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Microsoft is already a major investor in Barnes & Noble's Nook business, and now rumors are coming in that the Redmond, Washington based giant is considering buying the Nook business outright for a reported $1 billion.
Last year Microsoft invested $300 million in the Nook in exchange for a 16.8% stake. Now with reports that Barnes & Noble is planning to pull out of the hardware business altogether, it only makes sense for Microsoft to swoop in and buy the hardware business outright.
This would put Microsoft in direct competition with the likes of Amazon and even Google's Play Books. The big question is whether or not Redmond will keep the device running Android, or will we see a Windows 8 version of the Nook released. Would Microsoft even keep the Nook branding? Only time will tell I guess.
The crowdfunding world was blown away when the OUYA raised more than $8.5 million during its Kickstarter campaign for the tiny Android gaming console.
This morning OUYA announced that it has secured an additional $15 million in funding from investors to help with game development, as well as its upcoming retail launch.
Investors include Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers. Other investors include the Mayfield Fund, NVIDIA, Shasta Ventures and Occam Partners. The company has also announced that general partner Kleiner Perkins and former EA executive Bing Gordon will be joining OUYA's board of directors.
The company is well into the shipment process for all of its Kickstarter backers and is preparing its retail launch in the coming months.
The New Zealand government has passed a bill that prevents software from being patented in the country any more. The New Zealand Institute of IT Professionals praised the decision saying that it would lead to innovation on a large scale.
The new policy was part of an amendment to the existing patent bill, which redefines three basic principles:
- A computer program is not an invention and not a manner of manufacture for the purposes of this Act.
- Subsection (1) prevents anything from being an invention or a manner of manufacture for the purposes of this Act only to the extent that a claim in a patent or an application relates to a computer program as such.
- A claim in a patent or an application relates to a computer program as such if the actual contribution made by the alleged invention lies solely in it being a computer program.
I see this as a major step forward and I am sure that the folks over at the Electronic Frontier Foundation are ecstatic this morning. However, not all is as it seems.
The bill still allows the patenting of software when it can be tied to a specific piece of hardware, such as Apple iOS (iPhone and iPad), or the software that runs your Samsung Smart TV. So, while this is a step in the right direction, there is still much room for improvement.
This morning Sony has released its full-year financial report for the 2012 fiscal year that ended in March. While the report is quite long and at points very boring, the major news is that the company managed to squeeze out its first full-year profit in five years.
Strong smartphone sales are being attributed to the new profits, alongside its Vita console. Net income was approximately $458 million which is up from a loss of over $2 billion in 2011. Not all is good news for the electronics giant though, PlayStation 3 sales were down significantly, alongside LCD TV sales, which fell a staggering 38-percent.
Sony said that it expects smartphone sales to increase in 2013 by 27-percent and its LCD TV business to rebound by 16 million units before the fiscal year is up. The company can also expect to see a surge in console sales this fall when its still unpictured PlayStation 4 launches.
EA took some time during their recent earnings call to announce that they have laid off around 900 workers, with Blake Jorgensen, Vice President of EA saying: "Our cost reduction plans will reduce our overall headcount by approximately 10 percent".
Jorgensen continued, saying that the restructuring plan and resignation of CEO John Riccitello cost the company around $15 million more than they had estimated in their recent estimate guidance. He also added that they're working toward achieving a 20% operating margin, which is a goal within reach after the layoffs.
Things aren't looking so great for Activision Blizzard. The company revealed today that World of Warcraft saw its subscriber base decline by 1.3 million over the past three months. For the period from January to March, the World of Warcraft subscriber count dropped from 9.6 million to 8.3 million.
CEO Bobby Kotick:
Though the majority of our subscriber decline occurred mainly in the East, where we have more subscribers and lower revenue per subscriber, we saw declines in the West as well. We believe in the long-term value of this franchise and will continue to commit substantial resources to World of Warcraft.
Activision Blizzard reported net revenues of $1.32 billion and earnings-per-share of $0.40. These beat their guidance of $1.16 billion and EPS of $0.29.
Apple is attempting to put its hands on Android source code records held by Google. The company asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal to force Google to turn over documents in relation to Android. Apple asserts that Google is improperly withholding information about search terms used to turn up documents requested by Apple.
According to Mark Lyon, a lawyer for Apple, "It's a question of transparency. We have concerns that they're not doing a full search." Matthew Warren, a Google lawyer also representing Samsung, argues that Apple is not entitled to the search terms as it may lead to "future discovery that we don't think they're entitled to" and give Apple "ideas about how to proceed that they wouldn't have had."
This is just the latest battle between Samsung and Apple. The lawsuit, 12-cv-630, involves newer smartphones produced by both companies, including the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S 3. We're sure there will be plenty more arguing between the companies before we get any meaningful resolution.
It's looking as though Facebook and HTC may have crafted a device that isn't selling too well, if a recent price drop is any indicator. AT&T has dropped the new two-year contract price to just $0.99, or basically free. The regular price has also seen a reduction of $100, settling to a new price of just $350.99 off contract.
We can't draw a complete conclusion on just how well the device is selling as no sales numbers have been released. However, a price drop this early into a product's life cycle certainly doesn't bode well for future performance. It's possible that making Facebook Home available on other Android devices, devices with better specs, may have hurt HTC's ability to sell the First.
This morning T-Mobile posted its Q1 earnings report and things looked about par for the course for the pre-merger T-Mobile. The company saw a revenue loss of about seven percent. The company did, however, gain subscribers to the tune of over half a million new users closing out the quarter with about 34 million subscribers in total.
The no contract giant was also quick to note that it had sold more than 500,000 iPhone's since it began carrying them on April 12th. While that number pales in comparison to ATT or Verizon, the iPhone's coming out of T-Mobile are not tied to a two year agreement like other retailers.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere had the following to say about the Q1 results:
"Our first quarter operating metrics and financial results are showing positive impact from the changes we began making in the fourth quarter. Branded customer net additions turned positive for the first time since the first quarter of 2009 and our postpaid business has demonstrated significant improvement.
We ended the quarter with strong operational momentum, which is continuing into the second quarter, driven by the successful launch of our Un-carrier 'Simple Choice' service plan and the introduction of the iPhone into our device line-up. Things only get more exciting from here, having brought T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS together to create the wireless industry's value leader and premier challenger."
Every now and again you have to take a step back and go, "Do I really belong on this planet?" This is certainly one of those moments. Police in Michigan say a woman set up a fake Facebook account so she could stalk...herself. That's right, she stalked herself and sent herself nasty messages. Better yet, she blamed them on her ex's new girlfriend.
The ABC report, embedded above, does a great job of explaining the story, but I'll add some details. According to Kent Country Sheriff's Detective Jason Russo, police investigated where the messages were coming from and it led back to her computer. She also confessed that she resorted to these actions because she couldn't get over the relationship.
Evidence shows that Nelson used her computer to set up false Facebook accounts using Kevin Haarsma's personal information. Nelson used this account to make it appear that she was being stalked and harassed by Kevin's new girlfriend by posting threatening messages.
This is the world we live in, folks.