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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 255

After 10 years leading StumbleUpon, CEO Garrett Camp steps down

StumbleUpon co-founder and CEO, Garrett Camp, has stepped down from his position and will become chairman of the company. Camp, who after 10 years of leading StumbleUpon, wants change. He explained that it's "time for a change" in a post on StumbleUpon's blog:




After 10 years leading StumbleUpon, it's time for a change. From Geoff and I working part-time in Canada in 2002 to over 120 talented employees today, I've guided StumbleUpon through an unconventional journey. We moved to San Francisco in 2006 (photo above), were acquired by eBay just a year later, spun ourselves out of eBay in 2009, and have since grown the company from 5 million to more than 25 million registered users. The last 3 years have been incredible - completely rebuilding the company and expanding from a simple Firefox add-on to one of the largest discovery platforms on the Web.


StumbleUpon is now seeking a new CEO, immediately. The rest of its executive staff will continue as is. The next thing to see is who StumbleUpon, well, stumble upon for their next CEO, as well as what Camp has up his sleeve as to his next move.

All 650 members of the British parliament to soon receive iPads

After the successful conclusion of a pilot program which studied the effect of tablet computers in government, all 650 members of the British parliament (MP) will soon receive Apple's tablet masterpiece, the iPad.




The roll out of iPads to MPs will cost anywhere between $420,300 and $693,500. Nearly 70 MPs have already bought an iPad and have listed them as an expense, putting the cost onto the tax payer. But there are benefits, they say: such as saving money on printing, and other business/workflow-related reasons.


Each MP and his or her staff are entitled to three desktop computers, and two laptops in the service of the government. A trade-in of one of the allotted devices is expected from 300 of the 650 members not assigned to a select committee. The returned equipment helps for the cost of the iPad purchases by updating obsolete equipment in use by non-elected staffers, which then reduces the need for purchases of new equipment, which would cost a little over $80,000.

EA believes consoles still have potential, promises $80 million in investment for next-gen console game development

In EA's earning call, it was made clear that the company intends to compete in the next-gen console market and is planning to invest $80 million in next-gen game consoles. This $80 million is only over the fiscal year 2013, so likely most of this money will go towards WiiU games as the WiiU is rumored to release around Christmas this year.




"We intend to invest $80 million in gen-4 console development in fiscal 2013," said EA CEO John Riccitiello in his prepared remarks. "We are strong believers that console will return to strong growth, representing great opportunity, one that is in lockstep with our digital plan."


This commitment comes at a time when EA saw, and is predicting, a decline in packaged good sales. At the same time, however, they are expecting to see an increase of 40% in digital revenue for the year. Of course, $80 million wouldn't even cover the development costs of one top AAA title, so it's unclear exactly how many titles will be coming from this investment.

Two Romanian fortune-tellers allegedly con clients by using Google

In what I can only call a hilarious turn of events, two of Romania's most renowned fortune-tellers have been accused of using Google, rather than the spirits, to con clients into doing some outlandish things and forking over cash for the services. One client was encouraged to throw her money into a lake to rid herself of her troubles.




With the internet around, it's so much easier for people to collect information on other people. As such, it was just a matter of time before a fortune-teller put it to use. The fortune-tellers are accused of using their Wi-Fi connections to Google clients and their loved ones. I guess that sort of counts, since after all, Wi-Fi is kind of magical.


But, their misdeeds didn't stop there. According to the allegations, the fortune-tellers trawled their clients' social networks and even used electronic surveillance equipment on those who would pay large sums of money. In a bit of irony, these fortune-tellers couldn't foresee their future in that the prosecutor they tried to bribe was also under electronic surveillance.

Apple's tax evasion issue doesn't affect reputation says new study

When the New York Times ran an article about GE's use of tax loop holes to not pay taxes, GE's brand reputation was significantly hurt and took two months to return to precrisis levels. However, just a month later the New York Times ran a similar story about Apple and Apple did not see the same result as GE.




Apple, as opposed to GE, saw an increase in brand reputation after the New York Times story ran. On YouGov's rating system, Apple went up from a brand reputation of 52 to 58 and is now running at 51. The reputation scores range from -100 to 100 and is calculated off of responses to the question of whether or not they would be "proud or embarrassed to work for this brand."


