Apple Unveils iPhone 5
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook stated that the updates to the new iPhone are “the biggest things to happen to iPhone since iPhone,” referring to iPhone’s launch in 2007. The most notable updates include a slimmer, lighter device, a faster processor and compatibility with wireless carriers’ fastest 4G LTE networks.
Some observers noted that the new device relies heavily on Apple’s current suite of services and software, noting the lack of “never-before-seen” features.
In the wake of its significant win in its patent battle with Samsung, Apple looks to compete with Samsung’s latest devices. Some analysts expect Apple’s array of new products that are to be released this fall to have a significant impact on the U.S. economy as a whole, increasing the U.S. GDP by an estimated .25 to .5 of a percentage point.
Microsoft takes down Supply Chain Botnet
Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit took down a supply chain botnet—which is a collection of internet-connected computers whose security defenses have been breached and control ceded to a malicious party—called Nitol that has been taking advantage of computer companies that were willing to buy software from unsecured sources. Basically, cybercriminals infiltrated the supply chains to introduce counterfeit software embedded with malware with the intent to secretly infect people’s computers.
According to Microsoft’s attorney Richard Boscovich, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted Microsoft permission to disrupt more than 500 different strains of malware. The counterfeit software had the ability to steal personal information by monitoring keystrokes and use the botnet to carry out distributed denial of service attacks on targeted networks.
For an in-depth description of Microsoft’s takedown, check out Boscovich’s entire blog post here. If you’re concerned about the health of your PC, check out Microsoft’s free malware detection website.
Venture Capital Financing
Venture Capital Firms Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Take Interest in Quirky
Two of the largest venture capital firms are now backing Quirky, a company that uses social media to develop products that are sold via major retail stores such as Bed, Bath & Beyond, Target, and Amazon. The investment brings Quirky’s total funds raised to $97 million.
Quirky currently has more than 260,000 members, each of which help Quirky generate new ideas, refine old ideas, and name and price products. In exchange for a member’s participation with a new product, that participant will be paid a percentage of sales according to their level of influence. For example, if you create a tagline for a new product, you may receive upwards of $50,000. Ben Kaufman, Quirky’s chief executive, said Quirky will pay out upwards of $2 million in royalties this year, about 1/3 of its 2011 revenue of $6.7 million.
EADS and BAE Systems Announce Possible Dual-listed Merger
Before a deal can be reached between these two companies that specialize in security, aerospace, and defense manufacture and technology, there are a number of national issues that will need to be sorted out. As is the case with any cross-border merger (especially one involving two companies of this nature), there are multiple governments will be involved and many complex agreements that must be negotiated before the deal can move forward. The companies announced that both companies would survive the merger, noting the intent to pursue a dual-listed company structure, which has traditionally been used in place of a full merger when there are complex tax issues related to company dividends. Since the two companies here are based in two different countries, each will want their local shareholders to continue to receive “home” tax treatment of their dividends. Under the dual-listed structure, both companies would operate as one group but would be separately list on their existing exchanges.
Another reason to use this dual-listed structure is to avoid flow-back, i.e. target shareholders sell shares that are issued by the acquiring company from another country which leads the shares to return to that country. Typically the shareholders are forced to sell because they are mutual funds that cannot hold foreign shares or they simply prefer local investments. Under the dual-listed approach, companies can allow shareholders to retain a local investment option.
Under the British takeover rules, EADS and BAE Systems are required to announce a transaction by October 10 or obtain an extension from Britain’s Takeover Panel. Given the complexities involved in a dual-listed merger, as well as the sensitive nature of the companies involved, analysts expect an extension will be necessary.