Archive for July, 2013


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For whatever reason, this week has felt particularly long. It might be some astrological reason like Mercury in retrograde. Or it might just be the emotions that are a package deal with being a woman at the end of any month.

Or it might be that burrito haven Chipotle fake-hacked its Twitter account on Sunday, and the stunt has left a bad taste in my mouth.

Brands who stage fake hackings as an attempt to #winthemoment, does the world really need more Internet mistrust post-NSA PRISM?

Is fake hacking really something you’d like to have forever associated with your brand? Do you really want Pete Cashmore sopping up pageviews debunking your lame attempt at garnering publicity?

For that matter, is using twelve people to “position” a tweet really the best use of your precious time left on the planet? I mean, doing anything on Twitter nowadays is lauded as being cool and fresh. Even if the content itself is not cool and fresh. We’re on to you, Oreo.

The only reason I’m bringing this up is because the world is in the middle of an economic Cold War: On one side, over a billion people who make less than $1.25 per day; on the other, a class of overprivileged digital natives like myself who get paid to spend their lives on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, thinking up new ways to “go viral.””What if we faked a hack …?!”

The only way this will end is with my head on a spike. Let them snap chats!

Hit send too soon!-
Chipotle (@ChipotleTweets) July 21, 2013

Mittens13 password leave-
Chipotle (@ChipotleTweets) July 21, 2013

Image: Jillian Fleck

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DoorDash, a Y Combinator summer ’13 company, delivers food from restaurants in Palo Alto and Mountain View in an average time of 45 minutes.

Sound familiar?

It’s a crowded space, but while competitors like Seamless and GrubHub offer users an app to order food from any restaurant that has its own drivers and delivery-system setup, DoorDash hires and manages its own drivers, so it can bring you food from restaurants that don’t have their own delivery drivers. That may not seem like a big difference, but for the suburbs and college campuses, it’s a welcome change from having just pizza and Chinese food places offering delivery.

DoorDash charges $6 per delivery with no minimum order size, and currently delivers lunch (11:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m.) and dinner (5:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.) every day. The company currently delivers to Palo Alto, Stanford, Menlo Park, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Mountain View from 50 restaurants in the area.

Fluc, another startup we recently covered, is doing something fairly similar, but is more expensive-Fluc charges $5.95 per order and inflates menu prices a bit, whereas DoorDash charges $6 per order and doesn’t inflate menu prices. DoorDash partners with the restaurants they deliver from, so they take a cut from the restaurant’s side of things, not from the consumer.

DoorDash was founded by four Stanford students: Evan Charles Moore worked on the founding team of Vevo; Tony Xu was at Square and Red Laser/eBay; and Andy Fang and Stanley Tang spent a summer together at Facebook. Moore and Xu were friends in Stanford’s business school, and Fang and Tang are undergrads. Moore and Tang had worked on a project together in a class in the spring of 2012, and later decided to work together on DoorDash, bringing in the other two.

In February, they built a prototype, Palo Alto Delivery, in one day to gauge demand. Half an hour later, they had their first order and soon they were delivering food every day around campus. The four of them did the first 200 deliveries by themselves; they say they learned so much as drivers that they have new team members start as drivers.

I used DoorDash (then called Palo Alto Delivery) several times in the spring and really liked it. On campus at Stanford there aren’t a ton of options for delivery, so I was very willing to pay $6 to get better food delivered every once in awhile.

One of the new features I’m most excited about is Group Order, in which you can split the bill with a group of friends through DoorDash but still have all the food come in one order.

“Our ultimate goal is to enable merchants to deliver locally,” Tang says. He notes that restaurants are a good place to start, as the company has been able to grow really quickly (they doubled total deliveries in the past two weeks), and they hope to grow both geographically and, eventually, beyond just food delivery.

