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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 253

Microsoft announces $300 million investment in Barnes & Noble's Nook business

Microsoft have just splashed out $300 million on an investment in Barnes & Noble's Nook digital-book business and college-text unit. This investment will see the Redmond-based company take a 17.6-percent stake in a new subsidiary temporarily known as Newco, with Barnes & Noble getting the remaining 82.4-percent while all pending litigation related to Android will be put to rest.

 

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This new deal gives Barnes & Noble more power to fight off shareholders who have agitated for a sale of the Nook e-book business, or the entire company, in addition to relieving concerts that it doesn't have the capital to compete in the e-book business with heavy weight Amazon.com.

 

At the moment, Barnes & Nobile relies on a customized version of Google's Android OS for products such as the Nook Color and offers Nook reader apps for Android, iOS, OS X and Windows. The deal doesn't state whether this would change, but one of the first things to change would most likely be a Metro-style Nook e-reader app for Windows 8 available to users across the world. At the moment there's also no suggestion on whether we'll end up seeing a future Nook app on Windows Phone.

Continue reading 'Microsoft announces $300 million investment in Barnes & Noble's Nook business' (full post)

Apple and Motorola both file motions for a summary judgement in US lawsuit

Both Apple and Motorola have filed motions with the court in Wisconsin asking for a summary judgement in a Apple's lawsuit against Motorola. Apple accuses Motorola of violating FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) patent licensing. The motions filed Friday would have Apple try to have some of its patent claims validated.

 

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On the other hand, Motorola wants most of Apple's patent arguments ruled invalid. Full details of the lawsuit are unknown as the court documents remain sealed. What we gather is that Apple would like to use a summary judgement to solidify its claims of Motorola breaking the FRAND license agreement.

 

A summary judgement could either find Motorola mostly innocent, which would leave Apple's claims hard to prove in court, or find Motorola guilty, which would make it harder for Motorola, should the case go to trial. Motorola has based large portions of its lawsuits against Apple on standards based patents. While this has worked at the ITC, it hasn't worked in civil trials. Apple denies this and continues to fight it in court. More as it comes.

Apple sidesteps paying taxes legally, defends practice

Big companies have lots of money to spend on accountants. These accountants, in turn, go through the tax law and find the corporation ways to avoid taxes legally through loopholes present in tax codes around the world. The latest company that has been accused of doing this is none other than Apple, a company with more cash than the government.

 

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Thanks to a new report by the New York Times, a spotlight has been shined upon Apple Inc. and shows how Apple avoids a potentially massive tax bill by using subsidiary companies located around the world. These companies are often located in locations where taxes are low or don't exist. This practice is both legal and employed by many other large corporations around the world.

 

Take, for instance, Apple's subsidiary based in Reno, NV. This office is just 200 miles away from Apple's headquarters. A small staff located there takes and invests Apple's profits. By placing the company/office in Nevada, they avoid paying California's 8.84% income tax, since Reno has a tax rate of zero.

 

"Setting up an office in Reno is just one of many legal methods Apple uses to reduce its worldwide tax bill by billions of dollars each year," the report revealed. "As it has in Nevada, Apple has created subsidiaries in low-taxes places like Ireland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and the British Virgin Islands - some little more than a letterbox or an anonymous office - that help cut the taxes it pays around the world."

Continue reading 'Apple sidesteps paying taxes legally, defends practice' (full post)

MegaUpload's Kim Dotcom gets money and Mercedes back, also involved in political scandal

MegaUpload's Kim Dotcom seems to have struck a bit of luck. A High Court lawyer has ruled that a court-ordered seizure issued in January was not valid, even though an interim order has been in effect for two months. Due to this fact, he is receiving many of his seized assets, including money and a car, back from the government.

 

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Dotcom is said to be receiving NZ$750,000 ($614,000) in cash that had been confiscated. He will also continue to receive his NZ$20,000 ($16,000) monthly living allowance off of the interest of government bonds. His wife Mona will also get her living expenses and medical bills paid as she recently gave birth.

 

Additionally, Dotcom will get his Mercedes-Benz G55AMG worth NZ$250,000 ($204,000) with the license plate "POLICE" returned to him. His wife will also have use of her seized 2010 Toyota Vellfire, worth NZ$60,000 ($49,000). He has also had use of his mansion since early April with its swimming pool for exercise. He has also been able to use the internet.

 

Dotcom has also found himself at the center of a political scandal. He claims, according to reports, that he donated NZ$50,000 ($41,000) to John Banks,the head of the ACT New Zealand political party and the current minister for Small Business and Regulatory Reform, for his 2010 Mayoral campaign.

Continue reading 'MegaUpload's Kim Dotcom gets money and Mercedes back, also involved in political scandal' (full post)

Huge drop in US iPhone app downloads, over 30% in March alone

This comes at quite a surprise, but daily US iPhone app downloads have dropped, considerably, with a 30-percent month-over-month drop. This is up from the 6.35 million in February to just 4.45 million in March, according to mobile marketing firm Fiksu.

 

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Fiksu also says that it was the second straight month of decline in the course of their tracking, with a drop in January to February, but no where near as severe. January saw downloads topping 6.79 million, so a drop to 6.35 million is less than 10-percent. But a 30-percent drop the month after? That's something worth noting.

