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Apple have reached a deal with local governments to finalize its plans for a data center to be built in Prineville, Oregon. According to The Associated Press' report, Apple have agreed to invest $250 million in facilities on its 160-acre property, and will offer an annual $150,000 "project fee" in lieu of property taxes over the next fifteen years.
Apple have also guaranteed some decent job numbers, where there'll be 35 jobs introduced to the center at 150-percent of the average wage in the country. The Associated Press continues:
The $150,000 project fee in part of an agreement with Apple that was made public this week. Prineville City Manager Steve Forrester called it a common arrangement. The Oregonian reports that the value of the tax break will depend on how much Apple winds up investing. Similar tax breaks on Google's $1.3 billion data center in The Dalles are worth more than $24 million to the company annually.
Do you currently own stock? If not, is it because of all the fees and difficulties associated with buying and selling it? Well, it appears that shortly after Facebook goes public, you could be able to purchase stock in companies straight from their respective Facebook page without any fees or brokers. The minimum amount would be $10, so it's not like you have to spend a fortune to start.
All of this is according to former Facebook executive and current director at Loyal3 Chris Kelly. Loyal3 would like to point out that only 18% of American families own stock, a number which they hope to change with this CSOP, or customer stock ownership plan. Direct purchase isn't new, but few companies use it since it isn't cost efficient to oversee millions of tiny share holders.
Loyal3 hopes that by making ownership easy and without fees the average person will be more inclined to purchase stock. CEO Barry Schneider points out that ownership changes a persons point-of-view regarding an item. People usually care more about something they care than something they don't. Think about it, have you ever washed a rental car?
The ability to buy stock is believed to be available as early as June, but there will be a $2500 cap to discourage people from being daily traders. The idea looks good on the face. I mean, I would buy stock in companies if I didn't have to pay fees.
Facebook and IPO, we've heard these two words so many times over the last year or more, and we're inching closer to that magical day. Facebook's recent acquisition of Instagram is sure to go a decent way to help them expand their value, and we could see them eyeing IPO on May 17. This is pends on whether the SEC agrees that all of the paperwork is in order.
Earlier reports have pegged Facebook of hitting NASDAQ during the third week of May, with another source over at CNBC saying that Facebook could go public either on the 17th or 24th of May. Facebook is valued at around $100 billion, right now. Other reports are pointing toward the company wanting to raise $10 billion at a $100 billion valuation.
The only problem with this, is something that I would've said anyway, but TechCrunch points it out: a lot can happen in four weeks. TC cites that the European economy could crash, another oil crisis, etc - and whilst it may be tongue-in-cheek, anything can happen. We'll see how we go between now and then, but it looks like Facebook are going public, and it's not too far away now, folks.
AMD reported its first quarter financial results today and it's not quite as bad as was expected. AMD beat expectations, but they still posted a loss of $590 million. AMD has a strong product line-up in both the CPU and GPU markets, but it's pretty hard to compete against the chip giant that is Intel.
The loss, however, is not due to operations but rather an accounting charge. Revenue for the quarter was $1.59 billion which was higher than the expected $1.56 billion Including the accounting charge, the loss of $590 million amount to 80 cents a share. If we take out the accounting charge, AMD had a good quarter, with a non-GAAP profit of 12 cents a share, or $92 million. Analysts predicted only 9 cents a share with the accounting charge taken out.
"AMD delivered solid results in the first quarter as we remain focused on improving our execution, delivering innovative products, and building a company around a strategy to deliver strong cash flow and earnings growth," said Rory Read, AMD president and CEO. "A complete top-to-bottom introduction of new APU offerings, combined with ample product supply resulting from continued progress with our manufacturing partners, positions us to win and grow."
Which cyberlocker service will get busted next? RapidShare, MediaFire distance themselves from MegaUpload
RapidShare and MediaFire certainly don't want to be the next cyberlocker services to be taken down, but it's a fear that they are having to deal with after the US government took down MegaUpload back on January 19, 2012. They are now trying to distance themselves from MegaUpload in order to prevent being shut down on similar complaints.
All of the online cyberlocker services have fear that they could be next, and they are now publicly trying to show that they are different from the now defunct MegaUpload. Danny Raimer, who is RapidShare's general counsel, told U.S. News & World Report that Megaupload's approach to piracy was "so far from what we're doing and what we want to stand for."
