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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 256

Activision and EA settle $400 million Call of Duty lawsuit

Activision and Electronic Arts have finally reached a settlement over the $400 million lawsuit involving the developers of Call of Duty. Activision lawyer Beth Wilkinson said yesterday in a hearing in the Los Angeles Superior Court:

 

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Activision and Electronic Arts have decided to put this matter behind them.

 

The settlement removes EA from the trial that involves Activision versus the former Infinity Ward heads, Jason West and Vince Zampella. It's alleged in 2010, the duo plotted with EA to leave Activision and set up a new independent studio. Activision had accused EA of disrupting Infinity Ward by trying to secure the two developers while they had two years left on their contracts.

 

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West and Zampella sued Activision after they were fired, and seek more than $1 billion (that's with a B) in damages. Keep in mind that the duo originally were after $36 million, but there's no explanation as to why the number has meteorically risen since then. I'm guessing because of the multiple billions of dollars the Call of Duty games have raked in between when they left the studio, and now.

HTC and Apple have been ordered to enter settlement discussions, will meet on August 28

Just over 24 hours ago, we reported that HTC One X and EVO 4G LTE handsets were stopped from entering the US by Customs, and now, it's gotten a bit of attention and the US District Court of Delaware has ordered both company's to enter settlement discussions.

 

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Judge Sherry Fallon will moderate the talks, with the order requesting lawyers from both sides to meet in Delaware on August 28 in an attempt to resolve the ongoing patent dispute. It's unknown whether a settlement will be reached, but pressure will be on HTC to make some sort of concession, following the International Trade Commission ban on HTC handset imports coming into force.

 

The ITC ban was disclosed on December 19, after a judge determined that HTC's messaging and browser apps in Android violated Apple patents.

Google looking to acquire 4chan

If you've ever visited 4chan, you'll know it's the seriously dark corner of the Internet. My curiosity led me there years ago, and some of the stuff is truly, hands-down hilarious. But, there are some pretty disgusting things there too. It's not like it's just 4chan, that's the Internet for you - if you go looking, you can find almost anything.

 

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The latest out of the Mountain View-based and search engine giant, Google, is they could acquire 4chan, which would 'bring with it a large user base', according to a press release from StockCall.com. It's a bit of a weird one, but a very, very interesting move if it turns out to be something Google end up doing.

 

Would Google remove all of the illegal content that is on the site? 4chan is also said to be the semi-home of some Anonymous members, and a chunk of 4chan members don't like corporations and large companies who do bad things with users' data like Google.

Continue reading 'Google looking to acquire 4chan' (full post)

Verizon raising prices on FiOS, shared data plans imminent

Verizon CFO Fran Shammo spoke at an investor conference recently and stated that Verizon will be increasing prices for its FiOS service along with various other services and products. The increase is to offset some of the cost associated with a recent network build-out which includes increased LTE coverage and FiOS access.

 

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"You'll see us do some price increases here over the next two quarters" Shammo told investors. Along with increases in prices, Verizon is moving towards shared data plans for its wireless service. Currently, every device requires a data plan. In the future, all of your Verizon devices will share one allotment of data.

 

While this could be beneficial for some customers, the CFO believes that data subscribers will spend more: "As they add more devices, they are going to have to buy up into tiers. So again, you will see the revenue increase there" the CFO claimed. With this change, users who want to get 4G access will have to move off of their unlimited 3G plans for a tiered 4G one. However, if a subscriber is content with unlimited 3G, there appears to be no intention of forcing them off of it.

Iran may sue Google over Persian Gulf losing its name tag on Google Maps

The name tag that used to be shown over the body of water between Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar has seemingly disappeared. It's not clear if this was done on purpose by Google or if it is a bug as other highly-populated cities have lost their name tags before due to bugs.

 

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A Google spokesperson has declined to comment on the lack of the tag. Even more interesting is that the name remains in Google Earth. Tehran is upset about the lack of the name because the name of the body of water has been in dispute since the 1960s. It is a culturally sensitive point and some Arab states even call the water the Arabian Gulf.

 

The UK and US governments, along with the UN, refer to the water as the Persian Gulf. The Associated Press reports that Iran's foreign ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast told Google that they could face "serious damages" if the water's name did not return. It's not clear what these damages would be as it's just a missing name.

Samsung said to have been forced to launch new mobile memory chips sooner than planned

A report coming from The Korea Times is claiming that Samsung was forced to move ahead with releasing its new mobile memory chips ahead of schedule. They had to release them to calm shareholder fears that Samsung had lost a major contract to supply DRAM chips to Apple for use in Apple's products.

