Business, Financial & Legal News - Page 242
Apple will explain how it will use its $100 billion in cash tomorrow
Apple have a very delicious kitty of nearly $100 billion in cash reserves right now, with $97.6 billion to be precise. Come 9AM Eastern on Monday, March 19, CEO Tim Cook as well as CFO Peter Oppenheimer will discuss the "outcome of the Company's discussions".
Apple will offer this discussion as a phone call and as a live stream with replays available for two weeks afterwards. Apple have actively been discussing what they should do with their cash reserves, where other companies would spend it, or acquire other smaller companies, or start-ups, Apple have just been saving, saving, saving.
Investment analysts have complained more than once that Apple should offer a dividend payout to shareholders despite the stock being the largest in the world, as well as one of the fastest growing, too. Apple have always been careful of its spending, which is at least attributed to the late Steve Jobs. Most believed that Jobs had recognized what happened to Apple previously in his absence from the company, and used it as a sign to build a cash reserve in the event of an unforeseen circumstance such as a sharp market drop, economic crisis, or something along those lines.
Continue reading: Apple will explain how it will use its $100 billion in cash tomorrow (full post)
Google sued over app return policy and bogus apps
Here comes another blow to the search giant. Not only are they being investigated by both US and EU regulators, but they are now being sued. A lawsuit has been filed in California Superior Court that is seeking class-action status, damages, and attorneys' fees and costs. The lawsuit names California residents Dodd J. Harris and Stephen Sabatino. Harris is upset because he purchased the app "Learn Chinese Mandarin Pro" for $4.83 in December. He claims that the app did not work as advertised, but he was too late. It was already 20 minutes past his purchase. Google's return policy only allows 15 minutes.
Sabatino, on the other hand, bought "aBTC", a BitTorrent client for Android, for $4.99 in January. The product didn't work, however, he tried tinkering with it for an hour before attempting to unsuccessfully return it. In December 2010, Google lowered the return policy on apps from 24 hours to 15 minutes. They stated this was because "most users who request a refund do so within minutes of purchase."
In addition to the refund policy, the suit is challenging Google's app approval process, or lack there of. Google, unlike Apple, has previously allowed any app to be posted to the market. This has led to many apps on the market which contain malware. In response to this, Google last month added a new layer of security, dubbed Bouncer, which will attempt to scan apps for evidence of malware and bounce them.
Continue reading: Google sued over app return policy and bogus apps (full post)
Google accused of bypassing Safari privacy settings, places cookies anyway
US and EU regulators have launched an investigation into Google and the allegations that they bypassed the privacy settings of Safari users on both desktop and mobile iOS users. Google spokeswoman contends that these actions were unintended. She said, "It's important to remember that we didn't anticipate this would happen, and we have been removing these advertising cookies from Safari browsers." Let's try to understand what happened in a little more detail.
Google has discovered that when they created a temporary link between the user's Safari browser and Google's servers, it allowed other ad cookies to be placed on the browser. Google has since been removing these files, but the damage for Google has already been done. These investigations could have Google on the hook financially for quite a lot. If they are found to have broken a settlement agreement FTC, they could be fined $16,000 per violation, per day. In addition, state attorneys general can levy fines of up to $5,000 per violation. And all of this is only state side.
The French Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertes, or CNIL levied a fine against Google last year which amount to around $136,000, and they have added the Safari circumvention technique to their existing pan-European investigation into Google's privacy-policy changes. Google has agreed to comply with any officials who have questions. In order for Google to be on the hook for the US FTC fines of $16,000 a day per violation, they have to prove that Google acted intentionally.
Continue reading: Google accused of bypassing Safari privacy settings, places cookies anyway (full post)
18 firms sued for using privacy-invading mobile apps
A lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas earlier this week by 13 individuals alleging that "the defendants -- several of the world's largest and most influential technology and social networking companies -- have unfortunately made, distributed and sold mobile software applications that, once installed on a wireless mobile device, surreptitiously harvest, upload and illegally steal the owner's address book data without the owner's knowledge or consent." The defendants in question are Facebook, Apple, Twitter, Yelp and 14 other companies.
This claim, if true, is pretty worrisome for users of the apps, such as myself. Last month, one of the companies named in the suit was pressured into issuing a public apology after a Singapore-based programmer uncovered the fact in a blog post. An article, Mobile Apps Take Data Without Permission by the New York Times, was cited several times in the 152-page complaint. This lawsuit comes at a time privacy concerns over mobile applications appears to be steadily rising.
According to our source:
Continue reading: 18 firms sued for using privacy-invading mobile apps (full post)
Director of DARPA leaves, joins Google
Regina Dugan, the director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is leaving and joining the warm, cuddly arms of Google. Dugan has only been with DARPA for three years, but was "offered and accepted [a] senior executive position" with Google, according to DARPA spokesperson Eric Mazzacone.
Mazzacone also added that Dugan felt she couldn't refuse an offer from such an "innovative company" like Google. Dugan has accepted the offer, and will slide into an unspecified "senior executive position" with Google. Currently there's no word on when exactly she'll join Google, but it should be over the next few weeks.
Considering Dugan worked for a company that worked on shape-shifting robots, Mach 20 missiles and mind-controlled limbs, it would have to be an extraordinary opportunity for her to switch ranks and join Google. Working for DARPA must feel like working for Skynet, so maybe that's what made her change her mind? Maybe she saw some crazy things at DARPA that just made her want to disconnect and have more of a "real" job where she could talk about what she was working on with her loved ones, friends, etc.
