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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 119

HTC continue to crumble, sales drop even more in February

HTC are continuing to trip over themselves, with February 2013 sales dropping 44% year-over-year, reaching a new three-year low. Looking at the month-over-month numbers, sales have dropped 27%.

 

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The Taiwanese smartphone maker is hoping that this is the bottom, and that there's only improvements heading into the future with their new flagship One smartphone reaching the market at the end of the month. First quarter results are usually tough for handset makers, who normally enjoy a strong fourth quarter.

 

But, HTC didn't have a strong fourth quarter, and January wasn't much better. HTC are in some trouble right now, with the competition heating up from Samsung and even LG, let alone the iPhone juggernaut.

Beats' music streaming service gets closer to reality, secures $60 million investment

The online music streaming service market is going to get even more crowded as Beats continues to push forward with plans to launch their own streaming service known as Daisy. We've reported rumors about Beats possibly working with Apple in regards to the latter starting a streaming service, though this looks less likely with the news of Beats securing a $60 million investment.

 

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The $60 million investment comes from Access Industries, Marc Rowan, James Packer, and some others. The investment will be used to help launch Daisy, which is currently backed by Beats Electronics LLC. Co-founder Jimmy Iovine:

 

Beats was always about helping people re-discover the magic in the experience of listening to music. Now that we are well along the way to addressing the quality of audio playback with Beats headphones and speakers, Daisy allows us to re-introduce the same magic into the process of music discovery and consumption.

 

This, coupled with rumors of YouTube possibly launching their own streaming service, could lead to increased competition in the marketplace.

Continue reading 'Beats' music streaming service gets closer to reality, secures $60 million investment' (full post)

Microsoft fined 561 million euros ($732 million US) for browser choice error

Microsoft has been hit with a massive 561 million euro fine, which equates to around $732 million US, for removing the option to pick a different default browser in Windows 7 SP1. Microsoft had previously settled the EU over claims that making Internet Explorer the default browser was anti-competitive.

 

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Microsoft had agreed to provide the option of several different web browsers when Windows was installed or configured. When the company released Service Pack 1 for Windows 7, the option to select a web browser was removed. Microsoft says that a technical error prevented the option screen from showing.

 

It took Microsoft 14 months and complaints from the EU to get the problem resolved. The EU has now fined Microsoft over the issue, though it's not as bad as it could have been. EU law allows for the fine to be up to 10 percent of the company's revenue, meaning the fine could have been as high as $7.4 billion.

 

"We take full responsibility for the technical error that caused this problem and have apologized for it," a Microsoft spokesperson said.

RumorTT: Apple could team up with Beats to finally get its music streaming service off the ground

Apple has been trying for a while now to bring forth its own version of a music streaming service. For the most part, the venture has been stifled by failed royalty negations between artist and record labels.

 

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We are hearing reports that Apple's Tim Cook has met with Beats Electronics CEO Jimmy Iovine in an effort to discuss all things about music streaming. This meeting comes hot on the announcement by Beats that it will be launching its own subscription streaming service dubbed Daisy.

 

Apple is keeping things quiet (as usual) about the meeting, only saying that the meeting was "informational" and covered a vast range of topics. With streaming services out there that do a very good job already, is there really a need for an Apple branded subscription based music streaming service?

Five-year-old kid racks up $2500 bill on iPad apps

Five-year-old Danny Kitchen asked his parents for the password to their iPad so that he could download a free game, which turned into a nightmare for the Kitchen's, as Danny racked up a $2500 bill in add-on purchases to his mother's credit card.

 

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The culprit? Zombies vs. Ninjas, which is definitely a free game, but Danny ordered extra "darts" and "bombs" to battle those nasty zombies, where weapons range right up to $99.99. Danny's mother had no idea what was happening until she noticed 19 e-mails from iTunes in the morning, receipts of her son's purchases.

