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Sony screws people over Whitney Houston iTunes pricing, then apologises

Talk about cashing in. Sony have officially apologised for hiking up the prices on two of Whitney Houston's albums on Apple's U.K. iTunes store, the day after the singer had died.

 

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On Sunday, Sony had introduced new wholesale price changes that bumped the retail price of Whitney Houston's "The Ultimate Collection" from 4.99 pounds to 7.99. On top of this crazyness, Sony increased the price of "Whitney: The Greatest Hits" from 7.99 pounds up to 9.99.

 

Sony then moved the prices back to their original price later in the day. Of course, the Internet exploded with criticism, where Sony didn't bother to comment until later this afternoon. Sony's apology statement, as reported by AllThingsD:

 

Whitney Houston product was mistakenly mispriced on the UK iTunes store on Sunday. When discovered, the mistake was immediately corrected. We apologize for any offense caused.

AMD's Eric Demers leaves Team Red

Team Red have just lost another player, after a few resignations and changes within the company throughout 2011 and even this year, news has hit the Internet that AMD's Corporate Vice President & CTO, Graphics Division, Eric Demers, is leaving the company. He has hung up his Team Red shirt for good.

 

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AnandTech have reported that he isn't leaving for Intel, or Team Green (NVIDIA), but suspect that Eric's talents will continue to be seen within the industry. Considering AMD's current success within the GPU industry, it's hard to see Eric out of work for a long period of time.

Continue reading 'AMD's Eric Demers leaves Team Red' (full post)

Google-Motorola deal has been approved by both the European Commission and US Department of Justice

Google's $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola has not only been approved by the European Commission, but the United States Department of Justice. Google is now edging closer to the deal being completely approved, but they're still waiting on approval of China, Taiwan and Israel, before the transaction can officially be completed.

 

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The DoJ's Anti-trust Division, who conducted the investigation, said the purchase was "not likely to significantly change existing market dynamics" or "substantially lessen competition". Of course, there are still concerns and they will have eyes on them to make sure they don't abuse patents, like other companies do. Reuters have reported that the DoJ "would not hesitate to take enforcement action", if Google were to manipulate the licensing of standard essential patents to their own advantage.

Continue reading 'Google-Motorola deal has been approved by both the European Commission and US Department of Justice' (full post)

Google splurging $120 million on Googleplex expansion, includes secret test labs, demo facility

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.

 

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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.

Continue reading 'Google splurging $120 million on Googleplex expansion, includes secret test labs, demo facility' (full post)

Shares of Apple closed at above $500 today, has a market capitalization of almost $470 billion

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

Last year's Steam hack worse than previously believed, credit card details and more were taken

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.

 

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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.

Continue reading 'Last year's Steam hack worse than previously believed, credit card details and more were taken' (full post)

Silver Lake is looking to buy Conduit, an Israel-based company, for more than $200 million

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.

 

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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.

Apple lose to Samsung with preliminary injunction against Galaxy Tab 10.1N

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.

 

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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.

Continue reading 'Apple lose to Samsung with preliminary injunction against Galaxy Tab 10.1N' (full post)

Got 90MB spare on your Internet cap, you could download the entire Pirate Bay if you wanted

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.

 

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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.

Continue reading 'Got 90MB spare on your Internet cap, you could download the entire Pirate Bay if you wanted' (full post)

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