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The rumor mills spins hard over the weekend it seems, with Google rumored to be considering the acquisition of chat and social sharing service Meebo. Reports flew into the offices of AllThingsD, and have said that the deal is in the works, and that Meebo could see a big influx of cash.
Meebo was founded back in 2005, as a web-based instant message client, which shared the functionality competing services such as AIM, Yahoo IM, and others. Meebo evolved over the years, releasing the Meebo Bar, which added a persistent social sharing and advertising layer to sites users visit, this allowed them to continue chatting to friends, whilst surfing the Internet.
Meebo continues to push new services, such as a tool to allow users to create an interest profile to get custom recommendations delivered regularly. According to the sources from AllThingsD, the acquisition could see $100 million for Meebo. Why would Google want to buy Meebo considering they already have their own social-based site, Google+? Meebo does sport 190 million customers... a considerable amount of people in a scoop for only $100 million isn't too much of a stretch for a company the size of Google.
Panasonic have just announced their yearly earnings, and they aren't very good at all: a record $9.7 billion net loss for 2011. Not good at all. Incoming president, Kazuhiro Tsuga's first job it seems is to turn around the company's TV division.
Panasonic have hefty investments in both plasma and LCD manufacturing, which resulted in the losses. Panasonic expects a better year for 2012, where they predict they'll actually sell less, with numbers deflating from 17.3 million last year, to 15.5 million.
Large screen OLED HDTV production is something both LG and Samsung are smashing into right now, with Panasonic set to follow. Outgoing president, Fumio Ohtsubo mentioned they would look for a partner there. Hopefully 2012 is a better year for Panasonic!
Ah Loewe. You were my first taste of 100Hz CRT heaven. The latest rumbles that is the belly of the Internet is that tech giant Apple is looking at a guyout of German TV maker Loewe.
Just how much were Apple willing to slide across the table? A cool $113 million, but a company spokesperson stating the report from AppleInsider has "absolutely nothing to do with it".
Where it gets good is that Loewe contacted German website Heise, responding to speculation that suggested Apple had started negotiations with Loewe, bidding $113 million for the company. The deal had reportedly yet to be agreed upon. Loewe were also said to have been "advised by its financial advisor to accept the offer" and that a final decision was "scheduled to be announced internally before 18 May 2012".
NVIDIA's first quarter of fiscal year 2013 is now over and the results are slightly lackluster. Don't get me wrong, NVIDIA still made money, but they made quite a bit less than last quarter. Revenue fell a few percentage points and overall net profit fell by nearly 50% to settle in at only $60.4 million.
I would blame this lackluster performance on the fact that they didn't get a Kepler GPU out until the middle to end of the quarter. As such, their products couldn't really compete with AMD's, so it's unlikely that as many people were purchasing them. NVIDIA still sounds positive, however, as this is what Jen-Hsun Huang, , president and chief executive officer of NVIDIA, said:
Kepler GPUs are accelerating our business. Our newly launched desktop products are winning some of the best reviews we've ever had. Notebook GPUs had a record quarter. And Tegra is on a growth track again, driven by great mobile device wins and the upcoming Windows on ARM launch. Graphics is more important than ever. Look for exciting news next week at the GPU Technology Conference as we reveal new ways that the GPU will enhance mobile and cloud computing.
The company expects to rebound in the second quarter, and I don't think that is an unreasonable expectation given the wide accolade that Kepler has earned. They expect revenue to fall somewhere between $990 million and $1.05 billion with operating expenses increasing slightly.
In another move that threatens the open and free internet, Dutch courts have ruled that the countries ISPs must block access to The Pirate Bay or face fines of 10,000 euros per day. That massive of a fine will likely prevent any dissenters of the ruling, however, there are always ways around the blockade as shown in the UK.
Court rulings demanding ISPs block access to The Pirate Bay are stacking up in countries and one has to ask themselves what are the effects of the blocks? In this case these blocks aren't really going to do anything as they can be bypassed pretty easily. However, the idea that the government can order censorship is the scarier prospect.
These rulings are the first attacks on the site. The Pirate Bay is no stranger to trouble with the law as many companies have sued them for copyright infringement along with governments seizing the servers. It has persevered, but it will probably get tougher to do so as more court rulings come in. I know one thing, if the US government tries to make this ruling, I will be in the masses that protest.
In my opinion, this censorship goes against the heart of the first amendment. The Pirate Bay hosts no infringing material. Instead, they provide a roadmap on where to get it. It's akin to the US block on travel to Cuba. US citizens are prevented from going to Cuba, yet people still sell maps on how to get there and they are blocked.
It's a tough economy out there still, and it's hitting some companies harder than others. Nintendo, for the first time ever, posted a loss. Now Sony has reported its fiscal year 2012 results and the picture is bleak. Sony lost a record $5.55 billion as revenue fell 9.6% to $79.2 billion. This earns fiscal year 2012 the title of being Sony's worst year ever.
