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Social networking site and the first thing people check when they turn on their mobile devices, Facebook, have reportedly purchased 750 patents from IBM, which they hope will help them battle against potential patent infringement allegations, according to Bloomberg.
The patents that Facebook added to their portfolio reportedly cover mostly networking and software, and is a huge increase in their patent portfolio considering they previously had 53 issued patents and 503 files with U.S. Patent applications. Facebook have now paid millions for the patents, where they say the new intellectual property will help them from incoming IP claims, issuing a document on February 1st saying:
We may introduce new products, including in areas where we currently do not compete, which could increase our exposure to patent and other intellectual property claims.
New iPhone (will that be the new name?) development is of course under way, but a massive part of this is the actual production of the smartphone itself. Foxconn are key partners to Apple, but right now, Foxconn's northern plant in Taiyuan, which is in China's northern Shanxi province, may become both a key hub of the new iPhone, as well as a flashpoint for working condition issues.
The China Times reports that the factory was facing a "huge" shortage of workers, to the tune of 20,000 of them, as it got ready for the new iPhone. It is being reported that they would be in charge of producing as many as 85-percent of total orders, or close to 57 million new iPhones. So, we'd be talking about just under a year of stock for one single model.
The problems with the workers apparently stem from Foxconn allegedly promising to raise pay packets for everyone, but then only delivered their promises to mid- and upper-tier workers, which of course, pissed off some employees, rightfully so, too. The raises supposedly reduce the requirement to work overtime in order to get a decent pay, but the managers have been pushing an all-or-nothing attitude toward overtime. Either you work insane amounts of overtime, or you get offered no overtime at all.
Research in Motion were born in Canada, and have enjoyed Canadian's being loyal to RIM, but this has just begun to stop. In 2011, RIM shipped 2.08 million BlackBerry smartphones, versus the 2.85 million iPhones that Apple sold. Rewind another twelve months into 2010, and we have RIM selling over 500,000 more units than Apple did in Canada.
If we go back a bit further to 2008, RIM sold 500-percent more BlackBerry phones than Apple did iPhones. But, we all know that the iPhone has grown in popularity immensely, and Canadian's just don't want to continue being blindly loyal. Bloomberg notes that Canada-based sales make up roughly 7-percent of RIM's total revenue.
RIM has enjoyed local support in Canada, which would hurt them considerably seeing Apple overtake them on their home ground. Alfred DuPut from research firm Interbrand says that this is due to RIM not investing enough in promoting their devices once the iPhone shipped. If you ask me, it's because Apple have a totally contained system, with hipsters wanting them, grandmas wanting them, great marketing, they just 'work', and are simple enough that a 5-year-old could use it.
T-Mobile have just announced that they will be cutting 1,900 jobs as well as closing seven of their call centers throughout the US as part of a plan that is said to reduce overhead as well as stockpile cash in order to invest in a restructuring plan after AT&T failed on their planned acquisition.
The call centers that will be closed down are: Allentown, Pennsylvania; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Frisco, Texas; Brownsville, Texas; Lenexa, Kansas; Thornton, Colorado; and Redmond, Oregon. For all of the call centers mentioned, they actually house 3,300 employees, but T-Mobile will be hiring 1,400 more workers at the remaining 17 centers.
Some employees are being offered transfers, and those who are being let go are said to be receiving severance pay and two months of healthcare. The cut of 1,700 employees may sound drastic, but it's just a slither of T-Mobile's total workforce, the 1,700 lost jobs represents 5-percent of the total workforce.
Earlier today, we reported the FaceBook issued a statement regarding employers and the like who asked for FaceBook log in credentials. Well now, a senator in the USA is reportedly drafting a bill to make this illegal. The DOJ has already said they believe breaking FaceBook's ToS, which ban giving your password to someone, is a federal offence, but have sated they will not be prosecuting it.
The senator described the requests as an "unreasonable invasion of privacy for people seeking work," adding that the bill would be ready "in the very near future." The practice is akin to them asking to open your postal mail to see if there is anything interesting in there. With everyone up in arms about the practice, it's no wonder someone thought it to be a good idea to write a law regarding it.
