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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 53

Mt. Gox loses $437 million in Bitcoins, files for bankruptcy

Mt.Gox was the third largest Bitcoin exchange in the world, and was also the most controversial as well. A few weeks ago the service suspended all withdrawal transactions citing a known bug in the system as the culprit, and just a week later announced that all trading and transactions would return to normal soon. Unfortunately that last statement proved to be noting more than hot air, when the service completely went down a few days ago.

 

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Today Mt. Gox, a Japanese-based company, filed for bankruptcy protection and announced that it is more than $60 million in debt. Today in a Tokyo court, officials from the company said that it has lost more than 750,000 bitcoins stored in its system owned by customers and that 100,000 of its own were gone as well. At the current going rate for a single bitcoin ($574.79 via Coinbase.) the a coins lost value at almost $450 million for customers and more than half a billion dollars total.

 

In the last few days Bitcoin prices have fallen several percent due to the news of Mt. Gox failing. During the court appearance Mt. Gox founder Mark Karpel├Ęs said: "There was some weakness in the system, and the bitcoins have disappeared. I apologize for causing trouble." Unfortunately for thousands of customers, simple apologies will not return the millions they lost because Mt. Gox failed to acknowledge a bug in the system that had existed for years. Bankruptcy will save the company from debt, but there should be negligence charges filed in my opinion. To let a devistating software bug exist for that long while making hundreds of millions in revenue is simply unacceptable.

Netflix Hack Day gives Netflix engineers a creative outlet

Netflix is one of the most popular subscription streaming services on the planet with a huge number of users. The company has a bunch of TV shows and movies from Hollywood and other places and it has original programs. Netflix's House of Cards is one of its most popular programs.

 

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Netflix recently held its announced Netflix Hack Day. The company says that the Hack Day gives its engineers a creative outlet. Hack Day lets engineers start hacking on Thursday morning and work through the night. On Friday morning, they present their projects to their peers. Netflix says that it often sees good ideas from the Hack Day.

 

The Hack Day last week brought with it what Netflix calls "spectacular work." The projects this time out ranged from data visualizations, to product feature ideas. Netflix has offered up some videos looking at its favorite hacks that were presented last week.

Continue reading 'Netflix Hack Day gives Netflix engineers a creative outlet' (full post)

LG named most innovative company of the year at Mobile World Congress

MWC 2014 - Industry body GSMA named LG the Most Innovative Device Manufacturer of the Year at the Global Mobile Awards this week. LG has unveiled quite a few devices at this year's Mobile World Congress, which has pushed it into award territory.

 

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LG unveiled the G Pro 2, G Flex, G2 mini, F70, F Series and L Series. LG's market share is under 5%, so it's great to see the South Korean device maker making waves in the market with various devices. Last year, LG's G2 smartphone beat Apple's iPhone to be named smartphone of 2013 by Stuff magazine. And with 2014 just beginning, and MWC closing up, the year is only starting for LG.

 

Vice President of LG, Chris Yie, said: "We are incredibly humbled that GSMA selected LG from among the many capable companies in the mobile industry to honour with this award. Innovation has been the key to LG's success. This recognition, in addition to last year's Best Smartphone of MWC 2013 award, is clear proof that our hard work and effort is paying off".

 

The best smartphone of the year award went to HTC with its One smartphone, Nokia's Lumia 520 was named Best Low-Cost Smartphone, while Apple's iPad Air took the Best Mobile Tablet award.

Apple, Amazon, Google make Fortune's list of most admired companies

Fortune's latest list of the world's most admired companies sees that Apple, Amazon and Google continue to take top spots. The survey asks corporate executives to name the companies they admired the most.

 

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Apple, Amazon and Google took out the top three spots, while Samsung, Microsoft and Facebook also found their way into the list. Apple continues to take out the number one spot, a position the company has held of seven consecutive years. Fortune does mention that investors are getting nervous waiting for the company to unveil its "next big thing".

 

Fortune says that Amazon has used both its "consumer-centric culture and super convenience" to "gobble up brick-and-mortar stores left and right". Fortune continues to gush over Amazon by saying that the company's "ambitions show no signs of abating: it recently jumped into the art market, and has started producing video, music, and literary content".

 

When it came to Google, Fortune wrote that the company "continues to find ways to make life easier (sometimes creepily so) via mind-blowing Internet products". Fortune also mentioned that Google spends considerable amounts of resources on "moonshot" projects, which has led to self-driving cars, Google Glass, and more.

Japanese government says bitcoin must be internationally regulated

The Japanese government believes bitcoin regulation needs to be a global endeavor among U.S., European and Asian governments, which will keep it more secure from possible money laundering. Meanwhile, US Congress should look at effective manners to regulate bitcoin and other virtual currencies, said Janet Yellen, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara wants to see how Mt. Gox and other bitcoin businesses or exchanges dealt with cyberattacks, which is a major security concern.

 

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Since the bitcoin currency is unregulated, and no regular financial institutions are involved, there is concern over transactions - and taxes. Bitcoin owner identities also are not public information, so there is a certain underground feel to the still volatile currency.

