It looks as though Facebook may have to sell just a bit more stock to pay for a lawsuit that has been filed in San Jose, California Federal Court. While things may be looking great Wall Street, the courtroom picture is a bit more bleak. Stewarts Law US has combined 21 individual lawsuits into one amended class action suit seeking $15 billion.
The previous lawsuits date back to 2011 and allege that Facebook violated user privacy by tracking web usage. The new class action lawsuit alleges that Facebook violated the US Wiretap Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Stored Communications Act, along with others. The US Wiretap Act grants up to $100 a day per violation up to $10,000.
Specifically, the lawsuit makes claims that Facebook tracks users even once they are no longer logged in. "This is not just a damages action, but a groundbreaking digital-privacy rights case that could have wide and significant legal and business implications," David Straite, a Stewarts Law partner told Bloomberg via e-mail.
This isn't the first time someone has sued the social media giant over alleged web tracking. Back in 2011, a Mississippi resident filed a lawsuit after 42-year-old Kansas lawyer John Graham did. These aren't the only instances, just the ones that come to mind. At the time of writing, Facebook has not commented on the lawsuit. I imagine they are all sleeping after the all-night hackathon.
If you missed out on Microsoft's deal last year, don't fret as they have brought it back again this year. Requirements are similar, though it seems as though Canadian's are getting a slightly better deal than Americans. The promotion? Buy a new PC worth at least some amount at a participating retailer and get a free Xbox360!
Here are the requirements as Microsoft says, so that I won't be held to anything:
Starting May 20th in the U.S., students who buy a qualifying Windows PC worth $699 or more at participating retailers can get a 4GB Xbox 360 console for free, just like last year! Starting May 18th in Canada, students who buy a Windows PC worth $599 or more can also get a 4GB Xbox 360 console for free!
Participating retailers in the US include Best Buy, Dell.com, Fry's Electronics, HPDirect.com, Microsoft Stores, and NewEgg.com. In Canada, they include Best Buy, Dell.ca, Future Shop, Staples and The Source.
Canadians only have to purchase a computer worth $599 whereas Americans have to spend $699. Computers at those price points are pretty nice all-in-all and will net you a free Xbox360 if you can prove you are a student. Sure, most people like either gaming on Xbox OR PC and not really both, but it is still a good deal.
If you're a PC gamer, you can just sell the Xbox 360 to a college friend. If you're an Xbox gamer, you probably already have an Xbox.
Apple really wanted that iPhone5.com domain, and they've fought hard to get it. The company took its complaint to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), where they've successfully won its dispute over the iPhone5.com domain.
WIPO has displayed the domain as 'Terminated' on its website, with the domain owner expected to have relinquished ownership. The iPhone5.com domain is now held by brand protection agency Corporation Service Company, which could've been used by Apple to take ownership.
Even now that Apple have won their dispute, it's not clear whether Apple's new iPhone will actually be called 'iPhone 5', but it's definitely a step in the right direction of finding out. With so much news flying left, right and center over the new iPhone, I really hope we see something at their WWDC event next month.
Activision and Electronic Arts have finally reached a settlement over the $400 million lawsuit involving the developers of Call of Duty. Activision lawyer Beth Wilkinson said yesterday in a hearing in the Los Angeles Superior Court:
Activision and Electronic Arts have decided to put this matter behind them.
The settlement removes EA from the trial that involves Activision versus the former Infinity Ward heads, Jason West and Vince Zampella. It's alleged in 2010, the duo plotted with EA to leave Activision and set up a new independent studio. Activision had accused EA of disrupting Infinity Ward by trying to secure the two developers while they had two years left on their contracts.
West and Zampella sued Activision after they were fired, and seek more than $1 billion (that's with a B) in damages. Keep in mind that the duo originally were after $36 million, but there's no explanation as to why the number has meteorically risen since then. I'm guessing because of the multiple billions of dollars the Call of Duty games have raked in between when they left the studio, and now.
Just over 24 hours ago, we reported that HTC One X and EVO 4G LTE handsets were stopped from entering the US by Customs, and now, it's gotten a bit of attention and the US District Court of Delaware has ordered both company's to enter settlement discussions.
Judge Sherry Fallon will moderate the talks, with the order requesting lawyers from both sides to meet in Delaware on August 28 in an attempt to resolve the ongoing patent dispute. It's unknown whether a settlement will be reached, but pressure will be on HTC to make some sort of concession, following the International Trade Commission ban on HTC handset imports coming into force.
The ITC ban was disclosed on December 19, after a judge determined that HTC's messaging and browser apps in Android violated Apple patents.
