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Microsoft Came to an Agreement to Buy Skype for $8.5 Billion

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Microsoft Corp. announced Tuesday that it came to agreement to buy the popular Internet phone service Skype for $8.5 Billion, the largest transaction in the 36 year history of the software maker.

The acquisition of Skype would give Microsoft a valuable communication tool in its bid to become a contender of greater weight in the internet and the growing market for multipurpose cell phones.

Skype Microsoft Purchase
Microsoft said it will join the Skype features to its Xbox game console, Outlook email and mobile Windows operating system. The company said Skype will continue in other computing platforms.

The main sellers are eBay Inc., and Silver Lake Financial Horowitz and Andreessen.

Some 170 million people use Skype services each month, although not all use it to make calls. Skype users accumulated 207,000 million minutes of voice and video last year.

Most people use Skype’s free phone service, making it difficult to make money by the company created in 2003 by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis. About 8.8 million users per month, only 1% of the clientele base, use paid services.

Skype lost $7 million, with revenues of $860 million last year, according to documents filed by the company since it announced its intention to conduct an initial public offering of shares last year. Subsequently, the IPO was put on hold. The long-term net debt of Skype was $543,883 at the end of 2010.

The previous record for a Microsoft purchase was the aQuantive online service advertising, $6 Billion in 2007.

Microsoft said that Skype will be a new business headed by the CEO of Skype, Tony Bates, who will report directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Microsoft earns billions with its software, but usually lose money on the internet, especially with its often vain attempt to catch Google Inc. in the search engines market.

eBay bought Skype for $2.6 Billion in 2005, but their attempt to attach the phone service with its online auction service was not successful. They eventually ended selling 70% of Skype to a group of investors led by Silver Lake Andreessen and Horowitz for $2 Billion 18 months ago.

The other major Skype shareholders are Joltid and the Board of Investment pension plans in Canada.

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Tech News

PlayStation Network and Qriocity Return This Week

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There’s good news for all those who were already on the verge of exploding by the absence of the PlayStation Network and Qriocity service: this week all services will be back and users will be able to enjoy from this Internet service once again.

After the long wait that started April 20, 2011 and reached the month of May, the PlayStation Network and Qriocity users will be able to enjoy those services again, according to an official announcement that was made yesterday at the official PlayStation blog. This statement was a summary of the words of Kaz Hirai, Sony’s VP, who met with a group of reporters in Tokyo, Japan yesterday morning to explain the new changes in the system from Sony.

At the press conference that was held yesterday, Kaz Hirai only referred to part of the history that led to the closure of Sony’s online service. He stated that the PlayStation Network and Qriocity service was suspended immediately once it was detected the intrusion of an unauthorized element. He also said that after the shutdown of the network to all users in the world, Sony’s management contacted several security companies with the intention of finding out what really happened and to what extent did the attacker access the data stored in their databases.

Kaz informed the media that the issue is now in the hands of the FBI, because to them, this attack on their network is considered a criminal act and that it’s unknown from which part of the world the attack was made.

Technically speaking, the announcement made at the PlayStation Blog, which echoes the words of Kaz, the online service will be restored gradually this week. For its implementation, it will be done is the form of phases. The first services that are going to be available will be for the PlayStation 3 (PS3) and PSP (PlayStation Portable); this includes those titles that require verification in the network and those games that can be downloaded online. More services will become available subsequently in the following days after, until bringing all the services back up like Sony had them set before the day of the attack.

Sony PlayStation Network Qriocity Hacked
Lastly, in the statement Sony emphasized all the measures taken to avoid the re-occurrence of such incidents. Some of those measures include; updating of user data, including changing password and reconfiguration of the accounts. Sony has also announced other measures such as changing its physical data center location to a new facility, as well as the update of security software and changes of the mechanism of setting up theri new anti hackers protocol.

So now you know, Sony’s system will be gradually restored this week. Exactly when? We’re still not sure, it can be today, tomorrow, or by the end of the week. Just stay alert, it will be done by geographical areas.

