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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 79

Snapchat finally gets a plan for revenue, looking at in-app purchases and native ads

Everyone's favorite self-destructing picture messaging service has finally developed a plan to generate revenue. As of right now, the company doesn't have any source of income other than investors, who recently gave the company $60 million in investment funds. The development, server, and operating costs have all been paid for by investment funds.

 

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In order to become a viable company, Snapchat needs to start making money. CEO Evan Spiegel has detailed Snapchat's plans to start making money. The first part of the plan, and the one likely to be implemented first, makes use of in-app purchases. The Snapchat team has been investigating various customization options that people might be willing to pay for. This could include more photo editing tools, like Instagram's filters, the ability to modify font size, color, etc, and interface customizations. The company notes that they haven't considered allowing people to pay to save snaps.

 

Eventually Snapchat would like to introduce native advertising. It's worth noting that Snapchat already advertises to its own users on holidays, usually by way of an animated video with the Snapchat Ghost. Snapchat says brands can already do this provided they are friends with other users or know the handle of the users they are trying to reach.

Samsung to possibly settle in EU antitrust case over use of patents against Apple

Reuters is reporting this morning that Samsung is in preliminary discussions with European Union regulators regarding a possible settlement that relates to charges that it abused its market dominance when it blocked Apple from fairly using their patents in various ongoing lawsuits. This news comes from sources who are said to be close to the matter but declined to have their identity disclosed.

 

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"The talks came after the European Commission, which acts as EU competition regulator, told Samsung in December that it was acting unfairly by seeking injunctions against Apple over use of the essential patents. Samsung has been involved in settlement discussions for several months now. Samsung wants to settle," said one of the sources, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.

 

If Samsung does settle the case, the company could avoid fines as high as $17.3 billion . On the flipside, it would have to agree to license patents on fair terms, which could impact many of the company's current cases related to the European Union's 3G UMTS standard.

Samsung inks deal that will see them move away from plastic and embrace carbon fiber

One of the things I don't like about Samsung's Galaxy range of devices, is that they feel 'plasticy' - mainly because, well, they're made from plastic. But, the South Korean's materials arm, Samsung Petrochemical, have just signed up for a joint venture with carbon fiber specialist SGL Group.

 

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The joint venture will see the two aim to "develop new industrial and electronic applications with carbon composite materials for Samsung and the Korean market." The company will operate under the name Samsung SGL Carbon Composite Materials, and be 50% owned by Samsung. According to the companies' recent joint announcement, Samsung SGL Carbon Composite Materials will look to "provide a stable long-term supply of carbon fiber materials for Samsung and promote its use in various Samsung products and applications such as consumer electronics, medical devices and engineering applications."

 

This will only be a good thing for us consumers, who will receive better-made, and better-quality devices from Samsung.

Zynga sees their unsecured line of credit slashed heavily, from $1 billion to $200 million

Zynga used to have a $1 billion unsecured, revolving line of credit, but has had a limit slapped right on top of that to just $200 million. The amount of time to pay it back has been increased, though, from four to five years, but it continues to be unsecured.

 

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Since Zynga went public, they've been faced with nothing but issues, taking away chunks of their value. The once-invincible company is now in troubled times, while they continue to restore their user base and release a new smash hit title which will get them out of the black. The company recently cut 18% of their workforce, and then they took another blow - investors cut their market valuation by a double-digit percentage.

 

At the prime of Zynga, they acquired the at-the-time gigantic OMGPOP, the company known for Draw Something, for $200 million. Well, that division has been closed, and Zynga have been left crying in the corner looking at that cheque they wrote. Zynga do have $1.3 billion in cash and short term investments, so they're not down and out just yet, folks.

Samsung denies that they're shutting down their PC business

Only hours ago did we report that Samsung could possibly be leaving the desktop PC business, where they would put full force into their portable devices, but the South Korean company have now issued a statement denying such things:

 

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The rumor that Samsung is withdrawing from the PC desktop business is groundless. Samsung will continue to offer diverse PC products according to consumer and market needs.

