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Seagate And Amazon Backing Into The Clouds

December 6, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Hard drive maker Seagate has teamed up with Amazon to create a $99 1TB external hard drive that automatically backs up everything stored on it to the cloud.

Dubbed the Seagate Duet, the drive’s contents are cloned to Amazon Drive. All you need to do is plug in the drive, sign in with your Amazon account and that is it.

You can drag and drop files over, and access them from the web or Amazon’s Drive app on smartphones and tablets. Seagate claims you’ll get a year of unlimited storage just for buying the hard drive, which normally costs $59.99 annually.

Amazon’s listing for the Duet has some fine print. At the moment the offer is for the US and is not valid for current Amazon Drive Unlimited Storage paid subscription customers.

You also have to redeem the promo code within two months of buying the hard drive if you want the years’ worth of unlimited cloud storage.  Returning the Duet, will see your 12 months of unlimited drive storage slashed down to three.

Courtesy-Fud

Nissan To Offer Maintenance Alert Option For Internet-connected Cars

November 30, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

nissan-logo-150x150Nissan Motor Co will mark its first major entry into internet-connected cars by offering an option in some new vehicles that will use big data technology to notify drivers when vehicle maintenance is required.

As automakers compete fiercely to develop self-driving cars and improve the customer experience inside vehicles, Japan’s second-largest car maker said on Tuesday it will begin rolling out the service in Japan and India in 2017, followed by other countries through 2020.

With the availability of new mobility options including ride-hailing and car-sharing services threatening to cool demand for individual car ownership, automakers are looking for new ways to attract loyal drivers.

 Toyota Motor Corp, Japan’s biggest car maker, announced earlier this month that it will have a similar alerting feature in the domestic version of the upcoming Prius plug-in model.

And Ford Motor Co last month announced that by year’s end, some of its models will be able to communicate with smart home devices using Amazon’s Alexa voice service.

Nissan said that it would also market the device required to access the service, which can be retrofitted into existing models. In the future, 30 percent of its existing vehicles would eventually be equipped with the hardware, it said.

The new service will be enabled by a telematics control unit which will enable the automaker and its dealer network to access information about the car’s diagnostics and location, alerting the driver to any required maintenance work.

“With connectivity we can provide better information and better service offerings to our customers,” Kent O’Hara, Nissan corporate vice president and head of its global aftersales division, told reporters at a briefing.

“We’ll know what’s wrong with that vehicle, we’ll know where the vehicle is, we’ll know what parts are needed for the vehicle … and we can provide convenient service and alternative transportation options.”

He added that connectivity services and other new technologies would contribute 25 percent of the automaker’s aftersales revenues by 2022, from “low, single digits” at the moment.

 

Online Holiday Shopping Surged Over Thanksgiving Weekend

November 28, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

online-holiday-sales-150x150Online spending by U.S. deal seekers exceeded $1 billion by Thanksgiving evening, according to Adobe Digital Index, surging almost 14 percent from a year ago and reflecting a broader trend away from brick-and-mortar shopping.

At the start of the first holiday shopping season since the U.S. Presidential election on November 8, U.S. consumers loosened their purse strings and spent $1.15 billion online between midnight and 5 pm ET on Thursday, according to Adobe.

Traditionally the day after Thanksgiving, or Black Friday, has started the holiday shopping season in the United States with retailers offering steep discounts and turning a profit. But its popularity has been on the wane given the emergence of online shopping and cheap deals through the year from retailers including e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc.

U.S. stores are now opening on Thanksgiving to try and boost in-store sales, while retailers have been offering online deals weeks in advance to cope with lower demand and stiff pricing competition.

“We saw one of our strongest days ever online,” Brian Cornell, chief executive of discount retailer Target, told reporters on Thursday evening. He added that online sales grew by double digits, without giving further details.

The holiday season spanning November and December is crucial for retailers because it can account for as much as 40 percent of annual sales. Retailers try to attract shoppers with deep discounts, sometimes as much as 85 percent.

