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"Like, OMG, I need help NOW!!1!" In a move that the FCC chairman praised, Verizon has selected a vendor to help it implement its first-in-the-nation "text-to-911" service. The "text-to-911" service would allow people to contact emergency services (911) via text message. This opens the doors to providing better access to those with speaking or hearing disabilities.
"Verizon is at the forefront of 911 public-safety innovations, and today's announcement is another step in making SMS-to-911 service available to those who cannot make a voice call to 911," said Marjorie Hsu, Verizon Wireless vice president of technology. "Our company is continuing its long-standing commitment to address the needs of public safety and our customers by offering another way to get help in an emergency by using wireless technology."
Verizon is looking to deploy the new feature in select markets early next year. The option will be available to anyone who has a text-messaging-capable phone. FCC spokesperson Tammy Sun said Genachowski "commended the company for offering consumers another way to reach 911 that is consistent with how millions of consumers already use mobile devices in their daily lives."
It what can only be described as the legal system actually working, a judge has used common sense and ruled that an IP address is not enough to incriminate a pirate. Judge Gary Brown, a federally-appointed magistrate judge of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of New York, delivered the ruling in a fresh round of lawsuits launched by Voltage Pictures.
The case in question is one in which Voltage Pictures has sued 2,500 BitTorrent users who have been accused of illegally downloading The Hurt Locker. The movie didn't exactly perform as expected when it hit theaters and the studio is blaming that on piracy and an early leak of the film. Judge Brown spells out his feelings in a 26-page ruling located here.
Thus, it is no more likely that the subscriber to an IP address carried out a particular computer function -- here the purported illegal downloading of a single pornographic film -- than to say an individual who pays the telephone bill made a specific telephone call," [...] "Most, if not all, of the IP addresses will actually reflect a wireless router or other networking device, meaning that while the ISPs will provide the name of its subscriber, the alleged infringer could be the subscriber, a member of his or her family, an employee, invitee, neighbor or interloper.
Google has never really released any sort of data about the financials of Android. People have been forced to take educated guesses about whether or not Android is making money for Google. Well thanks to the ongoing battle between Oracle and Google, we finally have some hard numbers to go off of, and it's a somewhat bleak picture.
Currently, the lawsuit is in jury deliberations and those deliberations are currently locked. The judge and jury are trying to work out what sort of damages may be due to Oracle, hence the hard financial data that has become available. Judge William Alsup, yesterday, read excerpts from some court documents which showed that Android had a net loss every quarter in 2010.
This resulted in a "big loss for the whole year." He also made note that Android only had a revenue figure of $97.7 million for the first quarter in 2010. These figures are important because they go into figuring out how much money Oracle could be due in damages. If Google hasn't made money, they are on the hook, conceivably, for less money. At the same time, one would have to question why they would continue with a platform that isn't making money.
With Facebook expected to go public on May 17 or 18, we have finally heard what the expected stock price range will be. Ranging between $28 and $35, the IPO could potentially bring in $13.6 billion in profit, with $1 billion going straight to Zuckerberg. Along with this profit, the IPO will value Facebook at the most valuable US technology company at the time of an IPO.
The IPO will value the company somewhere between $77 billion and $96 billion which well outpaces the current record holder Google who managed $23 billion. Zuckerberg is expected to personally sell 30.2 million shares which could net him the above $1 billion. But don't worry, he'll retain 57.3% voting power, so changes like Timeline will continue to happen.
In the lead up to the IPO, Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Chief Financial Officer David Eberseman will spend just over a week out and about convincing potential investors of the value of investing in Facebook. Zuckerberg will make selected appearances, but also appears in a video presentation talking about his history with the company. I hope it's a good video as $1 billion is riding on it.
Microsoft and Dolby have just inked a new deal which will see Dolby Digital Plus' audio technology introduced to Windows 8 tablets and PCs. This will allow Windows 8-based devices to play Dolby-encoded content without an issue.
Microsoft have previously used Dolby encoding since Windows Vista in 2007, but in 2008, Dolby raised the possibility that we might not see Windows 8 with Dolby technology. It's incredibly exciting as Dolby Digital Plus 5.1-channel decoding and two-channel encoding will now be incorporated into all PCs and tablets that are licensed to run Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, and Windows 8 RT.
This new partnership also allows for both x86- and ARM-based Windows 8 machines to access Dolby's high-quality audio standard.
