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The problem with being one of the biggest companies in the world is you can't catch a break. Just after an antitrust investigation into Google was completed, reports of a new investigation over different allegations have emerged. Google is reportedly being investigated by the FTC over allegations of using its online display-advertising market to curb competition.
The inquiry is just beginning and may not expand into a full-fledged investigation. Center to the probe is whether Google is using its large adverting network to push companies to use other services the company offers. This can prove illegal under antitrust laws if not done properly.
A large portion of Google's advertising tools and network came from the acquisition of DoubleClick in 2007. At the time, the FTC said, "We will closely watch these markets and, should Google engage in unlawful tying or other anticompetitive conduct, the commission intends to act quickly." It looks like the commission now feels the company is being anticompetitive.
TweakTown will follow this and keep our readers up on the latest.
Samsung has been on a roll lately with new product launches and this coming June 20th should be no exception. The company will hold a launch event at London's Earls Court 2 in which we can expect to see "several" Galaxy and ATIV devices unveiled.
The Galaxy brand of products needs no introduction, but many of our readers may not have heard of the ATIV brand, which is Samsung's Windows Phone line of smartphones and tablets. While not much info is available on what we might see added to the ATIV line, we most likely will see the Galaxy S4 Mini, Galaxy Active and a new Galaxy Tablet unveiled at the event.
This event comes at the end of what is shaping up to be a very busy month in the tech industry. With Computex 2013 taking place between June 4th and 8th, E3 happening on June 11th until June 13, and Apple's WWDC taking place on June 10th till 14th, the tech media world is going to be in a frenzy with all of the news stories being released.
As always, TweakTown will be on top of everything, with journalists on the ground at Computex and E3, as well as live blogs taking place for these events. So, keep your browsers open to TweakTown for up to the minute coverage of everything happening in June.
Rumors have made the rounds that Facebook is interested in the social mapping service. According to a Bloomberg report, Google may also be considering a Waze buyout. This is good news for Waze as the two companies would likely enter into a bidding war; it's not such great news for the companies themselves as the price will go up.
The report states that Google and others have approached Waze since the news of Facebook's talks were made public. Waze is reportedly seeking in excess of $1 billion, so it's very possible that talks fall through and Waze remains an independent company. Greg Sterlin, an analyst at Opus Research, suggests that Google may acquire Waze to prevent competition or add social features to its own Maps product:
If they put a lot of effort behind it and really try to develop a social mapping product, it could be something significantly differentiated from what Google is offering and could grow into a competitor for Google Maps.
We're still a good distance away from Waze being acquired as the acquisition would likely undergo scrutiny from the FTC and other government groups. If Waze does enter into an acquisition deal, you'll be able to read about it here on TweakTown.
According to several reports around the Internet, Hulu has received bids from four different companies seeking to acquire the next-day TV streaming service. Reports from The Los Angeles Times and Reuters state that the Chernin Group and Guggenheim Digital Media have both placed bids for Hulu.
DirecTV and Time Warner Cable are also said to have put in bids for the company. Hulu, despite companies looking to acquire it, continues to do well, turning $695 million in revenue for last year. Bloomberg adds that KKR and Silver Lake have both entered into the bidding, bringing up the total bids to six.
Nomura Equity Research's Stuart Jeffrey believes that Apple, Nokia, and BlackBerry will suffer at the hands of Android devices that are good enough. Jeffrey believes these lower cost devices will provide attractive options for emerging markets, making it tougher for the aforementioned companies to enter.
The drivers of our higher growth estimates are ones to which Apple appears to have no exposure, at least not currently. These drivers include: We see APAC driving 70-79% of growth; Apple's 1Q13 APAC share was 13%; "Good enough" Android phones priced at $100 and below are driving most of the growth; Apple has no exposure to this segment; 5" screen sizes are driving the higher-priced market segments, a segment where Apple has no exposure; Local application development in APAC is focused on Android, giving Android a big competitive advantage over Apple.
Jeffrey maintains a Neutral rating on Apple, with a price target of $420. He has, however, lowered his estimates for Nokia to $25.22 billion in revenue and a 1-cent-per-share net loss. BlackBerry's estimates have also been cut to $13.31 billion in revenue and 31 cents per share.