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Tech News

Sony Ericsson will Allow Users to Unlock their New Phones

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Sony Ericsson, one of the largest cell phone brands in the world, has announced that it will allow users to unlock their phones safely and legally. This move is not revolutionary in the smartphones market (Nexus models of Google can do it), but it is within the company.

The unlocking functionality feature will be available in some phones that will go on sale this year. The only requirement to unlock the smartphone is to not be connected to any company by blocking the SIM card.

According to the company, this decision has been made ​​possible because solutions have been developed though the use of safe techniques: sharing the bootloader will violate agreements between Sony Ericsson and other companies, due to that it also unblocks their applications and games. Users will be able to know if they can unlock their phone by connecting to the tool Fastbook.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Unlocked Smarthphone
Another Sony Ericsson policy is to warn users that they may void their warranty if they unlock the boot loader. In addition, the company also recommends inexperienced users not to unlock their phones. The company will launch a web service that will provide the user with a key to unlock the boot after entering the IMEI, which identifies the phone.

Sounds like a brilliant move by Sony Ericsson. They know they’re a little behind compared to other companies in the smartphones market, and this gives them a better position when buyers are choosing a phone that is fully customizable to suit their needs.

I personally hope the Xperia Play comes with this option, it will allow users to make a lot of impressive changes. We will keep an eye on this move of the giant Sony Ericsson. So stay tuned for future news.

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Tech News

Sony Confirms the PlayStation Tablet – S1

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Sony continues expanding its successful PlayStation brand among different devices. The Xperia Play was just released a couple of weeks ago and now Sony has confirmed the creation of the Playstation tablet, the S1.

The Japanese company plunges into the tablets market by using a global brand that has been very successful in recent years, thanks to its various video game consoles. Although the tablet market is just starting to boom, Sony will have to compete with some other major companies that have already announced their proposals for this year, in the effort to try to compete with the absolute leader: iPad. Sony will repeat the same formula they used with its new Xperia Play, it will not only be a tablet, but it will also attract more players by offering their PlayStation gaming platform.

It was a rumor that had been going around for a while, but it wasn’t until recently that Howard Stringer (CEO of Sony) confirmed its existence and that it will be available very soon. The intention of Sony is to put it out on sale later this summer. It’s clear that they can not wait any longer, because the competition is going to be big in the coming months.

Although we still don’t know all the details and there’s no picture of it, we can inform you of some of the interesting features, and I must say that it’s a very interesting model. It will have a 9.4 inches multitouch screen and a very good resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels that will allow us to enjoy great image quality (critical in a device focused on delivering multimedia content). Sony is going to provide enough power through the use of the new Tegra 2 processor. It will use the new Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) operating system to ensure an attractive navigation. But it will come with a custom interface for the company.

Sony wants its tablet to be more centered on its gaming side. It will be served by Qriocity (their new online store, trying to compete with Apple’s iTunes) that offers music, videos, movies, games. Also, its PlayStation certification will allow it to offer its entire platform to PS One games and arcade games.

Other details (which are already known), is that it has two cameras (front to do video conferencing and rear to take photos and record video) and also has the presence of a USB port. We still don’t know the technical details of its battery, but coming from Sony makes us to be pretty sure that it will last for a long period of time.

Sony Playstation Tablet S1
In terms of design, we don’t know anything certain yet because we still have not been able to see it. But we believe it could be quite innovative by providing a folding screen in one of the sides to seek greater comfort and that it can be supported by any platform. We’ll see if Sony surprises us by innovating in a design that is usually fairly generic in all tablets.

These are the details we know so far of the first PlayStation tablet, which is postulated as one of the most promising for this year. It’s going to be difficult having to compete with the new iPad 2, but it can be quite successful by leveraging a brand as famous as PlayStation and offering a product with very interesting characteristics. Furthermore and although it’s not confirmed, Sony would go into the tablet market with a very attractive price: $600 for the version with WiFi and it’s expected to be available in September. We will continue to monitor this product and we will keep you informed as more details get revealed.