We all know Samsung and Apple pretty much dominate the smartphone industry, but just how much have they been dominating it in the last year or so? Quite well, it seems. Apple and Samsung secure 99-percent of the profits, according to Asymco's Horace Dediu and his recently released data.
Out of this 99-percent, Apple take 73-percent, with Samsung taking 26-percent in Q1 2012. Comparing the previous quarter, Q4 2011, Apple were enjoying a nice 75-percent, with Samsung having 16-percent. This means that Samsung has pretty much absorbed the rest of the market share from the other mobile phone vendors such as HTC, Research in Motion, LG, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and Nokia.
What's more surprising is the 1-percent that is left. HTC managed to scoop that up, leaving the other vendors RIM, LG, SE, Motorola and Nokia failing to make a profit on their handset businesses. Surprising to say the least, and quite shocking. I wonder what 2012 has in store for the eight vendors.
PC gaming hardware market is going well, predicted to generate $23.6 billion in sales by the end of this year
According to the latest reports and numbers from Jon Peddie Research, predictions are being made for PC gaming hardware sales, where the research group are predicting total sales of $23.6 billion and by the end of 2015, this should grow to $32 billion.
They cite strong demand which will fuel growth over the coming years, especially in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries where systems, accessories and upgrades are expected to get close to $4.7 billion this year, and $7.7 billion by 2015.
JPR also expects to see the average selling price for some components to drop in 2013, as competition heats up. This is always good news for end users, with unit shipments expected to rise, which will smash any dip that would otherwise show up as a result of the lowered prices. These numbers should have confidence in them, as this year we're expecting some truly kick-ass titles such as Diablo III, Max Payne 3, and more.
By next year, we should have Crysis 3, Far Cry 3, World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, and Borderlands 2. We shouldn't forget Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, either.
Microsoft scooped up well-known social network researcher Duncan Watts over the weekend, but he wasn't the only one Microsoft had their sights on. Microsoft have scooped up 13 other Yahoo researchers to kick-start a new New York research lab.
From these 13 people Microsoft have acquired brings David Pennock who is an algorithmic economist and will over see day-to-day lab operations. Microsoft also scored machine learning expert John Langford. Microsoft aren't new to research organizations, where they have budgets in the billions, and 850 PhDs. NYC will be Microsoft's 13th global office according to Jennifer Chayes, who manages Microsoft Research New England, as well as the New York Group.
Microsoft were fortunate enough to grab these people as Yahoo made cuts to their research organization last month. Chayes adds that the Yahoo researchers didn't necessarily come as a package, where she elaborates:
I don't feel like we hired a group; I feel like we hired 15 amazing individuals, some of which became available because there were some problems at Yahoo.
Social networking site, Facebook, are said to be preparing to launch an IPO (initial public offering) roadshow. The roadshow is expected to start on May 7, with a projected start of share trading two weeks later on May 18.
Zuckerberg is expected to play a role within the IPO roadshow, but what role exactly is unknown. Zuckerberg has reportedly skipped all the pre-roadshow meetings in April, and will not attend the roadshow in any capacity.
Typically, IPO roadshows are scheduled for company management to present business strategies to prospective investors, and usually span across two weeks over multiple venues. We should hear more about the IPO roadshow over the coming fortnight or so.
In what can only be seen as a major ruling, German courts have told Microsoft to stop selling its Windows 7 and Xbox 360 products, apparently due to patent infringement. The judgement comes from a lawsuit in which Motorola Mobility alleged that Microsoft's products infringed upon two patents regarding H.264 video coding and playback.
The court has found that Microsoft has used some of Motorola's intellectual property and found that a sales ban will be set in place until the matter can be settled. A settlement in this instant would require vast sums of money to change hands. How perfect for Google who just acquired Motorola Mobility!
It's unlikely that Microsoft will pull its products from store shelves just yet as Microsoft has said they will carry on as normal until an appeal of the decision can be made. The ban also includes Internet Explorer and Windows Media player. Microsoft also has the support of the US where a court has ruled a ban of the ban.
A Microsoft spokesperson speaking about the decision:
This is one step in a long process, and we are confident that Motorola will eventually be held to its promise to make its standard essential patents available on fair and reasonable terms for the benefit of consumers who enjoy video on the web. Motorola is prohibited from acting on today's decision, and our business in Germany will continue as usual while we appeal this decision and pursue the fundamental issue of Motorola's broken promise.