In an unexpected turn of events, Microsoft has announced its intentions to purchase Nokia's Devices and Services divisions for a reported $5 billion dollars. Additionally, the Redmond computing pioneer will also license all related patents from the Finnish telecom giant for an additional $2.2 billion.
The transaction is expected to be under review until 2014 and is expected to finalize sometime during the first quarter. Nokia Executives expected to transfer to Microsoft in the deal include Stephen Elop, Jo Harlow, Juha Putkiranta, Timo Toikkanen, and Chris Weber. Stay tuned to TweakTown for full coverage of the acquisition as news begins flowing in.
Apple is hosting an event on September 10, where we should be introduced to the iPhone 5S. Now there's news popping up that the company is restricting vacation time of AppleCare employees between September 15-28.
This falls right in line with the rumored launch date of the iPhone 5S and 5C smartphones, hitting consumers on September 20. iOS 7 is expected to drop in the same week. The above photo is an internal document leaked to AppleInsider which reportedly shows the amount of time off available to AppleCare employees during September, which drops heavily once September 15 hits.
This is just more confirmation that Apple will unleash the iPhone 5S and 5C smartphones on September 10 with a September 20 release.
Vodafone and Verizon's business relationship might just improve if a report from Reuters is correct, with the company's working on a deal over the weekend. As usual, people "familiar with the matter" say that the firms' respective boards are voting on a $130 billion buyout.
This would see Vodafone's 45% stake in Verizon back in its own hands. Verizon will finance half of the deal with bonds and bank loans, with the other half of the deal seeing suitcases filled with cash being handed over. The Wall Street Journal has chimed in, stating that the deal was finalized behind closed doors, and we should expect an official announcement on Monday morning.
Today a report surfaced that says Microsoft is in talks with Foursquare over a deal that could see the Redmond, Washington based company investing in the social check-in service. Unfortunately for Microsoft Foursquare, American Express is also interested in investing in the company which could see massive gains and profit over its new advertising business model.
Recently Foursquare was valued at $600 million after it raised $41 million from venture capital firms to aid in the company's expansion. Its new advertising business model would allow companies to place targeted ads directly to the consumers when they check-in at an establishment where an advertisers products may be served. The company has dubbed this new business model "Geo-Aware Advertising."
Some people are not a fan of targeted advertising, but I have to say that honestly I don't mind it that much. I would much rather see ads about products that I'm interested in over products I could care less about. This new advertising model actually excites me a little because I feel that it may help introduce me to new things in establishment I frequent.
Big news for the Mountain View-based giant tonight, with its VP of Android product management leaving the company and headed for Chinese cellphone maker Xiaomi.
Barra has been with Google since 2008, but get ready for the juicy part: Barra was rumored to be in a relationship with a Google employee who is now seeing Google co-founder Sergey Brin. AllThingsD is reporting that the relationship issues are not part of why Barra left the company.
You might be thinking 'just who in the hell is Xiaomi?' but they are quite the force in the Chinese market right now, recently shipping more handsets than Apple did iPhones in the country, according to Canalys' latest numbers. Google has released a statement regarding Barra's departure, where it said: "We wish Hugo Barra the best. We'll miss him at Google and we're excited that he is staying within the Android ecosystem."
It's no secret that Apple would like to own the IP rights to everything ever created, and a recent trademark filing seems to affirm this. Today, website TMwatch spotted a recent trademark application filed by the Cupertino giant in which the company wishes to obtain exclusive rights to the word "startup."
The trademark was filed with the Australian legal firm Baker and McKenzie at the company's California headquarters. If the trademark is granted, it would prevent future new companies from using the term "startup" to describe their business ever again. It would also prevent the phrase being used in retail stores, being used in literature to describe what your computer does when you press the power button, and even educational settings such as classes and workshops.
Fortunately, trademark applications usually take a couple of years to process which leaves plenty of time for individuals and other companies to protest the filing. However, if the trademark application is approved, it could spell major issues for the tech industry as a whole. On a lighter note, could you imagine a world in which Robert Scoble could not use the term "startup" anymore?
ARM has made an announcement that its acquired Finnish startup Sensinode, who develops "Internet of things" software. Sensinode has created 6LoWPAN and CoAP standards for low cost low power devices and has been a large part of the IETF, ZigBee IP, ETSI and OMA standardization efforts
ARM believes its acquisition of Sensinode and its 'Internet of things' is the next big thing in terms of the evolution of technology, where devices and appliances used in our day-to-day lives get embedded with sensors that collect data and connectivity to trigger actions. The British semiconductor says it will continue to sell Sensinode's NanoStack and NanoService products to both new, and existing customers.
The acquisition will help ARM to push open standards through its mbed project, which is an industry-wide effort to simplify development for connected devices by offering open source hardware and software. This will see ARM's Cortex range of chips being baked into everything from wearable tech devices, to the fridge in your kitchen.
