I’m not sure where you’re reading from (obviously) but it’s been quite the interesting week in Detroit. Former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted on RICO and racketeering charges by a jury of his peers, some even later admitting they voted for him twice and were shocked to see what he had actually been up to. It’s been a long time coming, and while opinion is still up in the air, many people are relieved to see an end to what some would call Detroit’s longest running financial blunder. With that in mind, I know I want to get my mind off of the city’s issues for a brief second and focus my attention elsewhere. Join me won’t you? Let’s read the rest of the world’s happenings in This Week in Financial Blunders.
Electronic Arts, the video game giant that goes by EA, has botched the release of SimCity, a remake of the classic computer game, in a truly spectacular fashion. If you’re not familiar, SimCity has a bunch of different versions, the first was made in 1989, in which the player was in control of their own city and must expand their city while making important decisions like how to use budget, go with nuclear or solar power, and should I let this tornado destroy my city so I can start over?
The problem EA had with the new SimCity wasn’t the gameplay; it was that no one could really play it. EA has been pushing its digital rights management (DRM) policy for a while now, and one of the stipulations in it requires players to always be online to play the game even for single player. The policy proved to irk many gamers and hurt EA’s brand with online bashing that followed, but they were not deterred by it. Jump to the release of SimCity: so many people tried to log in and play the game that all of the servers EA had dedicated to it crashed, and kept crashing. It was hard to log into the game, and people reported plenty of problems since in launched on March 5th, like having it take up to 30 minutes or more to log in, incredibly slow and laggy gameplay, and some people even found their progress in the game being wiped clear when they logged off. The Huffington Post reported a Kickstarter was made to sell a clone of the game that didn’t require constant online access to play the game.
It culminated this week when EA officials publically apologized for the server overload and explained it was a “dumb” mistake that should have been avoided. They offered to give anyone who purchased SimCity by a certain date a free PC game download for their troubles.
Google has agreed to pay a total of $7 million in a case that has been described as “the biggest fine of its type to date.” Perhaps you’ve heard of Google’s street view program with the neat cars they have, taking pictures everywhere they go to make an accurate “street view” map of the entire country. It turns out these Google street cars were accidently collecting wi-fi data of people they drove past, including web histories, emails and passwords. All of this came from the work of one software engineer after a bunk piece of code was left in there by accident.
The settlement was announced by US Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, the $7 million settlement will span over suits in 38 states, which admittedly isn’t that big of a deal for a corporation like Google. With the money owed, they have agreed to delete all the harvested data from the bad code. The company will also start an employee training program about privacy and data for at least ten years, and will start making PSA’s to tell people how to protect their wireless networks.
H&R Block may have a bunch of angry undergraduates gunning for them in the near future. The Internal Revenue Service reports that up to 600,000 tax returns could be delayed up to six weeks because of a miscommunication in form 8863, for student tax credit. The problem came from the slightest of changes made by the IRS: in the past people could leave a field blank in form 8863 to indicate “no” but this year people were required to at least put an “n.” The student tax credit could be hundreds of dollars off tax returns for people, and it’s nothing to sneeze at considering 10% of 6.6 million people who filed form 8863 were screwed by the phantom “n.”
Jennifer Carroll, the Lieutenant Governor of Florida, has resigned amidst an investigation determining whether or not an internet café she used to consult was used as gambling front. Through a strange connection, the internet cafes involved were being run by a nonprofit group called Allied Veterans of the World, which certainly doesn’t sound like a fake organization. Just this past Tuesday, some of those working for Allied Veterans of the World were arrested on charges of racketeering and money laundering.
Resigning while she still has a few degrees of separation from the events that went down does not bode well for the former Lieutenant Governor, and it’s resonating through the political world because she highest ranking woman in state level government.
That’s all that’s bad and foolish in the world of finance and business I could find, but as always my dutiful reader, if you’ve found a good story I missed please post it below!