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Comment: Re:just what we all love (Score 1) 238

by jonbryce (#49764513) Attached to: Amazon Decides To Start Paying Tax In the UK

The VAT MOSS rules came in on 1st January this year, and since then, Amazon has had to charge UK VAT on sales of electronic goods (ebooks, mp3s, apps, videos, etc). They have always had to charge UK VAT on sales of physical goods.

The change here is that since 1st April, they are now paying UK Corporation Tax on their UK profits rather than Luxembourg corporate tax.

Comment: Re:EA (Score 2) 83

by schnell (#49756521) Attached to: How Cities: Skylines Beat SimCity At Its Own Game

Is there actually a way for US businesses to prevent themselves from hostile takeover? Like, can they be "private limited companies" and just refuse to merge?

Oh yes indeed - it all depends on what type of company it is. I am oversimplifying here, but there are (at least in the US four (and a half) types of companies based on ownership structure:

  • Sole proprietorship : There is a dude named Bob Smith (BS) who owns Bob Smith Plumbing (BSP). BS and BSP are separate entities for tax purposes, but BS can do whatever the f**k he wants to with BSP - sell it, keep it, use its finances to expense hookers. The downside to Bob is that if BSP goes bankrupt, there is no barrier for creditors not to go after Bob personally.
  • Partnership or Limited Liability Partnership: There is a group of people who own Bob Smith Plumbing, which may include Bob Smith, a rich uncle who gave him the money to finance his startup costs, whatever. The partners who own shares in it control 100% of what the company does, and nobody can force them to do anything they don't want to. But if things go tits-up the partners who aren't involved in day-to-day operation of the business (e.g. Bob's uncle) may be shielded from some bankruptcy or lawsuit claims while those who ran the business daily (e.g. Bob) are not.
  • Corporation (private) : Here it gets interesting. Bob Smith Plumbing, Inc. is now legally separate from Bob or any of the owners - i.e., if BSP Inc. goes bankrupt, creditors can't come after Bob or the other owners. (In return for this legal separate personhood of the company, BSP Inc. must have independent board members, file quarterly reports and go through other legal oversight to prove that Bob isn't treating the corporation like a personal asset; if the books show that, creditors can "pierce the corporate veil" and hold Bob or the other shareholders personally liable.) Still, the owners are the owners and nobody can make them sell, not sell, or do anything else they don't want to. However, a large private corporation usually has a LOT of owners - founders, Venture Capitalists, etc. - and they all get to make big decisions based on the % of shares they own. If you get a buyout offer from $MEGACORP and the founders and employees (who own 49% of the shares) don't want to but the VCs (who own 51% of the shares) do, then you get bought out.
  • Corporation (public): Same as above, but you are no longer owned just by founders, employees, VCs, etc.; you have started selling your shares to anyone who wants to buy (ranging from jackasses like you or me with E*Trade accounts to hedge funds and institutional investors). Going public is a goal for most companies because it converts your shares of the company into actual, you know, money (think turning potential energy into kinetic energy). But going public means that (as above) not only does your company have to follow the will of the Board (as elected by shareholders based on their % of shares held) but you also are subject to lawsuits from those shareholders (or criminal prosecution by the FTC) if you run the company in a way (e.g. turn down a lucrative buyout offer) that is deliberately against the monetary interest of shareholders. On a side note, public corporations can create ways to avoid hostile takeovers like Poison Pill plans, too... but if more than 50% of shareholders don't like your way of running the company, you are out.

I say "four and a half" (despite there being other business entity forms) because the last "half" is a company that's in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Long story short, once you file, the previous owners of the company don't own s**t. The US government - in the form of a bankruptcy judge - now gets to decide what to do with the company, whether that means shutting it down, selling parts of it off at auction, or allowing the previous owners/managers to demonstrate that they have a plan to get the company back on its feet. Regardless, in bankruptcy nobody but the judge gets to decide what will happen to the company.

Comment: Re:Why content owners don't like Netflix (Score 1) 220

"They give absolutely no information about how many viewers watched the content."

