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While unemployment numbers continue to rise in America, one major company is reporting that it now has more employees than ever before. Amazon released it's earnings report today and amidst all of the financial numbers, the company also announced that it now employs almost 110,000 individuals world wide. That number puts it well ahead of Microsoft's barely 100,000, and far out of reach of Google's 37,000-ish employees.
The rise in employee numbers is attributed to the companies unprecedented growth over the last three years, with it tripling in size since 2011. Unfortunately, this massive growth and rising employee numbers has taken its toll on the Seattle, Washington-based company which today reported its second straight quarter operating in the red. This morning Amazon announced that it lost more than $41 million during the last quarter despite a net sales of $17.1 billion.
"It's been a busy few months-we launched a new Paperwhite and new Kindle Fires to positive reviews and surprised people with the revolutionary Mayday button-average Mayday response times are just 11 seconds!" Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a press release.
Facebook is facing a class-action lawsuit in the Ontario Superior Cout, acused of intercepting website addresses shared among its members via private messages, according to the lawsuit.
Security researchers discovered what Facebook was doing, and the controversial action was stopped in October 2012. Facebook was able to scan and intercept private messages to allegedly improve its efforts for successful targeted advertising campaigns.
"Facebook intercepted its users' private messages for its own commercial gain and has never acknowledged or apologized for its behavior," said Joel Rochon, partner at Rochon Genova, the law firm representing clients in the lawsuit. "Social networking sites such as this need to be held publicly accountable. Surreptitious surveillance of private communications cannot be tolerated in a democratic society."
Newegg is looking to expand its reach across the pond, into the United Kingdom and Australia with a new pilot program. Customers located in the new countries Newegg is shipping to will be able to order a limited range of products from the US giant.
Each country will have a select range of products to choose from, but there are several thousands to choose from right now. Customers can also enable a "Newegg Global Eligible" filter which will show purely internationally-shippable products, where the cart will display the estimated shipping charges, tax, and duty to any orders placed.
Newegg's Chief Marketing Officer, Soren Mills, said in a statement: "We're extending the Newegg customer experience beyond North America, selectively addressing English-speaking countries overseas to begin that process. This is an important step forward for our company and we're taking a very deliberate approach to our international growth".
We talked about Cover last year, knowing it was going to get big - but big enough for Twitter to acquire? I didn't see that coming. The social network has acquired the Android-focused start-up.
Cover took to its blog to talk about the acquisition, where it said: "Twitter, like Cover, believes in the incredible potential of Android. They share our vision that smartphones can be a lot smarter - more useful and more contextual - and together we're going to make that happen". Cover launched last year, where it used your location and app usage history to predict which apps you would use next. It provided these apps in a beautiful quick access menu on your lockscreen, depending on where you were - home, at work, in the car, or when you're out.
With this acquisition, we can see that Twitter wants to be more of a force to be reckoned with on Android, and rightly so, considering that 75% of Twitter users are using the social network on their smartphones. Just what will Twitter do with Cover? That remains to me seen, but I'm now very interested in what the company will do with the exciting new start-up.
It took less than one week for companies in the United States to pick up 85,000 H-1B visas for 2015, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services.
Applications were collected starting on April 1, but it didn't take long for the 65,000 general category and 20,000 advanced degree spots to be taken.
The small number of H-1B visas has led to Silicon Valley companies - and major corporations throughout the US - to petition the federal government to undergo immigration reform. Companies want to see the number of visas increase, and have the application process made easier than the current system.
A recent rash of Smart Cars being tipped over in San Francisco has the police department on the lookout for a small group of vandals. Three of the vehicles were flipped within a 10-block radius of one another, with a fourth flipped in a separate neighborhood.
The SFPD is investigating each case as felony vandalism, with early reports indicating the cars are likely total losses. A Smart Car weighs around 1,800 pounds, and can obviously be manipulated by a few motivated pranksters.
Yahoo has made no secret of its desire to compete in the video streaming market. It tried to buy DailyMotion last year, but failed to close that deal. Rumors continue to circulate that Yahoo will launch its own video streaming platform. Whether it will buy an existing service or roll its own remains to be seen.
Sources that claim to be familiar with the goings on at Yahoo are claiming that the company is looking to land four TV quality shows to help its streaming effort. According to this source, Yahoo wants a quartet of half hour comedy shows written and directed by people that have TV experience.
The budget for these programs is tipped to be in the range of $700,000 to a million dollars per episode. Each of the shows will have ten episodes making for a lot of money spent. There is no word at this time indicating if Yahoo is negotiating on specific shows.
According to a report by Recode, Dropbox has secured itself another $500 million in funding. Recode has said that it has confirmed the financial news with "sources close to the situation".
The last time we heard about Dropbox's financial position, the cloud storage startup was valued at $10 billion, where it raised some $350 million in equity funding.
The bitcoin cryptocurrency has hit a few bumps in the road, but consumers now find it easier to make purchases and spend their bitcoins online. Silicon Valley startup companies are going beyond simply trying to mine and own bitcoins, and want to focus on apps and services for consumers to use.
The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently ruled that bitcoins are property, not a real currency, while other countries are struggling how to deal with the digital currency.
"It's all about to change over the next 12 to 24 months," said Marshall Hayner, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur hoping to bank on bitcoin with a QuickCoin app. "We are going to see all kinds of people adopt it. It's going to power transactions on the Internet."
Google is quite accustomed by this point to paying fines levied against it over its Street View service violating privacy laws both in the US and around the world. Today the Mountain View-based company was forced to pay a $1.4 million fine that the Italian government issued it over its Street View cars not being visible enough to warn citizens of its existence when driving down the road.
"Cars belonging to the giant of Mountain View roamed Italy's streets without being entirely recognizable as such, therefore not allowing the people present in those places to decide whether to be photographed or not," said Italian regulators on the subject. "The fine from the DPA relates to an old case that dates back to 2010. We complied with everything the (regulator) required of us at the time," a Google spokeswoman said. Google has since added more bright colors to the car's paint scheme, and clearly branded it as a Google vehicle.