Josh Hargreaves Josh Hargreaves's Profile Thu, 22 Dec 2011 20:48:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Tech wrap: Yahoo to cut Asian stake Thu, 22 Dec 2011 20:48:13 +0000 Yahoo is considering a plan to unload most of its prized Asian assets in a complex deal valued at roughly $17 billion, sources familiar with the matter said.

The former Internet powerhouse’s increasing difficulty in competing with heavyweights such as Google and Facebook have forced it to explore proposals to revamp its business.

Weakening economies and falling prices of rival smartphones are hurting sales of Apple iPhones across Europe, data from research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech showed on Thursday.

The October roll-out of Apple’s iPhone 4S boosted its position in Britain and United States, but the new phones failed to excite interest in continental Europe, where Apple’s share of the fast-growing smartphone market slipped.

Staying with Apple, a German court rejected the company’s claims that Samsung Electronics’ reworked tablet PC still looks like a copycat version of the iPad, in a preliminary assessment.

Apple is fighting several rival makers of smartphones and tablet PCs in courts worldwide over intellectual property.

Bloomberg reports that Funny Or Die, the comedy website founded by Will Ferrell, is pointing the way for Web-based entertainment companies by combining the scrappiness of an Internet startup with A-list talent that attracts viewers.

Finally, for those who couldn’t quite make it to Stonehenge to watch the sun rise on Thursday’s winter solstice, a new app could offer some consolation by offering a virtual tour around the mysterious stones.


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Tech wrap: Oracle’s woes may signal tech downturn Wed, 21 Dec 2011 20:21:48 +0000 Oracle shares plummeted on Wednesday, a day after its results fell short of expectations, dragging down the tech sector as investors feared the rare miss was a sign corporate America may be pulling back on tech spending.

More troubling news for the tech sector as Nokia’s long-awaited Windows phones may be too little, too late in the smartphone war dominated by Apple and Google, despite positive reviews by handset critics.

Its first Windows model, the Lumia 800, has won little interest from consumers, with only 2 percent of Europeans in the market for a smartphone saying they would pick it, according to a survey by Exane BNP Paribas.

One of the sectors most recent punching bags actually received some positive news as RIM finally delivered on a promise made by co-founder Mike Lazaridis. The widely popular game Angry Birds, where birds destroy the pigs who stole their eggs with the help of a slingshot is finally available on the PlayBook tablet.

Facebook has agreed to improve its privacy policy for hundreds of millions of users after a three-month investigation by Irish authorities at the U.S. group’s international headquarters in Dublin.

CNET’s Roger Cheng says that even though 2011 was a chaotic year for mobile devices, 2012 promises to be even more exciting.

Finally, the Vatican said an unknown buyer had snapped up the internet address, a domain combining its name with an extension reserved for pornographic content.

“This domain is not available because it has been acquired by someone else, but not the Vatican,”  a Vatican spokesman said.

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Tech wrap: D.Telekom may be forced to play with Sprint Tue, 20 Dec 2011 20:20:39 +0000 Deutsche Telekom may be forced into a tie-up of its sub-scale U.S. wireless unit with Sprint Nextel after a $39 billion deal with AT&T collapsed.

AT&T said on Monday it had dropped its bid for T-Mobile USA, bowing to fierce regulatory opposition and leaving both companies scrambling for alternatives.

The collapse of AT&T’s deal to buy D.Telekom’s U.S. wireless unit may be welcome news for network equipment makers, as money earmarked for the merger will be freed up for investments.

Research In Motion’s woes continued as sales in the United States fell for a fifth straight quarter in Q3 even as the BlackBerry maker’s overall revenue jumped by $1 billion from a year earlier, a regulatory filing released on Tuesday showed.

Financial advisers in the U.S. are seeing fewer benefits from their use of social media, a survey by Aite Group showed on Tuesday.

“Social media has been over-hyped and the benefits just aren’t there for a lot of advisers,” said Aite senior analyst Ron Shevlin in an interview.

