Avis has tossed its hat into the $400 million US car sharing market by purchasing Zipcar for about $500 million. Zipcar has a reported 760,000 members in 20 major US cities.
The acquisition comes at a 45% premium over Zipcar's closing price on Dec 31 2012 with the transaction set to complete in the spring of 2013. Zipcar was formed in January, 2000 as a way to bring the popular European concept of car sharing to the US
"By combining with Zipcar, we will significantly increase our growth potential, both in the United States and internationally, and will position our company to better serve a greater variety of consumer and commercial transportation needs," said Ronald L. Nelson, Avis Budget Group Chairman and CEO in a press release.
The Japanese newspaper Nikkei is reporting that Apple is planing on launching fully fledged iBookstores in Japan this year. It is unclear where the store will be open for business.
Japan has been slow to embrace E-books, but with companies like Amazon, Google and Sony retailing the format, Apple had no choice but to follow suit. Apple has reportedly signed agreements with Japanese publishers Shogakukan, Kodansha and Kadokawa.
Manga has been dominating the Japanese E-book market lately, but Apple is banking on the arrival of western book publishers to fuel its fire and help turn its newest venture into something profitable.
Apple's Paris store was robbed on New Year's Eve by armed robbers. The store had only been closed for about three hours when two people broke into the store through an employee entrance and attacked the security guard and janitor inside. The janitor is said to be lightly injured.
The suspects reportedly stole Apple products, with the estimated loss to be around 1 million euros, or approximately $1.25 million. The police won't confirm: "It is too early to give an accurate estimation of the damage. An inventory is taking place to determine the exact amount of the damage," a Paris police spokeswoman said.
The patent wars continue to move forward with the latest move being LG trying to ban the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 in South Korea. LG alleges that the Galaxy Note infringes upon three of LG's patents on LCD technology used by the display panel. "Through this action, LG Display seeks to completely stop the sale, manufacture and importation of the infringing Samsung product," LG Display said in a press release.
LG has said that they would request compensation of $933,000 per day of continued non-compliance. This patent dispute started back in September when LG Display sued Samsung for infringing upon seven organic light-emitting diode patents. LG alleges five of Samsung's devices infringe, including Samsung's Galaxy S-series of smartphones.
Samsung counter-sued LG alleging that the latter company lured senior Samsung OLED researchers away from the former company, even though they had contracts preventing the working for a rival firm.
The companies that have been leading the charge against piracy and copyright infringement have been caught infringing upon other company's intellectual property. TorrentFreak, with the help of Scaneye, tracked IPs associated with Hollywood Studios and logged what Torrents the IPs were downloading.
As it turns out, the studio IPs had lots of torrents associated with their IPs. For instance, you can see above that Paramount Pictures employees were downloading several different movies from competing studios. Warner Brothers, Sony, 20th Century Fox, and even Walt Disney had similar lists of downloads.
This shouldn't really surprise anyone. We've known that this occurs for a while now, but it's always good for those advocating against increased copyright laws to be able to show that the companies championing the changes are infringing as well. This new data comes right before the new Six Strikes policy is set to take effect in the US.
This likely isn't the last we'll hear about this.
Earlier this past week, when users typed "Sell" into the search bar on Google Finance, they were directed to the page for Apple's stock. Claiming the result on its algorithm, Google said that there was no secret plot to overthrow Apple.
"This isn't deliberate," the company said in a statement. "Our algorithms seem to be keying off of the words 'sell' and "sells" in the description of this very popular stock symbol. We're working on how to adjust things so it doesn't happen anymore."
Google has since tweaked the algorithm so that typing "Sell" into the search bar on Google Fininance brings up a list of stocks including Selestra, who's Ticker name is SELL.
Yahoo said they'd be reversing out of the South Korean market by the end of this year, and they've now completed this move. Yahoo have posted on their site with detailed instructions to users on when exactly all of their services will stop, with most of them stopping today - December 31.
The company revealed the plans to pull out of the South Korean market back in October, as part of their plan of "reinventing" themselves with Marissa Mayer now in control. The move is said to cost Yahoo as much as $94 million and the loss of 200 jobs. The company said in October:
This decision is part of our efforts to streamline operations and focus our resources on building a stronger global business that's set up for long-term growth and success.
