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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 58

Google Play Music All-Access streaming hits Canada

Our friends in the Great White North have a new feature from Google Play Music that they can now enjoy. Google has rolled out its Play Music All-Access streaming service in Canada this week. The launch of the All-Access service was timed to coincide with the Canadian Music Week summit and conference that focuses on the state of the music industry in Canada.

 

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Google had previously launched the streaming service in the US, Europe, and Mexico, but left Canadians in the cold. The introductory price of the All-Access streaming service in Canada is $7.99 per month for all you can listen to music. The service will cost $9.99 a month after the introductory period.

Continue reading 'Google Play Music All-Access streaming hits Canada' (full post)

Sony's sale of VAIO PC unit will be completed by July

Sony plans to sell its VAIO PC unit to Japan Industrial Partners, in a deal that should be finished soon, with an official re-launch on July 1. Of the 1,100 employees working for Sony, just 240 of them will end up working at JIP, according to Japanese media reports - and Sony said the remaining employees will be moved to other departments.

 

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The new business unit will be located in Azumino City in the Nagano Prefecture - where a Sony production facility is located - though it'll be interesting to see if VAIO can regain popularity among consumers.

 

Much like other PC manufacturers, Sony has struggled to keep up with the growing demand for smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. To make matters worse, Sony has struggled both in Japan and worldwide, excluding the company's popular PlayStation game console family.

Target CEO calls it quits just five months after data breach

This morning the Associated Press is reporting that Target's CEO, Gregg Steinhafel, has turned in his resignation from the company and has stepped down from his role as CEO as well as its seat on the board of directors. In the interim, Chief Financial Officer, John Mulligan, will take the helm until a replacement CEO can be found.

 

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No official announcement was made on why Steinhafel resigned, but many news sources and industry experts are speculating that it stemmed from immense pressure from shareholders, investors, and the board over last years massive security breach. This resignation falls hot on the heals of the company's Chief Technology Officers resignation last month, and several months of surmounting losses to financial institutions equating to more than $200 million. Steinhafel has been employed by Target for more than 35-years.

Microsoft talking with Showtime for its Halo series

It looks like Microsoft could air its live-action Halo series on Showtime before it hits the Xbox according to a new report from Variety. The Xbox giant is reportedly in "deep negotiations" with Showtime to air its Halo series.

 

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The companies are "close to a deal" with showrunners, including Steven Spielberg, to an agreement that would have episodes air on Showtime before the Xbox. The new live-action Halo series of part of the new content Microsoft is making with its Xbox Entertainment Studios, something that Nancy Tellem says is focused on making "premium television experiences".

Tony Hawk developer Neversoft rumored to merge with Infinity Ward

Neversoft, the studio behind the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games, is rumored to be closing up shop and moving its staff over to Infinity Ward. The Neversoft name will reportedly be retired, with a full merger with the Call of Duty developer.

 

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The news is coming from an internal memo from Activision Publishing CEO, Eric Hirshburg, which fell into the hands of Giant Bomb. The single, bigger studio will keep the Infinity Ward name, as it has the closest ties with one of Activision's biggest franchises: Call of Duty. Neversoft co-founder and studio boss Joel Jewett and Studio Director Scott Pease will reportedly step down from game development after the merger, but will stay on in an assisting capacity during the merger.

Continue reading 'Tony Hawk developer Neversoft rumored to merge with Infinity Ward' (full post)

Samsung ordered to pay $120 million in damages to Apple

It feels like so long ago now, but Apple claimed that Samsung had violated multiple of its patents, claiming that the South Korean giant owed it $2 billion in damages. The lawsuit is now over, with the jury finding:

 

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  • Samsung is guilty of violating patent 5,946,647 (the autocorrect text entry patent) with all devices named in this suit.
  • Samsung was found not guilty of violating the 6.847.959 patent (Apple's Spotlight search).
  • Samsung was found not guilty of violating the 7,761,414 patent (data synchronization patent).
  • Samsung was found guilty of violating the 8,046,721 patent (slide-to-unlock) on some devices named, but not all.

 

The jury ruled that Samsung is to pay Apple $119.6 million in damages, with Apple found to be violating one of two of Samsung's counterclaims, fining the iPhone giant a whopping $158,400.

AT&T reportedly interested in acquiring DirecTV for $40 billion

AT&T reportedly has shown interest in acquiring satellite provider DirecTV, in a deal that would garner at least a $40 billion price tag. DirecTV is the top satellite provider in the United States, with almost 20 million customers - and would be a major addition to AT&T's TV unit, with less than 6 million subscribers.

 

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After Comcast announced its pending acquisition of Time Warner Cable, other companies were unsure how to respond to the news - and an AT&T buyout of DirecTV would put the company on almost equal footing as Comcast. Companies are scrambling to try and lead the industry in how content, especially Web-based videos, will be distributed into the living room.

 

"I would say we should recognize the industry is changing and further consolidation will be necessary going forward," said Jeff Kagan, technology industry analyst, in a press statement. "Of course that means we must be careful and only approve appropriate deals and not all deals. This AT&T DirecTV deal seems to make sense so far. Now we wait to see if anything actually develops here."

Google ends student email data mining for ad targeting

Google has been in hot water with many of its users over the last few months for scanning their emails. Google changed its terms and conditions recently to spell out clearly that it scans emails as part of its advertising process.

 

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The data gleaned about the user from email scanning is used to target ads at the user. When it comes to the educational environment, Google hasn't put ads in its products for a long time. However, it has been scanning the data of those student email accounts. Presumably, that scanning of information could be used to target ads at the students outside of school.

Continue reading 'Google ends student email data mining for ad targeting' (full post)

Want to mine bitcoins? Head to the Pacific Northwest for cheaper power

To successfully mine bitcoins, a major amount of computing power is necessary, and the power bills can quickly pile up for cryptocurrency supporters. However, it appears bitcoin companies are interested in the state of Washington, migrating to the central part of the state, including Chelan, Douglas, and Grant counties.

 

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Due to hydroelectric dams and public utility districts with friendly prices to residential customers and businesses, many bitcoin supporters are moving to central Washington. Furthermore, Chelan, Douglas and Grant counties also have public utility districts which provide local residents with friendly utility costs.

 

Cybercriminals are hijacking everything from PCs and servers to smartphones and tablets, in their ongoing effort to mine bitcoins. Google Android malware designed to hijack devices and mine bitcoins also have found their way into the Play Store, though Google has removed the apps in question.

Continue reading 'Want to mine bitcoins? Head to the Pacific Northwest for cheaper power' (full post)

Microsoft creates the Special Projects Group, similar to Google X

The Google X team has come up with some pretty incredible ideas and technologies, so with a new Microsoft forming over the last couple of months, Microsoft's Research division has created a new Special Projects Group that has the sole task of creating disruptive technologies that could help both the company, and the world.

 

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ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley is behind the report, noting a recent job listing that asked for candidates that would focus specifically on hard and interesting problems, such as networking, systems, distributed computing, devices, UX design, cloud, mobility, machine learning / artificial intelligence, data center technologies and big data.

 

Better yet, Norman Whitaker, who was the former Deputy Director of the Information Innovation Office at DARPA is said to be leading the new division. When he was with DARPA, he was working on self-driving vehicles, and other automated bots.

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