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Business, Financial & Legal News - Page 221

All the latest Business, Financial & Legal news as it relates to tech, gaming, and science - Page 221.

Microsoft acquires Yammer for $1.2 billion

Anthony Garreffa | Jun 26, 2012 4:47 AM CDT

Yammer is just four years old, but they've just been scooped up by Microsoft for a tidy $1.2 billion. Yammer has been dubbed "Facebook for the workplace" and is the latest in many steps for Microsoft's bid to shield their Office products from Google's constant challenges.

Microsoft acquires Yammer for $1.2 billion  | TweakTown.com

Yammer claims to have more than 5 million corporate users with companies such as Ford, Shell, Deloitte and eBay. Just twelve months ago Microsoft whipped out their acquisition credit card on Skype and paid $8.5 billion for the video-calling firm, so Microsoft are not shy, nor poor.

Yammer was started back in 2008 by PalPal founder David Sacks, where they raised around $142 million in funding since they began, it was backed by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who also invested in Facebook. Sacks said:

When we started Yammer four years ago, we set out to do something big. We had a vision for how social networking could change the way we work. Joining Microsoft will accelerate that vision and give us access to the technologies, expertise and resources we'll need to scale and innovate.

Continue reading: Microsoft acquires Yammer for $1.2 billion (full post)

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom announces a new music streaming service

Anthony Garreffa | Jun 25, 2012 5:10 AM CDT

Founder of Megaupload, Kim Dotcom, has just announced through his new Twitter account "Megabox". Megabox is destined to become a new music discovery and sharing service, and is being worked on all while he's still under arrest.

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom announces a new music streaming service 07

Dotcom has said that Megabox would compete with platforms such as Spotify, and would let artists keep almost 90-percent of the profits made from their music. It's a pretty big change, going from Megaupload, being put under house arrest, and announcing a Spotify-like music service.

Just before the Megabox tweet, Dotcom uploaded a photo of himself and Apple founder Steve Wozniak, who visited Dotcom in New Zealand. Wozniak is a supporter of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), who are suing the Federal Bureau of Investigation over the files on Megaupload's servers, where the EFF argues that the site's users have a right to access.

Continue reading: Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom announces a new music streaming service (full post)

Chinese government, along with Huawei and ZTE are being investigated, could pose a national security threat

Anthony Garreffa | Jun 25, 2012 4:11 AM CDT

The US House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee is looking into the relationship between the Chinese government and Huawei, as well as ZTE, both Chinese telecom manufacturers. Mike Rogers, Committee chairman has said that he believes its necessary to look into whether or not the two manufacturers are receiving unfair subsidies from the Chinese government, and whether hardware from the two companies could represent a national security threat.

Chinese government, along with Huawei and ZTE are being investigated, could pose a national security threat | TweakTown.com

Later this summer the committee is expected to release a report where there'll be two versions: a classified version and an unclassified version. The report is expected to address both trade practices and security concerns in regards to Huawei and ZTE.

The report might sway US companies from buying the Huawei or ZTE goods, considering the national security aspect of things. The Intelligence Committee has been running an investigation looking into the two manufacturers and their Chinese government ties. Critics allege that the two companies receive cheap loans, land and other subsidies from the Chinese government which allow the companies to make wares cheap, and dump them on foreign markets at prices below their competitors can afford.

Continue reading: Chinese government, along with Huawei and ZTE are being investigated, could pose a national security threat (full post)

GameFounders opens it wallets, bank accounts to European Game Startups

Anthony Garreffa | Jun 22, 2012 4:11 AM CDT

Estonia-based company, GameFounders, has just opened their wallets and hearts to European Game Startups. GameFounders says that they are the first European accelerator to focus solely on game developers. They're offering an investment of 15,000 euros in exchange for 9-percent of the company.

GameFounders opens it wallets, bank accounts to European Game Startups | TweakTown.com

You don't need to have an already-formed company, as long as your team is willing to incorporate after it joins GameFounders. The accelerator program is open to any form of game, as long as it has already launched, even if the game is in its beta stage. The website does note that "it is more likely at the moment for mobile games to get investments".

