New Self-Driving Car Mapping Unit Backed by Amazon and Microsoft


Amazon and Microsoft are two major companies that are yet to enter the arena of autonomous car development yet, but this could be set to change soon. Reuters have reported that according to sources, Here, a mapping company owned by a number of German automobile makers could soon be provided with cloud computing capabilities by the two IT giants. The companies that currently own Here, BMW, Audi, and Mercedes’ parent company Daimler all have their own self-driving developments in the works.

Amazon are also reported to be interested in becoming a major shareholder in Here, which would position them to be the prime provider of cloud computing solutions to them. When you consider that Here collects a huge amount of data via sensors mounted atop thousands of self-driving cars belonging to the company’s owner firms, this would be a great boon for making the most of it.

Here was previously owned by Nokia, but was acquired by the German firms in December last year for €2.8 billion. Since this acquisition, Here have continued to state that “have stressed since the acquisition in early December that they are open to additional investors from all industries.” As a result, a number of companies aside from Amazon and Microsoft want to be involved with Here, including Renault and Continental, which both have a stake in the automotive industry. Continental in particular told the wire service that a decision as to whether they would purchase a stake in Here would come imminently.

With high-resolution mapping being so crucial to proper operation of autonomous vehicles, it is no wonder that so many companies are clamouring for a part in one so open to partnerships. As Amazon and Microsoft show, it’s not just those developing the cars that want to be a part of this sector either, with the IT and data requirements to run such cars meaning that even other service providers have a role to play in this developing technology.

Yahoo Mail Restricting Access If You Use An Ad-Blocker

So remember those days when you waited five minutes to load a video or had to browse through those five tabs to find the one which was playing a video you had no idea even existed? A lot of people still suffer this fate, having their internet traffic and experience trampled on by the online plague of intrusive adverts. To combat this a series of software, often plug-ins to web browsers, was released under the title of ad-blockers. These pieces of software blocked unwanted ad’s and allowed you to whitelist any adverts you did like or even whole sites which you knew you could trust. Companies dislike this approach because they have no control over what adverts are played and therefore, end up losing money, a big name to join the crowd to punish ad-blocker users are Yahoo mail.

As shown in the screenshot above, provided by Portnoyd on the Adblock plus forums, shows the welcome message they got when they tried to access their email and found that Yahoo ‘recommended’ disabling Ad Blocker to continue using the email system, even going so far as to say “Uh oh … We are unable to display Yahoo Mail”. This would be believable, Ad Blocker may accidentally block something if it’s designed in a certain way, the sad part is though the URL states ADBLK _TRAP, clearly showing that the redirect is built to prevent Ad blocker’s users from accessing the site, rather than the error it pretends to be.

Are you a Yahoo Mail user? Have you found this problem? Should companies just accept that we wouldn’t use Ad Blockers if their adverts didn’t disrupt us on a regular basis?

Razer Launching Corporate Investment Fund in 2016

Razer is one of the leading peripheral manufacturers in the world and continues to grow at an impressive pace. More specifically, in 2014, the company was valued at over $1 billion due to an undisclosed investment from Intel. Over the last few years, Razer has expanded beyond the peripheral market and sold products in other sectors such as the Razer Blade 2015 ultrabook. Their financial success has given them the room to open a corporate venture capital fund which allow clients to use Razer’s industry expertise. CEO and co-founder Min-Liang Tan told Techcrunch:

“The plan is really to find strategic companies that we can help and [that can] leverage off of our profile,”

“We’re really globally covered… and can pretty much [assist them] before they even more into a new geographies or jurisdictions.”

“We can [tell portfolio companies that] this is what we learned in this jurisdiction. For example, here’s our European sales manager and they can talk to him. He’s not going to help you do your work, but he’s sure as hell going to take you 70 percent of the way there by telling you what the pitfalls are. We’ve got people on the ground who have been doing the exact same work [for years],” 

Razer is already a massive brand name and believes they can employ their marketing skills to help clients become a success story. The current market situation is fragile, and it’s incredibly difficult to be a commercial success. As a result, I can see this venture becoming quite popular as companies or individuals seek an investment. Currently, there isn’t a specific date set for Razer’s capital fund, but it looks likely to begin sometime in 2016.