Most of my Facebook feed used to be filled with game requests, until I began blocking all game requests - I'm looking at you, Nanna. But, it looks like Zynga CEO Mark Pincus has started his cost-reduction plan which was announced last month.
Zynga has either shut down or pulled from app stores, stopped accepting new players to eleven games with some of those games turning off today. Zynga will reallocate resources from the games gone or cut down to the titles that are actually doing well, or put them into creating new games.
The company have had a very rocky year after bursting out of the gate to be a huge success, where their share price is down from their IPO launch of $10 to just $2.33 now. Zynga have announced huge cost-cutting measure which will see over 100 employees cut, offices shutting their doors, ceasing to renew deals with contractors, shutting down 13 games, as well as reducing investments into The Sims-style game, The Ville.
Samsung have had an amazing year and it looks like 2013 will be even better again with plans unveiled that Samsung are set to expand their Silicon Valley address with some huge changes:
- A new sales and R&D center, built in the stead of some existing Samsung offices, with floor space totaling 1.1 million square feet.
- A layout that seeks to "encourage interaction among staff" and "foster connections with the community," while ultimately improving Sammy's "soft capabilities"
- A parking garage and an "amenity pavilion" (whatever that is, we just know we can't afford one)
Samsung's new crib will be a little bigger than Apple's latest 3,600-worker expansion in Austin, Texas.
Fujitsu has jumped on the bandwagon with OEMs blaming poor Windows 8 demand for underwhelming PC sales. According to Fujitsu President Masami Yamamoto, demand for Windows 8 is "weak." He says this is the cause for underwhelming sales numbers, coupled with the debt crisis in Europe.
"We can't be optimistic about the PC industry," said Yoshihisa Toyosaki, a Tokyo-based analyst at Architect Grand Design "PC makers' bet on Windows 8 has failed, as cheaper tablet computers are taking away customers."
Dell, on the other hand, has reportedly seen strong demand for their systems running Windows 8. "Fujitsu doesn't plan to join its competitors that are discounting" to sustain sales, Yamamoto said.
Rejoice! The priceless memes network Cheezburger will continue to be around. The network just raised $5 million in funding, according to an SEC filing. Foundry Group, Madrona Venture Group, Avalon Ventures, and SoftBank Capital, all existing investors, participated in the funding round.
Cheezburger is planning on using the funding, a total of $37.5 million between this year and last, to build the company's social humor platform. Cheezburger is an online network of more than fifty sites owned by former journalist Ben Huh, who formed the company in 2007. The company is profitable, and has been ever since its inception.
Here's to many a good meme coming from the network of sites.
Apple, upon the word of Samsung that they are not selling the Galaxy S III Mini in the United States, has decided to drop the S III Mini from the latest patent lawsuit between the two tech giants. Apple argued they were able to purchase multiple units through Amazon in the US, but Samsung countered that it is not "making, using, selling, offering to sell or importing the Galaxy S III Mini in the United States."
Apple agreed to drop it, provided the "current withdrawal will not prejudice Apple's ability later to accuse the Galaxy S III Mini if the factual circumstances change." The trial isn't scheduled to start until 2014, so this early dealing is to be expected. More devices will likely be added and removed as time passes.
After settling a patent dispute last week with Nokia, Research in Motion agreed to make a large one time payment which would be followed up with on-going payments to finish out the debt owed.
A week later and RIM has made the one-time large payment. Reports from the Securities and Exchange Commission, the first payment to Nokia totaled $65 million.
"On December 21, 2012, Nokia and RIM announced that they have entered into a new patent license agreement," RIM explained in a 6-K filing. "The agreement will result in the settlement of all patent litigation between the companies and Nokia's dismissal of all pending actions in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Germany. The financial structure of the agreement includes a lump sum EUR50m (approximately $65m) one-time payment, which has been recorded in the Company's consolidated statement of operations in the third quarter of fiscal 2013."
Samsung has announced plans to build a 1.1 million square foot campus in San Jose, which is located in the heart of Silicon Valley. Global architecture firm NBBJ will be responsible for the new building, which will feature a 10-story tower, amenity pavilion and parking garage.
Samsung's R&D facility will be moving to a new campus that will feature two new 6-story class-A office buildings with about 385,000 square feet of space. This campus will feature two 5-6 story parking structures.
