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Digital currency bitcoin has endured ups and downs over the past 12 months, and clearly is shaking up the financial industry. More consumers are becoming familiar with bitcoins, while businesses are embracing the payment, and governments remain unsure how to utilize the online currency.
An upcoming meeting in Paris led by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) should involve an active bitcoin discussion, in which companies such as AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, US Federal Reserve, and other major organizations listen and share experiences - as bitcoin legality and legislation still remains a difficult battle.
"The rise of bitcoin has changed everyone's idea of what a good payment system should be," said Manu Sporny, Digital Bazaar CEO, in a statement. "bitcoin raised the bar, so everyone's got to come in and match that in some way."
The fall of Mt. Gox and other bitcoin exchanges, however, have made foreign government officials hesitant to throw support behind digital currency. Meanwhile, the launch of SpainCoin hopes to offer stability for a digital currency, with SpainCoins offered to Spanish citizens - and will prove to be an important guinea pig for regulation.
Microsoft announced that it was dropping over $7 billion to purchase the Devices and Services arm of Nokia back in September of last year. The deal required the approval of regulators in the US, Europe and Asia before it could close.
Nokia originally expected the deal to close in Q1 2014. If you are paying attention this is the last month of Q1 and now Nokia is saying that the deal won't close until next month. Nokia is predicting that the final approvals will come and the deal will close in April.
Nokia and Microsoft are both committed to the deal despite the delays. The required regulatory approvals in the US and Europe have been received. The delay is because the Asian approvals haven't come in.
Revenues on music sales on iTunes continue to slide, but is Apple looking at releasing iTunes on Android? Billboard is reporting just that, looking to fill in some of its financial holes by expanding iTunes to Android, and launching a paid music subscription service.
It's not like the competition hasn't done this, as Google has its Google Play Music service on iOS, but for Apple to do it, it is almost unthinkable. The iPhone maker makes up around 40% of the US digital music market, but the market itself is seeing double-digit declines in revenue over the last couple of years. Apple currently has a free, ad-supported radio service with its iTunes Radio, but it secures most of its profits in media from the standard single and album sales through the iTunes Store.
If the company moves toward a flat rate subscription music service, it could create a new revenue stream for itself, but it wouldn't exactly stem the losses it is experiencing through iTunes. Expanding the service to Android on the other hand, could open the company up to hundreds of millions of new devices and consumers who wouldn't be buying content through the iTunes Store.
Yesterday I mentioned that an ex-Microsoft employee had been arrested for leaking secrets to a French blogger having to do with windows 8. I thought it was stupid that the man who was arrested used Microsoft platforms like SkyDrive to leak the details. A smart criminal would have taken his illegal activities to another platform.
Microsoft has now admitted that to catch the source of the leak, it had read messages in the bloggers hotmail account. Microsoft still hasn't said who the blogger is, but it has said it read his emails to catch the leaker.
Microsoft says that its search is technically legal, but that in the future it will consult outside consul before reading private emails. As you might know, Hotmail is owned by Microsoft and is now called Outlook.com.
A former Microsoft employee was arrested this week for allegedly leaking details of Windows 8 and other software to an unnamed technology blogger. The former workers is Alex Kibkalo, who was previously a senior architect at the software giant.
The man was arrested this week and according to the complaint filed on March 17, he passed trade secrets having to do with Windows 8 to a French blogger. Microsoft says that its investigation found that Kibkalo had uploaded software that includes pre-release versions of updates for Windows 8 RT tablets and the Microsoft Activation Server Software Development Kit.
The former Microsoft worker had uploaded the files to a computer located in Redmond, Washington. He later uploaded that software to his personal Windows Live SkyDrive account where he provided the blogger links to the software and a password.
One has to wonder if EA keeps The Consumerist's 'Worst Company in America' awards somewhere, but the company is up for the award yet again - the third year in a row.
Other contenders include Microsoft, Monsanto, Seaworld and Time Warner Cable. Back in 2012, EA won the Worst Company in America award after the controversial ending of Mass Effect 3, and then won it again last year after SimCity arrived nice and broken. This year, I'm sure the company will take the award home again, as Battlefield 4 has been more broken than SimCity ever was.
One of the most profitable software products that Microsoft has is Office. Office has been around for years and so far, Microsoft has kept it off the iPad. There is a version for the iPhone, but you have to subscribe to Office 365 to get it.
Rumors are swirling that new CEO Satya Nadella might be rolling out a version of Office for the iPad on March 27. According to a source claiming to be familiar with the event, the announcement will happen.
Microsoft has sent invites out to press for the March 27 date promising announcements in cloud and mobile. Some analysts think that Microsoft has been giving up as much as $2.5 billion a year in revenue by not having the productivity suite on the iPad.
To help the Spanish people "break free from their shackles," the new SpainCoin will pre-mine and share 50 percent of Spaincoins to Spanish nationals.
The cryptocurrency is valued around $50 million.
"Using SpainCoin is a way for the individual to get back his freedom and have 100% control over his money and assets, breaking free from the shackles of central banks," the official SpainCoin website notes. "Unlike other cryptocoins, less accessible for the general population, SpainCoin will be distributed among all Spaniards."
The European Union is pushing for a new voluntary adoption of a smartphone charging standard years ago, but is now much closer to that goal. The European Parliament has voted in favor of a draft law requiring that smartphones work with a common charger.
Now the EU needs the Council of Ministers approval, where European Union countries will have until 2016 to get it into their local laws, and smartphone makers have a year more to change their hardware. Most phone makers already support the concept, but there will be some companies who don't want to change, or need a little push to fall into line.
Traditionally coins minted in the US have a very distinctive round and flat shape, but a new release from the US Mint has all but shattered that pattern. A new commemorative design will soon roll out that honors the National Baseball Hall of Fame's 75th birthday in the form of the country's first curved coin. The round coin takes the profile of a baseball and is featured in both gold and silver mintings.
The coins profile and design are loosely based on the curved shape of the International Year of Astronomy coins minted by France back in 2009, as well as Australia's Southern Cross coins. Designed by California Artist, Cassie McFarland, the coins feature a baseball on the front and a catchers mitt on the reverse. Her winning "Hand full of Gold" design was chosen from a pool of 178 entries and was based off of a baseball glove she used as a kid.