Financial Times Stories April 28, 2015

Google hasn’t always enjoyed the best of relationships with news websites, publishers arguing that search results often show a large enough excerpt from the story that people don’t need to click through to the site, especially within the Google News tab. This has been especially true in Europe, where non-English publications are fighting for a much smaller potential readership.

The conflict came to a head in Spain last year, where the government passed a new law which would have required it to pay Spanish news sites for the excerpts shown in its search results, and Google responded by closing Google News in Spain. Although an unofficial compromise was found, grumblings by news sites have continued.

Google now believes its Digital News Initiative offers a three-pronged approach to tackling the “truly radical and challenging changes” being experienced in the media business within Europe …  expand full story

Financial Times Stories May 28, 2014

Beats Music drops subscription price to $99 amidst Apple acquisition, Android app will stay around

Amidst the news that Apple is officially acquiring Beats for $3 billion, the service has announced a price cut. The subscription service now costs just $99 a year, down from $120. In addition, Beats users can now trial the service for free for fourteen days. The Beats Music app for Android also been updated to reflect these changes, alongside the usual performance tweak and bug fixes.

What’s New
Version 1.0.9:
* We’re stoked to announce that our no strings attached trial has been extended to 14 days to ensure everyone gets ample time to explore the full Beats Music experience.
* We’ve dropped the price of our yearly subscription to $99.99, down from $119.88.
* To top it off, we pushed tons of bug fixes so the whole experience runs smooth as silk.

Android users will also be happy to know that Apple has no plans to shut down the Android app just yet. In an interview with the Financial Times, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the Beats app for Android and Windows Phone will remain available.

Beats Music can be downloaded, for free, from Google Play.

Financial Times Stories February 5, 2014

After more than three years of investigations and negotiations, Google and the European Union anti-trust authorities have finally settled the case in which the company was accused of abusing its dominant position in search.

The tl;dr version of the dispute was that Google search results were giving undue prominence to its own services – such as Google News and Google Shopping – and freezing out rivals. Google was eventually given a deadline of 31st January last year to submit proposals on how it would resolve the problem …  expand full story

Everyone can use an Echo Dot: Just $50!

Financial Times Stories October 15, 2013

Amazon has long been said to be working on a smartphone carrying its brand, and it looks like it HTC could be its hardware partner.

That’s according to a report from the Financial Times, which cites people familiar with the project in saying that three different smartphones are currently in development with one being “at an advanced stage of development.”

“We have been very focused on building our own brand, but we have also been very open to co-branding and collaborating with carriers and other technology brands,” HTC chief of marketing Ben Ho told the Financial Times, but declined to comment on any specific relationship with Amazon.

Shipping a phone with both the HTC and Amazon logos would mean more than just branding for the phone, as Amazon would be able to take over much of the Android operating system experience as it has done with the Kindle Fire tablets. HTC partnered with Facebook earlier this year for the not-so-popular-now HTC First featuring Facebook Home, but borrowing software features from the Kindle Fire like Mayday, an Amazon support service for users, could prove valuable to both HTC and Amazon and be very appealing to new users in a saturated smartphone market. expand full story

Financial Times Stories April 2, 2013

Verizon and AT&T rumored to consider acquiring Vodafone assets, valuing the entity at quarter trilllion dollars

AT&T and Verizon could soon jointly bid to acquire Vodafone.

Vodafone is second only to China Mobile for the world’s largest mobile telecommunications companies due to 439 million subscribers and high revenues in December 2011.

CNET reported the deal would value Vodafone at $245 billion, if signed. For reference purposes: Verizon’s market cap is now at $142.09 billion, and AT&T sits at 205.88 billion.

The deal would also allow Verizon to acquire Vodafone’s 45 percent stake in U.S. operations. AT&T would then acquire the remaining business outside of the U.S.

The Financial Times, which cited “usually reliable people,” noted both U.S. carriers feel comfortable sharing the risk associated with such a huge deal and further believe it will pass any regulatory obstacles.

Financial Times Stories February 25, 2013

Bloomberg: Google in talks with labels to launch subscription music streaming service by Q3

Following a report from the Financial Times last week claiming Google is developing a free music service to compete with Spotify, Bloomberg reported today much of the same details citing “two people with knowledge of the situation.” According to the report from Bloomberg, Google is planning to launch the subscription-based music streaming service by the third quarter and it’s already in talks with record labels:

Negotiations are under way with major record labels to license their music, said the people, who sought anonymity because the talks are confidential. Google, which also owns the YouTube video website, is also discussing renewing deals that cover the use of songs in videos made by consumers, they said.

The report added that sources said the service would work on both Android and devices running another OS.

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