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Microsoft Plans To Open New Tech Hub in Brazil

Microsoft is reportedly planning to shell out roughly $100 million in investments for the establishment of its technology center in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Brazilian newspaper Agencia Estado disclosed Wednesday.

The software giant appears determined to further boost its presence in South American as far as technological research is concerned following their landmark deal with the Brazilian government to open a tech center.

The Brazilian government will act as a facilitator in the project but the bulk of the project will come from Microsoft’s pocket. However, it’s still unknown the true nature of the tech center, whether it’s Research and Development hub or a training site for Brazilians.

Microsoft already spent $5 million for its Sao Paulo office but the investment is far larger in Rio De Janeiro. The Windows 8-maker has been placing its outposts strategically around the world, establishing hubs in Egypt, Israel, and Germany.

Brazil has been an active partner of Microsoft over the last five years, coming up with projects that broaden the reach of the internet and strengthen education and job opportunity in the country.

Agencia Estado reported that other tech companies like Apple and Samsung are reportedly interested to establish their own tech hubs in Brazil, who has become the center of commerce in South America.

Meanwhile, Microsoft and Skype is reportedly working out a new Windows 8 Skype client software that will replace the Messenger instant-messaging client.

The Skype team already announced their plan to launch the new instant messaging software in the first quarter of 2013.

“We will retire Messenger in all countries worldwide in the first quarter of 2013 (with the exception of mainland China where Messenger will continue to be available),” said a Skype Team spokesperson.

Microsoft has been pushing Skype to use the Windows messenger structure since the software giant acquired the voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) entity in 2011.

Apple Spends 2 Percent in Overseas Tax Spending

The top executives at Apple has once again showcased their knack at avoiding the punitive hands of the tax collector after the Silicon Valley-based tech company reported a 2 percent tax spending for the chunk of money generated by the sales of their products overseas in the last fiscal year.

According to its annual report filed with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, Apple only shelled out $713 million in taxes on $26.87 billion in foreign profits.

On the other hand, the iPhone maker spent a whopping $12.26 billion in federal taxes and $1.06 billion in state taxes for the profits they earned in the United States.

Apple’s growing business empire was attributed to its engaging line of innovative products and tax strategies overseas.

Like many multi-national conglomerates, Apple is racking up the large portion of their profit money from the sales of their products abroad, where tax policies are lax and favorable for their business.

However, these profits tend to stay overseas as companies tried to avoid an onerous 35 percent tax rate if they decided to ‘repatriate’ their money obtained in foreign lands back to the United States.  Several companies such as Cisco Systems have previously asked for tax relief for the repatriation of their overseas profits.

Despite spending an incredibly cheap amount of money for their overseas taxes, Apple has not utilized any loopholes just to prevent paying lucrative taxes.

Instead, the company’s top executives used their smarts to capitalize on the slack tax regulations abroad, giving them the leverage to spend less out of their enormous profits.

“These technology giants are playing by the rules, but the problem is the rules are broken. Who sets the rules? The government. And yet the government all but takes it out on the individual taxpayer by making them drag the country out of economic downturn kicking and screaming,” said ZDNet’s Zack Whittaker.

With the competition in the U.S tech market increasingly becomes tighter than ever, Apple will not stop at tapping all possible options to capitalize on the profit opportunities at tax-friendly countries such as China and India.

Via: CNET

eBay’s Strong Third-quarter Sales Bolstered by Paypal, Marketplaces

Online auction site eBay announced this week it has recorded $3.4 billion revenue in the third quarter of 2012, posting a 15 percent increase from the same quarter last year.

eBay continued to post strong numbers despite rumors that Paypal is in a verge of laying off some of their employees.

According to Cnet reporter Rachel King, eBay racked up a third-quarter net income of $597 million or 45 percent a share. The e-commerce company’s Non-GAAP earning registered 55 cents a share on a revenue of $3.4 billion – a 15 percent jump from the same quarter last year.

These figures came unexpected after Wall Street predicted eBay to record third-quarter revenue of 42 cents a share on revenue of $2.63 billion.

eBay CEO John Donahoe credited solid revenue generated by subsidiaries  Paypal and Marketplace for eBay’s strong third quarter performance.

