GST Effect: Destiny 2, Call of Duty: World War 2 Price Hiked in India

Call of Duty: World War 2’s India price has been revised. According to several retailers speaking to Gadgets 360, the game will cost Rs. 4,499 on the PS4 and Xbox One. The PC version of Call of Duty: World War 2 is now Rs. 3,799. Previously it was announced that the game will cost Rs. 4,299 on the PS4 and Xbox One and Rs. 3,499 on PC. The release date

And Call of Duty: World War 2 isn’t the only game from Activision to see a price hike in India. Destiny 2is also going to be more expensive. The Destiny 2 India price is now Rs. 4,499 on PS4 and Xbox One, and Rs. 3,799 on PC. Earlier it was announced that it be Rs. 4,299 on the PS4 and Xbox One and Rs. 3,499 on PC.

The reason for the price increase given to retailers is GST. However, this makes little sense. Reason being, the impact of GST on games is minimal.

GST Effect: Destiny 2, Call of Duty: World War 2 Price Hiked in IndiaPlus, other publishers, such as Warner Bros – who was speculated to hike pricing on Middle-Earth Shadow of War on the PS4, Xbox One, and PC at retail did not and neither has Sony or Microsoft done so on its first-party games line-up like Uncharted: The Lost Legacy or Forza 7 yet. Nonetheless, we’ve requested Activision’s distributor, World Wide CD ROM for comment and will update this story when we hear from the company.

At the moment, online retailers such as Amazon and Games The Shop haven’t updated their prices and stores have been notified by the distributor, World Wide CD ROM that pre-orders made on the older price will be honoured. So if you’re looking to pre-order Destiny 2 or Call of Duty: World War 2, you may want to act fast. Though if our past experiences have been any indication, patience could pay off considering that both titles should be on sale well before the year is up.

The release date for Call of Duty: World War 2 is November 3 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One, while Destiny 2 is out on September 6 for the PS4 and Xbox One with the PC version due on October 24.

Update, July 18, 2016: A spokesperson for World Wide CD ROM has confirmed to Gadgets 360 that the price revision is due to GST.

Amazon’s Meal Kits Go on Sale as It Looks to Expand Groceries Business

Amazon has begun selling ready-to-cook meal packages for busy households in a bid to expand its groceries business.

Amazon-branded meal kits come with raw ingredients needed to prepare such meals as chicken tikka masala and falafel patties. They can help households save time; a kit for salmon with soba noodles can be prepared in just a half-hour, for instance. But at $16 to $20 (roughly Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 1,200) for two servings, they can be more expensive than buying ingredients separately in larger quantities.

The development comes as Amazon is also buying the organic grocer Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, a deal that would give the company a foothold in both groceries and brick-and-mortar retailing. Amazon could ultimately use Whole Foods’ more than 400 locations as distribution centers for all food services, including meal kits.

For now, Amazon’s meal kits are sold only in selected markets. The Associated Press was able to place an order in Seattle, Amazon’s headquarters. A similar search for meal kits in New York generated items only from third-party vendors such as Martha & Marley Spoon and Tyson Tastemakers. Amazon didn’t respond to requests for additional information.

Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, said meal kits fall between regular groceries and deliveries of fully cooked meals and represent Amazon’s bid to expand its food business.

“I’m not sure any of this will work, but that’s where they are headed,” Pachter said in an email.

Amazon's Meal Kits Go on Sale as It Looks to Expand Groceries BusinessThe food industry consulting firm Pentallect says meal kits represent a “rounding error” of $2.2 billion in a $1.5 trillion US food industry, but the firm forecasts growth of 25 percent to 30 percent a year over the next five years. Pentallect says that because relatively few households have yet to try meal kits, there’s a lot of room for growth.

Amazon meal kits are available only through the AmazonFresh grocery-delivery program, which costs $15 a month and requires a separate $99-a-year Prime membership. Delivery costs an additional $10 on orders of $40 or less, though free pickup options are available in Seattle.

Sales appeared to have begun in late June, based on customer reviews.

Earlier this month, Amazon applied for US trademark protection for the phrase “We do the prep. You be the chef.” for packaged food kits “ready for cooking and assembly as a meal.” Amazon listed a range of food types, including meat, seafood, salads and soups.

Shares of a leading competitor, Blue Apron, fell nearly 14 percent to $6.36 this week as reports of Amazon’s plans emerged at GeekWire and other news sites. That includes a 3.5 percent drop on Tuesday. Amazon’s stock increased $14.41, or 1.4 percent, to close Tuesday at $1024.45.

Microsoft Reports Cloud Business Growth, Sidesteps Job Cut Questions

Microsoft on Thursday reported that its quarterly earnings was lifted on the back of its shift to focusing on computing services hosted in the Internet cloud.

