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Samsung released their Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge handsets a little over a week ago now, with Qualcomm feeling the loss of getting its Snapdragon processors into the new handsets.
With the previous Galaxy S smartphones, Samsung has usually had its Exynos processor in certain models, while Qualcomm's Snapdragon processor makes it into another. Not this time around, and rightly so since Qualcomm reportedly asks for 2.5 to 5% of the selling price of every handset that is powered by its Snapdragon processor. This is a big chunk of sales, especially when handsets are spilling over the $1000 mark.
Samsung has thus saved itself many millions of dollars by opting for its own Exynos processor in the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge, and after giving Qualcomm $9.2 billion in royalties over four years, this has come to an end. Qualcomm continues to expand its pile of cash, which is hovering at around the $30 billion mark right now. Most of this $30 billion has been made from the patent and licensing royalties, and not just from its processors - a smart move by Qualcomm.
According to analysts Gartner and IDC, the computer market has shrunk over Q1 2015 by between 5.2% and 6.7%. The analysts say this is due to many companies halting their OS upgrades from Windows XP.
Many businesses that wanted to modernize their PCs have already done so, so they've stopped this upgrade path and the market is feeling it. The IDC is claiming that Q1 2015 witnessed the lowest volume of PC shipments since the beginning of 2009, which is a big call considering that the world was still feeling the global financial crisis (GFC) at the time.
But, it's not all doom and gloom as companies like Lenovo and ASUS are seeing a big resurgence, thanks to the two companies pushing into larger Windows tablets - according to Gartner's report, anyway. Acer, Dell and many other system builders are still looking into troubles - but there is hope: Windows 10 is nearly here, which should see gamers, businesses and everyone in between upgrading.
Taylor Swift has enough pull in the industry that wherever she goes, millions of users will follow. So the reports of Apple looking to score exclusive deals with big artists for iTunes, or Beats Music, shouldn't be a surprise.
The Cupertino-based iGiant has reportedly talked with over a dozen artists about exclusivity deals, including Florence and the Machine, and Taylor Swift. With Swift removing her entire library from Spotify last year claiming that artists weren't being fairly compensated for their work making big headlines.
Apple is reportedly talking with artists for limited streaming rights to a track with Florence and the Machine, as well as approaching Swift about partnerships. The idea behind the exclusives is to have consumers sucked into paying for subscriptions with Apple over its competitors, with a rumored pricing of $14.99 per month for a family plan on its Beats subscription plan.
But is exclusive content enough to have you jump ship from Spotify, Pandora or Play Music?
The global PC market racked up 68.5 million units shipped during Q1 2015, a 6.7 percent year-over-year drop, though was still better than previous estimates, according to the IDC research group.
Lenovo has 19.6 percent market share, ahead of Hewlett-Packard (19 percent), Dell (13.5 percent), Acer (7.1 percent) and ASUS (7.0 percent), according to IDC figures.
"Despite the decline, PC shipment in the United States declined at a slower rate than all other regions in first quarter, outperforming worldwide trends for the eleventh consecutive quarter," said Rajani Singh, Senior Research Analyst of the Personal Computing division at IDC.
Said to include automotive financing, second-hand purchases and local services, Alibaba has announced that they have established a car division to provide users with online-to-offline services.
Over 50 car manufacturers will be supported alongside more then 10,000 car dealerships and 20,000 service centers all partnered with this massive Chinese movement.
Lead by Wand Licheng, Alibaba's former Juhuasuan leader, this move is said to be due to competing companies also investing in the automotive industry. This news is paired with previous reports of SAIC Motor Corp co-investing 1 billion yuan ($161m) with Alibaba into development of internet-connected automobiles.
According to reports, Alibaba sold a massive 50,700 cars over 24 hours in China - known as the online shopping frenzy of 'Singles Day'.
AT&T has agreed to pay a $25 million civil penalty to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) related to data breaches that left 280,000 US customers at risk.
Employees at AT&T call centers in the Philippines, Mexico and Colombia accessed information without proper authorization - and some employees accessed data so they could pass along customer names, Social Security numbers and other data to third-parties.