Apple's reputation is "virtually Teflon," in that nothing sticks to it. "The reaction [to the story about GE] was more pronounced and longer: the company's reputation took a steep drop and two months to recover to precrisis levels," YouGov said in a post. It's incredible that the two companies are treated differently, even though they do the same thing.

Apple joins top 20 on Fortune 500 list

Fortune Magazine have released their annual Fortune 500 list, which list America's largest corporations. Last year, Apple placed at a respectable 35th position, but have zoomed right up to 17th for this years list. Apple rank second in technology to rival Hewlett-Packard.




Last year due to the undeniable success of the iPhone and iPad, Apple became the world's most value company, boosting its earnings by 85-percent to $25.9 billion. Fortune have predicted growrth for the technology sector at 3-percent, marking Apple's earnings as a "giant" contribution in the industry.


Apple looks to continue this runaway success, with another iPhone on the way, and I'm sure another iPad is being worked on as well as refreshed MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and iMacs. I'm sure there's things in-between those products, too. As well as their rumored Apple TV, too.

Rovio Entertainment are preparing IPO for 2013, analysts peg their value at $9 billion

The creator behind the immensely popular 'Angry Birds', Rovio Entertainment, are looking to go public in 2013. The company is looking at an initial public offering (IPO) in 2013, in either New York or Hong Kong. What would you think Rovio is worth? Well, analysts pin them being valued at a very respectable $9 billion.




With the popularity seeming to never end with Angry Birds, the IPO should go very well. Angry Birds has smashed over 800 million downloads, and sports 200 million active users monthly, this is by the end of 2011. Angry Birds Space launched to huge numbers, hitting 50 million downloads in 35 days which made it the fastest growing mobile game, ever.


Profit-wise, Rovio made $99 in sales last year, and profits before tax was $48 million. Not bad considering 2010's revenue of around $10 million. Mikael Hed, Rovio CEO has said:


2012 looks fantastic. We have had some very strong download numbers over four months.

Lenovo investing big in China, plans $800 million for new products plant in China

Lenovo are planning big investments in China over the next 18 or so months, where they'll be investing $800 million in a new mobile products plant in Wuhan, one of the largest cities in China. The Lenovo Industrial Base will cover research & development, production and sales of smartphones and tablets, with a target opening date of October 2013.




The new plant will service both local and global markets, and is expected to generate around $1.5 billion in revenue by 2014, and the company are hoping to hit $8 billion within five years. Job creation numbers are great, with around 10,000 jobs created over the coming years thanks to the new Wuhan facility.


Lenovo are wanting to grab more mobile market share, and this move will surely help them do so. Lenovo have said in their press release that they are already a top-three smartphone maker in China. Lenovo's K800 smartphone was one of the first devices to feature Intel's Medfield-based processor, which should be the start of something new for Lenovo. On top of this, they're preparing the IdeaTab S2109 with an unspecified processor, a 9.7-inch display, and 1GB of RAM.

Antitrust investigation launched against Google, but by who? The Indian government, that's who

While Google are busy battling a censorship case with the Indian government, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Competition Commission of India is launching an antitrust investigation of Google, where they'll examine the company's alleged "discriminatory and retaliatory practices relating to AdWords".




Where did this all stem from? A complaint filed from Consim Info Pvt. Ltd., who is an Indian web conglomerate which apparently requested that the Competition Commission step in to ensure fair competition in online advertising.


What the investigation is set out to do isn't 100-percent clear, but the commission will start off by taking a look at AdWords and go from there. Google are in for a treat this year, it seems.

Al Franken believes Comcast is breaking net neutrality rules, sends letter to FCC

Minnesota Senator Al Franken believes that Comcast is breaking its net neutrality agreement that it had to sign to gain approval to merge with NBC Universal. The fear that Franken has resides in the fact that Comcast will not count any direct-to-Xbox streaming against customers' 250GB monthly data cap.




Obviously, Netflix and other internet video providers are upset by this and see it as unfair. They believe it gives Comcast's service an unfair advantage to their own services and that it violates the Net neutrality rules that they had to sign to. These rules prohibit broadband providers from favoring their own content on the open internet over that of their competitors.

Continue reading 'Al Franken believes Comcast is breaking net neutrality rules, sends letter to FCC' (full post)

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