The National Retail Federation, which has been bullish with projections in the past, expects holiday sales to grow 3.6 percent this year to $655.8 billion.

“Online discounts are earlier and a lot bigger than last year,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal research analyst at Adobe Digital Index.

Oracle To Acquire Cloud Infrastructure Provider Dyn

November 23, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

oracle-logoOracle plans to purchase internet performance and DNS provider Dyn in an effort to boost its cloud-based offerings as well as challenge infrastructure and platform service leaders like Amazon and Microsoft.

Dyn, in the news last month when it was targeted in a massive distributed denial-of-service attack, operates a global network that makes 40 billion traffic optimization decisions each day for more than 3,500 enterprise customers, including Netflix and Twitter.

Dyn monitors and optimizes internet applications and cloud services with the goal of delivering faster access and reduced page-load times. Dyn’s services will give Oracle a one-stop shop for enterprise customers looking for infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS), Oracle said in a press release Monday.

Oracle has made an aggressive play in the cloud in recent months, with Executive Chairman Larry Ellison promising in September to give Amazon’s AWS “serious competition.” Some observers have questioned whether the company can catch up to Amazon and Microsoft, however.

Oracle has invested heavily in its cloud platform and has ambitions to be a market leader, but its strength right now lies in cloud support of its own applications, said Paul Miller, a senior analyst at Forrester.

“Oracle’s cloud makes most sense to customers already heavily invested in Oracle’s ecosystem of tools and applications,” Miller said.

Many existing Oracle customers also have a big investment in their own data centers, and that isn’t likely to change for several years, Miller added. So Oracle “mostly tells a hybrid cloud story in which some workloads run in public clouds, and others run on a customer’s premises, in a customer’s chosen co-location facility, or wherever,” he said.

In the hybrid service model, the Dyn acquisition makes sense, Miller said. Dyn’s network optimization services can help Oracle speed up its own network traffic and help the company and its customers “optimize the flow of data between Oracle’s data centers and a customer’s own facilities,” he added. “That optimization makes data flow faster and also saves everyone money.”

Customers should keep an eye on Oracle, he said.

“With a clear commitment to public cloud platforms and a strong history of success, clients would be foolish to write off this provider,” Forrester said in a report last month. “For those already invested in Oracle’s platform and applications, there may be no better choice.”

Oracle declined to comment on the acquisition and didn’t release terms of the deal.

 

Amazon To Sell Fiat Chrysler Cars Online

November 21, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

amazon-shopping-150x150Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)  said it has joined forces with U.S. internet giant Amazon to begin selling cars online offering an additional discount.

Initially only Italian buyers will be able to purchase their cars with a simple click online and the offers on Amazon.it will be limited to three models – the 500, the Panda and the 500L.

FCA said the choice was deliberate because the Panda is Italy’s biggest selling car, while buyers of the 500 and its larger 500L version embody the young and adventurous nature this initiative is trying to appeal to.

“The time has arrived to give consumers a new, more efficient and transparent way to choose a new vehicle,” Gianluca Italia, responsible for Fiat Chrysler in Italy, said during an online press conference.

The manager at the world’s seventh largest carmaker said the partnership will appeal to buyers looking for deals from the comfort of their own home, adding that existing promotions will be improved by up to 33 percent for online customers.

He said research had revealed that half of Italians were willing to buy a vehicle online but 97 percent still preferred to pick it up at a traditional dealer.

So, after making their clicks online, buyers will be contacted by Amazon to decide on a dealer where they can finalize their purchase and pick up the car. The vehicle should be ready within two weeks of the initial click.

 

Amazon Ordered To Reimburse Parents For Children’s In-app Purchases

November 14, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

amazon-logo-1-150x150A federal judge has ordered Amazon.com Inc to set up a year-long process to reimburse parents whose children made in-app purchases without permission, but rejected a U.S. regulator’s request for a $26.5 million lump-sum payout.