“We had a great third quarter across our company, with Marketplaces and PayPal accelerating customer growth. Mobile continues to be a game changer for us, and we continue to be a clear leader in mobile commerce and payments. With our strong portfolio and global reach, we are consistently demonstrating our capabilities to help consumers shop anytime, anywhere. And we are enabling retailers of all sizes to compete in a rapidly evolving, multichannel commerce environment,” Donahoe said in a statement this week.

Paypal posted a 23 percent jump in revenue and 20 percent increase in net total payment volume year-over-year. It also recorded 14 percent increase (117.4 million) in active registered account.

Marketplaces’ Gross merchandise volume (excluding vehicles) jumped 11 percent year-over-year to $16 billion while its active user growth reached 10 percent year-over-year, making it the fastest growth rate for Marketplaces since 2007 — 800,000 of its new users came from mobile.

Marketplace revenue jumped by 12 percent year-over-year to $226 million while its store sales increased by 19 percent year-over-year.

Via: Cnet.com

Sony Says Industry Must Innovate To Thrive

If the gaming industry (and the technology industry) is wanting to thrive, it must innovate, according to the PlayStation Europe Boss, Jim Ryan. When Ryan spoke to MCV, the executive sounded off on the varied trends in the gaming industry today.

“It is great that the industry evolves and goes in different directions,” Ryan said. “No entertainment industry can just carry on the way it was. For our industry to thrive and prosper it has to evolve and it has to innovate.”

Ryan continued to explain that  he thinks and believes closed platforms are “breaking down a bit” due to the rise of connected devices. He continued to note that the PlayStation 2 and PSP were not properly connected devices at all. That said, he mentioned that the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation vita were good connected platforms.

“This is new ground for us,” he said. “It didn’t seem it at the time but these walled gardens are actually nice, cosy places, and we are now going out into the big bad world where there are no rules. We are trying to set those rules.”

The executive continued to say that Sony is essentially forced to “reset” much of the way it thinks, and noted that the company has been pushing the original PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation 3 “basically the same way,” and that this was a terrible mistake.

“And then all of a sudden we are like ‘You have to forget that and think differently’,” he finished.

As you can see, Jim Ryan is talking about the gaming industry here. But if you think about, Sony is already doing a fantastic job innovating. Their Sony Mobile division with the Xperia lineup is a fantastic example of that. The Xperia has its exclusive apps along with exclusive apps made by Sony (and Gaikai the cloud gaming service on the way) that are actually really well developed and thought out. It’s not something that the average consumer would consider “bloatware” if they took a few minutes to look at it. It’s sort of like Motorola has their WebTop Connector, that was pretty innovative, but we haven’t really seen anything truly innovative in the tech industry. I think with the AOSP experiment and some other tricks Sony Mobile might have up their sleeves, we could see them thriving ahead of everyone else in both the tech and gaming industry.

Samsung makes some really good products but in my personal opinion, no one does it better than Sony if you want to argue innovation. For instance, take a look at their accessories for the up and coming Xperia tablet. Has ASUS done that, Samsung even? Not really, it just makes me think that Sony has some really good ideas that we could be seeing soon and will therefore be a huge success. That is, if the consumer is willing to see it.

In summary, I just think that Sony is ahead of the game with some of their upcoming devices and other companies won’t be able to get ahead of the game when Sony releases some of these products they have lined up.

Hopefully this also hints at a upcoming next-gen PlayStation console too, that would be really cool to see happen. XperiaStation anyone?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

source: MVC
via: GameSpot

Best Buy To Close 50 Stores, Revamp Strategy

Say it ain’t so big blue?  Best Buy, the nation’s largest consumer electronics chain reported on Thursday that they would be closing 50 stores, reducing their corporate workforce by 400 jobs and trimming $800 million in costs. They will, at the same time, open 100 new, smaller, and more profitable, Best Buy Mobile stores.

“How do we position the company so we’re where our customers need us to be?” Brian Dunn, Best Buy’s chief executive, asked on a conference call with analysts on Thursday. “We’re clearly going to have more doors and less square footage.”

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Facebook Updates “Rights & Responsibilities” Statement You Have Until March 22 To Respond

Social networking Giant Facebook has updated their Statement of Rights & Responsibilities for the first time since April 2011. Facebook’s “Statement of Rights & Responsibilities” is the governing document between Facebook users and the company itself. As a user of Facebook, accessing the site means that you agree to this statement, as you would a Terms & Conditions, or Terms of Service statement.

