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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 262

MegaUpload's Kim Dotcom gets money and Mercedes back, also involved in political scandal

MegaUpload's Kim Dotcom seems to have struck a bit of luck. A High Court lawyer has ruled that a court-ordered seizure issued in January was not valid, even though an interim order has been in effect for two months. Due to this fact, he is receiving many of his seized assets, including money and a car, back from the government.

 

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Dotcom is said to be receiving NZ$750,000 ($614,000) in cash that had been confiscated. He will also continue to receive his NZ$20,000 ($16,000) monthly living allowance off of the interest of government bonds. His wife Mona will also get her living expenses and medical bills paid as she recently gave birth.

 

Additionally, Dotcom will get his Mercedes-Benz G55AMG worth NZ$250,000 ($204,000) with the license plate "POLICE" returned to him. His wife will also have use of her seized 2010 Toyota Vellfire, worth NZ$60,000 ($49,000). He has also had use of his mansion since early April with its swimming pool for exercise. He has also been able to use the internet.

 

Dotcom has also found himself at the center of a political scandal. He claims, according to reports, that he donated NZ$50,000 ($41,000) to John Banks,the head of the ACT New Zealand political party and the current minister for Small Business and Regulatory Reform, for his 2010 Mayoral campaign.

Continue reading 'MegaUpload's Kim Dotcom gets money and Mercedes back, also involved in political scandal' (full post)

Huge drop in US iPhone app downloads, over 30% in March alone

This comes at quite a surprise, but daily US iPhone app downloads have dropped, considerably, with a 30-percent month-over-month drop. This is up from the 6.35 million in February to just 4.45 million in March, according to mobile marketing firm Fiksu.

 

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Fiksu also says that it was the second straight month of decline in the course of their tracking, with a drop in January to February, but no where near as severe. January saw downloads topping 6.79 million, so a drop to 6.35 million is less than 10-percent. But a 30-percent drop the month after? That's something worth noting.

 

Fiksu also states that the drop is most likely due to two trends: first, the iPhone 4S is no longer a new device, so owners may be less concerned with downloading new apps. And secondly, Apple has decided to crack down on third-party marketers using bots to download apps and inflate chart rankings. This would make sense as with fewer bots, app traffic may now be coming down from its inflated numbers, down to reality.

Australian Government looks into the ridiculous "Australia Tax", the cost of tech and games

Being based in Australia is good for a few things, our pay over here for jobs is quite good, public health is amazing, and countless other things. But the things that I like to spend my hard-earned cash on, tech and games, is ridiculously priced compared to the rest of the world.

 

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The Australian government is now going to be looking into this, where all major computer and software publishers will be sent invitations to defend their pricing policies at a Federal Parliament inquiry. MP Ed Husic has been campaigning for fairer local pricing, and welcomed the inquiry, saying:

 

People here scratch their heads trying to work out why they get fleeced on software downloads. When the Productivity Commission asked IT companies why they charge so much for downloads, even they found the answers were not persuasive.

 

With the strength of the Australian dollar, most people expected things to drop in price, but, they didn't. No one really seems to care, as I can walk into most retailers in this country (and in particular, my state: South Australia) and electronic and gaming retailers are usually quite busy with customers. But, with the great Aussie dollar, most gamers (like myself) are buying and importing games from overseas.

Continue reading 'Australian Government looks into the ridiculous "Australia Tax", the cost of tech and games ' (full post)

Apple and Samsung to have settlement talks on May 21-22

Apple and Samsung have been at it for a while now, but it's beginning to heat up considerably. Both companies are now being ushered into a room together with their judge mediating settlement talks between the two popular companies.

 

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Both Apple and Samsung, as well as their CEOs and chief counsels, are expected to meet up on the mornings of May 21 and 22 in a San Francisco court rather than the full trials' San Jose venue. Both sides will also have to produce statements by May 9 stating how likely they think their chances are of winning the trial.

 

But right now, there's absolutely no way one could guess which way this is going to go. Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated that he prefers to settle when he can, but still argues that companies should stop copying, implying that legal action might not stop without a promise of changes from GALAXY-branded maker, Samsung.

Continue reading 'Apple and Samsung to have settlement talks on May 21-22' (full post)

Corsair sets to raise $78 million with an IPO, wants shares at $13

A regulatory filing Thursday shows that Fremont-based Corsair Components looks to raise $78 million dollars with an initial public offering (IPO). The company is looking to sell shares at $13 a share, with a range of $12 to $14. The filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows that the company intends to share 6 million shares during its IPO.

 

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This SEC filing marks the first time that Corsair has specified a potential selling price for its shares. This has been a long time coming. Two years ago is when Corsair originally filed to become publicly traded. Its initial IPO filing in April 2010, Corsair estimated it would seek to raise $86 million.

 

According to the Mercury News:

 

During 2011, Corsair earned $19.4 million on sales of $455.2 million. In 2010, the company lost $10.2 million on sale. Compared to the year before, sales in 2011 jumped 20 percent. For the quarter that ended in March, Corsair earned $3.1 million on sales of $132.5 million. Compared to the year-ago quarter, profits fell 37 percent, while sales rose 23 percent, the company's SEC filing showed.

 

No date has been specified for when they would begin selling shares.

