TIME Technology & Media

RadiumOne CEO Fired After Pleading Guilty to Domestic Violence Charges

Fox Searchlight 2009 Oscar Party - Inside
RadiumOne CEO Gurbaksh Chahal Todd Williamson—WireImage/Getty Images

The advertising platform fired its CEO, founder and chairman Gurbaksh Chahal Saturday night, two weeks after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery and domestic violence charges for assaulting his girlfriend. Bill Lonergan, the company’s COO, will replace Chahal

Advertising platform RadiumOne fired its CEO, founder and chairman Gurbaksh Chahal Saturday night, two weeks after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery and domestic violence charges for assaulting his girlfriend.

RadiumOne’s board voted to replace Chahal with Bill Lonergan, the company’s COO, according to a statement released Sunday.

Chahal faced 45 felony charges for allegedly hitting and kicking his girlfriend 117 times over a 30-minute period. However, the felony charges were dropped after a video that allegedly showed the incident was deemed inadmissible as evidence by the judge because it was illegally taken from his apartment.

Chahal paid a $500 fine and received three years of probation after pleading guilty to the misdemeanor charges.

The now-former CEO defended himself in a blog post Sunday, saying that he merely had a “normal argument” with his girlfriend after he discovered she was having “unprotected sex for money with other people.” Chahal denied injuring his girlfriend in the argument.

TIME Technology & Media

Barry Diller: Supreme Court’s Aereo Decision Could Have ‘Profound Effects’

IAC/InterActive Corp. Chairman Barry Diller Interview
Barry Diller, chairman and chief executive officer of IAC/InterActiveCorp., speaks during an interview in New York, April 1, 2014. Scott Eells—Bloomberg/Getty Images

As the Supreme Court considers a suit against Aereo, investor and media mogul Barry Diller said that a decision to shut down the Internet streaming service could have "profound effects" on the development of an important technology

Aereo investor and media mogul Barry Diller said Sunday that a Supreme Court decision to shut down the Internet streaming service would have “profound effects on the development of technology.”

A Supreme Court ruling against Aereo could shut down an incipient technology before it has the chance to fully develop, Diller said in a Sunday interview with CNN, comparing the service to earlier revolutionary advancements.

“It’s almost like saying, ‘what if there was no telephone?,” said Diller. “If [the Supreme Court justices] stop it—which they very well may—I don’t think it’s the end of any world because we’ll not really know, but I think … if it stops, it will have profound effects on the developments of technology.”

Diller’s comments were his first since the Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in a case pitting the upstart Aereo against major broadcasters, including CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox. The U.S. Department of Justice has also filed a brief in support of the broadcasters, who argue Aereo is infringing on their copyright by streaming free, over-the-air television and sending it to subscribers over the Internet.

Aereo, which does not pay retransmission fees to broadcasters, maintains that it doesn’t run afoul of copyright law, as it provides each subscriber with access to an individual tiny antenna which captures broadcasters’ streams. That, Aereo says, means it’s providing “private performances,” not “public performances,” the latter of which are subject to copyright law.

Two federal courts sided with Aereo in decisions made last year, but broadcasters won a third court battle. The Supreme Court’s decision regarding Aereo’s legality will have direct implications for the company, but also set an important precedent for television and Internet technology moving forward.

 

TIME Companies

Nike CEO Confirms Move Away from Wearables

Nike Introduces Nike Fuel
NIKE+ FuelBand Neilson Barnard—Getty Images

The company's chief executive Mark Parker said software would be a "bigger and bigger" deal going forward as the company transitions away from creating wearable technology like its FuelBand device

Nike’s chief executive officer confirmed the sportswear giant was moving away from developing hardware and wearable technology after it was reported that the company was shuttering the team behind its FuelBand fitness-tracking device.

“We are focusing more on the software side of the experience,” Nike CEO Mark Parker said during an appearance on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street on Friday. “I think we will be part of wearables going forward, it’ll be integrated into other products that we create.”

Parker expressed hopes to grow the number of users of NikeFuel, the company’s fitness-tracking program, from 30 million to 100 million.

“Digital sport, as we call it at Nike, is incredibly important to us,” he said. “We think it’s going to be a bigger and bigger factor in terms of the experience that consumers have with the products we create.”

Parker also acknowledged Nike’s longstanding partnership with Apple but declined to say whether the two companies would collaborate on any hardware devices in the future.

TIME

9 Cities Where Americans Are Getting Rich Right Now

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This post is in partnership with 24/7 Wall Street. The article below was originally published on 247wallst.com.

