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Winklevoss twins lose Facebook appeal

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SAN FRANCISCO – A panel of federal judges on Monday ruled that Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss can’t back out of the settlement deal they made in a lawsuit charging that Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for Facebook.

“The Winklevosses are not the first parties bested by a competitor who then seek to gain through litigation what they were unable to achieve in the marketplace,” three Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judges said in a ruling.

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“At some point, litigation must come to an end,” the judges continued. “That point has now been reached.”

Twin brothers Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss claim they enlisted Zuckerberg to finish software code for their ConnectU social-networking website while they were all students at Harvard in 2003.

Zuckerberg, a second year student at the time, took their code and their idea and launched Facebook in February 2004 instead of holding up his end of the deal, according to the brothers. Facebook rejects that account.

Hollywood made the saga famous in the hit film “The Social Network.”

The twins inked a settlement two years ago that got them $20 million in cash and $45 million worth of stock valued at $36 per share.

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The value of that yet-to-be-issued stock has skyrocketed along with Facebook’s estimated market value, which was placed at $50 billion early this year, the judges noted in their ruling.

“With the help of a team of lawyers and a financial advisor, they made a deal that appears quite favorable in light of recent market activity,” the judges said.

“For whatever reason, they now want to back out,” they continued. “Like the district court, we see no basis for allowing them to do so.”

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US indicts ‘Evil Corp’ hackers with alleged Russian intelligence ties

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A Lamborghini-driving Moscow hacker who called his operation Evil Corp and has ties to the FSB Russian intelligence service was indicted by US authorities Thursday for the cybertheft of tens of millions of dollars.

An indictment unsealed in Pittsburgh named Maksim Yakubets and his Evil Corp partner Igor Turashev as the main figures in a group which inserted malware on computers in dozens of countries to steal more than $100 million from companies and local authorities.

The indictment was accompanied by sanctions from the US Treasury on the two men, as well as the announcement of a $5 million reward toward Yakubets' arrest and conviction -- the highest reward ever offered for a cybercriminal.

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US urges countries to suspend digital taxes, supports OECD talks: Mnuchin

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US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is urging countries like France to suspend taxes on global computing giants such as Google and Amazon and wait for a negotiated agreement on international taxation, according to a letter released Wednesday.

As the United States is poised to impose tariffs of up to 100 percent on $2.4 billion in French products over that country's digital services tax, Mnuchin said talks in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development are key to resolving the issue.

"We believe that it is very important that these talks reach agreement in order to prevent the proliferation of unilateral measures, like digital services taxes, which threaten the longstanding multilateral consensus on international taxation," Mnuchin said in a letter to OECD chief Jose Angel Gurria.

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A quantum computing future is unlikely, due to random hardware errors

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Google announced this fall to much fanfare that it had demonstrated “quantum supremacy” – that is, it performed a specific quantum computation far faster than the best classical computers could achieve. IBM promptly critiqued the claim, saying that its own classical supercomputer could perform the computation at nearly the same speed with far greater fidelity and, therefore, the Google announcement should be taken “with a large dose of skepticism.”

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