Is the Amazon-Hachette Dispute About More Than Book Sales?

Amazon is making books unavailable for pre-ordering and extending shipping times due to its dispute with one of the country’s largest publishers, Hachette Book Group. These tactics put pressure on Hachette as the two companies negotiate new terms of a deal for Amazon to sell the publisher’s books online. Amazon wants to increase its cut of the sales from Hachette books and e-books. In a statement Tuesday night, the online retailer said it does not expect the dispute to be resolved any time soon. Continue reading Is the Amazon-Hachette Dispute About More Than Book Sales?

Omnicom Media, Twitter Agree to $230 Million Mobile Ad Pact

Omnicom Media Group and Twitter announced a mobile-advertising deal yesterday that is said to be valued at $230 million over the next two years. The agreement will integrate Accuen, Omnicom’s ad buying unit, with MoPub, the ad exchange that Twitter acquired in September for $350 million. The deal will lock in advertising rates and access to inventory for Omnicom agencies, while also providing a first look at new ad units and related opportunities being developed by Twitter. Continue reading Omnicom Media, Twitter Agree to $230 Million Mobile Ad Pact

New Samsung Smartwatch Runs Tizen, Bypasses Smartphone

Samsung is expanding its smartwatch offering to include a smart watch-phone that can send and receive calls without the need for a separate smartphone. The new Tizen device, which the company hopes to unveil this summer, will also feature a camera, GPS, email management, Bluetooth and heart rate monitor. Samsung also filed a patent last week that details another smartphone project, which includes a camera that can be operated by touchless gestures. Continue reading New Samsung Smartwatch Runs Tizen, Bypasses Smartphone

Small Ad Networks May Suffer from “Do Not Track” Proposals

The Worldwide Web Consortium and the Digital Advertising Alliance have been working on separate efforts to draft rules that would allow Internet users to browse without being tracked by online marketing companies. However, the proposals from both groups will still allow Google or Facebook to track consumers on their own sites or properties such as Gmail or any site with a Facebook “Like” button. Small ad networks say the new proposals will undercut their business. Continue reading Small Ad Networks May Suffer from “Do Not Track” Proposals

Second Screen: QVC Hopes Tablet App Will Help Drive Sales

In order to accommodate consumers’ increasing desire to shop on mobile devices, home shopping pioneer QVC plans to launch a new tablet app that will feature content related to its television broadcasts. According to Nielsen’s 2014 Digital Consumer Report, 84 percent of smartphone and tablet owners use their devices as second screens while watching television. Leveraging this trend, QVC’s app will accompany its TV programming in order to help drive sales.  Continue reading Second Screen: QVC Hopes Tablet App Will Help Drive Sales

AT&T-DirecTV Deal May Hinge on NFL Sunday Games Rights

Telecom giant AT&T is poised to acquire DirecTV for $49 billion, but that deal could fall through if DirecTV fails to renew its “Sunday Ticket” offering with the NFL. The current DirecTV deal with the NFL, which allows the satellite company to broadcast all out-of-market NFL football games on Sunday afternoons to TVs and mobile devices, expires at the end of the 2014 football season. AT&T hopes to become a major broadcasting partner of the NFL with the acquisition of DirecTV. Continue reading AT&T-DirecTV Deal May Hinge on NFL Sunday Games Rights

Redbox Refocuses as Sales and Streaming Service Stagnate

Redbox, the nation’s largest DVD renter, is uninstalling more than 500 kiosks, renegotiating contracts with studios for more favorable content rights, and optimizing its streaming service, Redbox Instant. These changes come as the company faces several challenges: revenue rose only three percent last year after double-digit increases in past years, good locations for kiosks are dwindling, and Redbox Instant only accounts for less than 1 percent of video-on-demand rentals. Continue reading Redbox Refocuses as Sales and Streaming Service Stagnate

Microsoft Combines Laptop and Tablet with New Surface Pro 3

On Tuesday, Microsoft exec Panos Panay unveiled the Surface Pro 3, calling it a potential successor for laptop PCs. The device is not only lighter and thinner than previous versions of Surface tablet computers, but it is also larger. While previous versions measure at 10.6-inches diagonally, the Pro 3 screen measures 12-inches. Along with other Surface tablets, the Pro 3 is powered by Intel chips. Rather than comparing the tablet to others on the market, Panay discussed Apple’s MacBook Air as a competitor.

