Uber CEO Faces Lawsuit Price Fixing Allegations

Uber is a popular app that allows people to act almost like taxi’s for others, with one person pressing a button to request a ride and minutes later a driver arriving to provide the transport at a cost. With the concept of pricing, a key part of the system, Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick may want to be careful as he faces a lawsuit of price fixing allegations relating to the app.

Uber is no stranger to legal troubles, with people in Jakarta staging violent protests over the app and one driver even claiming that a demon convinced him through the app to commit murder, the app has seen its fair time in the spotlight for legal issues. During the recent Metro shutdown in New York Uber decided that it wouldn’t raise prices to more than 3.9 times their normal rate, a kind gesture that could certainly see people put off using the service. A US District court judge in New York has stated that Kalanick must face

A US District court judge, Jed Rakoff, in New York has stated that Kalanick must face the lawsuit that states he conspired with drivers to set the fares the app provides using an algorithm, including its well-known progress of increasing rates during peak hours through its “surge pricing” model.

In his comments, Rakoff states that the plaintiffs had “plausibly alleged a conspiracy” which ultimately drove out rivals for the app. It will be interesting to see how a company as well known as Uber faces charges over something some would call a “feature” within their software while others would claim it takes money from those desperate in times of need, such as those escaping from attacks or when other transport systems are shut down.

Greeks Are Flocking to Bitcoin as Banks Close Doors

Banks in Greece stayed shut on Monday as officials scrambled to prevent the country’s financial system from collapsing. Account holders were facing tough limits on what they can withdraw from ATMs, and trading in Greek stocks and bonds was also halted as measures to prevent Greece from sliding entirely out of the euro zone.

As that happened, the Greek population was looking for alternative currencies and it looks like they’ve found Bitcoin. International Bitcoin marketplaces all around the world are noticing increased traffic from Greece. Ten times as many Greeks are registering to trade Bitcoins on the german marketplace Bitcoin.de than usual and LakeBTC in China also saw a 40% increase in visitors from greece IP addresses.

Over the weekend, the Polish exchange Bitcurex also got flooded with emails from Greeks that wanted to know if Bitcoin is legal currency in the EU, if they can use it as a bank account and where in Greece they can find a Bitcoin ATM.

And while Bitcoins are a perfectly legal currency in the EU, getting them, using them, and trading them for other currencies is where the trouble starts. There is only one Bitcoin ATM in Greece at a bookstore in Athen. Generally just spending the Bitcoin can be difficult too as there only are half a dozen spots in Athens that accept Bitcoin as payment. Among them are a family restaurant, a head-and-neck surgeon, and a yacht rental company – maybe not the optimal choices for a country in trouble.

Thank You CNN for providing us with this information

Sky to Drop 3D Channels

Sky, TV subscription giant in the UK, has announced that they will be dropping their dedicated 3D channels. This will take place during June and will be moved over onto their ‘On Demand’ service.

3D has been on the decline for a few years now, the novelty is nice for the odd movie in cinema, but to live with the glasses on a day-in-day-out style would be just annoying. The only good thing to come from 3D is the double refresh rate to 120hz on some monitors and TV’s. The motive behind this is currently unknown, but fingers are pointing towards a UHD (4K) series of channels. The full press release can be seen below:

“We were recently very pleased to announce that almost 7 million of our customers in Britain and Ireland have now connected Sky’s On Demand services – making us far and away the biggest connected TV platform. What’s more, we’ve seen on demand downloads hit over 300 million in the last three months alone. That’s up by more than 60% year on year. So as more and more of our customers choose to watch TV when it suits them, we’re making some changes to how customers can watch Sky 3D.

Since its launch in 2010, Sky 3D has led the industry, becoming the home of incredible 3D content – from Sir David Attenborough’s award-winning documentaries like Flying Monsters, to the biggest Hollywood blockbusters like Avatar.

So today we’re announcing the latest development in our plans for 3D. From June Sky 3D is going fully on demand. From the latest 3D movie premieres like Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men Days of Future Past and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, to the very best in natural history with documentaries like Natural History Museum Alive, it will all be ready and waiting for our customers to view whenever it suits them.

