And so the Napster saga continues (or, depending on your perspective, it comes to an end). The former peer-to-peer pioneer gone legit music service managed to avoid being gobbled up by an ice cream store owner, but the temptation to sell ultimately proved too strong for investors eager to cash in rather than continue to face stiff competition.
According to The Wall Street Journal, electronics retailer Best Buy has agreed to buy Napster for $121 million, which includes $67 million of cash and short-term investments on Napster's books. The acquisition values the digital music service at $2.65 per share, or almost double the closing price on Friday, which sat at $1.36.
"Best Buy intends to use Napster's capabilities and digital subscriber base to reach new customers with an enhanced experience for exploring and selecting music and otehr digital entertainment products over an increasing array of devices," said Best Buy president and COO Brian Dunn.
Napster's chief executive Chris Gorog is expected to remain in his post, along with the company's other senior executives. Best Buy also said it currently has no plans to relocate the music service's Los Angeles headquarters.
Was this a good move for Best Buy? Hit the jump and let us know your thoughts.
Forget about overpriced tickets to the big screen, you can get your fill of drama just by following the tech news. In what could pass as a Hollywood script, ex-Intel engineer Biswamohan Pani has been accused by the FBI of stealing trade secrets from Intel while working for AMD incognito.
According to an affidavit by FBI special agent Timothy Russell, the alleged storyline goes like this: Pani, playing the part of double-agent, informs Intel officials in May of his intention to resign so he can go work for a hedge fund and would utilize accrued vacation time until June 11, which would be his final official day. Here's where the plot twist comes in. There is no hedge fund, and Pani instead begins working for AMD on June 2. With time still left on the table at Intel, the suspected double-agent accesses and downloads 13 secret documents from an encrypted system.
Of course, movie scripts can never be so cut and dry, and so in this feature, Pani no longer works for AMD and denies any wrongdoing, even after a July 1 search of his home turns up eight Intel documents classified as confidential, secret, or the mother of them all, top secret.
Wondering how it ends? So are we. Stay tuned as this one plays out in real life.
We can hear it now: "Why yes, that is a projector in my pocket, but I'm still happy to see you." 3M has unveiled its MPro 110 mini projector, beating a bevy of companies to the punch who this year have announced plans to release a pico projector of their own.
Popsci.com got its hands on the 11.5 x 5 x 2.2 cm device, noting that images could be viewed up to about 11 inches across, even under bright lighting, but not without some noticeable fading. Others photos and some movie scenes were "downright indecipherable.
The pint-sized projector comes with a VGA input, which will come in handy for plugging in laptops, and a composite video jack for connecting to digital cameras, iPods, PSPs, and other handheld gagdets. A thumbwheel gives end users the ability to manually adjust focus.
In the short term, look for the MPro 110 to go on sale September 30 for $359. But looking longer down the line, 3M says it would like to eventually implement the technology into cellphones, perhaps as early as next year.
If you haven't heard, ATI's HD 4870 kicks some serious gaming ass. Nvidia's received the message loud and clear, so the company's gone back to the drawing board and now plans to release a revised version of its GTX 260 videocard. The tweaked GTX 260 pushes the number of stream shaders from 192 up to 216, expected to result in a 5-10 percent performance increase. To prevent confusion in the market place with existing GTX 260s, speculation suggests the new card may carry a 'Gold' moniker.
This isn't the first time in recent memory that Nvidia has revised an existing SKU, with the company earlier this summer shrinking the 9800 GTX's core from 65nm to 55nm and boosting clockspeeds, which resulted in the 9800 GTX+. But this time around, DigiTimes reports graphics card makers are voicing concerns that the Gold release will leave them with an oversupply of original GTX 260 cards that no one wants. Whether those fears prove founded or not depends on how Nvidia plans to price the new release, which so far has not yet been announced.
The job of a whistleblower is a dangerous one, and Robert Delaware has paid the price for speaking out against Microsoft. The contracted game tester had worked closely with the Xbox line, and particularly Bungie Studios since early 2005. For those who haven’t been following the story, Delaware’s testimonial was the basis for an article that made headlines last week regarding Xbox 360 hardware failures at launch. In the VentureBeat article, Delaware detailed the known quality issues with the 360 and that management ignored multiple warnings in order to gain an advantage over the not yet released Playstation 3. Legally Microsoft was within its rights to fire Delaware for his unauthorized interview, but he remains defiant. Delaware claims to have been aware of the possible ramifications but was willing to take the risk. Upon termination Delaware was also warned by an HR representative that he faces possible lawsuits from both Microsoft and the company who contracted him out. The Interview conducted by VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi remains unconfirmed by Microsoft and in response had only this to say: "This topic has already been covered extensively in the media. This new story repeats old information, and contains rumors and innuendo from anonymous sources, attempting to create a new sensational angle, and is highly irresponsible.”
Did Robert Delaware do the right thing? Or was he just looking for publicity?
