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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 265

New York Times sees digital ads sag

The New York Times loves its digital paywall and says that it is a success with consumers, and from the last statistics I saw, it is. However, its digital advertising business is not doing quite as well. Last quarter the business actually receded by 2%, which isn't much, but, considering other advertisers gained, is worrisome.

 

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At the publisher's core News Media Group, advertising fell even further. Overall ad sales were down 6.1 percent. Times CEO Arthur Sulzberberger Jr. blamed "uneven U.S. economic environment and uncertain global conditions" for weak ad sales. The New York Times is expecting similar downward pressure in the second quarter.

 

People seem happy enough to pay for the paper. Circulation revenue was up 9.7 percent and it has near 500,000 subscribers to its digital service. The New York Times hopes to increase this by shrinking what it provides for free. In related news, the Time's About.com is also having trouble. Its revenue decreased a massive 23.1%.

The Google Play Store has 24-hour phone support

This is something I definitely wasn't aware of, but I'm the type of person that doesn't usually require phone support - and if I get to the stage where it doesn't work on my smartphone, quick, it gets uninstalled and I go into a fit of internal rage.

 

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But, the Google Play Store actually features 24-hour technical support over the phone. So if you have any problems with purchasing or downloading apps, movies or music, you can fill out an online form and a Google representative will call you during your requested time.

 

The Play Store 24-hour technical support is only for Play Store-related problems, not handset-related problems. So I'm sure they would be picky on what they would help you out on, which is fair enough. If you want to have a handy link to contact the people at Google Play, try this link. Not bad, huh?

Nintendo awarded with patent for emulating older handheld consoles

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) have awarded Nintendo with a patent for emulating older handheld consoles. Which handheld consoles you ask? Gameboy, Gameboy Color, and Gameboy Advance are being targeted for emulation on external "low capability" computing devices such as airline seat-back displays.

 

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At the moment, it's unclear what Nintendo plan to do with the patent, but it is interesting nonetheless. Backwards compatibility on newer consoles usually uses software or hardware emulation to achieve the playback of older games. This new patent Nintendo hold covers both hardware and software emulation, but is specific to lower-powered devices, rather than modern systems.

 

The patent covers frame-skipping to enhance performance, as well as requirements that the emulated software have the look and feel greater than, or equal to the original hardware's execution - which is a very good thing. Global handheld emulation developed by Nintendo, which is addressed in the patent, would potentially open up a huge game back-catalog for usage on a wide variety of platforms, interestingly, not just Nintendo-produced ones.

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!

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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"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.

 

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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.

 

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"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.

 

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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.

 

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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)

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