Business, Financial & Legal News - Page 249

All the latest Business, Financial & Legal news as it relates to tech, gaming, and science - Page 249.

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Xfinity Voice gets free voice, text messaging over WiFi using Xfinity Connect Mobile app

Trace Hagan | May 22, 2012 5:32 PM CDT

Customers of Comcast's Xfinity Voice will be getting some new features which could help customers save money. The new feature is called "Voice 2go" and will allow users to make calls over WiFi using their home phone number. The new service will also allow users to text from the number while on WiFi.

"We continue to enhance our Xfinity Voice service by adding new features consumers have come to expect from smartphones and mobile technology," said Cathy Avgiris, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Data and Communications Services. "These new tools enable customers to stay connected to their home phone service and take it with them virtually wherever they go."

Using the newly redesigned Xfinity Connect Mobile app, customers can make and receive calls and texts messages for free while using WiFi. The service will also work over a mobile phone's 3G or 4G data connection and not use any minutes. These text messages can also be sent internationally to over 40 countries, including Canada, Brazil, China and, soon, Mexico.

Continue reading: Xfinity Voice gets free voice, text messaging over WiFi using Xfinity Connect Mobile app (full post)

Google announces finalization of Motorola Mobility acquisition

Trace Hagan | May 22, 2012 11:01 AM CDT

Motorola has had a good run as its own company. They literally invented the mobile phone. But, as of late, they haven't been doing so well and Google has been courting them for some time. The deal has finally closed over seas in China, which is the last place that was holding back approval of the acquisition. Google has acquired MMI for $40.00 per share in cash which totals near $12.5 billion.

The CEO of Motorola Mobility has stepped down and Google has replaced them with one of their own. Dennis Woodside, formerly President of the Americas region for Google, will step up and become Motorola's next CEO. Google will continue to run Motorola as a separate company as well as keeping Android an open operating system.

Larry Page, CEO of Google, said:

Continue reading: Google announces finalization of Motorola Mobility acquisition (full post)

Machinima nabs $35 million in funding, led by Google

Anthony Garreffa | May 22, 2012 2:37 AM CDT

Online video creator, Machinima has had a great funding round, where they received $35 million in funding. This was led by Google, which also included existing investors found in Redpoint Ventures, and MK Capital. If you remember, Google's YouTube were after some original programming, and have been investing heavily to do so.

At the moment, Machinima's network is the largest single page view generator for YouTube, where it enjoyed more than 1.6 billion video views in the month of April. So we can see why Google ponied up for the online video creator.

YouTube is also an invaluable partner of Machinima, as YouTube is the company's primary distribution and monetization platform. Machinima plans to spend the money on investing in content and global sales, as well as international expansion and distribution. This latest move from Google shows just how important online video will be in the future, while it's not a huge investment, Machinima by itself brings in some serious viewers.

Continue reading: Machinima nabs $35 million in funding, led by Google (full post)

Foxconn to spend $210 million that would be used exclusively by Apple

Anthony Garreffa | May 22, 2012 12:25 AM CDT

Foxconn are close to getting their cheque book out and writing a fat one for Apple to the tune of $210 million for a new production line that would be used by Apple, exclusively. The new investment would pave the way for the project to start in October in Hua'an City, part of the Jiangsu province in China, reports the China Daily.

The new plant will be of a decent size, measuring 40,000 square meters, and should hire 35,800 new employees. This is great for the local economy. The annual output of the new plant is set to be between $949 million and $1.1 billion, with the import and export value sitting at around $55.8 million.

35,800 new employees might sound good, but the Foxconn Zhengzhou Technology Park that is dedicated to making iPhones employs 120,000 people, while the Shenzhen-based plant employs an insane 200,000 people.

Continue reading: Foxconn to spend $210 million that would be used exclusively by Apple (full post)

Yahoo sells half the shares it owns in Alibaba, rakes in $7.1 billion

Anthony Garreffa | May 21, 2012 9:50 PM CDT

Yahoo have been having a hard time lately, with increased competition from Google and others, and have just announced today that they have reached a deal to sell part of their stake in China's biggest internet company, Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd.

The deal will have Alibaba buying back half of Yahoo's 40-percent stake in the group for a nice $7.1 billion. Alibaba will wave $6.3 billion in cash in front of Yahoo, as well as $800 million in Alibaba preferred stock. Alibaba are also required to buy back a quarter of the remaining shares at the price of a future IPO, or alternatively, allow Yahoo to sell them in the expected public offering in the near future.

This deal now pits Alibaba Group's worth at around $35 billion. Alibaba CEO Jack Ma said in a statement to Bloomberg:

Continue reading: Yahoo sells half the shares it owns in Alibaba, rakes in $7.1 billion (full post)

Spotify launches in Australia and New Zealand

Trace Hagan | May 21, 2012 8:52 PM CDT

Spotify says "G'day" to Australia. In other words, Spotify is now available for use in Australia. This should make a good number of Australians happy, including our very own Anthony Garreffa. Spotify is launching three versions including Spotify Free, Spotify Unlimited, and Spotify Premium.

