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Tech News: Major Conferences for Both Apple Inc. and the Video Game Industry Begin Today, and They Are Streaming


Plus: Google will acquired Waze for $1.1 billion, and TiVo reaches a settlement with Cisco and Time Warner Cable.

Apple to Live Stream Its 2013 WWDC Keynote

If you have an Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) TV box, you can see that a new channel has been added: the "Apple Events" channel, which last appeared in October 2012 for the iPad mini's unveiling. With the tech company's major developer conference, the Worldwide Developer Conference, kicking off in San Francisco today, Apple will stream the keynote on this channel and on (for users with the Apple Safari browser). Streaming may also extend to its free WWDC iOS app. The keynote will be at 10 a.m. PT, 1 p.m. ET.

Last Thursday, I wrote in this column about a company, Gumdrop Cases, that had already designed and had been producing an iPad 5 case, anticipating the announcement of the device at today's keynote. (The company's CEO, Tim Hickman, is four for five on anticipating major Apple device announcements; his one gaffe was expecting an iPhone 5 in 2011 when the iPhone 4S came out instead.)

Along with the iPad 5, bloggers, tech enthusiasts, and everyone else that follows Apple announcements (OK, a lot of people) are expecting an array of announcements, including new desktop and mobile operating systems, refreshed hardware, and a possible iRadio music service.

Here is a link to live stream the event.

The Gaming Industry's Major Trade Show, E3, Also Begins Today

As Apple consumers and investors alike will be tuning into WWDC, gamers and investors in Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE), and Nintendo Co., Ltd (ADR) (OTCMKTS:NTDOY) will be following E3 closely. This trade show kicks off at 9 a.m. PT (12 p.m. ET) with Microsoft's press conference. The company is expected to divulge more details, apps, and games for its new system, the Xbox One. You can watch the Microsoft press conference here.

Also expected are announcements of lowered prices for the current generation of video game consoles, the final revelation of the new PlayStation 4 by Sony (we haven't yet seen the console), and strong first-party game titles, perhaps from the Mario or Zelda franchises, from Nintendo (the company is hanging on for dear live with its Wii U console).

Google Will Acquire Waze for Over $1 Billion

ABC News has reported that Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) will buy the map app start-up Waze, founded in 2009, for $1.1 billion. All weekend, stories have circulated about Google closing in on a deal to acquire the Israeli-based mapping, traffic, and navigation firm, with prices ranging as high as $1.3 billion. In light of the NSA's court order to Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) being leaked, as well as the now much discussed and maligned PRISM program, the conversation has been augmented with stories about how Google could use such a technology to develop its ability to spy on consumers.

Waze is not like a traditional GPS app, but it is essentially a social app, using the driving times and routes of real drivers to provide route and traffic updates to other drivers. It is the community-based GPS. The app has continued to grow and develop new features, including real-time fuel prices, which like the rest of the data in the app, is provided by users. The app had 20 million users as of June 2012 and is now pushing 50 million.

Waze had apparently also been in talks with Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) and Apple since last year, though the CEO of the latter, Tim Cook, did say in an interview at the D11 conference in late May that Apple had never made a bid for Waze. Facebook, however, does seem to have made strides toward acquiring the company, according to reports of meetings in Israel.

Google has acquired two Israeli companies to date: the website development tool LabPixies and the interactive video developer Quiksee, both marginal acquisitions in comparison to the $1.1 billion price tag for Waze.

TiVo Reaches Another Settlement Deal Over Patented Technology

On Friday, TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ:TIVO) settled patent disputes regarding its DVR technology with Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO), Motorola Mobility, and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE:TWC) for proceeds of $490 million. Despite that sum and the aversion of a major trial that would have begun next week, investors thought perhaps the sum was not enough as TiVo's stock price dropped some $12.32 from Thursday's close to Friday's close.

The legal dispute in question has been ongoing for several years at TiVo now. The company has pursued litigation with many pay-TV companies for using its patented technology in their own DVR boxes. The company had already negotiated settlements with DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH), AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), and Verizon. Including Friday's settlement, TiVo has made $1.6 billion from all of the companies.

In addition to Friday's settlement, TiVo will enter into patent licensing agreements with Cisco, Google, and Arris Group Inc. (Google acquired Motorola Mobility last year and earlier this year sold its DVR box unit to Arris.) Moreover, TiVo announced it would double its stock buyback program to up to $200 million over the next two years.

Follow me on Twitter: @JoshWolonick and @Minyanville
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