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Amazon is trying something new to take over the digital book and audio book market with a new service called Kindle Unlimited. The service will cost subscribers $9.99 per month and has a library that has about 600,000 books to read.
Unlimited will also reportedly feature thousands of audio books for users to listen to as well. The service hasn't been announced officially just yet, it was uncovered when a cached link to the service page was rooted out.
One potential downside is that the test pages found for Kindle Unlimited didn't show any of the big five publishers including Simon & Schuster or HarperCollins. However, both of those publishers do offer content to a similar service called Oyster. Amazon owns Audible so the entire 8000 title catalog there could be included.
Apple has been in hot water and facing legal action for a while now over alleged ebook price fixing in the US. Apple is now near to making a settlement with 33 US states that accused the firm of hiking up prices of ebooks sold to users in collusion with publishers. The settlement is conditional.
Reports indicate that the settlement, if approved, would cost Apple $450 million. Attorneys in the case would get $50 million and the remaining $400 million would reportedly go back to consumers who purchased books at the inflated price.
The settlement will only go ahead if Apple loses an appeal from the 2nd US Circuit court of Appeals in New York. That appeal is from a case in 2013 accusing Apple of participating in a price-fixing conspiracy with publishers to raise the price of ebooks.
It's easy to forget that Netflix has DVDs at all. I've never had DVDs, but I watch the heck out of Netflix streaming in my house. If you are one of the hoards of user still getting physical DVDs from Netflix, you may not have noticed that the company stopped working on Saturdays.
Netflix no longer ships DVDs on Saturdays and is now working a five-day week. The company has been transitioning away from the old six day per week schedule for the last year and ended Saturday processing in early June.
Netflix says that part of the reason it stopped processing on Saturdays is that more people are streaming reducing the pressure to get discs out quickly. If you are a Netflix subscriber, have you noticed any shipment differences since June?
We mentioned yesterday that a rumor was going around that claims Microsoft is set to shed a significant number of workers in one of the largest rounds of layoffs in years. A new rumor suggests that a large percentage of the workers cut in this round of layoffs by Microsoft will be at the Finnish headquarters of Nokia. Microsoft acquired the Nokia HQ and all the workers Nokia had when the deal closed.
In that acquisition, Microsoft ended up with about 25,000 Nokia employees. The rumor suggest that as many as 1000 of those 4700 workers at Nokia HQ are going to be let go when Microsoft starts layoffs.
The layoff rumors suggest that overall Microsoft could be shedding more than the 5,000 workers that were terminated in 2009, the last major round of layoffs for Microsoft. Microsoft is also expected to close the Oulu R&D labs in Finland, which is responsible for developing software for feature phones.
Japan is known as the place to go if you want odd gadgets and other quirky items and Yahoo has a service that sounds like something you would find in Japan called Yahoo Ending. Yahoo Ending is a portal that has a place to go to get all your final affairs in order with the ability to deal with your worldly remains and delete your online data as well.
The new portal launched this week and a video that is making the rounds shows a family getting messages on mobile phones from a dad who just died. When Yahoo receives an official notification that someone has died, it deletes all the Yahoo Japan data, cancels all charges to the Yahoo digital wallet, deletes files from the Yahoo Box online storage, and sends out farewell messages to loved ones automatically.
Some of the services on Yahoo Ending are premium and require payment. Among the services is the ability to set up a memorial space with invitations to the funeral and the ability to send messages to family and friends, show personal movies, and share information on the deceased's favorite films and music. The service also offers full funeral packages costing up to $18,000.
TechCrunch is reporting that Samsung is looking to acquire SmartThings, a home automation startup for a massive amount of money - ballooning out at a rumored $200 million.
This number might change, as TechCrunch's sources aren't concrete on the deal, or the proposed amount for the acquisition just yet. Samsung is starting to see a drop in revenue from its smartphone business, so we could see the South Korean-based giant move into home automation with a big acquisition like this.
Intel has just reported a great quarter, something that the PC market has helped the chipmaker achieve. The company has reported second quarter earnings of $2.8 billion, or 55 cents per share across revenues of $13.8 billion.
Wall Street had pegged Intel at earnings of 52 cents on revenue of $13.7 billion, so we have a slight increase on those predictions. Leading this revenue increase was the PC client group from Intel, which saw a huge $8.7 billion in revenue, setting a new quarterly record for unit sales. Last month was when Intel began teasing that it had stronger than expected PC demand, adding a massive chunk of money (around $700 million) to its quarterly revenue. This is a big note here, as its the first increase for that group since late 2009, some five years ago.
Intel has said that the increase of PC chip purchasing on multiple fronts: from around 600 million PCs being four years or older, new prices for its processors, and the retirement of Windows XP. Intel has said that it expects to see this trend continue throughout the year, but whether it continues into 2015 is unknown.
Former Engadget editor Ryan Block and his wife, Veronica Belmont, had an extremely difficult time trying to cancel their Comcast service. A simple request over the phone to cancel service led to a rather obnoxious and intense phone call, featuring an aggressive Comcast customer retention agent that pestered Block for more than eight minutes.
"We are very embarrassed by the way our employee spoke with Mr. Block and are contract him to personally apologize," a Comcast spokesperson told ABC News. "The way in which our representative communicated with him is unacceptable and not consistent with how we train our customer service representatives."
Not surprisingly, Comcast has quickly issued a statement that apologized for the "unacceptable" customer service call. After the audio recording was posted online, many current and former Comcast customers complained of similar issues when trying to cancel service. Ironically, Comcast is visible on Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites - trying to help customers resolve any problems as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Microsoft is one of the largest technology firms in the world and according to sources familiar with the software giant's plans, the company will be announcing major job cuts this week. Microsoft is said to be planning the largest round of job cuts in the last five years as the company looks to slim down.
The job cuts could be announced as soon as this week according to sources who claim to be familiar with plans at Microsoft. Exactly how many jobs are on the line is unknown, but the sources say that these cuts could be larger than the 5800 workers Microsoft shed in 2009.
In 2009 when the 5800 workers were shed, that was about 5% of Microsoft's global workforce. The software giant currently has over 127,000 employees, counting those gained in the Nokia merger. Some of the cuts are expected to be in marketing departments for businesses like the global Xbox team.
Lionsgate Entertainment and Alibaba Group have announced a new streaming content agreement has been put in place. The agreement will see hit films and TV programming from Lionsgate come to leading Alibaba properties. The agreement covers blockbuster films like Divergent and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse among other content.
The content will be offered by the Alibaba group as a premium subscription offering and will be offered exclusively through the latest generation Alibaba set top boxes. TV series that will be coming to the streaming service include The Royals, a show that will debut on E! early next year, Nashville, Mad Men, and Weeds among others.
"We're pleased to collaborate with Alibaba, a world-class brand that is well known and respected among consumers throughout China," said Lionsgate Chief Executive Officer Jon Feltheimer. "Alibaba is the kind of entrepreneurial company with whom we like to be in business, and the launch of our streaming service in China underscores our commitment to innovation and leadership in delivering premium content to digital platforms around the world."