Chinese Firm takes up 15% Stake in Western Digital

In a move that is sure to surprise some, Unisplendour Corporation Limited (Unis), a Chinese firm, is taking up a 15% stake in Western Digital. With an investment of $3.775 billion, Unis will be the largest single shareholder, though the shares come with a 30% premium and do not give it any control over the second largest HDD manufacturer.

In exchange for their 15% stake, Unis does get to appoint a member to the board of directors for WD. Given that Unis is controlled by the Chinese government and WD does have sensitive matter it has to deal with at times, the Unis board member will not participate in those discussions. Unis will also not get access to any WD IP. Interestingly, Unis is closely tied to Tsinghua Holdings, an investment firm that has made some moves to acquire the NAND and memory manufacturer Micron.

Given the close ties Unis has with the Chinese government, the HGST-WD merger which has been held up by Chinese regulator MOFCOM should now get approval. Western Digital has been attempting to diversify their business away from pure HDDs with inroads made in hybrid disks and enterprise SSDs. With $3.775 billion extra, WD can go around acquiring all the technology and IP they need to remain relevant in the post-HDD world.

Thank you The Register for providing us with this information

AMD Investment Talks Break Down

Remember that rumour about AMD getting a major investment from Silver Lake? It turns out now that talks between the two parties have broken down and are going nowhere right now. According to the source, the talks broke down after disagreements on price and strategy could not be resolved. AMD is still looking at other options though in order to bring in some much-needed cash flow tide them over 2016; Silver Lake was rumoured to take over 20% of the firm.

AMD has had somewhat of a bad month so far. Rumoured reports about a Microsoft acquisition did not pan out, driving share prices back down. Some notable members have also left, with CPU wiz Jim Keller as well as other executives taking their leave. Combined with breaking off the graphics lineup into a separate division; AMD is either cutting costs heavily or undergoing a major restructuring.

Given the breakdown in talks, it looks like either Silver Lake wanted too much control in return for their cash or the current leadership was unwilling to give up any power. Despite the launch of the new Fury and Nano GPUs, AMD is set for record low revenues and the firm is in serious need of cash. Hopefully, AMD will be able to find an investor till the next generation of GPUs and CPUs kick in.

Thank you Bloomberg for providing us with this information

Private Investment Firm Silver Lake May Take 20% Stake in AMD

Big changes are happening down at AMD with the creation of the new Radeon Technologies Group announced earlier. While such a move will probably pay dividends in the future, it does nothing to solve current issues. In the short-term, AMD looks to be getting a major investor to tide them over till their 2016 products launch. What is interesting is that it’s a private investment firm known for acquiring companies and taking them private.

According to a report, Silver Lake, the same firm that helped Michael Dell take back his company, is set to take a 20% stake in AMD. At this point, it is unknown how Silver Lake will be acquiring those share, with purchases either from other investors, on the open market or from AMD. AMD itself only owns 18.9% of their shares so the new 20% stake will probably come from a variety of sources. If AMD does issue new shares or sell their own shares, that will raise some much-needed cash to boost R&D as well as other expenses.

If Silver Lake does invest in AMD, it will join the likes of Alibaba, Avago, GoDaddy, Motorola Solutions and Opera Solutions as firms which Silver Lake has invested in. With a 20% stake, Silver Lake may get a seat on the board of directors and more restructuring will probably occur as AMD struggles in the face of stiff competition.

Thank you Fudzilla for providing us with this information

Free Wi-Fi Hits the Streets of New York… In Bins?

A lot of companies were looking into providing free Wi-Fi, a project that seems to have been of big interest as of late. However, nobody would have predicted where free Wi-Fi would come from
on the streets of New York. Would you have thought that your regular street bin would also be an access point in the near future? I thought so.

Bigbelly is a company based in Massachusetts who deals with waste management. Their first project was to put in place ‘smart’ bins that would signal when they are full or become smelly, so the latter would have more priority and be taken care of swiftly and efficiently. However, the company seems to have an even bigger project up their sleeve.

The company apparently teamed up with Downtown Alliance to place Wi-Fi hotspots inside the bins. This means that New York residents will have free Wi-Fi on the streets, thanks to their bins! Tests were performed daily and the results came as a big success. They say that the hotspots are able to hold a lot of simultaneous connections, the size of a small business, with speeds of 50 to 75 Mbps. Another amazing thing about the free Wi-Fi providing smart bins is that they do not get interference from radio towers or other wireless access points, since they are placed at ground level.

