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[Update: Changed the title, now less confusing.] When you visit Google tomorrow, and let's face it, we know you will, you'll see that they will have posted a link on their home page notifying users of Google's opposition to the controversial anti-piracy bills being thrown around like candy in Congress.
Google confirmed in a statement that they will join other popular sites such as Reddit, and Wikipedia, as well as other influential tech sites in staging protests of varying kinds against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA, and Protect IP Act (PIPA) which are (of course) backed by big entertainment and media interests.
A Google representative has said:
Like many businesses, entrepreneurs, and Web users, we oppose these bills because there are smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue Web sites without asking American companies to censor the Internet. So tomorrow we will be joining many other tech companies to highlight this issue on our U.S. home page.
Apple is at it, again - files design suit against Samsung in Germany, wants to ban 10 Samsung smartphones
Apple is at it again, this time it has filed another suit in Germany, where they seek to ban sales of various Samsung smartphones, including the Galaxy S Plus and S II. The suit was filed in the Dusseldorf Regional Court, and is based from Apple design rights in Europe, according to a phone call Bloomberg had with court spokesman Peter Schuetz.
Apple didn't stop there, they've also launched a separate suit against five different Samsung tablet computer models related to a September ruling banning the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Last month, the Dusseldorf court said that it is unlikely to grant an injunction against the Galaxy 10.1N and an appeals court also gave doubts about the reach of Apple's European Union design right that won the company the injunction against the Galaxy 10.1.
The new suits aren't filed under emergency proceedings, and allow Apple a new procedure against both models. Apple did initially win with their successful September injunction, but have since then, hit roadblocks against Samsung. Back in December, Apple failed to convince an Australian court to reinstate a ban of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia.
Samsung is looking to issue its first overseas bonds since 1997 in a move to expand the production of processors used in mobile devices such as Apple's iPhone. Samsung have sent requests for proposals to banks to borrow as much as $1 billion in order to expand production capacity at it's Austin, Texas-based plant.
Samsung joins cash-rich technology companies such as Google, by entering the bond market as borrowing costs plummet. It's cheaper for Samsung to raise funds to meet surging smartphone demand than go into their own pocket, where they have nearly $20 billion in cash.
Samsung are also planning to increase investment in 2012 to boost production of not just mobile chips, but next-generation OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display panels. No detailed investment plans for 2012 have been stated by Samsung.
The expansion should be a great thing for Texas, and America as a whole. Creating jobs in a struggling economy, and a struggling country.
SOPA may have been stalled, but the fight is not over, yet. Wikipedia have announced that they are joining in on the Black Out protest which is scheduled for January 18, just mere hours away.
Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, made the announcement through Twitter today, saying that Wikipedia will be unavailable for 24 hours beginning midnight EST of January 18 (4pm AEDT). Instead of Wiki entries, users will get to the site, and get redirected to a page with a banner saying "The Internet Must Remain Free".
Wikipedia is just one of a number of sites that will suspend operations on January 18, these sites include Minecraft, Reddit, Major League Gaming and the entire Cheezburger network. These black outs and protests are to raise awareness for SOPA and PIPE bills. Hopefully this begins to catapult SOPA and PIPA into the mainstream, and the House drops it. Let's hope they don't rename it, add some spice and throw it in with another bill without anyone knowing. It's not like they would be capable of doing that, again.
THQ have had a rough couple of years, its share price five years ago sat very pretty at $33.73, and in 2011, dropped to just 66 cents. Operating costs also kicked them, hard. They used a significant chunk of their cash closing down two Australian studios, costing nearly $40 million total.
Out of that $40 million, $4.4 million of it went to severance packages and other wage-related issues. $17.5 million of it was spent on costs related to the "cancellation of two unannounced titles in development" at THQ Studios Australia and Blue Tongue. But, we're not finished yet.
THQ paid a flat fee for a license for The Avengers, where THQ had to just write off after the cancellation of the game that was in development at THQ Studios Australia. What did it cost THQ for that? A cool $16 million. Thrown away, burnt, just washed their hands with it. For $16 million already spent on The Avengers game, I'd like to know how it made financial sense to can development of a game already in development.
Entourage fan? If not, the title means nothing to you. YouTube it! Big news, SOPA has been stalled everyone, stalled! It was stalled due to a lack of 'consensus'. A lack of consensus with something so big going through Congress. Who would've thought!