U.S. District Judge John Coughenour, in Amazon’s hometown of Seattle, issued his order more than six months after finding the online retailer liable, in a case brought by the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC in July 2014 accused Amazon of making it too easy for children to run up bills while playing games such as “Pet Shop Story” and “Ice Age Village” on mobile devices, resulting in an estimated $86 million of unauthorized charges.

 The order calls for Amazon to set up a notice-and-claims process beginning in early 2017 to alert parents of their eligibility for refunds, and then to reimburse them.

Coughenour said this approach “removes the uncertainty of the proper lump sum amount that the parties have vigorously disputed. Moreover, it accomplishes the goals of placing liability on Amazon and refunding eligible customers.”

Coughenour called the FTC’s $26.5 million damages request “too high,” agreeing with Amazon that it might have taken into account failed password attempts unrelated to unauthorized purchases by children.

But the judge rejected Amazon’s request to issue refunds in the form of gift cards, saying the company would “undoubtedly recapture some of the profits that are at issue.”

Neither Amazon nor the FTC immediately responded to requests for comment.

Is Electronic Arts Bullish On Next Quarter?

November 7, 2016 by  
Filed under Gaming

The second fiscal quarter is historically the quietest stretch for Electronic Arts, but the three months ended September 30 gave the publisher reason for optimism heading into the crucial holiday season. The company today released its second quarter results, beating its net income guidance and showing strong growth in its EA Sports Ultimate Team efforts.

“Q2 was an excellent quarter for Electronic Arts, led by breakthrough new EA Sports titles engaging players across console and mobile,” CEO Andrew Wilson said. “We are in an outstanding position for the quarter ahead, with two of the highest-rated games of this console generation in Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2, global competitive gaming tournaments underway, and our first virtual reality experiences coming soon. Across all platforms, this holiday season will be a fantastic time to play.”

While Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 launched after the second quarter, EA used the report to tout the games’ early achievements. For Battlefield 1, the company said the total player base during the first week of release nearly doubled that of 2013’s Battlefield 4. As for Titanfall 2, which just launched last Friday, the company said dozens of press outlets had given review scores the equivalent of a 90 out of 100 or above.

As for the releases actually covered by EA’s second quarter results, they would include EA Sports mainstays Madden 17 and FIFA 17. The company said “20% more players were engaged” in FIFA 17 during its first week than in the first week of FIFA 16, but made no mention of specific performance for Madden. However, the EA Sports Ultimate Team game modes appear to be healthy, as EA said Ultimate Team’s net sales between the FIFA, Madden, and NHL series are up 15% year-over-year on a trailing 12-month basis.

For the second quarter, EA reported net revenues of $898 million, up 10% from last year, but short of the $915 million it had given as guidance. However, the company’s net loss for the quarter of $38 million was a significant improvement on the previous second quarter’s net loss of $140 million, and better than the projected $51 million net loss.

EA gave the early performance of FIFA 17 and the holiday slate of releases as reason enough to adjust its full-year expectations, with the company now expecting net revenue for the year ending March 31, 2017 to be $4.775 billion, up from $4.75 billion. Net income for the year is also projected to reach $848 million, compared to the previous guidance of $809 million.

Update: On the earnings call, EA CFO Blake Jorgensen addressed the early feedback on Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2, noting that it’s too early to update any sales projections but that there’s “incredible excitement” around both and the company is “very optimistic” not just for this holiday season but for the longer term. Citing the fact that “quite a few players” were still playing Battlefield 4 years after it released, Jorgensen said he expects similar long-term interest in both titles. More generally, looking at EA’s business, Jorgensen is also encouraged by the opportunity that this generation’s consoles and the mid-cycle upgrades affords a big publisher like EA since the console installed base is already up 33% in the West compared to the previous generation, he said.

Interestingly, when asked about one of EA’s big upcoming titles, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Jorgensen effectively said that EA is not afraid to push the title back yet again (it was originally scheduled for 2016 but is now loosely slated for Q4, which ends next March). While that shouldn’t be read as a sign of trouble – Jorgensen said Mass Effect is “tracking extremely well” – it appears EA wants to be 100% sure that the game does not need any additional time before it commits more fully to a release date.

