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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 102

Apple to open new R&D center in Israel later this year

Apple has been scooping up a bunch of Israel-based former Texas Instruments employees, and will now give them a new place to go to work in the country, their new R&D center in Ra'anana, Israel.

 

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The news comes from Israeli business publication "Globes". In December of 2011, we saw Apple purchase Israel-based flash memory firm Anobit for between $400-$500 million, their second largest acquisition after NeXT. Intel were also laying out dollar bills on the ground to try and lure in some ex-Texas Instruments employees, but it looks like Apple were the winners here.

 

The Cupertino-based electronics giant were able to grab around 100-150 employees to staff their new development center. Apple will reportedly open up the new R&D center in the city in "the second half of 2013".

Google's Eric Schmidt is planning to sell 3.2M shares or 42% of his stake

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt is planning on trading in some 3.2 million of his shares in the company. That equates to roughly 42 percent of his stake in the company which currently stands at about 7.6 million shares of Class A and Class B common stock. Currently, he has about 8.2 percent of the voting power.

 

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At the current stock price, this transaction will net him around $2.5 billion. He intends to sell the stock over a period of one year and will use the cash to diversify his investment portfolio. Google said in today's filing, "Eric can diversify his investment portfolio and can spread stock trades out over a period of one year to reduce market impact."

 

For comparison, Google founder Sergey Brin holds about 8.5 percent of the voting power and co-founder Larry Page, the current CEO of Google, holds about 8.7 percent. We'll keep an eye on Google's stock to see how this affects the price.


Apple hires James Lee, AMOLED TV expert from LG, fuels rumors that Apple working on TV

Apple has reportedly hired James (Jueng-Gil) Lee, a former senior researcher on LG Display's R&D team. Prior to that, he worked as a researcher at Cambridge Display Technology and as R&D head for LCD technology at Samsung. Clearly, he's got quite a bit of experience in the television industry.

 

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Unfortunately for Apple, they don't make a TV. But, this hire is sure to add fuel to the rumors of an Apple TV that has been predicted by analysts for at least a year now. Of course, these are just minor details. We'll sure he'll find a good home at Apple, though what he'll be working on isn't known. A good bet would be Apple's displays.

AOL sees revenue grow for the first time in almost a decade

Who here remembers AOL? Yes that AOL, the one famous for bringing America on to the interwebs. Since the rise of broadband and the decline of the much slower 56k connection, AOL has fallen out of the limelight and pretty much out of the business world altogether.

 

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For the last eight year in a row, AOL has reported massive revenue losses that are attributed to its once popular, but now almost nonexistent dial-up internet service. Finical reports recently released show that for the first time in almost a decade, AOL saw revenue growth.

 

The company reported revenue of $599.5 million in December, a 4% increase from the $576.8 million it generated during the same quarter in 2011. "AOL returned to growth and generated significant value for shareholders in 2012," said Tim Armstrong, AOL's chairman and CEO, in a statement. "AOL has strong momentum entering 2013 and is positioned to continue on our growth path by executing our strategy to build the next generation media and technology company."

HP working to prevent student workers in its Chinese factories

The world's largest PC manufacturer is working to make sure its Chinese suppliers aren't using student and temporary workers in their factories. Similar to Apple's current supply chain problems, HP has discovered student workers among those employed by the Chinese factories that supply them with their products.

 

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HP isn't having one bit of it. According to HP's new regulations, a student's work "must complement the primary area of study." Also among the regulations is a cap that limits the ratio of student and temporary workers to 20 percent, though they plan to decrease that to 10 percent in the long run.

 

The labor issues in the supply chain affect all of the major electronics manufacturers. Apple has trouble with Foxconn and Samsung found unacceptable working conditions in its own factories in China. However, it remains to be seen if these companies will follow the example set by HP.

ReportTT: Obama planning to issue executive order dealing with cybersecurity

Bloomberg news is reporting that President Obama is near to issuing an executive order that would deal with the nation's cybersecurity. They cite two former White House officials who have been briefed on the Obama administration's plans. An increase in US cybersecurity is desperately needed as was demonstrated by the recent hack of the Federal Reserve.

 

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This executive order has apparently been in the drafting stages since last fall. It's widely expected to be released after Obama holds his State of the Union address on February 12. It reportedly will set up a voluntary program of standards for companies involved with vital US infrastructure such as, say, a power plant.

 

We'll definitely have more details after this executive order is released.

Dell's shareholders reportedly resisting privatization buy-out

Reuters is reporting that several major shareholders and investment firms of Dell are having issues with Dell's buyback terms. Southeastern Asset Management is holding out saying that the offered $13.65 a share is too low and thinks the number needs to be around the $20 mark.

 

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The pending deal has to pass a couple hurdles before the privatization can become official. Shareholders need to approve the deal by a majority vote, and regulatory agencies must sign off on it as well.

 

Voting against the deal is Alpine Capital Research president Nick Tompras. He manages about two million shares of Dell stock, and said "Let the fools sell low -- don't make us all fools." Schneider Capital Management President Arnie Schneider holds 350,000 shares and will also vote against the deal.

Microsoft planning ad campaign that criticizes Gmail for scanning e-mail contents to serve ads

Microsoft is reviving a smear campaign against Google's Gmail that it last used last year. Microsoft is planning to inform consumers about Google's practice of scanning e-mails in order to better serve targeted ads that are tailored to the content of the e-mail currently being viewed.

 

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Google has responded to this advertising campaign before by reiterating that no humans ever read the contents of a user's e-mail to target ads.

 

"Advertising keeps Google and many of the websites and services Google offers free of charge," according to a statement issued by a spokesman for the company. "No humans read your email or Google Account information in order to show you advertisements."

 

Microsoft is planning to spend a "seven figure" dollar amount on this campaign. A planned advertisement reads "Think Google respects your privacy? Think again." Microsoft was part of the group that encouraged the FTC to launch an anti-trust investigation into Google that just wrapped up recently.

 

Users have the option of paying $20 to remove all advertising from Outlook.com's service.

 

Update: A previous version of this story stated that Microsoft scans subject lines to target ads. This was incorrect. We apologize for the inaccuracy.

EU Regulators confirm Facebook has deleted all EU facial recognition data

Regulators weren't happy with Facebook collecting and using facial recognition data for EU users. Back in September, Facebook announced that it would delete all existing facial recognition data of EU users. They concurrently announced that they had turned the feature off for new EU users.

 

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The Irish Data Protection Commissioner's office has confirmed that Facebook has deleted all of the data that they said they would. "We recently reviewed the source code and execution process used in the deletion process and can confirm that we were satisfied with the processes used by Facebook to delete the templates in line with its commitment," said Ciara O'Sullivan.

 

The EU was upset with Facebook over the collecting of facial recognition data without a user's express permission to do so. Facebook has said that they do not currently have plans to turn facial recognition back on in the EU like it has done here in the United States.

Blackberry to stop selling handsets in Japan

Blackberry has announced that they have no plans to launch the new BlackBerry 10 devices in Japan. According to BlackBerry, "Japan is not a major market for BlackBerry and we have no plans to launch BlackBerry 10 devices there at this time." Part of this could be to the fact they have just 0.3 percent of the market currently.

 

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After all, why launch a device in a country when they appear to not be very keen on your previous devices. This appears to be the logic BlackBerry is operating off of as they say the cost of translating BlackBerry 10 to Japanese is just to high for them to consider it a good investment.

 

Current BlackBerry owners can rest easy knowing that BlackBerry will continue to offer to support to existing owners in Japan.

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