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Update: It seems that there wasn't 'someone' or a company that purchased these Bitcoins, but rather a transfer of Bitcoins. It could be that Bitstamp possibly moved its own funds around, which made this look (to a Bitcoin novice like myself) a massive transfer worth $150 million, and thus, major news - but it looks like it was not. Apologies.
Bitcoins have been going up and down in price, where we saw it rise past $600 in value just a few days ago, but now the price is beginning to stabilize. Bitcoin has been making the mainstream headlines quite a lot, but this latest transaction should see much more attention paid to the digital currency.
Someone in Germany must have quite a lot of cash on-hand, as they just acquired over 194,000 Bitcoins... which has a value of approximately $150 million. Yes, $150,000,000 in Bitcoins. Even the richest people around don't just have $150 million in cash to just spend, so are we looking at a central bank or government scooping up all these Bitcoins?
Also remember, that Germany has recently recognized Bitcoins as a "unit of account" which means it can be used for private transactions. This means that the German government can now tax owners of Bitcoins, and this new $150 million transaction will have quite the tax bill, won't it? Whatever has happened, and whoever has bought these Bitcoins, some serious money just changed hands.
A federal judge has awarded Apple with $290 million in patent damages from Samsung, which gives Apple a total of over $900 million that will be sucked out of Samsung's bank accounts.
The patent case saw a six-woman, two-man jury hearing the case last week, where Apple claimed Samsung copied its technologies from the iPad and iPhone. Apple argued that Samsung owed them nearly $380 million in damages from lost profits, and from profits Samsung enjoyed while selling the devices that were infringing on Apple's patents, as well as royalties.
Samsung didn't stand there defenseless, so it bit back, claiming that Apple inflated the value of their patents. The South Korean giant also reiterated the important of consumer choice, concluding that damages should not exceed $52 million. The jury ended up deciding that Samsung was indeed guilty of patent infringement on 13 smartphones and tablets, including features like pinch-to-zoom, and bounce back.
Over the past few months Acer has been in a bit of a downward slide and in recent weeks we have seen both the company CEO and Chairman of the Board, J.T. Wang, and its President, Jim Wong resign their positions. This is the direct result of the $20 million operational loss and 20-percent slump in sales the company reported for Q3 2013.
Now it appears that the company's founder will be returning to its helm after more than eight years of retirement. Stan Shih retired from Acer in 2004 just as it was beginning to grow into a netbook monster with its line of eeePC line. Shih will take on the role of chairman and acting corporate president based on a press released issued by Acer today.
"Due to the situation that now faces Acer and my personal social responsibilities, I must stand up and take the rein without salary," Shih said in a statement. "I will honor and complete all the public affairs and event engagements that I have committed to, but I will also fully support Acer's ICT device business and carry out the company transformation. In addition, George Huang who is one of my co-founding partners of Acer will join with me and the management team to lead our company at this time."
Just today Microsoft announced they have opened their Microsoft Store on eBay in the US. The eBay Microsoft Store will offer Microsoft accessories as well as first-party Microsoft products. This will assumingly increase sales of new products. Unlike Apple, Microsoft only has 81 retail stores. eBay has 142 million active users globally and this partnership just might just give Microsoft their boost in sales.
Microsoft guarantees their new eBay store can offer "the same safe online shopping experience, return policy and free shipping from the Microsoft Store on eBay that they've come to expect on microsoftstore.com." The launch of the new Microsoft eBay store will be just in time for the holidays.
Just two weeks ago we were reporting on OCZ's stock taking a nosedive to below $0.18 per share before rebounding back to the $0.70 level. The stock seemed to level off there, and some of us thought that the company may be able to pull itself out of the hole it fell into months ago. Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the case.
A new rumor has just came across my news desk unveiling that OCZ laid off 15-percent of its workforce last week. The rumor was not clear as to which divisions were the hardest hit, or if any high-salary employees were caught up in the layoffs. OCZ's stock is down more than $0.10 today since Friday when it closed at about $0.70 per share. Unlike the last nosedive, there are not rebounding spikes and if the pattern continues, OCZ could be back in the sub $0.20 per share range by Friday.
