National NewsMicrosoft unveils Xbox One with Spielberg, Activision tie-up
By Bill Rigby and Malathi Nayak REDMOND, Washington (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp unveiled the "Xbox One" on Tuesday, its first new gaming console in eight years, and its strongest push so far to dominate consumers' living rooms with an array of exclusive media content. The Xbox One took four years to develop and will be the launchpad for a "Halo" live-action video series produced by Steven Spielberg. It will be sold worldwide "later this year," games unit chief Don Mattrick told reporters at an event at the software company's campus near Seattle, without providing details on timing or pricing. ...
UK opposition party leader says Google tax behavior 'wrong'
By Andrew Osborn LONDON (Reuters) - Google Inc's tax affairs will come under renewed scrutiny in Britain on Wednesday when the leader of the opposition Labor party accuses the Internet company of wrongly going to "extraordinary lengths" to avoid paying tax. In comments designed to politically outflank Prime Minister David Cameron ahead of next month's G8 summit on what has become a high-profile issue, Ed Miliband, the Labor leader, will say he is disappointed that Google pays so little tax. "I can't be the only person here who feels disappointed that such a great company as Google ... ...
Is Sony un-Japanese enough to entertain change?
By Tim Kelly TOKYO (Reuters) - Few foreign activist investors have made much headway in forcing change in Japan, where a conservative corporate culture favors long-standing ties with banks, business partners and workers rather than shareholders seeking value. Struggling electronics giant Sony Corp, though, with more foreign and fewer bank shareholders, may prove something of an exception. That's the hope, at least, of Californian billionaire Daniel Loeb, whose Third Point hedge fund has built up a more than 6 percent stake in Sony, making it the group's biggest stockholder. ...
New Xbox: What’s Better, What’s Missing
Eight years after the debut of the Xbox 360, Microsoft has announced the Xbox One.
The Irish loophole behind Apple's low tax bill
By Tom Bergin LONDON (Reuters) - Apple's ability to shelter billions of dollars of income from tax has depended on an unusual loophole in the Irish tax code that helps the country compete with other countries for investment and jobs. A U.S. Senate investigation revealed Tuesday that Apple, maker of iPhones, iPads and Mac computers, channeled profits into Irish-incorporated subsidiaries that had "no declared tax residency anywhere in the world. ...
Intel CEO shakes up units, creates 'new devices' group
By Noel Randewich SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Intel Corp's new chief executive, Brian Krzanich, has launched a sweeping company reorganization and created a unit aimed at growing its market share in mobile technology. The shakeup, announced internally just days after the 30-year veteran took the helm, places most of the main product groups of the world's top chipmaker directly under the CEO's supervision and hands its sprawling global manufacturing operation to new president Renee James, said a source close to the company, who declined to be identified. ...
PayPal to increase marketing this year for offline push
By Alistair Barr SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - PayPal, the online payment operation owned by eBay Inc, will increase marketing spending to support its push into physical stores, President David Marcus said on Tuesday. "You'll start seeing us amping marketing up later this year," Marcus said in an interview with Reuters. PayPal is trying to become a common way of paying in physical stores, a much larger market than its online roots. ...
New iPhone apps worth downloading: Melt, MONTAJ update, Bombcats
First up today is Melt, a social networking app that lets you exchange photos with random people around the world.MONTAJ, our second app today, makes creating and sharing videos easy and quick, offering filters and some editing capabilities. Finally, Bombcats puts a new spin on physics puzzlers by including exploding cats.
SoftBank grants Sprint permission to consider Dish buyout
Japanese carrier SoftBank has granted Sprint a waiver allowing it to consider Dish’s $25.5 billion bid for the company. The waiver gives Sprint permission to disclose non-public information and engage in negotiations with Dish regarding its buyout proposal. The Sprint Board of Directors has the right to terminate the existing merger agreement with SoftBank to accept a superior offer, however it has not yet changed its recommendation. SoftBank offered to pay $20.1 billion for a 70% stake in the wireless provider last October. Sprint will conduct due diligence with Dish and make a final decision in early June when shareholders vote to approve or reject SoftBank’s offer. Sprint’s press release follows below. Sprint Provides Transaction Update Sprint Receives Waiver from
Senate panel approves immigration bill
WASHINGTON (AP) — Far-reaching legislation that grants a chance at citizenship to millions of immigrants living illegally in the United States cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee on a solid bipartisan vote Tuesday night after supporters somberly sidestepped a controversy over the rights of gay spouses.
Ireland rejects blame for Apple's low tax rate
By Conor Humphries and Padraic Halpin CORK/DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland said on Tuesday it was not to blame for Apple Inc's low global tax payments and had no special rate deal with the company after the U.S. Senate said it paid little or no tax on tens of billions of dollars in profits stashed in Irish subsidiaries. The Irish government, which has seen the luring of U.S. multinationals with low taxes as a key part of its economic policy since the 1960s, said its system was transparent and other countries were responsible if the tax rate paid by Apple was too low. ...