Nintendo reports first annual loss in 30 years

It's that time of year where many companies report their Q1 financial results, or if you're Nintendo, you report your entire fiscal year. Nintendo reports its finances only once a year (annually) as opposed to 4 times like most companies (quarterly). This report is the first time in 30 years that Nintendo has reported a loss.

 

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A lot of this is due to the financial climate that is affecting everyone worldwide. Additionally, the gaming market has changed as of late, due to the availability of high quality, free, mobile games. The 3-way struggle between Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony hasn't exactly helped the market either. While competition is good, it does cause companies to lower prices to compete, sometimes below cost.

 

In August, Nintendo was forced to cut the price of the 3DS by 40%. A cut that big is never good for the bottom line. Between the price cut, and a few popular new 3D games such as Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land, they managed to sell 13.53 units last fiscal year. This time around they hope to sell 18.5 million.

 

Now, the financial results. Ninteno said it suffered a net loss of ¥43.20 billion in the fiscal year ending March 31st whereas last year they recorded a profit of ¥77.62 billion. Also, they recorded an operating loss of ¥37.32 billion with revenue dropping by 36% to ¥647.65 billion yen. They really are depending on a successful WiiU launch, which is expected later this year.

Apple could hit $1 trillion market cap in the next year

Apple's super-powered earnings call during the week has impressed the entire tech industry, but Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White has said that his target for Apple shares in the near future will be $1,111. Apple are poised to become the world's first trillion-dollar company when its share price hits $1,072.

 

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With White throwing his dart toward a $1,111 per share estimate, he is predicting that Apple's market cap will hit $1 trillion sometime in 2013. Brian White has said:

 

Apple's performance once again demonstrated how quickly Apple fever is spreading around the world, and this trend continues to drive meaningful upside in the company's financial results. We believe the negative vibes that have held back the stock over the past couple of weeks will now be replaced with the fear of missing the next leg up in the stock price that we are forecasting will reach $1,111 over the next year.

 

Could they do it? Apple are unstoppable right now, you can't contest that. Right now, they are a smart device powerhouse.

HTC admits defeat to the iPhone, says they can't beat Apple in the US

Apple had an amazing, record-breaking quarter and tech sites across the world were grinning whilst posting this news. It was amazing, and huge. HTC also announced its own figures, but didn't get anywhere near the same press.

 

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HTC reported a massive 70-percent drop in profits, taking in just $151.5 million during the quarter. The blame? HTC says its the iPhone 4S. HTC Chief Executive Peter Chou has specifically singled out the iPhone 4S for HTC's crappy financial results during an analyst call two days ago. Chou remained confident that HTC had better times ahead of them, but he was also razor sharp when saying that there's no chance HTC will see a return to the times when they took 50-percent of their revenue from the US. Chou adds:

 

A major challenge we faced last year was the big drop in sales in the U.S. because of competition from the iPhone 4S.

 

If we compare the $151.5 million HTC made in that quarter, to the smartphone they blame for their dismal drop in profits, the iPhone 4S, it's quite the kick in the teeth for HTC. Apple's iPhone 4S let Apple make over $11.6 billion during the same quarter. $151.5 million to $11.6 billion is quite the jump. HTC does have hope though, hope that their family of One smartphones will help turn the company around. Chou is also optimistic that China will help make up the lost revenue from the US.

Former Sun CEO says Google didn't need license for Java APIs

Time for another update in the oh so fun battle that is Oracle vs Google. Today former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz took the stand as a witness for the defense and proceeded to dispute Oracle's claim and support Google's. He testified that Google did not need a license to use the Java APIs. Oracle contends that Google violated some of its patents around Java and its APIs when producing Android.

 

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When questioned by the defense about whether Java APIs were considered proprietary code of Sun, he said "No. These are open APIs, and we wanted to bring in more people...we wanted to build the biggest tent and invite as many people as possible." His answers corroborated Eric Schmidt's in that what Google did was and is legal.

 

"My understanding is that what we were doing was permissible because of the sum of my experiences and interactions I had," Schmidt said. He added that he was "very comfortable that what we were doing was both legally correct and consistent" with the policies of Google and Sun.

 

Schwartz continued to reiterate that what Google did didn't violate any of Sun's policies or intellectual property. As long as a company didn't call their implementation Java, it was Schwartz's view that they could ship their version without any sort of licensing from Sun. It seems as though this testimony should deal a massive blow to Oracle's case, but it's hard to say how the jurors will see it.

Apple planning to build off-campus restaurant to stop competitors from overhearing staff conversations

In another attempt to further separate Apple from the rest of the world, Apple has just had a planning request approved to build a new off-campus cafeteria for employees. The idea behind this is to prevent competitors from overhearing those common conversations that often take place during lunch. This way employees can discuss secret projects without the fear of the idea being stolen.

 

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The new facility will be 21,468 square feet and will be a short walk from Apple's headquarters. The cafeteria will provide cafes, meeting rooms, lounge areas and courtyard facilities. Apple's director of real estate spells out why the new building will be beneficial:

 

We like to provide a level of security so that people and employees can feel comfortable talking about their business, their research and whatever project they're engineering without fear of competition sort of overhearing their conversations. That is a real issue today in Cupertino because we've got other companies here in our same business.

 

Additionally, the current cafeteria at Apple's HQ isn't private. Visitors can eat there if they are signed in by an employee. The new restaurant won't have this problem since it will be strictly for Apple employees only. This new building is only a stop-gap measure until Apple gets its new 'Spaceship' HQ approved.

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