Tag Archive | Money

Crowdtilt Lets You Pool Money Among Friends

An article from Venture Beat.

Crowdtilt wants you to take the pool of money your friends gather for a vacation and put it online. The company does crowdfunding for small groups of people who already know each other; friends and family looking to pool their money for a common cause.

Since the company’s launch in February 2012, it boasts 21 percent transaction growth each week and 34 percent repeat use from people looking to collect money from friends for concert tickets, vacations, and gift buying.

The process is what you’d expect if you’ve ever used Kickstarter, a popular crowdfunding site. The person who creates the campaign sets a “tilt” point at which the campaign will hit its funding goal and an expiration date after which no new funding can be pledged. People can contribute to complete stranger’s campaigns, but most stick those created by their friends.

Crowdtilt launched in February with backing from Y Combinator. The company presented onstage at the incubator’s demo day, trying to drum up more funding for the service.

Crowdtilt is one of 39 companies presenting at Y Combinator’s Demo Day Spring 2012 event.

T-Mobile To Fire Almost Two Thousand Employees

Cellphone carrier T-Mobile USA Inc. said Thursday that it is cutting 1,900 jobs nationwide as it consolidates its call centers in an effort to reduce costs and remain competitive.

Seven of its 24 call centers will be closed by the end of June. About 3,300 people work at the centers slated to be shuttered, but T-Mobile said it plans to hire up to 1,400 people at the remaining 17 centers.

The call centers slated for closure are in Allentown, Pa.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Frisco, Texas; Brownsville, Texas; Lenexa, Kansas; Thornton, Colo. and Redmond, Ore.

The company said that workers whose jobs are eliminated will have a chance to transfer to the remaining call centers.

“These are not easy steps to take, but they are necessary to realize efficiency in order to invest for growth,” Philipp Humm, T-Mobile CEO and president said in a statement.

T-Mobile, based in Bellevue, Wash., is the smallest of the four national carriers and is dealing with steep subscriber loses, resulting in fewer calls to its call centers.

In last year’s fourth quarter, T-Mobile lost a net 802,000 subscribers on contract-based plans, which are the most lucrative. It is the only national carrier not offering the iPhone, the popular Apple Inc. device now carried by all three of the company’s larger rivals.

In addition, a $39 billion bid by AT&T Corp. to take over T-Mobile was thwarted last year by antitrust concerns.

T-Mobile said it will restructure other parts of its business during the second quarter. That includes plans announced previously to modernize its network, add new technology and hire more sales staff. The company employs about 36,000 people.

It announced in February that it will revamp its wireless data network this year, making it compatible with iPhones and other smartphones.

Apple Announces Stock Plans

This publication is from Apple

Apple Expects to Spend $45 Billion Over Three Years

CUPERTINO, California—March 19, 2012—Apple® today announced plans to initiate a dividend and share repurchase program commencing later this year.

Subject to declaration by the Board of Directors, the Company plans to initiate a quarterly dividend of $2.65 per share sometime in the fourth quarter of its fiscal 2012, which begins on July 1, 2012.

Additionally, the Company’s Board of Directors has authorized a $10 billion share repurchase program commencing in the Company’s fiscal 2013, which begins on September 30, 2012. The repurchase program is expected to be executed over three years, with the primary objective of neutralizing the impact of dilution from future employee equity grants and employee stock purchase programs.

“We have used some of our cash to make great investments in our business through increased research and development, acquisitions, new retail store openings, strategic prepayments and capital expenditures in our supply chain, and building out our infrastructure. You’ll see more of all of these in the future,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Even with these investments, we can maintain a war chest for strategic opportunities and have plenty of cash to run our business. So we are going to initiate a dividend and share repurchase program.”

“Combining dividends, share repurchases, and cash used to net-share-settle vesting RSUs, we anticipate utilizing approximately $45 billion of domestic cash in the first three years of our programs,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “We are extremely confident in our future and see tremendous opportunities ahead.”

Apple will provide live streaming of a conference call to discuss its plans beginning at 6:00 a.m. PDT on Monday, March 19, 2012 at www.apple.com/quicktime/qtv/call31912. The Company will not be providing an update on the current quarter nor will any topics be discussed other than cash. This webcast will also be available for replay for approximately two weeks thereafter.

