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Candy Crush Saga developer now has 550 million monthly active players

King, the developer behind mega smash hit Candy Crush Saga, has reported its fiscal first quarter earnings today, where we have found out that the company has a huge 550 million monthly active players. This is up from the 481 million during the first quarter of its fiscal 2014. The company should expect an injection of players in the near future, as Candy Crush Saga will be pre-installed with Windows 10.

 

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The company has 158 million daily active players, with 364 million monthly unique players, respectively. With mobile gaming being a massive $30 billion business, King is one of the kings of it - pun intended. But, it's not all soda pops and candy bars, as player spending has dropped considerably over the last 12 months.

 

The amount of unique players that are spending money inside of King's games has dropped, from 11.86 million from this time last year, to 8.52 million. Paying gamers who continue to spend money, are spending an average of $23.64, compared to $18.02 during the same time of 2014, but it's not enough to make up for the amount of players not spending money.

Continue reading 'Candy Crush Saga developer now has 550 million monthly active players' (full post)

Nasdaq using bitcoin technology for secure, efficient stock trades

Nasdaq may not be fully on the bitcoin bandwagon, but has found some bitcoin-related technology it will be able to leverage in the future. Specifically, the bitcoin blockchain will be leveraged, as it can provide a more efficient, fully-electronic service that can be used to keep records for the Nasdaq Private Market.

 

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If nothing else, this is an important step to show that bitcoins have major potential in the financial and trading markets.

 

"Utilizing the blockchain is a natural digital evolution for managing physical securities," said Bob Greifeld, CEO of Nasdaq. "Once you cut the apron strings of need for the physical, the opportunities we can envision blockchain providing stand to benefit not only our clients, but the broader global capital markets."

Continue reading 'Nasdaq using bitcoin technology for secure, efficient stock trades' (full post)

Warner Music: Streaming music revenue now tops digital downloads

It looks like Warner Music Group, which confirmed it makes more revenue based on streaming music than digital downloads, has learned how important Spotify, Pandora, and other streaming services can be. The company noted a 33 percent increase in streaming income, and warned other labels not to shut the door on free, ad-supported streaming models that are currently offered to music listeners.

 

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"The rate of this growth has made it abundantly clear to us that in years to come, streaming will be the way that most people enjoy music," said Stephen Cooper, CEO of Warner Music, during a recent company earnings call. "Not only that, we are also confident that streaming's ongoing expansion will return the industry to sustainable, long-term growth."

 

Even though Cooper also added that ad-based and subscription-based services are "better than piracy," that isn't likely any solace in the news - the music industry has created absolutely insane business agreements that Pandora, Spotify, and other services were forced to adopt. Apple is preparing to launch Beats Music, pending record label support, though it won't even have a free membership available.

Report: Verizon purchasing AOL for $4.4 billion

Verizon is purchasing AOL for $4.4 billion, valued at $50 per share, according to both companies early Tuesday morning. It's the latest strategic push by Verizon, as the company looks to expand its Internet of Things (IoT) offerings - and could benefit from AOL's digital and video experience.

 

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AOL, which was the dial-up ISP king in the 1990s, has generated millions in digital advertising revenue, while supporting major media brands such as Engadget, TechCrunch, and The Huffington Post. Verizon is preparing a mobile video service this summer, and could call upon AOL's advertising platforms.

 

"AOL has once again become a digital trailblazer, and we are excited at the prospect of charting a new course together in the digitally connected world," said Lowell McAdam, chairman and CEO of Verizon, in a public statement.

Continue reading 'Report: Verizon purchasing AOL for $4.4 billion' (full post)

Apple willing to offer free trial to lure users to Beats Music service

Apple wants to throw down with Pandora, Spotify, and other companies in the streaming music market, hoping its Beats Music service will win over listeners. The company is expected to offer a free trial that will range from one month up to three months, with more details after Apple and music labels agree to a deal.

 

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Instead of offering a free, ad-supported service, Beats Music will require listeners to sign up as a member. However, a rumored feature would allow current subscribers to upload a song sample that can be shared with non-subscribers.

 

Apple, which once earned praise from the record industry due to booming sales with iTunes, must rebuild trust with music labels. The RIAA has insane contract agreements with Pandora and Spotify, with both companies clawing for every subscriber they have.