The best thing about it? It's not limited to Estonian companies:

For a start, Estonia is probably the easiest place to start a business. You count the time time you need to establish a limited company in minutes, the time you need to open a bank account in hours and the time you need to get all the other paperwork (VAT numbers and such) in days. And when you have spent those few days to get the business up and running, there is an abundance of funds, both local and EU, available for you to boost your business.

Continue reading: GameFounders opens it wallets, bank accounts to European Game Startups (full post)

Apple starts $500 off Macs, $250 off iPads employee discount program

Trace Hagan | Jun 21, 2012 2:03 PM CDT

Are you an Apple employee or thinking about starting work there? Well, now may be a good time as Apple is getting more generous with their employee discount offerings as well as their pay. Back in January, Tim Cook announced employees would be getting a new major discount program for Macs and iPads starting in June.

Apple starts $500 off Macs, $250 off iPads employee discount program | TweakTown.com

Sticking with that announcement, Apple has launched the new program which should give large discounts to Apple employees. Employees will now be able to purchase Macs with a $500 discount (excluding Mac mini) and iPads with a $250 discount. Better yet, these discounts are on top of the existing 25% discount offered by Apple.

Employees must be with the company for at least three months and can only take advantage of the discount once every three years. In other news, Apple has moved up its scheduled raises from September to now. Some are reporting increases of up to 30% but the average seems to be about $2-4. The increase depends on the performance of the store and employee both.

Continue reading: Apple starts $500 off Macs, $250 off iPads employee discount program (full post)

LG wave goodbye to the tablet market, buys the smartphone market another round of drinks

Anthony Garreffa | Jun 21, 2012 3:08 AM CDT

LG haven't been doing so well in the tablet market which is mainly dominated by Apple, Samsung and Amazon, but instead of making a constant loss, or barely breaking even, they're completely diving out of the market and concentrating solely on the smartphone side of things.

LG wave goodbye to the tablet market, buys the smartphone market another round of drinks | TweakTown.com

LG is focused on the smartphones big time, with company spokesman Ken Hong speaking to AllThingsD and being quoted here:

We decided early this year to focus exclusively on building up our smartphone portfolio, which includes the category of large five-inch display and over devices, such as Optimus Vu, which we feel addresses many of the content consumption issues with traditional mobile phones.

Considering the tablet market is pretty much sewn up from the aforementioned companies, unless you have a make-it-or-break-it tablet, why bother, right? On top of this, Microsoft's Surface tablet is sure to shake up the market, and why try to compete with someone like Microsoft? You know what? Personally, I think it's refreshing to see LG Electronics do this. Instead of seeing a company just pour unlimited funds into a market they might not see huge profits from, pull out of a market they aren't strong in, is actually refreshing.

LG, I salute you. I wouldn't mind seeing what you have in the future, but what of the Microsoft Surface tablet? Hong has said "Microsoft's announcement doesn't change anything here at LG". Good. Life is good at LG.

Continue reading: LG wave goodbye to the tablet market, buys the smartphone market another round of drinks (full post)

NVIDIA issues response to Torvalds' harsh words

Trace Hagan | Jun 19, 2012 5:32 PM CDT

NVIDIA has issued a statement regarding Linus Torvalds harsh words. A little recap: Linus Torvalds said during a conference that NVIDIA is the worst company ever and then said "NVIDIA: F*** you!" He said this because he was a little upset with the Linux support and willingness to work with the open source community.

NVIDIA issues response to Torvalds' harsh words | TweakTown.com

NVIDIA's PR machine has been at work crafting a statement to respond to his comments and finally issued a statement last night. The short version is that they are committed to Linux support using their own proprietary driver that is common among platforms. This allows for same-day Linux support of GPUs.

They also highlight their work with Tegra in the Linux community. Below is the NVIDIA response:

Supporting Linux is important to NVIDIA, and we understand that there are people who are as passionate about Linux as an open source platform as we are passionate about delivering an awesome GPU experience.

Recently, there have been some questions raised about our lack of support for our Optimus notebook technology. When we launched our Optimus notebook technology, it was with support for Windows 7 only. The open source community rallied to work around this with support from the Bumblebee Open Source Project https://bumblebee-project.org/. And as a result, we've recently made Installer and readme changes in our R295 drivers that were designed to make interaction with Bumblebee easier.