The United States is still slowly recovering from the recession, and incomes across the nation have declined in recent years. Nationwide, median household income was $51,771 a year during the three-year period of 2010 to 2012, a decline of 5.8% compared with the previous three-year period of 2007 to 2009, when the U.S. median household income was $54,951 a year.

The economic recovery is not uniform across the country, as some cities have weathered the financial crisis better than others. Median incomes increased by more than 15% in nine U.S. cities between the three-year periods of 2007 to 2009 and 2010 to 2012, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau. A typical New Bern, N.C., resident earned 25.3% more between 2010 and 2012 compared with the prior three-year period of between 2007 and 2009.

Click here to see the nine cities where wealth is soaring

Unsurprisingly, the poverty rates in many of these towns improved with rising median household incomes. The proportion of residents living in poverty declined by more than six percentage points in two of the cities on our list, West Lafayette, Ind., and Manhattan, Kan. The poverty rate in all but one city on our list declined, versus a nationwide increase of more than two percentage points.

One factor that may have helped median incomes in these cities grow is the fact that incomes were often low to begin with, Austin Nichols, Senior Research Associate at the Urban Institute, told 24/7 Wall St. Because of the beginning low base income, “A $1,000 change in some places is going to be effectively 0% change and in some places it’s going to be a [much] higher percentage change,” Nichols said. With the exception of Bentonville, Ark., all the cities with the largest income gains were in the bottom quartile for income nationwide between 2007 and 2009.

Still, income changes in some of these places have actually been quite large, even when measured in dollar terms. All but one of the nine cities where wealth has soared had among the 15 largest dollar changes in median income. Just three of these nine cities were still in the bottom quartile for income between 2010 and 2012.

MORE: Ten Cities Where Young People Can’t Find Work

Education is among the industries less likely to suffer from a recession, Nichols told 24/7 Wall St. Large universities tend to offer more stable employment than many other sectors. According to Nichols, “Universities and usually governments are countercyclical,” which means institutions like “public administration and education are more protected from the recession.” Manhattan, Kan., Stillwater, Okla., Nacogdoches, Texas, and West Lafayette, Ind., are all homes to large public universities. The presence of colleges in many cities may also have contributed to lower median incomes, since few students hold full-time jobs while at school.

To identify the cities with the biggest increases in wealth, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) 2012 three-year estimates. Three years’ worth of data (2010 to 2012) allow for the review of smaller cities. Checking the Census Bureau’s comparison table for statistical significance, we compared this three-year period to the 2007 to 2009 period. The cities with populations of 25,000 or more with the largest percentage increase in household median income made our list. Worth noting, Urban Institute’s Nichols said that large changes may be statistically significant “even if they are primarily due to measurement error.” To be consistent, we used three-year averages for national figures as well. In addition to income figures, we collected home values, poverty and employment by industry, all using the ACS. We reviewed annual average unemployment rate figures over the past six full years from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

These are the cities where wealth is soaring.

5. Del Rio, Texas
> Pct. increase in income: 19.9%
> Median household income: $40,307
> Poverty rate: 21.2%
> Population: 35,612

Del Rio benefits from the presence of Laughlin Air Force Base, which provides massive economic benefits to the local economy. Del Rio’s economy also benefits from its proximity to far-larger Ciudad Acuna, Mexico. Also, the city’s total labor force grew by more than 10% between the two three-year periods beginning in 2007 and in 2010. Unlike other parts of Texas, Del Rio’s economy has not traditionally been a stronghold for oil and gas. Agriculture and mining accounted for just 3.2% of total civilian employment between 2010 and 2012, although the sector grew by 146% between the three-year periods starting in 2007 and 2010. While some areas of the city’s economy are growing, others are in decline. Construction dropped to just 3.6% of employment during the period of 2010 to 2012, down from 7.3% during the period of 2007 to 2009. Additionally, the city’s unemployment rate was 7.4% in 2012, still above pre-recession rates.

MORE: America’s Most Miserable Cities

4. Bridgeton, N.J.
> Pct. increase in income: 21.6%
> Median household income: $39,890
> Poverty rate: 34.0%
> Population: 25,298

The agricultural industry has always been strong in Bridgeton, accounting for more than 5% of the region’s employment between 2007 and 2009, compared with less than 2% of employment nationwide. By the three-year period ending in 2012, the agricultural, forestry and mining sector’s share of employment in the city had more than doubled, making up 11.8% of the workforce. Despite the rise in agricultural employment and the increase in incomes, Bridgeton residents are still some of the poorest in the country. Unlike the other cities with rising incomes, poverty in Bridgeton worsened in the years under review. The poverty rate increased by 8.8 percentage points from the 2007 to 2009 period to the 2010 to 2012 period, among the worst nationwide.