The US technology giant said it made a profit of $6.5 billion (roughly Rs. 41,832 crores) in the recently ended quarter as revenue rose to $23.3 billion (Rs. 1,49,959 crores).

Microsoft shares – which closed the official trading day at a new all-time high of $74.22 – leapt after release of the earnings figures, only to come back down and even slip a bit in after-market trades to $73.65.

About $7.4 billion (roughly Rs. 47,625 crores) of the revenue in the quarter came from “intelligent cloud” offerings that are part of Microsoft shedding its legacy of packaged software and embracing a future in which computing power is hosted online as a service.

“Innovation across our cloud platforms drove strong results this quarter,” Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said in a statement.

Microsoft uses the term “intelligent cloud” to refer to services that let businesses take advantage of computing power online in its data centers, coupled with insights or analysis by artificial intelligencesoftware.

Microsoft also said cloud-based products like Office 365 rose in the quarter, with the number of Office 365 subscribers climbing to 27 million.

The quarterly profit figure topped Wall Street expectations, while revenue was roughly in line.

Trimming jobs
During an earnings call, Microsoft executives sidestepped providing details about recently disclosed plans to cut jobs, evidently while reorganizing its global sales operations to better hawk cloud products.

The pioneering software firm had more than 121,000 employees worldwide at the end of March, according to its website.

It is seeking to be a first port-of-call for businesses relying on cloud computing, as the industry moves away from packaged software.

Microsoft’s cloud computing platform will be used outside China for collaboration by members of a self-driving car alliance formed by Chinese Internet search giant Baidu, the companies announced this week.

The US software powerhouse is one of more than 50 entities to join the Apollo alliance created by Baidu in April.

Microsoft Reports Cloud Business Growth, Sidesteps Job Cut QuestionsMicrosoft will enable alliance members to collaborate, share information and tap into its Azure cloud computing service, according to the companies.

Azure faces competition from technology titans Amazon and Google.

Each of the companies has also been investing in artificial intelligence, which can make services hosted in the Internet cloud more intuitive when it comes to handling data and meeting user needs.

‘Intelligent edge’
Microsoft, which is based in Redmond, Washington, has announced thousands of jobs cuts in recent years, the most severe being 18,000 positions eliminated in 2014 linked to the company’s acquisition of Nokia and failed efforts in the smartphone market.

Cloud, business and productivity offerings were bright spots for Microsoft in the recently ended quarter, while matters appeared dimmer in the world of personal computing software that was long a money-making stronghold, according to J. Gold Associates principal analyst Jack Gold.

Revenue essentially doubled from Azure, which has an advantage over rivals operated by Amazon and Google because huge numbers of businesses are already using Microsoft software in-house, the analyst said.

Microsoft also saw impressive growth at Dynamics, its cloud service for managing sales teams that competes with the likes of Salesforce.

“Clearly, the money and growth going forward is not in the personal computing area, it is in the other areas,” Gold said, adding: “which is why it is so important for Microsoft to be in the cloud.”

Microsoft is also looking to the cloud to rebound from failure in the smartphone market.

The company remains a part of the mobile landscape with applications, digital assistants and other offerings.

Enhancements to the widely used Windows operating system to roll out later this year are designed to make applications built on Microsoft technology work more harmoniously across an array of Internet-linked devices, according to demonstrations at the company’s developers conference.

Windows 10 will be able to integrate with a wide range of devices, including smartphones, tablets and virtual or augmented reality gear, a strategy Microsoft refers to as its “intelligent edge.”

US FTC Said to Be Probing Allegations of Amazon’s Deceptive Discounting

As part of its review of Amazon’s agreement to buy Whole Foods , the Federal Trade Commission is looking into allegations that Amazon misleads customers about its pricing discounts, according to a source close to the probe.

The FTC is probing a complaint brought by the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog, which looked at some 1,000 products on Amazon’s website in June and found that Amazon put reference prices, or list prices, on about 46 percent of them.

An analysis found that in 61 percent of products with reference prices, Amazon’s reference prices were higher than it had sold the same product in the previous 90 days, Consumer Watchdog said in a letter to the FTC dated July 6.

Following receipt of the letter, the agency made informal inquiries about the allegations, according to a source who spoke on background to preserve business relationships.

The FTC declined comment for this story. It was not known if the agency would open a formal probe into the allegations. Amazon closed up slightly for the day at $1,028.70.

Amazon said in a statement that Consumer Watchdog’s study was “deeply flawed.”

US FTC Said to Be Probing Allegations of Amazon's Deceptive Discounting“The conclusions the Consumer Watchdog group reached are flat out wrong,” Amazon said. “We validate the reference prices provided by manufacturers, vendors and sellers against actual prices recently found across Amazon and other retailers.”