 

I'm glad to see Samsung reacting to this so quickly, and so they should. They're one of the stronger companies at the moment and they need to show that the PC market is still something worth doing business in, let's just hope Windows 8.1 can change things around, and quick.

Western Digital acquires SSD heavyweight sTec for $340 million

Western Digital, a company known for their magnetic hard drives, has signed a deal to acquire sTec, a company known for their solid state drives. Specifically, Western Digital has announced that HGST, a subsidiary of Western Digital, will make the acquisition for $340 million, allowing Western Digital to enter into the solid state market.

 

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Solid state storage in the enterprise will play an increasingly strategic role in the future of Western Digital. This acquisition is one more building block in our strategy to capitalize on the dramatic changes within the storage industry by investing in SSDs and other high-growth storage products.

 

The deal is expected to close in the third or fourth quarter of 2013, allowing Western Digital to hopefully enter the solid state market with the new technology sometime in 2014. Western Digital wants to add SSDs to its enterprise line-up at a time when big companies are ready to start implementing the technology.

Samsung said to be ending desktop PC production, wants to focus on portable devices

Samsung is reportedly intensifying its focus on mobile devices by ending desktop PC production. According to the Korea Times, a Samsung executive was quoted as saying that desktops will not be produced any longer so that the company can focus on portable devices, something Samsung has been exceptionally strong at.

 

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"Tablets, all-in-one and hybrid PCs are Samsung's current focus. Samsung is speeding up its restructuring of its PC business via product realignment toward profitable variants," the executive is quoted as saying. This makes good sense as the desktop PC market continues to shrink quarter-over-quarter.

 

Samsung apparently believes there is still a market for the all-in-one desktop variety machine, though this could also be shrinking in the coming years as devices continue to get smaller, faster, and better. We'll keep our eye on Samsung's PC division and let you know of any changes to this course.

Apple signs deal with TSMC to build its A series chips for the next 3 years

Earlier this morning a report out of the Taiwanese supply chain indicates that Apple may have finally signed a deal with manufacturer TSMC to produce it's A-series chips for the next three years. TSMC is expected to begin building apples A8 processors along with future models during that timeframe.

 

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While rumors still circle between a Samsung and Apple breakup over chip manufacturing industry analysts state that Samsung will continue to manufacture Apple's next-generation A7 and A7X designs that are expected to appear in Apple's upcoming iPhone 5S as well as the fifth-generation iPad.

 

Other analysts are stating that over the next two years, TSMC will head up all of the A9 and A9x as well as A10 and A10X chip production through 2016. These reports appear to confirm reports that TSMC has been bolstering its foundries manufacturing assets over the last year in preparation for a big new client.

Continue reading 'Apple signs deal with TSMC to build its A series chips for the next 3 years' (full post)

Machinima is going after a 'mega-round' of financing, who is going to pull out their credit card?

For those not aware of who Machinima are, you might want to take a look - they feature more than two billion (that's with a B) YouTube views per month, and are one of the Internet's biggest entities on YouTube.

 

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This is obviously worth a lot of money, but just how much? Well, the people behind the company are looking for a "mega-round" of financing. In 2012, Machinima executives raised $35 million in a financing round led by Google, and this time, they are looking for more than that, much more in fact. The money they hope to raise will help the company setup more advanced content ambitions.

 

At the moment, Machinima rely on clips contributed by YouTubers, but they want to spend more money licensing original shows like the big boys do. Also, instead of just running their new shows on YouTube for free, Machinima want to work out a way where they can create a subscription-based model like Netflix, or Hulu.

Continue reading 'Machinima is going after a 'mega-round' of financing, who is going to pull out their credit card?' (full post)

Apple's $100 million in-app purchase settlement goes live, parents of kids who created huge bills to be compensated

If you are one of the parents of kids who created huge bills from in-app purchases within iTunes apps, you can now seek compensation for your bills.

 

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Apple have sent out the "Apple In-App Purchase Litigation Administrator" through e-mail, which includes information on the settlement and deadlines for submitting payment requests. For those with charges under $30, you'll receive a whopping $5 in an iTunes gift card. Cash refunds will be handed out to those who had bills exceeding $30.

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