Disclosure: I’m a rising senior at Stanford. Fang and Tang are the same year as me. I’ve meet Fang a couple times, and I haven’t met any of the other co-founders at DoorDash. This doesn’t affect my ability to report on DoorDash.

162767334 520x245 IDC: Apple, Samsung lose smartphone market share as Lenovo and others see greater growth

Apple and Samsung have both reported their financials for Q2 2013 so, as is customary, analyst firms are now putting out their estimates for the quarter. IDC is out of the blocks, noting that Samsung and Apple remain the market leaders but greater growth is coming from lesser companies.

The research firm estimates that Samsung – which hasn’t provided figures publicly since Q3 2011 – shipped 72.4 million smartphones during the quarter. That number is 44 percent higher than the estimate one year previous, but IDC says Samsung’s share of the market has receded slightly, going from 32.2 percent last year to 30.4 percent in Q2 2013.

Looking at things quarter-by-quarter, the Galaxy S4 launch pushed Samsung’s sales total up by 1.7 million units over its Q1 2013 figure. Its share of market is also down 2.4 percent on the previous quarter.

Apple’s 31.2 million shipments (which were actually sales) represent a 13.1 percent share of the market, which is down on 16.6 percent in Q2 2012 even though its shipments grew by 20 percent over the 12-month period. The US firm saw market share drop from 17.3 percent in the previous quarter.

Indeed, LG, Lenovo and ZTE – which round out the top five – each enjoyed greater year-on-year and quarterly growth than either Apple or Samsung.

LG’s record haul of 12.1 million smartphone shipments represented a 130 percent year-on-year improvement, which IDC estimates to have grown its market share from 3.1 percent to 4.7 percent.

Lenovo is back in the top five after a six month absence. The Chinese firm charted 130.6 percent year-on-year shipment growth, the highest of any top-5 vendor, after shipping 11.3 million devices for an estimated 4.7 percent market share. Fellow Chinese phone-maker ZTE saw its shipments jump 57.8 percent to 10.1 million units, or 4.2 percent market share, according to IDC.

Nokia, RIM, HTC, Sony and the rest of the competition are bundled into ‘others’, a category that accounts for 42 percent of IDC’s Q2 2013 shipment estimates.

idc figs q2 2013 IDC: Apple, Samsung lose smartphone market share as Lenovo and others see greater growth

We know that sales of the discounted iPhone 4 help boost Apple’s figures for the quarter, and IDC says that Samsung enjoyed a similar boost from the Galaxy S3, which received price cuts following the launch of the Galaxy S4.

While Samsung remains out in front, the progress of LG is promising for the Android ecosystem. IDC credits Korea’s LG for “realiz[ing] a profit from its steady diet of Android-powered smartphones,” and it is certainly a different story to HTC which – though still posting slim profit – has seen its figures decline significantly over the past year or so.

IDC Research Manager Ramon Llamas says the data is proof that “the competition refuses to be shut out altogether” despite Apple and Samsung’s dominance.

“The opposite end of the spectrum is just as, if not more, interesting [than Apple and Samsung],” Llamas adds. “Lower-priced smartphones continue to gain traction, but the key for vendors will be to keep prices low while still offering premium devices and services. We fully expect to see large-screen smartphones and other flagship devices establish a presence within the lower-priced smartphone segment as well.”

IDC says that LG, Lenovo and co are performing well with high-end devices, as well as lower-priced offerings, but it will be interesting to see how they perform as and when Apple launches a much-anticipated new iPhone model, which is expected in the coming months – particularly if older iPhones are discounted.

We crunched IDC’s numbers since Q3 2011 to come up with this chart. Unfortunately it appears that the company regularly updates its figures without noting the changes, so the estimates for Q2 2012 are different to the comparative figures that were published today. Equally data is only released on the top 5 firms each month, but we think it is an interesting visual resource all the same.