The company responsible for hosting the data of the now shutdown Megaupload filed an emergency motion this week in U.S. federal court in Virginia seeking protection from the expense of hosting the data of up to 66 million users. The cost of hosting the 25 million gigabytes of data across 1,100 servers rings up with a $9,000 a day cost.
Carpathia says someone needs to foot the bill or allow them to delete the data. Using the $9,000 figure, it has cost them more than $500,000 since January. Megaupload contends many of its users are legitimate and storing important files on the site. Carpathia said another reason it can't delete the data is because it would "risk a claim by a party with an interest in the data" such as the MPAA who wants it kept for possible civil actions.
We recently reported a story about how employers were requesting the log-in credentials of prospective employees. We have just learned that FaceBook is considering taking legal action against colleges, employers, and governmental agencies that do this. Finally, it feels as though FaceBook is looking out for my privacy, rather than undermining it.
FaceBook issued a statement regarding the issue. "We'll take action to protect the privacy and security of our users, whether by engaging policymakers or, where appropriate, by initiating legal action" the statement says. There's some major legal risks associated with asking prospective students or employees for their information, the statement also points out. It considers the various legal issues companies and schools could open themselves up to. It seems, at least for the meantime, that FaceBook has your back if someone wants your information. I highly encourage you read the statement if your looking for a job or heading to a college that requires your credentials.
France's President, Mr. Sarkozy, said in a statement, "From now on, any person who habitually consults websites that advocate terrorism or that call for hate and violence will be punished. France will not tolerate ideological indoctrination on its soil." If politicians aren't blaming games for violent behavior, they turn to the internet. It's common political rhetoric, but does this announcement even make any sense?
What caused this? Mohamed Merah, a 23-year-old, killed seven French people - three soldiers, three Jewish children and a rabbi. He claimed Al Qaeda inspired him to do so. Luckily, there is a good distance to travel from this statement issued in the heat of the moment to it being implemented in a law. Sticking to this particular case, is there any evidence that Merah visited any of these "extremist websites?"
Besides, as most people know, these videos can be found pretty much anywhere, including sites like YouTube. Also, how would this law be implemented? This is starting to sound like an assault on France's internet freedom. Besides, how do you tell apart a PhD student from a radical? The simple answer: you can't. Let's just hope today's announcement is just more political rhetoric in an election year.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer (say that ten times fast), who is kind of equal to the US Secretary of the Treasury announced that the government would make tex credits available to UK-based video game developers in the next budget. Andrew Eades, CEO of UK developer Relentless Software, said in a statement released by The Independent Game Developers Association (TIGA):
UK developers have been competing on an uneven global playfield. Today's decision by the government to back TIGA's tax break campaign will help ensure that we can remain competitive in the global market.
We were nearly here before, back in 2010, when the current UK government cancelled plans for gaming industry tax breaks when they came into power in 2010. Critics have said that the cancellations of these tax breaks were pretty catastrophic for the UK gaming industry, where they caused studio closures, impeded the nation's ability to compete internationally, and have caused a brain drain of talent seeking better jobs in countries like Canada.
OK. I admit it: since I purchased the new iPad, I've been obsessed about 'Draw Something', the Pictionary-like drawing game which is just insanely addictive. Most of the people around me, family and friends, have been playing it too, which makes it great. Today I wake up to the news that the maker of Draw Something, OMGPOP, has been acquired by social gaming powerhouse Zynga.
What price did Zynga draw on Draw Something's cheque? A very cool $210 million. TechCrunch has heard they were offered $180 million upfront, plus a $30 million earnout. OMGPOP chief executive, Dan Porter, now becomes a general manager and vice president of Zynga New York, with OMGPOP's employees joining Zynga. OMGPOP had not hit great success with titles up until Draw Something, when they bought the game to iOS and Android just over a month ago, they saw the title explode: racking up 35 million downloads, and 1 billion drawings.
It has also been reported that OMGPOP could have been worth more... a lot more. Simon Khalaf, the chief executive of mobile analytics company Flurry, said to TechCrunch's Kim-Mai Cutler, as well a Business Insider's Henry Blodget that OMGPOP effectively left $800 million on the tablet by selling to Zynga. The reason behind this is that Draw Something could've branched out into different areas, the same way that Rovio took the Angry Birds franchise and made it flourish.