Vendor News

Logitech Buys Saitek

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Logitech Buys Saitek

Logitech acquires more gaming capability with Saitek, the UK-based maker of high-end flight, farm and space simulation game controllers designed for titles such as Elite Dangerous and Star Citizen.

"We’re pleased with this tuck-in acquisition of the Saitek product portfolio," Logitech says. "The Saitek product line complements our market-leading portfolio of Logitech G gaming products, including simulation products like our G29 and G920 Driving Force steering wheels, and expands our leadership position at a very exciting time for gaming.”

The acquisition brings up questions on the health of Saitek's previous owner, Mad Catz, who acquired the controller maker for $30 million back in 2007. Under Mad Catz ownership Saitek produced two of its most popular controllers, the X-52 and X-55.

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Apple Pushing Further into Augmented Reality?

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Apple Pushing Further into Augmented Reality?

Is Apple planning to move into augmented reality? Business Insider suggests this is the case as it reveals out two recent Apple hires, former Magic Leap engineer Zeyu Lee and ex-Oculus researcher Yury Petrov.

The news comes just a day after CEO Tim Cook told Good Morning America he finds augmented reality more interesing than virtual reality. Why? According to Cook, AR allows people to "be very present" while using the technology. He also believes "less people would be interested" in VR.

"My own view is that AR is the larger of the two, probably by far," the CEO tells ABC. "Because this gives the capability for both of us to sit and be very present, talking to each other, but also have other things-- visually-- for both of us to see. Maybe it's something we're talking about, maybe it's someone else here who's not here present but who can be made to appear to be present."

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More EU Countries Want Slice of Apple Tax Pie

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More EU Countries Want Slice of Apple Tax Pie

While Ireland is appealing against European Commission demands for Apple to pay €13 billion in "undue tax benefits," Germany's DW reports at least 4 other EU nations are considering to claim their share in unpaid Apple taxes.

A report following 2-day summit of European finance ministers states the Netherlands, Austria, Italy and France are following the case "closely," and are interested in any possible slice from the Apple tax pie. Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem was the first to fire warning shots, insisting Apple has to "get ready" to pay up.

The meeting of financial ministers involved discussions on the harmonisation of tax regulations for foreign firms working in the continent. As Dijsselbloem puts it, corporations "have an obligation to pay taxes in a fair way... International tax loopholes are a thing of the past."

The EC agrees other nations can claim a slice of the €13bn tax bill which, post-interest, can reach up to €19bn.

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Apple "Reboots" Auto Strategy?

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Apple

Apple is "rethinking" its top secret plans for self-driving cars, the New York Times reports-- allegedly the initiative is so troubled the company is partially shutting it down and laying of "dozens" of employees.

Codenamed "Titan," the project originally involved the building of an actual self-driving car. However this appears to be too much for Apple, since it is reportedly setting its aims lower to focus on backbone autonomous vehicle technology. According to the NYT Apple got over 1000 employees working on the project in around 18 months, but the team continued to struggle to "bring to a self-driving car that other companies could not."

Google parent Alphabet has been testing self-driving cars for quite some time, while Tesla vehicles already have such a feature (if one that lead to a fatal accent in recent months). Meanwhile Uber owns Otto, a specialist in robotics and autonomous technology. Automakers Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler are also getting in the autonomous vehicle game, and are expected to release such a machine to market in 5 years or less.

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EC Hits Apple With €13 billion Tax Bill!

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EC Hits Apple With €13 billion Tax Bill!

Following a lengthy investigation the European Commission (EC) concludes the Irish government granted "undue tax benefits" to Apple-- leading to a tax bill worth up to €13 billion plus interest.

According to Reuters the sum is 40x bigger than any previous EC demand to a company in a tax-related case. However it can be reduced if other countries do like Ireland and demand more tax from Apple.

Ireland already has a relatively low corporation tax rate of 12.5%, but Apple managed to get a deal from the Irish government of a corporate tax rate of just 1% in 2003. This was lowered even further to 0.005% in 2014. Such selective tax treatment is deemed illegal under EU state rules, and as a result EC demands the Irish government has to recover unpaid taxes for the 2003-2014 period.

The investigation kicked off in 2014 following claims the Irish government broke EU laws with tax rulings agreed with Apple in 1991 and 2007.

