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Apple agrees to $400 million settlement in ebook price-fixing case

Originally posted on 9to5Mac:

Apple has agreed to an approximately $400 million settlement as part of the high-profile ebook pricing fixing case in federal court that would cover  consumer consumer damages and civil penalties for the 33 states involved.  Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman made an announcement today detailing the settlement that was also discovered in documents filed with the courts. Schneiderman noted the amount that Apple will ultimately pay of the $400 million settlement will depend on the outcome of  Apple’s still pending appeal of “the court’s July 2013 finding that Apple violated antitrust laws by orchestrating a conspiracy with five publishers to artificially raise E-book prices.”:

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The Black Widow of Silicon Valley: Alix Tichelman’s Trail of Dead and Damaged Men

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Police hunted down the prostitute accused of watching a Google exec overdose—and found a trail of dead and damaged men in her past

For The Daily BeastMichael Daly reports: The detectives from the Santa Cruz police department could see an unmistakable injection mark in the arm of the deceased Google executive.Alix-cuffed
But the detectives could see no drugs and no syringe on the yacht where 51-year-old Forrest Timothy Hayes had been found dead from a heroin overdose. What the detectives did see was a pair of wine glasses on a table. They also noted that somebody appeared to have straightened up the cabin.

“We’re like, ‘Holy smoke, this isn’t her first rodeo.’”

The body had been discovered on the floor of the main cabin by the captain, who had been retained by Hayes after he purchased the 50-foot powerboat. Hayes had started out as an automotive executive in his native Michigan, which was in keeping with his decision to eschew eco-friendly sails such as were favored by other Silicon Valley types and buy a craft powered by big fuel guzzlers.

[Also see - Last Taste of Sugar: Escort Charged in Google Executive’s Fatal Heroin Overdose  [Hooker Business Booms in Silicon Valley]

But he had come West to take increasingly senior positions with Sun Microsystems and then Apple and finally with Google X, the research and development division whose projects included the perfect one for a one-time car guy: the self-driving auto. Hayes had become enough of a techie that he had installed a wireless surveillance camera system on his yacht. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Last Taste of Sugar: Escort Charged in Google Executive’s Fatal Heroin Overdose

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For the LATimesJoseph Serna reports: The woman accused of being a high-priced escort who administered a lethal dose of heroin to a former tech executive on his yacht in Santa Cruz will not be charged with murder in the case, but still faces manslaughter, prostitution and drug counts, prosecutors said Wednesday.

“Police identified her as a suspect after learning that she and Hayes allegedly had a relationship that began with the help of Seeking Arrangements, a website that caters to affluent clients seeking ‘sugar babies.’”

Alix Catherine Tichelman, 26, of Folsom was arrested Friday in connection with the overdose death of 51-year-old Forrest Hayes, who worked for GoogleSun Microsystems and Apple.

[Also see - Hooker Business Booms in Silicon Valley] & [The Black Widow of Silicon Valley]

“Rather than trying to help or calling 911, police say, Tichelman packed up the drugs and needles and at one point stepped over the body to finish a glass of wine before leaving.”

Tichelman had been booked on suspicion of murder, but on Wednesday, Santa Cruz County prosecutors charged her with eight counts, including manslaughter, prostitution, destroying evidence and several related to administering and possessing heroin.

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Tichelman’s arraignment was postponed until July 16, but she remained in custody in lieu of $1.5-million bail.

Prosecutors said the charges could still change as the investigation continues. Read the rest of this entry »


Amazon Unveils ‘Fire Phone’

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos holds up the new Amazon Fire Phone Associated PressAfter months of leaks and speculation, Amazon unveiled its ‘Fire Phone’ smartphone. The new phone has a 4.7-inch screen, a 13-megapixel camera and unlimited photo storage in cloud, as well as a 3-D like effect where the images move where you do.

The phone will be available July 25, and sells for $649 to $749 with no contract…(read more)

Digits – WSJ

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos holds up the new Amazon Fire Phone Associated Press


Analyst: Apple plans to release cheaper iMacs, 8 GB iPhone 5s at WWDC

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For 9to5Mac reports:

KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has made a few more predictions about what we’ll see from Apple in the near future. According to a new KGI research note, Apple could potentially release cheaper versions of the iMac and iPhone 5s during its developer conference next week to accompany its software announcements.

