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Newlyweds to begin 'Life on Bitcoin' documentary, will live on the digital currency exclusively for three months in the US
I still haven't gotten into Bitcoin myself, mainly because I live in a country that is behind in technology: Australia. But, a couple will be living in Utah after spending ten days on a tropical honeymoon in Costa Rica, purely on Bitcoin.
It's a tough challenge, a pure 90-day challenge dubbed "Married... With Bitcoin." Austin Craig and Beccy Bingham have a tough road ahead of them, with Craig saying to Forbes during an interview: "The goal is to find out how developed the Bitcoin ecosystem is, what needs to change, and how easy it is to use, understand, and explain."
The three-month challenge is being documented in a number of ways - Facebook, Twitter, blogging and YouTube clips as well as a documentary called "Life on Bitcoin." They announced their plans last month on crowdfunding site Kickstarter, where they raised over $72,000 as well as 82 Bitcoins, which are valued at the current valuation of $7,000 or so.
We reported back in October of last year that Telstra were to acquire SA-based ISP, Adam Internet. Well, it looks like the buyout has been vetoed after the parties failed yet again to receive approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The ACCC had been working toward making a decision on the acquisition by February 7, but Telstra asked for a suspension of the request for two weeks. iiNet, Macquirie Telecom and Vodafone Hutchinson Australia had been on the ACCC's back to reject the buyout. Telstra's chief customer service officer, Gordon Ballantyne, has said that "in the end, [Telstra] had not been able to secure approval from the ACCC by the contractual end date."
He added: "we are very disappointed by this outcome." Adam Internet's Executive Chairman, Greg Hicks, has called the situation "unfortunate". Hicks continued: "[We are] disappointed this important condition precedent could not be achieved in a commercially acceptable time frame, and therefore we will no longer be proceeding."
On Friday, HTC released its earnings report for the second quarter of 2013 and things did not look well for the company. The numbers show that profit took a nosedive during the second quarter and fell approximately 83 percent, while revenue declined 22 percent. These are usually numbers that indicate a company is heading for a hard and unfortunate brick wall. Fortunately, HTC recognizes this and has decided to reorganize its entire US operations.
This morning, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that they have obtained an internal memo that unveils how the reorganization will go. President of Global Sales, Jason Mackenzie, will now head up all of US operations and former U.S. Boss Mike Woodward will now lead a new specialized unit dubbed "Emerging Devices" that will focus on innovating new HTC products and global distribution strategies.
"I want to thank these two outstanding leaders for their contributions to the success of the HTC One so far," Mr. Chou wrote about Mr. Mackenzie and Mr. Woodward. "But as you know and would expect, we also need to do more. With the success of the One, we have many new opportunities both to expand current sales as well as to enter new distribution channels with new business models."
Apple have been having issues with their Maps application ever since iOS 6 arrived, and they've been doing as much as they can to sort these issues out. Their latest step is acquiring online transit navigation service, HotStop.com.
According to people familiar with the matter, Apple want to "scale back their relationship with Google". This is of course known, as Apple dropped Google as their navigation source in iOS 6, one of their bigger mistakes of the last couple of years. A nice fact is that Google Maps is the most popular free app on Apple's App Store, so that's saying something.
As a daily user of Spotify, I'm loving streaming music services and it looks like many millions of others are, too. According to figures released by Billboard and Nielsen, a 4.6% decline in overall album and track sales in the first half of 2013.
Digital download sales dropped 2.3% while physical CDs fell by a huge 14%. During the same time, streaming music jumped by 24%. The company that will most likely hurt from this the most in the long run will be Apple, who are all-digital with iTunes. Streaming services like Pandora and Spotify offer their music with an all-you-can-eat model, which is free.
If you don't like the restrictions of the free model, there's various premium models on offer, too. Spotify is only $10 a month for unlimited music, which is an amazing deal. This is what I pay for each month, and for less than half the cost of a physical album, why wouldn't any music listener do this?
