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Google have whipped out their [Google] wallet and are paying more than $120 million for construction projects at their Mountain View HQ, including work on a series of new or previously secret hardware testing labs, that are hinting at Google expanding interest in making consumer objects to combat rivals Apple, Microsoft, and more.
Included in these new secret labs, is a reported new secret consumer product under the brand name "@home", that is said to wireless stream music or data to other household devices. Google are also said to be modifying a lab for their "Project X", which seems to involve precision optical technology and be part of the secret technology projects that Google co-founder, Sergey Brin is heading.
The biggest project in this expansion is said to be a "Google Experience Center", which is at the core of the Googleplex. The 120,000-square-foot center is said to be a kind of private museum for Google's most importan clients and partners, where they plan to "to share visionary ideas, and explore new ways of working" with up to 900 VIPs and other important guests.
I'd love to have a tour through these new facilities, it sounds super exciting. I really just want a pair of those Intersect glasses (Chuck fans, unite!). Well, not Intersect glasses, but Google's augmented reality glasses.
Apple shares closed above the $500 mark today, ending the day at $502.60. Impressive. Being the world's most valuable company must feel good, but being able to boast a market capitalization of almost $470 billion, must feel better.
This means they're up 9 points from yesterday's close, and up more than 80 from the day Apple released their numbers for their super-impressive quarter on January 24th. This $500 mark is said to be a 'psychological milestone', with the market cap the most important. $470 billion may sound like a lot, but during the 1990s boom, Microsoft, Cisco and GE also reached that height.
Considering Apple also hold close to $100 billion in cash, this goes to expand those numbers that little bit more. The question I have is, just like all companies, and empires, they fall. Will Apple continuously expand and hit $1000 per share? Or will they fall? What could do that? A true market crash? It seems nothing can stop this freight train that is Apple.
Microsoft opening new retail stores soon, will step over the border to Canada by the end of the year
Microsoft have laid down some plans where they will open up four new retail stores over the next few months, with the first international stores opening up later this year.
This is all according to at least one person familiar with Microsoft's plans, says The Verge. The plans would see the Redmond-based company open up a brand new store in Palo Alto, California, and another in Austin, Texas. The funny thing about two of these stores? They will be opening during April, and they'll be quite close to Apple retail store locations in popular malls.
The same plans are said to include two new stores in the state of New Jersey, the first in Bridgewater, the second in Freehold. The New Jersey stores are said to be located in malls that also have Apple stores, and are expected to open up shop before the end of June.
Microsoft's Kevin Turner said last July that Microsoft plan to open up 75 new stores over the next two years, but at the time didn't mention any non-domestic stores. Canada is on the list to receive a store, which should be located in Toronto and will open up just before the holidays. It's said to expect at least one international store at the same time as the Toronto-based store opening.
We reported last year about the Steam hack, but it has now been reported that the hack was actually quite a lot worse than previously thought. The server hacked did contain data such as usernames, hashed passwords, game purchases, e-mail addresses, billing addresses and encrypted credit card numbers, but Valve didn't find any evidence that led them to believe that any personal information was stolen, until now.
Valve have completed further investigation into the matter, and have stated that their preliminary conclusion was, incorrect. Newell has now said he believes the hackers obtained a copy of a backup file with data about Steam transactions made between 2004 and 2008. This backup file is said to contain usernames, e-mail addresses, encrypted billing addresses and encrypted credit card numbers. One of the good things to come from this news is that no passwords were included in this file.
Yozma Venture Capital is looking to sell their shares in Israel-based Conduit, a company who creates user engagement tools. Yozma could receive more than $200 million if they sold their shares, Globe reported yesterday.
The buyer is Silver Lake, a U.S. private equity firm, who is looking to pay between $200 and $250 million for the stake in Conduit. Globes describes the firm as a:
large foreign investment firm that has tens of billions of dollars in assets under management.
Yozma originally invested $1.5 million in the company back in 2006 for a 9-percent stake. If this deal continues, Yozma would see a very impressive 200-times its initial investment, or 20,000-percent. This is an insane deal for Yozma, and shows they invested their money very wisely.
What do Conduit offer? They offer three services, first, a community toolbar that boosts traffic and grows website communities, a mobile service that creates apps, and the Wibaya Bar, which promotes social engagement.
