Google Fined $5 Billion by European Union in Antitrust Case

Google has been fined a record $5.06 billion by the European Union for antitrust violations. The tech giant is accused of abusing the market dominance of its Internet search services and Android mobile operating system. The record fine underlines how European regulators are pushing for more control in today’s digital economy. Google has 90 days to comply and pay the EU fine, or face penalties of up to 5 percent of parent company Alphabet’s daily worldwide revenues (Alphabet earned more than $9 billion in profit for Q1; Google’s net profit for 2017 was $12.62 billion). Google already announced it plans to appeal the ruling; the case could potentially last years. Continue reading Google Fined $5 Billion by European Union in Antitrust Case

Netflix ‘Smart Downloads’ Tool Makes Mobile Viewing Easier

Netflix’s new “Smart Downloads” tool helps mobile viewers manage their content storage by automatically deleting TV show episodes after they have been viewed and then replacing them with upcoming episodes in the queue. The company introduced offline viewing of certain movies and TV shows in 2016 based on subscriber demand. Now, Netflix estimates that about 60 percent of its global users access the streaming service on their mobile devices at least once a month. With the new feature, mobile users can minimize the amount of manual TV show downloads necessary for offline viewing. Continue reading Netflix ‘Smart Downloads’ Tool Makes Mobile Viewing Easier

Wattpad Disrupts Hollywood Status Quo as New IP Incubator

Wattpad, a digital literature app with social networking, draws 65 million unique monthly visitors with a core readership of 13- to 35-year-olds, who spend about 20 billion combined minutes per month on the site. The site is home to user-generated stories and fan fiction in a wide range of genres, including sci-fi, young adult, horror and poetry. Wattpad also debuted Wattpad Studios two years ago, a “one-stop shop” for new intellectual properties in Hollywood, such as “The Kissing Booth,” a story turned into a Netflix movie. Continue reading Wattpad Disrupts Hollywood Status Quo as New IP Incubator

Microsoft Introduces Inexpensive 10-Inch Surface Go Tablet

Microsoft just showcased a new 10-inch tablet, the Surface Go, that is the company’s smallest and, starting at $399, its least expensive ever. Designed as a smaller version of the Surface Pro, the new device will compete with Chromebooks and iPads. The Surface Go weighs 1.15 pounds, only a bit heavier than the 1.03-pound iPad. In a product demo in New York, a Microsoft rep pulled the Go out of her purse, demonstrating that the company has created a tablet that is light and small enough to be carried around all day. The Go is available for pre-order now and will be in stores August 2. Continue reading Microsoft Introduces Inexpensive 10-Inch Surface Go Tablet

New Accounting Rules Could Impact the Profits of TV Shows

In the new age of streaming (and often binge-watching) video content across multiple platforms, the distinction between movies and TV shows has become blurred. The Emerging Issues Task Force, a part of the non-profit Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), is recommending a change that would impact the profits of today’s TV shows. Calling the difference between such shows and movies as “no longer relevant” for gauging companies’ finances, the new accounting rules would let TV producers track costs the same way movie producers do. Continue reading New Accounting Rules Could Impact the Profits of TV Shows

Google Expected to Be Issued Major Antitrust Fine in Europe

The European Commission, executive arm of the European Union, is expected to issue a multibillion-euro antitrust fine against Google, according to insiders. Google will likely be charged with forcing the company’s search and Web browsing tools on manufacturers of Android-equipped mobile devices, which affects Google’s ecosystem and its successful advertising business. In addition to a hefty fine, Google will likely be ordered to make adjustments to its business practices in Europe related to Android, the most widely-deployed mobile operating system in the world. Continue reading Google Expected to Be Issued Major Antitrust Fine in Europe

Wi-Fi Will Require Enhancements to Keep Up With 5G Tech

High-bandwidth 5G technology will make our mobile phones, tablets and computers much faster, with even the earliest 5G devices capable of 1 to 5 gigabit per second speeds — 10 to 100 times faster than today’s home broadband networks. We’ll still need the modem or Wi-Fi network for data service, and cable companies plan to upgrade their home services to be able to offer 5G. But Wi-Fi is another story: current routers don’t have enough bandwidth for the high-resolution content that 5G can offer, making its future uncertain. Continue reading Wi-Fi Will Require Enhancements to Keep Up With 5G Tech

