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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 105

Hitachi-LG Storage accused of price fixing, again, this time in Florida court

It seems the legal woes aren't over for Hitachi-LG Storage.

 

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After shelling out $21.1 Million in criminal fines and subsequently pleading guilty to bid-rigging and price fixing of optical disk drives in September 2011, a suit brought on by the Department of Justice, Attorney General Pam Bondi of Florida is suing Hitachi-LG for price fixing once again saying:

 

Price-fixing hurts healthy business competition and costs Florida's businesses, consumers, and governmental agencies by requiring them to pay higher prices for products," stated attorney general Pam Bondi. "My office is committed to protecting Floridians, and we will work to obtain relief for those affected by this alleged price-fixing scheme.

 

Company's such as BenQ, Lite-ON, Sony, Samsung and Quanta are also named as conspirators in this forth coming suit. More to follow as it develops.

T-Mobile seals MetroPCS deal, begins trading on the US stock market

This morning T-Mobile finalized its deal to merge with MetroPCS and has begun trading on the US stock market at $16.25 a share.

 

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The merger is the result of a deal between T-Mobile and MetroPCS stock holder, where MetroPCS acquired all of T-Mobile's capital stock from Deutsche Telekom.

 

T-Mobile will continue to operate both companies as a separate entity with the ultimate goal of creating a unified network. The new company, which is headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, will have John Legere as its CEO, and the former MetroPCS vice chairman and chief financial officer J. Braxton Carter will take the CFO position.

Nevada sees its first legal online poker site go online

Nevada gamblers get ready, as your state has become the fifth state in the US to allow legal online poker for money. Station Casinos' UltimatePoker.com was legalized for online poker in February, and currently operates under a 30-day license.

 

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This is coming from A. G. Burnett, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, while UltimatePoker.com works out "the kinks" before their official license is granted to them. Burnett adds "we have others right behind them". Players can compete in nightly games with a prize pool of $1,000 and two $10,000 Sunday games, which is operated by Station Casinos' subsidiary, Ultimate Gaming.

 

Chris Krafcik, North American research director online gaming analysts Gambling Compliance, said in an e-mail to Reuters:

 

Other states will be watching Nevada closely to see whether it can effectively implement technology solutions that allow gambling businesses licensed there to identify the age, identity and location of their customers.

iPad mini makes up more than 64% of all iPads shipped in the last three months

It looks like Apple's 7.9-inch iPad mini tablet is doing well, according to unnamed sources of DigiTimes. Their sources have said that Apple have shipped 12.5 million iPad mini's in the last quarter, which accounts for around 64% of all iPads shipped.

 

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DigiTimes compares this to the Google Nexus 7 tablet, which has a round 4.5 million units shipped since it launched last summer. Apple are reportedly working on a new iPad mini, one that would feature a Retina display, and a cheaper version that would better compete against the cheaper Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD.

Yahoo now offers double the maternity leave for new mothers

Two months ago, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer banned employees' abilities to work from home, while she built a nursery in her office for her child. Well, she has pulled a 180-degree turn and not offered double the maternity leave for new parents.

 

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Yahoo are doubling the amount of paid maternity leave new mothers can take, from 8 to 16 weeks leave. New fathers will even receive eight weeks of paid leave. Yahoo said in a statement:

 

Over the last several months, we've introduced new benefits like free food to make Yahoos' days easier, new smartphones to encourage innovation, and updated computers to speed productivity. Recently, we rolled out some new and improved benefits to support the happiness and well-being of Yahoos and their families.

Continue reading 'Yahoo now offers double the maternity leave for new mothers' (full post)

Apple and Samsung to battle it out again in November over damages

Late last August, a jury awarded Apple with damages amounting to just over $1 billion, saying that Samsung infringed upon Apple's patents. Just this March, Judge Lucy Koh struck $450 million from those damages saying that the jury didn't fully understand the patent issues.

 

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A new court date has been set for November 12, at which time Samsung and Apple will go at it again to argue damages. All of the evidence for this trial will be limited to that which was shown in the original court battle. Samsung could end up having to pay less, but they could also end up being on the hook for more, though it shouldn't go above the original $1 billion awarded.

 

A further court battle will occur in March 2014 over additional patent infringement claims. Why can't we just be friends?

AT&T opens $100 phone trade-in program

AT&T has announced a new program in which you can receive a credit for trading in one of your old smartphones when you upgrade. The program officially starts tomorrow, May 1 and AT&T says that this is a limited time promotion, so you might want to take advantage of it early on.