3. West Lafayette, Ind.
> Pct. increase in income: 22.2%
> Median household income: $30,498
> Poverty rate: 36.4%
> Population: 30,238

Between 2007 and 2009, 10.4% of the population earned less than $10,000 a year, among the worst nationwide and roughly double the national rate of 5.7%. Extreme poverty had improved dramatically by the end of the three-year period ending in 2012, when just 0.2% of residents earned less than $10,000 a year. While the city’s median household income of slightly more than $30,000 was still considerably lower than the national median over that time, the city’s labor market was relatively healthy. In every year between 2007 and 2012, the unemployment rate remained far lower than the national rate. The sorts of jobs offered by Purdue University, located in West Lafayette, may account in part for the region’s stable labor force, since university jobs tend to be less volatile compared with those in other industries.

ALSO READ: America’s Most (and Least) Literate Cities

2. Nacogdoches, Texas
> Pct. increase in income: 23.7%
> Median household income: $30,059
> Poverty rate: 32.0%
> Population: 33,604

Between the two three-year periods starting in 2007 and 2010, home values in Nacogdoches increased by 29.8%, more than any U.S. city except for Clovis City, N.M. This may be a reflection of rising incomes in the region, which increased by 23.7%, from $24,310 a year to more than $30,000 a year between the 2007 to 2009 and 2010 to 2012 periods. Despite rising incomes, the area’s labor force did not grow considerably during the period. From 2007 to 2009, the percentage of people in the civilian labor force did not change meaningfully, while the area’s population rose by just 2.6%, from roughly 32,700 to 33,600. Nacogdoches County is home to large education and agriculture sectors. Stephen F. Austin State University is located in the city proper, where more than 33.3% of all employees in the city worked in education, health care and social assistance — more than most other cities in the United States.

1. New Bern, N.C.
> Pct. increase in income: 25.3%
> Median household income: $40,707
> Poverty rate: 22.8%
> Population: 30,074

Located less than two hours from Raleigh, New Bern’s median annual income rose from $32,476 in the three years ending in 2010 to $40,707 in the three years ending in 2012. No other city in America had such a considerable income growth. Additionally, during that time, the city’s civilian labor force participation rate jumped from 53% to nearly 62%. According to the New Bern Chamber of Commerce, the area’s “fast-growing population of highly skilled, active retirees has found employment in the small business and professional sectors.”

Visit 24/7 Wall St. to see the remaining cities where Americans are getting wealthy.

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TIME Saving

Free Pretzels! Hot Giveaway on Saturday to Celebrate National Pretzel Day

There’s still more than a month’s wait until the arrival of Free Donut Day. So for now the free pretzels served up hot and salty on Saturday will have to suffice.

National Pretzel Day might not have quite the magnetic, indulgent pull of Free Slurpee Day, Free (Ice Cream) Cone Day, or the mother of all gluttonous marketing giveaways, National Donut Day, but hey, a freebie’s a freebie.

Here’s where and how to score a free pretzel on Saturday, April 26, a.k.a. National Pretzel Day 2014:

Philly Pretzel Factory. Every one of this company’s 135 stores around the country is giving out one free pretzel per guest on Saturday. The goal set by the company is to hand out a staggering one million free pretzels this year.

Pretzelmaker. All customers at participating locations of this chain—found in malls throughout the country—are welcomed to enjoy a free soft pretzel, in a choice of salted or unsalted. Pretzelmaker expects to give out some 65,000+ free pretzels on Saturday, while raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society: Customers are “encouraged (but not obligated)” to make a donation while picking up their free pretzels.

Snyder’s of Hanover. At nine locations around the U.S., including the St. Louis Zoo and Boston’s Faneuil Hall, Snyder’s is dishing out free pretzel pieces in a variety of flavors—Honey Mustard & Onion, Bacon Cheddar, Hot Buffalo Wing, and so on.

TIME Economy

Poll: Americans More Optimistic About Jobs

Job Seekers Look For Work At Career Fair In Detroit
A woman seeking employment fills out an application at a job fair at the Matrix Center April 23, 2014 in Detroit, Mich. Joshua Lott—Getty Images

30% say now is a good time to find a job, up from 8% in 2010

More Americans are optimistic about the job market this month than at any time since the 2008 financial crisis, according to a new poll, with 30% saying now is a good time to find a quality job.

