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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."