A lawyer representing sapphire maker GT Advanced Technologies on Monday said the company has agreed to a new set of terms in its settlement with Apple, with the redrafted arrangement assuaging concerns from jilted creditors seeking to derail proceedings by threatening legal action against Apple.
A New Hampshire bankruptcy court judge signed off on an amended settlement from GT Advanced and Apple meant to stave off creditors that wanted to turn GT's bankruptcy into a litigious free-for-all, reports The Wall Street Journal.
As noted in various court filings, both creditors and Apple are walking away from potential lawsuits stemming from GT's surprise Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing from October. GT, Apple and creditors all claim being the victim.
Creditors, which helped finance part of GT's $900 million sapphire gamble, argued Apple could face numerous suits in relation to its actions when in partnership with GT, which failed to provide quality sapphire on a timeline stipulated by a stringent contract. Apple said it was cast in a poor light after privileged documents came to light as part of GT's bankruptcy proceedings, while GT itself previously called Apple's demands "oppressive and burdensome."
As for the new deal, GT Advanced still plans to sell off some 2,000 sapphire furnaces installed at Apple's Mesa, Ariz. facility in a bid to exit bankruptcy protection, but will take more cash per transaction. Along with a higher take of asset sales, GT will also get rights to store outgoing furnaces at Mesa for an additional three months, rent free.
According to in-court reports from Reuters, GT Advanced lawyer Luc Despins said he anticipated furnaces would sell for at least $500,000 each, with Apple getting a $169,000 cut for the first 500 sold. Under the firms' previous agreement, Apple was expecting $200,000 for each of first 500 furnaces sold.
Apple inked a $578 million deal with GT in 2013, hoping to secure a steady supply of sapphire material for use in future products. A solid manufacturer of furnaces and other equipment related to sapphire production, GT had no experience in operating its own machinery, court filings have shown. Instead of outsourcing the job, GT chose to hire its own workforce to run Mesa, though it appears the firm bit off more than it could chew as errors in management, poor yields and other issues quickly led to ballooning production costs.
In September, GT informed Apple of its financial problems and asked for further assistance. Apple offered to pay $100 million of a prescheduled $139 million payment, as well as delay repayment due dates, even though GT had not met contractual production goals. At that point in the relationship, Apple had already paid out over $439 million to GT, not including an additional $700 million spent on infrastructure.
Apple was one of more than 50 private companies and trade associations to sign amicus briefs in support of Microsoft on Monday as the Redmond, Wash., company continues an ongoing court battle with the U.S. government over customer data privacy protections.
Microsoft announced 28 technology and media companies, 23 trade and advocacy groups and 35 computer scientists signed ten briefs in support of its fight to keep customer emails stored on international servers protected from U.S. government agency warrants.
Alongside Apple, prominent tech companies on the list of signatories (PDF link)include Amazon, AT&T, Cisco, eBay, HP, Rackspace and Verizon, along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Microsoft is arguing against a U.S. government request to release emails currently stored on servers outside the country. According to court filings, Microsoft was issued a search warrant relating to a drug investigation last year, compelling the company hand over customer data from an Outlook email account located in Ireland.
Instead of complying, Microsoft appealed to keep the data private as it resides only on a server in Dublin. As such, U.S. government agencies do not have jurisdiction and should be required to go through international channels, the company argues.
At issue is the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), which allows federal and local law enforcement agencies to demand digital records, such as email correspondence, with appropriately served warrants. Microsoft argues Congress did not include stipulations in ECPA that would allow seizures outside the U.S.
If ECPA is interpreted to allow for extraterritorial jurisdiction, it may hurt cloud-based businesses located within the U.S., as international customers would be unwilling to sign up for such services. Further, such a distinction could lead to identical requests from foreign agencies for data owned by U.S. citizens. A lower court previously ruled against Microsoft, rejecting the warrant as illegal. The company has since taken the argument to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Digital privacy has become a hot topic in tech as Apple and other industry giants look to increase transparency over government data requests. Most recently, Apple has been in the crosshairs of law enforcement agencies for implementing aggressive customer security in iOS 8 that makes it impossible to extract data from locked iPhones and iPads.
A reported Bose job listing for a "cloud music services" UX designer suggests the company is working on a next-generation streaming platform to rival Beats Music, iTunes Radio and other services in what is becoming an increasingly crowded field.
