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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 83

Netflix uses pirate sites to decide on which TV shows to purchase

According to Netflix's Vice President of Content Acquisition, Kelly Merryman, the company partly determines which shows it should buy based on the popularity of such shows on file-sharing platforms, which should come as quite the shock.

 

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The video streaming company sees itself as one of the biggest competitors to pirate sites, where Netflix offers a subscription-based model, and pirate sites offering it for free. But, while the pirate sites may offer it for free and make money from ads and other sources, Netflix uses these sites to gain information on which shows are popular, which helps them decide on which content they should acquire for their ever-growing base of customers.

 

This week, the video streaming giant rolled out its Netflix service to the Netherlands, with Merryman stating: "With the purchase of series, we look at what does well on piracy sites." Mellyman used Prison Break as a prime example, saying that Netflix acquired the rights to the Wentworth Miller starring prison drama because it is heavily pirated locally. Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, even commented, saying that the company is aware that people download content without permission through pirate sites.

 

He does add though, that this isn't all bad, because it also creates business for Netflix: "Certainly there's some torrenting that goes on, and that's true around the world, but some of that just creates the demand. Netflix is so much easier than torrenting. You don't have to deal with files, you don't have to download them and move them around. You just click and watch ."

HTC America lays off 20% of its employees, continues its nose dive

Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC has been in a downward spiral for quite a while now, with a little bit of help in the last couple of months coming from its latest flagship handset, the HTC One. But now there are reports that HTC has laid off 30 employees and contractors from its HTC America division.

 

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30 employees might not seem like a lot, but it amounts to 20% of HTC's employees in the US. A statement was given to The Verge, which said that these layoffs are strategic moves in order to help HTC "streamline and optimize our organization." We don't know which departments have seen employees packing their bags, but they might actually be helped by HTC. Jason Mackenzie, President of HTC America said in a letter to employees that those hit with the layoff news will be 'treated with respect' and the company will help them out with resources to continue their careers elsewhere.

Google dumps Oracle's MySQL database in favor of MariaDB

Today at the Extremely Large Database conference being held in Stanford California, Google announced that it will be migrating its MySQL systems over to MariaDB. Google has assigned one of its engineers to the MariaDB foundation to aid in the migration.

 

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"Were running primarily on [MySQL] 5.1 which is a little outdated, and so we're moving to MariaDB 10.0 at the moment," said Google senior systems engineer Jeremy Cole in a presentation he gave on the general state of the MySQL ecosystem.

 

Cole said that Google has been working with the MariaDB foundation since the beginning of the year in an effort to make the migration over to MariaDB as smooth as possible. He went on to say that the migration involves thousands of MySQL servers within the Google ecosystem and that Google's MySQL team is looking forward to working with the SkySQL MariaDB team to advance the reliability and feature set of MariaDB.

 

I see this move as nothing but a win-win situation for both Google and MariaDB. I personally know several of the people over at SkySQL / MariaDB and I can honestly say that I have never met a more friendly and helpful group of people. So I want to issue a personal congratulations to the whole MariaDB team and say that I cannot wait to see what comes out of this partnership.

Twitter is going public, files for IPO

This day was always coming for Twitter, but for me at least, it kind of struck me by surprise. The social network has said that as of Thursday afternoon, it has confidentially submitted an S-1 to the SEC for a planned IPO.

 

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At the moment, Twitter is valued at around $11 billion, and is able to file confidentially thanks to the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act. The JOBS Act allows companies to go public without public scrutiny, and is for companies that have has than $1 billion in revenues.

Cisco will acquire Whiptail to strengthen Unified Computing Systems

Today Cisco announced that it intends to acquire the solid state memory manufacturer WHIPTAIL for $415 million. Cisco says that this acquisition will strengthen the company's Unified Computing System strategy and enhance application performance by introducing scalable solid state memory into the UCS's fabric computing architecture.

 

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Our good friend, Jim Handy of Objective Analysis was kind enough to send over his take on the whole acquisition and I have posted the entire statement below. Jim says that he feels that this move by Cisco was a good decision and that the price seemed reasonable enough based on other recent acquisitions in the market.