Courtesy-GI.biz

Are Tablet Sales Really Dropping?

November 4, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Despite what Steve Jobs and his minions in the Tame Apple Press told us, the tablet was not a game changer, and was simply yet another fashion fad which is now going the way of the dodo and the iPod.

According to figures from IDC, the global tablet market has been declining for eight straight quarters, has seen yet further reductions in this one.

Beancounters at IDC have added up some numbers and divided by their shoe size and reached the conclusion that the global tablet market saw a 14.7 percent year-over-year decline in Q3 2016. No major tablet vendor shipped 10 million or more units this past quarter – that includes Apple.

Only 43 million units combined were shipped in Q3 2016 as opposed to 50.5 million units during the same period last year. The figures include the detachable form factors as well which means that tablets with keyboards are also accounted for in these figures.

The sorts of tablets that Jobs told us would take over the world are now being propped up by things like the netbooks they replaced.

Apple retained its position as the top tablet vendor by shipping 9.3 million iPad units in the third quarter of this year. Samsung remains in second place with shipments of 6.5 million units. Both companies saw a year-over-year decline of 6.2 percent and 19.3 percent respectively.

It is the cut price and often subsidised tablets which are doing the best. Amazon demonstrated strong growth by shipping 3.1 million units compared to 0.8 million units during the same period last year, it has seen a YoY growth of 319.9 percent.

Lenovo and Huawei complete the top five with shipments of 2.7 million and 2.4 million units. The top five vendors accounted for 55.8 percent of the entire global tablet market in the third quarter of this year.

What amazes us is that no-one saw this coming. While Jobs was showing the first generation of its keyboard-less netbooks, we were saying that they did not have a killer app and were practically useless. Apple fanboys said we were wrong and the proof was how well they sold. This could have been true because they sold quite well initially and then they didn’t.

Courtesy-Fud

Will LG See Black Next Quarter?

November 1, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Troubled phone maker LG has seen its third quarter operating profit fall 3.7 percent from a year earlier.

Once again, its bottom line is being dragged down by a record quarterly loss for its mobile division. The outfit said in a regulatory filing its July-September profit was $248 million which was pretty much the misery it predicted earlier this year. Revenue for the quarter dropped 5.7 percent.

LG’s mobile division reported its worst-ever quarterly operating loss of $382.17 billion, its sixth straight quarter in the red, offsetting a record $334.21 profit for the telly division.

LG said its fourth quarter profit would be weaker than the third quarter’s due to higher promotional expenses and weaker earnings for its appliances business due to seasonal weakness.

The company is a bit of a tragedy because it makes rather good mobile products but for some reason can’t get a lucky break. Its TV business is doing well too.

Courtesy-Fud

Staples Develops Competitor To Amazon’s Echo, Google Home

October 27, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

staples-easy-button-150x150While the Amazon Echo and Google Home introduced the digital assistant to the home, Staples aims to do the same for the office.

To do so, the office supply chain store is bringing its iconic Easy Button to life.

Massachusetts-based Staples is testing a smart assistant device that looks like its Easy Button, which was launched as a marketing campaign and gained a bit of a cult following, but that customers can use to order products, track shipments and help with returns.

One day, according to Staples’ chief digital officer Faisal Masud, the device, backed by artificial intelligence-based IBM Watson, will also be able to call up janitorial services, make restaurant reservations, check traffic and weather, set reminders, act as an alarm clock and play the radio.

“We want to be the assistant’s assistant,” Masud told Computerworld in an interview at the IBM World of Watson conference here this week. “Offices are going to evolve, and these services and products shouldn’t be more than a click away. I need the carpets cleaned, the windows cleaned. I need reservations for the boss at a restaurant… It will be for more than ordering pens and pencils.”

Staples’s smart office assistant will go into alpha testing with five to 10 customers by the end of the year. It’s scheduled to go into a larger beta test with about 100 large customers in the first quarter of next year.