This press release contains forward-looking statements including without limitation those regarding future business outlook and plans for dividends and share repurchases. These statements involve risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ. Risks and uncertainties include without limitation the effect of competitive and economic factors, and the Company’s reaction to those factors, on consumer and business buying decisions with respect to the Company’s products; continued competitive pressures in the marketplace; the ability of the Company to deliver to the marketplace and stimulate customer demand for new programs, products, and technological innovations on a timely basis; the effect that product introductions and transitions, changes in product pricing or mix, and/or increases in component costs could have on the Company’s gross margin; the inventory risk associated with the Company’s need to order or commit to order product components in advance of customer orders; the continued availability on acceptable terms, or at all, of certain components and services essential to the Company’s business currently obtained by the Company from sole or limited sources; the effect that the Company’s dependency on manufacturing and logistics services provided by third parties may have on the quality, quantity or cost of products manufactured or services rendered; risks associated with the Company’s international operations; the Company’s reliance on third-party intellectual property and digital content; the potential impact of a finding that the Company has infringed on the intellectual property rights of others; the Company’s dependency on the performance of distributors, carriers and other resellers of the Company’s products; the effect that product and service quality problems could have on the Company’s sales and operating profits; the continued service and availability of key executives and employees; war, terrorism, public health issues, natural disasters, and other circumstances that could disrupt supply, delivery, or demand of products; and unfavorable results of other legal proceedings. More information on potential factors that could affect the Company’s financial results is included from time to time in the “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” sections of the Company’s public reports filed with the SEC, including the Company’s Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended September 24, 2011 and its Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2011. The Company assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements or information, which speak as of their respective dates.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

New iPad Tops 3 Million Sales

TODAY Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) announced it has sold three million of its new iPad, since its launch on Friday, March 16.

The new iPad features a stunning new Retina display, Apple’s new A5X chip with quad-core graphics, a 5 megapixel iSight camera with advanced optics for capturing amazing photos and 1080p HD video, and still delivers the same all-day 10 hour battery life while remaining amazingly thin and light. iPad Wi-Fi + 4G supports ultrafast 4G LTE networks.

 

Kickstarter

KICKSTARTER is the world’s largest funding platform for various types of projects. Every week, tens of thousands of amazing, creative people pledge millions of dollars to projects from the worlds of music, film, art, technology, design, food, publishing and other creative fields. Something that is different about Kickstarter is that it is not about investment or lending. Project creators keep 100% ownership and control over their work. Instead, they offer products and experiences that are unique to each project. Another interesting part of Kickstarter is, on Kickstarter, a project must reach its funding goal before time runs out or no money changes hands at all. You may ask why, their answer is so that it protects everyone involved. Creators aren’t expected to develop their project without necessary funds, and it allows anyone to test concepts without risk.

If you would like to help some inventors with as large or small of a donation as you wish. Or if you have your own genius idea that you might need some funding for, visit Kickstarter.

Modern Warfare 3 Sets New Record

Modern Warfare 3, the latest installment in Activision’s juggernaut shooter franchise, has set a new entertainment industry record for the biggest product launch of all time, selling 6.5 million copies in the U.S. and U.K. in its first 24 hours and earning $400 million in the process. That tops the $360 million Call of Duty: Black Ops made last year in its first 24 hours and the $310 million Modern Warfare 2 took in during its first day in 2009.

“We believe the launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is the biggest entertainment launch of all time in any medium, and we achieved this record with sales from only two territories,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard. “Other than Call of Duty, there has never been another entertainment franchise that has set opening day records three years in a row.”

Analysts expect Modern Warfare 3 to sell nearly 20 million units by the end of the calendar year, generating roughly $1.2 billion in revenue. Black Ops cracked the $1 billion mark in six months.

Pre-orders for the game were also the biggest on record, and given that the last two installments of Modern Warfare previously held the launch record, this achievement isn’t exactly a shocking one.

It’s still notable, though, given the competition Modern Warfare 3 faces this year from EA’s Battlefield 3, which sold 5 million copies in its first week. Some also thought Call of Duty’s numbers could be hampered by lingering negative feeling among core gamers following the abrupt dismissal of series creators Jason West and Vince Zampella after the release of Modern Warfare 2.

Both factors put Modern Warfare 3 under the microscope, but the success of the game certainly backs up what analysts have been saying all along: Most players are more concerned about the game, rather than the developers behind it. And with so many people buying a copy, even those who held a grudge or resented the game because of its success, still purchased (and will likely purchase) the game so they can play with the people on their friends list.

“Call of Duty is more than a game,” said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing. “It’s become a major part of the pop cultural landscape. It is a game that core enthusiasts love, but that also consistently draws new people into the medium.”

Activision also announced that they’ve donated $3 million of the game’s sales to the Call of Duty Endowment, a non-profit corporation that seeks to provide job placement and training for veterans.

Are NetBooks In School Worth The Money?

I found this wonderful article from The Journal.

PUSHING a netbook program in a school setting these days is a bit like suggesting the purchase of an external modem or analog surveillance camera. Sure, it might work, but aren’t the technologies a bit dated? Besides, the lackadaisical laptop computing experience offered by the typical netbook no longer seems to be enough; users want the intrigue of smartphones or tablet computing.

So what could netbooks possibly offer a district that some other gadget wouldn’t be better at? Try this: addressing basic computing needs and providing access to the web at a price that’s hard to beat. As long as wireless internet access is available, there are no extra service fees required. Netbooks have a screen size larger than a smartphone and a keyboard that’s more familiar than a pad or tablet.

Those are the lures that drew Wentzville School District in Missouri, now in the process of preparing for a 900-netbook rollout to freshman English students in the spring semester. Technology Director Richard Wilson specifically chose Acer Aspire One netbooks because the district has had a good experience with the machines in mobile and science class labs. “They’ve been really solid and come with a two-year manufacturer’s warranty, which is a big thing,” he says.

