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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 5

IMAX threatens Ars Technica for saying VR is like 'IMAX in your house'

Earlier in the month Ars Technica took a tour of the Valve headquarters in Bellevue, Washington where they got to play around with one of the hottest VR headsets out there, the Vive.




Ars Technica's Sam Machkovech used an interesting headline for the article: "SteamVR: The room-scale VR world that feels like 'IMAX in your house'". Just the word 'IMAX' had IMAX Corporation contact Ars Technica, requesting that they retract the article because of Ars Technica's use of the word "IMAX" without their permission. IMAX Corporation's Deputy General Counsel, G. Mary Ruby wrote in a letter to Ars: "Any unauthorized use of our trademark is expressly forbidden".


Why? The article wasn't about IMAX, it was a reference to IMAX because the experience of the room-sized VR had Alex Schwartz, a game designer that Machkovech interviewed, said "It's like saying, 'I have an IMAX theater in my house'". He added: "It's so much better than we can get away with a cumbersome setup". IMAX didn't like that, with Ruby saying in the e-mail: "We believe that your incorrect reference to IMAX when describing this product is misleading to readers as we do not believe that it is possible for a virtual reality system to replicate the experience of an IMAX theater, which is provided by cutting edge projection and sound technology on screens up to 35.72 metres. We request that all future articles regarding this "room-scale" virtual reality system make no reference to our registered trademark".


IMAX has since apologized, after Ars Technica declined to retract their article. IMAX Chief Marketing Officer Eileen Campbell said in a letter to Ars: "Hi Joe, This is an IMAX-sized mea culpa to you, your team at Ars Technica, and your readers. We are very passionate about our brand and sometimes we can be overzealous in trying to protect it. Unfortunately in this situation we acted too quickly without truly understanding the reference to our brand. Again - we apologize for how this was handled and we will try to be better at taking compliments moving forward!"


What do you think about this whole kerfuffle?

AMD rumored to be breaking into pieces, could we see ATI reborn?

Update: AMD's PR agency, Edelman, reached out to us just now with the following statement: "AMD Spokesperson Sarah Youngbauer: AMD provided official confirmation that we have not hired an outside agency to explore spinning-off/splitting the company (Reuters has since updated their story as such). We remain committed to the long-term strategy we laid out for the company in May at our Financial Analyst Day, which encompasses all parts of the business".


Reuters has quite the report for the weekend, where according to "three people familiar with the matter" AMD will be splitting up its businesses into two. This move would see the chipmaker reverse its position in the market, and better combat against the quite unstoppable Intel.




The sources said that the "deliberations are preliminary and no decision has been made" but the review highlights AMD CEO Lisa Su and her "determination to consider every possible option to turn the company around". AMD has reportedly called in a consulting firm to help look at its options, bringing up scenarios on how this would all work.


One of these options would see AMD separating its graphics and licensing business from its server business, with AMD thinking about this move in the past according to these sources from Reuters. If it did happen, could we see the ATI brand once again? All of this is interesting and almost damning while simultaneously exciting for AMD... with the launch of the Radeon R9 390X and the upcoming push of the HBM-based Radeon R9 Fury X.

Ross Ulbricht's lawyer criticizes plea deal for US investigator

Was the federal Silk Road investigation corrupt? Ex-Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges will plead guilty to charges of money laundering and obstruction of justice, and Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht's attorney is arguing that the plea deal "removes any question about the corruption that pervaded the investigation of Silk Road."




"As a result, it undermines completely the integrity of the government's entire investigation," said Joshua Dratel, Ulbricht's attorney, in a statement. Bridges will likely face sentencing on Aug. 31.


Bridges and former DEA agent Carl Force stole bitcoins during the government's investigation of Silk Road - Bridges took more than $800,000 in bitcoins and diverted the funds into his own private accounts.

Continue reading 'Ross Ulbricht's lawyer criticizes plea deal for US investigator' (full post)

Sony faces legal setback after judge refuses to throw out lawsuit

Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) has had countless headaches involving the launch of "The Interview," including being hacked. Corporate emails and employee information were stolen as part of the breach, and nine former employees are suing the company.




District Judge Gary Klausner said the lawsuit complainants will be able to say SPE was negligent - and said SPE and its employees entered a "special relationship" when Social Security numbers and other personal information are shared.


"We are pleased that the court has properly recognized the harm to Sony's employees resulting from their private information escaping their employer's protection," said Michael Sobol, a lawyer representing those suing Sony.

