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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 9

Crytek's Texas-based office has had its leadership all quit

We've been reporting for a few weeks now that Crytek were in trouble, but the company assured the public that all was good just a few days ago. Now we're hearing that Crytek has just downsized its Texas-based US studio, moving the development of the free-to-play co-op shooter Hunt: Horros of the Guided Age to their main offices based in Germany.

 

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When Crytek announced it was downsizing its Texas studio, it didn't say that its senior staff, including studio head David Adams, had quit over a week ago. Why did they quit? Well, they weren't getting paid, "according to people familiar with goings-on at the company" reports Kotaku. Most of the studio, which is made up of around 30-35 people, are now gone, which is why Crytek was forced to move the development of Hunt to its Frankfurt-based office.

 

Crytek only opened the Texas, US-based studio in January 2013, so it didn't last that long.

Ex F1 boss takes legal action against Google over sex photos

The ex head of the FIA, which governs Formula 1, Max Mosley, is taking legal action against Google over images of him with prostitutes that are indexed online.

 

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Max Mosley, the son of the former leader of the British Union of Fascists, issued High Court proceedings against Google, claiming that the company is in breach of the UK's Data Protection Act, according to the BBC. The pictures were first published in Britain's News of the World tabloid, which has since ceased to exist. Mosley successfully sued the paper in 2008.

 

At the time, the newspaper published the pictures on its front page. Mosley won damages after the paper accused Mosley of organizing a sex party with a Nazi theme. The High Court ruled that this story was not in the public interest. Google has said it is working with Mosley.

Netflix and AT&T sign peering deal to reduce video buffering

Netflix has been fighting to improve video streaming quality for a number of its users. The way it is fixing many of these streaming issues is by paying the ISPs for peering deals that improve video quality. The latest company to put its hands in Netflix's pockets is AT&T.

 

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AT&T and Netflix have announced a new peering deal that will help reduce buffering when users on the AT&T network are watching Netflix. The peering deal kicked off on Tuesday of this week according to two people who claim to be familiar with the deal.

 

No word on the financial terms of the agreement has been offered. "We reached an interconnect agreement with Netflix in May and since then have been working together to provision additional interconnect capacity to improve the viewing experience for our mutual subscribers,'' an AT&T spokeswoman said in the statement."We're now beginning to turn up the connections, a process that should be complete in the coming days."

Nintendo reports loss as Wii U and 3DS sales continue to decline

Nintendo reported its quarterly earnings recently and racked up another loss for the company during its most recent quarter. Nintendo announced a loss of $97.2 million in the quarter that spanned April to June. The loss in the most recent quarter is much higher than the loss of $48.2 million that it reported in the same quarter of 2013.

 

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Nintendo is blaming the continued losses on disappointing sales of the Wii U and 3DS game consoles. Nintendo is still predicting that it will return to profit for the full year, but with half the year racking up losses that will be very hard to do. Nintendo's sales for the quarter fell to $731 million compared to the $799 million in the same quarter of the previous year.

 

Nintendo reported sales of 820,000 3DS game consoles in the quarter that ended in June and 8.57 million games sold. The Wii U saw 520,000 units sold and 4.39 million games. Mario Kart 8 accounted for 2.82 million of the game sales after a May release.

BlackBerry purchases German security firm Secusmart

BlackBerry was one of the most popular smartphone providers in the world years ago, but it has slumped and is seeing many of its customers leave for other devices today. BlackBerry is trying to turn itself around and get some of the popularity it once enjoyed back and one of the ways it is doing that is by trying to turn itself into a provider for people who are security conscious.

 

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To help build up its security chops BlackBerry has reportedly purchased a German security firm called Secusmart. Secusmart specializes in providing voice and data encryption and was partnered with BlackBerry in the past.

 

Smartphones from BlackBerry with the Secusuite software from Secusmart are in use in Germany already with government agencies. Terms of the deal are unknown at this time. "The acquisition of Secusmart underscores our focus on addressing growing security costs and threats ranging from individual privacy to national security," said BlackBerry chief John Chen.