Most of the changes in their Rights and Responsibilities statement highlight things like safety and community standards. For instance they’ve changed the verbage “hateful” to “hate speech”.

Safety. In this section, we have changed the language from “hateful” content to “hate speech” because we think the term “hate speech” better captures our policy on prohibited content, which hasn’t changed. This is also consistent with our new “Community Standards”.

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SXSW: What Was Wrong With The Homless Hotspots? OpED

There’s a lot of buzz about the marketing project “Homeless Hotspots” this year at South By South West Interactive. In the project, seen in the above Mashable video, 13 homeless men were charged with the task of recruiting passerbys to use their wifi for a nominal donation. The average donation was $2.00 for 15 minutes. Of course that’s relatively close to what you would pay at a pay as you go internet cafe, however it was a donation and could be whatever you wanted.

The small donation gets back to the homeless person after collected by the marketing agency BBH that is putting out the promotion and awareness about Austin’s homeless population.

The promotion has been met with ire around the internet. Call me strange but I don’t get the objection at all. As BBH’s Saneel Randia pointed out in a blog post, this Homeless Hotspot initiative is much like the homeless providing street newspapers, which happens regularly in New York City.

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Russell Holly Takes Reigns As XDA Portal Admin

Many of our readers know Russell Holly either from his pieces on Geek.com, or as the first Senior Editor here at thedroidguy.com. While that may seem like eons ago it was just over a year ago, which in the tech journalism world, may seem like ages.

In addition to Holly’s feature writing for Ziff Davis at geek.com and his weekly appearances on NPR, Holly is now the portal administrator over at XDA.

 

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Just as Blackhat ends, Defcon starts in Las Vegas

We are in Las Vegas Nevada and we have just ended our time at Blackhat, next up it’s  Defcon. We were planning to give you coverage on Blackhat’s mobile track,  however whoever planned it forgot to mention to the speakers that they need to show up because they didn’t.  I was waiting anxiously for the Hacking Androids for Profit by Riley Hassell and Shane Macaulay, however none of them showed up and didn’t even call. I know two people who wont be called to talk next year.

While in the vendors area I was expecting to see a line of vendors showing off mobile products; I was sadly wrong. Two companies however did make an appearance; CORE Security Technologies and BluePoint Security.  Its interesting, because you’ll see below how they “go against each other”. Where as CORE Security does penetration testing by:

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Mavenir Systems Acquires Airwide Solutions

Mavenir Systems, one of the leading innovator of mobile solutions for LTE operators has announced their agreement to acquire Airwide Solutions, one of the leading providers of mobile messaging solutions.   (more…)

Good Google Results For Q1 2011, Larry Pages First Call

Overall Google reported a good first quarter of 2011. Let’s remind you real quick that this was not Larry Page’s first quarter as CEO it was Eric Schmidts last.  The highlight of the call in terms of numbers to report was that Google saw an increase of 27% year over year.

That 27% increase was on total revenue of $8.58 billion.  Google’s owned sites such as search, youtube etc were responsible for 69% of total revenues. AdSense was responsible for $2.43billion. International markets accounted for $4.57 billion.

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OpED: Why So Much Hate Towards Color And Why It Makes Sense

First you will ask what is Color and why we are talking about it… Color is a new start up for both Android and iOS. It hasn’t launch past beta and has already received more then $40 million in funding. So what is Color?

A Free application for iPhone and Android devices that allows people in close proximity to capture and have real-time access to photos, videos, and text simultaneously from multiple smartphones. Color is the best way of sharing an experience without the hassle of passing cameras around, emailing or uploading images and videos online.

Thats it… Something like that was able to pull in over $40 million in funding before it even made a dent in anything. So why all the press? No, not because its a great new start-up that everyone can’t wait to go prime time but instead its how high they were able to get funded from, from the likes of Sequoia and others before they even did anything productive. It makes no sense I agree but there’s more. Across the web on any Tech Blog site you visit you’ll see articles about how Color is either playing behind the 8-ball and having start-up founders hoping for it to fail MASSIVELY like TechCrunch or start-up founders them self.

