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Posts Tagged ‘bloomberg reports’

2012 Set Record For Most Expensive Gas In US

January 1st, 2013 01:50 admin View Comments

Transportation

An anonymous reader writes “According to data from the American Automobile Association, the average price for a gallon of gas in the U.S. was higher in 2012 than in any year before it. Nationwide, gas averaged $3.60/gallon, up from $3.51/gallon in 2011. ‘The states with the most expensive annual averages for 2012 included Hawaii ($4.31), Alaska ($4.09), California ($4.03), New York ($3.90) and Connecticut ($3.90). The states with the least-expensive annual averages included South Carolina ($3.35), Missouri ($3.38), Mississippi ($3.39), Tennessee ($3.40) and Oklahoma ($3.41). The highest daily statewide average of the year was $4.67 in Calif. on Oct. 9, while the lowest daily statewide average was $2.91 a gallon in South Carolina on July 3.’ Bloomberg reports that fuel consumption is down 3.6% compared to last year, while U.S. oil production reached almost 7 million barrels a day recently, a level that hasn’t been reached since 1993. AAA predicts gas prices will be cheaper in 2013.”

Source: 2012 Set Record For Most Expensive Gas In US

Kodak Patents Sold for $525 Million

December 19th, 2012 12:04 admin View Comments

Patents

An anonymous reader writes “Intellectual Ventures and RPX Rational Patent, two companies frequently referred to as patent trolls, have snapped up the troubled Kodak company’s imaging patents. Bloomberg reports that Kodak has agreed to sell the patent portfolio for $525 million, despite previous valuations of over $2 billion.” New submitter speedplane adds “How many stories have we read hating on the biggest patent troll of them all? Finally we see Intellectual Ventures making their case in a Wired op-ed, filled with everything you would would expect from a company suing the tech world on thousands of dubious patents: ‘…the system needs intermediaries within the market — companies like Intellectual Ventures — to help sift through and navigate the published landscape. By developing focused expertise, these patent licensing entities and intermediaries can function as patent aggregators, assembling portfolios of relevant inventions and providing access through licensing.’ And my favorite gem: ‘Ultimately, the users of those products — you — are the ones who benefit.’”

Source: Kodak Patents Sold for $525 Million

Outrage At Microsoft Offshoring Tax In the UK, Google Caught Avoiding US Taxes

December 10th, 2012 12:51 admin View Comments

Microsoft

Master Of Ninja writes “After the ongoing row about companies not paying a fair share of tax in the United Kingdom, and with companies such as Starbucks, Amazon and Google being in the headlines, focus has now turned to Microsoft. Whilst the tax arrangements are strictly legal, there has been outrage on how companies are avoiding paying their fair share of tax generated in the country.” And over here in the U.S., dstates sent in new of Google getting caught doing something similar: “Bloomberg reports that Google is using Bermuda shell companies to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes world wide. By routing payments and recording profits in zero tax havens, multinational companies have been avoiding double digit corporate taxes in the US and Europe. Congressional hearings were held in July on the destructive consequences of off shoring profits. Why aren’t the US and Europe exerting more diplomatic pressure on these tax havens that are effectively stealing from the US and European treasuries by allowing profits that did not result from activities in Bermuda or the Cayman Islands to be recorded as occurring there?”

Source: Outrage At Microsoft Offshoring Tax In the UK, Google Caught Avoiding US Taxes

Apple and Google Joining Forces On Kodak Patents Bid

December 8th, 2012 12:29 admin View Comments

Patents

TrueSatan writes “Bloomberg reports that Apple and Google have partnered to make a bid of more than $500 million for the Kodak patent portfolio. The bid relates to Kodak’s 1,100 imaging patents. ‘Kodak obtained commitments for $830 million exit financing last month, contingent on its sale of the digital imaging patents for at least $500 million.’ This is likely to be an opening bid, with the final figure being far larger. By comparison, a group including Apple, Microsoft, and RIM bought Nortel’s 6000+ patents for $4.5 billion last year. ‘Google lost the auction for those patents after making an initial offer of $900 million.’”