Syria is all over the news right now, with a chemical attack happening a few days ago and now it looks like the US is set to intervene in the next 72 hours. But now the Syrian Electronic Army has hit The New York Times, with a Domain Name System (DNS) attack that took down its website.
The Times had to resort to tweeting out direct IP links to its articles, all while Twitter itself is now possibly vulnerable. Hackers have reportedly managed to modify some of the registration data, including the contact e-mail address, suggesting an attack on Twitter could happen any moment.
Last week, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced his retirement in an aptly named internal memo titled "Moving Forward." The memo depicts Ballmer leaving the company on his own decision, but many industry analysts are speculating that the sometimes wild CEO was actually being forced out by the company's board.
GigaOm journalist Barb Darrow said in a recent article that "Several former and one current Microsoft execs told me that there was no way Ballmer would step down unless Gates withdrew his long-time support" when this is paired with Ballmer's own statement from the memo "My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our transformation to a devices and services company focused on empowering customers in the activities they value most." It's easy to interpret Ballmer's retirement as a not so voluntary departure.
The article on GigaOm goes on to quote another former vice president who it says is still tightly connected with Microsoft; "Bill must have flipped the bit on Steve," said the VP, adding that the recent reshuffling of most major executive roles--Ballmer's his own--"lined everything up behind Steve."
Julian Assange. Bradley Manning. Michael Hastings. Edward Snowden. These are all men who are either dead, stuck in another country, in jail or are in the run because they exposed US government secrets. This is wrong, and the reverse should be happening.
These men should be awarded for exposing the lies from within the biggest government in the world, but instead, they're paying the price for exposing things that the Obama administration promised would be more 'transparent.' Now there's news that the National Security Agency (NSA) hacked into encrypted communications of the United Nations' internal video conferencing system.
The news is coming from Germany's Der Spiegel, a source we used when we were the first mainstream site to report that a German government official considered Microsoft's Xbox One console a "monitoring device." This even landed us on the front page of Reddit, with multitudes of sites reporting on the story afterwards.
Tesla Motors is continuing to impress, as the electric car maker is currently outselling some of the biggest car manufacturers in the world in California.
The California New Car Dealers Association's latest numbers note that Tesla Motors took a nice 12% chunk of the luxury sports car category in California for the first half of 2013. This 12% cut was enough to pass the Audi A6 and Lexus GS. Tesla Motors' Model S is the car in question, with the company selling 4,714 of the electric vehicles in the first six months of 2013.
1,097 of them were sold in June, making this number enough to beat the big boys like Porsche, Volvo, Cadillac, Buick and Land Rover for June, 2013. Tesla Motors' Model S is pretty darn safe, too.
Steve Ballmer, the current CEO of Microsoft, has announced he's stepping down in 2014, but what is his biggest regret as his time as Chief Executive Officer at the biggest software company in the world?
Oh, you guessed it already: Windows Vista. Ballmer spoke with ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, where he said: "I would say probably the thing I regret most is the, what shall I call it, the loopedy-loo that we did that was sort of Longhorn to Vista. I would say that's probably the thing I regret most. And, you know, there are side effects of that when you tie up a big team to do something that doesn't prove out to be as valuable."
But, from the doom and gloom of Windows Vista was one of Microsoft's most successful operating systems: Windows 7. This was while Ballmer was CEO of course, so he can at least give himself credit for something big.
Nokia is experiencing a tax problem in India, and is now threatening to pull its entire manufacturing business out of the country. Indian authorities recently raided one of Nokia's factories after allegations of the Finnish company not paying as much as $542 million in taxes to the Indian government.
Nokia laughed the bill off, and is continuing to laugh in a letter to India's Ministry of Commerce & Industry, where it said: "India has suddenly become the least favourable market. The political risk of operating in India [is] suddenly substantially higher and may inevitably influence future decisions to develop one's operations in India."
If Nokia do indeed move some of its operations out of India, rumor has it the business would shift to China.
Can it get any worse? When will the people of the United States realize the Constitution is, and has been worthless for years? This latest news should help boil that kettle a little hotter...
The Guardian, who also broke the NSA PRISM news thanks to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, is now reporting that US-based tech giants such as Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook all received funds from the NSA so they could meet new certification demands after a ruling from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) court.
This was declassified by the Obama administration during the week, but happened back in October of 2011. The document states something that Edward Snowden himself talked about, the Special Source Operations division which he called the "crown jewel" of NSA's PRISM system, and that they relied on "corporate partnerships" with telecommunications companies and ISPs in order to access communications data. Mad yet?
The hits just keep coming for Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox. Earlier this year, the US Department of Homeland Security had seized $2.9 million from Mt. Gox's Dwolla account, and now reports are coming in that say an additional $2.1 million was seized from the company's Wells Fargo accounts.