Continue reading Microsoft Combines Laptop and Tablet with New Surface Pro 3

Pay TV: AT&T Agrees to Purchase DirecTV in $49 Billion Deal

AT&T has agreed to acquire DirecTV for $49 billion. The two companies’ boards approved the agreement yesterday. The deal, which comes just three months after Comcast’s $45 billion agreement to purchase Time Warner Cable, will create a new pay TV giant as video consumption continues to move online. Combining AT&T and DirecTV would result in a company with 26 million pay TV subscribers in the U.S., second only to Comcast and Time Warner Cable if regulators approve their deal. Continue reading Pay TV: AT&T Agrees to Purchase DirecTV in $49 Billion Deal

Apple and Google End Patent Battle, Agree to Work on Reform

Apple and Google have agreed to drop all lawsuits between the two tech giants. According to a joint statement, there is no cross-licensing agreement as part of the truce, but the companies would work in “some areas of patent reform.” The announcement effectively ends about 20 lawsuits and covers Apple’s patent litigation with Google’s Motorola unit, which started four years ago and Google later inherited when it purchased Motorola Mobility. However, the deal does not affect Apple’s patent litigation against Samsung. Continue reading Apple and Google End Patent Battle, Agree to Work on Reform

YouTube in Talks to Acquire Video Game Streaming Site Twitch

Google-owned YouTube is reportedly in active discussions to purchase live video-game streaming service Twitch. While Variety indicates a deal has already been reached for more than $1 billion, The Wall Street Journal more conservatively reports that the two companies are in talks, but in the early stages of a potential deal. Twitch was launched in 2011 by Justin Kan and Emmett Shear, the co-founders of Justin.tv, which was one of the first sites to live-stream user-generated video. Continue reading YouTube in Talks to Acquire Video Game Streaming Site Twitch

Google Glass Available to All, IHS Breaks Down Materials Cost

Google announced Tuesday evening that its Google Glass product, although still in beta, is now available to anyone in the U.S. while supplies last. IHS released a product breakdown of Glass, and says that the cost of hardware and manufacturing is approximately $152, a small fraction of the product’s $1500 selling price. While IHS did note nonmaterial expenses such as software development, engineering and tooling, Google claims that the IHS cost estimate is “wildly off.” Continue reading Google Glass Available to All, IHS Breaks Down Materials Cost

AT&T Could Reach $50 Billion Deal for DirecTV in Two Weeks

AT&T is close to striking a $50 billion deal to acquire satellite TV provider DirecTV, according to people familiar with the matter. An agreement between the two companies involving a mix of cash and AT&T stock could be reached within two weeks. Insiders say the two sides are discussing a share price for DirecTV in the low to mid-nineties (at $95 a share, such a deal would value DirecTV at almost $48 billion). The deal comes as AT&T considers video distribution a potentially key initiative for its future. Continue reading AT&T Could Reach $50 Billion Deal for DirecTV in Two Weeks

FedEx Responds to E-Commerce Boom with Increased Pricing

While FedEx has traditionally charged to ship packages based solely on weight, the company has changed its policy to also price packages according to size. The move is expected to increase the price of over a third of FedEx’s U.S. ground shipments, and dramatically impact e-commerce companies. The next question is whether or not UPS will follow FedEx’s lead and consider a new pricing strategy as well. In the past, UPS and FedEx have kept similar pricing, rather than use pricing as a competitive advantage. Continue reading FedEx Responds to E-Commerce Boom with Increased Pricing

Apple Reportedly Getting Ready to Spend $3.2 Billion on Beats

Insiders say Apple is in talks for a proposed $3.2 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics, which would provide Apple with Beats’ headphone business and recently-launched subscription music service. Although Apple disrupted the music business when it launched iTunes in 2003, it has recently faced declining download sales as consumers increasingly turn to subscription services. If the Beats deal goes through, it would be Apple CEO Tim Cook’s boldest and most expensive acquisition to date. Continue reading Apple Reportedly Getting Ready to Spend $3.2 Billion on Beats

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