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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 79

The first HTC TV spots starring Robert Downey Jr. are now available

HTC is working on a rebranding, where they've acquired the talents of Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr. The first TV spot, below, is a 15-second tease of HTC's "Here's to Change" advertising campaign, where Downey Jr. is holding a cat, with HTC standing for "Hold This Cat" meaning that HTC can mean whatever you want it to.

 

 

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The second TV spot is a little crazier, where Downey Jr. walks into a meeting and says that HTC stands for "Humongeous Tinfoil Catamaran", uh yes - Iron Man - that's what we expected you to say. I don't know about these new ads, they feel a bit rushed. I'd like to actually see Downey Jr. sit down and discuss with the camera for 30-60 seconds on why you should buy a HTC smartphone.

First 'internationally recognized' athlete VISA given to pro gamer

It wasn't long ago that the US government officially recognized professional League of Legends gamers as athletes, but now the first VISA has been awarded to a Canadian League of Legends gamer.

 

 

Danny "Shiphtur" Le, received his VISA so that he could fly down to southern California to train for October's world championship, which is being held in Los Angeles. The VISA he holds is a P-1A, which is the VISA for "internationally recognized athletes," according to a spokesman for the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

 

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The spokesman stated that each candidate would be individually evaluated for a VISA. But, Le is a Canadian, and Canadian's can stay in the US for up to six months without a VISA, so why did the pro League of Legends gamer apply for a VISA? As a business gamer, Le will play in competitions and if he wins prize money, he keeps it - but he cannot earn a salary while in the US. With Le based in California for now, he is earning a salary, which he would like to keep, hence the VISA application.

Apple continue to lose foothold in Chinese mobile market

Apple isn't having a good time in China, with Canalys' latest report showing that the iPhone's market share has dropped to just 5% in the second quarter of 2013. This is down from 9% in the same quarter of last year.

 

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Canalys' China Research Director, Nicole Peng, told Bloomberg that Apple is getting hit by low-cost Android-powered smartphones that are being pushed by vendors such as Lenovo, ZTE and Xiaomi, which have all been pushing super-cheap smartphones with decent internal specifications. Peng said: "Apple is only focused on the high-end segment, and China's smartphone market growth right now is coming from the mid- to low-end. Apple doesn't have any products in the mid- to low-end and that's where Xiaomi has been building their brand awareness."

 

The world's largest wireless carrier, China Mobile, has close to 750 million subscribers, but Apple will not play ball with them. The Cupertino-based smartphone giant will not accept lower subsidies from the carrier, which is now hurting them, bad. Is this why Apple is reportedly working on the cheaper iPhone 5C?

Acer to leave the cold arms of Microsoft for Google's warm embrace

Microsoft is losing partners left, right and center, with major partner, Acer, looking to shift its business away from the Redmond-based OS giant. The Wall Street Journal reports that Acer is trying to grow its "non-Windows business as soon as possible" by jumping to Android for mobile devices.

 

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Acer's goal is to generate 30% of its re venue from Android-based devices and Chromebooks by as early as the end of 2014, up from the current 10% revenue stream they will see from Android-based Acer goods this year. It would seem like, from the outside at least, Acer is trying to grow itself toward a Samsung-like company.

 

Acer President, Jim Wang, told The Wall Street Journal: "For the PC industry, I haven't seen light at the end of the tunnel. First, we have to sustain our market share and protect our bottom line...and by doing tablets and smartphones right, we can be prepared for the day after tomorrow."

Samsung infringed on Apple patents, ITC acts with an import ban

The US International Trade Commission has ruled that Samsung infringed on two Apple patents, which comes just a few days after the Obama administration vetoed an earlier ruling by the ITC that banned the import and sale of older iPhones and iPads.

 

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In December of last year, ITC Administrative Law Judge, Thomas Pender, suggested that certain Samsung smartphones be banned as they infringed on four different patents owned by Apple. Less than a month after this, the ITC said they would review the decision. This new ruling is the result of the ITC's review of the matter.