The changes to 3D are all part of making our on demand offering a fantastic destination for customers. Other recent enhancements that benefit millions of connected customers include putting on demand content front and centre on the Sky+ TV Guide, adding more of the very best Box Sets such as Prison Break and Game of Thrones, and securing rights to even more shows and sport.”

Do you currently use 3D channels on a daily basis? Will this move affect you? Let just know in the comments.

MSI Referred to Watchdog by Aria

Earlier this year MSI released their 980 GPUs, when doing so they did a special launch offer and priced them at £424. Once this offer was over, MSI requested that its prices were raised to £449 .99 which is £10 under what the minimum suggested price was. One company, Aria, refused to increase its prices in line with MSI’s suggested retail prices despite numerous requests. Other companies then followed Aria as they would lose out on sales if they did not; which is fairly understandable.

This sounds like it’s a win – win for us consumers, right? Not really. The MSRP is there for a reason, one is to ensure that pricing is competitive and also it ensures that the company releasing the product keeps the equity.

“When demand is high and stock is in constraint, around a major launch, we will notice if resellers appear to be selling way below MSRP, which affects the product launch structure and results in the consumer losing faith in the product. We would naturally flag that to the reseller to make sure they have not made a mistake. That’s just good service for the mutual customer.” said MSI in a recent statement “Thinking that they may have mispriced the product, we made contact and tried to solve the situation, which seems to be misunderstood under pressure, and we are working closely to resolve this amicably.” They added.

With Aria refusing to drop the prices, MSI understandably stopped the supply to them and Aria was forced to use alternative products. This doesn’t reflect well on Aria at all as MSI is a very big name in the industry. With Aria being a reasonably small retailer, in comparison to OverclockersUK and Scan for example, it’s hard to see why they would be throwing their weight around.  Hopefully, the issue will be resolved soon and they can start restocking products that they wish to sell.

Source: CRN.

DeLorean’s Flux Capacitor from ‘Back To The Future’ Now Available for $25

Back To The Future movie series fans should be familiar with the Flux Capacitor, the item that makes the DeLorean car be an actual time travelling machine. According to Doc Brown, the character from the movie, the Flux Capacitor is the thing that ‘makes everything work’.

Every fan would like to have such a device in their car. At least for show if not for actual time travelling experience (which is not possible of course). However, the item now appears to be for sale, courtesy of ThinkGeek. They have apparently made something that looks like the real flux capacitor, aside from the time travelling feature of course.

The device is said to be a gadget which you plug into your car’s cigarette lighter. It has two USB ports which can be used to charge your phone or other gadgets such as GPS or others. Also, a great feature about the flux capacitor is that it lights up, similar to how the original flux capacitor from the movie does.

The gadget is said to have been unveiled back in April as an April Fool’s joke. However, due to the overwhelming demand, it seems that ThinkGeek made a real product, which is said to be selling quite nicely. The flux capacitor is selling on ThinkGeek’s website, having it priced at $24,99 and expected to ship to buyers in September.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Ubergizmo

Sony Struggling to Meet Demands for PS Vita

It’s true, I wouldn’t of thought it either but it turns out Sony are struggling to meet the demand for their PS Vita handheld console. The consoles popularity has certainly risen since the launch of the PlayStation 4 and big titles such as Borderlands 2 for the Vita, so much so that they are running out with several big retailers.

Amazon, Gamestop and Walmart have all had stock shortages at some point this year so far and the question is why?

A Sony representative said

“We’re seeing healthy consumer demand for PS Vita globally, particularly in markets like Japan,” “The U.S. launch of the slimmer and lighter PS Vita has generated strong interest among gamers, and we’re working to replenish supply here to ensure continued momentum leading into the holidays.”

As most of you know it wasn’t a massive success at launch, with sales slow to begin with due to the lack of titles available. This may have put Sony off from making as many as they had hoped for and now are paying the price as sales rose dramatically by 163% due to titles such as Borderlands 2, the Borderlands 2 Vita bundle and the remote play feature on the PlayStation 4.

Sony have still got confidence in the Vita console as they have recently released the Vita slim, maybe all Sony’s Vita resources went into that instead? Who knows, lets just hope Sony can catch up demand for the original Vita and provide gamers around the world with what they want.

Thanks to Forbes for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Forbes.