Microsoft is trimming the fat with 18,000 layoffs

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Date: Monday, July 21st, 2014, 08:47
Category: Announcement, Business, Microsoft, News, Windows

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It’s not an easy thing being a Microsoft employee right now, as the software giant is doing quite a bit of refocusing which means some of those workers will inevitably be left in the dust. Just ask the 13,000 employees who were let go last Thursday after CEO Satya Nadella outlined the coming changes in an email to employees sent the morning that the axe fell. About 12,500 of those layoffs were actually Nokia employees who only recently became Microsoft employees as the result of a $7.2 billion acquisition of the company in April. However, the layoff spree isn’t finished as there are still 5500 more layoffs to come in the next six months according to a report at Business Insider.

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Will Siri have to answer to Samsung?

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Date: Wednesday, June 18th, 2014, 08:01
Category: Apple, Business, iPhone, Mac, News, Samsung, Siri, Software

siri-icon-ios7According to The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), the voice-recognition tech company behind Apple’s Siri assistant may be in talks with Samsung to sell its technology to Apple’s most notorious competitor. Nuance has reportedly been in talks with several potential buyers as the company seeks to sell off its highly sought after voice-to-text translation software. According to some sources familiar with one of the companies involved, Samsung and other private-equity firms have been part of discussions surrounding a possible sale of the company. In addition to Siri, Nuance provides the technology behind Dragon Naturally Speaking software for both Mac and PC, as well as Samsung’s own phones, tablets, and wearable devices.

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Does Clinkle have a shot at competing in the mobile payments game?

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Date: Friday, June 6th, 2014, 08:37
Category: Business, Finance, Mobile, retail, Services

clinkle_iconSo, you may be asking, “What is Clinkle?”. It would be a good question too since there hasn’t been a lot said about it given Clinkle’s “cloak of secrecy” about its development. In fact, during its beta period (still ongoing), employees were allowed to offer the service to friends and family with the specification that none of them could be journalists. Clinkle purports to be the next big thing in mobile payments, but frankly there is not much known about it other than some of the drama surrounding it. More on that in a moment.

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Is peace on the horizon for smartphone rivals?

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Date: Tuesday, May 20th, 2014, 08:20
Category: Apple, Business, Google, Legal, News, Opinion, Patents, Samsung

gavel_transI’m not holding my breath that the Apple vs. Samsung patent war will end any time soon, but perhaps there is hope that one day in the future, we won’t have to read any more posts or articles about the never-ending ruling appeals filed by Apple or Samsung, or at least not as many. As of last Friday, Apple and Google have agreed to drop all current patent infringement lawsuits between them and move on with their lives.

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Apple’s data centers to be powered by water? [update]

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Date: Tuesday, April 15th, 2014, 09:44
Category: Apple, Business, Environment, News, The Apple Core

green-energy-plugI don’t think Greenpeace can say that Apple isn’t trying. Apple’s huge data center in North Carolina, which powers iCloud, uses huge amounts of power, and until recently has been utilizing available sources of energy which are primarily coal-burning sources such as those supplied by companies such as North Carolina’s Duke Energy. This is something about which Apple has been catching flak from environmentalists, but late last year, Apple took control of a project built by Earth By Design (EBD), a Oregon-based developer of green energy, that uses small Kaplan turbines built adjacent to a local irrigation canal. According to WIRED;

“[...] a regulatory filing [says that] the project will generate 5 megawatts of power, enough electricity to power a small town, but a fraction of what Apple’s Prineville, Oregon, data center will ultimately require. As users increasingly store their data and photos in the iCloud, Apple has been forced to rapidly ramp up the number of servers it runs in the iCloud. In the past few years, the company has developed new data centers in Prineville, Maiden, North Carolina, and Reno, Nevada.”

Greenpeace has lauded this as a groundbreaking move by Apple. According to Greenpeace analyst Gary Cook, “This is certainly the first time I’ve seen this being this done by a private company and not a utility.”. Meanwhile, other companies have turned to solar and wind to power their data centers which is just as important in the move towards more responsible power usage by major technology companies.