Earlier today new references to an unreleased iteration of the the iMac appeared in an OS X developer preview, likely indicating the impending release of a new model. It’s quite possible that this could be the cheaper iMac referred to in the report. Read the rest of this entry »


4.7-Inch iPhone 6 Confirmed for Sept 2014 Release Date as Apple Orders 50M iPhones from Pegatron

More voices were added to the snowballing iPhone 6 discourse, its 2014 release date supposedly gaining more ground as a new render and fresh details defining the hotly-anticipated handset came out. (Photo: Nikola Cirkovic)

More voices were added to the snowballing iPhone 6 discourse, its 2014 release date supposedly gaining more ground as a new render and fresh details defining the hotly-anticipated handset came out. (Photo: Nikola Cirkovic)

For International Business TimesErik Pineda  writes: The iPhone 6 release date is fast shaping up to become real on September 2014 as mass production of the 4.7-inch version is reportedly already underway, according to new reports.

[See also: REPORT: APPLE ON VERGE OF BUYING BEATS FOR $3.2B]

Reports coming from Taiwan and Japan, which according to MacRumors were picked up by Industrial & Commercial Times and MacOtakara respectively, appear to indicate that Apple manufacturing partner Pegatron has started production activities for the tech giant’s 2014 iPhone thrust.

Pegatron is one of the iPhone maker’s two major mobile device assemblers from Asia. The one is Foxconn, which according to Apple Insider is slated to take up some 85 per cent of iPhone production duties this 2014.

Read the rest of this entry »


Apple’s CEO Puts Cronyism Over Profit

 

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Justin Danhof, Director of the Free Enterprise Project (and one of Tim Cook’s least favorite investors) joined the program to discuss his recent dust-up with the Apple CEO… Apparently, Cook thinks that return on investment isn’t nearly as important as pursuing “green energy” dollars from DC.

Click here to listen to Ransom Notes Radio live or for archives of previous shows.

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Reality-Based World to Tim Cook: ‘Screw You’

Tim Cook: Guzzling the climate-alarmist Kool Aid

Influenced by board member Al Gore? Apple CEO Tim Cook:  Guzzling the climate-alarmist Kool Aid

“If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock.”

As Glenn Reynolds says “Duly noted”

At Apple shareholder’s meeting, Tim Cook tells off ‘climate change deniers’ | Ars Technica


Apple Stands Up to The Feds: Formally Appeals eBooks Antitrust Ruling, Asks for Monitor to be Suspended

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Apple has formally appealed the Department of Justice’s ebooks antitrust case, via the Associated Press. Previously, Apple has only officially complained about the power of the appointed monitor — now they are asking for the entire case to be re-evaluated.

Apple said that the ruling is a “radical departure” from modern antitrust law.

Apple claims it was ignorant of any inter-publisher price fixing and that Apple setup iBooks through legal arrangements without knowledge of any behind-the-scenes collusion.

Read the rest of this entry »


Apple’s Merger Chief Met in Secret with Tesla CEO

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Sebastian Blanco  writes:  There’s no lack of connections between two of the most darling Silicon Valley companies, Apple and Tesla Motors. Most recently, the electric car manufacturerhired away Apple’s “Hacker Princess,” Kristin Paget, but it’s possible to look back as far as 2010 to see when Tesla hired the man who worked on the Apple Store experience, George Blankenshipto get the Tesla Stores in order (he left in late 2013). More recently, there’s been outside calls for the two to link arms, namely from banking analyst Adnaan Ahmad who said Apple should just up and buy Tesla (some have also predicted that General Motors could do just that in 2014) in late 2013. But nothing in this list ties the two companies together as strongly as a new report in the San Francisco Chronicle: Apple’s chief of mergers and acquisitions, Adrian Perica, secretly met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk last spring.

Read the rest of this entry »


Apple releases a Beatles channel for Apple TV

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It’s no surprise that Apple is getting in on the landmark anniversary of Beatlesmania in the US. It’s launched a Beatles channel for the Apple TV with the Beatles’ initial appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show available for free streaming. It also promotes Apple’s release of the Beatles’ U.S. albums, which differ greatly from the UK versions in the early years.

