Samsung and Microsoft Settle Contract Dispute

In a statement made by the software giant on Monday, Microsoft Corp announced that a contract dispute of the company with Samsung Electronics regarding patent royalties had been settled. However, the terms of the settlement were declared as confidential and not mentioned to the public. Last year, the South Korean smartphone giant had been sued by Microsoft in a federal court in New York. The company had been accused of breaching a collaboration agreement by its refusal of making royalty payments initially after the US firm had announced its intention of acquiring the handset business of Nokia in September of 2013. According to the lawsuit, the South Korean technology giant had delayed the payment of royalties amounting to $1 billion so it owed Microsoft interest of about $ million. In response, Samsung had said that the collaboration deal with Microsoft made in 2011 was violated by the firm’s acquisition of Nokia. In 2011, it had been estimated by a technology analyst that $5 was being earned by Microsoft for every handset that was sold by Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC because of a patent agreement. The company hadn’t made any other patent deals with other smartphone makers and the analyst said that it was interested in getting as much as $ per handset. While these figures have never been confirmed by Microsoft, the company hasn’t declared them to be out of line either. If the $5 price tag is applied to the devices sold by Samsung, the Korean company would be paying Microsoft about $ billion every year, considering the shipment numbers published by IDC, which show that Samsung sold about 318 million smartphones in 2014 alone. Samsung said that in 2011, the company had come to an agreement with Microsoft when they had agreed to pay royalties in exchange for a patent license that covered devices based on the Android operating system of Google Inc. The court filings also show that the South Korean firm had also agreed to share confidential business information with Microsoft and even develop Windows Phones, as part of the deal. However, Microsoft became a direct competitor of the company in the hardware market after its acquisition of Nokia. Thus, the filings said that Samsung had refused to share some confidential information with Microsoft after the acquisition because of antitrust concerns. The Nokia acquisition had been approved by antitrust regulators in the United States as well as other countries. Regardless, the companies have finally come to a settlement as per the statement made on Monday. This also puts an end to the request made to the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce’s offices in Hong Kong, by Samsung for arbitration. This is a relief for the South Korean company as it has enough worries on its plate and doesn’t need to add more. The company is losing market share to Apple Inc. in terms of high-end smartphones in different parts of the world, including China, which doesn’t bode well for its future.
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Apple’s Quarterly Profits Rise with Staggering iPhone Demand

Even the most bullish Wall Street expectations hadn’t gone as far as Apple’s actual holiday quarter earnings did and all because of a dubious trifecta. The company had chosen to sell more and more iPhones at an increased price, which enabled it to earn more on each sale. According to the details provided by the Cupertino, California giant, it sold about 46% more phones in the quarter as compared to last year, which is about million devices. Furthermore, as opposed to the year earlier, the firm had also raised the average selling price of the devices by $50. The total shows that the company actually sold 34,000 phones every hour. Tim Cook, the Chief Executive Officer of the American technology giant said that the demand for the phones was simply staggering and comprehending the volume was quite difficult. Even though the iPhone maker has seen nearly a tenfold increase in its revenue in the last decade, the results were still extraordinary. As a matter of fact, the results were a reminder of the heyday in Steve Job’s era when it was routine for the iPhone demand to be on top of forecasts. In some ways, the results can even be considered better than that time because nowadays the company has to deal with a lot more competitors and the growth of smartphones has slowed considerably. The two new phones the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus with larger displays were immediately snapped up by consumers when they were launched in September. It took years for Apple to regain its position in the market after it had ceded so much market share to its rivals. For weeks, after launching the new devices, the iPhone maker had encountered supply shortages in important strongholds such as the US and also in emerging markets such as China. The company had predicted that existed customers would be prompted to upgrade their devices to the new ones that were being launched. Mr. Cook also mentioned in its interview that they are trying to lure customers of devices based on the Android operating system of Google Inc. He said that they had managed to attract a large number of users from the Android OS and they were extremely happy with that fact. For the fiscal quarter that ended on 27th, December 2014, the company’s earnings totaled $18 billion. This is a 38% increase as opposed to last year in the same period when its earnings had been $ billion. There was also a sharp rise in the earnings per share, which were $ before and had reached $, making it a 48% increase. This was primarily because of the share buyback program of the company. The revenue also saw an increase of 30% as it went from $ billion to $ billion. This was way above the expectations of the analysts who had predicted revenues of $ billion and a share price of $ The question is whether the momentum can be retained by the company with its next iteration.
