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Business

  • November 14, 2012

    Steven Sinofsky Leaves Microsoft

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  • Time Warner Cable announced it will automatically credit New York City customers affected by hurricane Sandy.  Time Warner Cable will credit both local residential and commercial customers whose services were interrupted by the storm. As service is restored, Time Warner Cable will automatically apply credits for customers’ TV, Internet and phone services and for Business Class services in areas where the vast majority of customers experienced an extended outage.  For those customers who still do not have power, TWC will continue to issue additional credits every 3 days until their outages are over. This credit will automatically appear on customers’ statements, labeled “Hurricane Sandy Credit.”  The credit will start appearing on the 11/8 billing cycle. Time Warner Cable is also waiving any fees or penalties for equipment, such as set-top boxes and cable modems, which is lost, damaged or destroyed as a result of the storm. Customers should exchange their damaged equipment at one of our retail locations or give it to a Time Warner Cable service technician during a service call. For addition information residential customers can call (212) 358-0900 or (718) 358-0900, and Business Class customers can call 1-877-227-8711.
  • November 8, 2012

    Craigslist Price Gouging Gas

    Since hurricane Sandy there has been people without election for over 10 days in places like New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  Due to this issue people have been relying on generators to run there households, the issue being fuel is becoming scarce in places like New York and New Jersey.  Some people have decided to make money on people’s misfortune and suffering. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s investigation of price gouging following Sandy devastation, saying Craigslist has been subpoenaed to identify the advertisers of items including 12 gallons of gas for $300.  The average gouge includes $17 worth of fuel selling for $150. The official of the Attorney General is said to be targeting about 100 ads, and is investigating some 600 price gouging complaints from New York City, Westchester County and Long Island. New York law prohibits taking advantage of consumers by selling goods or services for an “unconscionably excessive price” during an emergency.
  • November 6, 2012

    Systemax Closing Manufacturing Operation

    The computer manufacture Systemax is closing their doors and laying off 120 people who will be needing jobs.  The closing will cost about $6 million to $8 million in expenses including severance for the employees.  The company based out of New York, announced it’s closing the Ohio computer manufacturing operations located in Fletcher, in Miami County. The company made an office statement: “This was a difficult decision but necessary given competitive and cost pressures.  We will continue to maintain a sales office, which has approximately 80 employees.” This is a major blow to a lot of small businesses who used to rely on this company for affordable custom computers and servers.  This comes as a huge blow to large wholesalers like Tigerdirect, CompUSA and Micro.
  • October 15, 2012

    Amazon E-Book Refund

    Owners of Amazon.com’s Kindle e-readers will receive refunds on past e-book purchases from April 2010 thru May 2012.  Refunds will be between 30 cents and $1.32.  Amazon sees e-book prices drop if a judge approves legal settlements with publishers accused of fixing prices, according to the Internet retailer. Amazon told Kindle owners in emails on Saturday that they could receive a refund if the books were published by three publishers who have agreed to settle a lawsuit that accused them of inflating e-book prices. Hachette Harper Collins Simon & Schuster The settlements are subject to court approval, and a hearing is scheduled for February.  If approved, the settlements would also limit the publishers’ ability to set future e-book prices, which should lead to lower costs for Kindle users, according to Amazon. If the court approves the settlements, the publishers will pay for e-book refunds that will be applied automatically to the Amazon.com accounts of eligible customers. Customers can use the refunds to purchase Kindle books or print books or request a check for the amount of the refund. Amazon made a point to say “We think these settlements are a big win for customers and look forward to lowering prices on more Kindle books in the future” With 5 major book sells involved in this lawsuit Amazon not being one of the them it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the coming months.
  • October 10, 2012

    White House Security Breach

    The White House has confirmed that one of its internal computer networks has been compromised.  A military office in charge of the president’s communications has been targeted in a successful spear phishing attack. For those of you that do not know what spear phishing is I will explain.  Spear phishing is an e-mail spoofing fraud attempt that targets a specific organization, seeking unauthorized access to confidential data.  As with the e-mail messages used in regular phishing expeditions, spear phishing messages appear to come from a trusted source.  In the case of spear phishing the apparent source of the e-mail is likely to be an individual within the recipient’s own company and generally someone in a position of authority. The incident is said to have happened earlier this month and involved unidentified hackers, believed to have used computer servers in China.  The groups accessed the computer network used by the White House Military Office (WHMO), the president’s military office in charge of some of the government’s most sensitive communications like: Strategic nuclear commands Presidential communications Presidential travel Inter-government teleconferences Security officials are investigating the breach and have not yet determined the damage that may have been caused by the hacking incident.  Reports have said that there was no impact or attempted breach of a classified system. A high-security network like this is normally segmented off from the rest and is not connected to the internet.  The other issue is why someone would be checking their e-mail on a system of this nature.  I believe there is more to this story then reported and we are not getting the entire situation and we shouldn’t considering the magnitude of the breach.
  • September 17, 2012

