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Recently, the US Securities and Exchange Commission charged Trenton T. Shavers with running an illegal Ponzi scheme using the digital currency Bitcoins. In the alleged scam, Shavers promised investors that they would receive a 1 percent interest rate per day on their investment. Shavers denied the allegations and claim that regulators had no jurisdiction over the case because he was using Bitcoins and the SEC can only govern transactions that involve real money.
The presiding judge said that the case could move forward as the investments meet the definition of contract, and as such, are securities. Basically what this means is that the $4.5 million in Bitcoins Shavers collected as investments is considered true currency by US law.
Yesterday, Nokia announced that they have officially completed their acquisition of the Siemens stake in the Nokia Siemens Network, a move that was first announced back on July 1. The company says that the Siemens name is being phased out from the Nokia Siemens Network and the new name branding shall now be known as Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN).
Nokia says that the Nokia Solutions and Networks is now wholly owned by Nokia; Rajeev Suri continues as CEO and Jesper Ovesen continues as Executive Chairman of the NSN Board of Directors. The NSN Board of Directors has been adjusted to the new ownership structure and the Siemens-appointed directors have resigned their positions.
Today, AOL released its earnings report for the second quarter of 2013. The company says that its revenue grew to $541 million, which is up more than 2 percent during the same period last year. This equates to a diluted earnings per share of $0.35.
Net income per quarter was $28.5 million, which was actually significantly lower than the same period in 2012, but AOL was quick to note that this is because it sold $1.1 billion worth of patents to Microsoft in Q2 2012. However, Q2 2013's net income is up $3 million over quarter one 2013.
"AOL takes a major step forward today with another quarter of growth and our agreement to acquire the Adap.tv video marketplace platform that will make AOL a clear global leader in the most important growth segment in our industry - online video," AOL Chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong said in the report. "AOL continued to get leaner during Q2 while growing consumer traffic, growing all advertising revenue lines, and improving our subscription trends."
The company says that ad revenue grew by 7 percent, totaling $361 million with a 5 percent growth in the domestic market and 19 percent internationally. Third-party network revenue grew by 9 percent, while search advertising revenue managed to grow 8 percent. The company did admit that its ISP subscription rates were down 5 percent.
The Obama administration gets a second mention (in a row!) today, where they're trying to arrest you for "unauthorized streaming." The Washington Post is reporting that the Department of Commerce's Internet Policy Task Force last week unleashed a report that recommended classifying illegal content streaming... as a felony.
I bolded the word "felony" because this is quite serious, with the report proposing "adopting the same range of penalties for criminal streaming of copyrighted works to the public as now exists for criminal reproduction and distribution... since the most recent updates to the criminal copyright provisions, streaming (both audio and video) has become a significant if not dominant means for consumers to enjoy content online."
This could actually materialize, which is scary, with this latest recommendation coming months after the United States Register of Copyrights' Maria Pallante stating that Congress should make illegal content streaming a felony. If your eyes haven't been opened yet, you might want to sticky tape them open, because this could soon be a reality.
But, it has been closed off from the borders of Canada, until September 9, that is. Kickstarter will open their doors, arms, and wallets to Canadian developers on September 9, with Kickstarter holding events on August 8 and 9 in Toronto, as well as more in Montreal on August 12 and 13.
Today, the Washington Post officially announced that it would be selling its operations to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos for a reported $250 million. The 135-year-old Washington Post is being sold because of the current owners' unsuccessful attempts to thwart years of newspaper-industry challenges. The company hopes that Bezos, with his tax savvy business skills, can help steer the company a new direction that will once again return it to being an industry leader.
Bezos says that the values of the Post do not need to change, but things about the company will change. We are sure this means that the Post will become much more intertwined into the Internet and a reduction in its print media levels could be on the horizon. In a statement to the Washington Post's staff, Bezos had the following to say:
The Internet is transforming almost every element of the news business: shortening news cycles, eroding long-reliable revenue sources, and enabling new kinds of competition, some of which bear little or no news-gathering costs. There is no map, and charting a path ahead will not be easy. We will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment. Our touchstone will be readers, understanding what they care about - government, local leaders, restaurant openings, scout troops, businesses, charities, governors, sports - and working backwards from there. I'm excited and optimistic about the opportunity for invention.
We all know the PC market is changing, and it isn't selling as many units as it used to, but then there are hundreds of millions of smartphones and tablets sold each year. Where one market shrinks and slowly dies, another emerges, making billions of dollars.
Well, one section of the market where PC still reigns king, is in college campuses. Market research firm Deloitte found that 82% of college students own computers and 80% of them own smartphones, but just 18% of them own a tablet. Deloitte's Brent Schoenbaum told MarketWatch: "The combination of smartphones and laptops makes the tablet redundant for students."
It looks like Sony are starting to make some money from their smartphone business - and so they should - they've been releasing some great smartphones lately, such as the Xperia Z, and the new Xperia Z Ultra.
Sony's latest earnings report showed that the Japanese company sold 9.6 million smartphones in the last quarter, a huge improvement year-over-year for the same quarter in 2012 of just 7.4 million units. As for the business side of things, Sony made a $60 million profit in their smartphone division, which is a stark contrast to the same quarter of last year, which saw them gobble up a $28.1 million loss.
This might not sound like much, but this is big for Sony considering the strong competition in Apple and Samsung. These two companies secure most of the profits in the smartphone market, and Sony are making waves pretty quickly if you ask me.
Micron have just closed a deal to purchase Elpida for an estimated $2 billion. Micron have been working on the deal to acquire the Japan-based company since mid last year.
Included in the deal are the entirety of Elpida's assets, which include a DRAM fabrication facility located in Hiroshima, Japan and a 65% stake in Rexchip, who are another memory company with a DRAM fabrication facility in Taiwan. Micron also scored Elpida's 100% stake in Akita Elpida Memory, who owns an assembly and test facility in Akita, Japan.
During a statement, Micron said that Elpida had built themselves a strong presence in the mobile DRAM market using advanced technologies to target mobile phones and tablets. Considering Elpida is one of Apple's biggest clients, this is a huge opportunity for Micron.
Micron now has the ability to produce over 185,000 300mm wafers per month, which doubles their current manufacturing capacity by 45%.
Take-Two Interactive have posted a $142.7 million net revenue for Q1 2014, down from Q1 2013's $226.1 million. The company took a net operating loss of $61.9 million for the three-month period, compared to $110.8 million from the same quarter last year.
Take-Two have said this is part of the loss of software development costs for a cancelled game from 2K, that cost them $29.6 million. The company attributes their first quarter net revenue to the strong sales of Borderlands 2, NBA 2K13, Grand Theft Auto IV and BioShock Infinite. The latter, selling over 4 million copies.
Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two CEO, said during their financial call: "With Grand Theft Auto 5 launching on September 17, followed by the releases of NBA 2K14 and WWE 2K14, fiscal 2014 is poised to be one of our best years ever. Looking ahead, we are well-positioned to capitalize on the opportunities presented by the upcoming launches of the next-generation consoles."