The review of Amazon’s discount pricing is an indication the FTC is taking a serious look at the e-commerce company’s agreement to buy Whole Foods, a deal that critics say could give Amazon an unfair advantage.

Consumer Watchdog argued that the deceptive list prices make Amazon prices look like a bargain, and asked the FTC to stop Amazon from buying Whole Foods while the deceptive discounting is occurring.

The FTC plays a dual role of probing charges of deceptive advertising and assessing mergers to ensure they comply with antitrust law. Amazon said in June that it would buy the premium grocer for $13.7 billion.

The FTC’s “Guide Against Deceptive Pricing” warns against using a “fictitious” or “inflated” list price for the purpose of making the price charged look like a bargain.

Amazon settled similar allegations with Canada’s Competition Bureau in January. It paid a fine of C$1 million ($756,658.60 or roughly Rs. 4.8 crores) as part of the settlement.

Amazon ran afoul of the FTC in 2014 for making it too easy for children to run up bills while playing games such as “Pet Shop Story” and “Ice Age Village” on mobile devices, resulting in an estimated $86 million (roughly Rs. 554 crores) of unauthorised charges. It has been ordered to reimburse parents for the charges.

How to Return Items Purchased on Amazon

Amazon Great Indian Sale has kicked off, seeing huge discounts across a wide catalogue of products. The Amazon sale for the next four days will see discounts, cashbacks and other offers for products ranging from mobiles, tablets to laptops, TVs and more. Of course, the problem with shopping online, including on occasions such as the Amazon sale, is that you don’t see a product before buying it, and have to pay before you can try whatever you’re buying. We recently had to return some items to Amazon India, and if you’re ever in the same position, then this is what you need to know to easily make a return.

Amazon Great Indian Sale Starts: How to Get the Best Deals

If the clothes you bought do not fit, or if you get an old, damaged copy of a book, you can return the product without even calling customer care to get this done. Amazon has a really simple interface for returns and scheduling a pickup. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Go to your Amazon orders page.
  2. Each order will be in a box. Scroll down to the order you want to return.
  3. Click the Return items button on the right side.
  4. Click the checkmark next to each product you want to return.
  5. On the right-side of the products you want to return, select a reason for return from the drop-down menu.
  6. Briefly explain the problem in the box that appears below the drop-down menu. This box will appear once you select a reason for return.
  7. Click Continue.
  8. In the next page, Amazon will offer a way to resolve the problem. In most cases there will just be one option selected by default – Refund. Click Continue.
  9. The next page is where you schedule a pickup. Select a pickup date from the drop-down menu.
  10. Your delivery address will be displayed by default. If you want to schedule a pickup at another address, click Change address.
  11. When you’re ready to complete the return process, click Submit. Amazon will send someone to pick up the goods you want to return. They’ll give you a return receipt. Keep that safe until the refund is credited to your account.

amazon_return_pickup.jpg

Have you ever had to return items purchased via Amazon or any other e-commerce portal? How was your experience? Let us know via the comments. For more tutorials, head to our How To section.

Amazon will live stream 10 NFL games this season, replacing Twitter

Amazon has reportedly reached a deal with the NFL to stream 10 Thursday Night Football games this year, the company confirmed to TechCrunch.

The one-year deal is reportedly valued at around $50 million.

Last season Twitter had a one-year, $10 million deal with the league to also stream 10 Thursday Night Football games. When that deal was announced it was reported that Twitter beat out other companies like Amazon, Facebook and Verizon for the rights to the broadcasts.

Viewers will have to be Amazon Prime members in order to watch live, which is a departure from last year’s deal where games were available free for anyone on Twitter.

 However, like last year, the games will also be available each week on cable TV, alternating between CBS, NBC and NFL Network.

It’s not yet clear how Amazon will display the stream. While viewership for Twitter’s live streams were actually decent last season, many complained about how Twitter displayed the stream next to a timeline of tweets that distracted from the game.

We’re waiting on more details from Amazon and will update this post when we get them.

Top Best websites to download E-Books leagally

projectgutenberg.jpg

If you’re a voracious reader who’s just gone digital, you must be loving the convenience of having all your books on you at any time, along with the extra features such as search, definitions, and highlights..

Whether you’re using an e-reader like the Kindle or you’re reading books on your phone or tablet, there are a lot of things to love, most of all the fact that it has also become incredibly simple to buy the books you want to read. Devices and apps all come with their own marketplaces, and it’s pretty easy to rack up a big bill quickly.

But there are plenty of places where you can get great books without spending a single rupee – and we’re not suggesting that you pirate books either. There are several legal free resources for books around the Internet. Most of these only offer old books that are no longer copyrighted – this means that you won’t find books like A World of Ice and Fire – but that still leaves thousands of classics that you’ll have to pay to buy in print.