The district was afforded the luxury of buying the netbooks thanks to an anonymous $500,000 donation earmarked for instructional technology. The unexpected gift replaced funding already set aside to purchase interactive whiteboards for classrooms and digital e-books for school libraries. So the budget was redirected to the district’s 1-to-1 netbook initiative, which may be powered in part by cloud-based versions of Moodle for course management and Google Apps for Educationfor collaboration and e-mail.

Wilson admits there was a “lot of discussion” about the relative merits of netbooks and tablets. The former won out during the first two years of the program because of “the familiarity and comfort level” district staff and teachers have with the mini-laptop device. Price mattered too: Wilson expects to pay between $200 and $300 per netbook; most of the tablets his district has evaluated were more than $500. “Right now, with the resources we have, the netbooks just made more sense. Then, in a few more years, we’ll make the transition to the tablets.”

Affordability was also a factor at Coleman Tech Charter High School in San Diego. This year-old school is almost entirely cloud-based. At the start of the school year, says Assistant Principal Neil McCurdy, each student receives a netbook, which, like at Wentzville, is an Acer Aspire One. “Because of the price of [these] now, we can just give the kids a computer when they enroll in the school, and it’s theirs to keep as long as they graduate from Coleman Tech,” he explains. By then, he adds, “Those computers will be devalued anyway. We won’t be able to use them for anything else.”

Skype and Facebook Join

FACEBOOK and Skype are now joining forces.  Soon you will be able video call right within your facebook browser window. This happened just a little bit after Google announced “Google Plus”

Just as Google’s next big thing ‘Google Plus’ is all set to launch, Facebook and Skype are about to strike a deal that would bring the video chatting service to the social networking site. With Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promising an “awesome” new feature on July 6, Skype, which was recently purchased by Microsoft for a whopping USD 8.5 billion, could become a fixture on the world’s largest social network. The beta version of Google’s social network, Google Plus, debuted last week to rave reviews, especially for its +Hangouts feature that allows for multi-user video chat.

The new collaboration – which positions Facebook more closely with shareholder Microsoft, who is finalizing an $8.5 billion aquisition of Skype – would reportedly see “deep integration” between the two services. Citing an insider source, Techcrunch announced the news, describing the powered-by-Skype Facebook video chat:

“The product has been built on Skype and will include a desktop component. It’s not clear to me whether that means it will just work if a user has Skype already installed on the computer, or if additional software will need to be downloaded even if the user already uses Skype. But it’s clear that there’s very deep integration between the products, and from the user’s perspective, the product will be an in browser experience.”

Official word will come on Wednesday, with Facebook holding an event at its Palo Alto headquarters.
To get the Beta version of Facebook and Skype’s video calling feature click ME!

Apple Giving Refunds to Final Cut Pro Upon Request

HELLO everyone, I do not know what to say as an intro to this but oh well. An article from MacRumors.
While Apple may be working to quickly add new and restored features to Final Cut Pro X, EOSHD reports (viaThe Next Web) that Apple has begun issuing refunds to at least some customers complaining through the company’s customer service channels.

Here is an example of one such email a disappointed pro received from Apple:

“Moving forward, I understand that you are not satisfied with the app “Final Cut Pro”. I can certainly appreciate you would like a refund, and I would be more than happy to help you out with this today. In five to seven business days, a credit of £179.99 should be posted to the credit card that appears on the receipt for that purchase.

Please note that this is a one time exception because the iTunes Terms and Conditions state that all sales are final.”

thread in Apple’s discussion forums reveals a number of other users who have successfully received refunds for their Final Cut Pro X purchases, although some customers have had to make several requests as part of their conversations with Apple support staff before being granted refunds.


Apple does not have a blanket return and refund policy for App Store applications, although the company has reportedly been required by law to offer one in Taiwan. Apple does offer refunds on a case-by-case basis, however, with customers having reported success gaining refunds for accidental purchases and other extenuating circumstances.

END OF ARTICLE
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Final Cut Pro Now In Mac App Store

JUST as promised, Apple’s long-awaited Final Cut Pro X is now available on the Mac App Store for just $299.99, meaning editors can immediately grab hold of this suite to crack on with some real-time 4K video editing goodness. Of course, this is assuming that you have a 64-bit Mac rig with beastly specs in the first place. I would check with Apple to make sure that you’re all set to go. Accompanying this major software release are Motion 5 and Compressor 4 kits, both of which will cost you an extra $49.99 each, so make that roughly around $400 for the full monty. Press release after the break, but we guess you folks are already busy trimming clips on that magical Magnetic Timeline, so good luck in next year’s Oscars.

UPDATE: Apple has now confirmed that there won’t be a boxed version, upgrade pricing, or “Express” version available. Individual users can purchase a single license to use on multiple machines that they own, while business users will need to purchase one license per machine. Volume education pricing is available for purchase by institutions only.