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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 9

Pinterest adds messaging to allow conversations about pins

Pinterest has added a new way for users of its website to talk about the things they pin. Starting this week Pinterest has added a new chat feature that allows users to talk about their favorite things without having to leave the Pinterest site or app.

 

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Pinterest is hoping that the new messaging feature will make it easier for people to chat about their favorite things without leaving the website. Pinterest says that it has over 2 million pins set each day and last year it allowed the users of its app and site to share pins with others via email and notifications on the site.

 

A group of Pinterest users dubbed Power Pinners has been working with the site to refine the product and make it ready for roll out. The messaging service lacks a persistent contact list. That is because it doesn't want to be a messaging service like others out there. Messaging will be available when you Send a Pin and choose a contact; the conversation appears in the lower left corner when the pin is sent.

Google and Barnes & Noble team to fight Amazon via same day delivery

Amazon has been offering same day delivery of certain items from its website for a while now in some parts of the US. That same day delivery service is something that Google and Barnes & Noble want to compete against Amazon with so they have teamed up to make it happen.

 

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Google and Barnes & Noble will been offering book buyers in some parts of the US same day deliveries from local Barnes & Noble stores. The same day delivery service will be offered in Manhattan, West LA, and the San Francisco Bay area via Google Shopping Express.

 

Google Shopping kicked off about year ago and lets buyers in serviced areas get times from stores like Costco, Walgreens, Staples, and Target stores that can be delivered within hours of the purchase. Barnes & Noble CEO Michael Huseby views the service as a test and an attempt to link digital and physical products.

Microsoft eyes retail store near Apple's flagship Fifth Ave location

Microsoft has wanted to compete directly with Apple's retail presence for a long time, but hasn't been able to pull that off. A rumor is circulating that Microsoft is set to open a large new retail store on Fifth Ave in New York City not far from where Apple has its iconic Fifth Ave location.

 

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Microsoft is eyeing a two-story building at 677 Fifth Ave that is vacant and is only a few blocks from the Apple store. Apple certainly has popular and iconic products with the iPad and iPhone among other things, while Microsoft lacks any really popular products.

 

Surface tablets continue to lose money for Microsoft. Perhaps a new retail location could help sales, but a new store near an Apple location doesn't seem to be something that would change the market.

uBeam wireless charging tech uses ultrasound to charge

A woman named Meredith Perry was studying astrobiology at the University of Pennsylvania when she made an interesting discovery that allows portable electronic devices like laptops and cell phones to be charged wirelessly using ultrasound. The tech she created takes electricity and converts it into ultrasound that can be sent through the air to a receiver.

 

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The receiver on the other end captures the ultrasound and turns it back into electricity. Recently the company that Perry founded, called uBeam, created a fully functional prototype of the tech, and plans to turn it into a product for consumers.

 

With this tech, a user could be on their phone and moving around a room freely while the device is charging. The uBeam transmitter would be no more than 5mm thick and receivers for converting the sound into electricity would also be thin. The tech being used can also be used to send secure data as well. One drawback of the tech is that power can't be transmitted through walls; a transmitter is needed for each room.

YouTube buys Directr mobile video app, absorbs employees

YouTube has announced that it has purchased a new video startup called Directr. Directr is a company that makes a mobile video app that allows small businesses to create marketing videos to help push their wares to customers. It's unclear how much the deal cost YouTube.

 

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Directr has an app for the iOS platform that is aimed at making it easy to shoot, edit, and upload short videos to the internet. Google is currently planning to add all the employees of Directr to its staff on the video-ads team.

 

Currently the Directr app has a cost associated with it, but Google plans to offer free versions of the app once the company joins YouTube. Google made another purchase this week buying a startup called Emu offering a mobile messaging service.

Chinese government removes Apple devices from its procurement list

Bloomberg is reporting that Apple devices have been removed from the Chinese governments purchasing list, for security reasons. The devices that are banned total an amount of ten items, including the iPad, iPad Mini, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

 

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Back in June, these devices were on the list, among devices from competitors like Dell and HP. The list is set to be reviewed next by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), which is China's premier planning body, and the Ministry of Finance, in January of 2015. The Chinese government has been on a spree of limiting the use of US-owned technology after the Snowden leaks, as well as the constant escalating claims of hacking and cyber spying.

 

It was only last week that the Chinese government removed Symantec and Kaspersky from their procurement list, too. A few weeks ago, China's state-run broadcaster China Central Television said that the location tracking abilities in Apple's iOS are a national security concern. Apple refuted this claim, saying that all location data is secured solely within the iPhone, and not on Apple services, reiterating that the company doesn't work with government agencies to spy on its users.

