. What do you think? Should it be illegal already?

HTC says the One will be their only flagship device this year

Don't go expecting anymore mind blowing phones out of HTC this year as they have confirmed that the One will be their only flagship device to be released this year. "We just said, let's just create one flagship device this year," Phil Roberson said. "This is The One."

 

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HTC's One flagship device is quite a good looking device and comes with specs that also satisfy. We'll see if this single flagship model will work for HTC. However, this doesn't preclude HTC from releasing other devices. It just means that they won't be in the One brand and they shouldn't have higher specs or prices than the HTC One.

Apple censoring iCloud emails that contain phrase 'barely legal teens'

Apple, as part of its culture, takes a serious stand against pornography. It's banned from the App Store, even if it only has a little to with it. This is fine for Apple to do in its App Store, but the argument for censoring private iCloud e-mails isn't nearly as strong.

 

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One writer was attempting to send an e-mail to his director from an iCloud account. He ended up cutting the script up into pieces so he could figure out which part was getting blocked:

 

AND THEN I SAW IT - a line in the script, describing a character viewing an advertisement for a pornographic site on his computer screen. Upon modifying this line, the entire document was delivered with no problem.

 

Apple's terms of service do state that they can "pre-screen, move, refuse, modify and/or remove Content at any time, without prior notice and in its sole discretion, if such Content is found to be in violation of this Agreement or is otherwise objectionable."

 

Now, is this something Apple should be doing? What do you think?

During FTC investigation, Google donated $25,000 to group throwing party for FTC's chairman

While there isn't anything that can be proven to be nefarious about Google's actions, it does open up the possibility for posts calling the action into question. Google donated $25,000 to Common Sense Media for a party that the group was throwing in honor of the FTC's chairman's work for kids.

 

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Normally this wouldn't be a big deal, but the fact they did it while they were undergoing an investigation by the FTC could bring unwanted or unwarranted scrutiny of the company's actions. This isn't the first Google has done something like this. Previously, Google reportedly spent $80,000 honoring FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

 

Of course, these actions could be coincidental. We'll likely never know for sure, but there will be plenty of people alleging that they were done to try and buy favor.

Confirmed: Facebook will be acquiring Atlas ad business from Microsoft

Facebook has confirmed that they will be purchasing Microsoft's Atlas Ad Suite. Facebook will keep the current Atlas team as they are and Facebook is looking to invest in back-end scaling and better measurement tools. We've previously reported about the rumored acquisition of Atlas by Facebook here.

 

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We plan to improve Atlas' capabilities by investing in scaling its back-end measurement systems and enhancing its current suite of advertiser tools on desktop and mobile. We will also work to improve the user interface and functionality with the goal of making Atlas the most effective, intuitive, and powerful ad serving, management and measurement platform in the industry. Ultimately, Atlas's powerful platform, combined with Nielsen and Datalogix, will help advertisers close the loop and compare their Facebook campaigns to the rest of their ad spend across the web on desktop and mobile.

 

Facebook and Microsoft did not disclose the purchase price, though the price was rumored to be under 100 million.

Game of Thrones director talks piracy, isn't phased by it at all

Game of Thrones is an undeniable hit, so big that it was the most downloaded show of 2012, but how does the director of the show feel being downloaded so many times? David Petrarca, director of Game of Thrones said that you simply shrug your shoulder at piracy, and that illegal downloads don't really matter because your show thrives on cultural buzz.

 

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When talking to a group of panelists at the Perth Writer's Festival over the weekend, the Game of Thrones director said that shows like the HBO smash hit capitalize on the social commentary they create, adding "that's how they survive." Just how many times was the show downloaded? It was averaging roughly 3.9 million downloads per episode in 2012. The closest downloaded show to this was How I Met Your Mother, with around 3 million downloads per episode.

 

HBO is unique, as the premium cable channel has 26 million US-based subscribers, and 60 million or so across the world. With that amount of subscribers, they can afford to allow illegal downloads as it gets their show some serious press - not just in the normal forms - but socially across Facebook, etc. The director also talked about other huge shows like Breaking Bad, Mad Men and Sons of Anarchy, saying that while they do well, they can all be consumed whenever, and wherever.

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