At some point in our lives, almost every American has owned a Nokia branded phone, and it was not that long ago that Nokia was considered king of the handset. Today that long standing legacy has finally come to an end as 99.7-percent of Nokia's shareholders voted to approve Microsoft acquiring Nokia's Devices and Services business for $7.2 billion.
Not all shareholders were so eager to sell, with reports of some being quite upset that an American company would be allowed to purchase a Finnish brand with such a long history. None-the-less, Microsoft is the new owner of Nokia's Devices and services division and we have most likely seen the last Nokia-branded mobile devices to be released. Todays conformation also gives Stephen Elop yet more momentum in his drive to replace Steve Ballmer as Microsoft's next CEO.
Personally I am still sticking to my theory that Ballmer, Elop and Gates all planned this entire chain of events out back in 2009 or 2010. I think that everyone knew Ballmer wanted to retire, and that Microsoft needed its own handset to compete with Apple. A plan was hatched that would see Elop being ushered in as CEO of Nokia, who would then closely collaborate with Microsoft to develop the next-generation of Nokia Windows Phones. At the same time, Elop would help Nokia's stock tank and earn himself a big bonus for selling Nokia to Microsoft when things looked really bad. The buyout would be confirmed and Elop would be given Ballmer's seat at the helm as a thank you for his efforts. Call me crazy, but much more shady plots have been hatched in the big business world.
2014 is shaping up to be an interesting year for consumer devices, where I think we'll see a powerful change from smartphones to wearable devices, like Glass, and tablets do a little better, for some companies at least.
One of those companies would be Samsung, which is looking to double its tablet output next year, from this year's 40 million tablets. This is double the number of slates the South Korean giant shipped last year, but it is looking to really up the ante going into 2014. Samsung is hoping to sell as much as 100 million tablets in 2014, a large increase over 2013's numbers, that's for sure.
Bitcoin has a long history of being on the wrong side of the law, and was even at the center of the largest online illegal drug market place in history. Today, as US officials took to the Senate to testify on the virtual currency's validity and legitimacy, new information has been released that tie Bitcoins to a new "Crowdfunded Assassination Market."
The site cleverly named "Assassination Market" is offering bounties for the assassination of President Obama, Federal Reserve Chair, Ben Bernake, and many more government officials all over the world, with some bids going as high as 124 bitcoins. At current market value, that equates to over $70,000. Unfortunately this type of marketplace has been tried in the past. Back in the 1990's a group called cypherpunks poised a similar model that never got off the ground. It is still unclear who started the site, but I am willing to bet that law enforcement agencies worldwide are keeping a close eye on this new market.
Google had a similar incident last year which they paid $22.5 million in a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. The lawsuit says users specified they did not want to be followed and Google was still tracking them.
New York attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman: "Consumers should be able to know whether there are other eyes surfing the web with them. By tracking millions of people without their knowledge, Google violated not only their privacy, but also their trust."
In the past 9 days or so Bitcoin prices have soared to levels no one expected to see after the shutdown of Silk Road. The surge is most likely the result of senate hearings that begin today in which several US agencies will testify to the legitimacy of Bitcoin, and the impact it is having on the global economy.
Today the value of a single Bitcoin soard past $650 and while it has since declined a little, the fact still stands that the digital currency was sitting at a value of just $85 a few months ago. The increase in value can also be attributed to the fact that Ben Bernake, Chairman of the Federal Reserve said that his agency has no intentions of attempting to regulate Bitcoin anytime soon.
"The FBI's approach to virtual currencies is guided by a recognition that online payment systems, both centralized and decentralized, offer legitimate financial services," said Peter Kadzik, principal deputy assistant attorney general, in a letter ahead of the Senate hearing. "Like any financial service, virtual currency system[s] of either type can be exploited by malicious actors, but centralized and decentralized online payment systems can vary significantly in the types and degrees of illicit financial risk they pose."