TIME Companies

Amazon and Simon & Schuster Reach Deal Over E-Book Prices

The deal follows an impasse between Amazon and Hachette

Amazon and Simon & Schuster have reached a multi-year agreement over the sale and pricing of print and digital books following the online retail giant’s falling out with the Hachette Book Group.

The publisher will set its own prices for e-books, while Amazon will promote Simon & Schuster titles on the site and be able to set discounts in certain situations as well, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The agreement specifically creates a financial incentive for Simon & Schuster to deliver lower prices for readers,” Amazon said in a statement. The deal arrived two months before its contact with Simon & Schuster was set to expire.

Carolyn Reidy, the head of Simon & Schuster, wrote in a letter to authors and agents that the deal was “economically advantageous” for both the publisher and the retailer and that it “maintains the author’s share of income generated from e-book sales.”

Earlier this year, Amazon and Hachette had a much-publicized dispute over the price of e-books. Customers as a result can no longer pre-order Hachette titles on Amazon. Amazon will at some point renegotiate contracts withe other publishers Macmillan, Penguin Random House and HarperCollins.

[WSJ]

TIME Companies

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Says Company Pays Men and Women Equally

Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Officer Satya NadellaSpeaks At Company Event
Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp., speaks to students during the Microsoft Talent India conference in New Delhi, India, on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. Graham Crouch—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Verifying the lack of a pay gap is difficult, however

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who was criticized earlier this month for saying women should not ask for raises, said Monday that his company pays men and women equally.

“I checked that it is something that we are enforcing,” said Nadella, who has apologized for the earlier remarks, at a presentation in San Francisco, Reuters reports. “We are in fact in good shape. Men and women get paid equally at Microsoft.”

Nadella’s statement is difficult to verify, as Microsoft does not make its pay structure public. Nadella’s comments also seem to contradict data from the site Glassdoor, which reported — based on a very small sample of employees who voluntarily shared their salaries — that men seem to earn more than woman doing the same job. According to its figures, male senior software development engineers earn around $137,000 a year, while women with that title earn around $129,000 a year.

“We have made some progress,” Nadella said during the presentation. “We have a lot more to do.”

[Reuters]

TIME Companies

Apple’s Growth Stays Strong in Latest Quarter

People walk past the Apple logo at the Apple Store at Grand Central Terminal in New York.
People walk past the Apple logo at the Apple Store at Grand Central Terminal in New York. TIMOTHY A. CLARY—AFP/Getty Images

Tech giant reports beat analyst expectations with strong sales of iPhones and Mac computers. Sales of iPads fell, however

Apple on Monday reported a 12.7% bump in fourth-quarter profit, sending shares up nearly 1% in after-hours trading to just above the $100-mark. Here are the most important points from the tech giant’s latest earnings report.

What you need to know: Apple crushed analyst predictions by posting sales of $42.1 billion in the fourth quarter, which was more than a 12% increase over the same period last year. The company reported $8.5 billion in profits, or $1.43 per share, which is an improvement of $1 billion year-over-year. Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt recently polled a few dozen analysts for their Apple quarterly predictions and every last one said to expect a record quarter for the company, including average sales and earnings bumps of at least 7.1% and 11.9%, respectively.

In July, Apple’s revenues grew by 6%, but came in just below analysts’ expectations despite a 12.6% bump in Q3 iPhone sales.

The big number: Apple said it sold 39.3 million iPhones during the fourth quarter, which beat analysts’ estimates and represents an 11.6% increase over the 35.2 million sold during the same quarter last year. The fourth quarter included September’s unveiling of Apple’s new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and the company said in a press release announcing the fourth-quarter results that strong iPhone and Mac sales helped drive a record month of September.

Mac sales jumped 25% year-over-year, to 5.5 million, while iPad sales declined for the third quarter in a row. Apple, which just revealed its new iPad Air 2 last week at a product launch event, said Monday that its iPad sales were down more than 7%, to 12.3 million, in the fourth quarter.