Microsoft's customer satisfaction rating has plummeted to levels it hasn't seen since Windows Vista was the current operating system. Most attribute this fall of satisfaction to Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system, which has been received by consumers with much discontent.
Windows 8.1 should hopefully help customer satisfaction recover as its rumored the much-loved Start button will be making a return along with an option to boot straight to the desktop mode. Microsoft's ACSI report has consumer satisfaction at 74 out of 100. Shortly after Vista launched, it was just 73 out of 100. In 2011, Microsoft's ACSI was at 78 out of 100 and it quickly dropped to 75 after Windows 8 launched.
David VanAmburg, director of ACSI:
It seems clear that the release of Windows 8 did not give Microsoft a significant bump, as the release of Windows 7 did, nor did it dramatically lower customer satisfaction in a rather short time frame, as the release of Vista did.
One of the issues with PC software appears to be that there is less of it out there now. While productivity software remains in demand -- Office, TurboTax, Acrobat -- with so many households that own PCs relying more and more on their tablets, smartphones and gaming systems for entertainment and recreation, the range of PC software may be shrinking, not a welcome sign for diehards [who are] still very loyal to the traditional PC.
An eagle-eyed ad watcher caught that Microsoft might have done their math wrong, or just completely lied, in their latest round of Windows 8 tablet ads. In the ads, Microsoft tries to portray that an ASUS VivoTab Smart has a larger screen than the iPad 4. While the diagonal measurement of the ASUS is indeed larger, the actual area of the screen is smaller.
Microsoft claims that the ASUS features a 36 percent larger screen. However, the iPad's screen is actually about 3.55 percent larger due to its dimensions. The ipad measures 7.76 by 5.82 inches and the ASUS measures 8.8 by 4.95 inches. Because of the different ratio, the iPad is actually bigger.
Intel's new CEO Brian Krzanich is shaking things up at the chip manufacturing giant. Under his recent reorganization, all of the company's product groups now fall under his direct supervision. Corporate Strategy and Global Manufacturing will now be headed up by company president Renee James. Intel's software division will be controlled by Doug Fisher, and its smartphone division will be headed up by Hermann Eul.
In an internal email to Intel employees, Krzanich said:
"As your CEO, I am committed to making quick, informed decisions. I am committed to being bolder, moving faster and accepting that this means changes will be made knowing that we will listen, learn and then make adjustments in order to keep pace with a rapidly changing industry. Our business faces significant challenges, and we simply must continue to execute while finalizing our future strategy"
During the Xbox One reveal we learned that Microsoft is working tightly with the NFL, but according to an Associated Press source the deal is worth $400 million over five years. Fans of NFL will see Microsoft branding on-field during live games starting this upcoming season.
The deal goes deeper, with coaches and other team officials will be provided Microsoft Surface tablets. There's also the possibility of further technological innovations coming from Microsoft throughout the longevity of the deal.
Are Sony preparing to sell the film rights to Spider-Man and Resident Evil to help their financial position?
Sony are in a bad position right now, but now there are rumors floating around that the Japanese company are thinking about selling the films rights to Spider-Man and Resident Evil. The news comes from The Register who says:
Chief exec Kazuo Hirai told reporters from the Financial Times, Reuters and others that the company's board was discussing the plan to sell a portion of its entertainment biz, suggested last week by the firm's largest investor, Loeb's Third Point hedge fund. [Activist investor Daniel] Loeb said he wants the ailing Japanese firm to spin off 15 to 20 per cent of its film and music division in a public offering to raise money for its electronics and turn the entertainment business into a separately listed firm. The fund manager's suggestions carry new weight after revealing that he had increased Third Point's stake in Sony to $1.1bn.
It does get a little hot after, with Sony Pictures' boss, Amy Pascal, talking to Ain't It Cool News saying that none of this is actually true:
Amy said that she would 'Never ever ever' let go of SPIDER-MAN. She feels the property is directly tied to her legacy and time at SONY. Not just that, she is really thrilled by the work on the new film.