Source: Apple and Google Joining Forces On Kodak Patents Bid

Chicago Teachers Rip ‘Big Money Interest Groups’

September 16th, 2012 09:18 admin View Comments

Education

theodp writes “The striking Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is holding a massive ‘Wisconsin-style rally’ Saturday as ongoing negotiations try to bring an end to the strike that has put education on hold for 350,000 of the city’s schoolchildren. ‘The 30,000 teachers, school social workers, clerks, vision and hearing testers, school nurses, teaching assistants, counselors, and other school professionals of the Chicago Teachers Union are standing strong to defend public education from test pushers, privatizers, and a national onslaught of big money interest groups trying to push education back to the days before teachers had unions,’ explains the CTU web site. ‘Around the country and even the world, our fight is recognized as the front line of resistance to the corporate education agenda.’ Some are calling the strike — which has by most accounts centered on salary schedules (CPS salary dataset), teacher performance evaluations, grievance procedures, and which teachers get dibs on new jobs — a push-back to education reform that has possible Presidential election implications. The big winners in the school strike, Bloomberg reports, are the city’s largely non-union 100+ charter schools, which remained open throughout the strike. Charter school enrollment swelled to 52,000 students this fall as parents worried by strike rumors sought refuge in schools like those run by the Noble Charter Network, which enjoys the deep-pocket support of many wealthy ‘investors.’”

Source: Chicago Teachers Rip ‘Big Money Interest Groups’

Google Could Be Fined $10 Million for Violating Safari’s Privacy Settings

May 4th, 2012 05:14 admin View Comments

Bloomberg reports that Google is negotiating with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over the size of a fine for violating the privacy settings of Apple’s Safari browser. The fine could amount to $10 million or more. By comparison, Google’s latest FCC fine for public Wi-Fi data collection was a mere $25,000. What did Google do wrong?

The FTC’s job is to protect consumers from “unfair and deceptive” practices. Bloomberg reported that this would be the FTC’s first fine for Internet privacy. We found earlier precedent for this. Still, “unfair and deceptive” sounds about right. Google used a loophole to get around Safari’s default settings, which, while not technically difficult, was deceptive to the user.

Google, like many ad companies, uses browser cookies to track its users around the Web and better target ads to them. Cookies are set by the site you’re on, but some cookies allow third parties to set a tracking cookie through them.

The default setting for Apple’s Safari browser is to only accept cookies from sites to which you navigate, blocking third-party cookies. Google is one of several ad companies that routed around the setting by placing cookies on the domain you visit and using them to track you from their own domains.

What’s So Bad About That?

Web companies are tracking us everywhere unless we block all cookies, so one might be tempted to say, “So what?” It’s the default setting to allow some cookies, and if people are concerned about privacy, they should change the setting to block cookies. What’s so bad about ad tracking, anyway?

But there are several particulars to the Google example that might give you pause. For one thing, you didn’t have to be a logged-in Google user for it to track you this way. Logged-in users can set their account preferences not to track them, but there’s nothing non-Google users could do to opt out.

This kind of tracking was not a common practice, either. Jonathan Mayer at Web Policy found only four companies doing this, and they all stopped when Google got busted.

Finally, there’s the deception part. Apple makes it quite clear that its default setting is intended to block ad tracking. Even if Google’s tracking is not wrong in and of itself, Google was willingly changing Apple’s intended user experience. That should be between Apple and its users.

At the time, Google’s excuse was that its users had “opted to see personalized ads” by using its services, so it was fine to honor those preferences over Safari’s. But that ignores the people who don’t have Google accounts and were still tracked.

Furthermore, Google’s documentation used to say that Safari’s default setting “effectively accomplishes the same thing” as opting out via one’s Google account, but that’s now gone from Google’s help page.

A Speeding Ticket

When Google gets fined $25,000 for snooping on people’s home Wi-Fi networks, that’s just silly. A $10 million (or more) fine is a much more stern warning. But that’s just a fraction of a percent of its quarterly profits. It’s like giving Google a speeding ticket.

You may not care about ad tracking in and of itself, but the slope is far too slippery to let Google off the hook for this one. It shouldn’t have the right to intervene in the user experience of another company by deliberately routing around its privacy settings.