 

"It's not just the Ministry of Finance; many other agencies are related," said Jiro Aichi, Japanese Vice Finance Minister, speaking during a recent news conference. "As for its legal position, a currency (under Japan's jurisdiction) would be coins or notes issued by the Bank of Japan. At the very least, we can say bitcoin is not a currency."

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4 Billion Wi-Fi enabled devices in use around the world today

A new report from analytics firm Strategy Analytics has been published that looks at the number of Wi-Fi devices that are in use around the world today. According to the report, there are about 4 billion Wi-Fi devices in use globally.

 

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The research firm expects that number to grow to over 7 billion devices by 2017. A more interesting statistic is that Wi-Fi capability is now embedded in 68% of all consumer electronics devices sold in the US. If you look at the number of products with Wi-Fi sold around the world, 57% of all CE devices have Wi-Fi.

 

The biggest product category for Wi-Fi devices is mobile phones and tablets. Strategy analytics says that 59% of all Wi-Fi enabled devices fall into the mobile phone and tablet category. The second most common category for Wi-Fi devices is in the mobile computer (notebook) category.

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King withdraws its application for the word 'Candy'

Just over a month ago Candy Crush Saga developer King secured the rights to the word 'Candy', which sent the world into a spin. King has now abandoned these efforts, according to documents posted by the US Trademark Office.

 

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A document signed on February 24 states "the applicant hereby expressly abandons the application for trademark registration made". King filed the trademark all the way back in February of 2013, which was approved on January 15, 2014. The trademark would've allowed King to use the word 'Candy' in apparel, video games, computer hardware and much more.

 

A spokesperson for King has said: "King has withdrawn its trademark application for Candy in the U.S., which we applied for in February 2013 before we acquired the early rights to Candy Crusher. Each market that King operates in is different with regard to IP. We feel that having the rights to Candy Crusher is the best option for protecting Candy Crush in the U.S. market. This does not affect our E.U. trademark for Candy and we continue to take all appropriate steps to protect our IP".

Google is lobbying for states to block anti-Glass driving laws

New reports have surfaced that indicated that Google is actively trying to stop states from enacting anti-Glass driving laws, and has its own lobbyist leading the charge in Delaware, Illinois, and Missouri. Google's stance on the matter is that the technology is still in its infancy and not in widespread use, and therefor does not garner special legislation restricting its use.

 

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"I'm not against Google or Google Glass. It may have a place in society," said Delaware state representative Joseph Miro, primary sponsor of a bill banning texting while driving and Google Glass behind the wheel. "My issue is that while you are driving, you should have nothing that is going to impede the concentration of the driver."

 

While Google is certainly correct in that statement for the moment, Google Glass is becoming more poplar and more people are being invited to purchase the product every day. Before the end of the year, Google Glass will be in hundreds of thousands of users hands, and we will begin to hear stories of how the wearable technology distracted drivers and caused accidents, but how many of those claims will actually be true? How many of them will be falsely over-hyped by the mainstream media who has no clue how the devices even work? It's only a matter of time before anti-glass campaigns kick off similar to those against cellphone use in vehicles, and unfortunately the majority of the public will bite hook, line and sinker.

BlackBerry CEO says he would sell BBM for $19 billion

Since his first day on the job, BlackBerry's new CEO, John Chen, has been focused on rebuilding the company from the ashes left over from his predecessors tenure with the company. That does not mean that he would not sell off key components of the company if the right offer was made. During an interview with CNBC, Chen told reporters that he would sell off BlackBerry Messenger, the company's widely popular messaging service, if the price was right.

 

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"If somebody comes to me with $19 billion I would definitely sell it," Chen said. "I mean, I would recommend to the board to take it." He was of course referring to the total selling price that Facebook acquired WhatsApp for earlier this week. Unfortunately it seems that the greatly inflated acquisition of WhatsApp has set a false precedence or "bar" if you will at what companies value their messaging services at.

 

Unfortunately what I feel is happening is that another .com bubble is inflating, and eventually the market will not be able to sustain all of these $1 billion, $3 billion, and $19 billion valuations, causing the bubble to burst the same way it did in the late 90s. It feels like every tech company, start-up, and company fork is being valued at $1 billion plus these days, and that trend does not seem to be slowing at all. Eventually something will have to give, and the aftermath will not be pretty if history is any indication.

AT&T announces unlimited international text messaging

T-Mobile might be the smallest of the four major carriers in the US, but it is putting pressure on other carriers to match its offers. AT&T has announced a move that is likely in response to pressure from T-Mobile that anyone with friends or family outside the US will appreciate.

 

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Starting on February 28, anyone on an AT&T Mobile Share plan will be able to send unlimited text messages from the US to just about any other country at no cost. The change also makes voice calls placed to other countries like Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean with a monthly plans selling for $5 per month.

 

The minutes on that plan are a penny each. AT&T previously charged people $10 per month for international texting and a higher per minute rate for calls to other countries.

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