Walmart, the world's largest everything it would seem, has been feeling the push to get involved in the social craze. For a retailer, such as Walmart, the reason to want to get involved is the same as Google's reasons: data. There is no better way to find out about your customers than to spy on their online usage.
In an attempt to gain access to people's information, Walmart has purchased Facebook app Social Calendar. Anyone who uses Facebook knows about Social Calendar - we have all received invitations from more than one friend to add our birthday to their calendar. With access to everyone's birthday and who their friends are, Walmart now has the ability to remind you with more than just Facebook birthday cards; you could now be reminded to send a gift from Walmart.com.
How can they pull this off? Hit the break to find out.
Yahoo's management made an interesting and unexpected move this week, suing Facebook for patent infringement. There are 10 patents in question here, some of which were filed and issued long ago, before anyone really knew what the Internet was or where it was headed. The patents are vague and mostly nondescript, leaving open a lot of room for failure on Yahoo's part.
There are a number of issues that this filing has raised. First, there is the major problem of software patent law. There are a lot of thoughts on what needs to happen, and most of those thoughts seem to come from a place of misunderstanding of how software or patents work. Patents, for software or hardware, are only allowed to be approved for implementation not concept. For instance, one of the patents in question, "Control for enabling a user to preview display of selected content based on another user's authorization level," is not focused on implementation, but instead on concept. This patent does not bind to the law for patents, and therefore has no chance of standing up in a court case like this.
The solution here is to get the US Patent Office involved and get them to stop approving unlawful patents. That is not an option with patents already in question, so that leads to the second issue. With the ability of the court to nullify the patents in question here, why would Yahoo choose to file against Facebook after theoretically infringing for years? Hit the break to find out.
Even with the Wii U being released this year, Microsoft says the company will not be following suit by releasing their next Xbox console and hopes to get one more year out of the Xbox 360's life. Sources have reported that the Xbox team has confidence that the console will continue selling at a record pace, especially when it's paired with the Kinect.
It would appear that this week the end to a very short but very tragic story has been written. LightSquared, the company that Sprint had announced a LTE network partnership with in October, has lost its never-existent partner. Sprint has announced that it has ended its planned partnership. This is a decision that we have expected to hear considering the problems that LightSquared has had and the money that Sprint has poured into its other 4G partner, Clearwire.
Over the past few months, as Clearwire has had more and more financial problems, plus losing most of its partners, Sprint has been the knight in shining armor, twice. With all of the money that Sprint has given to Clearwire, there was no doubt in anyone's mind that it indicated Sprint had lost faith in its new partner and was moving to focus on repairing its relationship with Clearwire.
What does Sprint have to say about all of this? Hit the break to find out.
Remember SimCity? This was a game that anyone could pick up, play and have a great time. It spanned from 1989 all the way to SimCity 4 in 2003 and the latest SimCity: Societies in 2007. We've even seen iterations on PSPs, DS's and the iPhone.
Now, with all the hoopla happening at South by Southwest and GDC this week, we've seen a new title come out of the Maxis studio at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
Electronic Arts and Maxis have confirmed they are bringing the amazingness of SimCity back in 2013.
Lucy Bradshaw from Maxis said,
SimCity for PC will equip players with the tools to play the most sophisticated simulation of its kind. We are dedicated to making sure the experience - no matter the platform - has the fun, flavor and playability that has been intrinsic to the franchise since its birth.
We will see nuances from all of the previous titles appear in the game, as is the norm for this series, including the social elements from Societies. We will also get the ability to build your empire masterpiece next to a friend's. New to the game will be climate changes, added natural disasters and the ability to research renewable energy resources.
We have the trailer after the break.
Last week I covered Sprint's continuing aid for wireless company Clearwire who is currently facing some tough times. Last month, I did a recap on their entire current situation from the beginning up until now.
This week, however, we must talk about the instability of the company yet again. Reports are coming in that Google has sold its portion of Clearwire stock to Credit Suisse Group AG. Google had purchased its 29.4 million shares in 2008 for $500 million and has now sold off that purchase at $2.26 per share, or $66.5 million, well under the original purchase price. However, Google was only looking for $1.60 a share last week, so I suppose getting more than what you wanted out of it isn't a total loss. $453 million is a lot of money to lose, though.
Now, while it's a common practice for companies like Credit Suisse to pick up large quantities of shares to then resell to other interested buyers, Google dropping its stake in the company could speak volumes about the uncertainty that is looming around Clearwire's future. Google commented that, "Google periodically rebalances its investments based on its goals and its evaluation of market conditions."
After all that you've seen from our Clearwire coverage just this year alone, do you think the company will be around in 6 months? A year? Longer? We want to know in the comments section below.