Sony is doing its best to remain strong through these tough times saying that the losses are mostly due to unforeseen circumstances. These unforeseen events would include a strong yen, an earthquake in Japan, and floods in Thailand. Not every sector of Sony lost money, but a few were hit extremely hard.
The company's Consumer Products & Services division is one of those that was hit hard. In 2011, they division posted a small profit, but this year sales were down 18.5% to $38.3 billion. This created a massive $2.8 billion loss for the company. None of this surprises shareholders, however, as Sony has posted difficult quarters during the year.
Sony is doing what it can to return to profitability. Sony has announced plans last month to lay off 10,000 employees to help its bottom line. Sony has also decided to focus on "One Sony" which will have Sony focusing on digital imaging, gaming, and the mobile market.
BlackBerry maker, Research in Motion (RIM) yesterday hired two new senior executives, with one of them taking the post of marketing chief as RIM hopes to regain market share that they lost to Apple's iPhone, and the various handsets that rock Google's Android OS.
RIM only recently announces losses mounting $125 million, as they battle declining smartphone sales. Compared to Q4 2011 where the company made a hefty $934 million profit, a drop to $125 million in losses is a stark change. At that time, RIM had just announced a management shakeup where we saw 20-year veteran Jim Baisillie step down from the board, as well as the CTO and COO for global operations leaving.
Who's the new chief marketing officer? Frank Boulben, who CEO Thorsten Heins describes as a critically important decision. Boulben leaves his previous position at LightSquared, where he was the executive vice president for strategy and marketing, with that company also struggling since Sprint left their partnership with the company after US regulators killed off plans it had for a nationwide broadband network.
One can see the similarities between HP's metal unibody-based Envy Spectre XT ultrathin, to Apple's MacBook Air. Firstly, HP's Spectre XT is the new flagship model of HP's just-announced Envy ultrathin lineup, which was born from VoodooPC's Envy laptops, which launched in June of 2008.
The VoodooPC Envy was one of the first non-Apple ultrathins to arrive on the market mere months after the launch of the MacBook Air from Apple. While the Voodoo Envy didn't look that much like the MacBook Air, HP's line-up of ultrathin's have slowly been sliding into the MacBook Air's skin since release.
The latest release was enough for HP's vice president of industrial design, Stacy Wolff, to go on the defensive. He told Engadget:
[The Spectre XT's looks are] not due to Apple but due to the way technologies developed. It is not because those guys did it first. It's just that's where the form factor is leading it.
He specifically points to his design's rubber imbued bottom, slightly different keyboard, and a brushed metal body as key differentiators. We all know Apple is trigger-happy when it comes to suing companies, but Wolff has stated that the design was approved by his lawyers, so we shouldn't see any problems.
Want a GEFORCE GTX 680? Well, line up behind the eleventy million other people who want one, but things are set to change. The relationship between NVIDIA and its principal foundry partner, TSMC, has been rocky for quite sometime now. Team Green were also not happy with TSMC's 28nm manufacturing capacity, but then give them praise in other areas.
NVIDIA have threatened to
break up with TSMC find another foundry partner for bulk manufacturing, with reports pointing to Samsung preparing qualification samples for it, TSMC had a change of heart and have promised NVIDIA a priority over their other clients such as Qualcomm and AMD for the manufacturing of their 28nm chips.
NVIDIA were not quiet on being unhappy with TSMC's output, and its new policy of charging for wafers rather than working chips yielded, NVIDIA refuted rumors of it seeking other foundry partners such as Global Foundaries and Samsung. Now NVIDIA are on high-priority, TSMC will make sure to see a speedy launch of new NVIDIA GEFORCE SKUs toward the end of Q2, 2012. TSMC in the past have given other companies priority, such as when Qualcomm threatened to switch allocations to other foundries.
I will work off the assumption that all of my readers are on the up and up and don't pirate music and videos. Yes, I have high standards for my readers, but it's for the best. Since none of us pirate music or movies, it always annoys me to see the anti-piracy fear campaign before the start of a movie. Apparently it wasn't enough, though, because two new propaganda slides are being added.
The one above is the traditional fear-based warning. It offers the standard "you could be fined or go to jail if you download this movie illegally" routine. Of course, a $250,000 fine and 5 years in jail is a bit excessive and scary, but at the same time, I don't pirate, so I don't want to see the warning! This one has been brought to you courtesy of the FBI and the HSI.
It reads "The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement is investigated by federal law enforcement agencies and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000."
This propaganda showing is a less standard, yet still traditional, showing. It claims that pirating hurts the economy and that it is not a victimless crime. It encourages viewers to set aside their movie and go to http://www.iprcenter.gov to learn more. "Piracy is not a victimless crime. For more information on how digital theft harms the economy, please visit http://www.iprcenter.gov."