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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 109

ReportTT: Microsoft and Sky in talks to sell subsidized Xbox One with satellite TV packages

Sky satellite TV customers could soon be able to pick up a subsidized Xbox One with new contract. Reports have surfaced that Sky and Microsoft are currently in talks to provide subsidized Xbox Ones with a Sky subscription package in the UK. These would likely come with a standard two-year contract.

 

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The reports say that we could get confirmation of this as early as June 10 at Microsoft's pre-E3 press conference. It's worth noting that the Xbox One isn't a cable or satellite box. Users would still need to connect in their old equipment into the Xbox One, or at least in the US this would be required.

 

A subsidy could help boost sales of the next-gen console. Even though the price is still unknown, Amazon has it listed for sale for over $900. Using a subsidy to bring the price down to something a bit more reasonable would aid adoption.

 

We'll be in attendance of the Microsoft Press Conference on Monday and will bring you the full details as they happen.

ReportTT: Apple to start iPhone trade-in program in stores this month

Apple will reportedly start an iPhone trade-in program in stores this month. Apple hopes that the trade-in program would result in an increase in sales of new models. According to people with knowledge of the plans, Apple has teamed up with Brightstar Corp. to run the trade-in program.

 

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Brightstar is the company who handles trade-ins for AT&T and T-Mobile. Apple will offer money for older model iPhones, boosting sales of new models in the United States and producing a supply of older devices that can then be sold in emerging markets for a profit.

 

The full details of the program aren't public yet, but the program will reportedly launch this month. Prices paid for working iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S devices are unknown, but could be as high as $200.

ReportTT: Apple will sell audio ads for rumored iRadio service

Reports of Apple planning to sell ads for an upcoming iRadio music streaming service have surfaced. Some expect Apple to unveil what many are dubbing iRadio as soon as next week at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference. These ads would likely be extremely targeted, making them valuable to advertisers and Apple.

 

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Highly targeted advertising would fetch higher prices for Apple and would be in demand by marketers. if this is the case, it could be all doom and gloom for the already-struggling Pandora. According to a former Apple executive, the ads will be sold via Apple's existing iAd mobile ad network.

 

As Apple has access to more than just a user's listening tastes, ads could be even more targeted than those provided by Pandora. Pandora is only able to target ads based upon music listening preferences, gender, and zip code.

 

Of course, all of this is just speculation up until Apple actually unveils the service. If it makes an appearance at next week's WWDC, you'll be able to read about it here on TweakTown.

Intel Capital offers up $100M fund for perceptual computing investments

Relating to a story published earlier, Intel's push for perceptual computing has led the company to create a $100M investment fund through its Intel Capital subsidiary. The $100M will be used to fund perceptual computing projects, such as the 3D-depth camera we reported about earlier today.

 

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Intel Capital typically invests in up-and-coming technologies, basically ensuring that Intel's PC chips will continue to be in demand. This announcement was made during Intel's keynote speech at Computex Taipei 2013:

 

Devices with human-like senses--the ability to see, hear and feel much like people do--has long been a subject of science fiction but is now within reach given recent innovations in compute power and camera technology. This new fund will invest in start-ups and companies enabling these experiences, helping them with the business development support, global business network and technology expertise needed to scale for worldwide use.

 

Intel has previously used Intel Capital to create a $300 million fund to push Ultrabook development. Intel Capital has been investing since 1991 and has spread $10.8 billion across 1,284 companies in 54 countries.

ReportTT: Amazon expanding grocery business to Los Angeles, San Fransisco

Most people are unaware of Amazon's grocery business that it runs in its home base of Seattle. More people are about to become aware, if a report by Reuters is accurate. According to their sources who are familiar with the situation, Amazon is preparing to expand its grocery business to Los Angeles as soon as this week and San Fransisco later this year.

 

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Amazon's current grocery business utilizes their own fleet of trucks to deliver fresh produce--eggs, strawberries, and meat--to residents of Seattle. The current business, AmazonFresh, has been operating for a least five years. These sources say that the business could expand to 20 aditional urban areas in 2014, provided the two new markets said to be launching this year go well.

 

Grocery experts feel Amazon faces a major challenge with AmazonFresh. However, if successful, it could pave the way for Amazon to start delivering their own products via the same trucks used to deliver the groceries.

