Will replace bank-sponsored system with competing mobile wallet platform next year
Following reader complaints of Rite-Aid stores no longer accepting Apple Pay or Google Wallet payments (following a brief period where both worked properly) and a "cone of silence" from PR representatives, leaked documents have revealed that the reversal by Rite-Aid on accepting NFC-based payments was deliberate, and that it may never accept Apple Pay, since it is planning to go with a rival mobile payments platform -- sometime next year.
Beats Music expected to be rebuilt, integrated into iTunes
Sales at Apple's iTunes Store have fallen between 13 and 14 percent in 2014 so far, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. That represents a steepening decline, coming in the wake of a 2.1 percent dip in 2013. The trend is believed to be connected to the music industry's overall swing away from downloads, and towards streaming subscription services like Pandora and Spotify.
Service would help shoppers make better decisions about online purchases
Former Apple retail chief Ron Johnson, along with his former Apple colleague Jerry McDougal and former Apple creative director Tom Suiter have teamed up in a new retail-oriented startup endeavor called Enjoy, promising to help consumers spend more wisely instead of just aiming for the cheapest price. The company, which launches next year, will help consumers make smarter choices on buying, such as educating shoppers on the finer points of a camera to promote the best overall value.
Nationwide preliminary injunction granted, company exploring further options for survival
Aereo was dealt another blow in its battle to survive today thanks to a New York court. US District Judge Alison Nathan ruled in favor of broadcasters in a 17-page decision, putting a nationwide preliminary injunction in place against the startup. As a result, Aereo can no longer operate its "Watch Now" system that allowed television programs to be rebroadcasted over the Internet.
Surface revenue increases 122 percent, commercial revenue up 10 percent
Microsoft beat analyst expectations for the first quarter of 2015 today, posting $23.20 billion in revenue with a diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.54. Analysts expected the company to post EPS of $0.50 on $22.02 billion in revenue. Strong sales in consumer hardware and a 10 percent growth in the commercial sector were responsible for the boost in revenue.
Wall Street expecting Amazon to rein in ambitions, turn a profit
Amazon.com today announced financial results for its third quarter that ended on September 30. Net sales increased 20 percent to $20.58 billion in the third quarter, compared with $17.09 billion in the third quarter of 2013. Despite the increase, Amazon's net loss was $437 million in the third quarter, or $0.95 per diluted share, compared with net loss of $41 million, or $0.09 per diluted share in the same time period of of 2013.
Move comes as the company looks to strengthen services on a global scale
Xiaomi announced this week that it's taking steps to strengthen its services across the globe after an expanded server infrastructure effort started earlier in the year. As a part of the server expansion, the company said that data from international users of Xiaomi products is being transferred out of the central data centers in Beijing.
Proposed Internet tax could help Hungary with national budget deficit
Internet providers in Hungary may find their costs will increase, as the government mulls a possible tax on Internet traffic. A draft tax bill for 2015 has been submitted to the country's parliament, one which would require companies to pay for data transfers, as the country attempts to deal with a national budget deficit in alternative ways.
Factory will require government investment
Apple's chief assembly partner, Foxconn, is hoping to gain orders for iPhone displays by building a new factory in Zhengzhou, China, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. The company is allegedly in talks with Zhengzhou's government about getting financial help for the factory, which could cost up to 35 billion yuan, or about $5.7 billion. One of the topics under discussion is how much money local government would have to invest in the project.
Former sapphire supplier will keep control of Mesa assets
(Updated with Apple response, hints at future initiatives) GT has confirmed its split with Apple via a press release, offering further details on the terms. "GT will be released from all exclusivity obligations under its various agreements with Apple," the statement explains. "GT will retain ownership of all production, ancillary and inventory assets located in Mesa [Arizona] and Apple is provided with a mechanism for recovering its $439 million pre-payment made to GT over a period of up to four years without interest, solely from a portion of the proceeds from ASF sales.