If you've ever visited 4chan, you'll know it's the seriously dark corner of the Internet. My curiosity led me there years ago, and some of the stuff is truly, hands-down hilarious. But, there are some pretty disgusting things there too. It's not like it's just 4chan, that's the Internet for you - if you go looking, you can find almost anything.
The latest out of the Mountain View-based and search engine giant, Google, is they could acquire 4chan, which would 'bring with it a large user base', according to a press release from StockCall.com. It's a bit of a weird one, but a very, very interesting move if it turns out to be something Google end up doing.
Would Google remove all of the illegal content that is on the site? 4chan is also said to be the semi-home of some Anonymous members, and a chunk of 4chan members don't like corporations and large companies who do bad things with users' data like Google.
Verizon CFO Fran Shammo spoke at an investor conference recently and stated that Verizon will be increasing prices for its FiOS service along with various other services and products. The increase is to offset some of the cost associated with a recent network build-out which includes increased LTE coverage and FiOS access.
"You'll see us do some price increases here over the next two quarters" Shammo told investors. Along with increases in prices, Verizon is moving towards shared data plans for its wireless service. Currently, every device requires a data plan. In the future, all of your Verizon devices will share one allotment of data.
While this could be beneficial for some customers, the CFO believes that data subscribers will spend more: "As they add more devices, they are going to have to buy up into tiers. So again, you will see the revenue increase there" the CFO claimed. With this change, users who want to get 4G access will have to move off of their unlimited 3G plans for a tiered 4G one. However, if a subscriber is content with unlimited 3G, there appears to be no intention of forcing them off of it.
The name tag that used to be shown over the body of water between Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar has seemingly disappeared. It's not clear if this was done on purpose by Google or if it is a bug as other highly-populated cities have lost their name tags before due to bugs.
A Google spokesperson has declined to comment on the lack of the tag. Even more interesting is that the name remains in Google Earth. Tehran is upset about the lack of the name because the name of the body of water has been in dispute since the 1960s. It is a culturally sensitive point and some Arab states even call the water the Arabian Gulf.
The UK and US governments, along with the UN, refer to the water as the Persian Gulf. The Associated Press reports that Iran's foreign ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast told Google that they could face "serious damages" if the water's name did not return. It's not clear what these damages would be as it's just a missing name.
A report coming from The Korea Times is claiming that Samsung was forced to move ahead with releasing its new mobile memory chips ahead of schedule. They had to release them to calm shareholder fears that Samsung had lost a major contract to supply DRAM chips to Apple for use in Apple's products.
The Korea Times is claiming that several Samsung executives are saying that the new 4GB DRAM chips are ultra-thin and are going to be used in Apple's devices. This is contrary to the claims that Apple had moved part of its supply chain over to Japanese company Elpida. Even though Apple and Samsung are involved in lawsuits around the world, Apple needs the reliability and scale that Samsung can provide.
Claims from Digitimes that Apple had placed orders for 50% of Elpida's output from the Hiroshima factory pushed Samsung stock down 2%, or by about $10 billion market cap. These rumors are what supposedly forced Samsung's hand and made them release the announcement today, instead of Monday as originally planned.
Social networking site, Facebook, in the midst of their IPO roadshow, have just acquired Lightbox. Lightbox is a predominantly Android-based photo sharing startup, which shares quite a lot with the recently-scooped-up Instagram.
Lightbox will be closed by Facebook, and the company will most likely use staff developers for Android-based development. No terms of the deal have been announced. Just after the announcement, Lightbox stopped accepting new users, with existing users having until June 15 to conclude business and download all remaining photos from the service.
Existing photos will not be transferred to Facebook, which is a bummer. Lightbox's founders are quite happy with the deal, where they've said they are:
Happy to announce that the Lightbox team is joining Facebook, where we'll have the opportunity to build amazing products for Facebook's 500+ million mobile users.
On a good note, no layoffs have been announced, nor are they expected.
US Customs stop HTC One X and EVO 4G LTE shipments at ports, the reason? Pending "investigations" of Apple patent claims
US Customs have stepped in and stopped some of the shipments of HTC's One X and EVO 4G LTE smartphones as a result of an earlier ITC order won by Apple. The ordeal is over a patent lawsuit for "data tapping" (context-sensitive text-based actions) in the browser and messaging apps on some HTC phones.
HTC have said that these features have been removed from the One X and EVO 4G LTE, where HTC are "confident" that it is in compliance with the ruling:
The US availability of the HTC One X and HTC EVO 4G LTE has been delayed due to a standard U.S. Customs review of shipments that is required after an ITC exclusion order. We believe we are in compliance with the ruling and HTC is working closely with Customs to secure approval. The HTC One X and HTC Evo 4G LTE have been received enthusiastically by customers and we appreciate their patience as we work to get these products into their hands as soon as possible.