Here are our favourite sites where you can legally download free ebooks to read on a Kindle, tablet, phone or even your PC:

1. Baen Free Library
Baen is an American publisher that focuses on science fiction and fantasy writing, and its ebook store is well known for its reasonable pricing and for other consumer-friendly features like the lack of DRM, which means you can copy the books across devices without restriction. The publisher has a roster of well-known writers including Lois McMaster Bujold, John Scalzi, and Michael A Stackpole, though it’s the work of its lesser-known writers that you’ll find on the free section on Baen’s website.

Baen_Free_Library.jpgUnlike most of the self-published books on Amazon and other new stuff people give away on the Internet, everything in Baen’s catalog has passed through the filter of a professional editor, so a minimum quality of writing is insured. For fans of military science fiction, this site is definitely worth checking out.

Baen Free Library

2. Feedbooks
Feedbooks is a good looking site that opens equally well on mobile devices, which makes it very convenient to use if you’re primarily reading on your mobile phone or tablet. This way, you can save your self the trouble of needing to downloading books on a PC and moving files between devices.

feedbooks.jpgFeedbooks sells you books, which can be expensive if you’re in India because the prices are all for the US, but it also has two free sections. There is a section for free e-books in the public domain, and a separate section for new free e-books, which are largely self-published. This means it is easier to find the classics, if that’s what you want. Feedbooks is also useful because the site is really well organised into collections.

Feedbooks Public Domain books

3. Project Gutenberg
Most people have probably heard of Project Gutenberg. Run entirely on the effort of volunteers, Gutenberg is probably the oldest digital library, and houses over 48,000 ebooks. It has them in various formats, from plain-text to Kindle friendly formats to epubs.

Gutenberg even has a collection of audiobooks if you want. These range from ones read out by the computer, to ones that volunteers read out.

The website itself can be a little intimidating to use with books being nested behind several layers of navigation, but it’s still possibly the most exhaustive resource for free books online.

Project Gutenberg

4. Bartleby
Quite unlike Herman Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener, who was most uncooperative, Bartleby the website is a great resource, particularly for students. The site contains a huge number of readings, classics from literature, and also has a large collection of non-fiction that includes works of political and social history.

bartleby.jpgBartleby also has a large selection of verse you can read, and also reference books on subjects such as quotations, religion, mythology, anatomy, grammar and more. All these books are available freely to read online, and you can download a smaller selection of books as PDF files.

Bartleby ebooks

5. Open Library
Another free resource for public domain books, Open Library is great because it has lists people can create, which you can also see – so for example, there’s a list of historical romance novels, and a list of books on the fur trade. Or you could search for all books about Istanbul, for example, in the subjects view. These tools make it easy to find the next book to read, which is handy if you’re not too familiar with the older books you find in these free libraries.

open_library.jpgOpen Library lets you read the books online in your browser, or download them to read on your device. It also includes links to sites where you can buy physical copies of the books if you prefer. The site also has one interesting feature – it helps you to find the book you want in a public library, so you can borrow the physical copy. That’s not really useful for Indian readers, but depending on where in the world you are, it could be quite handy.

Open Library

6. Nook, Kindle, Kobo etc
From iTunes to Google Play to Kindle to Nook to Flipkart, just about every store where you can buy books also has a collection of free books that ranges from classics that are now in the public domain to self-published ebooks. We are partial towards the Nook ebookstore on Barnes and Noble, because it has a good collection that is sorted better than the others. It also has great free previews of paid books, that can be as little as a single chapter, or could be several.

nook_books.jpgFree previews aren’t the same thing as free ebooks, of course, but there are instances where a free preview can be pretty good, such as with James Patterson’s Witch and Wizard Book One, where the preview gives you the first twenty chapters for free. That’s really letting you get a good sense of the book before you have to put any money into it.

To check for any provider, visit their bookstore and set the filter to free, or set the price from low to high. The worst experience on this front was Flipkart; you can sort by price or by section, but there are no handy collections, no sorting by themes, or other tools we saw elsewhere. The other sites were generally a lot better, though perhaps a little behind Barnes and Noble.

Barnes and Noble

These are the best sites to legally download ebooks, but there’s one more option that is worth checking out. There is a subreddit (a board on online community Reddit) called Free ebooks which asks its members to post download links to free, legal ebooks. This covers a number of different sources, including the ones we mentioned above, but more as well. The community tries to ensure that only legal links are posted, but there’s no easy way to sort the books, so you might not always find what you want. If you are looking for new and interesting things though, then it usually won’t disappoint.

You can download these books directly on your phone or tablet, which simplifies things, but otherwise, you can also transfer them to an e-reader or other device using an app like Calibre, which is also our favourite tool for reading and managing ebooks on the PC.