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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 14

Samsung rumored to acquire SmartThings, a home automation startup

TechCrunch is reporting that Samsung is looking to acquire SmartThings, a home automation startup for a massive amount of money - ballooning out at a rumored $200 million.

 

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This number might change, as TechCrunch's sources aren't concrete on the deal, or the proposed amount for the acquisition just yet. Samsung is starting to see a drop in revenue from its smartphone business, so we could see the South Korean-based giant move into home automation with a big acquisition like this.

Intel reports record quarter thanks to strong PC sales

Intel has just reported a great quarter, something that the PC market has helped the chipmaker achieve. The company has reported second quarter earnings of $2.8 billion, or 55 cents per share across revenues of $13.8 billion.

 

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Wall Street had pegged Intel at earnings of 52 cents on revenue of $13.7 billion, so we have a slight increase on those predictions. Leading this revenue increase was the PC client group from Intel, which saw a huge $8.7 billion in revenue, setting a new quarterly record for unit sales. Last month was when Intel began teasing that it had stronger than expected PC demand, adding a massive chunk of money (around $700 million) to its quarterly revenue. This is a big note here, as its the first increase for that group since late 2009, some five years ago.

 

Intel has said that the increase of PC chip purchasing on multiple fronts: from around 600 million PCs being four years or older, new prices for its processors, and the retirement of Windows XP. Intel has said that it expects to see this trend continue throughout the year, but whether it continues into 2015 is unknown.

Continue reading 'Intel reports record quarter thanks to strong PC sales' (full post)

Comcast apologizes for embarrassing, 'unacceptable' customer call

Former Engadget editor Ryan Block and his wife, Veronica Belmont, had an extremely difficult time trying to cancel their Comcast service. A simple request over the phone to cancel service led to a rather obnoxious and intense phone call, featuring an aggressive Comcast customer retention agent that pestered Block for more than eight minutes.

 

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"We are very embarrassed by the way our employee spoke with Mr. Block and are contract him to personally apologize," a Comcast spokesperson told ABC News. "The way in which our representative communicated with him is unacceptable and not consistent with how we train our customer service representatives."

 

Not surprisingly, Comcast has quickly issued a statement that apologized for the "unacceptable" customer service call. After the audio recording was posted online, many current and former Comcast customers complained of similar issues when trying to cancel service. Ironically, Comcast is visible on Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites - trying to help customers resolve any problems as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Microsoft to announce major job cuts this week says source

Microsoft is one of the largest technology firms in the world and according to sources familiar with the software giant's plans, the company will be announcing major job cuts this week. Microsoft is said to be planning the largest round of job cuts in the last five years as the company looks to slim down.

 

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The job cuts could be announced as soon as this week according to sources who claim to be familiar with plans at Microsoft. Exactly how many jobs are on the line is unknown, but the sources say that these cuts could be larger than the 5800 workers Microsoft shed in 2009.

 

In 2009 when the 5800 workers were shed, that was about 5% of Microsoft's global workforce. The software giant currently has over 127,000 employees, counting those gained in the Nokia merger. Some of the cuts are expected to be in marketing departments for businesses like the global Xbox team.

Lionsgate Entertainment and Alibaba Group team for streaming content

Lionsgate Entertainment and Alibaba Group have announced a new streaming content agreement has been put in place. The agreement will see hit films and TV programming from Lionsgate come to leading Alibaba properties. The agreement covers blockbuster films like Divergent and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse among other content.

 

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The content will be offered by the Alibaba group as a premium subscription offering and will be offered exclusively through the latest generation Alibaba set top boxes. TV series that will be coming to the streaming service include The Royals, a show that will debut on E! early next year, Nashville, Mad Men, and Weeds among others.

 

"We're pleased to collaborate with Alibaba, a world-class brand that is well known and respected among consumers throughout China," said Lionsgate Chief Executive Officer Jon Feltheimer. "Alibaba is the kind of entrepreneurial company with whom we like to be in business, and the launch of our streaming service in China underscores our commitment to innovation and leadership in delivering premium content to digital platforms around the world."

