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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 7

Microsoft snubs order, will not turn over overseas emails

Microsoft is appealing a ruling and doesn't plan to turn over customer emails that are stored overseas, after the order was lifted by Judge Loretta Preska, from the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, might lead to the company being found in contempt. The judge previously supported the feds with a ruling in late July, but gave Microsoft time to appeal, and both sides have until September 5 to determine how to move forward.

 

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Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith noted that the company plans to protect user privacy both in the United States and overseas. It's a confusing legal case, especially considering Microsoft keeps data store overseas, but legal experts previously said the data is under the control of a company based in the U.S. - and that's why the emails must be turned over.

 

"Microsoft will not be turning over the email and plans to appeal," a Microsoft spokesperson told Reuters in an interview. "Everyone agrees this case can and will proceed to the appeals court. This is simply about finding the appropriate procedure for that to happen."

Seagate finalizes acquisition of LSI's flash business from Avago

Storage giant Seagate has finalized the acquisition of LSI's Accelerated Solutions Division (ASD) and Avago's Flash Components Division (FCD). As the storage industry continues to evolve, Seagate wants to continue to expand its flash storage abilities. Seagate hopes to use the LSI ASD business unit's experience in PCIe flash products to help grow its own market share moving forward.

 

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"There is a growing opportunity for mobile and enterprise flash-based storage solutions, which is why we're excited about this strategic technology acquisition," said Steve Luczo, Seagate CEO, in a press statement. "Integrating LSI's Enterprise PCIe flash and SSD controller products, and its engineering capabilities into Seagate's leading storage technology portfolio and product development will expand our ability to meet a broader base of customers' needs and drive new revenue opportunities."

 

The storage industry has been extremely competitive - and relatively volatile over the past few years - with a number of high-profile acquisitions. Seagate has remained competitive against EMC, Western Digital, and other companies in the consumer and enterprise markets.

Anand Lal Shimpi from AnandTech leaves his site, now works for Apple

Less than two weeks from its iPhone 6 reveal, Apple has announced that Anand Lal Shimpi will be joining the company. Anand is best known for his tech site AnandTech, a site he opened back in 1997.

 

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Just over 24 hours ago Shimpi posted his farewell letter to his readers, saying that he "won't stay idle forever" and that there are "a bunch of challenges out there." Within hours of posting this, the news broke that he had joined the ranks of Apple in an undisclosed position. The Internet seems abuzz with the news, and it's an interesting move for both Shimpi, and Apple.

Chinese hardware supplier for Samsung accused of using child labor

A labor rights organization has accused Samsung and Lenovo of working with a Chinese supplier that uses child labor in its factory. The China Labor Watch sent in an undercover investigator that found child labor, overtime and pay abuse of younger employees in the HEG Technology factory. HEG reportedly uses facial recognition software to ensure no underage workers are hired at its facility, and an outsourcing company is used to hire students.

 

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Child Labor Watch previously found a different Samsung supplier using child labor in its factories earlier in the summer, as Korean and western companies receive criticism when these types of reports surface. Samsung is no longer working with that supplier.

 

Samsung said it would like to do a joint investigation "for more precise verification," also saying: We find it regrettable that CLW issued the allegations today without any mention of our statement."

Australian government sues Valve over its refund policy in the country

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is suing Half-Life and Counter-Strike developer Valve, claiming that the company is breaching Australian Consumer Law. The reason? Valve doesn't offer refunds of any kind, and now the ACCC is putting its foot down as these actions are against Australian consumer law.

 

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ACCC Chairman Rod Sims explains: "The Australian Consumer Law applies to any business providing goods or services within Australia. Valve may be an American based company with no physical presence in Australia, but it is carrying on business in Australia by selling to Australian consumers, who are protected by the Australian Consumer Law." "It is a breach of the Australian Consumer Law for businesses to state that they do not give refunds under any circumstances, including for gifts and during sales. Under the Australian Consumer Law, consumers can insist on a refund or replacement at their option if a product has a major fault," Sims continued. "The consumer guarantees provided under the Australian Consumer Law cannot be excluded, restricted or modified."

 

Valve has since responded, with Doug Lombardi saying: "We are making every effort to cooperate with the Australian officials on this matter, while continuing to provide Steam services to our customers across the world, including Australian gamers."