What you might have missed: Apple’s strong fourth-quarter results came after the company’s mobile payments system, Apple Pay, went live on Monday along with an update to its mobile operating system, now known as iOS 8.1. The launch came on the heels of Apple announcing it had signed up another 500 banks to support the Apple Pay platform. Apple Pay is expected to compete with PayPal and other online systems. The entire mobile payments market had more than 11 million users last year and could grow to have more than 36 million users in 2016, according to eMarketer.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME legal

Facebook Suing Attorneys Who Pushed Allegedly Fraudulent Case

Though an old lawsuit against it was dismissed, Facebook is going after the lawyers behind it

Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg are suing the lawyers of man who claimed in 2010 that he and Zuckerberg had an agreement that granted him a major stake in the company.

Though a judge previously dismissed the claims of Paul Ceglia, a lawsuit filed in the New York State Supreme Court on Monday alleges that Ceglia’s lawyers continued their lawsuit in order to win a settlement despite knowing that Ceglia’s claims were false, the New York Times reports.

“We said from the beginning that Paul Ceglia’s claim was a fraud and that we would seek to hold those responsible accountable,” said Colin Stretch, Facebook’s general counsel, in a statement. “DLA Piper and the other named law firms knew the case was based on forged documents yet they pursued it anyway, and they should be held to account.”

Peter Pantaleo, general counsel for DLA Piper, one of the firms named in the suit, denied the allegations.

“This is an entirely baseless lawsuit that has been filed as a tactic to intimidate lawyers from bringing litigation against Facebook,” he said in a statement.

[NYT]

TIME Video Games

Anyone Claiming There’s a Grand Theft Auto V Beta Is Still Lying

It's not clear when or where the scams are occurring, but they're scams, each and every one.

For once, I’ve learned about a bizarre scam from the object of the scam instead of the scammers: Rockstar would like you to know that if you happen upon a site or person or email claiming there’s a Grand Theft Auto V beta, you risk being duped.

“Please note,” writes Rockstar in an undated web notice, “there is no pre-release ‘beta’ test for Grand Theft Auto V. If you see ads or solicitations to join a beta program, beware as this is likely some type of online phishing scam.”

If that parses a little weirdly to you, it’s because you’re probably thinking, “But Grand Theft Auto V’s already out, isn’t it?” Indeed, the game arrived last September for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. This presumably relates to the upcoming PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions due on November 18, followed by a Windows version on January 27, 2015. I’ll say again: presumably.

I’m assuming it’s not some kind of bizarre prerelease viral marketing thing, though it is a little odd-looking, poking around the echo chamber and finding no paper trails. No one seems to have evidence of the scam itself, and sites writing about supposed fake Steam betas and 19GB of virus-choked malware all seem to be linking to a site called Xboxer360, which hasn’t posted a news update in 10 months, and whose story about a Grand Theft Auto V beta scam is over a year old. Search on the phrase “GTA V PC torrent” and you’ll find a variety of links to obvious (well, obvious to me) shysters, but whose fake listings are pretty old.

I’ve asked my contact at Rockstar to verify this beta notice is indeed new. In any event, now that I’ve expended over 300 words writing about it, whether the scams are fresh or you’re a time traveler about to embark in your TARDIS on a trip to visit the nefarious corners of the interwebs circa late 2013, beware Grand Theft Auto V beta claims: they’re phony bologna.

[Update: I knew it. My Rockstar contact just confirmed the link up top is to an old 2013 warning. So consider yourself warned. Again.]

TIME Ask TIME Tech

Amazon’s Kindles Compared: Voyage vs Paperwhite vs Standard

Kindles
Amazon's new Kindle Voyage e-book reader sits atop last year's Kindle Paperwhite Doug Aamoth / TIME

Amazon’s Kindle e-book readers are generally hot holiday items, so let’s explore the various differences between the three available models.

There’s the new $199+ Kindle Voyage, the $119+ Kindle Paperwhite and the $79+ standard Kindle to choose from. Here’s a closer look at what you’re getting.

Screen

Size

Choosing by screen size is easy since they’re all six inches diagonally. Things change once we dig into resolutions and lighting technology.