Smartphone market share according to IDC | Infographics

Headline image via JOSEP LAGO/Getty Images

sky 520x245 British broadcaster BSkyB launches   9.99 Now TV set top box to make all TVs smart

Days after Google unveiled its $35 Chromecast dongle to bring the smart TV experience to regular TVs, British satellite broadcaster has got in on the act after launching Now TV Box, a Roku-like set-top box.

The box is available for 9.99 and brings the benefits of Web TV to any television. Customers can enjoy ongoing access (sans contract) to BBC iPlayer, Sky News, Demand and the BBC News App. That’s in addition to Sky’s own Now TV service, which features notable channels like Sky Sports and Sky Movies.

Of course, the Now TV Box also brings Web services to TVs, so the likes of Facebook and Spotify can light up living rooms around the UK via the box.

The Box – which measures 8.4cm x 8.4cm x 2.4cm – plugs in via an HDMI cable and, once connected to WiFi, is up and running. It’s similarity to Roku, couple with Sky’s $11.9 million stake in the media company, suggests the device may be a white-labelled version of the Roku player.

now tv British broadcaster BSkyB launches   9.99 Now TV set top box to make all TVs smart

“Millions of people are switching on to the convenience and flexibility of on-demand TV, choosing when and how they want to watch,” said Director of Now TV Gidon Katz, Director of Now TV. “For under a tenner, the NOW TV Box offers the best terrestrial catch-up, plus pay-as-you-go access to must-see sport and the option to enjoy latest blockbuster movies on demand – all on the big screen.”

Sky has diversified its television offering from straight-up satellite in recent times, and the introduction of the Now TV Box looks like an interesting move to boost subscriptions of its Web-TV service.

Launched in 2012, Now TV offers Sky channels via a more flexible monthly subscription plan. It finally brought Sky Sports into the mix in March this year, letting users access all its main sports channels for 9.99 for 24 hours – a price that may not appeal to all but represents an alternative offering to a full-on Sky subscription.

The boxes are available to buy now from nowtv.com. The Now TV service itself can be accessed from the Web, devices running iOS and Android, Xbox, PS3 and Roku set-top boxes.

Headline image via BEN STANSALL / AFP / Getty Images

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It was bound to happen really, gamers have banded together to show just how pissed off they are about Aliens: Colonial Marines. Turns out people don’t take to well to demos not being the final product they paid hard, cold cash for.

“Each of the ‘actual gameplay’ demonstrations purported to show consumers exactly what they would be buying: a cutting edge video game with very specific features and qualities. Unfortunately for their fans, Defendants [Sega and Gearbox] never told anyone – consumers, industry critics, reviewers, or reporters – that their ‘actual gameplay’ demonstration advertising campaign bore little resemblance to the retail product that would eventually be sold to a large community of unwitting purchasers.” -Polygon post

Both Sega and Gearbox Software are named as defendants in the lawsuit and neither have bothered to comment on the news. Can’t say that I blame those folks, it certainly looks like both companies misled fans. We’ll watch and see if this goes all the way, hopefully it does. Publishers and developers should be held accountable for this horrible mess.

Plants Vs Zombies was a phenom with the casual and hardcore gamer alike.The game first attacked the PC and Mac crowd before the zombie invasion took over our iOS devices and soon spread to every console and gaming device known to humans. Now PopCap games has finally revealed that a sequel is set to be unleashed in July.

Not much is known about the sequel to the tower defense game but the title even pokes fun about the long wait, Plants Vs Zombies 2: It’s About Time. Hit the break for PopCap’s teaser trailer for Plants Vs Zombies 2: It’s About Time.

Activision has officially announced the next installment of Call Of Duty and its name is, Call Of Duty Ghosts. As far as COD reveals go, Ghosts was actually pretty lackluster. A short teaser trailer with a press release stating COD Ghosts is “An All-New World, Story, Characters and Experience, All Powered By A New, Next Gen Call Of Duty Engine from the Developer that started it all, Infinity Ward“.