Apple believes Campus 2 will add 7K new employees, $32M in property tax, 9K construction jobs, $66M in public improvements

Apple has released a study detailing the economic benefits they expect to see from the new Campus 2 project in Cupertino. This report details new jobs, revenues, and other benefits the city can expect from the project that was originally started under Steve Jobs' leadership.

 

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Apple expects to add 7,400 new employees in the new campus, bringing more spending money for the shops that rely on Apple employees. Apple is already the largest employer in Cupertino with around 16,000 employees. With the new campus, that number would swell to 23,400. Apple also expects to create 9,000 construction jobs for people working on the building of the new campus.

 

Apple estimates that they will pay roughly $32 million more--on top of the $25 million paid in 2012--in property tax. Apple will also pay $15.4 million annually to the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. A one-time additional payment of $38.1 million will be provided for construction fees and taxes.

 

The report also states Apple will provide $66 million in local public improvements, including $2.5 million for affordable housing. $35 million of that will be used on a "transportation demand management program."

US ITC blocks imports of AT&T iPhone 4, 3GS, and some iPads

Samsung has finally come out on top of a legal struggle with the Cupertino giant. The United States International Trade Commission has ruled in favor of Samsung, who argued that Apple infringed upon a patent for a specific component used in the older, AT&T-only iPhones and some iPads.

 

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The ITC ruled that Apple wasn't infringing upon other patents asserted by Samsung, however, they have still banned imports of the AT&T iPhone 4, 3GS, iPad 3G, and iPad 2 3G. The White House now has 60 days to veto the decision. Meanwhile, Customs will determine the scope of the ban. Apple has the ability to appeal the verdict, if not vetoed by the White House.

 

Apple could find its devices being held at the border, making supply tight for AT&T iPhone 4's. Apple will likely argue that the patent needs to be licensed on a FRAND basis, however, this argument hasn't worked with the ITC.

As part of Zynga's layoffs, OMGPOP has been shut down and employees laid off

Now unemployed employees of the game studio OMGPOP have taken to Twitter to announce that they have been unceremoniously laid off. Many will remember that Zynga acquired OMGPOP just over a year ago after their smash-hit Draw Something. Now, the studio originally purchased for $200 million or so has been shut down.

 

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TheNextWeb has done some calculations and worked out that it likely has cost Zynga at least $400,000 per day for the studio. This includes the purchase price and write down. They use a generous guess that OMGPOP was revenue neutral, meaning its profits offset its expenses for staffing and such.

 

That's a steep figure, though they might make some of it back with Draw Something 2. Either way, Zynga has a lot of work head of them to make that purchase up.

Zynga laying off 520 employees, or 18%, in order to save costs

Zynga is laying off 18 percent of its workforce--some 520 employees--in an effort to save money. As part of this layoff, Zynga will be refocusing on mobile. The move is estimated to save Zynga around $80 million in staff costs. Offices in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas will be closed as well.

 

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These additional infrastructure savings will boost that $80 million in savings figure, likely by quite a bit. Offices in San Francisco, Beijing, Bangalore, and various other small office locations will remain open and staffed. Zynga has confirmed that all of the staff affected by this will be laid off by August.

 

Zynga has struggled to adapt to the massive changes to its core revenue source. Started as a web game company, the onslaught of smartphones and mobile gaming has damaged their bottom line.

LSI ranked number 1 in the world for SSD controller revenues

LSI, the company behind the popular SandForce SSD controllers, has been ranked number one in the world for SSD controller revenues. This ranking is based upon data released by Forward Insights and is for revenues from 2012. The data showed that SLI increased its revenue share to 38 percent, or almost double that of the closest competitor.

 

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SSDs continue to take the world by storm, showing up in more and more systems as the default device. Prices continue to drop and demand responds accordingly. The fact that LSI has moved into the number one position goes to show just how popular their SSD controllers are.

 

Phil Brace, executive vice president, Storage Solutions Group, LSI Corporation:

 

Our leadership in SSD controllers reflects our comprehensive solutions portfolio and the multiple ways we can engage with customers to help them rapidly gain the benefits of flash for their applications. FSPs with LSI DuraClass technology provide best-in-class endurance, performance and power efficiency and are seeing wide adoption as customers in enterprise, cloud and client computing increasingly turn to flash.

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