Resolution

The Kindle Voyage has the best screen, with a 300 pixels-per-inch resolution. The more pixels smooshed into an inch of screen, the better everything looks. The Kindle Paperwhite smooshes 212 pixels into an inch; the standard Kindle smooshes 167 pixels into an inch.

The big question is whether your eyes can discern the differences. I can tell you that when looking at the Paperwhite and the Voyage side by side, the difference is noticeable when looking at graphics and slightly less noticeable when looking at text. The standard Kindle looks… I wouldn’t say “the worst” because it doesn’t look bad. It just looks least good; let’s say that. I’d say the $40 jump from the standard Kindle to the Kindle Paperwhite is a much better value than the $80 jump from the Paperwhite to the Voyage, though.

Reading Light

The standard Kindle has no light; the Paperwhite and Voyage both have built-in lights. They both max out at nearly the same brightness, although the Voyage looks a little cleaner and whiter, and can automatically adjust its screen brightness to match your environment.

Touchscreen

All three devices feature touchscreens, though the Kindle Voyage features squeeze-able side bezels that allow you to turn pages back and forth as well. There’s a nice little vibration feedback with each press when using the Voyage.

Video: Kindle Paperwhite vs Kindle Voyage

Here’s a closer look at the $119 Paperwhite up against the $199 Voyage, with some analysis of all three models at the end:

Storage

Wondering which Kindle can hold the most books? The answer is yes. Yes to any of them: They all have four gigabytes of storage, good for over a thousand books.

Size

The Kindle Voyage is the smallest, measuring 6.4″ long by 4.5″ wide by 0.3″ thick and starting at 6.3 ounces (the 3G version weighs 6.6 ounces).

The Kindle Paperwhite measures 6.7″ long by 4.5″ wide by 0.36″ thick and starts at 7.3 ounces (the 3G version weighs 7.6 ounces). The standard Kindle measures 6.7″ long by 4.7″ wide by 0.4″ thick and weighs 6.7 ounces (there’s no 3G version).

They’re all incredibly portable. I’m not sure buying one over the other based on a tenth of an inch here or an ounce there makes a whole lot of sense, but those are the measurements.

Battery Life

The standard Kindle lasts up to four weeks on a single charge, assuming a half hour of reading each day with the wireless connection turned off. It fully charges within four hours.

The Kindle Voyage lasts up to six weeks on a single charge, assuming a half hour of reading each day with the wireless connection turned off and the light set at 10 (the max is 24). It fully charges within three hours.

The Kindle Paperwhite lasts up to eight weeks on a single charge, assuming a half hour of reading each day with the wireless connection turned off and the light set at 10 (the max is 24). It fully charges within four hours.

So as we see here, the Paperwhite actually has the best battery life. That’s probably a factor of its screen not having to push as many pixels around as the Voyage’s screen. The Paperwhite being ever so slightly thicker than the Voyage might make for a slightly higher-capacity battery as well.

3G or Not 3G?

That is the question. Adding a 3G cellular connection to your Kindle Paperwhite or Kindle Voyage adds $70 to the price tag, but results in being able to download books anywhere you have an AT&T signal — over 100 countries and territories are covered (see this map). There are no monthly service charges for downloading books, though you might incur added charges for downloading magazines and other periodicals.

If you read a lot of books and want to be able to download new ones frequently — especially while you’re on the move — the 3G version of whichever Kindle you’re considering is a no-brainer. If you’re going to be using the Kindle at home a lot or you’ll be around accessible Wi-Fi networks, save the $70.

Best Bet

To be clear, the new Kindle Voyage is an amazing e-book reader. It’s super portable, its screen is gorgeous and the added haptic-feedback page turns are a nice touch. However, the $119 Kindle Paperwhite is still a dynamite e-book reader and is a very worthy upgrade for $40 over the standard Kindle because of its higher-resolution screen and its built-in light. Making the $80 jump from the $119 Paperwhite to the $199 Voyage is simply a much tougher sell.