It’s been 50 years since The Beatles made their way to the US and changed music forever, and now Apple is commemorating that with a special channel on the Apple TV. For a limited time, Apple TV owners will be able to view The Beatles’ back-to-back performances on The Ed Sullivan Show 50 years ago.

Read the rest of this entry »


Steve Jobs wanted Sony VAIOs to run Mac’s OS

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UnknownJoseph Volpe reports:  If Steve Jobs had gotten his way, that VAIO in your lap could’ve been running OS X, Apple’s operating system. It sounds like fiction, but consider the source: former Sony president Kunitake Ando. The revelation, which stems from an interview Ando gave to Japanese journalist Nobuyuki Hayashi in 2011, highlights the close relationship Jobs reportedly shared with Sony’s co-founder Akio Morita — a relationship that led Jobs to make an exception to Apple’s walled off ecosystem. And according to Ando, it was on a 2001 golf trip in Hawaii that Jobs decided to surprise Sony executives with a version of Mac OS X running on a VAIO, four years before the Intel transition was made public.

As we all now know, that Apple/Sony partnership wasn’t meant to be. For Sony, the proposal was simply a case of bad timing, as it ran counter to not only the success the VAIO line was experiencing at the time, but also the wishes of its engineering team.

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After having spent so much time optimizing VAIO for Windows, Ando says Sony’s engineering team saw OS X on VAIO as a diversion of resources and were “opposed [to] asking ‘if it is worth it’.” It was because of these two factors that Sony never pursued the prospect of Mac-compatible VAIOs any further…

Read the rest of this entry »


Amazon Needs Heavyweight Content if It’s Developing a Games Console

amazon-logo-HTAmazon’s mystery set-top we keep hearing about like an elusive whale that surfaces distantly for moments before plunging into unlit nether regions is making a few new ripples off reports — rumors, to be sure — that the company’s still toiling and troubling to develop a game console that might compete with, well,everything.

It’s an obvious (if too often glossed-over) point, but the one that matters most in the end: If Amazon (or anyone else, Roku to Apple to Android-based game box X) wants to compete with established industry players like Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, it needs what so many have tried and failed, deleteriously, to secure — broad, mainstream, third-party developer support.

Read the rest of this entry »


Disaster: How The Macintosh Failed (and Still Changed Computing)

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Chris O’Brien writes:  This morning much of the tech world is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the original Macintosh computer.

It was Jan. 24, 1984, when a young Steve Jobs — sporting a goofy bow tie — stepped onto a stage in Cupertino, Calif., and unveiled the Macintosh. However deeply cynical we have grown about product launches, there is no doubt about how genuine the enthusiasm was in the auditorium that day.

Just watch the above video to the end and see the audience go completely bonkers. As a bonus, you get to see Jobs showing early signs of his stagecraft.

The event stands as one of Silicon Valley’s most mythic — a single moment that everyone can point to and say, “That was when everything changed.”

And that’s sort of true. But the reality, as always, is more complex.

Read the rest of this entry »


Apple CEO Cook hands out autographed iPhones at China Mobile launch, says ‘great things’ coming

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From 9to5Mac:  As planned, iPhone sales have started via China Mobile, the largest carrier in China, today. The official iPhone China Mobile deal, which covers both the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, was announced in December. Earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook promoted the event with multiple interviews, calling the partnership a “beginning.” Subsequent reports indicated that millions of iPhones have already been ordered through China Mobile…

Read the rest of this entry »


In rare TV interview, Tim Cook says he is ‘honored’ to be doing business with China Mobile

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In a rare TV interview, Tim Cook described this week’s launch of the iPhone on China Mobile as “a watershed day” for the company. While the soft-spoken Apple CEO is noted for the humbleness with which he speaks, it’s hard to imagine him describing Apple as being “honored” to do business with many other companies.