 

Where it gets interesting, is Valve's refund policy, which states: "As with most software products, unless required by local law, we do not offer refunds or exchanges on games, DLC or in-game items purchased on our website or through the Steam Client. Please review Section 3 of the Steam Subscriber Agreement for more information." Within that refund policy, it reads "unless required by local law" so in this instance, local law requires a refund if the product is deemed faulty. An interesting turn for Australian gamers, and Valve right now.

Bitcoin shows longevity potential as retailers embrace cryptocurrency

Online merchants are embracing bitcoin payments from customers, even though the cryptocurrency has been described as volatile by some financial investors. However, retailers admit that bitcoins still don't amount for much of overall transactions, but expect it to slowly grow as more consumers become familiar with owning and using bitcoins.

 

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Overstock.com estimates that it will see $6 million to $8 million in bitcoin-related sales in 2014, and will continue to support its use. Using online bitcoin wallets from services such as Coinbase or Blockchain allow consumers to have easy access to their bitcoins while shopping. Companies using bitcoins allow a bitcoin payment processor to holding the bitcoins, removing a difficult roadblock that has kept some retailers on the sidelines.

 

"We don't have to deal with the actual holding of the bitcoin: it's the payment processor that takes the currency risk for us," said Bernie Han, Dish Network COO. "That's what makes it appealing for us and I guess for other merchants as well."

Continue reading 'Bitcoin shows longevity potential as retailers embrace cryptocurrency' (full post)

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to visit China to discuss antitrust issues

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reportedly will head to China sometime in September as the Chinese government launches an antitrust investigation targeting Microsoft. The Chinese government said it doesn't believe Microsoft was transparent regarding Windows and Office sales, and Chinese antitrust regulators also want to investigate Internet Explorer and the Windows Media Player.

 

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The timing of the antitrust probe seems rather confusing, with Microsoft settling antitrust issues in the United States and Europe more than 10 years ago. Furthermore, the popularity of Google Android and Apple iOS devices in the smartphone and tablet markets has forced Microsoft to revamp - problems that didn't exist during previous antitrust investigations.

 

Microsoft and other major corporations have a delicate relationship with China, amid growing antitrust probes that seem to target western companies. As Washington and Beijing continue to blame one another for spying and snooping, it looks like Microsoft, Google, and other companies are getting caught in the crossfire - if Microsoft gave the Chinese government access to data, for example, western lawmakers and journalists will heavily criticize the company.

Samsung chairman doesn't let his employees look down at him

Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee commands some serious behavior changes in his employees, where during one factory visit, workers were told to not look at Lee through the windows as he entered the building. Why? Because they should not look down at him.

 

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Factory employees were told to park their peasantry vehiecles in the rear lot so that Lee wouldn't have to see them, as they weren't nice enough for him to look at. In the bathrooms, mints were provided to improve employees' breath, and a red carpet was laid out for the chairman to walk down as he entered the factory.

Take Two says Lindsay Lohan lawsuit against GTA V was 'for publicity'

A few months ago, Lindsay Lohan filed a lawsuit against Take Two, the publisher behind Grand Theft Auto V, where she alleged that the publisher used her likeness in GTA V. But now Take Two's lawyers are firing back at the actress, saying that she filed the lawsuit "for publicity purposes".

 

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Take Two is now aiming to have the lawsuit dismissed, with legal fees being pushed across the desk in Lohan's direction. Lohan's complaint alleged that Take Two "incorporated her image, likeness, clothing, outfits, [Lohan's] clothing line products, ensemble in the form of hats, hair style, sunglasses" and jeans worn by Lohan into GTA V as the character Lacey Jonas.

Hewlett-Packard recalling 6 million power cords due to fire risks

Technology giant Hewlett-Packard is recalling 5.6 million power cords, model LS-15, which were shipped with HP and Compaq notebooks, along with mini-notebooks and docking stations. HP received almost 30 reports of overheating cords that melted or charred, with 13 claims of minor property damage and two minor burn claims, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

 

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The cords were sold to consumers from September 2010 to June 2012, and consumers using this type of AC adapters should immediately stop using the power cords and unplug it. HP is offering free replacements for customers impacted by the safety risk. If you have a model LS-15 power cord, call 877-219-6676 - or visit the HP "Recalls" portion of the website to learn more.

 

"HP believes that certain power cords shipped with notebook PC products and AC adapter accessories may pose a risk of a fire and burn hazard to customers," HP said on its website. "We are taking this action as part of our commitment to provide the highest quality of service to our notebook customers."

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