Showing posts from June, 2014

Google Inc's YouTube plans to launch a paid streaming music service

Español: Logo Vectorial de YouTube (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Google Inc's YouTube said on Tuesday that it plans to launch a paid streaming music service, amid criticism that its existing, free video website might block the music videos of labels that do not agree to its terms.
YouTube has partnered with "hundreds of major and independent" music labels for the new service, the company said in a statement, confirming long-running rumors that the world's most popular online video website will offer a paid music service.
The news comes as some music trade groups have criticized YouTube's plans to potentially block the content of certain labels from appearing on YouTube's free, ad-supported Website unless they sign deals to participate in the new, subscription streaming music service. The deals that YouTube is offering are on "highly unfavorable, and non-negotiable terms," according to a news release issued by the Worldwide Independent Music Industry Ne…

European Union on Friday moved to close a tax loophole

The European Union on Friday moved to close a loophole that has allowed multinational companies to reduce their tax bills by exploiting differences in national tax rules, ending months of negotiations and potentially boosting EU states' tax revenues.
Corporate tax avoidance has become a hot issue in industrialized nations. Campaigners have drawn support from public anger at companies avoiding taxes at a time of austerity.
"The aim is to close a loophole that currently allows corporate groups to exploit mismatches between national tax rules so as to avoid paying taxes on some types of profits distributed within the group," finance ministers said in a statement.
The change in the so-called parent-subsidiary directive addresses "hybrid loan arrangements", a combination of equity and debt often used as a tax-planning tool.
Some member states classify profits from such tools as a tax-deductible debt; others do not. That has prompted some multinational companies to o…

Blackberry a Canadian company reported a $23 million profit

English: Blackberry Curve 8530 Español: Blackberry Curve 8530 (Photo credit: Wikipedia) BlackBerry may not be topping any financial lists soon, but the struggling company appears to at least be stabilizing.
Thanks to new boss John Chen's cost-cutting measures, the Canadian company reported a $23 million profit in the last quarter—a nice surprise compared to its $84 million loss during the same period in 2013.
Total revenue for the three months ending May 31 came to $966 million, split between hardware (39 percent), services (54 percent), and software (7 percent) - a 1 percent ($10 million) drop from the previous quarter.
Overall, about 2.6 million phones ended up consumers' hands.
"Our performance in fiscal Q1 demonstrates that we are firmly on track to achieve important milestones, including our financial objectives and delivering a strong product portfolio," Chen said in a statement.
That might be good for BlackBerry, considering its recent decline, but it still ha…

tough for small businesses supplying big companies

Question: I have contracts with very large companies and they are pushing payments out to the 120-day limit. Some of them offer shorter payment cycles but I have to accept a discount on the amount owed to me. How’s a small business supposed to survive with this kind of pressure on the bottom line? Should I take these discounts for the sake of my cash flow?
Answer: Your question illustrates one of the reasons it’s so tough for small businesses supplying big companies. While larger vendors probably have at least some negotiating muscle with clients such as big box retailers or giant manufacturers, small suppliers usually don’t—unless their products are absolutely unique in the market.
Your dilemma: You need the business the big guys are offering, but that means you have to accept it on their terms—even if they don’t want to pay you for four months.
Story: How to Expand a Small Business When You Don't Get Paid on Time “Imagine you run a restaurant. Patrons come in, eat dinner, drink wi…

Solar City may build in New York

SolarCity, the rooftop solar system installer headed by Lyndon Rive and whose chairman is billionaire Elon Musk, is buying solar panel maker Silevo for up to $350 million.
As part of the announcement, SolarCity also said it's in talks with the state of New York to build a 1 gigawatt solar-panel module factory in New York within the next two years. Once built, it will be one of the largest solar panel production plants in the world, according to a company blog post authored by Musk and SolarCity co-founders Peter Rive and Lyndon Rive. The factory will be followed by one or more "significantly larger plants," according to the company.
Under the acquisition deal, SolarCity will pay $200 million in stock for Fremont, Calif-based Silevo and may pay another $150 million if the solar panel manufacturer meets certain production targets, according to the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission filing.The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of 2014.
SolarCity is o…

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Morgan Stanley MS.N is selling its controlling stake in oil TransMontaigne