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Apple Ties with Samsung in China

Apple Inc. finally managed to achieve its ultimate goal; capturing the top spot in the largest smartphone market of the world China. Since 2011, for the very first time, the company reached the top, which vaulted it into a tie for worldwide domination. The larger-screen iPhones, which the company launched in September of 2014, enabled it to gain ground on South Korean manufacturer, Samsung Electronics. In the fourth quarter, the number of smartphones shipped globally by both manufacturers was million, giving both companies a market share of The third position was taken up by Lenovo Grp. Ltd that had acquired Motorola Mobility and its share amounted to of the market. The area of the larger screens has been pioneered by Samsung so it was a huge blow to the company when the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus were launched in markets where a bigger device is desired by consumers for performing the role of both tablet computer and phone. In the world’s largest market, which is China, the company surged into first place after overtaking Xiaomi Corp, the local vendor, which fell into sixth place in the world smartphone market. According to analysts, the golden age of Xiaomi is reaching its end because Apple and Lenovo-Motorola have upped their game all over the world including China. In the quarter, there was a 31% increase in the global smartphone shipments, which reached million units whereas a record billion smartphones were shipped in the whole of 2014. According to statistics, it was in the fourth quarter of 2011 that Apple had been the biggest vendor of smartphones globally and it has regained the same position now. A 38% surge was announced in the net income of the Cupertino, California based firm in the quarter for December 2014 while there was a 27% decline in the earnings of Samsung Electronics that makes devices based on the Android operating system. The maker of Galaxy devices also reported a 10% decline in its global market share as more and more buyers were captured by Huawei Technologies and Lenovo. During the December quarter, Shenzhen, China’s Huawei came fourth in the global market and was followed by LG Electronics on fifth position whereas Xiaomi held the sixth one. Last year, there was a 7% increase in mobile shipments, even those with limited internet access as a total of billion units were shipped. For a share, about 405 million units were shipped by Samsung Electronics, with an 11% share was Microsoft Corp’s Nokia and a share was taken up by Apple Inc. The new iPhones turned out to be immensely useful for Apple in China as the iPhone maker was able to double its smartphone share from 9% to 17% and this allowed the company to move ahead of Xiaomi that only had 13% share. Lenovo and Huawei claimed the third and fourth position while Samsung was left with fifth with 9% market share in the Chinese market.
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Google Invests $1 Billion into SpaceX

Google has made its ambitions public knowledge from the beginning. Now, the company is reaching the sky. Along with Fidelity, the search engine giant just made an investment in SpaceX or Space Exploration Technologies. Founded by Elon Musk, this is a private rocketry company. This move could actually benefit Google in achieving its aim of taking satellite internet to the most remote places of the world and provide SpaceX with enough money that its founder can achieve his dream of reaching Mars. Google may not just be looking for a payoff from this investment, but may also be interested in getting into orbit. Last year, the American firm spent $500 million for purchasing Skybox Imaging that manufactures imaging satellites of high quality and small size. Satellite imagery is already offered by Google in Google Earth, but the company has to purchase these images from several sources. The company’s executives have often said that the quality of these images is uneven in most cases. Apart from that, the company may also be thinking of developing satellites with other sensors such as infrared detectors that can indicate the condition of crops or even lasers that can penetrate the canopies of the forest for providing information about the terrain underneath. Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the founders of the company, are both passionate about space exploration. Early in the history of the firm, employees have been given lectures about developing space elevators that would be able to launch objects off the Earth theoretically at a much lower cost as opposed to rockets. On the more practical level, the company has been trying to revolutionize the business of internet connectivity through high-altitude balloons that could provide connections to people in remote corners of the globe. It is also possible to use the same transmission technology on satellites as well. The search engine giant is also competing with Facebook, which is also interested in promoting connectivity because of which it bought a drone company last year. The products of this firm have the capability of carrying internet devices. Due to their investment, Fidelity and Google will now own about 10% of SpaceX collectively. The vice president for corporate development at Google, Don Harrison, who will also join the board at SpaceX said that it becomes easier for people to gain access to information with imaging satellites and other space-based applications. Nonetheless, Google isn’t the first company to hop onto this bandwagon. Along with Qualcomm, Virgin Group had announced their investment in 648 satellites for internet connectivity last week. A manufacturer of satellites that are the size of a shoebox called Planet Labs that offers Earth imagery also revealed on Tuesday that it had been given $95 million for financing. SpaceX had had trouble in the beginning, but was finally able to stabilize in 2008. The biggest slice of the company is owned by NASA and it has several contracts ongoing with it. Recently, the company has also gotten popular because of its near breakthroughs, but it is yet to be seen if it will be successful in the future.
