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Samsung has more staff than Apple, Microsoft and Google... combined

Most would think that Apple or Google would have the most employees under its belt, but it is Samsung, by a long shot. Ars Technica has compared Samsung's filing with it's biggest competitors - Apple, Google, Sony and Microsoft - to find that Samsung hires a mammoth number of people, even compared to its biggest competition.

 

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Samsung hires 275,133 people according to the report, while Sony comes the closest with 105,000 staff. Microsoft comes in third with 99,000 employees, Apple with 80,300 staff coming in fourth, and Google in at fifth with 47,756 employees. Ars Technica did a real deep dive into the filing, finding that Samsung had 40,506 software engineers as of 2013, which is a massive 45% increase over 2011.

 

Google on the other hand, has only 18,593 software engineers, which shouldn't surprise you. Google makes countless services which billions use, where Samsung may sell hundreds of millions of handsets and other devices, but most wouldn't know a piece of Samsung software apart from TouchWiz on an Android-based device.

Apple being sued for violating 13 of SanDisk's patents

Apple is being sued by two parties, Ireland's Longitude Licensing Ltd and Luxembourg's Longitude Flash Memory Systems S.a.r.l., with their joint patent infringement lawsuit against Apple alleging the company is in violation of 13 counts of patent infringement that cover virtually all of Apple's iDevices.

 

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The plaintiffs are using former SanDisk patents that they now hold, partnering up with Conversant Intellectual Property Management Inc., to help them increase the value of their IP. The following Apple devices are included in the lawsuit: Apple iPad, Apple iPad 2, Apple iPad (3rd Generation), Apple iPad (4th Generation), Apple iPad Air, Apple iPad mini, Apple iPad mini with Retina display, Apple iPhone, Apple iPhone 3G, Apple iPhone 3GS, Apple iPhone 4, Apple iPhone 4S, Apple iPhone 5, Apple iPhone 5C, Apple iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 2G, iPod Touch 3G, iPod Touch 4G, and iPod Touch 5G".

 

The lawsuit itself involves the flash technology and memory on the massive list of iDevices, which could land Apple in some hot water. For the full legal mumbo-jumbo, Patently Apple has you covered.

DirecTV shareholders support AT&T acquisition, as feds consider deal

Satellite provider DirecTV shareholders have reportedly agreed to an acquisition by AT&T, as 99 percent of votes from 77 percent of shareholders support the deal. The $49 billion mega deal will give AT&T an avenue to better compete against Verizon in paid television, with the deal expected to close sometime in Q1 or Q2 of 2015.

 

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"We appreciate DirecTV shareholders' approval and look forward to continuing our work with the various regulatory agencies reviewing the deal to gain their approval as well," an AT&T spokesperson recently noted.

 

AT&T already utilizes its own Uverse TV service, but DirecTV has a larger reach nationwide due to regional restrictions.

FTC shuts down Butterfly Labs, a supposed bitcoin mining company

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) shut down Butterfly Labs, a bitcoin-mining company that tricked users into purchasing machines that would produce bitcoins. The supposed "bitcoin-mining" devices cost from $149 to $29,899, along with a cloud-based service that tricked customers into paying for server farm computing time.

 

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"We often see that when a new and little-understood opportunity like bitcoin presents itself, scammers will find ways to capitalize on the public's excitement and interest," said Jessica Rich, FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection director, in a press statement. "We're pleased the court granted our request to halt this operation, and we look forward to putting the company's ill-gotten gains back in the hands of consumers."

 

The opportunity to mine, own, and use bitcoins as a digital currency - with no federal or central bank support - has paved the way for cybercriminals to trick and steal from regular users. The current value of bitcoin is slightly under $500 per bitcoin, but peaked at more than $1,000 each last November, and continues to prove to be rather volatile.

Kickstarter's updates its rules for failed projects

After a massive Kickstarter game was officially cancelled on Thursday, the company has updated its terms to better protect people from being stung by cancelled projects. The project in question was science fiction author Neal Stephenson, with his $526,000 in funding up in the air after cancelling his project late last week.

 

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Section 4 of Kickstarter's new terms states that it will help project creators set themselves up better for success, and to not upset their backers. If the creators behind a Kickstarter project can't deliver their goods, the company explains how it will try and make good when creators don't fulfil their goals, or backer rewards.

