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Tech giant Google is now the No. 2 most valuable company in the United States, trailing behind fellow Bay Area rival Apple, with Exxon Mobil and Microsoft also in the mix. The Google Android mobile OS has become a major success for the Mountain View, California-based company, as Google bundles advertising services into the OS.
It was unsure how tech companies such as Google would begin to throw around its weight, though the companies are becoming integral in global initiatives. For example, Google has such a wide catalog of consumer and business services, and is able to serve a large number of consumers and business users.
It's not easy to remain at the top of the most valuable company list, but Google continues to push forward with software and hardware.
The bitcoin currency has been banned in Russia due to increased threat of cyber criminals using the digital currency to launder funds. Money remains a state-controlled currency, so the rise of independent crypto currencies, such as bitcoin, makes it difficult to determine the right method to address these problems.
"The monitoring of the use of virtual currencies shows an increasing interest in them, including for the purpose of money laundering, profit obtained through illegal means," prosecutors told Russian media.
Bitcoin adoption has been a rather confusing effort, with an increasing amount of retailers accepting the digital currency - while government officials in the United States and overseas try to figure out what to do. The U.S. Department of Justice accusing a major bitcoin supporter of money laundering related to the online Silk Road marketplace. The national governments in China and India have expressed concerns related to bitcoin, while the United States is following closely but doesn't appear ready to ban the currency.
Action camera maker GoPro has just filed the required paperwork to see the company push toward an initial public offering, or IPO. In GoPro's statement, it said that the IPO is expected to commence after the SEC completes the review process of their confidential submission.
Because of the confidentiality, there's no details on GoPro's financial state, as the company has less than $1 billion in annual sales, the IPO can be confidential. During an interview with Forbes last year, GoPro founder and CEO Nick Woodman said that the company sold 2.3 million cameras in 2012, pulling in more than $520 million.
GoPro's financial information will remain confidential until it gets closer to its shares being traded.
Something that has been normal for quite sometime in most parts of the world, a PIN-based credit card, is being pushed in the United States by MasterCard and Visa late next year.
The credit card giants will phase out the face-to-face signature-based cards that most people have, with new cards that feature a microchip inside that replaces the magnetic strip on today's cards. Over 25% of all credit card transactions are done so within the US, but MasterCard's Caryoln Balfany talked with the Wall Street Journal recently, saying that there is a good reason why the US market hasn't moved toward this sooner.
Most markets moved to the new PIN-based system in order to fight against high levels of fraud, while others struggled with robust telephone networks, liked the appeal of still doing transactions offline. As other markets became zipped up and more secure, criminals moved most of their operations to the US, where the signature is still used. This low level of security is a major driving force as to why nearly half the world's credit card fraud is done within the US.
The internet is alive this morning with reports that Google has purchased $750 million worth of Lenovo stock, and while it is true that Google now owns 618.3 million shares of Lenovo, the company did not purchase them on its own. Last week Google sold Motorola to Lenovo and as part of the deal, Google received a significant stake in the Chinese PC manufacturer.
To set the record straight, Google received the stock in its deal to sell Motorola to Lenovo, and the HKSE filing was just part of the formal paperwork that had to be done. This leaves Google owning 5.94-percent of Lenovo which equates to 618.3 millions shares. Lenovo gave Google the stock at a valuation of $1.213 per share which is currently trading for $8.43 per share. With this new revelation it appears that Google did not do so bad after all in the Motorola / Lenovo deal.
In addition to selling off its VAIO PC business unit, Sony also plans to spin off its TV lineup as 5,000 employees will be given walking papers by 2015, according to recent reports.
As part of its latest restructuring plan, Sony announced it will cut 5,000 global jobs by March 2015 - and hopes to cut almost $1 billion per year in fixed costs. Sony also plans to spin off its TV division into an independent company within the next five months.
Japanese electronics manufacturers have struggled to compete against rising global competition, especially from Korean and Chinese rivals. Japan Industrial Partners will secure the Sony PC division, ensuring it won't head to Lenovo, the Chinese PC manufacturer that is No. 1 in global sales.
Popular tech e-tailer Newegg has launched its Premier Membership, a $50 yearly charge for customers looking for additional perks. Items that have a "P" badge are eligible for Premier Membership perks. A 30-day trial is available for free.
Members receive free shipping for products in less than three days, special notices for upcoming sales, members-only shopping area, lowered cost for two-day and next-day shipping, free returns, and Premier Member-only customer service.
"We developed Newegg Premier because we aspire to become the most loved and trusted marketplace on the web," Newegg said in a blog post. "We want to provide our loyal customers with speedy deliveries and exceptional customer service. We also want to attract new customers that may not know about us."
Newegg remains one of the most popular tech-centric e-tailers, though trying to compete directly with Amazon has been difficult. However, most e-tailers that try to follow in Amazon's footsteps will most likely fall flat, as Prime includes many of the same perks as Premier, along with access to a wider product catalog, music, TV episodes, and movies.
Twitter has just posted its first earnings statement as a public company, with the social network posting a net loss of $511 million for Q4 2013, but ended the year with a total net loss of a staggering $645 million.
The company did double its revenue last year compared to 2012, hitting $664 million. Unfortunately, Twitter's stock price took a huge 16% hit after the news broke. CEO of Twitter, Dick Costolo, said: "Twitter finished a great year with our strongest financial quarter to date. We are the only platform that is public, real-time, conversational, and widely distributed, and I'm excited by the number of initiatives we have underway to further build upon the Twitter experience".
Twitter attributed the $645 million loss to "$521 million of stock-based compensation expense, of which $406 million was for restricted stock units previously granted to employees, for which no expense had been recognized, until the effective date of our initial public offering in accordance with [Generally Agreed Accounting Principles]".
An unknown party has attempted to abandon the Watch Dogs trademark on behalf of Ubisoft, but the United States Patent and Trademark Office has announced that the rights to Watch Dogs have been reinstated to Ubisoft.
Rewinding back a few days, the USPTO saw a filing to abandon the Watch Dogs trademark, but the request for abandonment was a fraud, with the studio never attempting such a thing. The USPTO said in its review of the case: "Here, the circumstances are extraordinary. An unknown party who lacked authority executed the purported abandonment of the application. Although the request appears to have been sent by petitioner, petitioner declared that it did not submit the request and has every reason to believe that this filing was fraudulent. The Director finds the application should not have been abandoned. Pursuant to supervisory authority provided by 37 C.F.R. §2.146(a)(3), the Director permits the reinstatement of the application".
Last week, Facebook unveiled its new iOS app called 'Paper', but now we have design-focused startup, FiftyThree, accusing Facebook publicly for using their brand name.
FiftyThree then decided to take action to protect its brand name, applying for a trademark for the term "Paper," which was filed on January 30 - the day that Facebook announced Paper. FiftyThree already owns "Paper by FiftyThree", but only recently moved to protect the term "Paper", something Facebook has jumped on obviously.
Where to from here? According to trademark lawyers Roberto Ledesma and Victor Cardona says that trademarks, in some instances, are use-based. Cardona says: "just by using a mark in a particular field, you've got rights. Some are state-based and some are federal-based, but if I start using a mark before you in the same area of goods or services, I've got rights to the mark over you".