That marks a significant improvement from the 8% who said they were optimistic about the job market in 2010, but it’s still a drop from the pre-2008 highs of almost 50%. And even though almost a third of Americans are optimistic, two-thirds still say the job market is lackluster; 66% of Americans say it’s not a good time to hunt for employment.

TIME Netflix

Netflix Is Coming to U.S. Cable Boxes, However Improbable That Sounds

Netflix

Under the terms of the deal, Netflix will partner with Atlantic Broadband, Grande Communications and RCN to allow the popular streaming video provider's app to run on live television cable boxes via TiVo -- but you'll still need a Netflix subscription.

I realize this doesn’t make sense, except that when you think about it, it kind of does: Netflix, the streaming video service synonymous with the phrase “cord-cutting” (where cord-cutting refers explicitly to cable/satellite nixing) will soon be available through cable boxes. Yep, the same cable boxes the company’s supposedly been squaring off against.

The companies involved in the deal are Atlantic Broadband (offers service in Florida, Maryland, Delaware, South Carolina and Central Pennsylvania), Grande Communications (offers service in Texas) and RCN (offers service in Boston, New York, Eastern Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C. and Chicago). The deal will effectively load Netflix into those companies’ same set-top boxes their customers use to watch live television. According to the press release, the Netflix app will operate through TiVo, and the point is to allow customers using both cable boxes and a second set-top box to watch Netflix, to consolidate those devices (and remote control mechanisms).

You’ll still need a full Netflix subscription: there’s no mention of a discount for cable subscribers here, which makes a certain amount of sense. On the one hand, cable providers want to make their TiVo cable boxes more appealing by rounding out their offerings, and what better way than to shoehorn the enemy into that medley? At the same time, doing so risks encouraging people who might not have to engage the service, a transition that, future content deals and customer tastes depending, could eventually nix the cable subscription component from the equation. Leaving the subscription price as-is ensures a certain pricing threshold, while at the same time allowing the cable providers to boast about supporting the service.

“Our view has long been that the marriage of linear television and streaming over-the-top (OTT) TV is the future of television, and Netflix has clearly emerged as a must-have OTT service,” said TiVo President and CEO Tom Rogers. I’m not sure that’s entirely right — that the future is a marriage of the two, and case closed. The immediate future, perhaps, and that might do for now, but with previously unthinkable deals like this recent HBO/Amazon bombshell going down, and assuming there really is increasing consumer demand for a la carte programming, this sounds more like a transitional compromise than a future-proof one to me.

Netflix already does cable-handholding in the U.K. via Virgin Media (and TiVo), by the way, but this would mark the first time it’s done so in the U.S.

[Engadget]

TIME Companies

Ford CEO Could Escape Company With $300 Million in Stocks, Options

You could throw one heck of a Fiesta with that much cash

Ford CEO Alan Mulally will be sitting pretty when he retires from the helm of the Detroit-based motor company. CNNMoney reports the 68-year-old CEO has about 25.7 million combined shares and stock options, worth about $419 million at current market value.

After spending the necessary cash to exercise his options, Mulally would be left with about $300 million worth of Ford shares—a notably large fortune for the CEO of an industrial company.

Mulally, who is ranked among the 12 top-paid CEOs, helped keep the decades-old automaker afloat during the recession and has led the company to a strong comeback in the years following. Though he’s only been at the helm for eight years, Mulally is expected to retire this year. A company spokesperson told CNNMoney his compensation — Mulally reportedly makes about $44.2 million in salary and bonuses — is a reflection of his hard work.

“We believe strongly in aligning executive compensation with the company’s business performance and long-term shareholder value,” said Susan Krusel. “That’s why almost 90 percent of Alan’s compensation is performance based.”

Ford profits for Q1 of this year fell when compared to the same period last year, but the company beat revenue expectations.

[Money]

TIME Video Games

GameStop Signals Major Retail Transition, Says It’ll Close 120-130 Stores

Inside An Electronic Arts Retailer Ahead Of Earnings Figures
A customer browses a wall of used video games for sale from Electronic Arts and other video game publishers at a GameStop store in West Hollywood, Calif., Oct. 28, 2013. Patrick T. Fallon—Bloomberg/Getty Images

The game retailer's plan to shutter between 120 and 130 of its 6,457 stores worldwide falls into its CEO's description of "GameStop 3.0," a new phase of the company's lifespan where it will aggressively expand its footprint into gaming-adjacent tech fields

GameStop won’t go gently into that good, all-digital night: the company says it plans to shutter between 120 and 130 of its retail game stores worldwide by the close of its current fiscal year (which I believe ends in May, so we’re talking more or less immediately), while at the same time opening hundreds of mobile and Apple-related retail stores.