Image via Shutterstock

Source: Google Could Be Fined $10 Million for Violating Safari’s Privacy Settings

FBI File Notes Steve Jobs’ Reality Distortion Field

February 9th, 2012 02:01 admin View Comments

Government

Hugh Pickens writes “Bloomberg reports that the FBI has released a decades-old file it kept on Steve Jobs, the deceased Apple co-founder, after a background check for a possible appointment by former President George H. W. Bush conducting interviews with unnamed associates of Jobs to judge his character, drug use and potential prejudices. ‘Several individuals questioned Mr. Jobs’ honesty stating that Mr. Jobs will twist the truth and distort reality in order to achieve his goals,’ according to the materials. Several people commented ‘concerning past drug use on the part of Mr. Jobs,’ according to the file including marijuana, hashish and LSD during the period 1970 – 1974. The file also noted that Jobs was not a member of the communist party.”

Source: FBI File Notes Steve Jobs’ Reality Distortion Field

Vizio Plans To Undercut The Market For All-In-One PCs

January 8th, 2012 01:20 admin View Comments

Portables

TV maker Vizio is famous for undercutting competitors’ prices on LCD TVs; now, the company has released word that it will introduce a new line of budget computers, and next week will be showing them off at CES. Bloomberg reports that the company won’t yet disclose actual prices (the kind with numbers), but says instead only that they will be at a “price that just doesn’t seem possible.” As the article mentions, the all-in-one desktop machines shown look a lot like Apple products; BetaNews has pictures, and ominously mentions Apple’s tendency to sue over similar-looking products.

Source: Vizio Plans To Undercut The Market For All-In-One PCs

Israeli Spyware Sold To Iran

December 26th, 2011 12:06 admin View Comments

Businesses

Hugh Pickens writes “Bloomberg reports that Israeli trade, customs and defense officials say they didn’t know that systems for performing ‘deep- packet inspection’ into Internet traffic, sold under the brand name NetEnforcer, had gone to a country whose leaders have called for the destruction of the Jewish state. Allot Communications Ltd., an Israel-based firm which reported $57 million in sales last year, sold its systems to a Randers, a Denmark-based technology distributor where workers at that company, RanTek A/S, repackaged the gear and shipped it to Iran. The sales skirted a strict Israeli ban that prohibits ‘trading with the enemy,’ including any shipments that reach Iran, Syria and Lebanon. Although Allot officials say they had no knowledge of their equipment going to Iran and are looking into RanTek’s sales, three former sales employees for Allot say it was well known inside the Israeli company that the equipment was headed for Iran. ‘Israel considers Iran quite possibly its greatest threat, and so the Israeli government would come down very strong against any company that exported to Iran,’ says Ira Hoffman. ‘Iran is also considered by the U.S. as one of its most strategic threats.’ Israeli lawmaker Nachman Shai has called for a parliamentary investigation, and the country’s Defense Ministry has begun to examine the report.”

Source: Israeli Spyware Sold To Iran

Israeli Spyware Sold To Iran

December 26th, 2011 12:06 admin View Comments

Businesses

Hugh Pickens writes “Bloomberg reports that Israeli trade, customs and defense officials say they didn’t know that systems for performing ‘deep- packet inspection’ into Internet traffic, sold under the brand name NetEnforcer, had gone to a country whose leaders have called for the destruction of the Jewish state. Allot Communications Ltd., an Israel-based firm which reported $57 million in sales last year, sold its systems to a Randers, a Denmark-based technology distributor where workers at that company, RanTek A/S, repackaged the gear and shipped it to Iran. The sales skirted a strict Israeli ban that prohibits ‘trading with the enemy,’ including any shipments that reach Iran, Syria and Lebanon. Although Allot officials say they had no knowledge of their equipment going to Iran and are looking into RanTek’s sales, three former sales employees for Allot say it was well known inside the Israeli company that the equipment was headed for Iran. ‘Israel considers Iran quite possibly its greatest threat, and so the Israeli government would come down very strong against any company that exported to Iran,’ says Ira Hoffman. ‘Iran is also considered by the U.S. as one of its most strategic threats.’ Israeli lawmaker Nachman Shai has called for a parliamentary investigation, and the country’s Defense Ministry has begun to examine the report.”

Source: Israeli Spyware Sold To Iran