Archive | March, 2013

Glass Lewis & Co tells sharholds to say no to the MetroPCS merger

30 Mar

Earlier this week Jeff brought you the news of the upcoming merger between Bellevue-based T-Mobile and Texas-based MetroPCS. Over the last few days some outside influences have popped up and threaten to ruin the big day. On Thursday, it was the advisory group Institutional Shareholder Services urging MetroPCS stockholder to reject the merger. This Morning The Wall Street Journal reported the Glass Lewis & Co became the second group to advise the stockholders to reject the merger.

“As constructed, the agreement appears to undervalue MetroPCS’ contribution to the combined company and offers shareholders a merger consideration that does not fairly value MetroPCS in a takeover by Deutsche Telekom,” Glass Lewis wrote in its report.

According to both of these advisory groups the T-Mobile and their parent company Deutsche Telekom are being unfair in the division of control. The merger deal will give the stockholders, of MetroPCS, a 26% interest in the combined company and $4 dollar a share. Glass Lewis & Co argues that with the added spectrum MetroPCS brings to the deal should be worth more of an equal split with T-Moobile.

“The MetroPCS Board of Directors believes that the proposed combination with T-Mobile is in the best interests of MetroPCS and all MetroPCS stockholders,” MetroPCS said in a statement in response to Glass Lewis’ opinion. “ MetroPCS’ board strongly believes the economic terms of the combination are extremely compelling for MetroPCS stockholders, remains committed to the proposed combination with T-Mobile and recommends that stockholders vote for the proposed combination and the significant value it represents for their investment.

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The IronPigs becomes the first baseball team to offer urinal games

28 Mar

When you go to a baseball game how often have you thought I wish there was more to do in here? If your a man and go to Allentown, Pennsylvania to watch the Lehigh Valley IronPigs this season you won’t be asking yourself that question anymore. This year they will be introducing urinal-controlled video games in all the men’s restrooms. Sorry ladies.

“These games are sure to make a huge splash,” exclaimed IronPigs General Manager Kurt Landes, on their official website. “Our fans are always looking for the next big thing and these ‘X-Stream games’ are another example of our commitment to providing an unparalleled entertainment experience in all aspects of Coca-Cola Park, including our restrooms.”

The first thing you will notice when you walk into the men’s room at Coco-Cola Park is a 12-inch screen mount above above the urinal. As soon as you approach the screen turns on and gets ready to start the game. The game then start as soon as your “stream” hits the urinal allowing you to drive a snowmobile by simply steering your “stream” either to the left or to the right.

“They told us with certainty that it’s not in any other sports venue in the world,” Schaeffer said. The “p-controlled” video games, which were undergoing “calibration” on Wednesday, are in bars in the United Kingdom, Jon Schaeffer, a spokesperson for the IronPigs, said.

The way you score in the game is by hitting penguins with your snowmobile. The game ends when you are done using the urinal. It will then display your score along with a code that you can use to find out where you compare to other players.

If you don’t like that game don’t worry. There are two other games in the urinal gaming system. The first of these is called “Art Splash” that as the name implies it is a point and shoot art game. The other game is called, and I am not make this up, “Smart Dick”. It is a trivia game that ask you a series of yes or no question that you can answer by directing your “stream”.

Walmart takes a cue from amazon and installs in-store lockers

28 Mar

In the ongoing battle between retailers and e-tailers, Walmart is taking the next step. According to a report by Reuters the retail giant is taking the battle into cyberspace as they take a page out of Amazon’s own playbook by installing lockers where on-line customers can pick up their orders. A move telling the Seattle-based e-commerce giant that we are stepping up our on-line game.

“We can build e-commerce equivalent to anyone in the world,” Ashe said. Mixing the company’s expanding online capabilities with its knowledge from running stores for 50 years “creates a commerce experience that no one else can do.”

