Nest was one of the hottest companies in 2013, and wowed tech insiders world wide with the release of its smart smoke alarms and thermostats. Based in Palo Alto, California, Nest was in the center of silicon valley and had attracted the attention of some of the biggest investors and companies in the business, one of which has just acquired the company.
Google has just announced that it has acquired Nest for a whopping $3.2 billion in cash, which now adds Google's name to yet another market space that directly affects our daily lives. Nest will further Google's push into the so-called "Internet of Things," and will further allow it to continue its growth into the home automation realm.
"We're thrilled to join Google," Fadell, 44, said in a statement. "With their support, Nest will be even better placed to build simple, thoughtful devices that make life easier at home, and that have a positive impact on the world." Google CEO Larry Page said "Fadell and his Nest co-founder Matt Rogers had built a tremendous team that we are excited to welcome into the Google family."
Ford CEO Alan Mulally has confirmed he will remain with the U.S. automaker and not become the next Microsoft CEO, which will be vacated when Steve Ballmer steps down. Last August, Ballmer said he would resign - and leave within 12 months - but is trying to help the company ease into the transition. However, that's going to be difficult when there is uncertainty about the company's short-term stability.
"I would like to end the Microsoft speculation because I have no other plans to do anything other than serve Ford," Mulally told reporters. "You don't have to worry about me leaving."
Microsoft's hunt for Ballmer's replacement has been extremely difficult, as there are only a handful of skilled candidates seeking the job. Microsoft is currently considering both internal and external candidates as the company needs to buckle down and find a new leader.
We've already seen Microsoft change its "Metro" name for "Windows 8-style UI" with all those problems when Windows 8 launched, but now we're seeing a new name, "Mod", which would be the new, new name for the UI.
The news is coming from ZDNet, with Mary Jo Foley reporting that Microsoft applied to trademark the word "Mod", which Foley thinks the software giant will use to refer the new modern design in future iterations of Windows. The company has also filed for more words with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, with the following words: "Windows Mod", "Office Mod", and "Microsoft Office Mod".
The all-digital game creator Zynga has announced that it is launching an experiment, where it will accept Bitcoins for in-game purchases on some of its games.
Zynga is working with Bitpay that will allow gamers to use the digital currency in FarmVille 2, CastleVille, ChefVille, CoasterVille, Hidden Chronicles, Hidden Shadows, and CityVille. Does this change your mind about Zynga, that it is now accepting Bitcoin? It won't do much for most, but it's a step in the right direction for Zynga.
There are countless Galaxy smartphones and tablets in the wild now, but according to Barrons, Jefferies & Co. analyst, Hyunwoo Doh, it looks like Samsung's Q4 2013 profit estimate might not be as strong as previously thought.
The analyst lowered his estimates for Samsung's Q4 2013 "to reflect higher bonus payouts, adjustments to the company's manufacturing of display panels, and the decline of the U.S. dollar against the Korean Won." Doh has faith in the South Korean giants mobile division, which is doing very good business.
He added: "[T]he [IT & Mobile Communications] division should see a decrease in earnings, due to slower high-end smartphone sales and inventory destocking. As such, its share price momentum should weaken until an earnings recovery is seen."
During BlackBerry's event in 2013 announcing BlackBerry 10, the company surprised everyone by appointing singer, Alicia Keys, as the new Global Creative Director. While this position was mostly for publicity, it represented the length that BlackBerry was willing to go to save itself from financial ruin.
Now less than a year later, and with new management steering the ship, Alicia Keys has been relieved of her duty. While no official reason has been mentioned for her departure from her honorary position, it could be due to the fact that Keys never really gave up her iPhone or iPad for BlackBerry devices. Just weeks after the BB10 announcement, Keys tweeted from the iPhone she reportedly gave up for the new at the time BlackBerry Z10.
With the cryptocurrency quickly becoming the next big bubble, new "coins" are popping up every day. Today coders has announced a new digital currency called Coinye West, and is based on the open source Bitcoin code. "Coinye West is a cryptocurrency for the masses," says its creators.
While this is most definitely nothing more than an elaborate joke, the Coinye West coins could take of and actually gain some kind of value, similar to how the Dogecoin, another joke turned real cryptocurrency did. One thing is for sure though, investing is advised as if the Coinye West coins do inflate to anything near the size of Kanye's ego, we all will be billionaires!
HP has been in financial trouble for some time now as a result of a dwindling PC sales market, and today the company is preparing for yet another round of layoffs that could see as many as 5000 more employees fired before the end of the year. In a new SEC 10K filing HPO raised its estimated layoff numbers to 34,000.