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What are Pressure Tanks’ Main Function?

An air pressure tank is a plumbing device that uses compressed air to push water from a water source upward. In homes that have two or more stories, pressure tanks are needed to push water from a ground water source to the plumbing fixtures above. Air pressure tanks are also used in the manufacturing industries, as they allow a constant and steady source of liquid being dispensed into the manufacturing line--which is vital for profuct efficiency and accuracy. In most suburban homes, pressure tanks are generally known to help pumps function better by allowing them to run when they need to be on, and keeping the pressure consistent to avoid water hammer instances. Pressure tanks also ensure the constant flow of water, so that when you are in a floor above, you can enjoy a stream of water from the tap, not short bursts with irregular pressure. Steel is commonly used to construct a pressure tank. Parts would have to be wielded together to shape the pressure tank. There are also standards for vessels that are used in either low or high temperatures or in special cases. Pressure tanks have build in safety features to prevent unnecessary leakage from happening. Safety valves are installed to ensure that the pressure inside the pressure tank does not except in operation. There are also leak before burst features. This feature guarantees that a crack in the vessel will grow through the wall, allowing the pressure to be reduced at a manageable speed. Most pressure tank types are used with private wells. The tanks operate at a pressure of 20 pounds per square inch and hold extra water in their system to ensure this consistent flow. There are various sizes of pressure tanks. The larger ones may be more expensive, but they can hold more water so the pump switch will be turned on less, extending it’s life. When everything is said and done, pressure tanks are definitely one of those specialized machines that help make our lives easier but we often don’t know much about it and forget to ask the right questions so that we can make sure we can handle troubleshooting it if the need arises. There is a lot of information online about pressure tanks which will be useful for any newbie. Online forums also have experts who can explain to you in layman terms what you should remember and what you shouldn’t do so that you are kept safe even with the pressure tank in your home or business.