...

Continue reading: NVIDIA issues response to Torvalds' harsh words (full post)

Google gets upset over YouTube to MP3 converter, threatens legal action

Trace Hagan | Jun 19, 2012 12:32 PM CDT

Google doesn't appear to be happy with a website that is converting YouTube videos into MP3s and allowing visitors to convert YouTube videos into MP3 files for download. It turns out that they are so unhappy with the website, which pulls in 1.3m visitors a day, that they have sent a letter threatening legal action.

Google gets upset over YouTube to MP3 converter, threatens legal action | TweakTown.com

Apparently, this service that the site is providing is against YouTube's Terms of Service and, as such, YouTube has blocked the websites servers from accessing YouTube. Google has only provided the site with 7 days to comply with Google's request or they could face possible legal action for break the Terms of Service.

"We would estimate that there are roughly 200 million people across the world that make use of services like ours and Google doesn't just ignore all those people, they are about to criminalize them. With the way they are interpreting and creating their ToS every one of those 200 million users is threatened to be sued by Google," the converter spokesman said.

It's pretty clear why YouTube can't have people going around ripping MP3s of pop songs posted on YouTube. If they were, record labels would no longer want to put music videos on the site and Google/YouTube would miss out on a large amount of hits and money. But, if Google wants to end all YouTube to MP3 converters, they have a large task in front of them.

Continue reading: Google gets upset over YouTube to MP3 converter, threatens legal action (full post)

Intel acquiring 1,700 Wi-Fi, 3G, LTE patents from InterDigital for $375 million

Trace Hagan | Jun 18, 2012 2:27 PM CDT

Intel has agreed to buy 1,700 patents relating to Wi-Fi, 3G, and LTE from InterDigital. Last year, there were murmurs about a treasure chest of patents relating to those technologies being up for sale by InterDigital. The cost for these key patents? Only a cool $375 million in cash. Apparently, Intel has been after these patents for a while.

Intel acquiring 1,700 Wi-Fi, 3G, LTE patents from InterDigital for $375 million | TweakTown.com

Intel's Senior Vice President, Doug Melamed, had this to say about the transaction: "These patents will support Intel's strategic investments in the mobile segment. The addition of these patents expands our already large, strong and diverse portfolio of intellectual property."

Interestingly enough, InterDigital refers to these as only a small portion of its overall collection of patents. How much more value is included in the other patents that they have? Senior Executive Vice President at InterDigital, Scott McQuilkin, had this to say about the upcoming transaction:

The acquisition of this portfolio of InterDigital's technologies by a global technology leader like Intel affirms the efforts of our research and development team which actively shares our innovations with the worldwide standards bodies, defining technologies that are central to the world's major wireless systems and devices.

The deal should close in the third quarter. These patents will add to Intel's war chest to be used in case of an assault by another technology company's war chest.

Continue reading: Intel acquiring 1,700 Wi-Fi, 3G, LTE patents from InterDigital for $375 million (full post)

Apple is set to become most profitable public company ever

Trace Hagan | Jun 18, 2012 1:27 PM CDT

Let's face it, Apple has more money than they know what to do with. Before their stock buy-back program, they had right around $100 billion in cash. Apple already has the record for most profitable quarter among technology companies, so what is next for the giant? One analyst believes they could become the most profitable publicly traded companies.

Apple is set to become most profitable public company ever | TweakTown.com

"In CY12, we believe Apple is poised to generate the highest annual net income of any publicly traded company ever," White wrote. "On average, we estimate Apple's net income in CY12 will be over 6x higher than the three tech companies on an individual basis (when at a $500 billion market cap) or 1.9x the aggregate profit of these three companies combined. When including all five companies, we estimate Apple's net income in CY12 will be 4x higher than the average."

So why the huge increase in value? White is citing a new iPhone with a 4" screen launching in the third quarter, an "iPad mini" that is set to launch sometime in September, and an upcoming HDTV made by Apple. White has confirmed his buy recommendation along with a price target $1,111, which is about double the current price of $572 (as of opening bell Monday).

Continue reading: Apple is set to become most profitable public company ever (full post)

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