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Chinese government, along with Huawei and ZTE are being investigated, could pose a national security threat
The US House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee is looking into the relationship between the Chinese government and Huawei, as well as ZTE, both Chinese telecom manufacturers. Mike Rogers, Committee chairman has said that he believes its necessary to look into whether or not the two manufacturers are receiving unfair subsidies from the Chinese government, and whether hardware from the two companies could represent a national security threat.
Later this summer the committee is expected to release a report where there'll be two versions: a classified version and an unclassified version. The report is expected to address both trade practices and security concerns in regards to Huawei and ZTE.
The report might sway US companies from buying the Huawei or ZTE goods, considering the national security aspect of things. The Intelligence Committee has been running an investigation looking into the two manufacturers and their Chinese government ties. Critics allege that the two companies receive cheap loans, land and other subsidies from the Chinese government which allow the companies to make wares cheap, and dump them on foreign markets at prices below their competitors can afford.
A bunch of websites who hosted the reported Xbox 720 design documents have received takedown notices from Microsoft. Polygon reported than a Czech website received a letter requesting that the content be removed. The letter came from Alan Radford, on behalf of Microsoft, which said:
Microsoft has received information that the domain listed above, which appears to be on servers under your control, is offering unlicensed copies of, or is engaged in other unauthorised activities relating to copyrighted works published by Microsoft.
The letter has been sent to other websites, and states that the "IEB Roadmap" was an infringement of Microsoft's copyright. It seems that they just didn't want the information out there, but once it's on the Internet, it's pretty much permanent.
Estonia-based company, GameFounders, has just opened their wallets and hearts to European Game Startups. GameFounders says that they are the first European accelerator to focus solely on game developers. They're offering an investment of 15,000 euros in exchange for 9-percent of the company.
You don't need to have an already-formed company, as long as your team is willing to incorporate after it joins GameFounders. The accelerator program is open to any form of game, as long as it has already launched, even if the game is in its beta stage. The website does note that "it is more likely at the moment for mobile games to get investments".
The best thing about it? It's not limited to Estonian companies:
For a start, Estonia is probably the easiest place to start a business. You count the time time you need to establish a limited company in minutes, the time you need to open a bank account in hours and the time you need to get all the other paperwork (VAT numbers and such) in days. And when you have spent those few days to get the business up and running, there is an abundance of funds, both local and EU, available for you to boost your business.
Are you an Apple employee or thinking about starting work there? Well, now may be a good time as Apple is getting more generous with their employee discount offerings as well as their pay. Back in January, Tim Cook announced employees would be getting a new major discount program for Macs and iPads starting in June.
Sticking with that announcement, Apple has launched the new program which should give large discounts to Apple employees. Employees will now be able to purchase Macs with a $500 discount (excluding Mac mini) and iPads with a $250 discount. Better yet, these discounts are on top of the existing 25% discount offered by Apple.
Employees must be with the company for at least three months and can only take advantage of the discount once every three years. In other news, Apple has moved up its scheduled raises from September to now. Some are reporting increases of up to 30% but the average seems to be about $2-4. The increase depends on the performance of the store and employee both.
LG haven't been doing so well in the tablet market which is mainly dominated by Apple, Samsung and Amazon, but instead of making a constant loss, or barely breaking even, they're completely diving out of the market and concentrating solely on the smartphone side of things.
LG is focused on the smartphones big time, with company spokesman Ken Hong speaking to AllThingsD and being quoted here:
We decided early this year to focus exclusively on building up our smartphone portfolio, which includes the category of large five-inch display and over devices, such as Optimus Vu, which we feel addresses many of the content consumption issues with traditional mobile phones.
Considering the tablet market is pretty much sewn up from the aforementioned companies, unless you have a make-it-or-break-it tablet, why bother, right? On top of this, Microsoft's Surface tablet is sure to shake up the market, and why try to compete with someone like Microsoft? You know what? Personally, I think it's refreshing to see LG Electronics do this. Instead of seeing a company just pour unlimited funds into a market they might not see huge profits from, pull out of a market they aren't strong in, is actually refreshing.
LG, I salute you. I wouldn't mind seeing what you have in the future, but what of the Microsoft Surface tablet? Hong has said "Microsoft's announcement doesn't change anything here at LG". Good. Life is good at LG.
NVIDIA has issued a statement regarding Linus Torvalds harsh words. A little recap: Linus Torvalds said during a conference that NVIDIA is the worst company ever and then said "NVIDIA: F*** you!" He said this because he was a little upset with the Linux support and willingness to work with the open source community.