"Spotify is a game changer," says Kate Vale, Spotify's Managing Director Australia and New Zealand. "This is a revolutionary new music service that's free, simple, and provides lightning-fast access to one of the world's biggest music libraries. We hope Australian music fans will love Spotify as much as they do across Europe and the US."

Spotify Free is, as the name suggests free, and is ad supported. Spotify Unlimited costs $6.99 a month and gives users ad free access to Spotify a user's PC. Spotify Premium is $11.99 a month and provides the same features as the two prior and also allows users to listen to Spotify on the go on a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device.

Continue reading: Spotify launches in Australia and New Zealand (full post)

Dish Network gets a warning from Discovery CEO about skipping ads

Trace Hagan | May 21, 2012 1:36 PM CDT

Discovery's CEO is not one bit happy with Dish Network's new ad skipping technology in the Hopper DVR. Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav has let Dish Network know that skipping ads could damage the industry as content creators lose one of their revenue streams. As a result, subscription fees would likely skyrocket.

"Charlie Ergen and Dish are a distributor of content," he said. "They need us to reach homes with our content. And if there is not going to be advertising fees, then there needs to be a lot higher subscriber fees." With increasingly expensive shows and production costs, quality content needs to money offered by advertisers to keep subscription costs low.

As of right now, the Hopper DVR's technology only works on broadcast TV, but that doesn't mean it couldn't be used on premium channels such as Discovery. Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt agrees that the technology could easily destroy TV. "The dual stream of advertising and subscription revenue has been great for content creators," he said. "We have more TV than we could have ever imagined. I don't think we want to destroy one of those revenue streams."

Continue reading: Dish Network gets a warning from Discovery CEO about skipping ads (full post)

Microsoft: Windows Phone is beating the iPhone in China

Anthony Garreffa | May 21, 2012 3:20 AM CDT

Microsoft's Windows Phone stepped through the doors of China just two months ago, and in that time the Redmond-based company has already secured 7-percent of the smartphone market share.

Apple's iPhone has just 6-percent of the market share in China, which means in two months time, Microsoft are doing quite well for themselves overseas. Microsoft's Chief Operating Officer for the Greater China Region (wouldn't that look good on your resume?), Michel van der Bel, sees the market ghrowing further, saying "we've only just begun".

He notes that the combination of smartphones and Windows PC tablets will boost Microsoft's traction among both Chinese individuals, and businesses. Microsoft do face continued competition from Android, who has an astonishing 69-percent market share in China. Microsoft currently employs 2,500 or so people in its R&D department in China, but Bel says that Microsoft needs to, and will have to invest much more into the country.

Continue reading: Microsoft: Windows Phone is beating the iPhone in China (full post)

Facebook completes first post-public acquisition, acquires Karma

Trace Hagan | May 18, 2012 5:29 PM CDT

There's been a lot of news today about Facebook and its IPO and here is another. Facebook has just completed its first acquisition after becoming a publicly traded company. The mobile commerce startup Karma has been acquired by Facebook. Karma specializes in apps for gifting friends and family. The acquisition sees 16 employees joining Facebook.

The terms of the deal are undisclosed as of now. The acquisition should help Facebook monetize its app and mobile offerings, something its admittedly weak in. Facebook said in a statement: "We've been really impressed with the Karma team and all they accomplished in such a short time. This acquisition combines Karma's passion and innovative mobile app with Facebook's platform to help people connect and share in new and meaningful ways."

Karma also posted on its own blog:

Continue reading: Facebook completes first post-public acquisition, acquires Karma (full post)

A new study shows BitTorrent piracy leads to higher album sales

Trace Hagan | May 18, 2012 2:33 PM CDT

BitTorrent may not be all bad for the music industry which is contrary to how they would like to portray it. It seems that piracy could aid album sales, if a new study is to be believed. North Carolina State University assistant professor Robert Hammond examined prerelease albums being BitTorrented and the album sales of said albums.

The investigation netted some interesting results. What he found was that there was a correlation between the two, although it was pretty small. Keep in mind that correlation does not equate to causation. Since this is an observational study rather than an experiment, it's impossible to say with certainty that BitTorrent aids album sales.

It is, however, possible to indicate that they seem to. After watching 1095 albums, Hammond noted "The findings suggest that file sharing of an album benefits its sales. I don't find any evidence of a negative effect in any specification using any instrument." The average increase in sales was around 59.6 albums, so its not a landslide increase.

Continue reading: A new study shows BitTorrent piracy leads to higher album sales (full post)