The project may give free Wi-Fi to citizens, but it may help do even more. It is said that the smart bins would help the government collect data about waste management or display public service announcements and alerts. Tests will still be performed throughout the year to make sure that nothing major crops up, but the project does seem a great success and the company is now looking to expand the project even further, provided that sponsors are found and willing to help the project financially. So what is your take on this? Let us know in the comments below.

Thank you The Huffington Post for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of UC Santa Barbara Department of Geography

iPhone 6C Rumoured to Have a 4-Inch Display and Metallic Body

There are always speculations about what the next Apple devices will boast. However, sometimes these speculations turn out to be true, so here it is. According to a blog post on posted a pic, emphasising how the upcoming iPhone 6C would look like.

The blog also mentions that the global investment banking firm, Jefferies, said Apple is still considering small screens for their low-end handset, which means that we have a lot of chances to see a 4-inch iPhone 6C this fall. In addition to the latter, Apple is rumoured to ditch the cheap plastic body for a full-on metallic body. However, this might mean that the price would be bumped up a bit since metallic bodies are more expensive than plastic ones.

The investment firm also hints that Foxconn Technologies will be in charge of shipping most of the iPhone 6C models, which is to be expected since Apple used Foxconn as their main supplier for their components in the past. However, take the information with a grain of salt, since rumours are just rumours until they are officially announced. But since we are talking about Apple here, we are definitely going to see what they have cooking right before they plan on shipping it.

Thank you for providing us with this information

AOL Being Bought for $4.4 Billion by Verizon

Verizon is moving into the content and media business with its planned purchase of AOL. If regulators approve the $4.4 billion USD deal, Verizon will join the likes of Comcast which is not only a telecommunications giant but also a major media conglomerate.

The acquisition would involve the entirety of AOL becoming a wholly owned subsidiary. Of course, the purchase includes the old dial-up internet service with 2 million customers that AOL is famous for. This will net Verizon about $168 million in revenue a year. Other noteworthy mentioned include The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Engadget, MAKERS, and AOL’s advertising network. AOL is expected to operate independently of Verizon at least in the short-term and AOL CEO Tim Armstrong will stay on.

One major hurdle being faced by Verizon and AOL is regulatory approval. On one hand, an approval has precedence. Comcast was able to move ahead with its acquisition of NBC after the previous Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman gave approval. However, the regulatory landscape has changed with new FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler who recently implemented Net Neutrality rules which aim to prevent companies from using their monopoly to leverage advantages. What is likely to happen is that the FCC will grant approval but with some rules that Verizon will have to follow regarding AOL.

While purchasing AOL’s dial-up service sort of makes sense, it will be interesting to see how Verizon will make use of their media and content acquisitions. Both consumers and the FCC will be sure to watch the acquisition carefully to guess if Verizon will abuse its new position as a media outlet.

Alibaba to Invest in Micromax, India’s Major Phone Maker

Alibaba, Chinese e-commerce firm is going to buy a stake in India’s major smartphone maker, Micromax. The e-commerce giant is believed pick up a 20 percent stake in Micromax. If the deal completes, Alibaba will be investing as much as $1.2 billion in Micromax. It makes sense considering the fact that India is world’s third largest smartphone market and was the fastest growing in the Asia Pacific region in the third quarter of last year and Micromax is second largest smartphone brand in the country, challenging Korea’s giant, Samsung by sales. According to Reuters secret sources, Alibaba would use Micromax as a tool to get its online sales business into the subcontinent. Alibaba’s mobile payments software solutions like Alipay to come pre-installed in Micromax devices. But it is all speculations, rumors at this time. It does makes sense though.

As the stats say, India is emerging as a market for smartphones huge enough to get attraction from all over the world’s phone makers. Smartphone makers giants are making a way to the country to sell its offerings and it promotes the competition resulting in innovation. The funding is aimed at helping Micromax raise capital as it expands into new business segments including personal computing.

We currently do not have any more information about the changes to be done, but we will keep you up to date as soon as we do.

Thank you Reuters for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of CNBC.