 

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The Korea Times is claiming that several Samsung executives are saying that the new 4GB DRAM chips are ultra-thin and are going to be used in Apple's devices. This is contrary to the claims that Apple had moved part of its supply chain over to Japanese company Elpida. Even though Apple and Samsung are involved in lawsuits around the world, Apple needs the reliability and scale that Samsung can provide.

 

Claims from Digitimes that Apple had placed orders for 50% of Elpida's output from the Hiroshima factory pushed Samsung stock down 2%, or by about $10 billion market cap. These rumors are what supposedly forced Samsung's hand and made them release the announcement today, instead of Monday as originally planned.

Continue reading 'Samsung said to have been forced to launch new mobile memory chips sooner than planned' (full post)

Facebook acquires photo startup Lightbox

Social networking site, Facebook, in the midst of their IPO roadshow, have just acquired Lightbox. Lightbox is a predominantly Android-based photo sharing startup, which shares quite a lot with the recently-scooped-up Instagram.

 

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Lightbox will be closed by Facebook, and the company will most likely use staff developers for Android-based development. No terms of the deal have been announced. Just after the announcement, Lightbox stopped accepting new users, with existing users having until June 15 to conclude business and download all remaining photos from the service.

 

Existing photos will not be transferred to Facebook, which is a bummer. Lightbox's founders are quite happy with the deal, where they've said they are:

 

Happy to announce that the Lightbox team is joining Facebook, where we'll have the opportunity to build amazing products for Facebook's 500+ million mobile users.

 

On a good note, no layoffs have been announced, nor are they expected.

US Customs stop HTC One X and EVO 4G LTE shipments at ports, the reason? Pending "investigations" of Apple patent claims

US Customs have stepped in and stopped some of the shipments of HTC's One X and EVO 4G LTE smartphones as a result of an earlier ITC order won by Apple. The ordeal is over a patent lawsuit for "data tapping" (context-sensitive text-based actions) in the browser and messaging apps on some HTC phones.

 

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HTC have said that these features have been removed from the One X and EVO 4G LTE, where HTC are "confident" that it is in compliance with the ruling:

 

The US availability of the HTC One X and HTC EVO 4G LTE has been delayed due to a standard U.S. Customs review of shipments that is required after an ITC exclusion order. We believe we are in compliance with the ruling and HTC is working closely with Customs to secure approval. The HTC One X and HTC Evo 4G LTE have been received enthusiastically by customers and we appreciate their patience as we work to get these products into their hands as soon as possible.

 

The ITC order was quite broad meaning it allowed US Customs to seize any HTC handset imported into the United States purely on the suspicion it might violate Apple's asserted intellectual property rights. Let's hope it's all sorted out soon enough.

Thieves allegedly rob an internet cafe after forgetting to log out of Facebook

Some would be criminals have been apprehended thanks to the fact that they forgot to log out of Facebook. It seems as though Facebook has become so intertwined with life that people just plain forget to log out sometimes. Two men now stand accused of robbing an Internet cafe after using their services to check out the latest hap's on the social network.

 

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After they finished stalking the profiles of their friends, they decided it might be fun to rob the place. As such, they then decided to make like they were going to pay, but instead allegedly attacked the shop owner. After robbing the place, they hopped onto a motorcycle that also happened to not belong to them.

 

The police, when they arrived, happened to notice that one of the criminals had remained logged in on Facebook. This led to the arrest of the one person, who I'm sure proceeded to squeal on the other. This isn't the first time would-be criminals have been caught thanks to Facebook. Previously, in 2009, a house robber became so comfortable in the house that he logged onto Facebook and forgot to log off before leaving.

Google patents Project Glass augmented reality glasses

You know those augmented reality glasses being developed by Google that everyone is going crazy over? Well, Google was just granted three patents covering the technology behind them. Google isn't the only one working on the technology, but they are the only ones to have gained patents for it which should give them a leg up on the competition.

 

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The patent numbers, in case you should want to look them up, are D659,739, D659,740 and D659,741. They are for a "wearable display device" and a "wearable display device frame." The device first made an appearance in an online video last month and made its rounds around the internet, including here on TweakTown.

 

The patents were filed October 26, 2011, which shows that the technology has been development for some time. What's more is that they are being tested by Google executives which shows the support for the project is coming from the top. With that support, it is all the more likely that these will eventually hit store shelves.

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