November 5, 2013 is the release date and COD Ghosts will be available for Xbox 360, PS3, PC and next generation consoles. We will get to see the first gameplay later this month at Microsoft’s event and announcement of their next console, May 21. No word yet if it will appear on Nintendo’s Wii U.

I, like so many assumed Ghosts would have something to do with the character, Simon “Ghost” Riley from Modern Warfare 2. Given the title and the fact that the official Call Of Duty website teased an image of a skull infused balaclava, it was an honest mistake. In a way I’m kind of glad, Ghost belongs to a COD of the past. As far as I’m concerned he died with MW2 as did much of what I loved about COD. Silly Activision, everyone knows the developer who started it all have mostly “Respawned” elsewhere.

I’m still a fan of the franchise, or maybe I’m just a slave to the COD machine but I hope to once again be amazed by it. As we wait for more information, I present you with the teaser trailer followed up by Activision’s official press release.

Activision Announces the Next Generation of Call of Duty with Call of Duty : Ghosts
Call of Duty: Ghosts will set a new Benchmark for the Next Generation
All-New World, Story, Characters and Experience, All Powered by New, Next Gen Call of Duty Engine from the Developer that started it all, Infinity Ward
For an Exclusive First Look at the Game, Tune in to Xbox: The New Generation Revealed, May 21 at 10AM PDT on Xbox.com, Xbox Live or SPIKE TV
Groundbreaking Title Lands on November 5
SANTA MONICA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Prepare for the next generation of Call of Duty . The franchise that has defined a generation of gaming is set to raise the bar once again with the all-new Call of Duty : Ghosts. Published by Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI), and developed by Infinity Ward, the studio that created the original Call of Duty and the seminal Call of Duty : Modern Warfare series, Call of Duty: Ghosts ushers in the next generation of the franchise. The new title delivers a riveting all-new gameplay experience built on an entirely new story, setting and cast of characters, all powered by a new, next generation Call of Duty engine that redefines the series for the next generation.
“Infinity Ward set the gold standard for first-person action for a generation, and they’re going to do it again with Call of Duty: Ghosts,” said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing, Inc. “Ghosts delivers an all-new story, all-new characters, an all-new Call of Duty world, all powered by a next generation Call of Duty engine, which is a leap forward for the franchise. Infinity Ward is going all-in to create the next generation of Call of Duty worthy of the world’s greatest fans.”
“Everyone was expecting us to make Modern Warfare 4, which would have been the safe thing to do. But we’re not resting on our laurels,” said Mark Rubin, executive producer of developer Infinity Ward. “We saw the console transition as the perfect opportunity to start a new chapter for Call of Duty. So we’re building a new sub-brand, a new engine, and a lot of new ideas and experiences for our players. We can’t wait to share them with our community.”
To see an exclusive first look at Call of Duty: Ghosts tune in to Xbox: the Next Generation Revealed on May 21 at 10AM PDT on Xbox.com, Xbox LIVE or SPIKE TV for the debut of the all-new game from Infinity Ward.
“We are consistently thrilled with the overwhelming response received from critics and consumers alike to the Call of Duty series, which has firmly established its home on the Xbox 360 with the game’s largest and most engaged community,” said Don Mattrick, president of the interactive entertainment business at Microsoft. “With Call of Duty: Ghosts, we have no doubt that our longtime partners, Activision and Infinity Ward, will raise the bar higher than ever before for this incredible franchise.”
Starting today, fans can begin pre-ordering their copy of Call of Duty: Ghosts at retail outlets worldwide.
“There’s no other video game property like Call of Duty. It’s the biggest game franchise on the planet that has had some of the biggest game entertainment launches in history,” said Tony Bartel, president of GameStop. “We are very excited for the launch of Call of Duty: Ghosts, as we transition to next generation consoles.”
Call of Duty: Ghosts will release on Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system and PC on November 5. Call of Duty: Ghosts will also be available for next generation platforms. For the latest intel, check out: http://www.callofduty.com/ghosts, http://www.facebook.com/CODGhosts, or follow on Twitter @InfinityWard. Call of Duty: Ghosts is not yet rated.
About Activision Publishing, Inc.
Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Activision Publishing, Inc. is a leading worldwide developer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment and leisure products.
Activision maintains operations in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia, South Korea, mainland China and the region of Taiwan. More information about Activision and its products can be found on the company’s website, http://www.activision.com.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements: Information in this press release that involves Activision Publishing’s expectations, plans, intentions or strategies regarding the future, including statements about the expected Call of Duty: Ghosts release date of November 5, 2013, are forward-looking statements that are not facts and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause Activision Publishing’s actual future results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements set forth in this release include unanticipated product delays and other factors identified in the risk factors sections of Activision Blizzard’s most recent annual report on Form 10-K and any subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. The forward-looking statements in this release are based upon information available to Activision Publishing and Activision Blizzard as of the date of this release, and neither Activision Publishing nor Activision Blizzard assumes any obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements believed to be true when made may ultimately prove to be incorrect. These statements are not guarantees of the future performance of Activision Publishing or Activision Blizzard and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond its control and may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations.
ACTIVISION, CALL OF DUTY, CALL OF DUTY MODERN WARFARE and CALL OF DUTY GHOSTS are trademarks of Activision Publishing, Inc. Microsoft, Windows, Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox LIVE are either registered trademarks or trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. All other trademarks and trade names are the properties of their respective owners.

