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Apple CEO Tim Cook became the most prominent public company executive to come out of the closet, saying he is "proud to be gay" in a recently published essay. The Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights activist group, applauded Cook for making such a "courageous" decision - and noted he is the first openly gay Fortune 500 company CEO.
"Let me be clear: I'm proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me," Cook said in his essay. "Apple is already one of the most closely watched companies in the world - and I like keeping the focus on our products and the incredible things our customers achieve with them."
Cook has never necessarily denied being gay with others, but wanted to make a public announcement to try to help others be comfortable, saying if it "can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it's worth the trade-off with my own privacy."
Comcast will pay $50 million to end an 11-year-old class-action overcharging lawsuit that was filed by angry Philadelphia customers. The lawsuit was filed on December 8, 2003, and originally wanted $875 million from the cable giant.
The payments, credits and free upgrades will be issued to subscribers in Philadelphia and four other local counties - and will help out curren and former subscribers from January 1, 2003 to December 31, 2008, according to legal documents.
Plaintiffs will receive a measly $15 payout, as just $16.67 million will be paid out in cash or customer credit - including four months of free Internet service upgrades, six free pay-per-view movies two free months of The Movie Channel, or one free month upgrade to Extreme 105 service.
EA has been in the news a fair bit in the last 24 hours, where we only just reported that Battlefield: Hardline has a release date of March 17, 2015 and we have a release window of Q4 2015 for DICE's Star Wars Battlefront. Now we're hearing about EA's financials for the quarter that finished on September 30.
The company reported $990 million in net revenue for the three-month period, which is an 18.5% slide from the $1.21 billion in revenue it posted from its last quarter. When comparing it to the same quarter from last year however, it shows the company has a nice 42.4% year-over-year increase. Net income for the company has improved from the same time last year, posting $3 million in income versus the $273 million loss from last year.
Digital revenues slipped 5.2% from $536 million to $508 million for the quarter, but this is still a 12.9% increase year-over-year. EA is still hoping to make a massive $1 billion in digital add-on content this year, and looks to be on track to reach that big goal. The company has adjusted its expectations for the fiscal year, something that ends on March 31, 2015, too. It has added $75 million to its projections, for a total of $4.375 billion. For the next three months, EA expects a net revenue of $1.1 billion.
Apple saw iTunes music sales plunge 13 to 14 percent in 2013, as the music industry continues to be extremely fragile, according to recent reports. Music sales have been flat for a several years, and have dropped a whopping 50 percent since 2000, as listeners have embraced digital music files.
Music companies are struggling to convince listeners to drop free, ad-supported programs and sign up for monthly subscriptions - typically around $10 per month.
To compare, revenue of iTunes downloads slowed only 2.1 percent in 2013, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) said. However, ad-supported and subscription streaming services helped make up for the slight 2013 drop, while there was very little respite in 2014.
Just weeks after cutting the prices on their Radeon GPUs, AMD is back to the price-cutting game with prices dropped on their APUs. Not only that, but the company is offering free games, too. Buy any APU between now and the end of the month, and AMD will offer you one of three games: Murdered: Soul Suspect, Thief, or Sniper Elite 3.
Just how hard are the price cuts? Well, AMD are slashing the prices of its top-end parts by 15-25%. The A10-7850K was $189 on NewEgg, but it is now $143, where the A10-7800 was $165, is now $133. These cuts have AMD competing at a better price point against Intel now, especially when it comes to Intel's Core i3 and Core i5 processors.
According to people familiar with the matter, Airbnb's valuation is set to expand up to $13 billion, up from $10 billion earlier this year, reports CNBC.
The community-driven hospitality company, if valued at $13 billion, would come second only to Uber "in the rankings of Silicon Valley's most valuable private companies". Airbnb doesn't have a CEO, after Andrew Swain left last month, which should push out the IPO, if there was one any time soon, to sometime in 2015.