Continue reading 'Apple willing to offer free trial to lure users to Beats Music service' (full post)

Uber rumored to be valued at an insane $50 billion

It was only in February of 2011 that Uber raised $11 million and was valued at $60 million, in just nine months the company raised another $37.5 million for a $330 million valuation. But now, the ride sharing giant is said to be valued at a mind boggling $50 billion.

 

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VentureBeat has an impressive image that we've got above, showing just how far Uber has come in four short years. Since 2009, Uber has grown into over 300 cities across the planet, where the valuation of $50 billion has venture capitalists throwing their money at the ride sharing company. The reason? Uber can expand ever so easily from the taxi industry, into couriers, moving services, food delivery and so much more. This has investors creating an expanding bubble of hope for Uber.

 

Where to from here though? The company could file an IPO, or raise a few more billion dollars to keep them afloat. Whatever happens, the future is brighter than ever for Uber.

Cute robot toy aims to teach children electronics and robotics

Kay Yang has asked the Kickstarter community to help her raise $100,000 in order to fund 'Tinker the Robot', described in the page title as "An Interactive Robot for Kids."

 

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Not to be confused with the Dota2 hero, Tinker sets out to solve a problem that Yang feels is common in children today - a lack of circuitry knowledge. Driven by personal experience, Yang shared that as a child she "loved taking things apart and figuring out how things worked. . .except electronics. I [She] would just stare at the circuit board. To me, electronic circuits were black boxes that didn't make sense."

 

This small toy robot combines electronics, coding and physical accessories together. The basic pack involves three LEDs and a light sensor with future plans for accessories to be developed such as a motorized track for movement purposes.

Continue reading 'Cute robot toy aims to teach children electronics and robotics' (full post)

Zynga tries to save $100 million by laying off 18% of its workforce

Zynga is trying to cut $100 million in jobs, so it is getting rid of 18% of its workforce. Zynga, the maker of hit games like Farmville and Words with Friends, has announced that it will be cutting the jobs of around 364 people.

 

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Company CEO Mark Pincus has said in a statement: "For our people, we need to create an empowered, entrepreneurial culture that fosters more creativity and innovation. Over the years we've seen that tighter, more nimble teams can drive faster innovation and deliver more player value. As a result, today we announced a cost reduction program to focus, simplify and align us against our most promising opportunities... This was a hard but necessary decision and I believe this plan puts us in the best long term position for success".

 

Zynga said that the layoffs will be completed by the end of the year, and will help the company save around $45 million. An additional $55 million will be saved, something the company expects to be completed by Q3 2016.

Uber wants Nokia's Here mapping technology, offers $3 billion

Uber might be experiencing on and off again issues in Portland, but that hasn't stopped the ridesharing giant from bidding $3 billion to acquire Nokia's Here mapping technology, according to The New York Times.

 

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Multiple car manufacturers have reportedly thrown their bids into the same hat, with giants like Audi, BMW and Mercedez Benz, as well as Chinese search engine, Baidu. While Google Maps is the mapping behemoth in the US and most parts of the world, it isn't the force most think it is outside of the US. The New York Times reports that Nokia's Here technology has 80% of the in-car GPS market share.

 

Uber's interest in the mapping technology could lend a very big hand to Uber Pool's car-pooling market, but it will also help in the development and guidance of autonomous vehicles, taking away any future reliance on Google's technology.

BlackBerry trying to recreate image that was left in pieces

BlackBerry CEO John Chen took control of BlackBerry less than two years ago, continuing to rebuild the company following a once uncertain future. During its most recent quarter, the company saw continued sales, but saw a profit of $28 million - as Chen tries to revamp the BlackBerry brand after numerous roadblocks.

 

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"Not long ago, the company was in deep trouble," Chen recently said during a chamber of commerce meeting in Canada. "We are now out of trouble in terms of financial, but we haven't established a growth... until that happens nobody will go willingly buy our products."

 

BlackBerry is still best known for its once popular smartphones - before the Apple iPhone and Google Android - which clearly left the company behind. Chen noted handsets are "important," but there are other solutions that must be explored. In addition to releasing a wide variety of consumer smartphones and tablets, expect BlackBerry to focus more on enterprise hardware and software.

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