 

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Beginning May 1, consumers who trade in their current smartphone to AT&T* will be eligible to receive at least $100 off the purchase of a new smartphone, including the new Samsung Galaxy S 4, BlackBerry Z10 or 32 GB HTC One. These devices are normally $199.99 with a qualifying two-year agreement** but, with this limited time promotion, they will be available for $99.99.

 

This promotion applies to any smartphone AT&T sells, and gives customers access to the latest devices at a fraction of the cost or, in the case of smartphones priced under $99.99**, for free. To take advantage of this offer, customers are encouraged to visit any AT&T company-owned retail store or participating authorized dealer with their previous smartphone that is no more than three years old and in good, working condition. In stores, upon trading in their old phone, customers will receive the $100 credit on-the-spot and can use it immediately. ***

 

Some trade-in phones may have a value higher than $100. In this case, customers will receive the credit at the higher value.

Continue reading 'AT&T opens $100 phone trade-in program' (full post)

Facebook said to be losing users in most lucrative markets

Things aren't looking so bright for Facebook ahead of their first-quarter earnings announcement. According to several different groups tracking Facebook usage, numbers are down in some of the most lucrative markets. SocialBakers estimates that Facebook has lost around 6m US-based users in the past month alone.

 

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Further losses have been incurred around the world, with SocialBakers estimating Facebook has lost 1.4m UK users in the past month. Over the past six months, they estimate Facebook has lost around nine million monthly visitors in the US and two million in the UK.

 

New media specialist Ian Maude at Enders Analysis:

The problem is that, in the US and UK, most people who want to sign up for Facebook have already done it. There is a boredom factor where people like to try something new. Is Facebook going to go the way of Myspace? The risk is relatively small, but that is not to say it isn't there.

 

No one is saying that Facebook is heading the way of Myspace, but it looks like Facebook's massive growth is over, at least in the developed world. Facebook is still adding users in developing countries such as Brazil and India.

 

Jefferies' analysts agree with SocialBakers, stating that user levels may have declined from peak in the first quarter.

Continue reading 'Facebook said to be losing users in most lucrative markets' (full post)

Opera sues Trond Werner Hansen, claims he gave trade secrets to Mozilla

Trond Werner Hansen, a former Opera employee, has been sued by the company who alleges that he took trade secrets and gave them to Mozilla. Opera is looking to receive damages of 20 million kroner, or about $3.4 million US. Of course, Hansen denies that allegations, saying he has been "wrongly accused."

 

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Opera's lawyer Ole E. Tokvam:

Opera is of the opinion that the former employee has acted contrary to his contractual and other legal obligations towards Opera. Among other things, we claim that he is in breach of the duty of loyalty and his contractual and statutory confidentiality obligations.

 

Hansen has been forced to return to Norway for a hearing in late August. "The lawsuit caused me to have to return to Norway, instead of pursuing my album release and other art projects in New York," Hansen said. Hansen has provided a lot of background information in this blog post about his employment and a "green browser" project that Opera failed to become interested in.

 

Firefox is remaining out of it, noting that they were not implicated in the lawsuit: "Mozilla is not being sued, and is not implicated in the lawsuit. Mr. Hansen worked for a time as an independent contractor and is no longer affiliated with Mozilla Corporation."

Apple lays foundation for first-ever debt sale as part of stock buyback program

Apple has laid the foundation for its first-ever debt sale. The company that has over $140 billion in cash and not a single penny of debt has decided to sell bonds in order to raise capital for its $60 billion share buyback program. It needs to raise capital because only about $45 billion of its cash is in the United States.

 

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Interestingly, Apple was not rated a Triple A rating, even with all of the cash it has on hand. It is expected that Apple could cheaply raise funds, possibly cheaper than Microsoft, due to the current interest rate and notoriety of Apple. Investors are expected to jump at the chance to buy up some of Apple's debt.

 

S&P rated Apple as AA+ for debt and Moody's rated it Aa1. Moody's analyst Gerald Granovsky:

 

Apple's Aa1 rating is not higher due to Moody's view that there are inherent long-run risks for any company with high exposure to shifting consumer preferences.

 

Bankers expect Apple to issue 10-year bonds at roughly 45bp-50bp over Treasuries. Microsoft, on the other hand, recently sold 10-year bonds at 70 basis points over Treasuries.

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