"As the nation's expert agency on communications networks, the Commission cannot- and will not- stand idly by when a carrier's lax data security practices expose the personal information of hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable Americans to identity theft and fraud," said Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the FCC.
Think the drama regarding North Korea and The Interview is over? Think again! Lee Min-Bok, a North Korean defector and activist, has carried out another round of balloon launches to share copies of The Interview in North Korea.
"I launched thousands of copies and about a million leaflets on Saturday, near the western part of the border," Lee recently told the AFP. Helium balloons carrying anti-Pyongyang propaganda and copies of The Interview were floated from the South Korean side - and it's unknown how many balloons actually reach the other side of the border.
To help make it more difficult for guards on the North Korean side to detect the balloons floating into their country, Lee launched the balloons in remote locations and under the cover of darkness. The police also are aware of his actions and don't move to intervene: "The police would have no right to stop me from doing this. I am always being tailed by police."
Visceral Games has only just launched Battlefield Hardline after quite the headline-grabbing development of the game, with the studio's Vice President and General Manager, Steve Papoutsis, leaving the company.
Papoutsis had been with EA for nearly 15 years, working on a bunch of huge games like the Battlefield series and Dead Space. He then took over on Battlefield Hardline, but an EA spokesperson has confirmed that he is no longer with the company. EA added: "we are thankful for Steve's many contributions to EA and wish him the best".
Scott Probst, who has been a Producer with EA, and is the son of EA's Chairman, Larry Probst, is now the new boss of Visceral Games. An EA spokesperson told Polygon: "The Visceral team continues to be focused on new game content for Battlefield Hardline including expansion packs, as well as new development projects".
Would you be surprised to know that 92 percent of staff love meetings? According to a Verizon study, they really do! Meetings are seen as a chance to participate and contribute, and have face to face time with other participants. It's when meetings disrupt the workflow of individual staffers and departments that things can get dicey. As much as people love meetings, they can be stressful, too, with work backing up and schedules upended because anyone who needs a soapbox feels the need to call a meeting.
Making your meetings a part of the workflow instead of a big rock thrown into the middle of it can also help to decrease a trend toward staff disengagement. A Gallup poll reported that some of the most experienced and highly educated workers feel "not engaged" or even actively disengaged from their workplace and co-workers. These workers tend to be age 30 to 64 and have high levels of education, and often years of experience and know-how. Re-engaging these workers is a soft cost that savvy business owners and managers will reckon against the cost of finding and hiring a new candidate and filling the position anew, or letting the situation sit and fester with a resentful, disengaged worker playing Candy Crush on their iPad during meetings.
Making Meetings Work
Making meetings work in the real-world takes some thought and ingenuity, and there are times when a conference call is all it takes to put things right. However, to pull out an old cliché, there are times when you need to think outside the box on how to engage with everyone, face to face in the best and most effective way. Using modern technology such as the cloud-based Blue Jeans Network for video conferencing can help bring back that engagement gained from a stimulating face to face meeting without the stress, expense, and work disruptions caused by calling meetings in a single location.
Top Ten Tips for Successful Meetings
- Set a time for the meeting that worked for everyone. This is simple courtesy. Interrupting people's workflow can cause all types of problems, and so can calling audio or video conferences across time zones. Working out a good time for everyone helps reduce stress and resentment.
- Set an agenda for the meeting and make sure that everyone gets a copy. By setting an agenda, there's little room for meetings to wander off on tangents, or get caught up in side issues.
- Set a limit for speakers in terms of both number and time. Unless you're hosting a lecture or demonstration, other parties need to be given time to speak, and a question and answer period provided for after each speaker is finished.
- Seek input from the participants. Find out what issues they feel need to be addressed and what their concerns are, then address them.
There have been rumors of a potential takeover bid on Twitter, with shares in the company rising 3.5% to $52 each yesterday. Barron's reporting that there are two unnamed companies that have approached Twitter with "serious" interest in taking it over.
According to Briefing.com, Twitter has bought in advisers - with Goldman Sachs rumored to be talking with the social network giant - in order to "fend off a takeover offer". We don't know who would buy Twitter just yet, but Google would be a potential company and it could see them fight off Facebook in the social networking space much better than its own Google+ ever did.