Depending on the results of those two tests, the Easy Button device could be released in the second or third quarter of 2017, Masud said.

Initially, the device will be focused on ordering products, returns and tracking orders, but Staples has a bigger roadmap planned for it.

As new versions of the product are released, the Easy Button is expected to gain more abilities. Users will be able to ask it for the weather forecast or traffic advisories, to make dinner reservations for the CEO, or call a repair service to fix the coffee machine in the break room or to have the office carpets cleaned.

Eventually, Masud expects it to be 4G-enabled so it won’t need to connect to Wi-Fi.

It’s about getting ahead of, or at least keeping up with, the growing trend toward conversational commerce, which refers to interacting with companies in new ways, like messaging, voice commands and chat apps.

“Conversational commerce is here already, and we need to play a role in it,” Masud said. “I think it’s less about [gaining] advantage over competitors. It’s about where the market is going. Conversational commerce is the future. You won’t be tied to the screen. We believe we need to give customers choices. It could make us more competitive, but that’s not the reason we’re doing it.”

Amazon To Hire 120,000 Seasonal Workers For Christmas Season

October 14, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

amazon-logo-1-150x150Amazon.com Inc said it would add more than 120,000 seasonal workers in the United States for the holiday season, an increase of 20 percent more than last year, highlighting the growing threat the e-commerce giant poses to traditional retailers.

U.S. retailers such as Macy’s Inc, Target Corp and Kohl’s Corp have said they plan to hire fewer temporary workers or to keep seasonal employment levels little changed this holiday season.

More than 14,000 seasonal positions were transitioned to regular, full-time roles after the holidays last year, and the company expects to increase that number this year, Amazon said on Thursday.

The U.S. National Retail Federation earlier this month forecast a 3.6 percent rise in holiday sales this year, with online sales expected to climb 7 percent to 10 percent.

U.S. brick-and-mortar retailers’ biggest challenge in recent years has been tackling the growth of online retailers, specially Amazon, which offer the same products at lower prices and have made shopping more convenient.

They are also keeping sales expectations and inventories low – and hiring light – ahead of the holiday season to avoid a repeat of last year, when unusually warm weather hit sales and piled up unsold goods.

Is Gears Of War 4 Appease The Harsh Critics?

October 14, 2016 by  
Filed under Gaming

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-gears-4For game critics, loving Gears of War has been problematic since the very beginning. The rippling, testosterone drenched surface of Epic’s franchise served as a distraction from its abundant qualities. Looking back, it’s clear that the first game, released in 2006, provided the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 era with the kind of moment that arguably still hasn’t arrived for the current generation. It was a new visual benchmark, its sense of weight and physical force was entirely distinct, and – a year before the launch of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare – it introduced the most credible new multiplayer experience since Halo. For those who based their professional integrity on distinguishing good games from bad, to notice and appreciate any of this was to miss the square-jaws and lumpen dialogue that comprised its story.

Looking back now, it’s clear that Gears of War was one of the defining series of the last console generation, influencing the creative direction of a large proportion of action games, driving the development community towards the Unreal Engine in droves, and with Horde mode in Gears of War 2, introducing a multiplayer concept that would be adopted by everything from Uncharted to Mass Effect. Even its marketing was influential: Gears of War’s popular “Mad World” trailer might well be the origin of action games using pained, acoustic covers of popular songs to score their artfully spliced carnage.

Despite this estimable legacy, however, the reviews of Gears of War 4 are shot through with an almost apologetic tone; a need to address the (arguably misplaced) perception of Gears as nothing more than a dude-bro power fantasy. Polygon, which awards the game an impressive 9 out of 10, spends a full third of its review on story and characterisation, opening with a declaration that, “Gears of War 4 is about home and family.”