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Microsoft and Lenovo Deepen Relationship

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Microsoft and Lenovo Deepen Relationship

Microsoft announces a "deepening of strategic relationships" with Lenovo in a deal having Lenovo preload Microsoft apps on select devices, as well as a "patent cross-licensing agreement."

The Microsoft apps in question are of the productivity variety, such as Office, OneDrive and Skype. They will be found in premium Android-powered Lenovo smartphones and tablets.

“Our collaboration with Microsoft will create new opportunities for our customers to take advantage of some of Microsoft’s most popular apps,” Lenovo says. “Installing Microsoft apps and services on our devices will bring additional value to consumers around the globe.”

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Foxconn Completes Sharp Takeover

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Foxconn Completes Sharp Takeover

Foxconn finalises the $3.5 billion acquisition of struggling Japanese display maker Sharp after months of negotion, not to mention a prolonged review of the deal by Chinese anti-monopoly authorities.

"Sharp hereby announces that all examinations by the competition authorities of the relevant countries have been completed," a statement from the company reads. "Herewith, the conditions precedent to the payment of the New Shares have been satisfied. Therefore, transaction from the Planned Allottees are expected to be made in accordance with our agreement as soon as possible."

Following the acquisition Sharp CEO Kozo Takahashi steps down. Replacing him is Foxconn vice chairman Tai Jeng-wu.

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Incipio Buys Griffin

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Incipio Buys Griffin

Incipio follows the June Skullcandy buy with the acquisition of Griffin Technology, the maker of mobile device accessories, for an undisclosed sum.

"Griffin has a 25-year history of designing, manufacturing and distributing iconic mobile accessories," Incipio says. "As part of Incipio Group, Griffin strengthens our product development and manufacturing capabilities, complements our existing product lines in rugged cases, power and connectivity, and allows our brands to reach a broader domestic and international audience through enhanced distribution in the business-to-business, enterprise and education verticals."

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Apple Buys More Machine Learning With Turi

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Apple Buys More Machine Learning With Turi

Apple sets to push further into machine learning and artifical intelligence as it acquires Turi, a company self-described as a “machine learning platform for developers and data scientists.”

News of the acquisition first emerged from the rumour mill, before Apply dryly confirmed the deal with the usual "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans” statement. As such no financial details are available, even if GeekWire claims Turi cost over $200 million.

Formerly known as Dato (and before that GraphLab), Turi develops tools for developers wanting to build apps with machine learning and AI capabilities, such as recommendation engines, fraud detection, customer churn prediction, sentiment analysis and customer segmentation. It also runs the Data Science Summit, a 2-day conference with a focus on (shockingly enough) data science.

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China-Based LeEco Buys Vizio

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China-Based LeEco Buys Vizio

LeEco, the Chinese internet and CE company, acquires Vizio-- the 2nd biggest TV maker in the world following Samsung-- for $2 billion, creating a combined entity worth $4 billion.

Post-acquisition Vizio should continue operating under the same name as a wholly-owned subsidiary. However its viewer data business Inscape will spin off into a separate privately-owned company controlled by Vizio founder and CEO William Wang.

"I have mixed feelings," Wang admits about the deal. "As the owner and father of Vizio, I am very reluctant to let it go. But as the CEO and owner of the company, I know this is the right decision to make for our hard-working employees and loyal shareholders."

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Apple Sells 1 Billion iPhones

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Apple Sells 1 Billion iPhones

Apple loves big numbers, and a recent employee meeting had it reveal a pretty big iPhone-related one-- iPhone sales have officially reached the 1 billion milestone.

"iPhone has become one of the most important, world-changing and successful products in history. It's become more than a constant companion. iPhone is truly an essential part of our daily life and enables much of what we do throughout the day," Apple CEO Tim Cook says. “Last week we passed another major milestone when we sold the billionth iPhone. We never set out to make the most, but we’ve always set out to make the best products that make a difference. Thank you to everyone at Apple for helping change the world every day."

The announcement comes 9 years after the revelation of the first iPhone, and almost 5 years the death of the late, great Steve Jobs. It also comes at a perhaps not-so-great time for the smartphone, as fiscal Q3 2016 sees iPhone reach a historic low of 40.4 million, a -15% Y-o-Y decline from the 47.54m sold the previous year.

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