Riptide-12

Once more into the breach my fellow geeks! We have zombies monsters to slay! After Dead Island dropped in 2011, zombie killing fans were left wanting more, much more. Well here we are, stuck in another island hell hole fighting off hordes of undead monstrosities and were we given the sequel we needed, the sequel we deserved?

Dead Island: Riptide is a psuedo-sequel to Dead Island. You could call it an expansion pack pretty much, a huge expansion at that. The same four heroes from the first are back with a new immune survivor in the mix. The game starts off exactly after the end of the first, with our motley crew escaping the infested Banoi. The gang ends up on a ship in the ocean where they find more hardship. Abducted, they become the focus of experiment after experiment. As with all things science, an outbreak occurs and the ship crashes. Not back on Banoi thankfully but an all new section of the cluster, Palanai.

More…

Palanai is its own creature, separate from Banoi but yet strikingly familiar. It’s a lush tropical paradise but so was Banoi and I believe that’s what starts the downfall of the game. Riptide feels much like its predecessor in every way, the good with the bad. Every thing that was wrong with the original is still wrong in Riptide. We’re talking the poor, stuttering frame rate, the stilted “I got a load in my pants” walk of your chosen avatar, the clipped sound and horribly repetitive fetch quests. It’s almost like Techland didn’t listen to anything the fans said and kept on with business as usual. And they brought along some new glitches to irritate fans.

dead-island-riptide

Did you rely on the quest marker to lead you to the next destination, to help you bypass the throngs of brain hungry foes? Yeah, you can forget that bad boy in Riptide – it’s fundamentally broken. It works when it wants to, which isn’t very often mind you. Routinely you will become over run and murdered by the Left 4 Dead type hordes, by the constantly respawning zombies, by the ninja-like wretches that will appear behind you. It is pure frustration on an epic scale. Something I never encountered in DI but are present everywhere are insta-killing enemies. They throw one tiny knife and full health bar or not, BAM! you’re dead. Utter rubbish.

Not all is bad in Riptide, there are some improvements to be found, some additions to make it stand out. Something I thoroughly enjoyed was the hub defense for the various hideouts the gang holes up in. The zombies will swarm in from a scattering of weak spots in an attempt to swallow up the survivors. Each time I played, I had a blast laying down traps, rushing to a friend’s aid and cutting off little pieces of the horde. That brings up another new and fun item, mines and bombs. It’s delicious fun to drop a mine and watch some schmuck walk into it, set it off and then burn down to the ground. Fun, fun!