 

Fiksu also states that the drop is most likely due to two trends: first, the iPhone 4S is no longer a new device, so owners may be less concerned with downloading new apps. And secondly, Apple has decided to crack down on third-party marketers using bots to download apps and inflate chart rankings. This would make sense as with fewer bots, app traffic may now be coming down from its inflated numbers, down to reality.

Australian Government looks into the ridiculous "Australia Tax", the cost of tech and games

Being based in Australia is good for a few things, our pay over here for jobs is quite good, public health is amazing, and countless other things. But the things that I like to spend my hard-earned cash on, tech and games, is ridiculously priced compared to the rest of the world.

 

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The Australian government is now going to be looking into this, where all major computer and software publishers will be sent invitations to defend their pricing policies at a Federal Parliament inquiry. MP Ed Husic has been campaigning for fairer local pricing, and welcomed the inquiry, saying:

 

People here scratch their heads trying to work out why they get fleeced on software downloads. When the Productivity Commission asked IT companies why they charge so much for downloads, even they found the answers were not persuasive.

 

With the strength of the Australian dollar, most people expected things to drop in price, but, they didn't. No one really seems to care, as I can walk into most retailers in this country (and in particular, my state: South Australia) and electronic and gaming retailers are usually quite busy with customers. But, with the great Aussie dollar, most gamers (like myself) are buying and importing games from overseas.

Continue reading 'Australian Government looks into the ridiculous "Australia Tax", the cost of tech and games ' (full post)

Apple and Samsung to have settlement talks on May 21-22

Apple and Samsung have been at it for a while now, but it's beginning to heat up considerably. Both companies are now being ushered into a room together with their judge mediating settlement talks between the two popular companies.

 

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Both Apple and Samsung, as well as their CEOs and chief counsels, are expected to meet up on the mornings of May 21 and 22 in a San Francisco court rather than the full trials' San Jose venue. Both sides will also have to produce statements by May 9 stating how likely they think their chances are of winning the trial.

 

But right now, there's absolutely no way one could guess which way this is going to go. Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated that he prefers to settle when he can, but still argues that companies should stop copying, implying that legal action might not stop without a promise of changes from GALAXY-branded maker, Samsung.

Continue reading 'Apple and Samsung to have settlement talks on May 21-22' (full post)

Corsair sets to raise $78 million with an IPO, wants shares at $13

A regulatory filing Thursday shows that Fremont-based Corsair Components looks to raise $78 million dollars with an initial public offering (IPO). The company is looking to sell shares at $13 a share, with a range of $12 to $14. The filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows that the company intends to share 6 million shares during its IPO.

 

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This SEC filing marks the first time that Corsair has specified a potential selling price for its shares. This has been a long time coming. Two years ago is when Corsair originally filed to become publicly traded. Its initial IPO filing in April 2010, Corsair estimated it would seek to raise $86 million.

 

According to the Mercury News:

 

During 2011, Corsair earned $19.4 million on sales of $455.2 million. In 2010, the company lost $10.2 million on sale. Compared to the year before, sales in 2011 jumped 20 percent. For the quarter that ended in March, Corsair earned $3.1 million on sales of $132.5 million. Compared to the year-ago quarter, profits fell 37 percent, while sales rose 23 percent, the company's SEC filing showed.

 

No date has been specified for when they would begin selling shares.

Nintendo reports first annual loss in 30 years

It's that time of year where many companies report their Q1 financial results, or if you're Nintendo, you report your entire fiscal year. Nintendo reports its finances only once a year (annually) as opposed to 4 times like most companies (quarterly). This report is the first time in 30 years that Nintendo has reported a loss.

 

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A lot of this is due to the financial climate that is affecting everyone worldwide. Additionally, the gaming market has changed as of late, due to the availability of high quality, free, mobile games. The 3-way struggle between Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony hasn't exactly helped the market either. While competition is good, it does cause companies to lower prices to compete, sometimes below cost.

 

In August, Nintendo was forced to cut the price of the 3DS by 40%. A cut that big is never good for the bottom line. Between the price cut, and a few popular new 3D games such as Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land, they managed to sell 13.53 units last fiscal year. This time around they hope to sell 18.5 million.

 

Now, the financial results. Ninteno said it suffered a net loss of ¥43.20 billion in the fiscal year ending March 31st whereas last year they recorded a profit of ¥77.62 billion. Also, they recorded an operating loss of ¥37.32 billion with revenue dropping by 36% to ¥647.65 billion yen. They really are depending on a successful WiiU launch, which is expected later this year.

Apple could hit $1 trillion market cap in the next year

Apple's super-powered earnings call during the week has impressed the entire tech industry, but Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White has said that his target for Apple shares in the near future will be $1,111. Apple are poised to become the world's first trillion-dollar company when its share price hits $1,072.

 

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With White throwing his dart toward a $1,111 per share estimate, he is predicting that Apple's market cap will hit $1 trillion sometime in 2013. Brian White has said:

 

Apple's performance once again demonstrated how quickly Apple fever is spreading around the world, and this trend continues to drive meaningful upside in the company's financial results. We believe the negative vibes that have held back the stock over the past couple of weeks will now be replaced with the fear of missing the next leg up in the stock price that we are forecasting will reach $1,111 over the next year.

 

Could they do it? Apple are unstoppable right now, you can't contest that. Right now, they are a smart device powerhouse.

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