Why would this matter? In TV-land, the networks care because the *advertisers* care about getting their ads in between popular shows, and one of the best benefits of Netflix is that there *aren't* any ads except perhaps existing product placement in-show. In Netflix, there seem to be lots of places that discuss which shows are most popular, so there should at least be some gauge as to whether the show is going to be worth carrying forward from wherever they're getting that information. Judging by how Netflix was willing to pay the US internet carriers their pound of flesh, I'd imagine that they have margins enough to still send good cash to the content owners.

Comment: Re:Alternatives (Score 1) 220

Streaming week-old shows might be a bit much to hope for, but in reality if we even had better options for purchasing episodes that would great. Rather than the current cableco setup, I'd envision somewhere where you add credit, and then can choose what you view from your available credits (e.g. to watch the latest Simpsons or Big Bang episode is $0.25). Overall cost might actually be much the same but it would pull in the outliers who are only prone to certain shows and not willing to blow $50-100 on cable packages to watch the 1-2 commercial-ladel episodes a week.

This would seem to be an avenue where micropayments might actually work out well for everyone. They could even throw in incentives like a coupon towards buying the season with discounts from the episodes you already paid to watch.

Comment: Alternatives (Score 5, Insightful) 220

It doesn't hurt that Canadian Netflix etc has been improving their content, and the cable monopolies recently had to change to a-la-carte packaging for their services as well. There's also seems to be a bit of a dearth of great movies, so maybe there's less to pirate.

Comment: Minimum "wage" version minimum "pay" (Score 1) 1082

by phorm (#49735637) Attached to: Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage To $15 an Hour

A big problem with MW jobs isn't just the shitty per-hour rate, but the shitty number of hours. $15/h is nice but not so helpful if you only get 10h/week.

I wonder if anywhere has address a "minimum weekly pay" or something of the like, which would put pressure on businesses to actually provide regular staff with useful hours rather than just bringing in a ton of people all at unlivable hours. The latter tends to put people in situations where they're working multiple jobs to get enough pay-hours for bills, but go through hell trying to get their hours to line up (because generally they're also not consistent) and have no time for any personal life.

+ - Jason Scott of textfiles.com Wants Your AOL & Shovelware CDs-> 1

Submitted by eldavojohn
eldavojohn writes: You've probably got a spindle in your close tor a drawer full of CD-ROM media mailed to you or delivered with some hardware that you put away "just in case" and now (ten years later) the case for actually using them is laughable. Well, a certain mentally ill individual named Jason Scott has a fever and the only cure is more AOL CDs. But his sickness doesn't stop there, "I also want all the CD-ROMs made by Walnut Creek CD-ROM. I want every shovelware disc that came out in the entire breadth of the CD-ROM era. I want every shareware floppy, while we’re talking. I want it all. The CD-ROM era is basically finite at this point. It’s over. The time when we’re going to use physical media as the primary transport for most data is done done done. Sure, there’s going to be distributions and use of CD-ROMs for some time to come, but the time when it all came that way and when it was in most cases the only method of distribution in the history books, now. And there were a specific amount of CD-ROMs made. There are directories and listings of many that were manufactured. I want to find those. I want to image them, and I want to put them up. I’m looking for stacks of CD-ROMs now. Stacks and stacks. AOL CDs and driver CDs and Shareware CDs and even hand-burned CDs of stuff you downloaded way back when. This is the time to strike." Who knows? His madness may end up being appreciated by younger generations!
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Compelling? (Score 3, Interesting) 243

by plover (#49728439) Attached to: Why Apple Ditched Its Plan To Build a Television

The TV market is bad, but the watch market is not great.

What they should be trying to crack is the in-car nav/infotainment systems - the iCarStereo. Current nav systems are somewhere between total-suckage and so-distracting-they-cause-accidents. Bluetooth pairing is painful when it even works, calling systems don't integrate with smartphone phonebooks, there is no way to share contact addresses, and the voice controls are no better than someone reading a "Car navigation is attempting to quit, cancel or allow?" dialog box. And the interfaces are so poor as to command the driver's full attention for seconds, looking for touch-screen items or clicking the right button, taking focus off the task of driving.

People would trade their old cars in for one equipped with an Apple iCarStereo if it solved those problems. A watch? It will take a lot of luck for it to be more than a fashion item that falls off the radar in a few years.

"You're a creature of the night, Michael. Wait'll Mom hears about this." -- from the movie "The Lost Boys"