Business, Financial & Legal News - Page 276

All the latest Business, Financial & Legal news as it relates to tech, gaming, and science - Page 276.

Follow TweakTown on Google News

Microsoft have (for now) halted plans for Web TV subscription

Anthony Garreffa | Jan 12, 2012 2:25 AM CST

Microsoft has clamped down its plans to launch an online subscription service for TV shows and movies, according to a report from Reuters. Microsoft were deep in discussion with potential programming partners for over 12 months now, and were, up until recently, planning to launch the service in the upcoming months.

They have done a 180-degree turn on that decision, after deciding that the licensing costs were too high for the business model they envisaged, according to people "familiar with the discussions". One senior media executive who was involved in these talks, said:

They built Microsoft TV, they demoed it for us, they asked for rate cards but then said 'ooh ah, that's expensive.'

Continue reading: Microsoft have (for now) halted plans for Web TV subscription (full post)

Reddit prepares for anti-SOPA blackout, planned for January 18 between 8am and 8pm

Anthony Garreffa | Jan 11, 2012 7:44 PM CST

Thank you, Reddit. For being one of the biggest sites on the Internet opposed to the ridiculous, corrupt crap that is SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act). We've covered it a few times now and I'm completely, 100-percent opposed to it. This is something where everyone needs to be aware, and pass news around as much as possible to make others aware.

If SOPA is passed, everything you know about the Internet will change, completely. It will not be the same. It's pretty much the censorship of the entire Internet. Reddit, being as strong as they are, and very community-based, are fighting against it. Reddit will be blacking out their entire site on January 18 from 8am-8pm EST (1300-0100 UTC) as a protest.

Reddit will simply display a message about how the PIPA/SOPA legislation would shut down sites like Reddit, and they'll link users to resources where they can learn more, and suggest ways they can take action. They'll also showcase the live video stream of the House hearing, where Internet entrepreneurs and technical experts will be testifying.

Continue reading: Reddit prepares for anti-SOPA blackout, planned for January 18 between 8am and 8pm (full post)

OCZ acquires Israel-based SANRAD Inc.

Anthony Garreffa | Jan 9, 2012 7:37 PM CST

OCZ Technology have been snapping up companies lately and today is no different with the acquisition of SANRAD Inc., an Israel-based provider of flash caching and virtualization software and hardware. The addition of intellectual property to OCZ's growing portfolio is expected to increase the adoption of PCIe SSD storage solutions specifically in VMware and Citrix Zen environments.

SANRAD currently sells its flash caching and virtualization software to OEMs such as NEXSAN and Brocade. The deal between OCZ and SANRAD is reportedly worth approximately $15 million, which consists of approx. 2.1 million shares of OCZ stock. From the press release:

SANRAD's VXL software delivers SANRAD's flash caching and virtualization technology for VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix Xen into server virtualization platforms. VXL software enables efficient dynamic distribution of host-based flash resources to guest virtual machines via its application optimized cache engine. The VXL SCSI connectivity enables support of most modern operating systems including all variants of Windows, FreeBSD, Solaris and Linux servers, in contrast to other caching solutions which require an installation of an agent or driver on each VM.

Continue reading: OCZ acquires Israel-based SANRAD Inc. (full post)

Consumer Electronic sales during holiday period dropped 6% from last year

Anthony Garreffa | Jan 8, 2012 11:27 PM CST

The Consumer Electronics Show starts up this week and right out of the gate in relation to consumer electronics is a report from the NPD Group: Consumer electronic sales during the 2011 holiday period dropped 6-percent when compared to 2010.

But, it doesn't look like it'll get any better. The NPD Weekly Tracking Service notes that the decline comes off of another decline from the year before. 2011's drop was not as bad as 2010's bad, but it shows the direction the market is headed. NPD says:

Total consumer technology sales (excluding cell phones, tablets, e-readers, and video games) fell 5.9 percent to around $9.5 billion for the 5 weeks ending December 24, a slight improvement over the 6.2 percent decline in 2010.

Continue reading: Consumer Electronic sales during holiday period dropped 6% from last year (full post)

Steam had a huge 2011, 100% sales growth, 5 million simultaneous users during Holiday Sale

Anthony Garreffa | Jan 8, 2012 7:12 PM CST

Valve just released their 2011 growth data for Steam, and during 2011 the platform grew to offer over 1,800 games to more than 40 million accounts. Year-over-year unit sales increased by more than 100-percent for the seventh straight year, and during the 2011 Holiday Sale, Steam's simultaneous user numbers ballooned to over 5 million players at once.

If you're a storage fan, get this: Steam doubled the amount of content delivered from 2010, to serve over 780 Petabytes (with a P!) of data to gamers around the world. To sustain this demand for bandwidth, the Steam infrastructure more than doubled its service capacity and a new content delivery architecture was deployed to improve user download rates.

Steamworks-powered games hit 14.5 million copies registered in 2011, a 67-percent increase over 2010. Included Steamworks titles were huge sellers like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and more. Since Steamworks started over three years ago, it has shipped in over 400 games. Gabe Newell, co-founder, president of Valve and my personal super hero, says:

Continue reading: Steam had a huge 2011, 100% sales growth, 5 million simultaneous users during Holiday Sale (full post)

30-story building built in China, only took 360 hours, timelapse video included

Anthony Garreffa | Jan 7, 2012 9:10 PM CST

This is something truly amazing, Xian Min Zhang sent in a video to Gizmodo of his company's latest project, a 30-story tall, 183,000-square-foot hotel built in just 360 hours. 360 hours is just an amazing 15 days. What is more impressive is that it's not just a simple hotel built, there are some great features built-in.