Microsoft Did Not Contribute to Cyanogen’s $110 Million Crowd-Funding

Microsoft is said to have been interested in investing $70 million into Cyanogen in order to take a stake in its operating system. However, the amount of money intended to be offered would have granted the company only a minor share. This is because Cyanogen is now valued in the “high hundreds of millions” of dollars range.

An investment firm by the name of Premjnvest is said to have invested $110 million into Cyanogen recently. Although Microsoft did not succeed in taking a share, it is said that the company is at least attempting to negotiate a commercial agreement to get some of its software and services into the Cyanogen OS.

Cyanogen continues to make waves of how it can create a perfect Android alternative, free of Google’s services. Kirt McMaster, Cyanogen CEO, stated that the company would have its own app store up and running within 18 months. Microsoft is likely to continue its interest into Cyanogen’s efforts and continue their negotiations in order to ensure its services can be accessible on the new OS when it kicks off.

Thank you Phonearena for providing us with this information

Apple Investing $2 Billion in 100% Renewable European Data Centres

Apple has announced that it is to invest $2 Billion into two new data centres in Europe, that will be powered by 100% renewable energy. The company’s CEO, Tim Cook, says that the new centres will bring great benefits to the local communities surrounding the new buildings as well as to Europeans as a whole.

The centres will be built in Athenry in western Ireland and in Viborg in Denmark, and are planned to be up and running by 2017. It’s said that the new buildings will add capacity to Apple’s online services in Europe; including iMessage, iCloud, Siri, Photos, iTunes and more.

“We are grateful for Apple’s continued success in Europe and proud that our investment supports communities across the continent,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “This significant new investment represents Apple’s biggest project in Europe to date. We’re thrilled to be expanding our operations, creating hundreds of local jobs and introducing some of our most advanced green building designs yet.”

This marks Apple’s largest ever investment into a European project, and it’s clear that it will certainly be of great benefit to the local communities that surround these new centres.

Source: The Verge 

China to Launch a $6.5B Venture Capital Fund for Start-Ups

The Chinese government is set to launch a 40 billion Yuen ($6.5 billion) venture capital fund to support emerging industries and start-up tech companies. The scheme is to be funded by the government and private investors.

“The establishment of the state venture capital investment guidance fund, with the focus to support fledging start-ups in emerging industries, is a significant step for the combination of technology and the market, innovations and manufacturing,” said a statement from the country’s state council. “It will also help breed and foster sunrise industries for the future and promote (China’s) economy to evolve towards the medium and high ends.”

Due to an IPO freeze in the region, venture capital investments had dramatically fallen, but the announcement coincides with a recovery during the second half of 2014. Reports suggest the new venture capital fund could be operating within a matter of weeks.

Source: Techspot

Dyson Makes £1 Billion Investment in Future Tech

Dyson, the company best known for producing hi-tech vacuum cleaners, fans, heaters and hand driers, has announced that it is investing £1 Billion in “future technology”.

This comes alongside an earlier £250 million investment in a new R&D expansion of their current headquarters in Wiltshire. That particular project is scheduled to bring 3000 jobs along with it.

This giant new investment will apparently go towards 100 new products as part of 4 completely new product categories to be introduced over the next 4 years. CNET says that some of these new products will also include outdoor products – perhaps an update to James Dyson’s reimagining of the wheelbarrow?

Source: CNET

iPhone 6 Sales Over Triple iPhone 6 Plus in the US

Over the last 30 days, Americans have voted with their wallets – showing that they find the iPhone 6 much more favorable to their needs. Apple’s iPhone 6 has amounted for 68% of total iPhone sales in the US, when compared to the iPhone 6 Plus sitting at 23% – with the remaining 9% being split throughout the iPhone 5c and 5s.

Comparing this to the iPhone 5 release, the iPhone 5c and 5s amounted for a total of 84% of iPhone sales, compared to the 6 release sitting at 91% – this goes to show that the iPhone 6 is a seemingly more worthy upgrade than Apples previous product release.

So why is the iPhone 6 almost 3 times popular than the iPhone 6 Plus? A few possibilities include the release price of the 6 Plus being likely to set you back a few extra hundred dollars, there was the major recent PR disaster of their iBend fiasco – seeing this premium device bend slightly in users pockets.

This latest gen release also saw Apple do away with their 32GB models – only providing 16, 64 and 128GB options into the market. According to market analyzers, this has drawn more people to spend a little extra coin on the 64GB editions and driving up a bit of extra profit for apple.