I think one reason for the animosity among startup founders is that the romantic model of the startup is the small group of founders in the grungy garage/apartment- Michael Seibel, the CEO of Justin.tv

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My first week in Founder Institute

So as many as you’ve heard I’ve been accepted into the prestigious Founder Institute which has been polarized on many Tech based sites like TechCrunch. Our first meeting was last Sunday and we have weekly meetings on Mondays down in Marina Del Ray. Every session we have mentors who speak and last Monday we had: Fred Joyal – CEO & Co-Founder of  1-800-DENTIST , Adeo Ressi – CEO, TheFunded.com, and my personal favorite out of the three was  Stephen Meade – Founder, BigBamboo( who funny enough shot down my idea as something tried 5 years ago…Yes before Android came out).

They speak from everything from how they started, to the numerous failed start-ups to finally realizing what they had and going after it.  Besides each mentor that speaks we have a great number of other ones there for us to talk to about our ideas for insight into what they know along with some grads as well. During the past two sessions we’ve had we also get to go in front of the mentors and pitch our ideas. They then rate us on a scale of 1-5 without us being able to give any feedback as to what there comments or concerns are. That I believe is the hard part as I keep getting told I can’t answer even though I keep trying to.

Being someone who hasn’t been in school in quit a few years the shock of having homework do each week as weird as it sounds is kind of fun. Each week we have an assignment posted that varies in what is needed based on the week before what we went over. I’ll admit the way its done is kind of confusing so I end up always being a week ahead some how.

Along with the homework we also had to go through this list of local mentors and email 3 of them to have them hopefully not just have enough time but also be interested enough in our ideas to be our mentors. I was lucky enough to get two out of the three to quickly say yes even though at the near time be busy. As of now for mentors I have Simon Mainwaring CEO at Mainwaring Creative and Oded Noy Founder & CEO, Social Approach. Both in which I hope will understand my idea as the mobile landscape of what advertising can do and will do in the future is a new area in which isn’t fully realized yet.

Next Mondays speakers will be: Ken Rutkowski, Simon Mainwaring, and Taryn Rose. I’ll post back next week as to how things are going 😉

Stop Searching Aroundthe.net for Hot Working Tech Girls

Special Contribution To The Droid Guy
By: The Legendary Sylvie Barak

Introducing The Girls Who Get Around The Net

The idea of AroundThe.Net (ATN) was born from a blog post. Not an impressive blog post by any stretch of the imagination and indeed, it was its sheer banality which galvanized us to action.

One of the few high ranking female execs at a certain chip company had decided to blog about what she believed girls wanted from life, taking it upon herself to explain to the world that what women world over craved the most was the love of a geeky man. A geeky man with no dress sense, no social skills, but who could help us imbecile women fix a computer or mow the lawn.

For those of us “tech girls” who have been gainfully employed in the industry for years, this was a shocking blow and an affront not only to our (not-so-delicate) sensibilities but to our common sense. Why should a woman, a high ranking tech exec at that, presume to speak on behalf of all women or pretend we are all one homogeneously tech-retarded group of blathering bimbos. It’s offensive.

Women, just like their male counterparts, fall into a vast variety of categories and – oddly enough – have very different opinions from one another on most things. Yes, even in tech. And no, we’re not raging feminists, and we’d never dare to burn our expensive Victoria Secrets bras, thank you very much.

So, how best to showcase the fun, geeky, random side of the business we love than to take four of the most opinionated, passionate, intelligent, well spoken and socially adjusted (perhaps not!) girls in tech and put them together to make videos to entertain, engage or enrage you?

To battle it out with each other and our unsuspecting victims (guests) in a war of wits, to eloquently and elegantly go where no tech show has gone before: to a non cheesy, no nonsense tech show by women, but not for women. But not for men either. But for everyone. A show where pink gets checked at the door and where fluff has no place. A tasteful yet brash, belligerently funny, realistically refreshing approach to covering tech news and the digital toys we care about.

Think, G4TV meets Engadget meets Top Gear, meets TMZ, meets the View….on acid! You can catch the girls –
Sylvie Barak,
Raven Alexis,
Lydia Leavitt
and Nicole Scott –
from AroundThe.Net on their site or on their Facebook page, Twitter, YouTube or any number of other places Around the dot net…