Continue reading: Director of DARPA leaves, joins Google (full post)
GAME goes up for sale, no trade-ins, and no 1UP's left
It was only a little over 24 hours ago that we reported that game retailer, GAME, had "two weeks to turn its fortune around", but it seems those two weeks were a bit of a stretch. It's now being reported that The Game Group PLC is losing share prices, and fast. Dropping from 62p per share of last year down to a catastrophic 1.28p per share yesterday.
In response to this, the group has now placed their entire business up for sale, desperately looking for a buyer. GAME owns 610 stores in the UK alone, with 6,000 staff, as well as another 4,000 staff and 663 more stores across the world, with brands such as ScoreGames, Centro Mail, GAME, Gameplay, and Gamestation. The board has said:
It is uncertain whether any of the solutions currently being explored by the board will be successful or will result in any value being attribute to the shares of the company ... It has not been possible to source new products from a number of suppliers.
Continue reading: GAME goes up for sale, no trade-ins, and no 1UP's left (full post)
PC gaming is not quite dead, generates $18.6 billion in 2011
The latest report from the PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA) paints a different picture to the "PC gaming is dying/dead" argument, citing record software sales reaching $18.6 billion in 2011, a 15-percent increase over 2010.
This increase in sales, is said to be attributed to China, where they're seeing a growth twice as fast as the global market, generating $6 billion for a 27-percent jump on-year. Surprisingly, no geographical market declined in sales, with the US, UK, Germany, Korea and Japan seeing a nice 11-percent boost to $8 billion in revenue.
PCGA does not that free-to-play games provided a very nice slice of that profit pie, with Zynga alone reporting $1.1 billion in sales. The report reads:
Continue reading: PC gaming is not quite dead, generates $18.6 billion in 2011 (full post)
Valve Corporation is now worth $3 billion, Gabe is worth $1.5 billion or more
Forbes has a nice article out, where they've stated that Valve co-founder and managing director, Gabe Newell is one of the richest people on the planet, with an estimated net worth of $1.5 billion, he ranks in at 854th out of 1,226 global billionaires.
Newell made his debut on Forbes' list of world billionaires, as Valve had a smash-hit 2011. Valve had massive success in both in-house developed games such as Portal 2, but as a game distributor, where Steam doubles its sales for the seventh straight year, and now features over 40 million users.
With the "most conservative estimates", Valve's enterprise value sits at more than $3 billion, and because Newell owns more than 50-percent of the company, he is worth in excess of $1.5 billion. The privately-held Valve Corporation are hush-hush when it comes to revenues, and Newell himself doesn't comment on his personal finances. So, Forbes consulted with video game industry insiders, equity analysts, investment bankers, and technology analysts to figure out just how much Valve is worth.
Continue reading: Valve Corporation is now worth $3 billion, Gabe is worth $1.5 billion or more (full post)
The US has filed paperwork to extradite Kim Dotcom from New Zealand
The US is hungry for blood over the MegaUpload debacle, and now US prosecutors have filed papers that seek the extradition of Kim Dotcom, founder of MegaUpload, along with three colleagues, who are charged in the US with allegedly running a criminal enterprise responsible for online piracy of copyrighted goods.
The extradition papers jumped over the pond on Friday and found themselves on the desk of the North Shore District Court in Auckland, New Zealand, confirmed by the country's Ministry of Justice's spokeswoman said on Monday, according to PCWorld. It was decided on Wednesday by the High Court of New Zealand, Auckland Registry that Dotcom could stay free on bail, after government prosecutors acting on behalf of US authorities appealed a February 22 decision of the District Court to grant Dotcom bail.
The judge has said that he understands the extradition hearing won't take place until August, and also observed that for Dotcom "to be incarcerated for another six months awaiting the extradition hearing, the risk of flight has to be a real one". Dotcom has an electronic monitoring device monitoring his every move, which was one of his bail conditions, which has reduced the risk of flight, he said. He added:
Continue reading: The US has filed paperwork to extradite Kim Dotcom from New Zealand (full post)
AMD sells GloFo shares to ATIC for a cool $425 million
Just three years after spinning its semiconductor manufacturing arm into a separate entity called GlobalFoundries (or, GloFo), AMD is now giving up the remaining shares they hold of the company to Abu Dhabi-based Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC).
The deal was announced late-Sunday, which includes a $425 million payment by AMD to GloFo over two years, as well as a renegotiated wafer pricing deal. This year, both firms have agreed on a fixed water pricing under a "take or pay" arrangements. On top of this, they've also established a framework for wafter pricing in 2013, as well as agreeing that AMD's additional 2012 quarterly payment obligations specified in the 2011 amendment, totalling $430 million, will be waived.
Still, AMD continues to be one of GlobalFoundries' key customers, with the breakup giving AMD more flexibility in sourcing its chips. It also gives GloFo a better position to diversify its customer base. One of the first things to come from this newly-formed deal, is that AMD are now no longer bound by an exclusive arrangement to manufacture their 28nm-based APUs at GlobalFoundries, something that has been rumored since November due to a slow, low-yield production ramp.
Continue reading: AMD sells GloFo shares to ATIC for a cool $425 million (full post)