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Glass Setback Isn’t Stopping Google

A lot of dreams can be bought with the mountain of cash that Google has. The company is often seen as a playground for computer scientists as it pursues projects such as a global network of balloons for internet connectivity and driverless cars. The firm isn’t seen as being touched by the normal commercial realities, even though people within the company tend to dismiss such assumptions. Head of the self-driving cars division, Chris Urmson has said that they aren’t a chocolate factory of Willy Wonka. He said that they focus on problems that aren’t being resolved and make products for doing so. One of the most conspicuous setbacks have been suffered by one such ambitious project; last week, the smart glasses initiative called Google Glass was sent back to the drawing board. Just like the driverless cars, Google Glass is also a product of the experimental lab called Google X. The company has suspended sales of the test version of the glasses and has also halted plans of bringing out a revised version as new management within the company was handed the project. This is unfortunate timing for the search engine giant with Wall Street buzzing about the impact of the company’s increasing spending on its profit margins. Last year, in the first nine months, Google’s research and development costs saw a 35% increase and operating costs increased by 30% whereas revenue only saw a 20% rise. Even though Google has made efforts to portray the changes at Glass as the next logical stage for a product that will be shifted into full commercial existence, they weren’t enough to disguise the scale of this setback. Critics had already had a look at Glass and accused the company, as always, for undermining the personal privacy of people for its own gain. Last month, the chairman Eric Schmidt had said that a new version of Glass would soon go on sale, but this decision has been reversed. In recent days, the company made the decision of Google Glass under the control of former Apple executive, Tony Fardell, who also runs the smart-home division of Google Nest. The first move made by the executive was to take the controversial product back to the drawing board with no plans of bringing it to the public without putting some thought into it. While analysts have said that wearables are the next big thing and setbacks shouldn’t be seen as a reason to stop, there have been questions regarding the company’s management and investment discipline. Google X was established to come up with ideas about ambitious products that seemed technologically impossible and then challenging engineers to achieve them. But, Wall Street wants the company to give more financial disclosure about its big leaps. Chief executive and co-founder, Larry Page has argued that this would allow competitors to get a whiff of what’s cooking. However, investors are fearful of a lack of discipline if they don’t get an insight about the firm’s activities and plans of the future.
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Pet Safety in Winter

Flakes are falling and temperatures continue to drop. Winter is a time of adventure and bonding with your pets, whether you take them out for a romp in the snowy woods or snuggle with them in front of a fire. Owners need to take only a few extra precautions for keeping the four-legged members healthy, safe and happy until spring comes around. Some precautions are highlighted below: Bring them in Just because your pet has fur coats doesn’t mean that they will stay cozy and warm in the snow. If it’s too cold for the owner then it means it is also cold for the pet. The problem is that even though inside is best to stave away the cold, it has some inherent hazards. It is essential to monitor your pet around fire and other heating sources because there is a risk of them getting burned if they sleep too close to eat or play near it. There is also a risk of electrocution and fire because the animals may chew electrical cords or space heaters may be knocked down. Take them out Even in the winter months, exercise is very important for your pets. Booties and coats for pets aren’t just a way of making a fashion statement. If there is a frostbite warning, it may affect the pets too so precautions should be taken. Frostbite begins with areas of the body that aren’t covered by the fur such as ears and paws. Pets should also be protected from exposure to chemicals and salt that are used in melting ice and snow. Keep them close Update the tags of your pets with the latest contact information before the snowflakes begin to fall. When there is snow on the ground, don’t let your pets roam outside a fenced yard and off leash. Snow changes the scenery, which means that scent markers may vanish under snow. This could make pets disoriented and they may not be able to find their way back home. Therefore, it is best to keep your beloved animals close in the wintery weather. Protect seniors Special care is needed by senior pets in the winter season. This is because older animals are more vulnerable to frostbite and hypothermia so they need to be monitored closely. Drops of temperature may also cause them to show symptoms of arthritis. If your companion has problems moving about and remains stiff, then owners can seek the assistance of veterinarian about the supplements and medications that can be given. Provide the pets with lots of warm and soft places to rest. Meet the needs outdoors Even when temperatures fall, some animals just don’t want to come in. Cats often seek warmth by climbing into vehicle engines so the hood should be banged before you start the car. If your pet doesn’t want to come inside, provide them with food and shelter outside such as insulated or heated houses and heated bowls so the water doesn’t freeze. Take these steps and your four-legged companion will stay safe and healthy during the winters.