 

Update:

If you’d like a more in-depth look at the 45-Mile Hydroelectric Project and how it works, check out Jason O’Grady’s post on ZDNet.

 

 

Amazon grabs a new demographic…comic book readers

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 11th, 2014, 09:44
Category: Amazon, Announcement, Business, iPad

comics-by-comixologyIf you love comic books and love reading on your iPad, you’ve probably heard of comiXology. The company (and app) are responsible for bringing comic books into the digital age of online purchasing and reading content on a mobile device. So it was only a matter of time before it attracted the eye of the largest online source for purchasing reading material. ComiXology’s CEO, David Steinberger, posted the news on their web site Thursday afternoon that they had been purchased by Amazon.

 

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Amazon raises Prime pricetag to $99

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Date: Thursday, March 20th, 2014, 09:50
Category: Amazon, Business, News, retail

amazon-money1Back in February, we wrote about rumors that Amazon might be raising the cost of its Prime service as much as $40. Amazon decided to split the difference rather than alienate all its customers by only raising the price by $20, but it seems that was enough to rile up a lot of Amazon Prime customers into threatening to stop paying for the service. An email was recently sent to current subscribers to notify them of the change which included an explanation for the price increase;

“Even as fuel and transportation costs have increased, the price of Prime has remained the same for nine years. Since 2005, the number of items eligible for unlimited free Two-Day Shipping has grown from one million to over 20 million. We also added unlimited access to over 40,000 movies and TV episodes with Prime Instant Video and a selection of over 500,000 books to borrow from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.”

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Burstly Acquired By Apple

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Date: Tuesday, February 25th, 2014, 09:10
Category: Android, Announcement, Apple, Apps, Business, Developer, iOS, iPhone, Software

burstly-acquires-testflightApple buys up yet another company, and it isn’t even the end of February yet. Burstly is the parent company of popular mobile app testing platform, TestFlight. TechCrunch received a number of leads and announced last Friday that Apple was the suspected purchaser. Hints that something was going on began last Wednesday when TestFlight made announcements that it would be terminating Android support as of March 21, as well as discontinuing its TestFlight SDK. These shutdowns have apparently taken developers using the tools by surprise, as there appeared to be no warning or confirmation of the changes, leaving users of TestFlight in the lurch. Developers who have commented on the changes are understandably annoyed, but the hope is that Apple will use their newly acquired assets to improve their own app development and testing tools, which many have said is lacking in features and usefulness. Unfortunately, this is no consolation to Android developers who will be left out in the cold to find new testing tools. Reportedly, the Burstly team is already hard at work at Apple. Here’s hoping that this means better things for iOS development in the future.

 

 

WhatsApp finally gets its buyout netting a cool $19 billion

Posted by:
Date: Friday, February 21st, 2014, 14:26
Category: Announcement, Apps, Business, Mobile, Services, Social, Software

facebook-whatsappLast Spring, rumors were in the air that Google might be buying up the messaging app WhatsApp, the iMessage-like online texting service, but the sale never happened. Honestly, I had forgotten that the Google acquisition didn’t happen, so I was really surprised when Facebook announced it was snapping it up. Yes, that number is correct, $19 billion. Who knew they had that much lying around? Ok, it wasn’t a straight up $19 bil, it was $4 billion in cash, $12 billion in shares, and $3 billion in restricted stock for the founders and employees that’ll divest over the next 4 years. Pretty good take overall.

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Will Siri be driving you to work in your new Apple Car?

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Date: Tuesday, February 18th, 2014, 19:33
Category: Apple, battery, Business, iPhone, Rumor, Siri, Software

teslaThe latest Apple buzz has been about its interest in…cars. As far back as 2012, there has been talk of Apple making agreements with up to nine auto-makers to integrate access to Siri on the iPhone, directly with car controls. The system, now called Siri Eyes Free, has already been incorporated into select Chevrolet and Honda models, with BMW and General Motors planning to put Eyes Free in a number of 2014 vehicles. Now it has been brought to light that Apple has been talking with Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, since last year. This could easily be attributed as part of Apple’s plans to get Siri Eyes Free into as many cars as possible.

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