“I’m so honored to be doing business with … China Mobile. It’s a huge announcement…we’re incredibly impressed with them, we have deep respect for them, and have had from the very first discussion that we’ve had together” …

Read the rest of this entry »


‘RED FRIDAY’ – The Non-Communist Version: Discount-Crazed Shoppers Rush China’s Apple Stores for Wonderful Capitalist Goodies

Photo: Jason Y. Ng

Photo: Jason Y. Ng

“It’s like a refuge camp!” wrote Jason Ng, who tweeted this photo from Hong Kong

FORTUNE —  reports:  No, these aren’t customers lining up for the launch of the iPhone at China Mobile (CHL). That event is scheduled for Jan. 17, a week from now.

These are shoppers at Apple’s (AAPL) Hong Kong store drawn by the discounts the company is offering for its second-annual Asian Red Friday sale.

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Tech Time Warp of the Week: The World’s First Hard Drive, 1956

The RAMAC hard drive at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. Photo: Jon Snyder/WIRED.

The RAMAC hard drive at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. Photo: Jon Snyder/WIRED.

Daniela Hernandez writes:  IBM unleashed the world’s first computer hard disk drive in 1956. It was bigger than a refrigerator. It weighed more than a ton. And it looked kinda like one of those massive cylindrical air conditioning units that used to sit outside your grade school cafeteria.

This seminal hard drive was part of a larger machine known as the IBM 305 RAMAC, short for “Random Access Method of Accounting and Control,” and in the classic promotional video below, you can see the thing in action during its glory days. Better yet, if you ever happen to be in Mountain View, California, you can see one in the flesh. In 2002, two engineers named Dave Bennet and Joe Feng helped restore an old RAMAC at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, where it’s now on display. And yes, the thing still works.

As we’re told in IBM’s 1956 film — which chronicles the five years of research and development that culminated in the RAMAC — Big Blue built the system “to keep business accounts up to date and make them available, not monthly or even daily, but immediately.” It was meant to rescue companies from a veritable blizzard of paper records, so adorably demonstrated in the film by a toy penguin trapped in a faux snow storm.

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Before RAMAC, as the film explains, most businesses kept track of inventory, payroll, budgets, and other bits of business info on good old fashioned paper stuffed into filing cabinets. Or if they were lucky, they had a massive computer that could store data on spools of magnetic tape. But tape wasn’t the easiest to deal with. You couldn’t get to one piece of data on a tape without spooling past all the data that came before it.

Then RAMAC gave the world what’s called magnetic disk storage, which let you retrieve any piece of data without delay. The system’s hard drive included 50 vertically stacked disks covered in magnetic paint, and as they spun around — at speeds of 1,200 rpm — a mechanical arm could store and retrieve data from the disks. The device stored data by changing the magnetic orientation of a particular spot on a disk, and then retrieve it at any time by reading the orientation.

Read the rest of this entry »


Apple strikes multi-year deal with China Mobile

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The long-awaited deal will see Apple sell its iPhones in the world’s largest smartphone market via China Mobile’s retail stores on January 17 for the first time

 writes:  Apple has announced a long-awaited distribution deal with China Mobile, the world’s biggest phone carrier, which could generate billions in revenue for the world’s most valuable tech company.

Demand for iPhones, once hugely popular in China, have slumped there as lower-priced rival smartphones from Samsung and Chinese companies entered the market.

The financial terms of the deal were not announced, nor were the details of pricing and availability for its latest iPhone, the 5S and 5C lines, which Apple said would be available at a later date.

The phones will go on sale in China Mobile’s retail stores on January 17 for the first time, but customers will be able to pre-order from December 25.

Read the rest of this entry »


Google’s Eric Schmidt Wants a Ban on Amazon’s Drones

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 writes: “How would you feel,” Google chairman Eric Schmidt asked in the Guardian last April, “if your neighbour went over and bought a commercial observation drone that they can launch from their back yard. It just flies over your house all day. How would you feel about it?”

Good question. Especially after Jeff Bezos‘ announcement on 60 Minutes Sunday that Amazon plans to build and deploy across the U.S. a fleet of artificially intelligent delivery drones.

How would I feel about a drone that could snoop on me? Probably the same way I’d feel about a company that monitored all my online activities — the e-mail I send and receive, the websites I visit, the places I visit, the products I buy, the YouTubes I watch, etc. etc. — and sold that information to advertisers.

Read the rest of this entry »


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