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The Obama administration gets a second mention (in a row!) today, where they're trying to arrest you for "unauthorized streaming." The Washington Post is reporting that the Department of Commerce's Internet Policy Task Force last week unleashed a report that recommended classifying illegal content streaming... as a felony.
I bolded the word "felony" because this is quite serious, with the report proposing "adopting the same range of penalties for criminal streaming of copyrighted works to the public as now exists for criminal reproduction and distribution... since the most recent updates to the criminal copyright provisions, streaming (both audio and video) has become a significant if not dominant means for consumers to enjoy content online."
This could actually materialize, which is scary, with this latest recommendation coming months after the United States Register of Copyrights' Maria Pallante stating that Congress should make illegal content streaming a felony. If your eyes haven't been opened yet, you might want to sticky tape them open, because this could soon be a reality.
But, it has been closed off from the borders of Canada, until September 9, that is. Kickstarter will open their doors, arms, and wallets to Canadian developers on September 9, with Kickstarter holding events on August 8 and 9 in Toronto, as well as more in Montreal on August 12 and 13.
Today, the Washington Post officially announced that it would be selling its operations to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos for a reported $250 million. The 135-year-old Washington Post is being sold because of the current owners' unsuccessful attempts to thwart years of newspaper-industry challenges. The company hopes that Bezos, with his tax savvy business skills, can help steer the company a new direction that will once again return it to being an industry leader.
Bezos says that the values of the Post do not need to change, but things about the company will change. We are sure this means that the Post will become much more intertwined into the Internet and a reduction in its print media levels could be on the horizon. In a statement to the Washington Post's staff, Bezos had the following to say:
The Internet is transforming almost every element of the news business: shortening news cycles, eroding long-reliable revenue sources, and enabling new kinds of competition, some of which bear little or no news-gathering costs. There is no map, and charting a path ahead will not be easy. We will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment. Our touchstone will be readers, understanding what they care about - government, local leaders, restaurant openings, scout troops, businesses, charities, governors, sports - and working backwards from there. I'm excited and optimistic about the opportunity for invention.
We all know the PC market is changing, and it isn't selling as many units as it used to, but then there are hundreds of millions of smartphones and tablets sold each year. Where one market shrinks and slowly dies, another emerges, making billions of dollars.
Well, one section of the market where PC still reigns king, is in college campuses. Market research firm Deloitte found that 82% of college students own computers and 80% of them own smartphones, but just 18% of them own a tablet. Deloitte's Brent Schoenbaum told MarketWatch: "The combination of smartphones and laptops makes the tablet redundant for students."
It looks like Sony are starting to make some money from their smartphone business - and so they should - they've been releasing some great smartphones lately, such as the Xperia Z, and the new Xperia Z Ultra.
Sony's latest earnings report showed that the Japanese company sold 9.6 million smartphones in the last quarter, a huge improvement year-over-year for the same quarter in 2012 of just 7.4 million units. As for the business side of things, Sony made a $60 million profit in their smartphone division, which is a stark contrast to the same quarter of last year, which saw them gobble up a $28.1 million loss.
This might not sound like much, but this is big for Sony considering the strong competition in Apple and Samsung. These two companies secure most of the profits in the smartphone market, and Sony are making waves pretty quickly if you ask me.
Micron have just closed a deal to purchase Elpida for an estimated $2 billion. Micron have been working on the deal to acquire the Japan-based company since mid last year.
Included in the deal are the entirety of Elpida's assets, which include a DRAM fabrication facility located in Hiroshima, Japan and a 65% stake in Rexchip, who are another memory company with a DRAM fabrication facility in Taiwan. Micron also scored Elpida's 100% stake in Akita Elpida Memory, who owns an assembly and test facility in Akita, Japan.
During a statement, Micron said that Elpida had built themselves a strong presence in the mobile DRAM market using advanced technologies to target mobile phones and tablets. Considering Elpida is one of Apple's biggest clients, this is a huge opportunity for Micron.
Micron now has the ability to produce over 185,000 300mm wafers per month, which doubles their current manufacturing capacity by 45%.
Take-Two Interactive have posted a $142.7 million net revenue for Q1 2014, down from Q1 2013's $226.1 million. The company took a net operating loss of $61.9 million for the three-month period, compared to $110.8 million from the same quarter last year.
Take-Two have said this is part of the loss of software development costs for a cancelled game from 2K, that cost them $29.6 million. The company attributes their first quarter net revenue to the strong sales of Borderlands 2, NBA 2K13, Grand Theft Auto IV and BioShock Infinite. The latter, selling over 4 million copies.
Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two CEO, said during their financial call: "With Grand Theft Auto 5 launching on September 17, followed by the releases of NBA 2K14 and WWE 2K14, fiscal 2014 is poised to be one of our best years ever. Looking ahead, we are well-positioned to capitalize on the opportunities presented by the upcoming launches of the next-generation consoles."
Apple is once again coming under fire from former employees of its retail stores. This time a group of ex-employees have filed suit against the Cupertino giant as a result of TSA style security searches that were performed daily by managers who were searching for stolen merchandise.
According to the employees, they would have to stand in line for 30 minutes a day without pay while their managers searched their bags and persons in an attempt to discourage theft of devices. The employees have filed a class action suit that claims that they were cheated out of $1,500 per year in unpaid wages due to the unlawful searches.
The court documents say that Apple managers were not just looking for Apple devices either; apparently, they were searching for and confiscating other "contraband" without the permission of the employees being searched. Apple's official "personal package and bag search" policy routinely results in staff being forced to stand around for 5-30 minutes each day without pay, each and every time they clock out for a break or meal. How do you feel about this policy? Let me know in the comments.
Today, Gary Kovacs announced that he has been named the new CEO of AVG Technologies. The former CEO of Mozilla said that he wanted to join AVG and help them further their expansion into the mobile space. He will be taking on a company that has over 150 million users globally, which include the consumer and small business markets, and with 25 percent of its users already using the company's mobile solutions, Kovacs should have no problem kicking things into high gear.
"AVG currently has a big footprint on desktop, but it also wants to be leading in mobile," said Kovacs in an interview yesterday with All Things D. "As more and more people access the Internet via these devices, what AVG does in this area will become ever more important." Kovacs comes to AVG after about three years at Mozilla and Adobe before that. AVG says that Kovacs is a good fit because of his strong mobile background and that they also feel he will help them usher in a new open source era at the company.
Last week during a team effort to combat piracy, a company working in conjunction with Microsoft filed a DMCA takedown request with Google which included 6 URLs from Microsoft itself. Yes, that means Microsoft filed a DMC takedown notice against itself on the grounds of copyright infringement. The links were generated by automated software and show how flawed the system truly is.
The software used to automate the process often hurts many more innocent webmasters than it does copyright infringers, and false triggers like this are far less rare than anyone would ever expect. In the past, Microsoft has accidentally filed DMC takedown request that targeted the US Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, TechCrunch, Wikipedia, BBC News, Bing, Google, and so many others that I could write all night and never get to the end of the list.
The takedown requests are becoming so frequent that in the past Google might have received 225,000 DMCA takedown request per week, but just over a year later they are receiving between 3.5 and 4.5 million requests every week. Google can not simply read every request and check for validity and as a result, the first half of 2013 saw Google erase 100 million links from their search engine all because an automated copyright crawler thought they might be infringing on someone's copyright. That number is double the amount of links Google removed in all of 2012 and several times more than in 2011.