According to a posting on job marketing website ZipRecruiter, spotted by HypeBeast, Bose is looking to hire a senior user experience designer to join its Algorithms & Cloud Experiences team create a new "music streaming platform."
We are seeking an expert Experience Designer to lead design and prototyping of our next generation streaming music platform and ecosystem of products. We will move quickly and have an immediate and lasting impact on Bose's streaming music products.
A section regarding previous experience reveals Bose is looking for candidates who worked for major streaming services like Pandora, Songza and Rhapsody. Of note, Apple and Beats Music are also called out by name.
If Bose is indeed planning to launch a streaming music service in competition with Apple's existing services, it will be the latest volley in what has become an aggressive rivalry between the audio stalwart and upstart Beats.
In July, shortly after Apple announced its $3 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics and Beats Music, Bose sued the headphone maker's hardware arm for infringing five noise-cancelling technology patents. Following an out of court settlement in in October, Apple quietly removed all Bose products from the Apple Store only to bring them back two months later in time for holiday shopping.
Recent reports claim Apple is looking to rebrand or repackage Beats Music into an integrated iTunes solution next year. The change is reportedly in response to shifting market winds responsible for a 13 percent drop in iTunes music sales as of October.
"Extreme" swings in the value of the Russian Ruble have caused Apple to temporarily shutter its online store in the Eurasian nation, after a midnight interest rate hike sent the currency plunging nearly 20 percent.
"Our online store in Russia is currently unavailable while we review pricing," Apple public relations representative Alan Hely told Bloomberg. This is Apple's second currency-related move in as many months as the Ruble continues its free fall; the company raised the price of the iPhone 6 in Russia by 25 percent in November.
In the past week, the Ruble has closed as high as 77 and as low as 54 per U.S. dollar after opening 2014 at 32 per dollar. It experienced a dramatic 19 percent decline on Tuesday, after the central bank raised interest rates by 6.5 percentage points in the middle of the night.
"I am speechless," one emerging markets analyst told the publication when asked about the Ruble's slide, going on to call it "a failure for the central bank."
Apple CFO Luca Maestri addressed foreign exchange issues during the company's Q4 2014 earnings call in October, reassuring investors that Apple has anticipated problems with foreign currency fluctuation.
"It's a fact of life if the U.S. dollar strengthens, that creates a headwind for us both in revenue and margins for our business outside of the United States," Maestri said. "We have a comprehensive hedging program in place that mitigates the impact of foreign exchange. Over time, of course, these hedges roll off and get replaced by new hedges at new spot levels, and so the protection that you get from a hedging program is temporary."
Apple's online store in Russia opened in June of last year. It is the only direct sales path for Russian consumers, as there are no brick-and-mortar Apple stores in the country.
Apple's Sainte-Catherine store in Montreal.
Just days after Canada's Competition Bureau announced that it would look into the details of Apple's contracts with wireless carriers, a newly-uncovered court filing has shed light on the regulator's allegations of anti-competitive practices.
The agency believes that Apple's terms may have ultimately forced Canadian consumers to pay more for mobile devices and wireless services than they otherwise would have, according to Reuters. The investigation was pubicly revealed late last week, though Apple was informed of the probe in April.
Both Apple and its carrier partners in Canada have been asked to turn over documents dating back to the Canadian introduction of the original iPhone in July 2008. Apple has reportedly delivered "some" documents, while carriers have provided more than 2,500 such records.
Specifically, the Canadian government's competition watchdog is attempting to determine whether or not Apple discourages its carrier partners from offering discounts or incentives to consumers for the purchase of competitive handsets, or in some cases preventing the carriers from offering competitive handsets outright.
Additionally, the government believes Apple may have encouraged carriers to offer preferential service plan pricing to iPhone customers.
"The contractual obligations (with the carriers) may therefore increase the price Canadian consumers have paid, are paying or will pay for handset devices and wireless services," the filing reads.
3 members and 78 guests
Most users ever online was 2,366, 05-18-2012 at 07:06 PM.
Top Poster: sparkyscott21
Welcome to our newest member, Ed209
» Site Navigation
» Today's Birthdays
» Hot Topics
» Featured Past News
» Top Posters