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Microsoft has clamped down its plans to launch an online subscription service for TV shows and movies, according to a report from Reuters. Microsoft were deep in discussion with potential programming partners for over 12 months now, and were, up until recently, planning to launch the service in the upcoming months.
They have done a 180-degree turn on that decision, after deciding that the licensing costs were too high for the business model they envisaged, according to people "familiar with the discussions". One senior media executive who was involved in these talks, said:
They built Microsoft TV, they demoed it for us, they asked for rate cards but then said 'ooh ah, that's expensive.'
Early versions of the service included the same Kinect-based features such as voice and motion control to change channels, and more. Similar to Netflix, Microsoft's service would've allowed a monthly fee for a package of programming from someone other than your local cable or satellite TV company. Being different to Netflix, Microsoft hoped to offer current TV shows and live networks on their service, which made it a much higher cost proposition.
Well, I know what I want to be when I grow up. 2011 was an amazing year financially for Tim Cook, becoming the CEO of Apple after Steve Jobs passed away, he took in a new salary and a bunch of stock awards. By a bunch, I mean a lot and by a lot, I mean over $377 million worth.
According to Apple's 2012 Proxy Statement, Cook received $377,996,537 in total compensation last year, compared to Jobs' compensation which was exactly $1. Cook only took in $900,000 as a salary in 2011, but received an insanely large bonus in restricted stock units, vesting in two five-year increments and doled out with his appointment to the CEO throne, took his total compensation through the roof.
This isn't the first time Apple gave its CEO a bunch of stock options, back in 2006, Steve Jobs received $646.6 million, most of which was given in stock options. Just imagine that, opening up your Internet Banking page, and seeing all those numbers. I'd most likely find myself on the floor three days later, passing out from pure shock.
Thank you, Reddit. For being one of the biggest sites on the Internet opposed to the ridiculous, corrupt crap that is SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act). We've covered it a few times now and I'm completely, 100-percent opposed to it. This is something where everyone needs to be aware, and pass news around as much as possible to make others aware.
If SOPA is passed, everything you know about the Internet will change, completely. It will not be the same. It's pretty much the censorship of the entire Internet. Reddit, being as strong as they are, and very community-based, are fighting against it. Reddit will be blacking out their entire site on January 18 from 8am-8pm EST (1300-0100 UTC) as a protest.
Reddit will simply display a message about how the PIPA/SOPA legislation would shut down sites like Reddit, and they'll link users to resources where they can learn more, and suggest ways they can take action. They'll also showcase the live video stream of the House hearing, where Internet entrepreneurs and technical experts will be testifying.
OCZ Technology have been snapping up companies lately and today is no different with the acquisition of SANRAD Inc., an Israel-based provider of flash caching and virtualization software and hardware. The addition of intellectual property to OCZ's growing portfolio is expected to increase the adoption of PCIe SSD storage solutions specifically in VMware and Citrix Zen environments.
SANRAD currently sells its flash caching and virtualization software to OEMs such as NEXSAN and Brocade. The deal between OCZ and SANRAD is reportedly worth approximately $15 million, which consists of approx. 2.1 million shares of OCZ stock.
The Consumer Electronics Show starts up this week and right out of the gate in relation to consumer electronics is a report from the NPD Group: Consumer electronic sales during the 2011 holiday period dropped 6-percent when compared to 2010.
But, it doesn't look like it'll get any better. The NPD Weekly Tracking Service notes that the decline comes off of another decline from the year before. 2011's drop was not as bad as 2010's bad, but it shows the direction the market is headed. NPD says:
Total consumer technology sales (excluding cell phones, tablets, e-readers, and video games) fell 5.9 percent to around $9.5 billion for the 5 weeks ending December 24, a slight improvement over the 6.2 percent decline in 2010.
Valve just released their 2011 growth data for Steam, and during 2011 the platform grew to offer over 1,800 games to more than 40 million accounts. Year-over-year unit sales increased by more than 100-percent for the seventh straight year, and during the 2011 Holiday Sale, Steam's simultaneous user numbers ballooned to over 5 million players at once.
