business

Chicago adds ‘amusement tax’ to services like Netflix and Hulu

Chicago adds ‘amusement tax’ to services like Netflix and Hulu

Chicago is about to become a little less welcoming to cord cutters, with the city authorizing an 'amusement tax' on online streaming services like Netflix and Pandora. Under this, subscribers are going to be paying a 9-percent tax on their various cloud-based streaming entertainment services, as well as for the 'privilege' of playing games online. This is the expansion of the existing amusement tax which was previously applied to things like buying concert tickets, and it will apply to businesses as well.

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Skype for Business preview gets meeting broadcasts and more

Skype for Business preview gets meeting broadcasts and more

Microsoft has announced a new Skype for Business technical preview available for Office 365 enterprise users. The preview ushers in a trio of new features, two of which are limited to customers located in the United States. The new Skype Meeting Broadcast is perhaps the most notable change for enterprise users, allowing customers worldwide to broadcast a meeting taking place over Skype for Business to up to 10,000 users across multiple devices.

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Sony launches own crowdfunding platform “First Flight”

Sony launches own crowdfunding platform “First Flight”

Although Sony is still a big name in the industry, it no longer has the same force it had back in the days. It sold off its VAIO PC business to shed some unnecessary weight and it seems that its mobile devices might soon be on the way out as well. On the other hand, it also needs new businesses and products to keep it afloat, but a risk-averse culture and financial considerations keep it from jumping into more adventurous pursuits. The solution? A crowdfunding platform that encourages experimentation but, at the same time, shields it somewhat from failure.

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Pinterest rolling out Buyable Pins on iOS

Pinterest rolling out Buyable Pins on iOS

Early this month Pinterest officially launched a “Buy It” button on the site, its latest effort to monetize its service by serving as an e-commerce portal for the items found in its pins. The idea is that many visitors use Pinterest to find crafts and other DIY projects, and so these "Buyable Pins", as Pinterest calls them, makes it easy to get the items needed without having to leave the site for a different one.

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Supreme Court declines to Google’s appeal in Oracle copyright suit

Supreme Court declines to Google’s appeal in Oracle copyright suit

The United States Supreme court rejected an appeal from Google after it lost a copyright infringement case against Oracle. The case originally dates back to 2010. It was then that Oracle Corp., the software company behind Java, alleged that Google's Android OS infringed on copyrighted Java APIs (application programming interfaces). In 2012, a district court found the case in favor of Google, but, in May of last year, the judge's ruling was overturned when an appeals court ruled in favor of Oracle. As the U.S. Supreme Court has backed off, this could be the ruling that stands, holding that API's can be copyrighted.

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Microsoft strikes deal with AOL over its ad business

Microsoft strikes deal with AOL over its ad business

Microsoft is narrowing its focus, and as such has been pushing some of its extraneous efforts toward others. Earlier today word surfaced that Microsoft has struck a deal with Uber that will see workers and assets being transferred, and now it is being followed up with another announcement: AOL is getting the brunt of Microsoft’s advertising operations, as is advertising tech company AppNexus. The AOL deal in particular is said to involve a 10 year partnership, and under it AOL is going to be carrying search results from Bing instead of from Google.

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Uber nabs Microsoft workers and assets in deal

Uber nabs Microsoft workers and assets in deal

It’s no secret Uber has been moving to nab itself some mapping tech, and so its latest announcement isn’t too surprising: Uber will be acquiring some Bing assets from Microsoft, in particular 100 workers who will be tasked with improving Uber’s own mapping efforts. Early last month, Uber had placed a bid on Nokia's HERE mapping service, underscoring its efforts to improve its own mapping technology. Mapping is central to Uber's business model, being used for its various services from cars rides to food delivery. Update: Statement from Uber after the jump.

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Uber managers arrested in Paris amidst riots

Uber managers arrested in Paris amidst riots

Uber has not had a kind reception in all the cities where it operates, but France -- and Paris in particular -- has proven to be most unwelcoming. Recent protests became violent and led to orders for police to seize Uber cars violating the ban late last week. Now two of Uber's top managers have been arrested in Paris, and though an official confirmation of their identities has not been made, a local journalist has claimed that the arrest involved a GM and CEO.

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Facebook’s latest diversity report shows little change

Facebook’s latest diversity report shows little change

Facebook has introduced its latest diversity report, which details information on its own workforce. There has been little change over last year, unfortunately, showing mostly the same numbers we saw in summer 2014 -- something that doesn't fit well with the social network's diversity goals. Facebook reported its initial diversity numbers in 2014, as did many other big name businesses in the industry. Said the social network’s Global Director of Diversity Maxine Williams, “Having a diverse workforce is not only the right thing to do — it’s the smart thing to do for our business.”

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Apple Music free streaming period costs Apple

Apple Music free streaming period costs Apple

Musicians expect to be paid for their music being used even if the listeners aren't paying the company who is streaming it. Details on how much Apple is paying during the free trial period for Apple Music has surfaced and the iPhone maker is reportedly shelling out 2 cents per song streamed during the trial period. That doesn't seem like much money, but considering that some people stream music constantly for hours at a time, it can add up very quickly.

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