 

Sharon didn't think anything of the emails, putting it down to multiple invoices of the one receipt. She ignored it until her credit card company called her regarding the suspicious activity. Sharon told Mashable:

 

I still find it incredible that he managed to do it. He only had the iPad for ten to 15 minutes, so he could've only done the deed within this amount of time. He thought he wasn't doing anything wrong. He was reprimanded and told off, but he was crying. He realized there were going to be consequences and I said, 'You better run and hide,' and he says, 'But mommy, where shall I hide?' I felt so sorry for him and couldn't be mad.

Continue reading 'Five-year-old kid racks up $2500 bill on iPad apps' (full post)

Google reportedly testing out same-day delivery service with local retailers

Google are looking to expand into yet another area of the market, with Reuters reporting that the Mountain View-based search giant are apparently working with retailers on a same-day delivery service, along the lines of Amazon Prime and eBay Now and local dispatchers like Postmates' GetItNow.

 

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TechCrunch reported on the story too, where they said the search giant would grab your purchased goods from local retailers, and deliver them to your door through third-party couriers. Google would charge just $64-$69 a year for the service, while Reuters' source said a small fee per purchase might also be tacked on. Either way, it's not expensive - well, not for someone like me in Australia anyway.

 

Reuters have reported that Google are already testing this out in the Bay Area in "recent weeks".

WiFi Alliance and WiGig join forces, will use their wireless powers for good, not evil

It has been two months since the WiFi Alliance and Wireless Gigabit Alliance shook hands, and planned this adventure, but now the time is here and their powers have been combined. The two companies have been working together on developing and building the 60GHz wireless standard.

 

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But instead, they've decided that it was better to make the partnership official, in order to get the most out of their work together. Their long-term plans include expanding WiGig's capabilities and implementing a baseline interoperability certification program by early next year. The combined effort could push forward a large growth, with ABI Research forecasting that we'll see annual shipments of 1.8 billion devices sporting both WiFi and WiGig support by 2016.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar working on bill to legalize cell phone unlocking

Amy Klobuchar, a US Senator from Minnesota, has come out in support of cell phone unlocking after the FCC and White House have supported it. Senator Klobuchar is planning on introducing a bill this week that will legalize cellphone unlocking.

 

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Consumers should be free to choose the phone and service that best fits their needs and their budgets. We need to make sure consumers are getting a fair deal and today's announcement is a welcome step towards implementing consumer-friendly policies in the wireless industry. That's why I'm introducing legislation this week to get rid of the ban on unlocking cell phones and I will continue to work to advance commonsense measures to protect consumers and promote competition.

 

With widening support for the legalization of cellphone unlocking, it's starting to look more and more like the US government will actually do something about it. We'll keep our eye on the progress of Senator Klobuchar's bill and let you know of any major events that happen.

iMac shipping estimates continue to decrease, now 'Within 24 hours' in North America

Apple is continuing to catch up with demand when it comes to the new iMacs. Though Tim Cook warned that the iMac and iPad mini would see continued supply constraints, the iMac has finally made it to the point where supply and demand are almost even.

 

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It has taken three months for the iMac to reach this point. Other countries are still showing longer lead times, though those should improve in the coming days and weeks. It appears as though Apple has focused on building the stock configurations of the machines as doing a simple custom configuration, such as additional RAM, results in a longer lead time.

 

By being able to meet demand, Apple should be able to perform better during this quarter, hopefully pleasing investors who have been punishing the stock in recent months.

Denmark officials consider $1 billion tax bill for Microsoft

It looks like Microsoft could be hit with a large tax bill if the Danish authorities have anything to do with it, where Denmark officials are considering a tax levy of 5.8 billion kroner, or around $1.01 billion. This is all in relation to Microsoft's acquisition of financial software maker Navavision back in 2002.

 

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Microsoft have reportedly been using Caribbean-based shell companies to operate their acquired company's enterprise planning and account units. This has allowed Microsoft to push profits away from Denmark where tax rates are 25%, compared to the effectively 0% in the Caribbean. Obviously they aren't the first company to do something like this, with most big corporations and companies funnelling cash into places like Bermuda to save on tax.

 

It's being reported that Microsoft and Danish officials are in talks regarding the bill, which includes back taxes, penalties and fees, too.

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