We’ve been told however that it’s a little hard to tell exactly what consumer demand is for the 6 Plus as there has been some supply issues worldwide. We might see these numbers become a little more even once this issue is fixed.

What’s your opinions on the 6 vs. the 6 Plus, is it worth the extra investment?

Image courtesy of Chiphell

Amazon Stuck With $83m Worth of Fire Phones


If you’ve got a spare $83 million in your back pocket and not much to do with it, Amazon may just become your new best friend! We’ve recently become aware that the online retail giant Amazon has a cool $83 million worth of their Fire phones that aren’t moving through the consumer market. Alongside an announcement of a $544 million loss this quarter, with the Fire phone being largely to blame, Amazon’s original investment of $170 million into the Fire phone isn’t looking too hot.

Part of the blame is said to be with the branding of the technology. Amazon originally set out into the lower end of the consumer market with their competitively priced Kindle Fire tablet – coming in at only $99 on release. However, for the Fire they decided a different route. Firstly you can choose to get the phone through an AT&T contract for $200, or purchase it outright for $700. What’s the catch? No matter which avenue you travel down – you’re carrier-locked to AT&T.

There were problems selling on release, seeing AT&T move the phone down to $0.99 on-contract with no massive improvement in sell-through results. Looking into customer reviews on the Amazon official page you can see some of the disinterest and general ‘internet hate’ surrounding the Fire. Users have provided Amazon’s investment with a scornful 2-star rating with the majority of ratings being a 1-star blowout – amounting to 1,912 total.

All things considered, what has made this phone such a flop? The lack of Google. Although running Android OS, the Fire contains no Google support – meaning no Chrome, Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps or Google Music. Say anything you want about the ‘Google overlords’ or current popular ‘Illuminati’ culture. Life sucks without these applications on Android.

There’s a large possibility you’ll be finding the Fire in a ‘bargain bin’ fairly soon. Don’t get us wrong, coming in with a 5.5″ screen, 2.2GHz Quad-core Snapdragon CPU and 2GB of ram – this phone is no chump when it comes to technical specifications – there’s just quite a few other implications that didn’t allow for success.

I’ll certainly be looking to pick one up myself as a secondary phone if and when it hits clearance pricing.

We’ll leave you now with a painful user review, quite possibly written in the same context once upon a time to a lover of old – this novel is titled “I wanted to love you“.

Image courtesy of Amazon

IBM Spends $3 Billion in Finding New Ways to Power Future Generation of Processors

It seems like the age of silicon will not last as long as we would expect. That is at least what IBM is thinking, having the company spending a great sum on money in developing new ways of powering up future generations of processors.

IBM officials say that the company already has 22 nm chips in use and are not likely to change on something else right away. However, their statement points to the fact that the current technology gets tricky when processors will get even smaller, to about 7 nm as stated.

This is why the company’s first step has been to invest $3 billion / £1.75 billion in funding research into ways of making the small chip components work without silicon. This is why IBM has high hopes for carbon nanotubes, although there is a lot of work and effort to be put in researching ways to make carbon nanotube-powered processors as easily and quickly as silicon processors are made nowadays.

Another alternative in mind seems to be silicon nanophotonics. This is a way of using light instead of electrical signals in order to send data around the chip. Besides the latter, IBM is said to also have invested into new ways of developing quantum computing, namely Neurosynaptic chips, looking to go beyond the digital computing pattern used for over fifty years.

Not all processor manufacturers see eye to eye though. Intel is said to follow Moore’s Law and increase its processor production rates, while Microsoft looks like it sees eye to eye with IBM when it comes to the company’s search engine, Bing. This is why Microsoft has started to use custom chips for its search engine, in hopes it will improve its reliability, speed and make the search engine perform faster and better than its rival, Google.

Whatever the verdict may be in the future, it is clear that technology as we know it will change and evolve into something greater than it is today. What that evolution will bring us is something we all have to just see for ourselves when the time is right.

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

Secret Artificial Intelligence Project has been In The Works for 30 Years

Cycorp look like any other research company, striving to create newer technologies in order to sell them to other companies and make life easier for people. However, the company has revealed that they were working on a piece of advanced artificial intelligence for 30 years, keeping it a secret up until now.