Continue reading 'Cisco will acquire Whiptail to strengthen Unified Computing Systems' (full post)

Remedy Entertainment scoops up ex-president of Epic Games, Mike Capps

Mike Capps left his position as president of Epic Games last year, and has now joined Remedy Entertainment's board of directors. You might remember Remedy, as the developer behind Quantum Break and the smash hits Max Payne and Alan Wake franchises.

 

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Remedy CEO, Matias Myllyrinne has said: "Like any team, I think a good board is a combination of different kinds of skill sets, and different kinds of strengths that really come together. That's the way, in my experience, the best teams work. Obviously Mike has a tremendous track record in the games industry. He's been very successful and has proven himself over and over again."

OCZ Technology will expand its R&D facility in Orange County, CA

In a release earlier today, OCZ Technology announced that it would be expanding its Research and Development center in Orange County, California in an effort to expand its focus on enterprise development of the company's next-generation SSDs. Instead of building a new facility, the company will be moving its R&D division to a larger facility in Irvine, California.

 

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"Orange County, California has a rich base of engineering talent covering semiconductors and storage that makes it a viable location for us to expand our design center," said James Tout, SVP of Global Engineering for OCZ Technology. "With a leading and widely recognized portfolio of SATA, SAS and PCIe-based solid state solutions, we believe that the opening of our new OC-based design center will attract the professional resources and talent we need to create leading-edge, next-generation enterprise products for the storage industry."

BlackBerry's downward spiral continues, lays of dozens of sales staff

On Monday BlackBerry was forced to lay off several dozen members of its US sales team as the company continues its downward spiral amidst massive financial woes. The news came in from the Wall Street Journal which cited information from sources close to the company.

 

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BlackBerry has been on a continued downward slope for several years now, and things took a drastic turn for the worse when the company's new mobile OS, BlackBerry 10, failed to meet industry expectations. The company's flagship smartphones the Z10 and Q10 also failed to compete with their Android, iOS and Windows Phone competitors, which is led to the company putting itself up for sale.

 

A spokesperson for BlackBerry told the Wall Street Journal that they "Can confirm a small number of employees were laid off" on Monday, but declined to give any further details. It's my opinion that BlackBerry will be sold off to either Samsung or Apple, and will see its hardware division tossed to the side with one of the two companies porting BlackBerry's enterprise software over to their platform in an effort to gain enterprise market dominance.

Apple's stock drops amidst investors concerns over costly iPhone 5C

Following yesterday's launch of Apple's next-generation iPhones, the company saw its stock drop more than 5-percent this morning shortly after the markets opened. The drop saw Apple's stock dipped below $466 per share, and was the direct result of UBS, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse and Bank of America all downgrading their ratings on the company's stock.

 

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Of course a drop in investor confidence was also a major factor as many feel that the so-called "cheaper" iPhone 5C was just not cheap enough. Investors were hoping for a low-end model that would be able to compete with cheaper Android phones in emerging markets such as China. Unfortunately the news that the iPhone 5C would cost Chinese customers more than $700 (roughly two times the monthly salary of those who work in the factories that make the iPhone) was just to astronomically high for most consumers in the country.

 

"The lower-priced iPhone 5c may not be priced low enough, in our view, which could limit incremental penetration of the midrange smartphone segment," writes Mark Moskowitz, an analyst at JP Morgan. At the time of this writing Apple's stock had dipped to almost a 7-percent drop since closing yesterday.

Apple to beef its marketing department up with 300 more people

Apple is on the verge of releasing two new smartphones, the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. Both of which are the company's latest push for consumers to hand over their money before the holidays, but what do new products require? Marketing.

 

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The Cupertino-based company is reportedly looking for between 200-300 new marketing employees, which would see a doubling in the amount of its current in-house marketing team. Ad Age reports that when Steve Jobs was CEO, there was a cap of how big the in-house marketing team could grow, but now that he's gone, that cap is too.

 

Apple will continue working with ad agencies, but the new team will be "tackling more projects, doing everything from site design to tutorial videos for Apple products to maintaining a large internal commercial-production facility."

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