Man arrested in April for violating weapons laws convicted for printing two firearms
In what could be the first conviction for making a firearm with a desktop 3D printer, a former Japanese college employee was sentenced to almost two years in jail earlier this week after being arrested earlier this year. The 28-year-old man was convicted for printing at least two functional and lethal firearms, capable of firing bullets -- in violation of Japan's strict gun laws.
Company directly refers to plaintiff as 'patent troll,' calls for continued patent reform
Non-practicing entity GPNE, which had tried to sue Apple over alleged infringement of expired pager-related 3G wireless patents, has come away completely empty-handed after a jury exonerated Apple of all charges. The firm, which has attempted to sue or sued most other big-name tech firms over the same or similar patents, had sought $94 million in damages (which Apple had referred to as an "attempt to extort money" from the iPhone maker), but was awarded nothing.
Carrier pulls $33 billion in revenue, added over 2 million mobile, broadband customers
AT&T's quarterly results fell short of industry projections when the company announced $32.9 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2014. The resulting earnings per share (EPS) was $0.63, missing the projected $0.64 EPS on $33.25 billion in revenue. While the company may have missed projections, it announced that it picked up more than two million mobile and broadband customers.
Confidential programming agreements requested in early October source of the delay
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has stopped its "180-day informal time clock" in the review of the merger proposals for Comcast and Time Warner Cable, as well as AT&T and DirectTV. The reason for the stoppage involves the modified joint protective orders that the FCC created at the beginning of October, which content companies are now using to bar outside sources from reading confidential programming agreements.
Unity founder David Helgason remaining with the company
Cross-platform game development engine designers Unity Technologies has named a new chief executive. John Riccitiello, the prior chief of EA, is the new head of the company, with David Helgason stepping down. Helgason will continue with the company, and is planning on focusing on improving relationships with developers as well as "working with some insanely talented people here at Unity."
Sale of Alababa Group shares generate $6.3 billion, mobile now material
Yahoo released its third quarter financial results for 2014, stating that it pulled in approximately $1.15 billion in revenue to beat estimates. Analysts estimated that Yahoo would produce $1.04 billion in revenue, with an earnings per share of $0.30. While the revenue is good news for the company, it's due in large part to the $6.3 billion net of tax the company generated from the sale of shares of the Alibaba Group.
If approved, GT will sell sapphire furnaces to pay back Apple loan
After much bickering in court during bankruptcy proceedings that took Apple and Wall Street by surprise, former sapphire supplier GT Advanced Technologies has worked out an agreement with the iPhone maker that will let it pursue its plan of winding down operations at its Mesa, Arizona plant and laying off nearly 700 employees. Though Apple had initially said it would work to preserve the jobs involved, the deal instead offers incentives to certain employees to help wind down the plant, and provides a way for GT to pay back the money it owes Apple.
Judge dismisses appeal over High Court ruling, assets won't be made public
In the legal battle between file-sharing entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and Hollywood movie studios, a judge has dismissed an appeal that could have saved the Megaupload founder from detailing his current financial assets. The dismissal upholds a July decision, forcing Dotcom to turn over an affidavit for his worldwide assets to the Hollywood studios suing him for copyright infringement in a civil suit.
Social media changes mark first official move away from Nokia banner to Microsoft Lumia
Microsoft is making the shift away from the Nokia brand name official, as it's confirmed that the company is shifting to Microsoft Lumia for future devices. The change in names was first brought up back in September as part of an alleged leak of an internal document that dropped the Nokia name, along with mentions of Windows Phone from devices.
Demand may have pushed up schedule
A loyalty program for Apple Pay may be ready to go in time for the holidays, says Bank Innovation. Some retail sources had previously suggested this was unlikely, in part because of doubt about the prospects of a large shift in customer behavior happening right before the holiday season. Real-world market demand may be pushing up the timetable for a loyalty offering, however.