Back in October of 2011 Seattle-based e-commerce giant Amazon started placing lockers in 7-11 and other retail establishments to give customers a place to pick up their orders when they couldn’t be at home. This gave Amazon a presence in the world of brick & mortar stores threatening the larger retailers, such as, Walmart and Target. The brick & mortar stores saw this as a declaration of war between retailers and e-tailers.

In May of 2012 Target took the first step in retaliation as they dropped the Kindle family for their stores. Then in September of 2012 Jeff brought you the story of Walmart saying that they are banishing the Kindle line of e-readers and tablets from their stores. Target didn’t give a reason but Walmart stated that they were dropping Amazon’s top selling e-readers and tablets because of showcasing, a practice where customers will come-in and try products that they then order from on-line sites to get a lower price. By doing this both Target and Walmart sent the message that they were declaring war on the Seattle-based company.

Walmart already offers customers the option of having their merchandise sent to the nearest Walmart store. Since there are so many Walmart stores this move brings up a question. Is this really a good step for the retail giant to take?

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Yahoo makes 17-year-old Nick D’Aloisio the newest internet millionaire

27 Mar

Normally, when Yahoo acquires a new app it isn’t big news. When they acquired an app called Summly on Monday it did stir a bit of a buzz. As The New York Times reported on Monday the reason for all the buzz was that the person Yahoo bought the app from was a 17-year-old whiz kid from England.

What were you doing when you were 12-years-old? If your the average kid the answer to that question is probably wondering how to fit in at school, worrying about acne, playing video games and hanging out with you friends. If your name happens to be Nick D’Aloisio the answer is much different since that how old he was when he came up with the idea of creating an automatic summarization algorithm.

After working on his algorithm for three years he was ready to take the next step and start a company called Summly. He soon had some big time investors; Yoko Ono, Ashton Kutcher, Rupert Murdoch and Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing; wanting a piece of his company. Suddenly, at the age that most of us are trying to figure out what classes to take as we start High School, Mr. D’Aloisio is an entrepreneur.

“They took a gamble on me when I was a 15-year-old,” Mr. D’Aloisio said, by providing seed financing that let him hire employees and lease office space.

Mr. D’Aliosio spent the next two and a half years running his business, hiring more employees and dealing with the problems of being a teenager in High School. Now, at the age of 17 Mr. D’Aloisio gets a call from Yahoo where they pay him millions, near side has disclose how much, for his company. With over a year left at school, Mr. D’Aloisio finds himself an employee of Yahoo working to integrate his newsreading app into Yahoo’s mobile service.

“People are kind of underestimating how powerful it’s going to become and how much opportunity is there,” he said.

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Barnes & Noble is offer a free e-reader with a Nook HD+ purchase

26 Mar

Barnes & Noble has seen their Nook tablet fall on some hard times from the growing competition form the Kindle Fire HD, iPad and other all of the other tablets on the market. Even though they have been able absorb some of those losses by getting companies like Redmond-based Microsoft they have still experienced growing losses as their tablet has been slipping into obscurity. As an effort to try and revive the struggling Nook tablet they are now offering everyone that buys one of the Nook HD+ tablets between March 24, 2013 and March 31, 2013 a free Simple Touch e-reader.

“By offering a free NOOK Simple Touch with the purchase of NOOK HD+, customers can fully experience all that the expansive NOOK Store™ of more than 3 million titles has to offer,” said Jamie Iannone, President of Digital Products at NOOK Media LLC, in a press release. “NOOK HD+, with its must-see full HD 9-inch screen, is perfect for experiencing movies, apps, magazines and more, while NOOK Simple Touch is ideal for reading millions of books with crisp, clear text on a portable and lightweight device that’s comfortable to hold for hours.”

Is this latest offer enough to entice people to buy one of the 9-inch Nook HD+ tablets? The larger version of Barnes & Noble’s Nook tablet already meets or beats most of the features on the top competition in the Kindle Fire HD and the iPad mini. Barnes & Noble has even bragged that, while their tablet cost the same as the Kindle HD, the Nook HD+ is ad-free and the price includes the charger both extras on the Kindle HD. With all of this going for it and dwindling sales is adding a $79 e-reader actually going to make it more enticing? Or is it time for Barnes & Noble to drop the idea of competing in the tablet market?