Even though many managers find the sly social networking habits of their employees detrimental to their organization’s output, a new survey has revealed that a considerable number of bosses screen social networking sites before hiring people. Twenty two percent of bosses value social networking profiles of job applicants as much as their résumés, a survey conducted by CareerBuilder.com revealed. The figure has shot by a 100% from 11% in 2006. And 34% of those managers that scrutinize social networking profile of candidates have the audacity to even drop candidates based on their profiles. The survey sampled the opinion of 3,169 managers. So rush to put your online house in order, your future boss might just land uninvited.
The Zune, just like every other Microsoft product is a very functional and feature rich device. Unfortunately, it simply lacks the cool factor that seems to come bundled with every iPod ever shipped. Despite the intense struggles it has faced however, it seems pretty clear at this point that Microsoft is ready to stay the course and is content to scrap it out for the number two position. At least, this is the impression Joe Belfiore gave CNET News in a tell all interview on the future of the Zune. In the interview Belfiore recants his dream of a future where media flows seamlessly from Zune to Xbox or even a Mediaroom IPTV. On the subject of a Zune phone, Belifore didn’t have much to say other “stay tuned”. It’s hard to read much into that, but clearly it’s a lucrative market that could really help push the brand forward if executed properly. For those who haven’t been following the lineup, Microsoft just recently released new Zune hardware. They include a 120 GB hard drive based player to compete with the iPod classic, and an 8 GB flash drive based device to take on the iPod Nano. Both have been priced aggressively to compete with Apple going into the holiday season and in many ways are still a better value. From the interview it also seems apparent that Microsoft will continue to push hard on the value of the Zune as a social experience. Zune owners have the option of sharing playlists with friends and can even create profiles so everyone on the web will always know your favorite songs. The interview doesn’t reveal any new information, but presumably Microsoft must be carefully looking at devices such as the iPhone and iPod Touch. Both represent products they can’t currently compete with under their current lineup.
The current sea of web browsers is awash in promises, but what makes Firefox better then Internet Explorer? And is Google’s Chrome really any faster or better at rendering web pages then Safari? Neowin.net was looking to answer this very question when it authored an excellent roundup of browser rendering engines. The report helps to break down which browsers and applications make use of each of the four most prominent technologies: Trident (Microsoft), Gecko (Mozilla), Webkit (Apple/Google), and Presto(Opera). While both Trident and Presto are both closed source projects, Gecko and Webkit remain open source and are likely to be the basis of any future browsers entering the market. It is an excellent reference for users looking to switch browsers and is a reminder that we should pay attention more to the underlying engine being used then the name of the browser itself. Market share of the various engines is a very telling indicator of general compatibility on the web. It will also help you the next time a Mac head goes on rant over how much better Safari is than Chrome. You now have the tools you need to put him in his place.
A few days ago, we reported a novel attack on Will Wright's critically acclaimed title, Spore. The game, which comes inextricably chained to a monolithic slab of DRM, provoked a sea of gamers to crash headfirst into Amazon.com's user review section. Soon, the tides receded, taking with them all but a single star from Spore's user rating. Certainly, this demonstration of gamerly ire was more meaningful than a simple Internet petition, but those brave souls have yet to receive custom apology letters from EA with realistic-looking, printed-on signatures and tear blats, so a rousing success their movement was not.
Now, Forbes sends word that indignant gamers have peeled back their kid gloves to reveal cruel hooks. Where protest failed, they hope that theft will succeed.
"By downloading this torrent, you are doing the right thing," wrote one user going by the name of "deathkitten" on the popular file-sharing site The Pirate Bay. "You are letting [Electronic Arts] know that people won't stand for their ridiculously draconian 'DRM' viruses."
"You have the power to make this the most pirated game ever, to give corporate bastards a virtual punch in the face," deathkitten added.
In addition, the most-downloaded Spore tracker brings with it "step-by-step instructions for how to disassemble the copy protections, along with a set of numerical keys for breaking the software's encryption."
And it's not just embittered hyperbole. Chief Executive Eric Garland of Big Champagne, a peer-to-peer research firm, notes that deathkitten's tactics may very well be working. "The numbers are extraordinary," Garland said. "This is a very high level of torrent activity even for an immensely popular game title."
But the question remains: Is this the right course of action?
At this week’s CTIA trade show in San Francisco, Research in Motion, developer of the BlackBerry, announced the release of its first flip-design phone. Based on the candy-bar-style Pearl, the Pearl Flip 8220 will include a 240x320 primary display, a camera, music and video capabilities, and Wi-Fi. Like the Pearl, the Pearl Flip has been designed for the consumer market. Instead of a full keyboard, the device includes two letters on each key and also has a trackball, similar to the Pearl’s. T-Mobile will be the exclusive carrier of the Pearl Flip in the United States. Although no street price or relapse date were provided at the show. It is widely expected that the Flip will be available by the holiday season.