“Gears of War as a series has dealt with accusations of hyper-masculine excess and an emphasis on gore and violence since it was first announced more than ten years ago. And it’s not that those observations are wrong, exactly – the characters have always been larger than life, the men in particular wide and heavy, and the violence of the series has always been extreme and enthusiastic. But beneath or even in parallel to that aspect, there’s always been consistent themes of friendship, of relationships of support and camaraderie that would seem corny in most other games but, somehow, work in Gears of War for a passionate fanbase.”

This protagonist of this reboot – which was developed by Microsoft’s The Coalition – is J. D. Fenix, the son of the original series’ central character, Marcus Fenix. Both father and son play pivotal roles in the game’s story, which Polygon describes as, “more focused, less sprawling story than the last few entries… A lot of time is spent exploring the strained relationship between Marcus and his son, with a lot of perspective on both sides of the equation.” The game’s various other key characters all have their own emotional journeys, largely relating to those themes of family and friendship. Gears of War 4’s story and character time works as well as it does for several reasons,” Polygon says. “The writing is matter-of-fact, avoiding over-stoicism and also overwrought fluff for the most part.”

If this is an area of weakness that The Coalition sought to address, then the abiding sense from the game’s reviews is that it has made a significant improvement. Whether that’s what the vast majority of Gears of War’s players care about is another matter, of course, but The Coalition hasn’t dropped the ball with the series’ core strengths, either. Polygon praises Gears of War 4 as “simply a joy to play,” and that sentiment echoes throughout the critical discourse.

The Daily Telegraph, which awards four stars, applauds the “muscular and endlessly gratifying thrill” of the gunplay, which carries the game through a slow start that serves, “as an elongated (re)introduction to that well-oiled Gears combat, flashing between cover-to-cover, switching between shotgun and rifle and familiarising yourself with the rattle of an emptying clip and the satisfaction of a well-timed, power-boosting active reload.” There are two new enemy races to fight in place of the original series’ Locust, and “weaponry…as exotic as the bestiary” with which to fight them. The need to switch between distinct weapons to fight equally distinct weapon types has always been central to Gears of War’s appeal. Here, again, The Coalition has honoured its heritage.

The same is true of Gears of War 4 as a spectacle. You won’t find a single review that doesn’t proclaim it to be one of the very best looking games on either Xbox One or PlayStation 4, and the same is true is the PC version. Indeed, PCGamesN calls it “a visual and technical tour de force,” maintaining “searing frame-rates on ‘ultra’ settings during some of the most mind-blowing – if cheesy – set-pieces I’ve seen in games, while also inviting me to appreciate the vivid redness of sycamore leaves lazily billowing on a cracked yellow wall in a medieval town square on some parallel-to-Earth planet.”

That last observation is crucial, because the beauty of Gears 4 goes beyond polygons, framerates and animations, and extends to art direction. “This certainly ain’t the grey-brown Gears of old,” PCGamesN says, before adding, “the diversity of what it shows is stunning… This is a far cry from the game that single-handedly started the stereotype of the ‘murky brown war shooter’, taking us instead on a historical tour of the vestiges of a world parallel to ours, yet still different enough to be mysterious; I almost felt guilty as I stomped around a scenic town as a giant mech, casually calling in airstrikes to smash my way through buildings. Almost.”

Words like “jawdropping,” “stunning,” “incredible” and “breathtaking” are scattered throughout this and many other reviews, to the point where the handful of scores that fall below 8 out of 10 demand close attention. For Jimquisition, the website started by ex-Destructoid personality Jim Sterling, “there’s nothing quite like Gears on the market. The sense of weight, the meaty impact of combat, the gruesomely satisfying way heads pop and bodies burst, any given Gears game has a baseline quality even at its worst thanks to its undeniably unique style.” However, Gears of War 4 relies on that “baseline quality” a little too much, The Coalition happy to make the improvements necessary to maintain relative standards but, “doing very little to rock the boat and making minor improvements and evolving where needed.”

“Such a tactic provides a game that’s decent just because it’s Gears of War, relying on the groundwork established across four older games to maintain the baseline. And that’s most certainly what Gears 4 is. A maintenance of the series as opposed to an injection of fresh blood.”

