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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 13

Comcast offers poor families six months of free internet access

Comcast has revamped its low cost internet program that is in place for poor families to ensure that they have access to the web for education and other uses. The original program that Comcast offered was criticized for being too hard to sign up for. After the criticism, Comcast has revamped the program and is offering up to six months of internet access for free to new subscribers.

 

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The program gives poor families access to Internet Essentials for $10 per month if there are school age children in the house. Comcast is also offering existing customers with unpaid bills an amnesty program where they can be reconnected in some instances.

 

The catch with the amnesty program is that the overdue bills and unreturned equipment has to be over a year old to be eligible. For bills that are less than a year old, Comcast wants the debt settled before the customers can sign up.

Xiaomi outpaces Samsung in China to become first in market share

Xiaomi is a Chinese smartphone vendor that has been offering its wares on the Chinese market and in other places. The company has been fighting to get to the top of the smartphone market and has made a significant increase in sales to overtake Samsung in China. By surpassing Samsung's numbers, Xiaomi has become the largest smartphone vendor in the Chinese market.

 

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The stats for the quarter come from research firm Canalys, and the firm says that Xiaomi saw its market share in Q2 increase to 14%. Behind Xiaomi were three major smartphone manufacturers that all tied for second spot with 12% market share each including Samsung, Lenovo, and Yulong.

 

Xiaomi increased its market share considerably between Q1 and Q2, in Q1 the company held 10.7% of the market while Samsung had 18.3%. In the same quarter a year ago, Xiaomi held only 5% market share. Analysts point to high quality products and aggressive pricing for the impressive growth.

New York hotel fines $500 per bad review, refunds you if its removed

The Union Street Guest House in Hudson, New York has had couples booking weddings at their venue, but if they, or any of their guests or family leave a bad review on sites like Yelp, they will fine them $500 for every bad review found online.

 

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The hotel's online policy explains: "Please know that despite the fact that wedding couples love Hudson and our inn, your friends and families may not. If you have booked the inn for a wedding or other type of event . . . and given us a deposit of any kind . . . there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review . . . placed on any internet site by anyone in your party".

 

But it's not all doom and gloom, because if you remove your review, the hotel will refund you the $500. For negative reviews on the hotel, employees will come in trolling, saying things like the post was "mean spirited nonsense" and "she made all of this up". The hotel fired back at one of the negative reviews over the rude treatment over a bucket of ice, where the hotel said: "I know you guys wanted to hang out and get drunk for 2 days and that is fine. I was really really sorry that you showed up in the summer when it was 105 degrees . . . I was so so so sorry that our ice maker and fridge were not working and not accessible".

China warns Microsoft not to meddle in antitrust investigation

China has issued a stark warning at Microsoft not to meddle in an ongoing antitrust investigation into the company, following a series raids in four of the company's Chinese offices.

 

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China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce posted a harshly worded warning online, demanding that Microsoft obey the law and "not to interfere with or hinder the investigation in any way," the New York Times reports. The government previously announced it was investigating Microsoft over neglecting to disclose product information and the way that it bundles its services.

 

Microsoft said in a statement that its business practices in the country are "designed to be compliant with Chinese law". But the Chinese government insisted that Microsoft's ending of support for Windows XP - used by 200 million in China - amounts to the company "abusing its dominant market position".

Square to announce Caviar purchase this week says source

Square is the mobile payment firm that made a name for itself in the credit card processing industry with a tiny card reader that works with the iPhone. The company is set to make a big purchase of a food delivery company called Caviar this week. The tip comes from a source claiming to be familiar with Square's plans.

 

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Caviar is a food delivery firm located in San Francisco that allows customers to order meals that are delivered to the home or office. The meals ordered come from restaurants that don't normally offer food delivery.

 

The deal is reportedly valued at $90 million and is a being funded with stock only. That means no cash is changing hands. Square already has a food pickup feature called Square Order. The Caviar tech could be integrated into Square Order allowing users to browse pickup and delivery options in their area.