NVIDIA updates Tegra 4i processor, adds LTE-Advanced support
In effort to curb ongoing market loss to Qualcomm and Samsung, NVIDIA has continued to aggressively upgrade its quad-core Tegra 4 mobile processor. The company on Tuesday announced that its Tegra 4i CPU, a variant of the Tegra 4 that includes an integrated LTE modem, has been updated to support LTE-Advanced networks with speeds of up to 150Mpbs, an increase from traditional LTE speeds of 100Mbps. NVIDIA notes that because of its “software defined radio technology” it can add support for new technologies with a simple software update, making the chip more future-proof than its competitors’. In the future, the company is also planning to update the processor to be compatible with voice-over-LTE technology. NVIDIA’s press release follows below. NVIDIA’s mobile
The new consoles from Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony
NEW YORK (AP) — Microsoft is the last of the three big video game console makers to unveil its latest gaming system. The unveiling comes nearly eight years after the Xbox 360 went on sale. It follows last fall's debut of Nintendo's Wii U and a preview in February of the upcoming PlayStation 4 from Sony.
Microsoft touts Xbox One as all-in-1 entertainment
One bad sign for Yahoo’s Tumblr buy: Its history of $1 billion duds
Yahoo turned some heads this week when it announced that it was paying $1.1 billion to buy blogging platform Tumblr, but this isn’t the first time it has spent at least $1 billion to acquire another company. As NPR points out, Yahoo has bought several companies over the past 15 years that it has valued at $1 billion or higher, including most famously its $3.7 billion acquisition of GeoCities in 1999. Other failed Yahoo acquisitions include the $5.7 billion it paid for multimedia website Broadcast.com and the $1.63 billion it paid for search advertising pioneer Overture. In fact, all of these acquisitions make the $30 million that Yahoo paid for Flickr back in 2005 seem like a relative success story, since
PayPal fires up new data center to support growth
By Alistair Barr SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - PayPal has opened a new data center to help the online payment division of eBay Inc handle its rapid growth, President David Marcus said on Tuesday. The addition means PayPal now has four primary data centers, which it runs from network operation centers at its headquarters in San Jose, California, and Scottsdale, Arizona. "We're growing still very, very fast, so we need more machines, more capacity and bandwidth," Marcus told Reuters in an interview. Marcus declined to say where the new data center was located for security reasons. ...
Video: Leap Motion makes the leap to Windows
BGR took an in-depth look at Leap Motion’s revolutionary motion-control PC accessory last year, and we loved the accuracy and shocking reliability of Leap’s technology. The controller was only compatible with Mac computers at the time, however. In a recent post on the company’s blog, Leap showed off its upcoming Windows 7 and Windows 8 integration, which it plans to launch on July 22nd. An accompanying video shows how well Leap’s controller works with Windows for swiping, scrolling, zooming in and out, flipping through photos, drawing and more. It’s not quite Minority Report, but we’re getting there. Leap Motion’s full video follows below.
Poll: Teens migrating to Twitter
WASHINGTON (AP) — Twitter is booming as a social media destination for teenagers who complain about too many adults and too much drama on Facebook, according to a new study published Tuesday about online behavior. It said teens are sharing more personal information about themselves even as they try to protect their online reputations.
Apple's Cook faces Senate questions on taxes
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate dragged Apple Inc., the world's most valuable company, into the debate over the U.S. tax code Tuesday, grilling CEO Tim Cook over allegations that its Irish subsidiaries help the company avoid billions in U.S. taxes.
Some U.S. utilities say they're under constant cyber attack
By Alina Selyukh and Jim Finkle WASHINGTON/BOSTON (Reuters) - Several power utilities say they face a barrage of cyber attacks on their critical systems, a report by two Democratic lawmakers found echoing warnings from the Obama administration that foreign hackers were trying to bring down the U.S. power grid. California Representative Henry Waxman released the report, co-authored with Massachusetts Representative Ed Markey, at the House Energy and Commerce Committee's cybersecurity hearing on Tuesday. ...
Apple CEO makes no apology for company's tax strategy
By Patrick Temple-West and Kevin Drawbaugh WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook made no apology on Tuesday for the iPad maker saving billions of dollars in U.S. taxes through Irish subsidiaries and told lawmakers that his company backs corporate tax reform, even though it may end up paying more. The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has found that Apple in 2012 alone avoided paying $9 billion in U.S. taxes, using a strategy involving three offshore units with no discernible tax home, or "residence. ...
Sprint raises Clearwire offer, not enough for some
By Sinead Carew (Reuters) - Sprint Nextel Corp raised its buyout offer for wireless service provider Clearwire Corp to $3.40 per share on Tuesday under pressure from activist shareholders, but the new bid failed to impress several big investors. Clearwire shares traded around the new offer price after Sprint was forced to revise its original $2.97 per share offer just hours before a scheduled shareholder vote on the deal. Analysts and investors had predicted that the original bid would not have won approval. Clearwire said it would review the new bid and postponed the vote to May 30. ...