 

Carly finally has a date set to announce her union with MetroPCS

25 Mar

It looks as though Carly will finally have an occasion to break out her magenta wedding dress. Earlier this month both the DOJ (Department of Justice) and the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) gave their blessing. Now, according to representatives for both Bellevue-based T-Mobile and Texas-based MetroPCS, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States became the final government agency to give their blessing to the upcoming nuptials. With this last hurdle cleared they reserved a chapel for their union.

“This concludes all regulatory approval the parties were seeking prior to closing the proposed combination, which remains subject to the approval of MetroPCS stockholders”, said a spokesperson for MetroPCS in a statement released yesterday.

The two cellular service providers have made their reservations for an April 12, 2012 ceremony. The ceremony will come almost 11 months to the day since Carly was first spotted parking her motorcycle outside of MetroPCS’ office building in Texas. Now, that they have reserved the room and set a date there is just one thing that could put an end to the union.

As long as no one on MetroPCS’ side objects when the two companies walk down the aisle and hear the words read proclaiming their union it will be official. No longer will Carly represent the number 4 cellular provider that is continually stood up by all suitors. She will now be part of the larger T-Moble-MetroPCS corporation.

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Twitter turns 7

22 Mar

On March 21, 2006 at 9:50 pm. (PST) Jack Dorsey typed a single phrase announcing the birth of a little bird named twitter. The phrase that he typed and sent was simply “Setting up my twttr.” As the parents of the young twitter Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, Evan Williams and others kept an eye on their young bird giving it everything it needed to grow until the bird was ready for it public debut. That day came of July 15, 2006 and the little bird was sent out to the World Wide Web.

“…we came across the word ‘twitter’, and it was just perfect. The definition was ‘a short burst of inconsequential information,’ and ‘chirps from birds’. And that’s exactly what the product was.” – Jack Dorsey[19].

Since that day the little bird has grown being nurtured by by an ever growing number of tweets. Twitter grew and grew over until he was able to reach all corners of the world. Twitter managed to be in New York when a plane landed on the Hudson river, he flew to Japan when people were searching for their loved ones after an earthquake and tsunami and twitter even flew to baseball’s all-star game to tell us what was happening at the home-run derby. Most days though twitter takes it a little more easy tweeting about where user are at, stories found on the Web and everyday things.

“The percentage of internet users who are on Twitter has doubled since November 2010, currently standing at 16 percent”, according to Pew Internet. Eighteen to 29 year-olds (27 percent), African Americans (26 percent) and urbanites (20 percent) are most-likely to use the social network. This pales in comparison to Facebook — 67 percent of U.S. Internet users and 86 percent of 18-29 year-olds

Of course little twitter has gone through growing pains. Their have been outages for various reasons at which time twitter gives way to its cousin fail the whale. There has also been times were twitter has experienced break-ins and had some of it data stolen. Just as any responsible person (or bird) would do twitter added security to keep this sort of thing from happening again.

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5 apps for putting some sanity in your March Madnes

21 Mar

It is that time of the year once again. March is the one month every year that sports fans and non-sport fans alike breakout their pencils, paper and crystal balls. Just about all of us get caught up in March Madness and track the NCAA Basketball tournament. Filling out the bracket, following the games and predicting an ultimate winner of the tournament has become a favorite pastime from the President on down to the office workers making betting pools.

With the so many games going on at once, blackouts and our time schedules we can’t always watch the games or even catch the re-caps on the news. In these cases it is good to know that there are some mobile apps to help us keep up with the winners and losers.

  1. ESPN bracket bound 2013 is a free app for your iOS mobile devices, android-based devices and Kindle Fires that allows you to create upto ten brackets, keep up with the games and latest news of the “big dance”.

  2. NCAA March Madness Live is a free app for both your iOS and android-based mobile devices that lets you follow the brackets, scores and schedules of all the teams as they march to that final big crown.

