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Something that has been normal for quite sometime in most parts of the world, a PIN-based credit card, is being pushed in the United States by MasterCard and Visa late next year.
The credit card giants will phase out the face-to-face signature-based cards that most people have, with new cards that feature a microchip inside that replaces the magnetic strip on today's cards. Over 25% of all credit card transactions are done so within the US, but MasterCard's Caryoln Balfany talked with the Wall Street Journal recently, saying that there is a good reason why the US market hasn't moved toward this sooner.
Most markets moved to the new PIN-based system in order to fight against high levels of fraud, while others struggled with robust telephone networks, liked the appeal of still doing transactions offline. As other markets became zipped up and more secure, criminals moved most of their operations to the US, where the signature is still used. This low level of security is a major driving force as to why nearly half the world's credit card fraud is done within the US.
The internet is alive this morning with reports that Google has purchased $750 million worth of Lenovo stock, and while it is true that Google now owns 618.3 million shares of Lenovo, the company did not purchase them on its own. Last week Google sold Motorola to Lenovo and as part of the deal, Google received a significant stake in the Chinese PC manufacturer.
To set the record straight, Google received the stock in its deal to sell Motorola to Lenovo, and the HKSE filing was just part of the formal paperwork that had to be done. This leaves Google owning 5.94-percent of Lenovo which equates to 618.3 millions shares. Lenovo gave Google the stock at a valuation of $1.213 per share which is currently trading for $8.43 per share. With this new revelation it appears that Google did not do so bad after all in the Motorola / Lenovo deal.
In addition to selling off its VAIO PC business unit, Sony also plans to spin off its TV lineup as 5,000 employees will be given walking papers by 2015, according to recent reports.
As part of its latest restructuring plan, Sony announced it will cut 5,000 global jobs by March 2015 - and hopes to cut almost $1 billion per year in fixed costs. Sony also plans to spin off its TV division into an independent company within the next five months.
Japanese electronics manufacturers have struggled to compete against rising global competition, especially from Korean and Chinese rivals. Japan Industrial Partners will secure the Sony PC division, ensuring it won't head to Lenovo, the Chinese PC manufacturer that is No. 1 in global sales.
Popular tech e-tailer Newegg has launched its Premier Membership, a $50 yearly charge for customers looking for additional perks. Items that have a "P" badge are eligible for Premier Membership perks. A 30-day trial is available for free.
Members receive free shipping for products in less than three days, special notices for upcoming sales, members-only shopping area, lowered cost for two-day and next-day shipping, free returns, and Premier Member-only customer service.
"We developed Newegg Premier because we aspire to become the most loved and trusted marketplace on the web," Newegg said in a blog post. "We want to provide our loyal customers with speedy deliveries and exceptional customer service. We also want to attract new customers that may not know about us."
Newegg remains one of the most popular tech-centric e-tailers, though trying to compete directly with Amazon has been difficult. However, most e-tailers that try to follow in Amazon's footsteps will most likely fall flat, as Prime includes many of the same perks as Premier, along with access to a wider product catalog, music, TV episodes, and movies.
Twitter has just posted its first earnings statement as a public company, with the social network posting a net loss of $511 million for Q4 2013, but ended the year with a total net loss of a staggering $645 million.
The company did double its revenue last year compared to 2012, hitting $664 million. Unfortunately, Twitter's stock price took a huge 16% hit after the news broke. CEO of Twitter, Dick Costolo, said: "Twitter finished a great year with our strongest financial quarter to date. We are the only platform that is public, real-time, conversational, and widely distributed, and I'm excited by the number of initiatives we have underway to further build upon the Twitter experience".
Twitter attributed the $645 million loss to "$521 million of stock-based compensation expense, of which $406 million was for restricted stock units previously granted to employees, for which no expense had been recognized, until the effective date of our initial public offering in accordance with [Generally Agreed Accounting Principles]".
An unknown party has attempted to abandon the Watch Dogs trademark on behalf of Ubisoft, but the United States Patent and Trademark Office has announced that the rights to Watch Dogs have been reinstated to Ubisoft.