Kaaya Haptic HoloSuit for VR Apps to Ship This November

Kaaya Tech reached its $50,000 Kickstarter funding goal for the HoloSuit, a wearable haptic controller for virtual reality. The company will start shipping the suit, available in several versions, in November. The top-end version, HoloSuit Pro, offers 36 sensors, nine haptic feedback devices and six firing buttons, spread across two finger-tracking gloves, a pair of pants with feet extensions and a jacket with a head extension. The lower end model offers 26 sensors, and comes with a jacket or jersey with haptics and buttons. Continue reading Kaaya Haptic HoloSuit for VR Apps to Ship This November

App Annie Shares Trends of the App Store’s First 10 Years

Apple’s App Store turns 10 on Tuesday, and to commemorate the milestone App Annie has compiled some interesting statistics. For example, consumers have spent $130 billion on iOS apps and have downloaded 170 billion of them. The average iPhone owner has installed more than 100 apps, yet opens less than 40 of them monthly. According to App Annie, social media giant Facebook is the most downloaded app in the history of the App Store, followed by Facebook Messenger, YouTube, Instagram, WhatsApp, Google Maps, Snapchat and Skype. Continue reading App Annie Shares Trends of the App Store’s First 10 Years

Netflix Now Tops Broadcast, Cable, YouTube for TV Viewing

According to a new Cowen & Co. survey of U.S. consumers, subscription-video service Netflix is now the top choice for watching entertainment content on TV. In response to the question, “Which platforms do you use most often to view video content on TV?” — 27 percent of the 2,500 respondents said they prefer Netflix, while 20 percent opt for basic cable, 18 percent for broadcast television, and 11 percent for YouTube. Meanwhile, Netflix is reportedly testing a new Ultra tier that would allow simultaneous streaming of Ultra HD video and audio across four devices. Continue reading Netflix Now Tops Broadcast, Cable, YouTube for TV Viewing

LinkedIn Unveils Language Translation Tool and QR Codes

LinkedIn is introducing two new features: the ability to use QR codes for quickly sharing profiles and contact details, and a “See Translation” button that will translate posts into different languages. Currently available for iOS and Android, the QR codes offer users a quick option for accessing someone’s profile or sharing their own code via messaging apps, email, websites or printed materials such as business cards, conference badges and company brochures. The translation tool, available for more than 60 languages, is offered through LinkedIn’s desktop and mobile web versions (and soon via iOS and Android). Continue reading LinkedIn Unveils Language Translation Tool and QR Codes

Instagram Users Can Feature Popular Music in Their Stories

Instagram Stories, which currently touts 400 million daily users, now offers a new feature that enables users to add clips of popular songs to their photos and videos. The feature is initially available to Android and iOS users in six countries (including the U.S.), with plans to roll out to additional regions soon. Facebook’s recent deals with major and indie music labels will enable Instagram users to select up to 15 seconds of music from the likes of Bruno Mars, Cardi B, Demi Lovato and Maroon 5 to create soundtracks for each post. Continue reading Instagram Users Can Feature Popular Music in Their Stories

Apple and Samsung Settle Legal Battle Over Phone Patents

Apple and Samsung have settled their long-running patent dispute over allegations that Samsung had violated design and utility patents by copying various iPhone features. The seven-year battle began in 2011, initially resulting in a $1 billion ruling in favor of Apple. However, a number of appeals and countersuits sent the case to the Supreme Court and back, until yesterday when the two companies informed Judge Lucy Koh in a court filing that they had finally reached a settlement. Terms of the new agreement were not disclosed, but Samsung previously paid Apple $399 million for patent infringement. Continue reading Apple and Samsung Settle Legal Battle Over Phone Patents

Oculus TV Debuts as Smart TV for Viewing in Virtual Reality

Oculus officially debuted Oculus TV, a free app and dedicated hub for watching flatscreen video in virtual reality via the Oculus Go headset. By introducing Oculus TV, first announced at last month’s F8 conference, the company makes good on its interest in non-gaming uses of VR. Oculus TV features a virtual home theater with what Oculus says is the equivalent of a 180-inch TV screen, and supports access to streaming video services including Showtime, free web service Pluto TV, Red Bull TV, and Facebook Video. Continue reading Oculus TV Debuts as Smart TV for Viewing in Virtual Reality

AT&T to Purchase AppNexus, Plans Global Ad Marketplace

AT&T is reportedly paying about $1.6 billion to acquire AppNexus, which offers automated software to help advertisers buy ads across apps and websites. Now, AT&T chief executive of advertising and analytics Brian Lesser revealed that the purchase is aimed at creating a platform that connects advertisers not simply with AT&T’s own content, but with competing media outlets in television and digital video. The result would be a pioneering marketplace and give AT&T more leverage against Facebook and Google. Continue reading AT&T to Purchase AppNexus, Plans Global Ad Marketplace

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