Morgan Stanley MS.N is selling its controlling stake in oil storage and transport company TransMontaigne Inc TMG.UL to NGL Energy Partners LP NGL.N for $200 million, essentially ending its long run as the biggest physical oil trader on Wall Street.
The long-awaited deal comes months after the bank announced its intent to sell most of its global physical oil trading operations to Russian state-run oil major Rosneft ROSN.MM, including its 49 percent stake in shipping company Heidmar.
It is the latest sign of how growing regulatory pressure is reshaping commodity markets.
NGL Energy Partners, an up-and-coming master limited partnership (MLP) that last year bought the oil trading division of privately held Gavilon, said an additional amount would be paid for inventory transferred at closing. The refined products held by TransMontaigne Inc could be valued at up to $550 million, a person familiar with the matter said.
The TransMontaigne MLP includes some 48 fuel terminals with nearly 24 mil…

Microsoft Office 365 privacy with Lockbox

English: M in blue square (similar to seen on ) (Photo credit: Wikipedia) In the year since ex-National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden exposed the U.S. government's alleged cyber-spying capabilities, IT companies have been battling the perception that data residing on their clouds is easy pickings for anyone with the right credentials. That's not the case with Office 365, according to Microsoft.

Office 365 is Microsoft's cloud-enabled version of its venerable productivity software suite. In addition to PC, mobile and Web versions of applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, Office 365 encompasses a set of file storage, syncing and collaboration features powered by Microsoft Azure.

Given the sensitive or private nature of the information that flows through Azure's servers and storage systems, businesses are understandably concerned that insiders can expose their data.

"The idea that somehow your data may be more accessible in Office 365 as a cloud…

Facebook Inc is acquiring Pryte

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Français : Logo de Facebook Tiếng Việt: Logo Facebook (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Facebook Inc is acquiring Pryte, a Finnish company that aims to make it easier for mobile phone users in under-developed parts of the world to use wireless Internet apps.
Facebook did not disclose financial terms of the deal, which spokeswoman Vanessa Chan said is expected to close later this month.
Pryte's service, which has not publicly launched yet, seeks to make it easier for consumers without wireless data plans to use online services by selling short-term passes that would provide access to particular mobile apps, such as Facebook or Foursquare.
Facebook, the world's largest social network with 1.28 billion users, is primarily interested in the team behind Pryte, led by Chief Executive Markku Makelainen, Chan said.
The one-year old, Helsinki-based company has valuable experience and relationships working with wireless operators, particularly in em…

BMW will start delivering imported electric cars in China

BMW will start delivering imported electric cars in China in September, with pre-orders indicating short supplies in a market that could become the world's biggest for green vehicles, China president Karsten Engel said on Wednesday.
The German premium automaker will sell its all-electric powered BMW i3 sedan and plug-in hybrid i8 sports car in four Chinese cities initially, with a sales cap of 1,000 vehicles this year, Engel said. The i3 starts at 450,000 yuan ($72,000), cheaper than some had expected.
"There are many more customers than supply," Engel told reporters in Shanghai, where BMW launched a project to build charging facilities with State Grid Corp of China and Expo Shanghai Group.
Engel declined to say how many pre-orders the company has received in China for the i3 since the model was unveiled at the Beijing auto show last month, but said more than 28,000 people have requested a test drive in a sign of public interest.
Munich-based BMW competes with rivals…

Beijing accused the United States of "unscrupulous" cyber surveillance

Beijing accused the United States on Monday of "unscrupulous" cyber surveillance that included large-scale computer attacks against the Chinese government and Chinese companies.
"America's spying operations have gone far beyond the legal rationale of "anti-terrorism" and have exposed the ugly face of its pursuit of self-interest in complete disregard for moral integrity," concluded a report prepared by the China Academy of Cyber Space.
The report, titled "America's Global Surveillance Record," was published one week after the United States accused five Chinese military officers of hacking into U.S. companies to steal trade secrets.
The publication accused the United States of "waging large-scale cyber-attacks" against China. "Targets of American surveillance include the Chinese government and Chinese leaders, Chinese companies, scientific research institutes, ordinary netizens, and a large number of cell phone users,"…

New Zealand political party founded by Kim Dotcom

The New Zealand political party founded by alleged copyright pirate Kim Dotcom has formed an alliance with another small party in a bid to win a seat in the country's general election in September.
Dotcom's Internet Party and the leftist, indigenous Mana Party, which already has a member in the country's parliament, will form a new party - Internet Mana - and put up a combined list of candidates in the election.
Dotcom, also known as Kim Schmitz, was said to have brokered deal but will not hold any position in the Internet Party. He has the right to vote in New Zealand but cannot stand for election until he becomes a citizen.
The ebullient internet mogul has been fighting a bid by U.S. authorities to extradite him from New Zealand to face online piracy charges over the now closed file-sharing site Megaupload.
Internet Party chief executive Vikram Kumar said the two parties would retain their separate policies, with the Internet Party aiming at young voters with policie…

1 billion electronic prescriptions in 2013

Pharmacy Rx symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Health information network Surescripts said it routed more than 1 billion electronic prescriptions in 2013, representing a majority (58 percent) of all eligible prescriptions in the United States, sent by 73 percent of all office-based physicians.