Court gives preliminary approval on $450 million Apple eBook settlemen

Apple has been granted preliminary approval on a proposed settlement for an eBook price fixing case brought against it by states and consumers. The main charge in the case is that Apple led a conspiracy to fix the prices of electronic books. The judge presiding over the case said that the proposed $450 million settlement is "within the range of those that may be approved as fair and reasonable."

 

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The settlement will see Apple pay $400 million to states and consumers with $50 million in attorney's fees. The settlement still requires final approval from courts. Apple is currently appealing the decision, and if it does win, it will pay nothing under the settlement.

 

If the case is kicked back to judge Denise Cote for a retrial, Apple will pay $50 million plus $20 million in attorney's fees. A judge had previously ruled that Apple conspired with five major publishers to fix prices of e-books in response to competition from Amazon.

Microsoft sues Samsung for failing to pay patent royalties

Microsoft has filed suit against Samsung in the US after Samsung failed to make a patent royalty payment last fall. The missed payment came after Microsoft announced that it intended to purchase Nokia's handset business. The suit was filed in a Manhattan federal court.

 

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Microsoft is seeking monetary damages from Samsung, but it is unclear what those damages are. The suit alleges that Samsung refused to make the agreed to payments to Microsoft once the intention of buying Nokia was announced.

 

Samsung had made payments for an entire fiscal year before the Nokia purchase was announced. Samsung claims that the Nokia purchase violated the licensing agreement in place with Microsoft. Samsung apparently paid the payment late, but has refused to pay interest.

Snapchat rumored to be worth $10 billion after failed Facebook bid

It wasn't that long ago that rumors were circling that Facebook tried to acquire Snapchat for $3 billion, and then Google took a turn offering up $4 billion, but now it looks like we're finding out why Snapchat held off.

 

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Snapchat Inc. is reportedly in talks with investors including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. for a round of funding that would see the company valued at $10 billion. This might not seem like that high of a number thanks to Snapchat seeing over 700 million "snaps" per day, and over 500 million stories viewed daily. Snapchat competes directly against Facebook, and even more so now that it was adding mobile messaging features to its service.

 

Snapchat's previous round of funding saw the company raise over $100 million with investors such as Lightspeed Venture Partners, Benchmark, Institutional Venture Partners, General Catalyst Partners and SV Angel.

Two ex-Naughty Dog employees land jobs with Infinity Ward

Two developers have left the arms of The Last of Us developer Naughty Dog, jumping over to the Infinity Ward camp. Naughty Dog lost its Lead Game Designer Jacob Minkoff, as well as its Narrative Designer lead Taylor Kurosaki.

 

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The duo will take on roles at Infinity Ward of Design Director and Narrative Director, respectively. Kurosaki had been with Naughty Dog in the 90s, left and came back in 2004. Minkoff had joined Naughty Dog in 2009, but left the company back in January. This isn't the only high up talent to leave Naughty Dog, as the Uncharted developer also lost its Creative Director to Visceral Games and EA earlier in the year.

 

While this might be the best news for Naughty Dog, it could be a resurgence for Infinity Ward after the very public departure of its co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella left to form Respawn Entertainment, which released Titanfall earlier this year.

Trading games in at GameStop? You'll need to provide your fingerprint

Some GameStop customers have had to provide their fingerprints when they traded in their used games in some of the Philadelphia-based stores in the US. GameStop is using fingerprints to help authorities track criminals who trade-in used games.

 

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One employee at GameStop talked with Kotaku, where they said that the new anti-crime measure has been in place for around a month now. One of the reasons behind the new system is that GameStop stores in the city received a mandate from GameStop's corporate HQ after Philadelphia police asked if they could offer stronger security measures.

 

This employee said that customers of GameStop in these fingerprint scanning equipped stores can no longer trade in games if they don't provide their fingerprints. The fingerprints that are collected are uploaded onto the online database Leads Online, according to the Philadelphia Police Department, reports CBS Philadelphia. According to customers of these GameStop stores that CBS Philadelphia interviewed, they aren't happy with these '1984' style measures, which makes them all feel like they're being treated like criminals.

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