The hotel was built near the Dongting lake, in the Hunan Province, China, by Broad Group, a Chinese construction company who specializes in sustainable architecture. The building uses prefabricated modules (with a +/- 0.2mm precision in the fabrication process) mounted on a steel structure, with diagonal steel bracing.

What impressed me the most, are the following features of the building: it can resist a 9-magnitude earthquake (and was tested by the China Academy of Building Research), which is claimed to be five times more earthquake-resistant than conventional buildings. It is also five times more more energy efficient, with 6-inch thick glass curtain wall insulation and four-paned windows with built-in shades, a heat recovery system and 3-stage filtration air conditioning process that actually purifies indoor air to be 20 times (!) purer than the air outside.

Continue reading: 30-story building built in China, only took 360 hours, timelapse video included (full post)

AMD gets sued by Quanta, due to faulty laptop chips

Anthony Garreffa | Jan 5, 2012 5:31 AM CST

AMD may have had a successful Radeon HD 7000-series launch, but 2012 is not starting off well for their laptop division. Quanta Computer, a Taiwanese company that manufactures laptops for companies such as HP, Dell, Acer, and others, is suing AMD for an alleged breach of contract.

Quanta Computer are claiming that AMD chips used in laptops made for NEC were defective. No specific models have been mentioned, but both AMD and ATI are mentioned in the report, meaning that the complaints could cover GPUs, CPUs or, both. The problem that Quanta have with the chips is heat tolerance issues in a particular laptop line, but again, no models are mentioned.

Quanta claims that it "has suffered significant injury to prospective revenue and profits" and they are suing for breach of warranty, negligent misrepresentation, civil fraud, and interference with a contract.

Continue reading: AMD gets sued by Quanta, due to faulty laptop chips (full post)

SOPA update: Google, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter consider "nuclear option" to protest SOPA

Anthony Garreffa | Jan 4, 2012 6:27 AM CST

Imagine you wake up tomorrow, pull your smartphone or tablet from your bedside table, click the Facebook icon and wait for it to load. It loads, and shows you a simple page of "We have taken Facebook down in support of SOPA, if you're against the act, please call X" and with X is your local representative, or whoever Facebook decide to redirect you to.

You think, no wait, there's no way this is happening. You Google the issue. Google's page doesn't load and a similar site is up. Your heart sinks and you think Skynet have finally taken over. A T-101 will step through your door and ask if Sarah Connor lives there, before shooting your home up.

Well, that was a great introduction into what could be the biggest arsenal that the Internet has against the crap that is SOPA. According to Markham Erickson, head of the NetCoalition trade association, there has been talk of a so-called "nuclear option", where Google, Amazon, eBay, and Yahoo! would all simultaneously go dark to protest SOPA and to highlight the fundamental danger the legislation poses to the function of the Internet itself.

Continue reading: SOPA update: Google, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter consider "nuclear option" to protest SOPA (full post)

HP tried to palm off (geddit?) WebOS to Amazon and others for $1.2 billion

Anthony Garreffa | Jan 3, 2012 2:21 AM CST

HP's TouchPad has gone through a million and one things, and another piece of the puzzle has leaked out that they tried to palm off its Palm/WebOS properties to potential buyers for a very nice $1.2 billion.

That is the same price HP paid for the company back in 2010, and even then, were criticized by analysts for the expensive buyout claiming the deal sorely overvalued Palm and that was over a year ago now. HP tapped the wallets of Amazon, Intel, Facebook and even Samsung to offload Palm. No one was willing to make such a large investment though.

Not only did HP put a $1.2 billion price tag on the property of Palm/WebOS, they insisted they maintained rights to use WebOS in their printers. Most companies would look away once they realised HP were flogging off the property for the same price, with preconditions and stipulations stuck to it. After being unable to rid themselves of Palm/WebOS, HP sent the project to the open-source bin so it can evolve, free of obligations from the company.

Continue reading: HP tried to palm off (geddit?) WebOS to Amazon and others for $1.2 billion (full post)

Taiwan foundries to cut prices

Anthony Garreffa | Jan 2, 2012 6:26 AM CST

The world may be going through some changes, and I really think we're just beginning to scrape the surface of a real GFC, but Taiwanese foundries are talking about slicing prices by 10- to 15-percent for wafters built on mature node processes.

These wafters have lower production costs, so the foundries are passing on the savings to you and me, the customer. The move is said to build consumer confidence in building their inventory after a shaky 2011 in the U.S. and European markets. DigiTimes reports that although there is slow demand for mature process manufacturing, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) continues to see orders build up for the advanced 28nm technology (such as the great Radeon HD 7970 from AMD), according to sources at non Taiwan-based chip suppliers.

This is only a good thing, savings on technology. It also allows vendors to buy cheaper, and pass those savings onto the customer, too. All we need now is a drop in the mid to high-end range of GPUs and I'll be happy. Give me some HD 7970's for under $500 AUD and I'll be a happy chappy.

Continue reading: Taiwan foundries to cut prices (full post)