The Surescripts network connects to 566,000 prescribers, more than 400 hospitals and health systems and more than 40 of the nation’s pharmacy benefit managers.

The network also connects more than 600 electronic health record (HER) applications, 43 state immunization registries and 21 health information exchanges (HIEs) and health information service providers (HISPs).

Overall, the total volume of prescriptions routed electronically increased 32 percent, up from 788 million in 2012 and 570 million in 2011, and as of 2013, 40 percent of pharmacies have achieved Surescripts certification to enable the electronic prescribing of controlled substances.

Bloor Research: The Economics of Cloud-Managed Inte…

Microsoft is working on a real-time translation feature for Skype

12 (Photo credit: TR4NSLATOR) Microsoft is working on a real-time translation feature for Skype, which is potentially a valuable resource for companies conducting business internationally.
On Tuesday, the company announced the update to Skype in a company blog post. Skype is a popular Web-based service which allows users to chat and conduct both voice and video calls for free. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella demonstrated the upcoming software update during an interview at the Re/code Code Conference in Palos Verdes, California, where Nadella held a conversation with Skype chief executive Gurdeep Singh Pall, switching between German and English while Skype provided the translation in an automated voice.
The Redmond giant has dubbed the service Skype Translator. It's a combination of Skype voice and IM technologies with Microsoft Translator, as well as neural network-based speech recognition software. Skype Translator currently supports over 40 languages and will be available as a Windo…

General Electric boss Jeff Immelt faces a public French parliamentary grilling

General Electric boss Jeff Immelt faces a public French parliamentary grilling in person on Tuesday over his high-stakes plan to buy the power arm of engineering group Alstom, replacing a subordinate at the last minute.
A statement from the parliamentary economics committee late on Monday put Immelt on its agenda for Tuesday's hearing, which was scheduled originally last week with the head of GE France, Clara Gaymard, on the stand.
Immelt is scheduled to speak in defense of his 12.35 billion euro ($16.9 billion) bid for Alstom's power arm at 1630 GMT, an hour after Christophe de Maistre, chairman of Siemens France, is due to begin facing questions.
Maistre, representing the European alternative to the GE offer, will make the case for a tie-up with the German engineering firm. Sources have told Reuters that Siemens was readying a formal offer under which it would transfer its rail activities and less than 7 billion euros in cash to its French rival in exchange for its power ass…

Canadian air travelers will be able to use devices

Good news for those traveling the friendly skies over Canada. Air travelers in the region will soon be able to use portable electronic devices — including cameras, game systems, tablets, and laptops — during all phases of flight, the country's Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt announced Monday.
This includes when the plane takes off, climbs, descends, and lands — as long as the devices are in airplane mode and the airline has met safety conditions set forth by the federal government. Previously, passengers were not allowed to use their devices during takeoff and landing.
"This is great news for air passengers, and an exciting day for the Canadian aviation industry," Raitt said in a statement. "By collaborating with our aviation partners, we are able to offer airlines the tools they need to safely enable passengers to use portable electronic devices on airplanes, while still maintaining the highest standards of aviation safety."

The change in Canada comes after t…

Main Street investors

As a $14.8 billion hedge fund with a reputation for savvy mortgage trades and a record of double-digit returns, Pine River Capital Management has long signed up multi-billion-dollar pension and sovereign wealth funds as investors.
Now the exclusive hedge fund is making some of its strategies available to Main Street investors who've been warned that bets on stocks and bonds may not see them through retirement. For as little as $1,000, they can include hedge funds in their nest eggs.
As one of seven firms managing money in Wells Fargo's new Alternative Strategies fund, Pine River is among the latest big-name funds to crack its doors to private clients with look-alike products known as liquid alternative funds after years of courting only the super-wealthy.
"Sub-advising portfolios in the (mutual fund) space is a new and diversified source of capital for a firm like ours," said Brian Taylor, who founded Pine River with $350,000 of his retirement money in 2002. "Li…
The U.S. House of Representatives passed long-sought-after communications surveillance reform legislation on May 22, but last-minute changes to the bill had one-time supporters criticizing it as weak.