The backlash from the Internet community with sites like Reddit against it, and the boycotting of companies that supported it like GoDaddy, have helped to force the pathetic bill to be stalled. On Saturday, the House Oversight Chariman, Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) was promised by Majority Leader, Eric Cantor (R-Va.) that the House won't vote on the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) unless there is a consensus on the bill.
Issa said in a statement:
While I remain concerned about Senate action on the Protect IP Act, I am confident that flawed legislation will not be taken up by this House. Majority Leader Cantor has assured me that we will continue to work to address outstanding concerns and work to build consensus prior to any anti-piracy legislation coming before the House for a vote.
Just after iiNet scooped up Internode, we now have a Telstra communication to their staff, where they seem to be informing their employees that TPG could buy iiNet, which would see TPG jump into second position among Australian ISP's.
TPG already owns 7-percent of iiNet, so if TPG were to takeover iiNet, it shouldn't be a surprise. The exact words from Telstra, as provided from Delimiter:
"iiNet's $105 million acquisition of Internode, announced just prior to Christmas, will see it gain 190,000 subscribers, and spearhead TPG Telecom into third place among broadband providers behind Telstra and Optus," the company's update read. "In recent months, TPG Telecom has been building a stake in iiNet, which, according to market speculation, could be a precursor to a full takeover."
Microsoft has shown its strength just now, with the Xbox taking in nearly half of all consumer spending from physical sales in 2011. Roughly $6.7 billion, or 40-percent of consumer retail spending, was spent on the Xbox, breaking into two separate categories. $2.1 billion on consoles, and $4.6 billion on games, according to NPD data released today.
These figures take into account U.S. retail sales of new physical videogame content, inclusive of portable and console hardware, games and accessories. In the collective sectors, they generated revenues of $17.02 billion last year, an 8-percent decline from 2010's $18.6 billion in generated revenues. Out of that $17.02 billion, Microsoft took a very respectable 40-percent of those sales.
The report doesn't include sales from digital formats, with things like downloadable content, social and mobile games, used and rental sales. Those so-called "newer" categories generated $7.24 billion in revenues last year, an increase of 7-percent over 2010. Whilst the increase in spending on alternative formats was there, it wasn't enough to offset the declines in physical retail. Consumer spending across both categories was between $16.3 and $16.6 billion, falling 2-percent from last year.
eBay and Amazon forecasts for mobile commerce volume in 2012, $8 billion and $7 billion, respectively
CES 2012: eBay CEO (and new interim PayPal CEO) John Donahoe, revealed at his CES keynote yesterday a number of new mobile payments forecasts for not only eBay, but PayPal, too. PayPal VP David Marcus said a few days ago that PayPal had surpassed its expectation of $3.5 billion in mobile payments in 2011, reaching $4 billion for 2011.
Donahoe said in his CEO keynote that eBay reached $5 billion in mobile GMV (gross merchandise volume), this is a 100-percent jump on 2010's GMV. Donahoe also projected yesterday that eBay would reach $8 billion in mobile GMV in 2012, with PayPal reaching $7 billion in transactions in 2012.
Mobile has more than 65 million downloads of eBay's mobile applications across all platforms. More than 890,000 new eBay shoppers completed their very first eBay purchase via the mobile apps in 2011, an 113-percent increase year-over-year. Donahoe also announced a new strategic partner in eBay's RedLaser barcode scanning app, who is it? Well, it's Best Buy. The app was updated last fall to include integration from PayPal and Milo to give users the ability to buy now for either in-store pick-up, or home delivery later.
Best Buy joins Toys R Us as RedLaser's latest partner.
Nokia. Microsoft. Windows Phone. 2012. This is all you need to know if you want to believe the numbers Morgan Stanley expect Nokia to ship this year, based on Windows Phone devices alone. They expect Nokia's new Windows Phones to sell 37 million units this year, with that number ballooning to 64 million units next year.
Morgan Stanley's estimates for HTC's Windows Phone-based handsets is actually quite the number, too. They estimate 43 million this year and 74 million next year. Considering these are just estimates, I can't see it happening, but Nokia and HTC are two powerhouse companies, so who knows. I just see iOS and Android fighting them too much to sell phones in those types of numbers.
Microsoft have a lot of work cut out for them this year, but they seem to be in their stride now. It should be interesting to see what they do this year against Android 4.0 and if there's a release of iOS 6 sometime later this year. We should see great things from all three companies.