Sprint exec hints more BlackBerry 10 devices are on the way in 2013
Sprint will launch the BlackBerry Q10 this summer as its first BlackBerry 10 smartphone. Lois Eichelberger Fagan, director of product portfolio for Sprint, revealed in an interview with CNET that the company had originally planned to launch the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 together earlier this year, however the plan was abandoned after BlackBerry delayed the Q10 until June. The company decided the timing wasn’t right for a Z10-only launch and felt more confident in the Q10, which it believes will sell better among BlackBerry users because of its QWERTY keyboard. The executive noted, however, that the carrier isn’t done with BlackBerry and plans to release a second smartphone later this year. Fagan didn’t go into further detail about the device,
Telecom Italia mulls mobile unit spinoff: sources
By Stefano Rebaudo and Alberto Sisto MILAN (Reuters) - Telecom Italia is mulling spinning off its mobile unit along with its fixed-line network to bring new investors on board, three people, including a senior political source, told Reuters on Tuesday. "The three-way split would allow the company to reduce debt and staff costs and favor the entry of new investors," the political source said. "It is a strategy that will allow the company to confront the market in the future more freely." Later on Tuesday, the Italian phone company denied a break-up was under consideration. ...
Look out, Siri – IBM’s Watson coming soon to smartphones
IBM spoke of shrinking its intelligent supercomputer Watson down to smartphone size last summer, and now it appears that the company is getting close to achieving that goal. Watson, which gained notoriety by famously trouncing two champions on Jeopardy, will not initially come to smartphones as a stand-alone app like Siri or Google Now, though it could eventually give both services a run for their money. Instead, IBM will partner with a number of companies including ANZ Bank, Nielsen, Celcom, IHS, and Royal Bank of Canada, Forbes reports to have Watson power customer service systems for these companies. Watson will initially be accessible though Web chats, email, smartphone apps and SMS, and voice recognition functionality is expected to come in future versions of the offering. Apps that
Sony to assess spin-off proposal for entertainment business: Nikkei
(Reuters) - Sony Corp is considering evaluating a proposal from top shareholder Third Point LLC to spin off part of its movie and music business, Japanese daily Nikkei reported. Sony's U.S. listed shares rose 9 percent on Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. Billionaire hedge fund investor Daniel Loeb last week called on the company to spin off its lucrative entertainment arm, setting the stage for a clash between his activist Wall Street fund and management at the Japanese electronics maker. Sony declined to comment when contacted by Reuters. ...
With the Xbox One, Microsoft’s vision for conquering the living room takes shape
It’s taken a while, but Microsoft’s big plan for conquering consumers’ living rooms is now finally coming together. For years, major tech companies have been obsessed with getting their software and applications onto television screens and have mostly employed a series of set-top boxes that have done little to spark consumer interest. But unlike Apple and Google, Microsoft has always had a secret weapon that it’s been waiting to deploy to make sure that its software becomes entrenched on users’ television sets: Namely, the Xbox. For years now the Xbox has been the MVP of Microsoft’s consumer electronics division. While the company has badly lagged behind in both the smartphone and tablet realms, it has stayed strong in the gaming
Telecom Italia denies possible company break-up
MILAN (Reuters) - Telecom Italia denied on Tuesday that a company break-up was under consideration. "Telecom Italia points out that speculations about a possible break-up are groundless," a spokesman for the company said in an emailed statement. Earlier on Tuesday three sources told Reuters the Italian phone company was mulling a spinoff of its mobile unit along with its fixed-line network from the rest of the company to bring new investors on board. (Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by Gary Hill)
Xbox One will not play Xbox 360 games; used game policy still unclear
Bad news, Xbox fans: Your current collection of Xbox 360 games will not work on Microsoft’s new Xbox One, and the company’s used games policy is very unclear. The company finally took the wraps off its next-generation video game console on Tuesday and while there was plenty of good news to be had, there were also some some troubling announcements. For one thing, it looks like used games are still a big question mark. Wired reports that Xbox One games are installed to the console’s hard drive from the disks, not played from disks. Once installed, the game’s serial number is tied to the user’s Xbox Live account during the registration process. If another Xbox Live account tries to install
Suggested names for the new Call of Duty, based on the attention given to the dog in the game at the Xbox One unveiling
Sprint boosts buyout offer for Clearwire
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Sprint Nextel Corp. is offering 14 percent more than before for the stake in wireless data network operator Clearwire Corp. it does not already own, but a large shareholder said the offer was still inadequate.
Sprint to listen to Dish offer
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Wireless company Sprint Nextel Corp. says it can now let Dish Network Corp. see its books and talk with Dish to see whether its competing offer to buy Sprint is better than its current deal with Japan's SoftBank.
Samsung reportedly prepping fingerprint scanning tech for Galaxy phones
As rumors of Apple readying fingerprint scanning technology for a future iPhone continue to swirl, a new report suggests another company is working on similar tech for future versions of its smartphones: Samsung. SamMobile reports that files uncovered in a leaked firmware build for Samsung’s Galaxy S III included a number of images of fingerprints and other related items. The presence of these graphics suggests Samsung is indeed testing some type of fingerprint scanning technology internally, but they give no indication of exactly what kind of functionality Samsung might have planned. The leaked images pulled from Samsung’s firmware file follow below.
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