Unknown number of victims, data taken from PA, NY, NJ
Office supply store Staples appears to be the latest victim of a breach of customer payment information. The company issued a brief statement saying that they were looking into the matter, after several banks reported fraudulent activity with a pattern pointing to the source being Staples stores in the northeastern US.
Odin System-on-Chip may appear in LG G3 variant this week
LG may be getting close to launching its first smartphone using its own application processor, a rumor claims. The device, allegedly being prepared for its unveiling as early as this week, will apparently use the "Odin" System-on-Chip, a move which could bring LG in line with long-time competitor Samsung in developing and using its own processors on devices.
Continued growth in wireless boosting dropping wired profits
Cellular carrier Verizon today reported double-digit, year-over-year percentage growth in reported and adjusted earnings per share for the 10th time in the past 11 quarters. Verizon reported $0.89 in earnings per share in third-quarter 2014, compared with $0.78 per share in third-quarter 2013. Total revenues for the company were $21.8 billion in third-quarter 2014, up seven percent year over year.
Cook announces new trip to Beijing for worker meeting that will be posted online
As is his habit, Apple CEO Tim Cook on Monday released a company-wide memo to employees recapping much of the sales and growth data from the analyst conference call given earlier that afternoon. He referred to the expectation-beating results as "Apple's highest September quarter revenue ever, and our strongest growth rate in seven quarters," adding that this was made possible "by your hard work and dedication." He also noted the big jump in Mac sales, beating industry averages significantly.
Deal allows IBM to focus on research, GlobalFoundries to produce IBM server chips
IBM is getting out of the chip manufacturing, with the company transferring the bulk of its semiconductor business to GlobalFoundries. However, rather than IBM getting a large cash influx from selling the chip division, the company is paying GlobalFoundries $1.5 billion over three years in cash and capital to take the commercial semiconductor business.
Emerging markets, price cuts, back to school seen as key factors
In what CEO Tim Cook called the "best ever" quarter for the Mac, Apple's Mac lineup overall jumped a remarkable 25 percent in a single quarter to 5.52 million units. Making the event more noteworthy is the fact that the growth was achieved prior to any notable refreshes. Instead, what appears to be driving the increase in Mac sales is volume in emerging markets, such as China - where Macs were up 54 percent year-over-year. Price cuts and great back-to-school sales also contributed to the jump.
No mandatory recall taking place as long as small adjustments made by company
Fitbit offered a statement last week on the findings of an investigation into the Force fitness wristband. The company decided to voluntarily pull the device from store shelves in February 2014, as it was thought to be causing rashes on the wrists of users. CEO James Park took to the company's webpage to give an update on the independent testing and other findings from medical experts, confirming what was believed in the preliminary tests in February.
Initiative adds EMV support to government channels, more identity theft protections, reporting
Last week US President Barack Obama signed an executive order that will help consumers that a victims of identity theft, as well as speed up the adoption of the Europay, MasterCard, and Visa (EMV) chip standard for credit and debit cards. In the executive order signed by the president, parts of the federal government will be adopting EMV measures, as well as strengthening the public's ability to monitor financial health or seek help when necessary.
Online abuse proposals quadruple current maximum prison sentences
The government of the United Kingdom is attempting to increase the possible penalties for online harassment, following recent high-profile reports of "trolling" in the country. The proposals, an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill undergoing the latter stages of parliamentary debate, potentially allows for people convicted for trolling to face prison sentences of up to two years, up from the current six-month maximum.
Company claims discount could attract more subscribers
In preparation for relaunching Beats Music next year, Apple is currently pushing record labels to allow lowering monthly subscription fees from $10 to $5, sources say. The company's marketing pitch is allegedly that even Apple's best iTunes customers typically spend about $60 per year, or $5 per month. As such anyone switching from downloads to streaming would generate an equal amount of revenue, and more importantly the potential subscriber pool would increase thanks to more affordable fees.