Cadillac to add wireless smartphone charging on some 2015 models

GM has announced that it plans to add wireless smartphone charging to Cadillac vehicles in 2015. Not all vehicles will get the wireless charging option, but it will be available on 2015 Cadillac ATS sedan and coupe and on the 2015 CTS and 2015 Escalade.

 

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Vehicles that have the wireless charging option will have a Powermat wireless charging pad inside the console of the vehicle. Drivers and passengers will be able to lay their compatible smartphone down on the mat to charge wirelessly.

 

GM says that the majority of wirelessly charging devices on the market would work with its Powermat option. While the phone is on the charging mat, drivers will still be able to answer and make phone calls using the vehicle's Bluetooth hands-free tech.

Continue reading 'Cadillac to add wireless smartphone charging on some 2015 models' (full post)

Rhapsody hits the 2M subscriber mark, plans expansion

Rhapsody is a streaming music service that has been around for a long time now offering a wide range of music. This week the company has announced that it plans to expand into more locations including France and Latin America. The expansion into the new areas comes with deals in place with French operator SRF and Telefonica in Latin America.

 

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Rhapsody has also noted that it has reached 2 million paying subscribers for its premium and unRadio internet radio service launched along with T-Mobile in the US. Rhapsody launched in 2001 and is currently facing stiff competition in the marketplace.

 

Segment leader Spotify now boasts 10 million paying subscribers putting it at about 5 times the size of Rhapsody. Rhapsody's subscriber numbers are on the increase with the firm announcing in April that it had 1.7 million paying customers.

Samsung Galaxy S4 catches fire on bed as teen sleeps

The technology industry is no stranger to battery issues. Years ago a huge number of lithium ion batteries were recalled when notebooks started to catch fire while being used normally. A 13-year-old girl in North Texas woke recently to the smell of something burning and realized that her Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone was on fire.

 

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The fire was intense enough that the entire mobile device melted, glass, plastic and all. You can hardly tell that the device was a smartphone in the images. The teen says that her phone fell under a pillow as she slept and her father thinks that the phone overheated leading to the battery catching fire.

 

Samsung has pointed out that the battery inside the smartphone that caught fire wasn't a Samsung unit; rather it was a replacement part from another supplier. Samsung also noted that it points out in materials included with the phone that covering the device with bedding or other material could start a fire.

IBM Watson to be used by USAA to advise military veterans

The transition from military life to civilian life can be hard for some veterans. USAA is an insurance company that caters to veterans and their families and USAA will make the first consumer facing application of the IBM Watson cognitive computing technology.

 

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Watson will be used to advise members of the military and families on the transition from military to civilian life. Watson is being used in a pilot program and USAA members will be able to ask questions to Watson that are related to the transition. Watson reportedly has analyzed and understands more than 3000 documents on topics that are exclusive to military transitions. Watson is designed to gain value and experience over time.

 

"This is a continuation of our journey to deliver meaningful advice to our members on digital platforms," Shon Manasco, executive vice president of member experience at USAA, said in a statement. "And it reinforces our commitment to finding innovative and distinctive ways to make our members' lives easier. Through this experience, we expect to learn how intelligent assistants like IBM Watson can help service members who may not know exactly where or how to start the daunting transition process."

Continue reading 'IBM Watson to be used by USAA to advise military veterans' (full post)

iPhones to be available on AT&T Next and other plans at Apple Store

Wireless carriers want to get away from offering big subsidies on smartphones and start financing out new devices for customers. Three of the major carriers already have plans in place to do that with AT&T Next, T-Mobile Jump, and Verizon Edge. Right now if you buy an iPhone in an Apple Store, you can only get a two-year contract plan or pay full price for an unlocked device.

 

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That will be changing with Apples Stores gearing up to offer iPhone 5S and 5C smartphones via AT&T Next, T-Mobile Jump, and Verizon Edge. At the Apple Store Verizon Edge will break the phone purchase price up into 24 payments, AT&T Next breaks it into 20, and T-Mobile Jump breaks it into 24 payments.

 

One source says that these plans will be available at Apple Stores in an unspecified test market to begin with. After the issues are worked out, these plans will be offered at other stores later in 2014.

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