Rewinding back a few days, the USPTO saw a filing to abandon the Watch Dogs trademark, but the request for abandonment was a fraud, with the studio never attempting such a thing. The USPTO said in its review of the case: "Here, the circumstances are extraordinary. An unknown party who lacked authority executed the purported abandonment of the application. Although the request appears to have been sent by petitioner, petitioner declared that it did not submit the request and has every reason to believe that this filing was fraudulent. The Director finds the application should not have been abandoned. Pursuant to supervisory authority provided by 37 C.F.R. §2.146(a)(3), the Director permits the reinstatement of the application".
Last week, Facebook unveiled its new iOS app called 'Paper', but now we have design-focused startup, FiftyThree, accusing Facebook publicly for using their brand name.
FiftyThree then decided to take action to protect its brand name, applying for a trademark for the term "Paper," which was filed on January 30 - the day that Facebook announced Paper. FiftyThree already owns "Paper by FiftyThree", but only recently moved to protect the term "Paper", something Facebook has jumped on obviously.
Where to from here? According to trademark lawyers Roberto Ledesma and Victor Cardona says that trademarks, in some instances, are use-based. Cardona says: "just by using a mark in a particular field, you've got rights. Some are state-based and some are federal-based, but if I start using a mark before you in the same area of goods or services, I've got rights to the mark over you".
It was only a week ago that we reported that Google signed a 10-year patent licensing deal with Samsung, but the Mountain View-based search giant has just signed another cross-licensing agreement for patents, this time with Cisco.
The agreement will cover a "broad range of products and technologies" which will help both companies defend themselves from future patent infringement lawsuits, as well as prevent the companies from suing each other, too. Google's Deputy General Counsel for Patents at Google, Allen Lo, says that the agreement with Cisco "will reduce the potential for litigation, letting us focus instead on building great new products".
Dan Lang, Cisco's VP if Intellectual Property had similar things to say, where he said: "In today's overly-litigious environment, cross-licensing is an effective way for technology companies to work together and help prevent unnecessary patent lawsuits".
Last week I reported that Microsoft was very close to choosing Steve Ballmer's replacement, and that the search may have went no further than inside the company itself. This morning Microsoft confirmed that Satya Nadella, head of the company's Enterprise and Cloud business as the new CEO.
"Microsoft is one of those rare companies to have truly revolutionized the world through technology, and I couldn't be more honored to have been chosen to lead the company," Nadella said in a statement this morning. "The opportunity ahead for Microsoft is vast, but to seize it, we must focus clearly, move faster and continue to transform. A big part of my job is to accelerate our ability to bring innovative products to our customers more quickly."
This announcement shows that Microsoft thinks that cloud services as well as the enterprise market will continue to play a major role in the future. One of the major reasons Nadella was chosen is his long past with Microsoft as he has held many jobs at the company, and is quite familiar with how things operate around Redmond. Additionally, along with the new CEO announcement, Microsoft says that Bill Gates will be stepping down as Chairman of the Board and will take on a new Technology Adviser role. John Thompson will fill Gates seat.
The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, or WARF, has launched a lawsuit against Apple. WARF's lawsuit alleges that the iPhone maker infringes on a patent held by the University of Wisconsin - Madison, US Patent No. 5,781,752.
The patent in question was granted on July 14, 1998 to four university researchers specializing in microprocessor architecture. The patent is dubbed "Table Based Data Speculation Circuit for Parallel Processing Computer". The scientists' circuit, is a predictor which streamlines microprocessor performance by accurately forecasting dependencies of current instructions on previous instructions.
In non-scientist speak, it speeds up the processor, while lowing required system resources by accurately guessing which earlier instructions will match the new input, and start the desired action before the user has finished entering in the command. This is known as brand prediction in other circles. WARF is now alleging that the A7 chip uses this same specific technology that was developed in Madison.
Where the scientists have Apple, is that the company actually cites the patent itself. For Apple to defend itself, it will most likely have to reveal the inner workings of its A7 processor, which is a guarded secret to the company. WARF wants an unspecified sum of money, legal fees taken care of, an an injunction to see Apple obtain, or at least lease the license from the patent holders, or stop making A7-based devices - this includes the iPhone 5S, iPad mini and iPad Air.