While 34,000 people losing their jobs is definitely a tragedy, HP will save $4.1 billion which might be enough to save the company from going under. With HP already having laid off 24,600 employees, it has until October to fire the other 9,000. 2013 was not a good year for big business, with companies like BlackBerry, OCZ, and HP reporting major financial woes. Here's hoping 2014 will be a better year all around!
Netflix is offering a new low-end plan for new subscribers only, that will push out standard definition streaming to a single device. For $6.99, a single device can stream content in SD from Netflix.
This is only $1 cheaper than the most basic HD tier plan that lets Netflix users stream content to two devices at once, which makes the new $6.99 per month plan seem worthless. If you really need that additional $1 per month, then this new plan is for you.
BlackBerry's new CEO, John Chen, says that no one should start counting his company out just yet. In an open editorial for CNBC, Chen said that BlackBerry is "well-positioned for the future," and that even though the company faced "challenging circumstances," he believes that BlackBerry will once again rise to profit.
"It was important to make swift and impact changes to ensure that our customers' investments in BlackBerry's infrastructure and solutions are secure," said Chen. "I'm surrounded by a talented team of industry leaders, including our new leaders for enterprise, corporate development and strategic planning, and marketing. In the coming weeks, I'll continue to build out my leadership team with those who have the skills and passion to get BlackBerry back on the path to profitability."
Chen went on to say that BlackBerry is still king of the enterprise market and that the public should not be fooled by the "competition's rhetoric claiming to be more secure or having more experience than BlackBerry" Chen finished up the editorial by saying: "We've accomplished a great deal in these last couple months, and we're positioned for the long haul. We have a strong cash position with more than $3 billion on hand, a renewed spirit, and trusted technology, network and platform. I believe BlackBerry has a clear lane ahead of us to create new trails as a nimbler, more agile competitor.The journey has just begun."
HTC continues to get battered, with news breaking out in the last day or so that its ex-Lead Designer, Thomas Chien, prosecuted in Taiwan for fraud. The Taipei District Prosecutor's Office concluded its investigation on Chien, reporting that he leaked HTC's upcoming icon designs, and much more.
He took the designs, showing them to his then-future business partners for a new company they were planning to form. The investigation also concluded that Chien's friends took around $1.12 million in the way of false expense claims, as well as rebates from a supplier. A quarter of this cash was found in Chien's Audi, with another taken from him on another occasion.
The prosecutors' allegations were not denied by most of Chien's friends, but Chien himself was in denial about most of what he was being accused of, and has the prosecutors recommending that the court place a big sentence on Chien for his "malignant" behavior.
LG's superstar G2 smartphone may be the current speed king, but it hasn't sold well for the South Korean company. According to DigiTimes' sources, it is because of the Nexus 5 that the G2 didn't sell too well.
LG manufactured the Nexus 5 for Google, which seems to have cannibalized its G2 sales, with DigiTimes' sources stating: "The release of the G2 was too close to the launch of the Nexus 5, which affected sales momentum of LG's own flagship model." The South Korean giant had expected to sell 10 million of its G2 smartphones, but only managed to sell just over two million units for the year.
I actually pointed this out in my review of the G2, where I said: "The Nexus 5 is one of the best specced devices on the market, at an absolute competitor-crushing price of just $349, and this in turn creates a huge problem for LG. Which phone do you buy? The utterly ridiculously priced Nexus 5? Or the G2, which is double the price?"
The Vdio streaming service was largely aimed towards Rdio subscribers interested in select TV shows and movies, which were available for rental or purchase.
The beta video service was promoted in the United States and United Kingdom, but couldn't gain traction on rival products. From the Vdio website: "Despite our efforts, we were not able to deliver the differentiated customer experience we had hoped for. We want to thank all customers who have tried our service, and we have given gift cards to all those who have purchased content or have unused rental content."
The product first launched for Rdio subscribers, and opened up to the general public in June. There was nothing truly remarkable about the service, as it had a small amount of content and could only be shown via Web browsers or on the Apple iPad. It never posed a threat to Netflix, Amazon, or more established and diverse competitors.
EA is already battling class action lawsuits over Battlefield 4, but now the first-person shooter has been banned in China, with the Chinese government citing "national security" concerns.
EA has declined to comment on the ban when The Wall Street Journal tried to make contact. The problem with Battlefield 4 is that the single player campaign involves China in the year 2020, with the Chinese admiral planning to overthrow the government. Then we have Battlefield 4: China Rising, which is a DLC for the first-person shooter, featuring maps, vehicles and a new gametype, all set on the Chinese mainland.