Microsoft's Surface RT tablet sees the company with a $900 million write-down for the poor performing tablet
It looks like Microsoft haven't had a good run with their Surface RT tablets according to their quarterly and full-year financial results. Microsoft have just finished their fourth financial quarter, where they saw revenues of $19.9 billion and an operating profit of just over $6 billion for the three-month period.
Just how bad was the Surface RT for Microsoft? Well, the Redmond-based giant included a $900 million write-down to pay for the slate, that's how bad. In the first paragraph of their latest financial report, Microsoft says: "These financial results include a $900 million charge, or a $0.07 per share impact, related to Surface RT inventory adjustments."
Microsoft really missed the mark when it came to predicting consumers' purchasing habits on the Surface RT, with many estimating that Microsoft made as many as six million Surface RT's. Obviously a bunch of these didn't sell, at all, but according to Brian Hall, the General Manager of Surface marketing, "Microsoft is 100 percent committed to Surface RT and Windows RT going forward and has no plans to drop work on either product."
We have reported previously about big tech companies such as Google and Apple who dodge huge amounts in tax, but now the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) are going to put a stop to this, and quick.
Bloomberg are reporting that the OECD will pump the brakes on corporate tax dodging, with a plan that will "develop rules over the next two years preventing companies from escaping taxes by putting patent rights into shell companies, taking interest deductions in one country without reporting taxable profit in another, and forcing them to disclose to regulators where they report their income around the world."
This has been going on for a while now, but judgment has finally been served in the Panasonic price fixing case. Panasonic will plead guilty to US government charges that see the Japanese company falling on their sword over price fixing in two huge markets.
The first, is the laptop battery pack market and the second is auto parts. Panasonic have agreed to pay $56.5 million in fines for the two separate conspiracies, with 15 executives at several companies will be facing jail time as part of the deal. Hopefully you're sitting down for this one, but Panasonic's price fixing has been going on for quite some time in the auto parts industry, dating back to 1998.
Panasonic have been working with other companies behind closed doors in order to "fix, stabilize and maintain the prices" of lighting equipment sold to manufacturers such as Honda, Mazda and Nissan. The Japanese company also worked with other corporations where price fixing was applied to switches and sensors for auto steering wheels, doors, wipers, turn signals and other parts of a car's control system that were sold to fellow Japanese company Toyota.
This afternoon, Google released its earnings report for the second quarter of 2013. The company reported a total revenue of $14.11 billion, $3.23 billion of which accounted for net income. Unfortunately, these numbers equate to earnings of $9.56 per share which misses Wall Street's expectations by about $1. During the same quarter in 2012, Google managed to bring in a total revenue of $12.21 billion of which $2.79 billion was income. So year-over-year, Google has managed to grow 19 percent which is nothing to scoff at.
Wall Street analysts did have high hopes for Google this quarter with the industry leader Morgan Stanley predicting revenues would be up 20 percent higher than they were a year ago. They had expected YouTube to perform much better as it had begin upping payments to partners by 60 percent which everyone thought indicated higher revenue growth than expected. I feel that the third quarter or the fourth quarter will be Google's best for 2013. With the Moto X releasing soon as well as a new Nexus 7 and Google Glass set to hit the market, big things should be on the way for the search giant.
This morning, Verizon released its financial report for the second quarter of 2013 and appears that the company is continuing its unprecedented growth. The company is reporting that it added 941,000 subscribers between the months of March and June and activated more than 3.9 million iPhones. This brings the company up to a total of 94.3 million wireless subscribers.
Verizon managed to rake in $5.2 billion in profit amidst $29.8 billion in total revenue. Compared to the same time period last year Verizon is up more than 4.3 percent in revenue and over 16 percent in profits. The company says that 64 percent of its users are now on smartphones which is up 3 percent from last year, and the company managed to activate 7.5 million smartphones of which 6.4 million were LTE devices.
The Verge is reporting that during the financial earnings call to investors, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo confirmed the company's plans to launch a new financing program called Edge. Unfortunately, that is where the details ended, but we can expect Edge to be a clone of T-Mobile's "Jump" program and AT&T's "Next" initiative.