130 stores is a drop in a very large bucket — one that comprises 6,457 GameStop stores in all worldwide. Closing 130 amounts to just 2 percent of that number, but you might argue it’s an unusually significant and symbolic 2 percent, because it happens to be part of something GameStop CEO Paul Raines describes as “GameStop 3.0.”

GameStop 3.0, according to GI.biz, which covered Raines’ address at GameStop’s 2014 Investor Day on Wednesday, is “a new phase of the company’s lifespan that will see it aggressively expand its footprint into gaming-adjacent tech fields” — which is just a really long way of saying “Hey, we’re diversifying!” (What were GameStop’s 1.0 and 2.0 by the way? I assume “new games” and “used games,” respectively.)

Or put more aptly, “Hey, we’re further diversifying!” GameStop’s been in explore-and-expand mode since the mid-1990s. When I worked for the company (long, long ago), before it was called GameStop and through the bankruptcy proceedings that led to the name change, it had well under 1,000 stores. After stabilizing, paring back its lowest performing stores and merging with EB Games, it then went on an international brand-purchasing spree that eventually wound things up to its current whopping store total: GameStop today has over 6,600 stores worldwide when you factor its other computer-related retail businesses.

In 2000, it bought FuncoLand, which nabbed it a moderately popular magazine that might otherwise have shuttered along with Computer Games, Computer Gaming World, EGM², GamePro and the lot, but which now — thanks in large part to GameStop’s promotions and Power Up Rewards membership perks — ranks third largest in the U.S. by circulation (and that’s among all magazines, not just game rags). In 2011, the company bought Brad Wardell’s Impulse digital distribution service in hopes of competing with Steam, and of course the company’s been buying and selling used games for as long as I can remember, a practice that’s accounted for a majority of its gross profits for years.

But as Gamasutra’s Matt Matthews noted a year ago, used games as a component of brick-and-mortar revenue are a dwindling and irreplaceable resource. If you’re a PC gamer, you’re probably purchasing most or all of your games online. If you own a PS4 or Xbox One, you’re increasingly likely to do so. Insert obligatory nod to smartphones and tablets and micro-consoles and handhelds and the impact they’re having on retail software sales. Not that any of this is news to GameStop: I’d bet my life the company’s been predicting and obsessively planning for this transition for years.

All of which explains Raines’ GameStop 3.0 strategic overtures, which he says will include opening another 200 to 250 of the company’s Spring Mobile stores (wholly GameStop-owned wireless/mobile stores that sell AT&T products exclusively, currently totaling over 200 in the U.S.), adding 20 to 25 of its Simply Mac stores (GameStop purchased the Apple-exclusive retailer in 2013 — they have 23 locations today) and adding 100 to 150 of its Cricket locations (AT&T-brand-owned prepaid wireless stores franchised to companies like GameStop and Radio Shack — GameStop opened 31 last November, and Dallas Morning News says GameStop’s also been selling Cricket pre-paid wireless service in about 100 stores in Dallas and Los Angeles). According to GI.biz, Raines added that before any of these expansions, GameStop is “the third-largest and fastest-growing AT&T retailer in the US.”

In other words, if GameStop can make good on these so-called “gaming-adjacent tech fields,” it has not just a future but a bona fide bright one, despite the inevitable downturns in retail game sales (new or used). The only other question I have, and that no else seems to be asking, but which seems pertinent to me given the obvious trajectories here, is how much longer a company shifting away from games is going to be able to call itself GameStop.

MORE: The History of Video Game Consoles – Full

TIME Companies

Microsoft Closes $7.2 Billion Nokia Purchase

Microsoft closed 0n Friday its $7.2 billion purchase of Nokia’s devices business, a move Microsoft claims will increase the profitability of its Windows smartphones and increase its share in a market dominated by Google, Samsung and Apple.

In its announcement, Microsoft touted a study showing that the company stands to grow the fastest among the leading smartphone operating systems. It also promised the deal would accelerate its share of smartphones in emerging markets.

Microsoft controls a fraction of the global smartphone market — as little as 3%, according to Business Insider.

When Microsoft announced the deal in September, it reported that the company would make around a $40 profit on each smartphone. That’s an increase over the $10 profits it’s making now, as the purchase means Microsoft will no longer have to pay development and marketing costs to Nokia. Reuters reported that the venture would not be fully profitable until fiscal year 2016, citing Microsoft data.

The deal brings full circle a partnership struck in 2011, as Nokia, which began in 1871 as a Finnish wood pulp mill, lost its title as the largest smartphone maker in the world to Apple and Samsung.

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