We've reported on the various Samsung vs. Apple lawsuits around the world, with a few successful wins for Samsung, and Apple not so happy with the outcomes. Today is a victorious day for Samsung, as a Duesseldorf court has just cleared the modified Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1N for sale in Germany.
Several rulings were against Samsung in a never-ending battle of patent suits, where Apple succeeded in blocking the original Galaxy Tab 10.1 in September, as well as the smaller 8.9-inch Galaxy Tab 8.9 in January. It was determined that they both "resembled the iPad too closely".
Samsung had prepared a tweaked version of its Galaxy Tab 10.1 dubbed Galaxy Tab 10.1N, which features a more pronounced metallic rim, relocated speakers, as well as some minor adjustments to change both the look, and feel of the device. Apple were unsurprisingly unsatisfied with the changes, and were quick to file additional injunctions to ban the updated Galaxy Tab 10.1N. Their demand? Rejected.
The world's largest BitTorrent site, The Pirate Bay, as reported previously, will stop linking to .torrent files shortly and replace them with magnet links. Magnet links have a pretty big advantage over .torrent files, where they're much more portable, and easier to copy. On top of this, a new torrent link on TPB lists all titles and magnet links, where the public can download a copy that would fit onto even the smallest USB flash drive, or if you're still rocking those floppies, a few of them, too.
TPB told TorrentFreak that one of the advantages to a "magnet site" is that it requires little bandwidth to host a proxy site. A proxy site is required as TPB is blocked in many countries, and is of course, going to increase. Think it can't happen? Well, Pirate Bay user "allisfine" was intrigued by this idea, and has decided to find out just how small a copy of TPB would be. He told TorrentFreak:
I did a complete snapshot of ALL the Pirate Bay torrents, in case somebody wants to close it or something similarly crazy.
NVIDIA and Rambus have been fighting it out for a while now, with four years of lawsuits and fighting, have resolved the matter privately. They've inked a new deal that is valid for the next five years, but other than that, no other details are provided.
The PR statement is vague, just pointing out that the two companies have settled, and that there's a five-year agreement now:
The agreement covers the use of Rambus patented innovations in a broad range of integrated circuit (IC) products offered by NVIDIA. In addition, the two companies have settled all outstanding claims, including resolution of past use of Rambus' patented innovations. The term of this agreement is five years; other details are confidential.
"This is an important license agreement as it settles our differences and allows us to move forward with NVIDIA, the leader in visual and parallel computing," said Harold Hughes, president and chief executive officer at Rambus. "Looking forward, we have the opportunity to focus on developing innovative solutions in concert with our licensees to help bring compelling, innovative products to market."
It's good to see the issues resolved, now they can get back to business.
Paradox CEO, Fred Wester, is a man of important words. He has revealed the amazing growth of his companies digital distribution revenue. In his own words, he has said:
My own experience of digital distribution is that we made 1.5 percent of our revenue from digital distribution in 2006, while the digital number in 2011 was over 95%.
Did you see that? From 1.5-percent of their revenue, to a whopping 95-percent, in just 5 short years. In these 5 years we've seen retailers go from selling tonnes of retail boxed games, to the App Store opening, the Android Market arriving and more. Steam is generating more and more income, and other digital distribution methods such as GOG, and Origin.
Motorola is currently fighting Microsoft in a German court over some patents, where the court is inclined to side with Motorola. This could see Microsoft pay Motorola royalties of 2.25-percent in sales of Windows 7, and Xbox 360, among other products. The news comes from Florian Mueller, an intellectual property analyst who tracks worldwide patent disputes in his Foss Patents blog.
Mueller is quoted:
A short summary of today's trial (technically four trials, but organized as one because of overlapping issues) is that the court is inclined to rule, with a decision scheduled for April 17, 2012, that Microsoft Windows 7, Internet Explorer 9, the Windows Media Player and the Xbox 360 infringe on those two patents.
The two patents in question relate to a video compression and decompression technology, covering methods for reducing the amount of bandwidth required for video that is streamed online. It is said that Microsoft violated the patents which are used in its technologies and software including Windows 7, Internet Explorer 9, Windows Media Player and the Xbox 360.