In a sense, then, the game’s most ardent supporters and most vocal critics are in full agreement: Gears of War 4 absolutely meets the standard set by its forebears, which is either something to praise or lament depending on the individual. One suspects, though, that in the absence of new Gears, the public will be more than happy to settle for more Gears.

Courtesy-GI.biz

Amazon Aims To Settle Antitrust E-book Probe With EU Regulators

October 6, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

amazon-ebooks-1-150x150Amazon is holding discussions with European Union antitrust regulators regarding settling a year-long investigation into its e-book deals with publishers without a fine, a person familiar with the matter said.

The move comes as Amazon is also under scrutiny over its tax deal with Luxembourg, which may result in the U.S. online retailer paying millions of euros in back taxes.

“Amazon is in talks to settle the e-book case but it is too early to say whether it will reach an agreement,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Under the EU’s settlement rules, the company would not face any fine or finding of wrongdoing if it can offer concessions to allay regulatory concerns.

European Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso declined to comment.

The EU competition watchdog opened an investigation into the case in June last year, saying Amazon’s e-books contracts with publishers giving it terms as good as those for its rivals may make it difficult for other e-books distributors to compete.

The focus is on Amazon’s e-books in English and German. The company is the biggest e-book distributor in Europe, while the market is growing rapidly.

Oracle Going After Amazon Web Services In Cloud Storage Wars

September 20, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

oracle-cloud-storage-150x150Larry Ellison has placed Amazon Web Services on notice with his latest statement:  Oracle is going to give Amazon a run for its money in the cloud market.

“Amazon’s lead is over,” he said during his keynote address at the OpenWorld conference in San Francisco. “Amazon’s going to have serious competition going forward.”

To that end, the company he co-founded is launching a set of new cloud data centers that are aimed at providing more powerful compute instances to help it compete against the likes of AWS, Azure and other cloud players. The generation 2 data centers will help bring a variety of performance improvements to customers who want to run high-performance workloads in the cloud.

The infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offering that Ellison announced on-stage is aimed at giving companies low-cost access to incredibly powerful hardware in the cloud. It’s an attempt to draw businesses towards Oracle’s services as they start migrating applications to take advantage of the performance and low pricing available as a result of not operating their own data centers.

Ellison showed off a new Oracle Dense Cloud IO bare metal cloud server offering that will provide developers with 36 CPU cores, 512GB of D-RAM, and 28.8TB of SSD storage. That’s a ton of compute capacity, all aimed at high-performance enterprise workloads. It’s more power than Amazon offers with one of its most powerful instance, the i2.8xlarge. It comes at a cost of $5.40 an hour, which is cheaper than what Amazon charges.

Deepak Patil, a vice president of product development at Oracle, said in an interview that the company was able to compete with Amazon on price and performance for three reasons: The different way that it architects its infrastructure, its access to the latest and greatest hardware and the fact that its cloud platform is built on top of Oracle-made hardware.

Oracle vice president of software development Mark Cavage said that the company plans to charge a flat 7.5 cents per instance hour per core across all of its compute offerings. In addition to its bare-metal options, the company will also offer four- and eight-core virtual machines at launch. By the end of the year, Oracle will also make one- and two-core VMs available.

 

Twitter Launches New Video Streaming Service

September 16, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

twitter-jack-dorsey-150x150Twitter Inc rolled out a new video streaming application for Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc TV platforms, as well as Microsoft Corp’s Xbox One gaming console as it brings its video content to the forefront.

The application will also be available for users of these devices without a Twitter account or a pay-TV subscription, the company said.

The application will feature video content from a number of Twitter’s partners, including the National Football League and the National Basketball Association, as well as curated tweets and shorter video from its Vine and Periscope services.

The news comes a day ahead of the first of the 10 NFL Thursday night games that Twitter obtained streaming rights for in April.

Jack Dorsey-led Twitter has made a significant push into video, signing deals with several media companies and sports organizations to stream major events.

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