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This week a Paris court passed down a ruling that bans seven French Apple stores from forcing its employees to work night shifts. The ruling was in response to a complaint that was filed by several national labor unions against the Cupertino based company.
In addition to the ruling, the court fined Apple 10,000 euro (about $13,000 USD) in damages to the unions who filed the suit. The court said that any additional infraction would cost the company an additional $65,000 in fines per infraction. Apple stores in France on average close at 9PM, but employees are often required to stay until 11PM to finish close out duties such as cleaning the store.
In a statement one of the unions that filed suit said: "We are asking only that the law be respected," Apple is appealing the decision and a higher court in France is expected to pass down its ruling on the case sometime next month.
Tesla borrowed $465 million in 2010 from the Department of Energy, which was on a ten-year contract, but during an event hosted by Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, Tesla CEO Elun Musk announced his company would pay back the near half-billion-dollar loan five years early.
The loan was meant to be paid back over ten years once the production of the Model S started, with Musk announcing they would accelerate the repayment of their loan, a full five years earlier than required under the original loan terms. Tesla's last payments to the Department of Energy will be in 2017. It's also worth noting that Tesla's $465 million loan wasn't the biggest given out by the DoE, where Ford received $5.9 billion, Nissan with $1.4 billion and Fisker with $529 million.
Musk has an addition to getting things done in a timely manner, getting the Tesla S up and running, rolling off their production lines at the Tesla Factory in Fremont, California in less than two years. This has put them in the position to pay their loan five years early.
There have been plenty of truly amazing things to come out of Google's X Labs, with the head of the Google X Lab 'moonshot' division, Astro Teller, revealing that a new project will be announced in the coming weeks.
There aren't many details on the new project, but Teller has said that it would be related to control systems. The moonshot division head also said that Larry Page has approved the project, telling Teller to make sure that he broke at least five prototype devices first. Teller said that this was a reminder that if you're not going so fast that you physically break prototypes, you're not going to go "radically fast."
Research firm IDC have their latest report out, which expects to see a tip toward Android being dominant this year in the tablet market, taking the throne from Apple's iPad. IDC have increased their 2013 forecast for worldwide tablet shipments to 190.9 million, up from 172.4 million units.
Interestingly, Jitesh Ubrani, Research Analysts for IDC's Tablet Tracker, has said: "One in every two tablets shipped this quarter was below 8 inches in screen size. And in terms of shipments, we expect smaller tablets to continue growing in 2013 and beyond." Getting into the Android dominance, the IDC report that moving into 2013, Google will continue to expand their share of the tablet market.
It was only a matter of time, but Seagate have reached the milestone first by shipping two billion hard disk drives. It took the storage giant 29 years to reach this goal, and more impressively they shipped one billion drives by 2009, and have shipped one billion since.
The one billion drives shipped in the last four years is thanks to the explosion of demand for storage in mobile applications, cloud infrastructures, social media, business applications and the ever increasing consumer market. Steve Luczo, president, CEO and chairman of Seagate, has said: "This is truly an impressive accomplishment and I am proud to lead this company as we celebrate this success."
John Rydning, IDC's research vice president, for hard drives and semiconductors said:
The ever-growing number of mobile and content capture devices using cloud services is fueling the growth of digital content. Mobile devices and the cloud are coming together to drive ongoing demand for hard disk drives, with shipments reaching more than 585 million units in 2013, and hard disk drive Terabyte shipments worldwide growing at a 30 percent 2012-2016 compound annual growth rate.
We reported on Samsung's investment into Sharp last week, but it looks like Samsung could use this as a nice little wink over at their main competitor, Apple. Samsung's $110 million investment into Sharp is a very cheap way to put the pressure onto Apple, which market analysis firm Trefis has said has Apple threatened.
Trefis analysts have postulated that Samsung's investment could see Apple lose some of their power over at Sharp, who are estimated to supply one-third of Apple's display panels. Another big factor is that Apple are reportedly getting Sharp to help with their upcoming TV. Trefis believes that Samsung's investment in Sharp could be the beginning of a blossoming relationship, which could eventually push Apple against a wall.
Kodak are going through some rough times, but the 2012 fiscal year has been dismal for the company. Kodak told investors in their annual report that they are looking to come out of their bankruptcy in the summer of 2013, a little earlier than expected.
The company posted a large $402 million loss for the quarter gone, but an even bigger loss of $1.38 billion for the 2012 fiscal year. These losses are mounting, at nearly double the numbers from 2011. Kodak CEO, Antonio M. Perez was upbeat on the news, saying:
Thanks to the talent and dedication of our employees, our 2012 performance was on track or ahead of our adjusted EBITDA and cash projections, and we have remained in compliance with the covenants of our debtor-in-possession facility, laying the foundation for emergence as a profitable, sustainable company.
Chris Hurley, co-founder of YouTube, is looking at getting back into the video website business after selling his video streaming site to Google for a nice $1.65 billion. Hurley has now begun teasing his new venture, where he said during a Q&A session with Digg founder and Google Ventures partner Kevin Rose: "I wish [South by Southwest] was a month later because I could unveil the new product."
He didn't go into much detail, but added that the new product is "primarily video-based...and gives flexibility for people to work together and create content." It looks like we should expect a next-generation YouTube, and that's not a bad thing at all. Digg founder Kevin Rose asked him if that was his intention, where he responded with: "We're not setting up to [kill YouTube]-now. There's always going to be a place for YouTube." His intention, instead, is to create a platform better suited for collaboration."
Facebook is used for a million and one things these days, but child trafficking - you'd think not. Misty VanHorn, a mother of two in Oklahoma has tried to sell her two children on Facebook. She was arrested on the weekend for alleged trafficking of minors on Facebook, trying to sell her 10-month-old and 2-year-old for $4000.
VanHorn reportedly offered the kids up for sale more than once, offering her innocent 10-month-old girl for $1000. Alternatively, you could buy a package deal which included both kids for $4000, where she actually had someone interested. VanHorn was dealing with a woman in Fort Smith, Ark., according to The Oklahoman. Because she was dealing across the state line from her home in Sallisaw, she might be charged with a federal crime.
Her Facebook message to the Fort Smith-based woman said: Just come to Sallisaw, it's only 30 minutes away and I'll give you all of her stuff and let y'all have her forever for $1,000. Why was VanHorn trying to sell her children? She wanted the $1000 to bail her boyfriend out of jail, where ironically she's being held on a $40,000 bail. Her kids are now in the custody of the state's department of human services, who alerted the police in the first place.
Cooler Master is waking up this morning to a fresh lawsuit involving its Seidon closed loop liquid CPU coolers. Asetek, the company who licenses similar coolers to companies like NZXT, Corsair and PNY is claiming that Cooler Master is infringing on two of its patents.
US Patents 8245764 and 8240362 are the two in dispute here, both of which provide a very vague overview of a sealed "cooling system for a computer system". Both reference a maintenance free liquid cooling system that is connected to a pump and radiator and "different embodiments of the heat exchanging system as well as means for establishing and controlling a flow of cooling liquid".
These patents (2010 filing) are updated versions of the ones Asetek used against CoolIT in a similar suit which were filed in 2005 which means that they are valid for any product created since 2005. Neither company has released a statement about the suit and both have refused to comment on the matter.