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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 262

Google wants to go after some of those TV advertising dollars

Google wants more money, and who wouldn't? The company sells roughly $38 billion a year in advertising, but wants to go after some of those TV advertising dollars - where there's more than $190 billion per year. Google's new pitch to advertisers is now: think of us like TV! Buy us like TV!




What this means is that Google are going to begin using an old-media metric calling gross rating points, or GRPs, to sell display ads and video ads. These are the two big ideas:


  • GRPs are supposed to measure the size of the audience that sees a marketing campaign. Compared to the detailed, click-by-click reporting that digital media provides, they're very crude.
  • GRPs are still the preferred currency for most ad buyers and sellers, who find them simple and effective.


Facebook have also joined the GRP game, where they've been pushing metric for a while now, so has ComScore, the Web measurement service. All three companies are trying to move the big dollars that brand marketers spend on TV over to the Web, which is primarily used by search advertisers.

eBay has exceptional first quarter, income & sales up

eBay, in the midst of a rather uncertain economy has done very well in the first quarter of 2012. With economies around the world on the brink of destruction, eBay has managed to increase sales and income, much to the delight of Wall Street investors. Stock in the company is up more than 3.5% in after-hours trading.




The first quarter ended March 31, 2012 and the numbers that have come in have pleased investors. Net income rose to $725 million, or 55 cents per share, against $619 million, or 47 cents per share in the same quarter one year ago. Sales have increased a massive 29% to $3.3 billion. A majority of this growth is due to the strength of the company's Marketplace and PayPal businesses.


"We believe that innovation in retail today is technology driven, and consumers are embracing smarter, easier, better ways to shop," CEO John Donahoe said. "We are enabling commerce in this new retail environment, supporting and partnering with sellers of all sizes and giving consumers worldwide the ability to shop anytime, anywhere, for whatever they want."

Continue reading 'eBay has exceptional first quarter, income & sales up' (full post)

Windows Phone marketing GM out after 5 months

Apparently selling Windows Phone is not as easy as some people seem to think it is. Maybe this explains why Gavin Kim has left Microsoft just 5 months after he joined in as General Manager of Windows Phone Product Marketing. Before Microsoft, he was a vice president with Samsung.




"We can confirm that Gavin Kim has made a personal decision to leave Microsoft," a Microsoft spokesperson said in an e-mail. "We feel very good about the work he has done to set the team, and its new lead Eugene Ho, up for success. We wish him all the best." No actual reasons for his departure have been given.


It will be interesting to watch and see if the marketing strategy of Windows Phone changes now that he is not with the company anymore. I'm sure he found the job difficult to stomach, what with the high expectations and poor results and all. "No one comes into the store and asks for a Windows phone," said a European telecom executive quoted in a Reuters report on Tuesday. The executive added, "If the Lumia with the same hardware came with Android in it and not Windows, it would be much easier to sell."

In Arizona, you're pregnant two weeks before conception - this is now the law

Normally, one is considered pregnant after conception, but not so according to a new law in Arizona. The law now states, that women are now legally pregnant two weeks before conception. I've bolded before, as I really need to emphasize this.




The new law named "Women's Health and Safety Act", was signed by Republican Governer Jan Brewer. This new legislation is designed to reduce the amount of time a woman is allowed to have a legal abortion, and is one of the most absolutely insane bills to enter America. The bill was sponsored by Arizona State Rep. Kimberly Yee (pictured above), who last month penned an op-ed titled "No drug test, no welfare", where she wrote:


States have an obligation to hold those on public assistance accountable for their actions. Receiving a public benefit is a privilege, not a right. The debate on drug testing welfare recipients is simply about the responsible use of tax dollars.


Surely there's something in the water in Arizona? Another point, is its two women pushing this... they should really know better, especially on the going ons of a females reproductive system.

Twitter proposes new patent pledge, use patents for defense only

Today, Twitter announced something akin to a treaty. The pledge gives employees more control over the inventions that they create and, more importantly, promises the patents will only be used for defensive purposes and not to prevent other companies from innovating. This new pledge comes on the heels of the quarterly "Hack Week," in which employees work on projects that are outside their regular day-to-day work.




"One of the great things about Twitter is working with so many talented folks who dream up and build incredible products day in and day out. Like many companies, we apply for patents on a bunch of these inventions," Adam Messinger, vice president of engineering, wrote in a blog post. "However, we also think a lot about how those patents may be used in the future; we sometimes worry that they may be used to impede the innovation of others. For that reason, we are publishing a draft of the Innovator's Patent Agreement, which we informally call the 'IPA.'"

Continue reading 'Twitter proposes new patent pledge, use patents for defense only' (full post)

Apple being sued in a class action lawsuit over in-app purchases

A group of disgruntled parents have filed a lawsuit claiming that Apple is unfairly profiting from in-app purchases of digital content of free games that specifically target children. The group is claiming that it is far to easy for children using the devices to charge up enormous bills without any sort of authorization from their respective parents.




The way Apple's purchasing system allows credit card information to be saved and accessed with just a password for future purchases makes it so that kids don't have to ask parents for permission. Federal Judge Edward Davila agreed with the group of parents and has granted a hearing for the class action suit on the grounds that enough examples had been provided for the lawsuit to proceed.