The bill (H.R. 3361), also known as the USA Freedom Act, amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978, adding restrictions on the use of FISA by the National Security Agency to prevent the indiscriminate collection the phone records and other communications of U.S. citizens. Yet changes to the legislation earlier in the week caused many of the original supporters of the legislation to back away from supporting the bill.

Critics fear that changes to the definitions of what types of records can be targeted continue to leave open the possibility of mass surveillance.

"I am troubled by the changes that were made to the bill behind closed doors that stripped key protections and open the door to bulk collection," U.S. Representative Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., a r…

China plans to take more than five million ageing vehicles

China plans to take more than five million ageing vehicles off the roads this year in a bid to improve air quality, with 330,000 cars set to be decommissioned in Beijing alone, the government said in a policy document published on Monday.
Pollution has emerged as an urgent priority for China's leaders as they try to reverse the damage done by decades of breakneck growth and head off public anger about the sorry state of the nation's air, water and soil.
In a wide-ranging action plan to cut emissions over the next two years, China's cabinet, the State Council, said the country had already fallen behind in its pollution targets over the 2011-2013 period and was now having to step up its efforts.
As many as 5.33 million "yellow label" vehicles that fail to meet Chinese fuel standards will be "eliminated" this year, the document said. As well as the 330,000 cars in Beijing, 660,000 will be withdrawn from the surrounding province of Hebei, home to seven of C…

electronic cigarettes are moving their manufacturing to the United States

Some of the leading U.S. producers of electronic cigarettes are moving their manufacturing to the United States from China in response to growing concern about quality and the prospect of tighter federal regulations.
In recent weeks, some of the best-selling U.S. e-cigarette companies, including closely held Mistic and White Cloud, announced that they would move production to new, highly automated U.S. factories that would enable them to track ingredients and quality more closely. As a fringe benefit, they even expect costs to be lower than in China, the country that invented the battery-powered cartridges that produce a nicotine-laced inhalable vapor.
"People are concerned about quality," said Bonnie Herzog, a senior analyst at Wells Fargo Securities, who expects more manufacturing to shift to the United States.
"There is varying quality among all these different brands," she said. "I think regulation will standardize these products because they will be force…

Samsung will introduce smartwatch as standalone phone

English: Samsung Logo Suomi: Samsungin logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Samsung, in the next few months, will introduce a smartwatch that can act as a standalone phone, The Wall Street Journal reported May 23, citing people familiar with the company's plans. This, of course, will be a game-changer. It may affect the saga of Samsung vs. Apple—though very likely Apple would soon enough offer the same thing—but more drastically it would move wearables from the category of "accessories we can take or leave" to "devices we don't want to live without." I still remember perfectly a 1998 phone call from my now-husband, who was on a business trip in Japan. "They have cameras in their phones," he told me. At the time, I didn't yet own a cell phone, and standing at my desk, picturing a heavy receiver like the one I was holding, I lamely answered, "Why would you need that?" Seeing Samsung's first Galaxy Gear in 2013, I wondered the same thing.…

Panasonic expected to manufacture for Tesla's batteries

Panasonic Corp said it expected to become the sole manufacturer in Tesla Motors Inc's planned multibillion-dollar U.S. battery factory, firming up its commitment to the electric car maker's project.
The Japanese electronics conglomerate had until this week made only cautious comments about Tesla's plans, for which the carmaker is seeking total investment of around $3 billion in addition to the $2 billion it has pledged to contribute directly.
Panasonic does not have a timeframe for a decision on its investment but any expenditure this year would be small, Yoshio Ito, senior managing executive officer and president of the Japanese firm's automotive and industrial division said on Friday.
"As we're not anticipating any sudden tenfold increases in demand or anything like that, we think it is right to break it up step-by-step and invest gradually," Ito told reporters at a briefing in Osaka.
Demand from the U.S. premium eco-car maker for lithium-ion batteries…

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Visa and MasterCard to stay in Russia

The world's two largest credit and debit card companies Visa Inc (V.N) and Mastercard Inc (MA.N) pledged on Friday to stay in Russia after officials showed a willingness to relax laws that hinder their operations in the country.
Russia's parliament in April introduced legislation demanding the credit companies make a hefty security deposit to the central bank, a response to sanctions imposed on Moscow over its involvement in Ukraine.
The Russian finance ministry, the central bank and local bankers have described the law as excessive and on Friday a meeting between government officials and the companies' executives produced promises that both companies will stay.
"We are willing to work in Russia and after this meeting we hope that a compromise solution will be found," Andrew Torre, director of Visa in Russia, told reporters on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Ilya Ryaby, general director of Mastercard in Russia, said his company wo…