 

If this does happen, creators are expected to explain themselves as to what is happening, and where all the money has gone. If the project was cancelled, Kickstarter expects creators to issue refunds to anyone who asks for them. Kickstarter reiterates that when refunds are offered, backers can "explain how those funds will be used to complete the project in some alternate form", but I don't see many people having faith in a creator if their project fails, but the option is there. Estimated completion dates, to Kickstarter, are just that: estimations. They are not deadlines, with Kickstarter having no power to issue refunds. But, backers can pull their pledge out anytime during the funding process.

Microsoft throws another 2100 employees out the window

Microsoft has announced today that it is cutting 14% of its total workforce, or 2100 jobs. From those 2100 employees who are now out of jobs, 747 of them are from the Washington state, with the remaining jobs lost from Microsoft's other locations across the world.

 

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It was only a few months ago that the Redmond-based giant cut a total of 18,000 jobs, with 12,500 of those jobs being cut from the recently-acquired handset and services division from Nokia. At the time, CEO Nadella said that he wanted to get Microsoft in better shape, with the reductions required in order to properly integrate Nokia's services and devices teams into the company. The cuts were to both professional, and factory workers.

 

We should see Microsoft feeling pre-tax chargers of $1.1 billion to $1.6 billion over the next year, with $750 million to $800 million for severance and related benefit costs, and then $350 to $800 million for asset-related charges.

Amazon shells out $4.5 million to purchase .buy domain, beats Google

As soon as new top level domains (TDLs) are created, the massive Internet giants jump on them instantly, throwing millions of dollars in order to own them. This has just happened with a bidding war between Amazon and Google, fighting for the rights of new TDLs, including .buy, .tech, and .VIP.

 

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Google bet on all three of the new TDLs, but Amazon beat them for .buy, throwing up $4.5 million. Dot Tech paid $6.7 million for the .tech domain, with .VIP going to Minds + Machines for $3 million. Google walked away with nothing, but the company is showing interest in as many as 100 TDLs, so their time will come.

 

ICANN auctions off the domains, with the organization responsible for coordinating and maintaining the domain names. ICANN is set to throw up a slew of new domains before the end of the year.

Toshiba to reduce its consumer PC focus, moves to business clients

The consumer PC business is something that Toshiba doesn't have much faith in anymore, with the company announcing that it will be reducing its global PC business workforce by around 900 staff, or more than 20% of its non-manufacturing workforce. The move, will reduce fixed costs by over $184 million.

 

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Toshiba hasn't said which consumer markets it will remove itself from, but it did say that it will be shifting away from unprofitable markets, to optimize sales based in low profit countries and regions. The Japanese company said that the PC market is expected to see a continuing trend to modest growth rates, so they are now measuring this, and are taking the required steps in making sure it continues a consistent profit.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison steps down, appoints Mark Hurd to lead

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has stepped down as company CEO, and will appoint Mark Hurd and Safra Catz to lead to the company moving ahead. Both Hurd and Catz are co-presidents of the company that Hurd founded in 1977 - Hurd will operate marketing, sales and strategy, with Catz serving as financial officer.

 

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"The three of us have been working well together for the last several years, and we plan to continue working together for the foreseeable future," Ellison recently noted. "Keeping this management team in place has always been a top priority of mine."

 

Oracle remains one of the largest and most powerful tech companies today, but some analysts wondered how much longer Hurd would be able to lead. Oracle's dominance has been tested by cloud-based solutions that the company has struggled to keep up with - and now it will be up to new executives to make a difference.

Continue reading 'Oracle CEO Larry Ellison steps down, appoints Mark Hurd to lead' (full post)

The biggest gaming news sites are involved in a massive conspiracy

I don't think anyone saw this coming, but Breitbart has written a piece "Exposed: The Secret Mailing List of the Gaming Journalism Elite" which exposes some of the biggest editors, reporters and reviewers of gaming news sites. This expose accuses these editors and sites from shaping industry-wide attitudes to events, and much more.

 

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These editors and sites using a private Google Groups mailing list, which is called Gaming Journalism Professionals, or GameJournoPros. This group revolves around developer Zoe Quinn, who had "a sexual relationship with at least one prominent games journalist -- a journalist who had mentioned her and her products in his reporting" reports Breitbart.

 

The report is quite damning, but getting to the point, it looks like GameJournoPros is one giant voice, with one even larger, single opinion. They collectively collude on major issues, to "distort coverage of ethics violations and to support figures to whom they are politically sympathetic". We should expect this to either be blown up, or brushed under the rug, as game developers and publishers have invested tens of billions of dollars into the gaming industry, but if this is the result, do we need a big change? Can these editors ever be trusted with their obviously skewed opinions, if these reports and leaks are indeed true? What do you think?

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