The Interview and the weekly roundup in tech and retail

News and commentaries

On Christmas eve day, Google wrote a blog post announcing that it will be streaming “The Interview” on YouTube starting at 10 AM PST saying that:

…”we could not sit on the sidelines and allow a handful of people to determine the limits of free speech in another country (however silly the content might be)*.”

This is after Sony previously announced that they will not release the movie because of threats from the hackers that has wreaked havoc on the company. The movie was also released in select theaters.

A few things: I lasted about 25 minutes into the movie because as Google ruefully admits, it is silly. James Franco plays a parody of himself and I can only stand a few minutes of toilet humor. More importantly though, the release of “The Interview” will be a study on how important streaming websites could be for big movies and how it could affect clout of movie theaters (major movie theaters pulled out of releasing the movie due to the threats). You don’t have to go and see it but let us definitely sit back and see how the revenue numbers go. As of this writing, “The Interview” is available in the following VODs:

Here are the most relevant news in tech and retail this week:

  1. Android One, Google’s platform for sub-$100 smartphones, to expand in Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka after launch in India
  2. Google and Microsoft to fight a petition by Marriott and the American Hospitality & Lodging Association to be allowed to block personal Wi-Fi networks on their properties
  3. North Korea’s Internet went offline on Monday
  4. PlayStation and Xbox networks were riddled with outages on Christmas day; hackers group Lizard Squad takes responsibility
  5. Newly IPOed biotech company Juno Therapeutics soared 17% on Monday; surpasses $3B market cap

In retail:

  1. Alibaba announced that it spent $160M to fight counterfeit goods in its website
  2. American Apparel confirms takeover offer valuing the company at $245M
  3. India’s e-commerce giant Flipkart announced $700M funding; total investor money reaches $2.7B
  4. Chinese fashion site Yetang raises $5M
  5. LacosteĀ plans to push out athletic wear and become a fashion brand 

    *emphasis is mine

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