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Lenovo could be the new owner of BlackBerry right not if it were not for the Canadian government stepping in and nixing the acquisition on grounds of national security. A new report is stating that Lenovo was serious about its bid for BlackBerry, and would have went through with the deal if not for the Canadian government saying no.
The Canadian government says that it could not let a Chinese company buy out a telecom company that has deep ties with the Canadian Government as it could pose a major national security risk. "We have been pretty consistent that the message is Canada is open to foreign investment and investment from China in particular, but not at the cost of compromising national security," said a Canadian Government official. Sources say that Lenovo had been looking at BlackBerry back as early as January, and apparently was in acquisition talks since that time as well.
Microsoft has announced it is now offering a free, 16-week IT training course for soldiers transitioning out of the military life, to a civilian life, with a guaranteed job at the end of it.
The Microsoft Software & Systems Academy will be based on the Microsoft IT Academy, which will offer the training required to plunge into the world of being a developer, applications engineer or IT project manager. At the end of the course, the company will hire participants as software testers by either Microsoft or Launch Consulting, which is the tech firm administering the program.
Microsoft Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Brad Smith, said in a statement: "American servicemembers possess the drive, self-discipline and problem-solving skills that are essential for the technology industry. The Microsoft Software & Systems Academy is a bridge between one great career-serving in the U.S. military-and another, creating technologies that improve lives."
Yesterday it appeared that OCZ's stock was in a downward fall that was unstoppable before leveling off near the closing bell at $0.73. Today the stock fell yet another 38-percent to just $0.39 per share at its lowest, and like yesterday it rebounded slightly and closed at $0.44 per share.
As of this posting, OCZ has yet to release an official statement, and this has further led to investor confidence falling. A quick Google search will turn up dozens of industry analyst questioning just how long the company has left before it is forced to fill bankruptcy, and even more complaints on forums across the internet where customers are complaining about failed Vertex SSD drives.
While I am still mystified about the company's lack of response to this crisis, I have developed a new theory on what may be going on. A few weeks back we reported that Toshiba might be looking to buy OCZ outright, but nothing ever materialized from this. I have a very small suspicion that OCZ may be keeping quiet in order to force their price even lower to draw in someone looking to pick them up at what might be a steal. This would wash the company's leaders hands of things and they would get off with a nice payday.
This morning Acer announced that its CEO, J.T. Wang, will resign his position as CEO following yet another poor performing financial quarter. Wang will tender his resignation effective on January 1st 2014, but will retain his position as Chairman of the Board until the second quarter of 2014.
Acer says that its current president, Jim Wong, will take over as CEO upon Wang's resignation. Acer just posted a net loss of $446 million for Q3 2013 and as a result, will cut its global staff by 7-percent in an effort to diminish overhead by $100 million annually. Stacking on the bad news, Acer's PC sales plummeted by 35-percent in Q3 which could spell disaster for the company in 2014. Acer and Wong will have to fight hard, and will be forced to switch up their strategy drastically to stay afloat in the coming years.
Apple is pushing to open up more US-based factories, with a components plant to soon be opened up in Arizona that would be run from renewable energy. The new project will create over 2000 jobs, where the company will work directly with Salt River Project, who is an electric utility company based in central Arizona.
Apple will work with Salt River Project to create "green energy sources" that would power the facility. Within the first twelve months, over 700 jobs will be created, with an additional 1300 positions in construction and other jobs in and around Arizona, according to Governor Jan Brewer. Brewer also said: "Their investment in renewable energy will also be greening our power grid, and creating significant new solar and geothermal power sources for the state."
GT Advanced Technologies, a crystal materials manufacturer, will own and operate furnaces and related equipment at the new plant, which will employ over 700 people. The company has said it has entered a multi-year deal to supply the Cupertino-based iPhone giant with sapphire material. Apple has previously said it would invest over $100 million in Mac production within the US, which this is all a big part of.
For two years running, EA has won The Consumerist's "Worst Company in America' award, which has forced the company to look into what it had done to get so many customers angry, and is still working on it to this day according to the freshly-appointed CEO, Andrew Wilson.