They have stated that the secrecy was kept by working on their own. This means no outside investments, no debts and no news about the project of course. The information which revealed the project in question has apparently been released by Cycorp, having the project near the stage where it could be ‘applicable enough’.

People’s desire for a Star Trek-like computer, namely an artificially intelligent system that could receive instructions in plain, spoken language, without the need of millions and millions of hard-coded instructions, has been on the list of ‘to-do’ things for many companies.

However, the method of user interface in question has been stated countless times to be extremely hard to achieve. Despite the latter, Cycorp aims to do this by ‘codify general human knowledge and common sense’, having computers then make use of it. They apparently have been attempting to figure out the pieces of data humans rely on daily, the knowledge required to understand the world, and represent that in a formal manner so that machines can use to reason.

Cycorp has apparently been building this ‘brain out of software’ from scratch since 1984. The product’s name is called Cyc and it is allegedly not ‘programmed’ in the conventional sense, but more like ‘taught’. Building a computer software is more of a procedure-like approach, using flowcharts for example as guidelines and specifications on what the actual piece of software is to perform. Cycorp describes Cyc to be built more like educating a child, having to teach it things.

For example, Cyc is able to see “the white space rather than the black space in what everyone reads and writes to each other.” This gives Cyc the ability to comprehend and reason with things deemed achievable only by humans. Also, given that Cyc has a vast knowledge of everything, it could soon be installed as a normal operating system on almost everything, including robots.

The company has stated that Cyc is currently being used to teach math for sixth graders. While the program understands the math, it listens to what students have to say and performs diagnostics on their confusion. With this, it is then able to figure out what behaviour it can carry out that would be most useful in aiding them understand things.

Though teaching math is nothing special, it is just an example of what Cyc is able to do, having to emphasise its radical technique in approaching a problem and solving it based on individual and unique analytical resolutions.

Thank you Business Insider for providing us with this information

Google Seek Investment in Virgin Galactic

It looks like Google are cracking out the their cheque book in style once again this week as they make a break for domination of outer space. Not only did they fork out a whopping $500 million a few days ago to acquire satellite maker Skybox, but now it has been reported that they’re also after a $30 million stake in Virgin Galactic, the Sir Richard Branson founded space flight company.

So why would Google want to invest in Sir Branson’s space company? Well they’ve just bought a satalite maker, now they’re going to need a way to launch them into space! The two companies could work together, feeding well off of each others innovations, on one hand Virgin Galactic gets a good line of extra funding and on the other, Google gets to launch its constellation of satellites using Virgins LauncherOne module.

Thank you Gigaom for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Design Boom.

Dyson Invests £5m In Robotics Lab At Imperial College London

Dyson are a household name, no doubt the first thing you’ll think of when you here the company’s name is vacuum cleaners, but there is a whole lot more to Dyson as they’re an engineering company first, and vacuums are just one of their crowning achievements.

The company has always worked to promote research and engineering, and their latest investment which sees the company put £5 million into the robotics lab at Imperial College, London, could help inspire a new generation of engineers and of course a new generation of robotics.

The new research will be focused on vision systems, devices capable of helping robots better understand and adapt to the world around them. Of course the research will help Dyson make better robotic vacuum cleaners, but they stress that the research will cover domestic robots as well.

Sir James Dyson said: “My generation believed the world would be overrun by robots by the year 2014. We now have the mechanical and electronic capabilities, but robots still lack understanding – seeing and thinking in the way we do. Mastering this will make our lives easier and lead to previously unthinkable technologies.”

The future of advanced robotics isn’t too far away, but we must overcome many little hurdles along the way and Dyson will be applying a team of 15 scientists to the new project, as well as an extra £3 million of match-funding from other sources, let’s see if they can give the future of robotics a new set of eyes.

Thank you BBC for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of BBC.

Foursquare To Have Its Location Data Licensed By Microsoft, Receives $15 million Investment

Foursquare just found itself a new investor by the name of Microsoft. The Windows developing giant has reached a licensing agreement with Foursquare, having Foursquare’s ‘valuable’ data being used in products like Bing or Windows Phone OS.

For the data exchange, Microsoft has agreed in investing $15 million in Foursquare’s $35 million Series D funding programme started last December, and according to The Times, Foursquare was valued at $650 million when the deal took place.