In order for Airbnb employees to cash in on some of their stock between now and the IPO, the company is in discussions with existing investors about allowing them to buy back tens of millions of dollars worth of shares, according to CNBC's sources. This cash injection won't be going into new capital for the company, but instead it would reportedly go to staff.
Microsoft has posted a somewhat surprising quarterly financial report, which even exceeded analysts' expectations. The Redmond-based giant posted $5.48 billion in operating income, with $4.5 billion in net income from $23.2 billion in revenue.
When compared against the results from the same quarter of last year, Microsoft's revenue has increased by 255, but net income is down 14%. The company explains this slump of $1.14 billion because of "integration and restructuring expenses" after acquiring Nokia's Devices and Services business.
One of the bigger surprises, is that Microsoft's Surface division has performed extremely well. The Surface division posted an increase in revenue of a huge 127%, compared to the same three-month period from last year. The Surface Pro 3 has been successful for the company, with $908 million in revenue with positive gross margin, and will soon be Microsoft's next billion-dollar business. When it comes to the Lumia division at Microsoft, it sold 9.3 million handsets for the quarter, an increase of 6% on the same period of last year.
After resigning from Electronic Arts last year amid multiple problems the company was experiencing, John Riccitiello hasn't made much noise in the last twelve months, until now.
Unity Technologies' founder, David Helgason, is stepping down as CEO of the company, with Riccitiello replacing him. Helgason will stay with the company, but said that Riccitiello is "the right person to help guide the company to the mission that we set out for ourselves over a decade ago: democratize game development!". The founder of Unity also said that the company has been "making some big moves" lately, reiterating that Unity has been investing in new partnerships and technologies.
Helgason wrote: "This is a lot to take on as a company and building it right is going to take a huge effort. We keep our eyes out for the best talent and help wherever we feel we can use it at every level. That's why today, I'm pleased to welcome John Riccitiello onto the Unity team as our new CEO. Sure, that sounds odd, as it also means I'm stepping down from the role, but this is an amazing win for Unity and the community. Many of you are likely familiar with John. He's been in the games industry for a long time, both as COO and later CEO of Electronic Arts. He's also helped fund and guide some notable startups like Oculus and Syntertainment among many others, and is a heartfelt believer in the indie scene and its importance to the overall well-being of the industry".
Lenovo is really hitting a stride lately, especially with their great Yoga range of slates and Ultrabooks, but what about smartphones? The latest rumor is that the Chinese electronics giant will announce an acquisition bid for Canadian phonemaker, BlackBerry... this week.
Unnamed sources have talked with Benzinga.com, a financial news site, that Lenovo is going to offer BlackBerry $15 per share, which is a premium over the $9 or so that its stock has been trading at lately. If BlackBerry declines the first offer, Lenovo will reportedly back it up with an increased offer of $18 per share.
Both Lenovo and BlackBerry have declined to comment on the rumors so far, but this isn't the first time they have been floating around. We heard about this back in October last year, but nothing happened. The issue was that the Canadian government wouldn't give its approval for Lenovo to acquire BlackBerry due to national security concerns.
Apple has posted its Q4 earnings, revealing that the company has shipped a massive 39.3 million iPhones in the three-month period. Apple also shipped some 12.3 million iPads, and 5.5 million Macs across the world in the quarter.
The record-breaking 10 million iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus smartphone sales in the opening weekend alone would've kicked this along, but iPad sales have not only dipped in the quarter, but year-over-year, too. To make it even more clear, Apple's iPad has reached a new low, something it hasn't hit since it first started reporting tablet sales separately back in 2012.
Why would this be happening? Well, Android tablets are getting much, much better with each iteration, and now we have the bigger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, the iPad is becoming more irrelevant to some users. The iPad did well in Japan according to Apple, and its slate is also the United States' education tablet of choice. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, said during the Q&A session after the earnings report that Apple is looking at the slump in iPad sales as a "speedbump and not a huge thing" and said that he personally sees a "great future" for its tablets.