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After a massive 13-year ban on gaming consoles, it looks like China is about to open the flood gates to all consoles. Rewinding the clock back to 2000, we saw the country put a ban on gaming consoles because of the influence violent and mature games could have on the youth of China.
We heard about the Shanghai free-trade zone, which the console ban being lifted is all a part of. In order for gaming consoles to be sold in China, game developers and console retailers will need to set up shop in the free-trade zone in Shanghai, pending official approval they can sell their products to the mainland market.
Microsoft has already sprinted to the market, striking a deal with Chinese company BesTV in order to develop games in the free-trade zone. The free-trade zone is opening up in Shanghai on September 29, which should see billions upon billions of dollars being pumped into the industry.
The partnership between headphone manufacturer Beats and handset giant HTC has finally came to an end. This morning, Beats announced that it has bought back the remaining stake held by HTC for $265 million. The two companies partnered up back in 2011, when HTC picked up a 50.1 percent controlling interest for $300 million.
Just a year later, Beats bought back half of that stake for $150 million. With today's buyback, HTC has profited over $115 million from the deal, not including any royalties and unseen payments that have taken place. No reason was given for the split, but with HTC in financial trouble, we are sure that the sudden influx of cash is a welcomed one.
It looks like 3M, the company behind the Post-It note (you know, the one from Romy & Michele's High School Reunion) has been working with Evernote, the note-taking provider, to make sure that sticky notes continue to be used in this digital age we live in.
As of today, any photo taken with the new Post-it Note camera feature in Evernote for iOS 7 will digitize any Post-It Note in real life, and create a file that can be shared with anyone, anywhere. Captured Post-Its can also be categorized by color. So, for example, a green Post-It Note could be used as a homework reminder, while a yellow note could be a shopping list.
Captured notes are searched through the cloud-based platform, making it easier to keep track of your various notes.
Motorola has opened an engineering hub right down the road from BlackBerry's global headquarters in Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada. This is an obvious move to quickly acquire some of the amazing engineering talent that BlackBerry will be laying off in the coming weeks.
While no specific mention of BlackBerry employees was made, Derek Philips, engineering director for Motorola Canada, said, "We're always looking for places where there's lots of opportunity for growth and it's not always easy to find places that have significant tech talent in a variety of areas, but especially mobile."
In my opinion, I feel that this is a good move for both Google/Motorola and those who worked at BlackBerry. The engineers will be able to find work in their field, and Motorola will be able to hire on some amazing talent who can help take their phones to the next level.
Today, eBay has announced that it will be acquiring the mobile payments platform Braintree for a staggering $800 million in cash. The deal will includes Braintree's payment app Venmo, and the company's CEO, Bill Ready, will report directly to PayPal president David Marcus.
The rest of the Braintree staff will stay on in their current positions and business will continue as usual. For now, Braintree will operate as a separate company under eBay ownership. This acquisition is an interesting one, and at the moment, I am not sure if the buyout was to eliminate competition or acquire some IP that eBay did not want to license.
Google has pushed out same-day delivery to the general public in the Bay Area peninsula, which spans from San Francisco to San Jose. The service is called Google Shopping Express.
Shopping can browser inventory through a web-based shopping portal, or through a new mobile app that will soon be made available to iOS and Android devices. Google will be working with participating retailers like smaller local retailers and grocers, as well as bigger retailers such as Target, Walgreens and REI.
The Mountain View-based giant is offering a promotion for free unlimited delivery for six months, with standard pricing set at $5 per store, per order.
Today, Samsung announced that it has created the all new Samsung Solutions Exchange, a new portal that helps developers usher in a new era of Android for the enterprise. Samsung says that the Exchange will feature an all-new App Store specifically designed for business related apps and will also feature a device software development kit that includes more than 1000 "enterprise APIs."
Samsung hopes that this new initiative will help build a strong Android presence in the business and enterprise market, which at the moment is still dominated by Apple and BlackBerry. Samsung says that the new Solutions Exchange will provide a place for developers to connect with businesses who need cutting edge enterprise-grade applications for Samsung's line of smartphones.
"This engagement model is truly an industry first, aimed at achieving shared value across our rapidly growing ecosystem of enterprise customers, sales channels and alliances," Samsung VP Timothy Wagner said in a statement. "We are launching the Samsung Solutions Exchange as a way to help our end customers accelerate their business success."
HTC is having enough troubles at the moment, but it looks like the knife is slowly being twisted by another struggling phone manufacturer: Nokia. On Monday afternoon, the US International Trade Commission found that several HTC smartphones infringed on two Nokia-owned patents.
In regards to a third patent, HTC were found innocent, thankfully. But an injunction preventing the Taiwanese manufacturer from importing several of its smartphones could be issued. This wouldn't affect HTC's latest smartphones, but we could see the HTC Amaze 4G, Inspire 4G, Flyer, Jetstream, Radar 4G, Rezound and Sensation 4G soon banned from sale on US soil.
Nokia issued a statement, where it said: "Nokia is pleased that the initial determination of the ITC confirmed that HTC has infringed two of our patents."
The possibility of a Twitter IPO has been talked about ever since Facebook filed their own last year. Some you might remember that earlier this month Twitter did indeed file to go public, but under the veil of secrecy thanks to the Jobs Act.
Today, thanks to a report from VentureBeat, we're learning just how much and where the company will file its IPO. In what analysts are describing as an attempt to stay as far away from Facebook as possible, Twitter will most likely go public on the New York Stock Exchange in an IPO valued at $1.5 billion.
That number is quite a bit lower than the $15 billion that some analysts expected, but nevertheless the company will reportedly offer 55 million shares that will sell for around $30 each. What is still uncertain is whether the Twitter IPO will flop like Facebook's did, or if the early investors will become wealthy overnight like those who invested in Google on day one.
When Microsoft first announced it was acquiring smartphone manufacturer Nokia, I knew there was something fishy about the deal. When ex-Microsoft exec and current Nokia CEO Stephen Elop was announced as the new head of Microsoft's Devices and Services division, things began to make sense.
Fast-forward to the announcement that Elop would receive over $25 million as part of a payout in which Microsoft would cover more than half of the cost to see the wheels really start turning in my head. Today, a new report from Forbes says that Nokia has admitted to providing misleading information regarding Elop's compensation.
The original statement issued by Nokia said that Elop's contract and compensation package was "essentially the same" as the company's previous CEO, but after some digging through SEC filings, it was made clear that the board had made fundamental changes in Elop's contract.
In what can only be part of Microsoft's master plan, Elop was entitled to immediate share price performance bonuses in the event of a "change of control" situation. This means that Elop would stand to earn a great deal of money if the company was acquired by someone such as Microsoft.