TIME deals

Spotify Finally Introduces a Family Plan

SWEDEN-MUSIC-COMPANY-SPOTIFY
TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY SOREN BILLING: A woman uses streaming service Spotify on March 7, 2013 in Stockholm, Sweden. JONATHAN NACKSTRAND—AFP/Getty Images

Up to four family members can subscribe at a 50% discount

Spotify announced plans Monday for a steeply discounted subscription option that enables up to five family members to subscribe to the digital streaming music service under one billing account.

The new offer, Spotify Family, enables up to four family members to join an existing subscriber’s ad-free Premium account, which costs $9.99 per month, at half the price. That discount would slash a family of five’s monthly bill from roughly $50 a month to $30 a month.

“This is one of the most asked for features from our audience,” Chief Content Officer Ken Parks said in an online statement.

Spotify Family will roll out worldwide over the next few weeks, the company said. The move follows a similar half-off discount that Spotify launched for college students in March as the company aggressively works to broaden its subscriber base.

TIME Gadgets

How to Set Up Apple Pay on Your iPhone or iPad

Get ready to shop like you never have before

Apple Pay, the newest “next big thing” out of Cupertino, hits shopping carts across the U.S. Monday both online and in stores. Paying with a swipe of your smartphone? That sounds like the stuff of the future. Or the stuff of Android phones since 2011. Or the stuff of Japan as far back as 2004. Regardless, it’s still a welcome leap for the 42.4% of American smartphone users who own an iPhone.

Here’s how to set up Apple Pay, the company’s new cashless, cardless way to pay.

Step 1: Get the right iDevice.

To use Apple Pay, you’ll need one of Apple’s latest devices, either an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, or iPad Mini 3. (Funny how it always works like that.) Older Apple mobile devices lack the new Secure Element chip, which encrypts and stores all the user’s payment information. So, even though the iPhone 5S has Touch ID, owners of that device still need to pay the old-fashioned way.

People with new iPhones can use Apple Pay for online transactions and in-store payments, while the iPads announced last week can only use the service for web purchases. That’s because the iPhones have a built-in Near Field Communication (NFC) antenna, which let users pay with a wave of the smartphone, while Apple’s tablets still lack NFC.

Step 2: Download the iOS 8.1 Update

Next, you’ll have to update your iPhone’s operating system to iOS 8.1, due to be released Monday. Not to be confused with iOS 8.0.1, the update that crippled thousands of iPhones in its brief reign of terror, iOS 8.1 includes an array of anticipated features, like Apple Pay and the return of the Camera Roll.

Step 3: Open the Passbook App

Flick to the barren wasteland of your second or third homepage — or wherever else you’ve stuffed Passbook, since like most people, you probably rarely use it. Upon opening the app to set up Apple Pay, it will ask if you want to use your credit or debit card already on file for iTunes purchases or add a new card.

Step 4: Pick a Card, Not Quite Any Card

For those of you who opt not to use your iTunes account, Apple Pay currently works with Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. If you’re nervous about this newfangled technology, but too tempted to stay away, it might be wise to use a credit instead of a debit card so you won’t be out any cash should things go awry.

A cadre of cooperating banks were revealed at the service’s unveiling, including Bank of America, Barclays, Capital One, Chase, Citibank, Navy Federal Credit Union, PNC, US Bank, USAA, and Wells Fargo. If your bank isn’t listed here, it still may be a part of the service. Everyone wants to party with Apple, and other banks have signed on since the service’s announcement in September.

When you ask Passbook to load a new card into Apple Pay, it activates your iPhone’s camera and prompts you to snap a photo of your card. Apple analyzes this image and interacts with your bank to confirm that it indeed belongs to you. Once that magic happens, a generic-looking image of your card appears in your Passbook app. Just tap on it when you want to use it.

It’s worth noting that the Passbook app doesn’t display your card number. Apple doesn’t even actually store your credit card number, nor does it give the number to merchants. Instead, Apple Pay creates a “device-only account number” which is stored on your device’s Secure Element chip. Every time you use Apple Pay, Apple issues a one-time payment number and a dynamic security code — both encrypted — to the bank. And not only does Apple not know what you bought, where you bought it, or how much you paid for it, but cashiers won’t be able to see your name, credit card number or your card’s security code when you making in-store purchases — a big improvement in real-world security.

