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The People's Bank of China is limiting bitcoin-related business, and is urging executives from other major Chinese banks to follow suit. Towards the end of 2013, the central bank didn't shun bitcoins, but showed caution regarding the popular cryptocurrency - but that opinion has drastically changed, saying bitcoins are a "tool for speculation."
If major banks in China try to shut down bitcoin transactions, it will create a void that a bank in China should be able to step up and fill.
Since bitcoins aren't centrally regulated by banks or governments, trying to figure out how to deal with them has proven to be extremely challenging. Earlier in the year, the IRS ruled that bitcoins are considered property and not real currency, though that hasn't stopped retailers from accepting bitcoin payments. Despite hiccups along the way, bitcoins continue to gain mainstream acceptance and any type of legislation must be created carefully - yet quickly moving forward.
Things are not looking good for Japanese video game powerhouse, Nintendo. Today the company released its earnings report for the 2013 fiscal year, and things are not good to say the least. During the last year, Nintendo sold 6.17 million Wii U units, with the last quarter only accounting for about 310k units sold. The Wii U was supposed to be Nintendo's saving grace, but it appears that is not the case.
For the fiscal year of 2013, Nintendo says that it has suffered a net loss of $228 million, which makes this the third straight year of financial losses. In 2011, Nintendo lost $461.2 million, and in 2012 the company posted $366 million in losses. When you tally those up with this morning's report, the once king of gaming has lost more than $1 billion over the last three years. At this rate, Nintendo seems to be hemorrhaging money and it leaves one to wonder just how much longer the company can hold out.
Alibaba is the world's largest marketplace for wholesale goods coming out of the Asian manufacturing markets which makes its one of the largest distributors of goods in the world. Today Alibaba took the next step that will allow it to become one of the most powerful companies on earth by filing for its initial public offering with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
While no official numbers were released, it is expected that Alibaba has filed the IPO for $1 billion, a very small number when compared with that industry analyst expect the company to raise. Many are expecting Alibaba to raise more than $20 billion based on its consistent annual growth and earnings. To put things into perspective, Alibaba ships over 100 million packages every day and pushes out a gross merchandise volume of more than $80 billion. Ebay, the US' closest thing to Alibaba, only manages a GMV of $20 billion. If its any indication of how big this could be, the IPO is being underwritten by almost all of the major players on Wall Street including: Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, and Credit Suisse.
One of the challenges to get the next billion people online is that most of those people live in a country where incomes are significantly lower than they are in the US. The relative ease that many of us can come up with a few hundred dollars for a smartphone in the US is well out of the reach of many people in poorer developing nations.
For that reason, many smartphone makers are concentrating on very cheap devices for developing nations. ARM says that in the next few months an Android-powered smartphone running a 1x Cortex-A5 processor will sell for only $20. That sells for about $33-$28 today.
Google has been offering a service in San Francisco Bay area for about a year now that some folks have probably never heard of. The service is called Google Shopping Express and it is a same day delivery service for shoppers. Shopping Express is now rolling out to two more areas of the country.
Google has announced Shopping Express is available in Manhattan and West LA. As part of the initial rollout of the service in those two new areas, Google is offering six months of free unlimited delivery. With the service, the user can order items from participating stores, and Google will deliver the items.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.