It's not turning out to be a Merry Christmas for Apple, which was just fined by the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission. The iPhone maker was hit with a $667,000 fine because it was "interfering with mobile service providers and handset distributors' pricing."
Apple could face an additional fine of $1.67 million, if it doesn't stop its ways, messing around with carriers and other retailers in regards to iPhone prices. Taiwan's FTC also said in a statement: "Through the email correspondence between Apple and these three telecom companies we discovered the companies submit their pricing plans to Apple to be approved or confirmed before the products hit the market."
Target, the No. 2 discount retailer in the United States, isn't having a Merry Christmas following a data breach affecting 40 million customers one week ago.
It appears malware installed on the store's point-of-sale (POS) cash registers contributed to the credit theft, with federal investigators involved in the ongoing investigation. The breach has led to around two dozen customer-filed lawsuits, with other lawsuits expected in the future. The lawsuits were filed in state and federal courts ranging from Minnesota and California to New York.
After first reports of a Target breach earlier in the month, some stolen credit and debit card numbers were hitting the black market within days. The company will almost certainly face increased scrutiny after the holidays, as the retailer is hearing reports of clever e-mail scams targeting customers. To battle against scammers, Target is creating a custom section on its website to communicate directly to customers interested in learning more.
Wireless charging is something I've fallen in love with this year, but Apple is behind the game when it comes to pushing wireless charging technology into its devices, such as the iPhone. This is all set to change with a new patent from the Cupertino-based giant.
Apple's research labs have presented a surprise to the world, with an early patent filing that sees the company thinking about wireless charging being the next big thing. Apple was awarded a patent last week for a "desk-free computer". The description sees a device that is small, such as a Mac mini, that features a projector lens on one of its sides.
The device would also carry an accelerometer and a proximity sensor that would detect how far the device is away from the wall, where the image would be projected. The patent states: "The integrated projector may also provide flexibility in the location, relative to the computer system and/or the user, and/or in the size of the projected image. Display screens for both laptops and desktops are fixed in size, and have limited flexibility in location relative to the computer, either by wired connection and/or other physical constraint."
Of course the stand out feature here is definitely the wireless charging, with the device capable of being a mobile solution, which would cut down the amount of cords running to your PC. We don't know when this technology would come, but I would say it would be years away. Apple needs to catch up on getting wireless charging in its iPhones first.
Acer has appointed itself a new CEO, someone who has quite a lot of experience in the industry: Jason Chen. Chen is the former Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Marketing at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), where he was the President and CEO.
Chen recently resigned from TSMC, where he will join Acer on January 1, 2014. Before joining TSMC, Chen worked with Intel as the Corporate Vice President and Co-Director of the Worldwide Sales and Marketing Group. His extensive experience in the industry should help push Acer forward, something it has needed for quite sometime now.
The US Department of Justice has just released a new batch of evidence against the infamous Kim Dotcom. Last week the US Government filed a 191-page document outlining its case against Dotcom that included evidence such as emails, Skype transcripts, and other information.
Perhaps the biggest disclosure is that Dotcom had seeded information on, identified, and helped locate individuals who ran rival file sharing sites to Megaupload. Dotcom even went as far as contacting payment services to inform them of his competition's illegal activities. As all of this occurred, Megaupload thrived as its watched many of its biggest competitors fold under and their traffic slowly trickle into its service.
Overstock.com CEO, Patrick Byrne, has said that his company would be one of the first to accept Bitcoin, where it will accept the digital currency in the second half of next year.
Byrne spilled the news during an interview with the Financial Times, where he said there is going to be a market in Bitcoin, and he wanted his company to embrace it. Byrne believes Bitcoin will hold its value better than the fiat-based dollar, thanks to the fact that it is mathematically constrained, versus the limitless printing of the dollar through the Federal Reserve and government authorities.
The Overstock.com CEO stated that his company would bank the digital currency in the event that similar digital funds increase in popularity. If, however, the digital currency begins to deflate, the company would transfer Bitcoins to dollars on a daily basis.
Oculus is securing talent every couple of weeks it seems, with the brain child of Doom and Quake, John Carmack, stepping on board as Chief Technology Officer not too long ago. Now have news that the VR outfit has secured a former EA Senior VP to join as the head of worldwide publishing.
This department is fresh, with the aim of the new department to help developers create games that work with the Oculus Rift. David DeMartini is the man for the job, and in a statement to Gamasutra, DeMartini described his position as "not particularly different from what I did for seven years" when he was involved with the EA Partners program.
He continued: "I'm figuring out how to partner effectively with big developers, small developers, all the way down to the individual who just wants to make something great for the Rift."