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We all know Google scrapes countless amounts of data from anyone who uses their services, which, let's face it, is everyone - but, it looks like it goes much deeper than that.
From what Sydney-based app developer Dan Nolan, has found, each time you purchase an app from the Google Play Store your personal details are sent to that developer. This includes your name, address and e-mail address. Nolan spoke with news.com.au, saying that he wasn't comfortable being the receiver of this information, and that there is no reason that a developer needs to have this - very powerful - information given to them without their consent.
Nolan took to his blog, saying:
Let me make this crystal clear, every App purchase you make on Google Play gives the developer your name, suburb and email address with no indication that this information is actually being transferred. With the information I have available to me through the checkout portal I could track down and harass users who left negative reviews or refunded the app purchase.
The web has been ablaze today with rumors and reports of Valve conducting layoffs, though the company has not confirmed or denied that layoffs occurred today. However, Gabe Newell has sent a statement to Engadget that says Valve is not canceling any projects or changing any priorities.
We don't usually talk about personnel matters for a number of reasons. There seems to be an unusual amount of speculation about some recent changes here, so I thought I'd take the unusual step of addressing them. No, we aren't canceling any projects. No, we aren't changing any priorities or projects we've been discussing. No, this isn't about Steam or Linux or hardware or [insert game name here]. We're not going to discuss why anyone in particular is or isn't working here.
It's interesting that Valve wouldn't deny the rumors and reports of layoffs if there haven't been any. However, just because they haven't denied it, it doesn't mean that there have been layoffs. We'll be sure to let you know as soon as we find out more concrete information.
Both LinkedIn employees and Apple are probably pretty happy with LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner right now. The CEO has rewarded employees for a great 2012 by providing them each with their own iPad mini. This means that Weiner spent over $1.2 million on 3,500 iPad minis. Ouch. We hope he worked out a discount!
The good deed was first tweeted about by Darain Faraz: "We wanted to acknowledge the hard work and accomplishments of all of our employees in 2012. During today's biweekly All Hands meeting, we surprised our employees with iPad Minis as a small gesture of the company's gratitude for their contributions."
It's these small things that keep employees happy and working hard for a company. LinkedIn pulled in a record Q4 with earnings topping $303 million.
NVIDIA has reported their fourth quarter 2013 earnings and they are up year-over-year. While the earnings are up year-over-year, they've dropped slightly from the records set last quarter. NVIDIA saw a total of $1.1 billion in revenue, which is down from last quarter's $1.2 billion and up from 2012's $950 million.
Profit came in at $179 million, down from $209 million last quarter. For the entire year, NVIDIA's GPU business brought in a total of $3.2 billion, not too bad when you consider that this year hasn't been too great to PC sales. NVIDIA notes that its Tegra business continues to grow:
"This year we did the best work in our company's history," said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and chief executive officer of NVIDIA. "We achieved record revenues, margins and cash, despite significant market headwinds."
If you're interested in the nitty-gritty details, the full PR is available on NVIDIA's website.
Apple is no longer allowed to use the "iPhone" trademark exclusively in Brazil after the Brazilian Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) has ruled that IGB Electronics SA own the rights to the name. The INPI ruled in favor of IGB Electronics as the company has owned the rights to the name since the very early 2000's.
Apple is still allowed to sell devices under the iPhone trademark, though this could open them up to a lawsuit by the trademark's owner. IGB Electronics could attempt to gain exclusive rights to the name through a lawsuit or could deal with Apple to let Apple pay them royalties in exchange for exclusive use.
Tim Cook had some interesting things to say during the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, where the Apple CEO touched on a number of topics, including some rumors of a next-gen iPhone including a larger screen.
Cook talked about the user experience, saying that the experience is more important than what cranks along inside of the phone. When talking about a larger screen size on the iPhone, Cook said:
I don't want to say what we will do or won't do [regarding a larger screen for the iPhone], and so don't interpret anything I say along those lines. Let me go back and compare it to the PC industry for a minute. The PC industry over the years, the way that companies competed were two things: specs and price. And so people would want to say, "I've got the largest drive," or, "I've got the fastest processor," or in the camera business people began to say, "I've got the most megapixels."
The truth is, customers want a great experience, and they want quality. They want that "Aha!" moment each time that they use the product. And that's rarely a function of any of those things. These are things that technology companies invent because they can't have a great experience, and so they talk about the spec of something.
Valve's Steam Box could be in a little trouble now, as the controller designer and hardware lead, Jeri Ellsworth, has been fired. The news comes from Ellsworth's Twitter account, where she tweeted "Yup. Got fired today. Time for new exciting projects."
Ellsworth was working on prototypes of controllers to use from your couch on the console we should hopefully soon expect from Valve. Should we expect delays from Valve on the Steam Box? I'm guessing not. Getting fired from Valve is pretty serious, as they have a very laid back working environment.
Japan's mobile market is a new territory for Apple to conquer, but it looks like last year was good to them as the iPhone maker scooped up the top spot in Japan's mobile phone market for a twelve-month period for the first time ever.
Apple took 16% of Japan's mobile market - this includes smartphones and feature phones - in Q4 2012, giving them an overall 15% share of the year as a whole. This pushes Apple just ahead of Japan locals Sharp and Fujitsu who both held 14% share eacj, according to a new report from Counterpoint Research.
Apple have previously taken the top spot in Japan's mobile industry but it has always been short lived and usually happened at the beginning of new product launches, like the iPhone 4S' launch in 2011. Apple reaching the top is a big fact, with Sharp being knocked off their top spot after a six-year run as number one.
On their rampage for world domination, Corsair have just acquired Scotland-based Simple Audio. Simple Audio have been around for five years and is mostly known in Europe for their networked set-top receivers.
These receivers are capable of sharing music from PCs, Macs, TVs, iPods and MP3 players, so we should expect Corsair to expand their audio lineup in the coming months and years. Corsair's acquisition will see Simple Audio's products jump across the pond, hopefully sooner rather than later.
Corsair haven't said anything about the amount of money they paid for Simple Audio, but the American computer component maker have said that they'd been checking out Simple Audio's dance moves for a while now - even since 2010 - and felt that now is the right time to acquire them.
According to an analyst, Apple's fourth largest business is iTunes. Horace Dediu from Asymco says that the $13.5 billion in revenue generated by iTunes last year is enough to make it one of Apple's main focuses. According to Dediu, iTunes revenues have been rising "steadily and rapidly."
iTunes has apparently managed to have an average growth rate of 30 percent over the past two years. Due to Apple's Mac and iPod businesses shrinking, Dediu predicts that iTunes could soon become Apple's third largest business. Whether or not this negates the RIAA's argument that pirating is bad, it can be shown that digital sales are certainly growing despite pirates.
"Indeed, if seen in isolation, iTunes plus Accessories combined is a bigger business in terms of revenues than any of the other phone vendors except Samsung," Dediu said.