That brings the total of the seizures up to $5 million and explains why recent withdrawal attempts from Bitcoin traders failed to process. On June 19, the $2.1 million held in Wells Fargo accounts was seized, which was one day before Mt. Gox suspended all US withdrawals.
The legal issues arose when Mt. Gox opened a Wells Fargo business account for Mutum Sigillum LLC (Mt. Gox's American subsidiary) but declared it as a business not engaged in money services. This was a falsification and the US government does not like it when you falsify financial documents. Head over to Source #2 to read the full seizure warrants.
The US Department of Justice has its hands busy with paperwork regarding Microsoft and its possible involvement with bribing foreign government officials into accepting software contracts in both Russia and Pakistan.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting on the story, and according to the Journal's sources, "in Pakistana a tipster alleged that Microsoft authorized a consulting firm to pay for a five-day trip to Egypt for a government official and his wife in order to win a tender."
Moving onto Russia, the tipster said that "resellers of its software allegedly funneled kickbacks to executives of a state-owned company to win a deal." Microsoft is cooperating with the investigation, but why? Just give the DoJ some Windows-based PCs filled with security holes so that the NSA can send the e-mails back and forth.
I've just woken up this morning (it's 7am here in my part of Australia) to the news of a three-hour shutdown of NASDAQ. Yes, a three-hour shutdown to trading in NASDAQ securities, which is massive news.
NASDAQ pegged the issue on an 'unexplained technological problem' and resumed trading at 3:25pm EDT, after a 3-hour, 11-minute shutdown of trading in US companies' stocks. The shutdown is the largest in recent history. Sal Arnuk, co-head of equity trading at Themis Trading in Chatnam, New Jersey said: "Any brokerage firm gets paid by executing orders. So yes, we are frustrated, and this hurts us, it hurts the market and it hurts public confidence."
The exchange blamed the issue with distributing stock price quotes for the shutdown, with a source close to the matter describing the problem as a "data feed issue" reports Reuters. Ok, now let's talk serious for a little bit, because a "technical issue", in my opinion, doesn't just happen to NASDAQ.
We all know HTC is going through troubled times, but at the same time they've seen some decent success with some of its latest smartphones. The Taiwanese company has even enlisted the help of Robert Downey Jr, or Iron Man, in its latest advertising campaign.
But, the company still has issues. Reuters has an interesting interview lineup, where they've interviewed over a dozen of former, and current HTC executives, who talked about HTC's CEO, Peter Chou. They said they Chou was a quick decision maker with an attention to detail, which stop HTC from climbing higher up the smartphone success ladder.
Chou's traits have, however, helped the company over the last few years, as Chou could quickly make a decision on a product, or quickly snap together a concept for a new device. Reuters did talk of an offsite meeting two years ago where the HTC CEO sketched his plans for the design, price and launch date of the Sensation XL a mere three months before its launch.
In the beginning, this was a strength for HTC, but the competition is heating up, and fast. One unnamed HTC source said: "It used to be a strength, and now is becoming a weak point as they don't have a clear direction going forward."
It's no secret that copyright and patent trolls are not the most ethical of creatures. In fact, many regard them as little more than the scum of the earth. Today, website Torrentfreak has released a report that shows just how immoral and unethical copyright trolls can be.
The report says that Comcast has confirmed that a Pirate Bay user going by the name "Sharkmp4" has been directly linked to the notorious copyright troll Prenda Law. In a weird turn of events, The Pirate Bay actually helped Comcast expose the copyright troll who is running a honeypot on the popular torrent listing service.
The exposure came after a June report released by Delvan Neville, who works for a company that monitors BitTorrent users, that accused Prenda of running the so-called honeypot. The report says that the law firm was the major seeder of the very files they claim to be protecting. The Pirate Bay jumped in and exposed the IP address that Sharkmp4 was using, which matched up with Prenda's IP address.
Earlier this week, the one-year-old Bitcoin startup Coinbase announced that it has made buying, selling, or trading Bitcoins easier than ever. The company now allows its users to interact with the virtual currency using SMS-based actions. This new feature allows anyone with a mobile device the ability to use Bitcoins for all sorts of things.
To get started, users must simply verify their phone number and then set up a PIN that will be used to verify the transaction during a voice call that is received after the SMS messages are received. Using the virtual currency via SMS is quite easy as users can send a text message using one of the predetermined short codes the company has set up.
It is being reported that Apple is looking for a bunch of engineers to fill a new iPhone R&D center that will be based in Taiwan. The Cupertino-based company has posted up job listings for engineers who will work at a facility based in Taipei.
Taiwan-based DigiTimes are behind the report, who claim they have heard from sources that Apple might also set up a maintenance center in Taiwan that would provide after-sales services. The engineers that Apple is looking for are being recruited for the Taiwan-based facility will reportedly work on next-gen iPhones.
Apple are also reportedly looking for a senior packaging engineers, senior software instrumentation engineer and senior AC-DC design engineer. This will be an interesting step for both Apple, and the entire of Taiwan.