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Europe is Wrong to Target Google

 Taking a pop at the largest search engine of the world seems to be the hobby of the entire continent and it seems that even the European Parliament finds it difficult to resist. In a mostly symbolic and recent vote, it was urged by representatives that Google search should be separated from the other services offered by the company, which essentially means that the company should simply be broken up. While the detractors of the firm would definitely benefit from this move, the European citizens may not be so lucky. Similar to the social networking sector, which is dominated by Facebook, search also seems to be a natural monopoly. The results offered by Google becomes more relevant as it discovers more about who is requesting the query, why and where. Hence, it is natural that a company would do better if it has organized 90% of the world’s information as opposed to one that holds about one-tenth of that information. However, search is just one part of the sprawling and huge portfolio maintained by Google. Other information businesses include self-driving cars and smart thermostats. Both of these businesses are dependent on the company’s endless reservoirs of data, algorithms and the sensors that are embedded in hardware. The dilemma is still not understood by the policy makers. Separating Google search from the other services offered by the company would mean that they would become irrelevant and inaccurate. The problem is that allowing the search engine giant to operate in the way it does will give it power to invade other domains as well, something they want to avoid. A similar dilemma is presented by Facebook too. The identity gateway of this social network is extremely useful when people wish to build a service around their online personality such as sharing music or tools. Thus, Facebook has become the custodian of people’s consumption profiles and reputations as it maps their social connections and interests. Other businesses gain access to a business’s digital identity and Facebook learns more when people connect with the businesses. The question is that if the data of individuals is the key to solving problems related to health or the environment, who should accumulate it and whether it should be traded as a commodity. What people need is a data system that’s secure and decentralized so only authorized people should be able to gain access to information and it should be pooled into a common resource for every aspiring business. This means that Europe doesn’t need to target Google only. The only way to level the playing field for all companies is to consider some types of data as part of a common infrastructure, which is open to everyone. Basic search services don’t need to be provided by Google, but advanced search services can be for a fee. In this way, Google could be prevented from hoarding the data for the purpose of advertising. America, on the other hand, will not give up on this model as its surveillance state needs the data Europe is Wrong to Target Google Taking a pop at the largest search engine of the world seems to be the hobby of the entire continent and it seems that even the European Parliament finds it difficult to resist. In a mostly symbolic and recent vote, it was urged by representatives that Google search should be separated from the other services offered by the company, which essentially means that the company should simply be broken up. While the detractors of the firm would definitely benefit from this move, the European citizens may not be so lucky. Similar to the social networking sector, which is dominated by Facebook, search also seems to be a natural monopoly. The results offered by Google becomes more relevant as it discovers more about who is requesting the query, why and where. Hence, it is natural that a company would do better if it has organized 90% of the world’s information as opposed to one that holds about one-tenth of that information. However, search is just one part of the sprawling and huge portfolio maintained by Google. Other information businesses include self-driving cars and smart thermostats. Both of these businesses are dependent on the company’s endless reservoirs of data, algorithms and the sensors that are embedded in hardware. The dilemma is still not understood by the policy makers. Separating Google search from the other services offered by the company would mean that they would become irrelevant and inaccurate. The problem is that allowing the search engine giant to operate in the way it does will give it power to invade other domains as well, something they want to avoid. A similar dilemma is presented by Facebook too. The identity gateway of this social network is extremely useful when people wish to build a service around their online personality such as sharing music or tools. Thus, Facebook has become the custodian of people’s consumption profiles and reputations as it maps their social connections and interests. Other businesses gain access to a business’s digital identity and Facebook learns more when people connect with the businesses. The question is that if the data of individuals is the key to solving problems related to health or the environment, who should accumulate it and whether it should be traded as a commodity. What people need is a data system that’s secure and decentralized so only authorized people should be able to gain access to information and it should be pooled into a common resource for every aspiring business. This means that Europe doesn’t need to target Google only. The only way to level the playing field for all companies is to consider some types of data as part of a common infrastructure, which is open to everyone. Basic search services don’t need to be provided by Google, but advanced search services can be for a fee. In this way, Google could be prevented from hoarding the data for the purpose of advertising. America, on the other hand, will not give up on this model as its surveillance state needs the data
