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We're only a couple of weeks into the Radeon R9 Fury X being on the market, but buyout rumors continue to flow onto the Internet, with Microsoft now reportedly interested in acquiring AMD.
KitGuru is reporting from their sources that Microsoft is interested in acquiring AMD, which would make sense. But, remember that Microsoft has a very tight relationship with Intel when it comes to their products and Windows. Microsoft also maintains a very close relationship with AMD, as their Xbox One is powered by an APU made by AMD.
Microsoft has a huge $95.3 billion in cash, so it wouldn't take much to buy AMD at their market cap of $1.81 billion right now. If you consider the current value of AMD right now, it is three times less than what AMD paid for ATI Technologies back in 2008. With analysts estimating that Microsoft pays around $100 per APU to AMD for its Xbox One, Microsoft has already shelled out $1.26 billion or so to AMD with its 12.6 million Xbox One units sold.
Apple Music hasn't even launched yet, but has caused quite a stir in the streaming music market and among musicians. For Taylor Swift fans, however, here is a bit of good news: her "1989" album will be available on Apple Music.
Swift decided to pull her album from the service, before it even launched, in what she described as a fight to support indie musicians. Apple reversed course and said it would pay musicians during the free three-month trial period that users can sign up for - and that was enough for Taylor Swift.
Swift offered the following comments via Twitter:
After the events of this week, I've decided to put 1989 on Apple Music...and happily so.- Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) June 25, 2015
The ongoing drama involving Apple Music, which has been pitted as Taylor Swift vs. Apple Music, has given other musicians the chance to speak out. Apple Music launches on June 30, and there is a bit of drama and chaos regarding the music service already, so the streaming music market could be even more exciting.
"Apple is making the same mistake Tidal made," Corgan recently said while speaking with Squawk Alley." "I applaud her for taking a stand, but this is going to be played out by the media as 'Taylor versus Apple,' and that's not the real story."
Corgan noted that Apple's attention to just the top-tier artists is a mistake, and could make things rather interesting moving forward:
Google today launched a free, ad-supported version of its Google Play Music service, in an effort to steal a bit of publicity ahead of the Apple Music launch next week. Google Play Music has been around for a couple of years with a $9.99 per month subscription, allowing music listeners to create their own custom playlists.
The new public offering won't be available offline and will not have access to some songs - and is a marketing effort to recruit new members. Although many users visit Google Play Music, they don't stick around due to the monthly subscription costs.
"We want to attract even more users, give them a taste of the service and hope they subscribe over time," said Zahavah Levine, VP of partnerships at Google Play, in a statement published by USA Today. It seems like offering a free trial - whether ad-supported or a set amount of free testing - is the ideal way to lure in new listeners.
Apple moved fast to win over Taylor Swift and musicians, when the company announced it would pay artists while users are enjoying a three-month free trial of Apple Music. Tom Conrad, former CTO and EVP of Product at Pandora, recently took to Twitter to discuss the current drama between Apple and Swift.
Apple Music launches on June 30 and will charge $9.99 per month to subscribers, but is offering a three-month free trial. Swift said she would not allow her "1989" album to be available on the service, in an effort to make a stand for rising indie artists - saying it's not fair they wouldn't be paid by Apple.
"Spotify, YouTube, Pandora and others all pay artists for their free tiers and trials," Conrad said via Twitter. "It's the right thing to do. Swift took her new album off Spotify not because she's not paid, but because she feels their free service 'devalues music.' Swift never pulled from YouTube which is the most popular free service and certainly devalues music if Spotify does."
Well, it didn't take long before Apple bowed to public pressure from Taylor Swift regarding Apple Music and its free three-month trial period. The company also heard complaints from additional artists, and it was a decision made to help win over musicians to support the music service launching at the end of June.
"Apple will make sure that artists are paid," said Eddy Cue, SVP at Apple, in a Tweet. "Apple Music will pay artists for streaming even during customers' free trial period. We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple."
Swift, after announcing she would pull her music from Apple Music in defense of the indie artists, celebrated Apple's announcement:
Taylor Swift previously pulled the majority of her music from Spotify, the No. 1 streaming music service, and doesn't have any interest in Apple Music. Her record label, Big Machine, has confirmed that the "1989" music album won't be available on Apple's music service, which launches on June 30.
Swift, of course, has issued a statement saying this decision is thinking of the rising musicians and songwriters. It seems Swift is most distraught over the three-month free trial that Apple will provide music listeners before the mandatory $9.99 monthly service kicks in:
"This is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success. This is about the young songwriter who just got his or her first cut and thought that the royalties from that would get them out of debt. This is about the producer who works tirelessly to innovate and create, just like the innovators and creators at Apple are pioneering in their field... but will not get paid for a quarter of a year's worth of plays on his or her songs."
Update: AMD's PR agency, Edelman, reached out to us just now with the following statement: "AMD Spokesperson Sarah Youngbauer: AMD provided official confirmation that we have not hired an outside agency to explore spinning-off/splitting the company (Reuters has since updated their story as such). We remain committed to the long-term strategy we laid out for the company in May at our Financial Analyst Day, which encompasses all parts of the business".
Reuters has quite the report for the weekend, where according to "three people familiar with the matter" AMD will be splitting up its businesses into two. This move would see the chipmaker reverse its position in the market, and better combat against the quite unstoppable Intel.
The sources said that the "deliberations are preliminary and no decision has been made" but the review highlights AMD CEO Lisa Su and her "determination to consider every possible option to turn the company around". AMD has reportedly called in a consulting firm to help look at its options, bringing up scenarios on how this would all work.
One of these options would see AMD separating its graphics and licensing business from its server business, with AMD thinking about this move in the past according to these sources from Reuters. If it did happen, could we see the ATI brand once again? All of this is interesting and almost damning while simultaneously exciting for AMD... with the launch of the Radeon R9 390X and the upcoming push of the HBM-based Radeon R9 Fury X.
Was the federal Silk Road investigation corrupt? Ex-Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges will plead guilty to charges of money laundering and obstruction of justice, and Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht's attorney is arguing that the plea deal "removes any question about the corruption that pervaded the investigation of Silk Road."
"As a result, it undermines completely the integrity of the government's entire investigation," said Joshua Dratel, Ulbricht's attorney, in a statement. Bridges will likely face sentencing on Aug. 31.
Bridges and former DEA agent Carl Force stole bitcoins during the government's investigation of Silk Road - Bridges took more than $800,000 in bitcoins and diverted the funds into his own private accounts.
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) has had countless headaches involving the launch of "The Interview," including being hacked. Corporate emails and employee information were stolen as part of the breach, and nine former employees are suing the company.
District Judge Gary Klausner said the lawsuit complainants will be able to say SPE was negligent - and said SPE and its employees entered a "special relationship" when Social Security numbers and other personal information are shared.
"We are pleased that the court has properly recognized the harm to Sony's employees resulting from their private information escaping their employer's protection," said Michael Sobol, a lawyer representing those suing Sony.