 

The patents that are causing all of these issues are US Patent No. 7,479,949, which relates to a touchscreen and user interface. The second, US Patent No. 7,912,501, which is in relation to detecting when a headset is connected. The ITC ruled that the South Korean giant didn't infringe on the other two patents.

Texas judge says Bitcoins are currency and governed by US law

Recently, the US Securities and Exchange Commission charged Trenton T. Shavers with running an illegal Ponzi scheme using the digital currency Bitcoins. In the alleged scam, Shavers promised investors that they would receive a 1 percent interest rate per day on their investment. Shavers denied the allegations and claim that regulators had no jurisdiction over the case because he was using Bitcoins and the SEC can only govern transactions that involve real money.

 

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The presiding judge said that the case could move forward as the investments meet the definition of contract, and as such, are securities. Basically what this means is that the $4.5 million in Bitcoins Shavers collected as investments is considered true currency by US law.

Nokia officially parts ways with Siemens

Yesterday, Nokia announced that they have officially completed their acquisition of the Siemens stake in the Nokia Siemens Network, a move that was first announced back on July 1. The company says that the Siemens name is being phased out from the Nokia Siemens Network and the new name branding shall now be known as Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN).

 

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Nokia says that the Nokia Solutions and Networks is now wholly owned by Nokia; Rajeev Suri continues as CEO and Jesper Ovesen continues as Executive Chairman of the NSN Board of Directors. The NSN Board of Directors has been adjusted to the new ownership structure and the Siemens-appointed directors have resigned their positions.

AOL releases Q2 earnings report, post higher revenue than expected

Today, AOL released its earnings report for the second quarter of 2013. The company says that its revenue grew to $541 million, which is up more than 2 percent during the same period last year. This equates to a diluted earnings per share of $0.35.

 

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Net income per quarter was $28.5 million, which was actually significantly lower than the same period in 2012, but AOL was quick to note that this is because it sold $1.1 billion worth of patents to Microsoft in Q2 2012. However, Q2 2013's net income is up $3 million over quarter one 2013.

 

"AOL takes a major step forward today with another quarter of growth and our agreement to acquire the Adap.tv video marketplace platform that will make AOL a clear global leader in the most important growth segment in our industry - online video," AOL Chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong said in the report. "AOL continued to get leaner during Q2 while growing consumer traffic, growing all advertising revenue lines, and improving our subscription trends."

 

The company says that ad revenue grew by 7 percent, totaling $361 million with a 5 percent growth in the domestic market and 19 percent internationally. Third-party network revenue grew by 9 percent, while search advertising revenue managed to grow 8 percent. The company did admit that its ISP subscription rates were down 5 percent.

Unauthorized streaming could be a felony to the Obama administration

The Obama administration gets a second mention (in a row!) today, where they're trying to arrest you for "unauthorized streaming." The Washington Post is reporting that the Department of Commerce's Internet Policy Task Force last week unleashed a report that recommended classifying illegal content streaming... as a felony.

 

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I bolded the word "felony" because this is quite serious, with the report proposing "adopting the same range of penalties for criminal streaming of copyrighted works to the public as now exists for criminal reproduction and distribution... since the most recent updates to the criminal copyright provisions, streaming (both audio and video) has become a significant if not dominant means for consumers to enjoy content online."

 

This could actually materialize, which is scary, with this latest recommendation coming months after the United States Register of Copyrights' Maria Pallante stating that Congress should make illegal content streaming a felony. If your eyes haven't been opened yet, you might want to sticky tape them open, because this could soon be a reality.

Kickstarter to open its doors to Canada on September 9

Kickstarter has been a huge asset for some big products over the last year or so, with Oculus' Rift, Chris Roberts' Star Citizen, and of course, the Android-powered OUYA console.

 

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But, it has been closed off from the borders of Canada, until September 9, that is. Kickstarter will open their doors, arms, and wallets to Canadian developers on September 9, with Kickstarter holding events on August 8 and 9 in Toronto, as well as more in Montreal on August 12 and 13.

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