Dish Network wins court decision for Hopper DVRs

Dish Network has one of the coolest whole home DVR systems in the satellite TV realm in the US and it is called the Hopper. The Hopper DVR will allow you to watch the same recorded shows in any room of your home and includes place-shifting tech built-in to allow you to stream your shows remotely to other devices and transfer content to your mobile device to view on the go.

 

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That means if you are going on vacation and want to shoot the latest episode of your favorite show from your DVR to your iPad for the trip, you can do that. Fox has been fighting Dish Network in court to get that export feature ruled illegal, but so far, Dish has prevailed at every turn.

 

Fox recently asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to stop Dish from streaming its content over the internet to its subscribers. The appeals court ruled against the injunction for Fox this week, but the case is continuing. NBC, Fox, ABC, and CBS all sued Dish two years ago to block the ad skipping feature of the Hopper DVR system, and failed in that attempt.

PC hardware market valued at over $21.5 billion, what consoles?

Jon Peddie Research, or JPR, has a new report out that sees the PC hardware market valued at a huge $21.5 billion. This figure is over twice the amount of the console gaming market, which should see people finally seeing that the PC market is just as, if not more important than the console market.

 

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JPR Senior Analyst Ted Pollak said: "We continue to see a shift in casual console customers moving to mobile. While this is also occurring in the lower-end PC gaming world, more money is being directed to mid- and high-range builds and upgrades by gamers". Pollak continued, saying that PC gamers simply aren't interested in gaming consoles, something he calls "pure content consumption platforms".

 

He added that PC gamers have no problems paying thousands of dollars for "the ability to play games at very high settings" while also having the ability to do other desktop tasks, such as content creation and video editing "with maximum horsepower at their disposal in a desktop ergonomic environment".

Continue reading 'PC hardware market valued at over $21.5 billion, what consoles?' (full post)

Maximum problems continue: Homefront director resigns from Crytek

Crytek is continuing to ride this downward spiral, with the game director of Homefront: The Revolution, Hasit Zala resigning from his position at Crytek UK. Earlier this month, Crytek UK development manager Ben Harris also left the company, along with a slew of other people.

 

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A person "connected to Crytek UK" according to Kotaku has said: "It creates a weird scenario as there are now no upper management. Everything is just continuing on a downwards spiral". Another person "connected to the studio" said "People haven't been paid for a long time".

 

Crytek has been maximum silence over the issues, but the cat has to get out of the bag soon enough. We're either going to see a brick wall get hit, or we're going to hear about delays on titles soon enough.

YouTube in talks to fund premium Hollywood content

YouTube has made no secret that it wants more premium content on its website for viewers to enjoy. For YouTube more premium content means more viewers and more ad revenue as major brands are less likely to advertise on poor quality homemade video.

 

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YouTube is tipped to be in talks with independent and Hollywood producers to fund new premium content according to two sources claiming to be familiar with these negotiations. YouTube execs have reportedly been making the rounds over the last few months to explore what sort of content could be offered on the network.

 

It's unclear at this time how the program for premium content would be structured. One source claims that YouTube might offer between $1 million and $3 million to producers for a series of programs and might contribute marketing funds as well. Another source says that the deal is for videos shorter than 30 minutes and of network TV quality.

Vending machines evolving, going high-tech with better products

Vending machines in the United States are evolving because of advanced technology and more affordable development prices. Instead of just selling cheap candy and soda, many vending machines now offer everything from beauty products to electronics, or higher quality food.

 

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Denis Koci's Burritobox, selling hot burritos to visitors via his Box Brands companies, recently rolled out six more machines - featuring hand-rolled burritos which can be customized with sour cream, guacamole, and other choices. The company also has interest in Pizzaboxes and other niche food vending machines which can be in shopping malls, near parks, and other locations with high foot traffic.

 

"There is a lot of innovation happening in vending machines," said Omar Khedr, IBISWorld industry research analyst, in a statement. "It's occurring in niche markets like organic foods, propelled forward by access to new technology and convenience."

Continue reading 'Vending machines evolving, going high-tech with better products' (full post)

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