    Microsoft Office 2013 Prices

    Microsoft is going to sell the next version of Office called Office 2013 no shock there.  Office 2013 is going to be subscription based.  The new edition has changed dramatically to better match Windows 8. An Office 2013 subscription will cost $8.33 a month or $99.95 a year for five different devices for an number of users That’s for Office 365 Home Premium, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote, but as a subscriber you’re now entitled to all software updates and access to web services included with Office such as continually updated templates.  Microsoft is also throwing in 20GB of SkyDrive storage with the subscription as well as 60 minutes of Skype minutes per month. Office 365 Small Business Premium priced slightly higher as Microsoft business products always are not surprising.   The package is similar, including ongoing updates.  The business edition also includes more integration with SharePoint, Lync and Exchange services. $12.50 per month or $149.99 a year for five different devices for a single user or employee Office will be available as a traditional one-time purchase. $219.99 for Home and Business edition $399.99 for Professional edition Office 2013 releases Oct. 19.  Microsoft will offer an upgrade package to anyone buying Office 2010. If you buy the Home Premium edition, you’ll get the first year of your Office subscription free, and for the Small Business edition, you’ll get three months.  So if you can’t wait to buy office you will get a free upgrade.  Microsoft expects a subscription service will make the most sense for many Office customers
  • September 10, 2012

    Spotify Is Coming to Your Browser

    Spotify, the popular music streaming app, is getting ready to launch a browser-based version of their service, but rumors of a potential drop in the price for their premium service don’t add up. Spotify is focusing on 3 new main ideas: Spotify is developing a browser-based version of its service. Currently, users have to download a specific program to access Spotify’s streaming service. Spotify is planning improvements in discovery of music, including following the listening habits and playlists of influencers in addition to your friends. One source says Spotify may be lowering ad-free subscription prices. The rumor of Spotify lowing there prices are very speculative. Spotify pays too much of a percentage to record companies to lease their music for them to drop their prices. Spotify pays $7 of its $10/month fee for premium service to record companies. Spotify tried a price decrease in Spain and it didn’t work out for them. Spotify is currently testing a version of the service that doesn’t require new users to sign up via Facebook. Spotify has 4 million paying users. They are hoping to expand that number by adding a browser-based version of the software. I think this is a great move most common users that want to listen on their work computer probably do not have permissions to install leaving them using Pandora. I think this will definably help Spotify expand their user base.
  • August 6, 2012

    Foursquare Revenue Plan

    Despite Foursquare’s garnering a $600 million valuation in an investment round last year, some investors are skeptical about its prospects.  Others just seem to find the app and the whole concept of checking in every place they go annoying. Foursquare has come up with an interesting concept of awarding badges, mayor ship and sharing that has made the app very popular among users and has made the company growth study and solid.  The company founder and CEO Dennis Crowley has over 100 employees and is described as a very hands on CEO. The three year old company has a user base of 20 million people who have accumulated over two billion check ins.  The company has over 750,000 businesses that use the platform companies by the name of Pepsi, Walgreens and American Express just to name a few.  The company has been competing with Instagram, Facebook (FB), Groupon (GRPN), andYelp (YELP). Foursquare is looking at using coupons as a form of revenue.  This will require some tweaking of there app to help point users toward those places that they have checked in or other friends have checked in.  They have made changes to there app for recommendations that are tailored to the individual. Foursquare has a lot of work a head of it now that they have built there user base they need to focus on making revenue.  The biggest problem with any .com company is making sure they have a revenue stream.  After 3 long years Foursquare as a company knows they need to produce a revenue stream or investors will pull out.  The revenue stream will also be important if the company decides to take the company public with the latest .com IPO boom.  For Foursquare I hope they are able to compete and continue on against composition and revenue issues in the future of there...
  • August 3, 2012

    Pandora Revenue and Business Model

    Pandora a decade-old company which relies mainly on advertising and subscription revenue and competes with traditional radio, satellite radio and upstarts like Spotify, Rhapsody, iHeart Radio, and TuneIn just to name a few.  Pandora’s subscription based service called Pandora One is $36 a year which allows for more skips and ad free listening.  Pandora has never disclosed how many Pandora One subscribers they have from research I have done on the internet the estimated number is 800,000. The company has over 150 million registered users with about 52 million active listeners that have given Pandora almost a 6 percent share of the U.S. radio listening market.  The company has made huge strides on the mobile market clinching a spot in the top 25 most download apps.  But the company has admitted that they only make about $20 dollars for a 1000 hours of listening on the mobile app which is down in comparison to the $80 it makes on the PC for the same amount of listening hours.  The company lifted its 40 hour a month restriction to help gain more advertising revenue. Pandora has taken some negative press after Timothy Westergren co-founder of Pandora said the company had 80,000 artists, 800,000 tracks in its library.  Spotify had made mention that they have over 15,000,000 tracks in there library which made Pandora look inferior but over all Pandora’s loyal fan base stood by them. Pandora reported that first-quarter revenue rose 58 percent to $80.8 million blasting past analysts average forecast of $74.3 million as the company scooped up more advertisers.  Pandora a mostly free service that recommends music based on a listener’s playlists, also raised its full-year revenue outlook.