Wilson spoke with Polygon, where he said: "Whether you respect the source or not, I think it was a wake up call, and it was absolutely something that we spent a lot of time and energy over, and continue to spend a lot of time and energy over. For us, it was less about, 'How do we not get voted the worst company again?' but more about, 'Okay, are there things that we could do differently or things that we have done that have been misinterpreted that would cause people to feel that way?"
EA's goal, according to Wilson, is to "build great games and services." He added: "What we have been doing over time is really working to either update those things or eliminate those things, and really get back to our focus on games. Because at the end of the day, if we're making great games and services, we won't get voted worst company in America again."
On Halloween, the same day that Google launched its next-gen flagship, the Nexus 5," and Android 4.4 KitKat, several of the company's biggest rivals filed lawsuits against the company and some of its partners. This consortium of foes include Microsoft, Apple, RIM, Ericsson, and Sony.
The filings include at least 15 lawsuits that claim that Google and its handset partners infringe on several patents that cover basic smartphone functionality including email and Wi-Fi hotspot functionality. Some of the patents date all the way back to 2000, and it appears that Google and Samsung have known about the lawsuits since 2012. As past patent wars have shown, there will be no quick resolution to these claims, and the only ones who will win anything will be the lawyers who will spend the next month or years battling this out in conference rooms.
With Twitter just days away from its Initial Public Offering, tech powerhouse IBM has threatened to filed a patent infringement lawsuit against the social networking service. Before heading off to the court system, IBM has offered Twitter a shot at a "business resolution," which most likely equates to an expensive licensing deal.
IMB says that Twitter is infringing on three of its patents including: U.S. Patent No. 6,957,224: Efficient retrieval of uniform resource locators, U.S. Patent No. 7,072,849: Method for presenting advertising in an interactive service and U.S. Patent No. 7,099,862: Programmatic discovery of common contacts. These patents are all very broad in what they actually cover, and represent exactly what is wrong with the US Patent system.
In a statement Twitter had the following to say. "Based upon our preliminary review of these patents, we believe we have meritorious defenses to IBM's allegations, although there can be no assurance that we will be successful in defending against these allegations or reaching a business resolution that is satisfactory to us."
It appears that the long saga of BlackBerry's demise is over and the end result is not a failed company, or a new handset OEM resulting from a buyout. Instead, BlackBerry has taken itself off of the market and has received a $1 billion investment from Fairfax Holdings, the company which failed to raise $4.7 billion to buy BlackBerry earlier this year.
Along with this morning's announcement, BlackBerry said that its CEO, Thorsten Heins, will be stepping down after almost two years at the reigns. Heins will be replaced by Interim CEO, John S. Chen, who previously served as chairman and CEO of Sybase, Inc before it was acquired by another company in 2010. Todays announcements have done little to impress investors though as BlackBerry's stock is trading at $6.55 after a high of $8 last week.
"Today's announcement represents a significant vote of confidence in BlackBerry and its future by this group of preeminent, long-term investors," said Barbara Stymiest, Chair of BlackBerry's Board. "The BlackBerry Board conducted a thorough review of strategic alternatives and pursued the course of action that it concluded is in the best interests of BlackBerry and its constituents, including its shareholders. This financing provides an immediate cash injection on terms favorable to BlackBerry, enhancing our substantial cash position. Some of the most important customers in the world rely on BlackBerry and we are implementing the changes necessary to strengthen the company and ensure we remain a strong and innovative partner for their needs."
If there's one thing Microsoft needs right now, it's the perfect storm of marketing campaigns to push Windows and Surface onto millions of more customers to combat the increased onslaught from rivals Apple, Google and Samsung.
The Redmond-based software giant is looking to spend around $405 million this year on marketing, compared to $241 million last year. Splitting this up, we'll see $131 million or so in offers and incentive-related spending, while $274 million will be spent on marketing and operating expenses. Microsoft wants to see Windows-based slates in stores, and will spend heavily to see its dreams come true.
The company is pushing to have 16 million tablet sales over the holiday season, with the extra marketing push helping to convince customers they want a Windows tablet. It shouldn't be hard, because Microsoft has some great devices out there with its OS on them, but it's not really a fight of devices anymore, but services.