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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 10

Spotify being pressured by record industry to limit free music streams

The Universal Music Group isn't a big fan of Spotify's "freemium" model that allows its users to listen to ad-supported music for free. Spotify has previously noted a growing number of free subscribers end up turning into $10 per month paid users - but UMG wants to pressure Spotify in current contract negotiations to further limit free service.

 

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"Ad-funded on-demand is not going to sustain the entire ecosystem of the creators as well as the investors," said Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO of UMG, in a statement last month. Other music companies also want to see changes made to the current ad-supported free radio services - especially as more users go mobile.

 

The record industry has struggled to try to keep up with modern times, and its fight against online radio is nothing new. However, it is trying to find new ways to put pressure on Pandora and Spotify, despite both services noting how many paying subscribers they now have.

The BBC has reportedly offered Jeremy Clarkson a return to Top Gear

We all know about the huge controversy over Jeremy Clarkson, the BBC and Top Gear, but it looks like the infamous presenter could return to the series, as the BBC has reportedly laid out its specific terms for Clarkson's return to Top Gear.

 

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It has him needing to agree to their conditions, which Clarkson is reportedly not happy with. The Daily Mail is reporting that an executive will be placed as Clarkson's "minder", as they want to have someone looking after him at all times in order to ensure we don't see an incident that had him removed from the series in the first place.

 

The Daily Mail quotes the BBC as saying: "I think that people do see a way to resolve this, and that is by putting someone strong in to manage the show and manage Clarkson. He is a brilliant broadcaster, everyone can see that". With his co-hosts in James May and Richard Hammond reportedly refusing to film the show without him, the BBC has its hands tied behind its back right now.

NSW, Australia is looking into digital drivers licences

The premier of Australian state New South Wales (NSW), Mike Baird, has promised a change to digital drivers licenses over the next four years if his Liberal government sees a re-election come voting time.

 

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According to Baird this move will save the state tens of thousands of dollars whilst thrusting NSW into the forefront of digital license technology - allowing users to display their credentials on their smartphones.

 

Baird has also stated that physical plastic licenses will still be made available to consumers who wish to carry one.

 

As you're legally obliged to carry a license on you at all times whilst operating a vehicle in Australia, here's hoping that you've got a backup phone battery or portable charger with you - otherwise we could see people gathering fines for having flat phones. Thankfully there is a choice, so as the famous meme says - Why not both?

IDC: PC outlook for 2015 dips, but long-term potential is there

Worldwide PC shipments could fall by 4.9 percent in 2015, a higher slowdown than previous estimates of 3.3 percent, according to the IDC research group. The group predicts 293.1 million PCs will ship by the end of the year, as consumers rely on aging hardware and mobile products.

 

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Growth projections for 2016 and 2017 saw slight increases, while the release of Microsoft Windows 10 will hopefully generate additional buzz.

 

On the bright side for the PC industry, tablet growth has also slowed down - even with consumers spending more money on smartphones and mobile devices. However, consumers in the emerging market are expected to purchase smartphones instead of laptops and PCs - a trend that the PC industry must find a way to address.

Continue reading 'IDC: PC outlook for 2015 dips, but long-term potential is there' (full post)

AMD reportedly license Radeon graphics IP for MediaTek SoCs

According to the latest rumors, AMD is working with MediaTek to provide better mobile SoC graphics. AMD would see itself getting back into the ultra-low power graphics market in a very big way, while MediaTek will receive a huge injection of mobile graphics horsepower.

 

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Right now, it's a big war between Qualcomm, Samsung, Apple and MediaTek. MediaTek, until now, hasn't been able to keep up in the graphics department, but with AMD providing its Radeon technology to MediaTek, this could change quite quickly. We won't see the fruits of this labor for quite a while yet, but the results could definitely be interesting for the entire market.

EA shuts down Maxis, the developer behind SimCity

Electronic Arts has been going through some serious tectonic shifts because of the issues that plagued SimCity since launch, where it has led to this moment: shutting the doors of Maxis, the developer who built the game.

 

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EA has confirmed the news with Polygon, after reports surfaced from now-former employees of Maxis. Development on SimCity and The Sims will continue, but it'll happen in Redwood Shores, California; Salt Lake City; Helsinki; and Melbourne, Australia. The Maxis offices in Emeryville, California are being closed.

 

The company hasn't said how many employees will be let go, but longtime Maxis employee Guillaume Perre tweeted today that "it's time to turn off the lights and put the key under the door #RIPMaxisEmeryville".

Round 2 - Smartflash is suing Apple after their previous $533m win

In more extremely ironic news and fresh off their $533 million lawsuit win against the tech giant, Texas-based company Smartflash is taking Apple into round two of hearings with attorney Bradley W. Caldwell stating "Apple has released new products that came out too late for inclusion in Smartflash's previous action against Apple."

 

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This new case is based around allegations that Apple has infringed on seven of Smartflash's patents through their release of the "iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad mini 3, and iPad Air 2 devices containing any version of iTunes that can access the iTunes Store or any version of the App Store app," as reported by PC World.

 

Smartflash also alleges that Apple has infringed on their patents titled "Data Storage and Access Systems." We haven't been told exactly how much Smartflash are chasing with this lawsuit, but expect it to be in the hundreds of millions yet again.

Mobile payment market is up for grabs among companies pushing services

The development and adoption stage of mobile payments is still relatively new, and it's anyone's game for companies putting effort into the market, according to a new Harris Poll.

 

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At least four in five smartphone owners in the US are familiar with some type of mobile payment offering - and one in three have embraced a solution. Apple Pay has driven interest, nurturing a booming ecosystem being utilized by banks, retailers, and a growing number of iPhone owners.

 

"Consumers are clearly ready for mobile payments," said Kathryn Koegel, chief of insights and communications at Steampunkt Collaborative, in a statement published by USA Today. "People are using their phones to conduct research, get discounts and deals, compare prices, find elusive items and navigate around stores. We are only a short step away from completing that circle by finishing the actual transaction with a mobile wallet."

Barnes & Noble is keeping the NOOK Media digital business, for now

Bookstore chain Barnes & Noble won't separate its retail business from its NOOK Digital Business, though said the company's college business will be spun off. It was previously believed the NOOK and college book store businesses would become a single entity independent of the retail operation.

 

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"Retail and the NOOK Digital Business will be able to leverage a more integrated technology infrastructure for improved efficiency and to better serve digital customers," said Michael Huseby, CEO of Barnes & Noble. B&N invested more resources into its NOOK reader and e-book library, but has fought for profitability.

 

B&N has faced increased pressure from online businesses, and is looking for ways to improve retail and online sales. The company still has 649 retail stores, but needs new methods to keep up with Amazon, while also adapting as more consumers read content on mobile devices.

Lytro receives $50 million investment, will put it into VR and video

Lytro is a name that is usually associated with premium cameras, but the company has just secured itself $50 million in funding from GSV Capital, that it will use to push into the worlds of VR and video.

 

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The company will lay off around 25 to 50 of its 130 employees, but it will be acquiring new talent with knowledge in VR and video. With Lytro concentrating, at least before this investment, on tubelike, selective-focus cameras, it would make sense for the company to make a splash in the world of virtual reality, and video.

 

VR video from a company with an eye for detail like Lytro feels like a match made in Heaven, where we could see the real-world captured in stunning 360-degree goodness. Lytro is still working on its third-generation camera for 2016, which the company teases "should be pretty intriguing".

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