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Natural Things to Get Rid of Cold

  While there are a lot of medicines available for minimizing the symptoms of a cold, a lot of people don’t want to use them. They prefer to use natural remedies, which are safer and a lot more effective. Some of the natural treatments that can be used for treating a cold are highlighted here: • Honey One of the oldest yet most convenient natural remedy available for the cold is honey. This doesn’t just contain antiviral and antibacterial agents, but also comprise of antioxidants, which can give the immune system a boost. Take 2 tablespoons of honey and blend it with boiled water. This remedy can be immensely useful for dealing with several bacterial infections and can also soothe uncomfortable symptoms of the cold such as excessive coughing. • Water You can also get rid of the symptoms of the common cold when you make some changes to your lifestyle. This involves drinking plenty of water on a daily basis eight glasses in order to stay hydrated. Mucus can be loosened up through water and this can considerably reduce the discomfort that comes with congestion. In fact, it is not just water; other fluids can also work wonders when you have a cold. Your body becomes dehydrated when you have fever so people can drink water and orange juice for hydrating your body. • Echinaecea An herb that’s commonly used for managing and preventing the cold is Echinaecea. The herb doesn’t just help deal with colds, but can also be used for dealing with influenza and infections. It can be taken in the form of liquid extract or tea if people want to get rid of the cold painlessly and quickly. • Garlic An easy and well-known remedy for the treatment of cold is garlic. The best part about this remedy is that it is almost always present in the house. When garlic is cut up, it emits a compound called allicin, which has antibacterial properties that can prevent and battle the common cold. The immune system can also be strengthened by this compound. Cut raw garlic and eat two to three cloves on a daily basis. Even though the smell of garlic is a little tough, it can get rid of the cold symptoms in a natural and quick way. • Vitamin C If you want to get rid of the cold even before it gets off, Vitamin C is your solution. People should take Vitamin C supplements in the morning and in the evening when they notice the uncomfortable signs of the cold such as plugged ears and sore throat beginning to occur. • Showering Hot and steamy showers can be extremely great for dealing with the cold. Nasal passages are hydrated with the steam and this can reduce and calm congestion.  
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North Korea Furious at US Sanctions over Sony Pictures Hack

The United States has been furiously denounced by North Korea for imposing sanctions in return for the alleged cyber-attack by the Pyongyang regime on Sony Pictures. It was reiterated by the foreign ministry of North Korea that it didn’t have anything to do with the breach that occurs in tens of thousands of Sony’s business files and emails. Furthermore, the ministry also accused the US for trying to direct hostility towards Pyongyang ‘groundlessly’. They said that the country had about million strong military that wouldn’t be weakened by the new sanctions. The unnamed spokesman was quoted as saying that the US government was trying to stir up bad blood towards North Korea and the country will do everything to defend itself. 10 government officials of North Korea were sanctioned by the US on Friday along with three organizations, which also include the primary intelligence agency of Pyongyang and the arms dealer that’s run by the state. This was defined as the opening move by the White House as a response to the cyber-attack carried out at Sony. This is the first time that sanctions have been imposed by the US on another country in order to retaliate for hacking into an American firm. The president, Barack Obama, also said that the country was considering whether it should put up authoritarian rule back on the list of terrorism state sponsors. North Korea also expressed its fury over the Sony comedy movie, The Interview, which portrays a fictional CIA plot for killing Kim Jong-un. It was referred to as an ‘act of terror’ and said that even though they hadn’t carried out the hack attack on Sony, but it was a ‘righteous deed’. The cyber community has been plagued with doubts regarding the involvement of North Korea in the hacking of Sony Pictures. It has been asserted by a number of experts have questioned as to how conclusive fingers can be pointed by the FBI because the culprits could be hackers or even people inside Sony itself. A joint investigation has been demanded by Pyongyang regarding the attack and said that the guilty conscience of the US is proved through its rejection of the proposal. It said that the US was simply seeking another pretext for isolating North Korea. There may be limited impact of the sanctions as the country is already under tough international and US sanctions regarding its missile and nuclear programs. Sony’s computer were exposed to the cyber-attack in November, which resulted in the distribution of information on the internet concerning its unreleased films and employees along with some embarrassing and confidential in-house emails. Threats were also mounted by the hackers against Sony over the company’s planned release of The Interview on Christmas. Initially, the firm had decided to call off the release, but the decision had been criticized by Obama so it had gone ahead with the distribution to limited cinemas and published it on the internet. After the attack on Sony, North Korea suffered from several internet blackouts in December.
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