Sony is being sued for falsely advertising Killzone running at 1080p

Douglas Ladore has submitted a complaint with the California Northern District federal court, where he is claiming that Sony promised 1080p single and multiplayer graphics in its advertisements and interviews for Killzone: Shadow Fall before the game was released in November 2013.

 

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On Killzone: Shadow Fall's packaging, it clearly shows a "1080p HD video output" logo on the back. Killzone's multiplayer renders the game at 960x1080, which is half of the 1920x1080 that "1080p" or "Full HD" is. In order to output the full 1920x1080 resolution, this source image has something called "temporal upscale" applied to it, something that fills the gaps with a horizontal interlace containing pixels from the previous frame. The result is graphical performance that the lawsuit, and reviewers across the world claim call "blurry to the point of distraction".

 

Guerrilla Games, the developer behind Killzone, along with Sony, took to a blog post to address the concerns of this "temporal projection" method. The companies said that it provides "subjectively similar results" to rendering at the full 1080p resolution. Ladore's lawsuit wasn't happy with this, where he argues: "While this reconstruction technique might be novel, it is decidedly not the 'native 1080p' Sony promised". But was anyone hurt from the result of this resolution downgrade in Killzone? Not directly.

Continue reading 'Sony is being sued for falsely advertising Killzone running at 1080p' (full post)

Activision is seeing industry-wide drops in pre-order numbers

During its investor relations conference call yesterday, Activision Publishing boss Eric Hirshberg was asked about game pre-orders, and how they are going with the slew of games Activision has coming out this year. This includes some of the biggest titles coming, including Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Destiny.

 

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Hirshberg said that pre-order numbers were down, but not just with his company, but across the entire industry. Hirshberg attributed this drop to increased digital consumption, especially on the Xbox One and PS4. Another reason is that games are made available widely when they are released, so there's not much of an incentive to pre-order. These two factors, along with the fact that a decline overall for the last generation of consoles means that pre-orders are down.

 

Activision is now looking at other ways it can determine how popular its upcoming games will be, as it used to judge this by pre-order numbers. new methods could include "purchase intent" and "awareness" of a title, with Hirshberg saying: "It's important to note that pre-orders are just one data point that we look at when determining the momentum of a franchise". When it comes to Destiny, Hirshberg says Destiny's awareness is "at an all-time high and climbing when compared to any other new game intellectual property this distance from launch. Purchase intent is also at an all-time high and rising compared to any other intellectual property. The hugely successful open beta, which saw 4.6m players, probably had something to do with that. So all of those add to our sense of momentum for the launch".

Continue reading 'Activision is seeing industry-wide drops in pre-order numbers' (full post)

Surface tablets continue to be a money loser for Microsoft

Things are continuing to look bleak for Microsoft and its surface tablet business. Microsoft lost money again on surface tablets in its recently wrapped fiscal 2014 year with losses totaling $1.7 billion. Microsoft announced that its Surface revenue was $409 million for the quarter ending June 30.

 

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However, Microsoft failed to announce a crucial piece of information, the cost of the revenue for Surface needed to figure out profit. However, data was given that allows analysts to estimate the costs for Surface. Computerworld figures that Microsoft's Surface costs for the quarter that ended in June were $772 million.

 

That means a loss of $363 million in the quarter for Surface. Some of the money in the cost of revenue calculation was from a write-off to cover the cost of designing and producing an unspecified number of Surface Mini tablets. Microsoft reportedly produced a Surface mini and decided at the last minute to not release the tablet. The number shows that Microsoft lost a total of $676 million for fiscal 2014.

Sprint stops T-Mobile bid, CEO Dan Hesse may be replaced

Sprint has been wooing T-Mobile for a while with Sprint actively looking to purchase the smaller carrier. Regulator opposition was strong since regulators in the US have been clear on several occasions that they like four major US carriers. Tuesday, Sprint announced that it has decided to stop trying to purchase T-Mobile and will move on alone.

 

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Rather than beefing up subscriber numbers by purchasing T-Mobile Sprint will now buckle down and try to add subscribers with better service. Sprint has reported losses every year since 2007. AT&T's bid to purchase T-Mobile was blocked by the FCC and regulators three years ago.

 

People familiar with the goings on at Sprint also say that CEO Dan Hesse will be replaced and that he could be replaced as soon as this week. A purchase offer by a French carrier Iliad was turned down by T-Mobile with execs saying that offer was dead on arrival.

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