Dennis Crowley, Foursquare’s CEO, has reportedly stated that the licensing goes deeper than a standard API integration and will offer access to features like real-time recommendations that aren’t yet part of the API. Microsoft, however, won’t have an exclusive on the data.

“So, in the near future, when you use Microsoft devices powered by the Windows and Windows Phone operating systems and products like Bing, places will be enhanced by Foursquare – to provide contextually-aware experiences and the best recommendations of any service in the world” Foursquare wrote in a blog post.

Foursquare has been a big thing when it first came out. However, in my opinion, Foursquare is slowly decreasing in popularity despite the changes it made and are currently making. Facebook’s Check-In is widely used due to its integration into the social media app and use of access, having other social media apps now coming with check-in functions, giving Foursquare harder times ahead. though, I must admit, the scoring system really does make it unique.

Thank you TheNextWeb for providing us with this information

Sony’s Credit Rating Downgraded To Junk Status

The PlayStation 4 is a great product for Sony, sales are incredibly promising and it is providing a lifeline that the company really needed as we entered 2014, however that hasn’t stopped Sony’s credit rating being cut down to “Junk” status by Moody’s Investor Service.

Sony Entertainment is doing rather well, and it is keeping the company profitable at this time, but they should be doing so much better. The TV and PC market are fiercely competitive and it is proving too much for Sony, with rivals like Samsung and the mobile and tablet markets being full of many options that are currently more popular than what Sony have to offer.

“While Sony has made progress in its restructuring and benefits from continued profitability in several of its business segments, it still faces challenges to improve and stabilize its overall profitability and, in the near term, to achieve a profile that Moody’s views as consistent with an investment grade rating,” Moody’s said in a statement.

“Sony’s profitability is likely to remain weak and volatile, as we expect the majority of its core consumer electronics businesses – such as TVs, mobile, digital cameras and personal computers – to continue to face significant downward earnings pressure.”

Sony really need to tighten up their business and stem losses in the TV sector, but for now their PlayStation consoles, as well as their upcoming PlayStation Now cloud-gaming service are their front runners. Sony make some simply mind blowing TV’s and some very competitive smartphones, but if enough people aren’t parting with their money for the products at retail, then something has to change, and it has to change fast.

Will this be the push Sony need to split up their business and let their entertainment and electronic divisions go their own way? Or will their promise to cut $250 million in expenses from the entertainment business actually be enough to turn them back to being profitable? Only time will tell.

Thank you Forbes for providing us with this information.

Bitcoin Estimated At A Value Of $100,000 In The Future

Chris Dixon, partner at Andreessen Horowitz, states that Bitcoin has the potential to become the leading means of making payments online in the future. He says that a single Bitcoin could be worth more than its present value. “I think [a bitcoin] could be easily worth $100,000,” Dixon says.

This is quite a big achievement, since a single Bitcoin was worth only $13 about a year ago. Currently, a bitcoin is worth roughly $840, give or take, giving it a 6,461% increase in value over a 12 month statistic. In addition to the value, there are around 12.2 million Bitcoins in circulation at the moment, summing up a value of around $10.3 billion in cryptocurrency.

Dixon adds that the maximum number of Bitcoins could be reached by the turn of the century, which can lead to increasing value of the Bitcoin by that time. The Bitcoin is currently deemed a very speculative investment, however it may hold promise as an investment instrument, at least with regard to the applications and companies that offer Bitcoin-related services.

This December Andressen Horowitz itself invested $25 million in Coinbase, a San Francisco-based startup that specializes in Bitcoin payments and exchange. During the same period, Horizons Ventures had also put in an investment in BitPay, yet another Bitcoin payment processor.

Thank you VR-Zone for providing us with this information

Investors Spend $75 million to build consumer version Oculus VR

The people behind the highly anticipated virtual reality headset known as the Oculus Rift secured a $75 million Series B round of funding led by Andreessen Horowitz, the same investment firm that was instrumental in recently helping digital currency wallet and payment processor Coinbase secure $25 million in funding.

Marc Andreessen and fellow partner Chris Dixon have also joined the Oculus board of directors. Dixon told The Verge he was impressed with the developer kit he saw last year but not enough to bring any money to the table for backing. The latest version changed his mind. The extra year has given the development team time to improve some key specifications including head tracking, latency and resolution, Dixon said.

