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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 71

Apple to open factory in Arizona that will run on renewable energy

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.

 

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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.

EA CEO says it wants to shake off 'Worst Company in America' award

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.

 

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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."

Samsung and Google facing massive lawsuits over Android

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.

 

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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.

IBM files patent lawsuit against Twitter days before IPO

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.

 

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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."

BlackBerry off the market as CEO Thorsten Heins steps down

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.

 

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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."

Microsoft commits $405 million to advertise Windows and Surface

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.

 

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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.

Nokia becomes the No. 4 US smartphone vendor

We reported that Nokia's sales in the US were rising, with a nice 8.8 million Lumia-branded smartphones sold in Q3 alone. But, this has catapulted the once struggling Finnish phone maker to the No. 4 spot of US smartphone vendors.

 

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Nokia overtook Motorola into the position, with Nokia's US smartphone market share climbing from 1.4% in Q2 to 4.1% in Q3. Motorola accounted for 3.6% of the US market, but this should jump in the coming months with the slew of Motorola devices coming out. Nokia has a big fight ahead of them to compete with the big boys in Samsung and Apple, but do you think it has what it takes to compete with them?

RumorTT: Qualcomm to acquire BlackBerry

BlackBerry Ltd. is about to go onto the chopping block and at the last minute it seems that three powerful sources are joining up to make a bid for the struggling Canadian phone maker.

 

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Co-founders of Resarch in Motion, Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fredin are reportedly in talks to make a joint big with Qualcomm and Cerberus Capital Management LP. If this does happen, it could quickly shift the mobile landscape and introduce a strong new competitor for Google and Apple. Qualcomm has loads of cash ready to spend, with $11.5 billion ready, liquid investments and short-term securities as of June 30.

 

Qualcomm purchasing BlackBerry would be quite the blow to Samsung and Google, who feature Qualcomm-made SoCs in most of their Android-based smartphones and tablets.

Sony smiles as it at takes HTC's customers away

Sony has been experiencing a recipe of disaster over the last few years, seeing its TV business all but bow to Samsung, its various movie flops, camera sales drop and its PC business not doing so well.

 

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But... it's smartphone business has seen a 39% increase in sales, thanks to consumers who would usually buy high-end HTC handsets scooping up Xperia handsets instead. Sony is seeing some great sales in its Xperia Z1, which is the only smartphone in Sony's arsenal that can even begin to compete with the mammoth sales of Samsung's Galaxy range of devices.

 

The next thing Sony has to do is break out into the lucrative US market, which is mainly dominated by Apple and Samsung right now. But, with BlackBerry all but done, HTC continuing to lose its grip, it might be high time that Sony makes its move.

Android dominates Q3 smartphone market share numbers, enjoys 81%

That that Q3 has come and gone, we can look back at smartphone market share and see just how well the current players are doing. Android takes a huge 81.3% of the pie, leaving Apple just 13.4% and the rest of the players a skimp 5.3% to split between themselves.

 

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Comparing this with the same quarter of 2012, Android saw 75% and Apple enjoyed 15.6%. This means that Android has climbed 6.1% while Apple has lost 2.2%, something that should have people wondering what is going on. The numbers are courtesy of Strategy Analytics. Google should continue to claw at that smartphone market share with phones like the Galaxy S4, Note 3 and just-announced Nexus 5.

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