The court filing accuses Apple of "inducing" children to make in-app purchases. "These games are highly addictive, designed deliberately to be so, and tend to compel children playing them to purchase large quantities of game currency, amounting to as much as $100 per purchase or more," the suit read, according to the Telegraph.


Apple has asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed on the grounds of its recent updates that change the purchasing system. The updates allow an option to enter an additional password to purchase apps and other items from the store. Additionally, there is an option to turn off the feature completely.

Continue reading 'Apple being sued in a class action lawsuit over in-app purchases' (full post)

Google in hot water over privacy, may face fines for bypassing Safari settings

'Google' and 'privacy' probably should never be used in the same sentence, unless of course you are accusing Google of breaking a privacy agreement. Well, the FTC has done that, and will be deciding in the next 30 days whether or not to fine the Web giant for bypassing a Safari setting and placing cookies anyway.




Google, before ceasing the practice, had been using a special code to get around Safari's privacy settings so that they could track users on computers and mobile devices. The FTC is looking into whether this violates a 2011 settlement agreement between the FTC and Google over privacy concerns with the launch of Google Buzz. The fines in this case could be up to $16,000 per day.


Google continues to defend itself and a spokesperson stated that the company's behavior was "[providing] features that signed-in Google users had enabled." "However, the Safari browser contained functionality that then enabled other Google advertising cookies to be set on the browser," Google spokesperson Chris Gaither told CNET. "We will of course cooperate with any officials who have questions."


This is not the first time that Google has been in hot water over privacy concerns. The most recent, prior to this one, was the combining of the privacy policies across Google's services. The new policy allowed Google to combine user data from all of the services.

Continue reading 'Google in hot water over privacy, may face fines for bypassing Safari settings' (full post)

Google rolls out a new design for its campus bike

Everyone likes working for Google because of the atmosphere around the campus. One of the neat things at the Google Campus in Mountain View, California is the bikes that are scattered around to facilitate easier moving between campus buildings. Last fall, it became time to replace the bikes and the company knew exactly where to go.




The company turned to its engineers by launching a competition among employees to redesign the 2-year-old fleet of bikes that currently existed. "We've got an entrepreneurial and innovative culture," said Brendon Harrington, Google's transportation operations manager. "We said, 'You tell us what you think is a cool design.'"


There was only 4 design criteria that had to be met by the design. First, it had to be easy to produce. Second, it needed to be affordable. Third, it had to be comfortable and secure. Fourth, the bike had to be Googley, using novel components, structure, and appearance. In response, Google received about 36 entries.


Entries ranged from a BMX-style bike to a modern take on the old Penny-farthing high-wheel bike. Google ended up going with something conservative: a beach cruiser with coaster brakes and hand brakes. It also sports a basket and bell and fenders to keep the spray off of riders' backs during wet weather. It also has a cover over the chain to protect clothing from grease.

Continue reading 'Google rolls out a new design for its campus bike' (full post)

Oracle and Google duke it out in court starting today, Oracle is suing Google for $1 billion over patent violations

Beginning today, is one of the biggest court cases in tech history. Oracle are suing Google to the tune of $1 billion, where they're claiming that Google have violated several patents and copyrights. What the fight is over exactly, is due to Oracle acquiring the intellectual properties of Java when they took over Sun Microsystems back in 2009.




Oracle are claiming that Google's mobile OS, Android, infringes on several of its IP rights relating to the program language. Java was released in 1995, and allows software to run on multiple computer platforms, instead of just one type of operating system. Oracle argues that by using their IP (Java), and then giving Android away for free, Google are undermining the possibility of licensing Java to mobile phone makers.


This doesn't mean the end of Android by any means, but what it does mean is we could see a big change in Android in the near future. If Oracle ends up winning, they could force Google to change their Android code, which would make millions of apps for Android, useless. Alternatively, Oracle could force Google to charge for development of apps.

RumorTT: EA preparing to layoff 500-1100 employees

Let's first start this rumor off with a note: EA denies this rumor, however, its statements in regards to it seem to indicate that it is true.


A Mr. Derek Andersen from Startup Grind is claiming that he has confirmed with multiple sources inside Electronic Arts (EA) that the company is planning to layoff somewhere between 500 and 1100 employees. This equates to somewhere between 5% and 11% of the workforce could be on the chopping block. The layoffs were supposedly set for April 9, but have since been pushed back.




However, he claims that they are coming very soon. This year has been rough of EA: Star Wars hasn't matched goals and they were voted 'Worst Company In America' in a poll held by The Consumerist. Additionally, stock prices have fallen from $61 down to the current $16. Zynga has also cleaned out a large portion of EA's management.


EA has released two statements in regards to this rumor which deny it. However, within these denials, the terms 'resize' and 'adjustments' were thrown about. It would appear that EA will mask these layoffs under the camouflage of a 'restructuring.' It will be interesting to see if these layoffs come to fruition. For the employees' sake, I hope that they don't.

Continue reading 'RumorTT: EA preparing to layoff 500-1100 employees' (full post)

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