Continue reading 'Sony faces legal setback after judge refuses to throw out lawsuit' (full post)

Busted! FCC hits AT&T with $100M fine for 'misleading' customers

US wireless carrier AT&T has been hit by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with a $100 million fine for misleading subscribers about so-called "unlimited" data plans. This is the largest proposed fine the FCC has issued, and AT&T will not surprisingly try to fight to have it reduced.




Consumers used more than 3GB of 3G data or 5GB of 4G data during a 30-day billing cycle would have their speeds throttled. That may seem bad enough, but AT&T wouldn't inform subscribers about the data throttling, the FCC said.


"Unlimited means unlimited," said Travis LeBlanc, FCC enforcement bureau chief, when discussing the penalty. "As today's action demonstrates, the commission is committed to holding accountable those broadband providers who fail to be fully transparent about data limits."

Continue reading 'Busted! FCC hits AT&T with $100M fine for 'misleading' customers' (full post)

Uber is massively successful in China, with 1 million rides per day

It looks like Uber is very successful in China right now, with the ride sharing giant saying it is logging over 1 million daily rides in China. Keep in mind, that's more than the company was logging in every single market it is in across the world, as of December 2014.




Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has said that the company wants to raise $1 billion in orders to boost its dominance in China, with the company claiming that trip volume is climbing in Chinese cities faster than it is in New York City. But by how much? Well, Chengdu is logging 479 times the trips that NYC was logging at the 9-month mark, with Hangzhou logging 422 times as many trips. You'd think that these cities had more people living in them when compared to NYC, but that's not the case - Chengdu is home to 4.3 million, while Hangzhou is home to 2.5 million.


The growth that Uber is experiencing in China seems unstoppable at this point in time, with the company creating 100,000 "new full time equivalent jobs per month" according to Kalanick. With Uber only operating in 11 cities across China, most of this growth can be attributed to the heavily promoted service 'The People's Uber', which sees Uber not taking commission from completed rides.

ASUS to buyout HTC? It's a possibility, but chances 'are not big'

ASUS has reportedly shown interest in purchasing smartphone maker HTC, as the company's difficulties are only mounting even more.




The Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer has slashed its sale forecast up to 35 percent, with its stock value dropping almost 20 percent combined over two days earlier in the week. If a company wants to swoop in and snag HTC, it would seem like now might be the right time to consider takeover attempts.


"Our chairman has chatted about the topic internally," said David Chang, Chief Financial Officer at Asustek, in a statement to Reuters. "Still, the chances of an actual takeover are not big as Asustek is a company that has depended on organic growth."

Ross Ulbricht appealing life sentence, but does he stand a chance?

Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht received a life sentence without the possibility of parole, and his attorneys are appealing the court's ruling. Specifically, he received two life sentences, along with three lesser sentences that would be served concurrently.




Silk Road operated from 2011 until 2013, where thousands of drug dealers, drug users, and others exchanged illegal narcotics. Not surprisingly, Joshue Dratel, one of Ulbricht's attorneys, said the sentence handed down was "unreasonable, unjust and unfair" - and they will work to have the sentence reduced.


"I wanted to empower people to make choices in their lives for themselves and have privacy and anonymity," Ulbricht said while trying to defend his actions in creating Silk Road. "I'm not a self-centered sociopathic person who wanted to express inner badness."

Continue reading 'Ross Ulbricht appealing life sentence, but does he stand a chance?' (full post)

Spotify has more than 20M paid subscribers, 75M listeners overall

Spotify is currently the king of streaming music, and doesn't seem concerned about Apple's effort to break into the market. Spotify has increased the number of paying customers from 25 percent in January up to 26.7 percent, as the company woos users to pay $10 per month for ad-free music.




In January, the company announced it had 15 million paying subscribers and 60 million active users - but has recently updated those figures:


"What a difference a year makes! At the end of May 2014, we reached 10 million paying subscribers and 40 million active users," according to a Spotify blog post. "Today, we have reached more than 20 million subscribers and more than 75 million active users."

Continue reading 'Spotify has more than 20M paid subscribers, 75M listeners overall' (full post)

Elon Musk says he's not 'really a fan of disruption'

When it comes to Elon Musk and his role in Tesla and SpaceX, many would call him a disruption and innovator. However, Musk recently said he's "not really a fan" of tech disruption, and it seems he's more interested in trying to create real-world solutions for issues that matter.




"If there's a need for something to be disrupted and it's important to the future of the world then sure, we can disrupt it," Musk said during the Edison Electric Institute's conference.


SpaceX is focused on space research to help transport supplies and ferry astronauts into space, while Tesla designs and sells electric vehicles. The company recently announced the Powerwall solar product to power homes and businesses.

Continue reading 'Elon Musk says he's not 'really a fan of disruption'' (full post)

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