The ITC order was quite broad meaning it allowed US Customs to seize any HTC handset imported into the United States purely on the suspicion it might violate Apple's asserted intellectual property rights. Let's hope it's all sorted out soon enough.
Some would be criminals have been apprehended thanks to the fact that they forgot to log out of Facebook. It seems as though Facebook has become so intertwined with life that people just plain forget to log out sometimes. Two men now stand accused of robbing an Internet cafe after using their services to check out the latest hap's on the social network.
After they finished stalking the profiles of their friends, they decided it might be fun to rob the place. As such, they then decided to make like they were going to pay, but instead allegedly attacked the shop owner. After robbing the place, they hopped onto a motorcycle that also happened to not belong to them.
The police, when they arrived, happened to notice that one of the criminals had remained logged in on Facebook. This led to the arrest of the one person, who I'm sure proceeded to squeal on the other. This isn't the first time would-be criminals have been caught thanks to Facebook. Previously, in 2009, a house robber became so comfortable in the house that he logged onto Facebook and forgot to log off before leaving.
You know those augmented reality glasses being developed by Google that everyone is going crazy over? Well, Google was just granted three patents covering the technology behind them. Google isn't the only one working on the technology, but they are the only ones to have gained patents for it which should give them a leg up on the competition.
The patent numbers, in case you should want to look them up, are D659,739, D659,740 and D659,741. They are for a "wearable display device" and a "wearable display device frame." The device first made an appearance in an online video last month and made its rounds around the internet, including here on TweakTown.
The patents were filed October 26, 2011, which shows that the technology has been development for some time. What's more is that they are being tested by Google executives which shows the support for the project is coming from the top. With that support, it is all the more likely that these will eventually hit store shelves.
In the latest news about Facebook's imminent IPO is that they have increased the opening amount of shares by 84 million, which is about 25% more than what was originally planned to be on sale. These new shares, however, won't be coming from the company itself. Rather, the new shares will be on sale by early investors.
The strong demand by investors for stock in the social networking giant has prompted the change in plan. The additional 84 million shares brings the total number of shares up to 421 million that will be on sale when the company goes public on Thursday. It's possible that not even the increased amount of shares will be able to meet demand.
Originally it was expected that the IPO of Facebook would raise somewhere around $10.6 billion, depending on investor interest. With the increase of shares and interest, it is now expected that the IPO could raise $16 billion. Mark Zuckerberg will retain 55.8% of the company, which will give him a small majority.
Another research firm has confirmed that Samsung is the top cell phone maker in the world. With 86.6 million handsets sold in the first quarter of 2012, Samsung has reclaimed the title from Apple. That 86.6 million sold is 25.9 percent higher than last year's first quarter and helped give Samsung a 20.7% share of the market.
Of the 86.6 million handsets sold last quarter, 38 million of them were smartphones. Samsung's 38 million smartphones account for more than 40% of Android phones in the world. That number is huge considering not a single other handset maker has captured more than 10% of the Android smartphone market.
Nokia was thrown out of the way as Samsung flew past. Nokia, now in second place, sold 83.2 million handsets, a decrease of 22.7% from last year's quarter. "Smartphone sales are becoming of paramount importance at a worldwide level," Gartner principal research analyst Anshul Gupta said in a statement. "For example, smartphone volumes contributed to approximately 43.9 per cent of overall sales for Samsung as opposed to 16 per cent for Nokia."
Apple came in third with only 7.9% market share. That figure was boosted by iPhone 4S sales, which contributed to increasing Apple's handset sales by 96.2%. RIM is still at the bottom of the heap with only 2.4% market share.
AllThingsD is reporting that with sources close to the situation, investors are being told that the IPO price range for Facebook is between $34 and $38 per share. This results in the highest valuation being over $100 billion, fully diluted.
Last month, the predictions per share were at around $31, in filings related to its pending acquisition of photo-sharing start-up, Instagram. Recent ranges have put the social networking site at between $28 and $34.
Other reports have put the price between $35 and $40, so $34-$38 per share doesn't seem out of the question. The higher price is an indication that some of the reports from last week saying there was weak investor interest... but they were obviously wrong. The official pricing for the IPO for Facebook will arrive on Thursday, with a public offering on Friday under the "FB" ticker symbol on the Nasdaq market.