Oculus VR managed to raise $16 million back in June to help finish research and development on the Oculus Rift, but according to CEO Brendan Iribe, they didn’t have the money necessary to build a consumer product. This latest round of funding however, changes all that. Iribe said they always knew they needed a B round to build a consumer product at volume as things like the cost of hardware and setting up the infrastructure aren’t exactly cheap.

Iribe has yet to reveal a date for the release of a consumer version of the Oculus Rift although they have moved more than 40,000 developer kits expectations to sell 70,000 total developer units before the consumer model arrives.

Thank you TechSpot for providing us with this information

Alan Mulally Won’t Be Next Microsoft CEO, Market Cap Drops $12B

Many Microsoft investors have dumped their stocks after it was revealed that the current Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally will not be joining the company as their next CEO. Edsel Ford II stated that Alan would be staying with his current position through to the end of 2014, putting Alan well outside the current 12 month range that the current Microsoft CEO has proposed to find a replacement.

The news say Microsoft taking a 3.5% hit, loosing them $1.43 per share. or to sum that up for you, Microsoft just lost $12 billion worth of value over night, leaving them at a value of $38.94 per share. The company is hardly about to go bust of course, this is just the usual ups and downs for a company of this size, but it shows just how eager the world is to learn who will take the big seat.

Let’s keep in mind that this is just based on Edsel Ford II’s statement, Alan Mulally could still be in the running, although it does seem unlikely now. Now it looks like Microsofts own Satya Nadella is the front running candidate.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information.

Bill Gates Takes The World Richest Man Titles Once Again

Obviously not a recent photo, but couldn’t resist it.

Carlos Slim has got some catching up to do if he wants to become the worlds richest man once again as Bil Gates sees a swift increase in wealth that has set him in the lead.

Of course, Carlos Slim isn’t exactly scraping the bottom of his penny jar just yet and he is still sat pretty being the second richest man in the world, the Mexican telecom mogul is worth a whopping $72.1 Billion but that’s nothing in comparison to the $72.7 billion that Mr Gates can claim to him name, 0.6 ahead might not sound like much, but the word billion certainly changes that.

So why the sudden leap in wealth? Given that Mr Gates as well as Corlos slim are both philanthropists, dedicating billions of dollars of their wealth away to charity in recent years, and yes that’s before this number was even calculated.

Well for Mr Gates is seems the next-gen Xbox is gaining some favour for the Redmond squad and the chief investment officer at The Arora report believes that ever since the announcement of their next-gen consoles launch event the company’s has seen a rise in stock prices, which in turn has boosted Gates personal wealth.

The new Xbox is set to be revealed on the 22nd of May and it will be a big moment for Microsoft, if they make a mess of this event it could have serious repercussions on their future in the gaming market for years to come, but if they get it right, they could be sitting on a gold mine for investors and it’s obvious that people are willing to take the risk and get in on the action, hence the rise in stock prices.

It’s an interesting development and while Microsoft may be feeling the heat for Windows 8 and a slow PC market, there is plenty of money still to be made in the games market that is stemming the tide for now.


Rumour of Corsair Buyout Is False, But They Are Seeking Major Investment

You might remember a couple of days ago we reported on a story that Corsair were rumoured to be involved in buyout talks with Francisco Partners? This came after Corsair indefinitely postponed an IPO after the relative flop of the Facebook IPO. Corsair said that they would “relaunch [the IPO] when equity conditions are more favorable”.

While CNN may have had an interesting lead on the story of a potential buyout, it seems it was a little bit of deadend and Corsair have been quick to dismiss that they are looking to sell their name to Francisco Partners, or anyone else for that matter.

Corsair is securing investment from Francisco Partners but the deal is not a buyout. Corsair have stated the investment is needed so they can continue acquiring other companies and expand their portfolio (like the deal when they acquired Raptor Gaming and Simple Audio).

For the whole of 2011, Corsair reported around $19 million in net income on $455 million of revenue. It’s Q1 2012 earnings were $3 million on $132 million in revenue.

It did seem like this one came a little out of the blue, but as with many rumours in the world of business, things are easily twisted and it looks like Corsair are here to stay for the foreseeable future, in fact it looks more like they will be expanding in the near future if anything else as they may be looking to acquire new assets into the Corsair family.