A new survey of more than 24,000 customers shows that Apple's online customer satisfaction for the Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping season to be the lowest in the past four years. The study, conducted by Forsee, found that Apple scored 80/100, three points lower than 2011. Amazon, at the top spot, scored 88/100.
The full study can be seen above. The rankings are based upon "appeal of merchandise, website functionality, and the quality of website content."
Apple has released its executive compensation metrics today ahead of its annual shareholder meeting. The biggest surprise is Apple's CEO Tim Cook only received a mere $4.17 million for his services in 2012.
To most $4.17 million seems like a lot, but when you compare it to his compensation the previous two years, $378 million in 2011, and $58 million in 2010, it looks rather small.
The major difference in compensation is stock options, which cook received in 2010 and 2011. $52 million in 2010 and $376 million in 2011 with no stock options being received in 2012. Most of those stock options are set to vest in 2014, 2016, and 2021 netting Cook a cool $750 million at today's market value. I think it is safe to say that he is not disappointed in his financial statement for 2012.
Apple teased us a few weeks ago talking about bringing production of one of their products to the United States, but no one knew which exact product it would be.
The latest report from DigiTimes seems to think that it will be the Mac mini. Apple have talked about investing over $100 million into bringing Mac production home, and now DigiTimes are reporting that Apple will run their new US-based production lines with the Mac mini.
Foxconn will still be heavily involved as they will be "responsible for handling establishment", according to DigiTimes' sources from the "upstream supply chain". Foxconn has around 15 operating bases within the US and will be looking for new employees when the new year rolls in for their new automated production lines.
With the tragic Newtown, Connecticut shooting just weeks ago, it looks like EA's grand plan of marketing has failed. When EA started their marketing for the latest Medal of Honor Warfighter game, on their website you could go a step further than most games, and buy guns within a few clicks of the MoH website.
Alongside the weapons you could use in the game on the MoH website, were links to manufacturers who actually sold them. After the Newtown shootings, the Internet went on a stampede and called EA out, where the company were quick to reply that they'd forgotten of the links, sure.
The Warfighter website has been updated and one would think anything related to violence would be removed, but no - we find links to Zero Dark Thirty, the movie based around the SEAL raid on Osama bin Laden's compound. You know, the one where he was shot in the head with a gun.
The days of $700-plus Apple Inc. (AAPL) stock seem to be well and truly over, but the iDevice maker has seen their stock getting bashed around for a couple of months now. In the last 24 hours, it has reached a new 10-month low of just $513 per share.
Around six weeks ago we reported that it was dropping big time, and at that stage it had reached $558 - so we're another 10% or so down in the last six weeks alone. On December 14 we reported their stock dropping 4% based on poor iPhone 5 sales in China.
I've expressed my thoughts many times on this, and I don't think we're going to see Apple recover. They've released new devices in all categories, so now all they can do is try and excite the market with something new - but have they burnt bridges in their journey?
Chip maker Marvell has been hit with a huge patent fine, with the company violating two patents that are held by Carnegie Mellon University, which has seen a Pittsburgh federal jury award the University $1,169,140,271 in damages.
The two patents were issued in 2001 and 2002 and are in relation to techniques of using noise signals to more precisely record data sequences. With Marvell wanting to take on Intel in the huge enterprise data market with their ARM-based chips, this is a huge setback having to shell out over a billion dollars.
The jury also ruled that Marvell violated the patents in question internationally, which will allow Carnegie Mellon to ask the judge to triple the already huge $1.17 billion verdict. Of course, Marvell will appeal the ruling, and they'll most likely make a mess of the case as court records have already shown that the company have demanded a mistrial, with the reason behind this unknown.
You can go through the jury verdict right here if you wish.
AMD are already going through tough times, but a 25-year veteran has just jumped ship to Samsung. Michael Goddard's last title with the company was Corporate Vice President for Product Design Engineering and Chief Engineer on Client Products has left the company after a quarter of a century.
He has been with AMD since 1988, and has changed jobs just this month according to his LinkedIn profile, where he has joined electronics giant Samsung as their Vice President and System Architect at their Austin, Texas-based facility.
In the last couple of months, AMD have seen some 26 executives leave the company - from the higher levels of power, all the way down the ranks. AMD sliced 15% of their workforce this fall and are expected to slash even more jobs when the new year arrives.