RapidShare continues to deny that they are or have violated copyright laws publicly released a "responsible practices" manifesto for cyberlocker and cloud storage companies. This includes practices like including in the TOS that the company reserves the right to go through repeat offender's lockers.
Langridge, of MediaFire, wrote: "MediaFire cooperates fully with the MPAA, RIAA, and various other organizations who work to identify and prohibit the distribution of copyrighted content."
A spokesperson for the top four recording companies released a statement about RapidShare:
The New York Times loves its digital paywall and says that it is a success with consumers, and from the last statistics I saw, it is. However, its digital advertising business is not doing quite as well. Last quarter the business actually receded by 2%, which isn't much, but, considering other advertisers gained, is worrisome.
At the publisher's core News Media Group, advertising fell even further. Overall ad sales were down 6.1 percent. Times CEO Arthur Sulzberberger Jr. blamed "uneven U.S. economic environment and uncertain global conditions" for weak ad sales. The New York Times is expecting similar downward pressure in the second quarter.
People seem happy enough to pay for the paper. Circulation revenue was up 9.7 percent and it has near 500,000 subscribers to its digital service. The New York Times hopes to increase this by shrinking what it provides for free. In related news, the Time's About.com is also having trouble. Its revenue decreased a massive 23.1%.
This is something I definitely wasn't aware of, but I'm the type of person that doesn't usually require phone support - and if I get to the stage where it doesn't work on my smartphone, quick, it gets uninstalled and I go into a fit of internal rage.
But, the Google Play Store actually features 24-hour technical support over the phone. So if you have any problems with purchasing or downloading apps, movies or music, you can fill out an online form and a Google representative will call you during your requested time.
The Play Store 24-hour technical support is only for Play Store-related problems, not handset-related problems. So I'm sure they would be picky on what they would help you out on, which is fair enough. If you want to have a handy link to contact the people at Google Play, try this link. Not bad, huh?
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) have awarded Nintendo with a patent for emulating older handheld consoles. Which handheld consoles you ask? Gameboy, Gameboy Color, and Gameboy Advance are being targeted for emulation on external "low capability" computing devices such as airline seat-back displays.
At the moment, it's unclear what Nintendo plan to do with the patent, but it is interesting nonetheless. Backwards compatibility on newer consoles usually uses software or hardware emulation to achieve the playback of older games. This new patent Nintendo hold covers both hardware and software emulation, but is specific to lower-powered devices, rather than modern systems.
The patent covers frame-skipping to enhance performance, as well as requirements that the emulated software have the look and feel greater than, or equal to the original hardware's execution - which is a very good thing. Global handheld emulation developed by Nintendo, which is addressed in the patent, would potentially open up a huge game back-catalog for usage on a wide variety of platforms, interestingly, not just Nintendo-produced ones.
Google wants more money, and who wouldn't? The company sells roughly $38 billion a year in advertising, but wants to go after some of those TV advertising dollars - where there's more than $190 billion per year. Google's new pitch to advertisers is now: think of us like TV! Buy us like TV!
What this means is that Google are going to begin using an old-media metric calling gross rating points, or GRPs, to sell display ads and video ads. These are the two big ideas:
- GRPs are supposed to measure the size of the audience that sees a marketing campaign. Compared to the detailed, click-by-click reporting that digital media provides, they're very crude.
- GRPs are still the preferred currency for most ad buyers and sellers, who find them simple and effective.
Facebook have also joined the GRP game, where they've been pushing metric for a while now, so has ComScore, the Web measurement service. All three companies are trying to move the big dollars that brand marketers spend on TV over to the Web, which is primarily used by search advertisers.
eBay, in the midst of a rather uncertain economy has done very well in the first quarter of 2012. With economies around the world on the brink of destruction, eBay has managed to increase sales and income, much to the delight of Wall Street investors. Stock in the company is up more than 3.5% in after-hours trading.
The first quarter ended March 31, 2012 and the numbers that have come in have pleased investors. Net income rose to $725 million, or 55 cents per share, against $619 million, or 47 cents per share in the same quarter one year ago. Sales have increased a massive 29% to $3.3 billion. A majority of this growth is due to the strength of the company's Marketplace and PayPal businesses.
"We believe that innovation in retail today is technology driven, and consumers are embracing smarter, easier, better ways to shop," CEO John Donahoe said. "We are enabling commerce in this new retail environment, supporting and partnering with sellers of all sizes and giving consumers worldwide the ability to shop anytime, anywhere, for whatever they want."