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GamingTech News

Nintendo Wii 2 Console Unlikely to Support 3D Technology

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June will be a big month for Nintendo and Reggie Fils-Aime, CEO of Nintendo of America, has confirmed that they are working on a new home console, the Wii 2. Unfortunately, the new Wii 2 it’s unlikely to support 3D graphics like many had expected. This new announcement will really upset some gamers, specially after the recent release of the Nintendo 3DS and all the 3D televisions hype that has been going on since the end of last year.

Nintendo Wii 2 3D Unlikely
At the moment, and against what other manufacturers think, Reggie Fils-Aime said they still don’t have any plans of a 3D home console.

The reason for this is that people don’t want to wear 3D glasses to play. So until they develop appropriate screens, expect nothing. Also, they will not be putting the system display as they did with their smaller console (3DS). But you never know if Nintendo is saying the truth or perhaps they are only saying it to create confusion between their rivals.

After all, don’t we expect something big every time Nintendo releases a new console?

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Tech News

Motorola Has Three Android Smartphones in Progress

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Motorola is pure productivity since Android came into his life. They recently revealed two of the most important and powerful phones, Bionic and Atrix Droid 4G, and already have three more to be released soon.

Two of those Smartphones will come to replace phones already on the market, such as the Motorola Droid 2 and Droid X. The third appears to be a brand new Smartphone named Targa.

The second generation of the phones will be released within a year of its existence (around summer). The new Smartphones will most likely be named Motorola Droid 3 and Droid X2. The Droid 3 will use the traditional sliding QWERTY keyboard.

Motorola Droid 3 Leaked Image

While the second will utilize the new screen qHD (960 × 450 pixels) of 4.3 inches and a dual-core processor, we opt for Nvidia Tegra 2.

Motorola Droid x2 Leaked Image

Motorola Targa, 4G and Camera of Considerable Size

We were told that the strongest features of the mysterious Targa will be in it’s 4G connectivity and the presence of a camera of considerable size, as you can see in the pictures. The rumors says that the module is going to be of 13 megapixels.

The Targa Motorola will also include a front camera for video calls and HDMI output. Many will be crossing their fingers that it comes with Xenon flash.

Motorola Targa Leaked Image

We expect for all phones to come with Gingerbread operating system under the hood. We may know more about them later this month, during the CTIA which takes place during March 21-24.

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Tech News

Lunar X-Prize Race to the Moon: Sponsored by Google

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In 2007 it was announced that there was going to be a private race to the moon sponsored by Google. The total number of participants to be part of this adventure called Lunar X-Prize was finally revealed: It will consist of 29 teams from 17 countries.

This competition has one goal: each group will send an automated vehicle to the moon and get a video which shows the device driving around a distance of at least 500 meters. The team that achieves the goal will be awarded 30 million dollars by the Mountain View giant.

Google Lunar X Prize

For those who do not know about this event, we must mention that is held by Google and the X-Prize Foundation. The idea is to show that the future of the space race is in the private sector and that they can create automated cars much cheaper than those produced by NASA.

But the participants don’t only need to create a vehicle that can navigate the surface of the moon, they also have to ally themselves with corporations and private space agencies to send the device into space.

Thus, for example, the boys of Astrobotic Technology (a group formed by students at Carnegie Mellon University) got the approval of the company SpaceX to send their robot to the moon. An important fact of this private aerospace company is that the owner is Elon Musk, the founder of PayPal.

It’s clearly a big project by Google and Lunar X-Prize. The expectations of the organizers are very strong and are very optimistic that the winners will be announce by 2015.

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Tech News

Tablet PC Playbook – New Details Revealed

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New official details have been revealed, after many speculations arose regarding the expected characteristics of the “Playbook” tablet PC fom RIM BlackBerry. One of the most awaited tablets of the year.

BlackBerry Playbook
Within the new details revealed we can see that the RIM tablet can change the orientation by simply turning the tablet.  In other words, you can grab the tablet horizontally or vertically without the need to rotate the head.

Another major improvement that has been many speculations about, is the battery life. There had been several rumors running around that the battery life of this tables doesn’t last long. RIM has wasted no time and came out to deny such rumor, saying that the battery used was for a test unit and that they were working on it.

At the moment there is still no price or release date.

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