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Beyond the usual quests, the team now has a set of fetch quests to achieve. Grabbing x number of whatever and bringing them back to a survivor grants newer weapons, cheaper prices at stores and more helpful friends during the hub defense. I handed off 4 blankets to one guy and next thing I knew, he was wielding a monstrous, multi-edged zombie slicer instead of his puny bat.

Techland introduced a few new monsters to the core set. The biggest pain is the Screamer, a monster that..screams. The scream is so deafening that your hero is instantly incapacitated by it, usually knocked to the ground. The Wrestler is a slow and deadly hulk of a monster that can kill in one blow. Also new to the game is the Dead Zones. Dead Zones are chock full of monsters as well as a boss monster. You got to be good and you got to be tough to clear the zone, which includes killing the tough as nails boss. It’s worth it though as Dead Zones usually have something rare for you tucked away in them.

I’m not here to say Riptide is utter trash because it’s not. It does have some serious issues that were never fixed from the first game and it has some new issues that impact gameplay but if you can look past them you’ll find a competent zombie slasher with real potential. There is plenty of real fun to be had in crafting new weapons and busting monster skulls with them. Each kill is a satisfying kill, especially when you’re surrounded by more ready to die – again.

deadisland-riptide-screenshot-7

I give Dead Island: Riptide a 6 out of 10 and would gladly bump that up if they can issue a patch to fix some of the technical problems. Hopefully Techland goes ahead with a full-blown sequel and fixes the complaints.

Many thanks to out pals at Deep Silver for the Xbox 360 review copy! May I never hear “I gotta find another way in” again!

google-drive_shared-storage-500x280

Let’s be honest, Google has been wicked awesome at the amount of storage they offer us for free. 5 GB to split among GMail, Google Drive and Google+ pics is pretty damn fair compared to the paltry 2 GB Dropbox serves its free users. Google clearly wants to stay waaaaaaaay ahead of the competition as they just tripled the amount of available cloud storage.

15 GB of cloud love is slowly rolling out for all of us that rely on the Google train. What’s even better is you can decide if you want an even split or if you want more space devoted to Google+. Maybe you don’t use Drive that much, you can just adjust the settings so you have more room for your cat photos in G+. Google Apps users are also seeing a bump up – from 25 GB to 30 GB.

Don’t forget, you can also purchase more space if you tend to be a storage hog. $5 a month will score you a 100 GB online storage shed while a Weasly measly 10 smackers a month can rent out a reception hall sized 200 GB.

Makes you wonder way, mere days before Google I/O, they pumped up the storage. Do they have some shenanigans ready for the annual developers conference? Stay tuned geeks, we’ll find out!

Federal grand jury indictment alleges that SAC maintained elite group that has traded on insider information since 1999

A federal grand jury has indicted SAC Capital, the embattled hedge fund that has been pursued by financial authorities for years, for insider trading after regulators failed to charge its powerful founder, Steven A Cohen.

The US attorney who brought the charges, Preet Bharara, also hit the firm with civil money-laundering charges that would require the firm to forfeit potentially billions of dollars in assets.

A 41-page indictment alleges that SAC, founded in 1992, maintained an elite group that has traded on insider information since 1999.

SAC is also alleged to have hired portfolio managers specifically for their insider contact in the industries in which they traded, and failed to raise red flags when insider information was suggested as the basis for a trade.

The indictment marks the culmination of a six-year investigation by Bharara. The government pursued an investigation against Cohen but apparently dropped its attempt to bring charges last month.

“SAC became, over time, a veritable magnet for market cheaters,” Bharara said at a news conference in Manhattan. “That’s why the institution, and not individuals, stand accused of insider trading.” He said that the charges were “a predictable product of pervasive institutional failure”, and added: “A company reaps what it sows. SAC seeded itself with corrupt traders.”