Many Apple partners missing compatible terminals
The lion's share of early Apple Pay transactions will probably be in-app, rather than ones made at retail stores, admits Apple's senior VP of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue. Over the weekend Cue spoke with the Wall Street Journal about the service, which launches today. In fact many of Apple's merchant partners have yet to receive point-of-sale terminals compatible with Apple Pay, but the company is expecting them to upgrade within the next year.
Zwipe, MasterCard team up to combine fingerprint authentication, contactless payments
At a press event last week, MasterCard and Zwipe announced a new type of payment card dubbed the Zwipe MasterCard. Where the new card is different from the the standard credit or debit card is in the payment process, looking to biometrics to approve purchases. The Zwipe MasterCard uses authentication via fingerprint for MasterCard contactless payment terminals, while retaining Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) chips on cards.
Device working its way through DC bureaucracy, return expected 'very rapidly'
Google has temporarily suspended sales of its recently-announced Nexus Player. After a few hours of preorders had been taken, the company abruptly ceased sales of the device, noting that since the device had not yet been approved by the US Federal Communications Commission, that it is not available.
Rewards and other perks will remain the same as if physical card had been used
Financial services and credit card issuer American Express has posted a new web page on its site, extolling the benefits of Apple Pay and instructing users on how to add their cards to the Passbook-based payment system. The mobile payment system is designed for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus (now expanded to include the latest iPads for online or in-app purchases only) and will be formally rolled out on Monday, alongside the release of iOS 8.1.
Alleged internal changes could lead to Google operating systems merging into one platform
A change in management at Google suggests the search company is still planning to combine Android and Chrome OS, a report suggests. The Wall Street Journal claims Linus Upson, the head engineer of Chrome OS, has left the role and has been replaced by Hiroshi Lockheimer, the vice president of engineering for Android.
Could hit local area hard
GT Advanced plans to lay off 727 workers at its sapphire plant in Mesa, Arizona, according to a mandatory Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification issued to the Mesa City Council. Affected people are said to include 524 in production, 108 in technical jobs, 70 in management, and 25 in administration. The move comes as GT is planning to "wind down" the Mesa plant, and despite Apple's promise that it would try to preserve jobs.
Claims decision contradicts statutes, Supreme Court precedent
Patent holding firm VirnetX has filed a motion with the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, requesting a rehearing of a September decision tossing a $368.2 million verdict against Apple, and asking it to reinstate a District Court's damages award in full. In a press release, VirnetX says the decision was "contrary to the patent statute and Supreme Court precedent." It also asserts that it should receive damage payments on the basis that the District Court properly construed the claim term "secure communication link."
Acquisition of TwitPic notification premature, shutdown rescheduled
Twitter image hosting site TwitPic has failed in its efforts to be acquired, and will be shutting down after all. Discussions over the last-minute acquisition failed, with the company announcing on its blog that it will wind up operations and take the service entirely offline on October 25th, one month after its original closure date, giving users just over a week to back up images stored on TwitPic servers.
Worcester, MA city council advises city manager not to allow Comcast transfer
A city council has declared it does not want Comcast to provide service to its residents. The council of Worcester, MA has voted against the transfer of the city's cable license from Charter to Comcast over the cable giant's "substandard consumer service practices," as well as believing it lacks the management experience to maintain the service for the region.
Net revenues positive for the first time in 2014, reduced workforce will save $9M
AMD missed analyst estimates for the third quarter of 2014 according to the results released by the company on Thursday. Thomson Reuters had estimated that the computer processor and graphics card manufacturer would see $0.04 earnings per share on $1.47 billion in revenue for the quarter. Posted financial results show that AMD saw only $1.43 billion in revenue and $0.02 earnings per share.
Final services of Palm's webOS shutting down, devices will continue to work
Remaining cloud services for webOS are coming to an end, more than three years after HP announced that it was winding down the operating system. Back in August 2011, Hewlett-Packard (HP) said it would no longer be developing products that featured the operating system, prior to it being offloaded to LG Electronics in 2013.