  3. PocketBracket is an app for both your android-based and iOS mobile device that for a small fee of $0.99 gives you the power of being able to have unlimited brackets, automatic ranking, organize your betting pools, keep up with all the scores and updates plus it lets you share everything on both Facebook and twitter.

  4. Sporting News NCAAB is a free app for both your iOS and android-based mobile devices that lets you pick and track your favorite team plus post to both Facebook and twitter where you can do alittle trash talking of your own.

  5. Bracket challenger for Obama’s picks is an app for your iOS mobile devices that for the small price of $0.99 lets you put your basketball knowledge up against the President of the United States as you try to pick the winner of the “big dance”.

 

Review: Kim’s story: Murder in the Everglades

21 Mar

Kim’s story: Murder in the Everglades by Loie Lawless is a mystery that is a real page turner that once you start reading it you will find it hard to put down. You will be entranced from the very start when we first meet a young Kim Alexander as she escapes her would be killer only to find that he has already killed her parents. Then you will soon find yourself totally absorbed as we soon meet Kim year later and determined to reclaim her childhood home and find the truth of what happened all those years ago. You will find yourself further caught up in all the twist and turns as Kim uncovers secrets that shake up everything she thought she knew as she was growing up. As she further digs to find clues about her parents murder, the suspect list soon starts to grows.

 

As you read the story you will meet several characters that you soon get involved with just as if you meet them in your everyday lives. Along with Kim you will meet one of her best childhood friends Gloria Latham, who is now a real estate agent; Brad Kimball, the older brother of another one of Kim’s childhood friends and Gloria’s boss; Chase Grey, the police office that invested the murder when he was still a rookie: retired police officer Max Young, who was Chase’s veteran partner at the time of the murders; Melvin Thomas, the manager of SawGrass boat tours, and Patricia Sanderson, Kim’s aunt.

 

The author does a great job of making the characters pop out of the pages of the book just as though they were people you might have meet in your own life. As we read the dialogue one could imagine the same words being spoken by their own friend and acquaintances.

 

I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys reading a good mystery. There are plenty of twist and turns that will keep you guessing as you read.

 

 

John Riccitiello steps down as CEO of Electronic Arts

19 Mar

A shake up took place in the leadership of the 3rd largest video game company in the United States as John Riccitiello announced that he will be resigning his position of CEO of Electronic Arts. In his 6 years as the CEO (chief executive officer) of the gaming giant Mr. Riccitiello has seen several highs and lows including the company’s acquisition of the Seattle-based casual gaming company Popcap in July of 2011, having a successful release on Facebook, dropping stock prices and a less than successful release of their latest Sim City.

The following is an excerpt from a letter to the employees that was published in The Wall Street Journal “My decision to leave EA is really all about my accountability for the shortcomings in our financial results this year. It currently looks like we will come in at the low end of, or slightly below, the financial guidance we issued to the Street, and we have fallen short of the internal operating plan we set one year ago. And for that, I am 100 percent accountable,” John Riccitiello said.

Before serving as the CEO, Mr. Riccitielo was President and COO (chief operating officer) of Electronic Arts from 1997-2004. He had left the company after a 7 year tenure to become one of the co-founders of Elevation Partners. Three years later Mr. Riccitiello returned to Electronic Arts when they acquired part of Elevation Partners.

“We thank John for his contributions to EA since he was appointed CEO in 2007, especially the passion, dedication and energy he brought to the Company every single day,” said Larry Probst, Chairman of the Board, in a press release. “John has worked hard to lead the Company through challenging transitions in our industry, and was instrumental in driving our very significant growth in digital revenues. We appreciate John’s leadership and the many important strategic initiatives he has driven for the Company. We have mutually agreed that this is the right time for a leadership transition.”

Mr. Probst will assume the duties of CEO, a position he previously held, as they search for someone to replace Mr. Riccitiello. Mr. Probst was the CEO of Electronic Arts for 16 years before stepping aside from the position letting Mr. Riccitiello take over the reigns.

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