Cohen was not mentioned by name in the indictment but referred to obliquely as “the SAC owner” and an “individual residing in Greenwich, Connecticut.”

“The SAC owner failed to question candidates who implied that their ‘edge’ was based on sources of inside information,” the indictment says. Later, it notes: “The SAC owner fostered a culture that focused on not discussing inside information too openly, rather than not seeking or trading on such information in the first place.”

The government’s case centers on SAC’s culture. It alleges that employees at SAC “engaged in a pattern of obtaining inside information from dozens of publicly-traded companies across multiple industry sectors. Employees …traded on inside information themselves and, at times, recommended trades to the SAC owner based on inside information.”

Under US securities laws, fund managers may only trade on company information that has been publicly disclosed.

The indictment mentions several other SAC employees as well as employees of affiliate investment firms. One portfolio manager for Cohen-controlled Sigma Capital, Wes Wang, is cited in connection with insider trading in eight technology stocks including Taiwan Semiconductor, Cisco, and eBay. In 2012, Wang pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit securities fraud.

Other alleged insider trading by SAC Capital mentioned in the indictment includes some of the biggest North American companies, such as Intel, Advanced Micro Devices, BlackBerry maker RIM, and Yahoo.

SAC denied the allegations. It said in a statement: “SAC has never encouraged, promoted or tolerated insider trading and takes its compliance and management obligations seriously. The handful of men who admit they broke the law does not reflect the honesty, integrity and character of the thousands of men and women who have worked at SAC over the past 21 years. SAC will continue to operate as we work through these matters.”

The chief target of the US attorney’s legal strategy, according to experts, is to foil Cohen himself by attacking his deputies and the trading culture of the firm he created. Cohen controls 60% of the money in SAC Capital and has a net worth of roughly $9bn, according to Bloomberg.

The indictment holds that SAC’s trading culture was heavily centralized, with dozens of portfolio managers answering directly to Cohen without knowledge of what their peers in the firm were doing.

Cohen, until his legal troubles, was a towering figure on Wall Street, a billionaire unknown to much of the public but famous in the finance community for his enviable investment profits and casual style. While maintaining an intense work regimen – working at over seven computer screens in his office – he was habitually seen around the firm’s Connecticut trading floor in a blue fleece vest that became almost iconic.

He was known for quirks such as his disdain of ringing phones, which created a silent trading floor, and maintaining the firm’s temperature at a breezy 69F so traders would not be too comfortable.

For investors, he held a notable mystique: SAC was so sought-after by clients that they paid the firm a fee of 3% of the money under management and allowed the firm to take up to 50% of their investment profits, according to the indictment.

SAC seemed to have a green thumb for stocks, watching them gain up to 10% in value in a single day after buying shares, and up to 15% in a month, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis in March.

The swirl of legal issues around insider trading have already temporarily claimed the careers of two of Cohen’s top lieutenants, Michael Steinberg and Mathew Martoma, both of whom were arrested at their homes and subsequently indicted. The government’s case against Martoma accuses him of making a profit of $276m by trading on nonpublic information related to healthcare companies Wyeth and Elan.

Martoma has maintained his innocence. His trial is set for November.

The indictment is the latest in a series of investigations of SAC by regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Commission as well as federal prosecutors.

Most recently, last week the SEC filed civil administrative charges against Cohen, arguing that he “failed reasonably to supervise” Steinberg and Martoma.

In response to the SEC’s charges, Cohen’s lawyers argued, in 46-page white paper to staff, that he was too busy to read his email, and estimated he opened only 11% of his messages. As a result, they held, he could not have acted on insider tips contained in those emails.

Previously, SAC and its affiliates paid a $617.5m fine to settle SEC charges on insider trading, even though a judge grew irritated that the firm would be able to pay money to absolve itself of charges without admitting or denying wrongdoing.

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