Continued growth in overseas ad markets driving Google growth
Google today reported consolidated revenues of $16.52 billion for the quarter that ended September 30, an increase of 20 percent compared to the third quarter of 2013. In the third quarter of 2014, total acquisition costs totaled $3.35 billion, or 23 percent of advertising revenues. Cost-per-click continues to decline, but continued growth, especially in non-US markets, has far more than offset this price decrease.
Supplier says it won't appeal decision
Sapphire supplier GT Advanced Technologies has today had its stock removed from NASDAQ listings, and is not planning to appeal the decision, according to an announcement by the former. NASDAQ based the decision on GT declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this month. That event caused GT's stock to drop over 90 percent, and it has since slipped even further, last closing at 44 cents yesterday. Shares can still be bought under the GTATQ symbol on the OTC Pink marketplace.
Employees in process of being trained; systems will also support Softcard, Google Wallet
An internal memo at bakery cafe chain and Apple Pay launch partner Panera Bread has confirmed that Apple intends to launch the e-payment system on October 20, and that training is underway throughout the chain, which plans a massive promotional campaign to let customers know it can accept mobile payments using Apple Pay or other NFC-based e-wallet systems. A one-minute video and a FAQ sheet are among the training materials front-line Panera employees will need to get up-to-speed on the new system.
Other carriers' upgrade paths to Android Lollipop unclear
Alongside three hardware announcements, Google has formally named Android 5.0. Previously known as "L," the latest iteration of the search engine giant's mobile operating system is officially titled Lollipop. Previewed at Google I/O earlier this year, the newest revision focuses on its consistent design language that it calls "Material Design," and a new battery saver feature that extends the life of mobile devices in use by up to 90 minutes.
Streaming version of HBO will be offered outside of current pay-TV packages
HBO will be starting up a stand-alone streaming service in the United States, the CEO has confirmed. Starting from next year, the broadcaster will be offering subscriptions to stream its content to customers with broadband Internet connections, without it being bundled alongside other channels as part of a more expensive pay-TV package.
Latest threat fourth to Sarkeesian, cancels over security concerns
Anita Sarkeesian, the creator behind the Feminist Frequency videos on YouTube, was forced to cancel a speech at Utah State University (USU) on October 15 after the institution received several threats regarding her attendance. The biggest threat the university received claimed that "the deadliest school shooting in American history" would take place if she was allowed to speak at the Taggart Student Center.
Google Glass update adds smartwatch-style notifications
Google Glass will soon have the ability to show notifications from a smartphone on the heads-up display, a feature common to smartwatches. Notifications Sync on Glass will show all notifications from the connected Android smartphone, not just those which offer Glass functionality, with the software update expected to roll out to users of the MyGlass app this week.
Revenue up 8 percent over the previous year, mobile division records $1B loss
The rebound of the PC market is benefiting Intel, according to its third quarter results for this fiscal year. In the quarterly report, Intel says that it hit $14.6 billion in revenue for the quarter, an increase of $1.1 billion year-over-year. For the first time in a quarter, Intel shipped over a 100 million microprocessors - a new record for the company. However, not all of the financial news is good, as the mobile and communications group realized a loss of more than $1 billion in the same period.
In light of judge's rejection, plaintiffs now believe agreed-upon settlement too low
In a strange turn of events, the plaintiffs in a lawsuit accusing many of Silicon Valley's top tech companies of suppressing wages by engaging in a "gentlemen's agreement" not to poach employees from each other have now said that Judge Lucy Koh, who is hearing the case, should formally reject a previously agreed-to settlement offer. Following Judge Koh's initial rejection of the $324.5 million settlement -- signed off on by the representatives of the plaintiffs and the companies involved -- the plaintiffs have now agreed with the judge that the sum is a bit too low.