If you're a storage fan, get this: Steam doubled the amount of content delivered from 2010, to serve over 780 Petabytes (with a P!) of data to gamers around the world. To sustain this demand for bandwidth, the Steam infrastructure more than doubled its service capacity and a new content delivery architecture was deployed to improve user download rates.
This is something truly amazing, Xian Min Zhang sent in a video to Gizmodo of his company's latest project, a 30-story tall, 183,000-square-foot hotel built in just 360 hours. 360 hours is just an amazing 15 days. What is more impressive is that it's not just a simple hotel built, there are some great features built-in.
The hotel was built near the Dongting lake, in the Hunan Province, China, by Broad Group, a Chinese construction company who specializes in sustainable architecture. The building uses prefabricated modules (with a +/- 0.2mm precision in the fabrication process) mounted on a steel structure, with diagonal steel bracing.
What impressed me the most, are the following features of the building: it can resist a 9-magnitude earthquake (and was tested by the China Academy of Building Research), which is claimed to be five times more earthquake-resistant than conventional buildings. It is also five times more more energy efficient, with 6-inch thick glass curtain wall insulation and four-paned windows with built-in shades, a heat recovery system and 3-stage filtration air conditioning process that actually purifies indoor air to be 20 times (!) purer than the air outside.
AMD may have had a successful Radeon HD 7000-series launch, but 2012 is not starting off well for their laptop division. Quanta Computer, a Taiwanese company that manufactures laptops for companies such as HP, Dell, Acer, and others, is suing AMD for an alleged breach of contract.
Quanta Computer are claiming that AMD chips used in laptops made for NEC were defective. No specific models have been mentioned, but both AMD and ATI are mentioned in the report, meaning that the complaints could cover GPUs, CPUs or, both. The problem that Quanta have with the chips is heat tolerance issues in a particular laptop line, but again, no models are mentioned.
Quanta claims that it "has suffered significant injury to prospective revenue and profits" and they are suing for breach of warranty, negligent misrepresentation, civil fraud, and interference with a contract.
Verizon Wireless Chief Financial Officer, Fran Shammo, today participated in Citi's Global Entertainment, Media & Communications Conference, and as part of his presentation, revealed some iPhone sales numbers for Verizon.
Shammo announced that Verizon had pumped through 4.2 million iPhones during Q4 2011, which is the same quarter that Apple launched their iPhone 4S. Q4's sales dwarfed Q3's sale numbers of the iPhone by more than double, from 2.0 million to 4.2 million. Apple sold just over 17 million iPhones during Q3, so if Verizon sold 4.2 million iPhones during Q4, Apple could've sold nearly 35 million iPhones during Q4 across the world.
Apple today announced they will report their holiday quarter sales and earnings numbers on January 24, where we should know more about their sales numbers, but in detail. As a result of the strong iPhone 4S sales performance, Verizon is expecting a reduction in its profit margin as they absorb the upfront subsidies paid to Apple for the iPhone 4S.
As time goes on, Verizon claw back their money from customers service contracts.
Update: I've been informed by Intel, that the engineers did not in fact work for Intel, as the story originally suggested.
Taiwan's Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) have arrested four Intel engineers where they allegedly sold sample processors on eBay. The suspects were confirmed as Intel engineers at an OEM plant in Taiwan were taken into custody in the city of Taoyuan.
Detectives had been tracking the engineers since September and conducted a raid on the individual's homes last month, according to reports. Authorities seized just 178 sample CPUs with an estimated street value of $82,500. The suspects admitted to selling more than 500 ES-branded chips since 2009.
Engineering sample CPUs are typically designated by Intel Confidential and ES markings are considered beta versions that get used for in-house testing, compatibility qualification, used as demonstrations or sent to media outlets for evaluation purposes. The chips are usually sent out to various outlets before commercial release and those who receive them usually sign non-disclosure agreements and after they're finished with the chip, return it or keep it and agree not to sell it.