Step 5: Shop

If you want to put your iPhone to the real world retail test immediately, there are already 220,000 locations ready to take Apple Pay. According to Apple, every Macy’s/Bloomingdales, McDonalds, Staples, Subway, Walgreens/DuaneReade, and Whole Foods are among the retailers already equipped to accept these contactless payments. And, of course, Apple Stores are also ready to take your money. Just wave your phone at the NFC terminal, touch your iPhone’s Touch ID sensor and wave your money goodbye.

Apple Pay

Meanwhile, shopping online sounds a little more complicated. Every online purchase demonstrated in the Apple Pay presentation went through an iOS app. So, whether you’re buying something from Target, accepting an offer from Groupon, or ordering a sandwich from Panera Bread, you’ll need to download the company’s app first. It’s unclear at this time if you will be able to use Apple Pay when shopping through a mobile browser like Safari or Chrome. But given Apple’s app-centric view of the Internet, I wouldn’t put any money on it.

But there is a plus side: in exchange for downloading and using these apps, after you pay with your fingerprint on the Touch ID sensor, you don’t have to enter your billing or shipping address, which can be a drag — especially when you’re shopping online using an iPhone or iPad.

Read next: These Are the Stores That Accept Apple Pay

TIME Video Games

Is This Really the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Launch Trailer?

Activision's near-future military adventure starring Kevin Spacey as the head of a rogue private military company arrives in just a few more weeks.

I don’t see a lot of gameplay in this pithy less-than-a-minute trailer, so I’m not sure why Activision’s calling it a “gameplay” trailer. Just excise that word and it works: type “Official Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Launch Trailer” and you’re golden. But by using the designator “gameplay,” I’m betting it’s not the last “launch trailer” we’ll see.

When I first glimpsed it on Saturday, the trailer had 300+ views. Now it has over 5.3 million. It’ll doubtless double that in another 48 hours. That’s the power of a Call of Duty.

There’s a little more to see here, but it’s not much. The same clips already shown in previous trailers pop in, abridged. The new stuff–and is it all new stuff? I can’t tell–amounts to 1-2 second clips of people in EXO suits doing impossible things, each of which Call of Duty-philes will obsess over.

The game is out November 4 (November 3 for Day Zero edition buyers) for this- and last-gen PlayStation and Xbox systems as well as Windows. It looks terrific in this trailer, a collage of rainbow-plaited tracers and pluming squibs and mo-cap Kevin Spacey smirking in a suit. And I’m still hopeful that, though it’s clearly rooted in the ballistic-power-fantasy school of design, the game has some subversive fictive tricks up its sleeve.

It’s one of these what-games-can-be questions for me (and I include the storytelling angle in my definition of “game” here–it’s a holistic thing). I’m definitely not from the “Who cares about the narrative, does it shoot good?” school of thought. If Beau Willimon and David Fincher can use an actor like Kevin Spacey to tell a politically nuanced tale that slyly comments on current affairs, why can’t a piece of interactive entertainment starring Kevin Spacey do the same?

TIME career

Microsoft CEO Says He Was ‘Completely Wrong’ to Suggest Women Shouldn’t Ask for Raises

Satya Nadella had previously apologized for his remarks

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a new interview that he was “completely wrong” to suggest it’s “good karma” for women to wait for a raise instead of asking for one.

“It’s been a very humbling and learning experience for me,” Nadella told CNBC in his first interview since his initial comments drew outrage.

Nadella said anyone held back in their career by gender bias should push back against their managers, and that he had wrongly extrapolated the advice from his own experiences.

“I basically took my own approach to how I’ve approached my career and sprung it on half of humanity,” he said.

Nadella had previously apologized for his remarks in a letter to the company.

“I believe men and women should get equal pay for equal work,” he wrote. “If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask.”

See the interview below.

[CNBC]

 

 

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