NVIDIA's PR machine has been at work crafting a statement to respond to his comments and finally issued a statement last night. The short version is that they are committed to Linux support using their own proprietary driver that is common among platforms. This allows for same-day Linux support of GPUs.
They also highlight their work with Tegra in the Linux community. Below is the NVIDIA response:
Supporting Linux is important to NVIDIA, and we understand that there are people who are as passionate about Linux as an open source platform as we are passionate about delivering an awesome GPU experience.
Recently, there have been some questions raised about our lack of support for our Optimus notebook technology. When we launched our Optimus notebook technology, it was with support for Windows 7 only. The open source community rallied to work around this with support from the Bumblebee Open Source Project http://bumblebee-project.org/. And as a result, we've recently made Installer and readme changes in our R295 drivers that were designed to make interaction with Bumblebee easier.
Google doesn't appear to be happy with a website that is converting YouTube videos into MP3s and allowing visitors to convert YouTube videos into MP3 files for download. It turns out that they are so unhappy with the website, which pulls in 1.3m visitors a day, that they have sent a letter threatening legal action.
Apparently, this service that the site is providing is against YouTube's Terms of Service and, as such, YouTube has blocked the websites servers from accessing YouTube. Google has only provided the site with 7 days to comply with Google's request or they could face possible legal action for break the Terms of Service.
"We would estimate that there are roughly 200 million people across the world that make use of services like ours and Google doesn't just ignore all those people, they are about to criminalize them. With the way they are interpreting and creating their ToS every one of those 200 million users is threatened to be sued by Google," the converter spokesman said.
It's pretty clear why YouTube can't have people going around ripping MP3s of pop songs posted on YouTube. If they were, record labels would no longer want to put music videos on the site and Google/YouTube would miss out on a large amount of hits and money. But, if Google wants to end all YouTube to MP3 converters, they have a large task in front of them.
After years of being in limbo and being an arguing point to why Australia is crap for 'mature' gaming, the Australian House and Senate have both passed a bill that would see the creation of an R18+ ratings category for video games.
An R18+ classification for games has been a long-standing fight, as the classification is valid for both movies and other media. The lack of an R18+ rating meant that any games deemed more mature than the MA15+ classification, were banned and unable to be sold in Australia.
Games such as Left 4 Dead 2, Mortal Kombat, Syndicate, and the Grand Theft Auto series have either been met with bans, or were edited to get lowered to the MA15+ classification. But not anymore! The R18+ rating goes into affect on the first day of 2013.
Samsung's new CEO wants software improvements in order to continue their leading position in the tech industry
Samsung's new CEO, Kwon Oh-hyun has said that his company needs to beef up their software competence in order to continue their leading position in the technology industry. This isn't the first time the company has talked of their need to inject some improvements to their proprietary software, as over the past year they've talked about it.
Some analysts have shown Samsung surpassed rival Apple in the first quarter where they became the world's biggest seller of smartphones. During his inaugural speech, Oh-hyun said:
A particular focus must be given to serving new customer experience and value by strengthening soft capabilities in software, user experience, design, and solutions.
The fresh CEO hasn't teased with how much Samsung would spend on their venture into strengthening their software division, but it would be hefty if I were to guess. Samsung had their feathers rustled when Google acquired Motorola, as they then, and still have, the best of both worlds: hardware, and software.
Intel has agreed to buy 1,700 patents relating to Wi-Fi, 3G, and LTE from InterDigital. Last year, there were murmurs about a treasure chest of patents relating to those technologies being up for sale by InterDigital. The cost for these key patents? Only a cool $375 million in cash. Apparently, Intel has been after these patents for a while.
Intel's Senior Vice President, Doug Melamed, had this to say about the transaction: "These patents will support Intel's strategic investments in the mobile segment. The addition of these patents expands our already large, strong and diverse portfolio of intellectual property."
Interestingly enough, InterDigital refers to these as only a small portion of its overall collection of patents. How much more value is included in the other patents that they have? Senior Executive Vice President at InterDigital, Scott McQuilkin, had this to say about the upcoming transaction:
The acquisition of this portfolio of InterDigital's technologies by a global technology leader like Intel affirms the efforts of our research and development team which actively shares our innovations with the worldwide standards bodies, defining technologies that are central to the world's major wireless systems and devices.
The deal should close in the third quarter. These patents will add to Intel's war chest to be used in case of an assault by another technology company's war chest.