Kodak, in recent times, has not been doing very well, but apparently they have managed to keep a secret for over 30 years. Back in 1974, Kodak acquired a small nuclear reactor and has been maintaining the device in an underground bunker for over 30 years. The nuclear reactor was filled with 3.5 pounds of weapons-grade enriched uranium and was kept in a bunker with 2-foot thick concrete walls.
Incredibly, it seems as though very few people knew of the reactors existence. The reactor is one of only two ever made and known as a Californium Neutron Flex multiplier. The bunker in which is was located is in Rochester, New York and seemingly never caused any sort of problem through radiation leaks or other ways.
Apparently, Kodak used the device to conduct years of research. It was also used to check materials for impurities and to perform neutron radiography testing. Kodak continues to claim the device is safe and couldn't explode since it wasn't a power plant. The device had been mentioned in some research papers, but was never publicly announced.
Incredibly, it would appear that Kodak never alerted the local police or fire departments that the reactor was located there or even existed. The company decommissioned the reactor with the help of federal regulators six years ago. The uranium plates were placed in protective containers and removed in November 2007.
The lawsuit between Apple against Motorola & HTC has been moved back, with the judge consolidating the disparate trials, which are made up from patent infringement claims by Apple against both Motorola and HTC, with both companies counter-claiming against Apple.
The new combined trial has been pushed back until April of 2014. Federal Judge Robert N. Scola of the Southern District of Florida approved Apple's consolidation request, in spite of the objections from both Motorola and HTC. Now that the case has been rescheduled to 2014, Motorola have lost their chance to enforce any patent suits against Apple in the short term.
Within the lawsuit, Motorola are being accused of violating 14 Apple patents, and at the moment, they have a six patent counter-complaint. Motorola gains the ability to add six other patents that it had filed a separate lawsuit for against Apple in regards to the iPhone 4S and iCloud, which potentially brings their counter-claim total to 12, from 6. HTC on the other hand benefits from the rescheduled lawsuit, as the trial is later than Apple's proposed date of December 2013, and long after Motorola's date of March 2013.
With DOTA 2 being a 'new kind of free-to-play', the problems with the DOTA trademark still hovered over the heads of Valve, and Blizzard. But this is all sorted, thankfully.
Valve will come off with the better part of the deal, where they get to keep the name for their upcoming DOTA 2 title. Blizzard on the other hand will change the name of Blizzard DOTA to Blizzard All-Stars, which Blizzard say "ultimately better reflects the design of our game". Blizzard's EVP of Game Design, Rob Pardo, said that both studios recognize that "players just want to be able to play the games they're looking forward to".
This is a great move, and pissing off your fan-base is not how you get return customers. Blizzard must have known if they fought with Valve, they would look bad to their player base. At a time of launching Diablo III today. On the other hand, Gabe Newell, president of Valve says:
We're pleased that we could come to an agreement with Blizzard without drawing things out in a way that would benefit no one.
Best Buy has announced that its founder Richard Schulze will step down as chairman of the company, following the company's annual shareholder meeting to be held on June 21. Schulze is set to be replaced by Hatim Tyabji, the current chair of the audit committee and chairmand and CEO of Bytemobile.
A statement released today, Tyabji said that the story of Best Buy is a remarkable American success story and that Schulze's leadership and vision helped to change the landscape of American retail. But, Schulze's reputation could be hit, following an investigation of former CEO Brian Dunn. A story from CNET, says that Best Buy hired law firm WilmerHale to investigate the conduct of Dunn.
The investigation found that Dunn had an "extremely close" relationship with a female employee that negatively affected the work environment. This relationship between Dunn and the employee demonstrated poor judgment and a lack of professionalism but the report concluded that he didn't misuse any company resources. Dunn resigned as CEO only last month. The problem here is that Schulze found out about the incident back in December of last year, but failed to inform the board members.
The world's largest daily deals company, if you didn't already know, is Groupon. The company has proudly posted their first quarterly profit, where they reined in marketing spending while signing up more customers and merchants, with these effects driving up stock 12.5-percent higher.
Groupon now sports more than 36.9 million active customers, and has passed 100,000 merchants served in the first quarter. Groupon's after-hours rally to roughly $13.21 followed a big gain of more than 18-percent in regular trading on Nasdaq, the company's largest single-day gain since they went public in November.
Analysts have said short-sellers scrambled to cover their positions, anticipating better-than-expected results after the bell. But, the good news does come at a price. Groupon has lost more than half its market value this year, with concerns of waning demand for its daily deals, as well as the company's accounting troubles. Revenue sits at $559.3 million, compared to $295.5 million in the first quarter of 2011. So we can see year-over-year revenue is up considerably.