Electronic Arts invested more money and firepower into “Star Wars: The Old Republic” than it has on any game in its 30-year history. Starting today, the company will find out if the bet pays off.

If it succeeds, the game, which features the Star Wars movies’ familiar Jedis, Wookies, and Siths, could bring EA riches for years to come. If it fails, EA’s earning will be hurt in future quarters.

Erik Sherman of MoneyWatch takes a look at the many legal battles Apple is waging to protect the iPhone from it’s competitors.

Finally, Bloomberg’s Dan Levy has a behind the scenes look at Facebook’s new Silicon Valley headquarters and how other internet firms are designing office space for workers who are increasingly spending more time at the office.

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Tech wrap: Is RIM circling the drain? Fri, 16 Dec 2011 20:41:32 +0000 A months-long delay in Research in Motion’s new BlackBerrys and a dreary quarterly report sent RIM shares tumbling again on Friday and pushed some analysts to sound the death knell for the mobile device that once defined the industry.

Zynga shares opened as much as 10 percent above their offer price on Friday but then rolled back below the IPO price, showing that investors were still concerned about its dependence on Facebook and its growth prospects and that demand for hot tech IPOs may be waning.

The news has not deterred the creators of “Angry Birds,” who are said to be considering a stock market flotation in Hong Kong.

Staying with the creator of “FarmVille”, tech editor Peter Lauria, social media editor Anthony DeRosa and reporter Liana Baker spill the secrets to Zynga’s addictive gaming platforms.

Finally, TechNewsWorld is reporting that the U.S. Patent Office has granted Google a patent that covers the way in which cars could transfer from human-driver mode to autonomous-driving mode. Google has already conducted many driverless-car experiments, claiming it’s logged 200,000 miles of driver-free travel.



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Tech wrap: RIM under fire ahead of results Thu, 15 Dec 2011 20:15:55 +0000 Research In Motion faced renewed calls for a change in its leadership on Thursday, hours ahead of the quarterly results that could fuel criticism over the BlackBerry maker’s poor performance and sagging share price.

Jaguar Financial, an activist shareholder that has asked the BlackBerry maker to sell itself in whole or parts, once again called on two of RIM’s independent directors to push for a separation of the roles of chairman and chief executive.

Bloomberg reports that Zynga updated its initial public offering filing to expand on the risks of losing its chief executive officer after Google Chairman Eric Schmidt called him a “a fearsome, strong negotiator.” said on Thursday it is selling more than one million Kindle devices a week, an unusual disclosure from the largest Internet retailer that comes in the wake of some negative reviews of its new Kindle Fire tablet.

Chris Maxcer of MacNews World has a look at the most momentous moments the past year at Apple.

Its iconic cofounder and CEO is gone, but the company managed to change the way people buy software, drive its tablet dominance even deeper, bring revolutionary new features to its OS and introduce a service that has people talking to their phones in a whole new way.

Finally, U.S. soldiers facing emotional problems and contemplating suicide may soon be able to use a smart phone application to connect them to help.

The Tennessee National Guard, the state’s reserve military force, launched a pilot program of the “Guard Your Buddy” app that was spearheaded by Clark Flatt, president and CEO of the Jason Foundation.

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Tech wrap: Will switch to QNX save RIM? Wed, 14 Dec 2011 20:46:21 +0000 Research In Motion has already doled out a big helping of bad news ahead of its financial results on Thursday, but surprises could still await investors hungry for details about what many see as a new, make-or-break BlackBerry.

Investors are desperate to know whether RIM will stand by its current timetable to switch its smartphones to the new QNX operating system by early next year. The transition is considered the Canadian company’s last, best chance to reverse its declining fortunes.

T-Mobile USA plans to market the Lumia 710 phone from Nokia to first-time smartphone buyers as the two companies push to recoup market share losses of recent years.

CNET’s Roger Cheng doesn’t hold any punches about the move.

“So let me get this straight: the former handset titan that badly needs another shot is debuting with the weakest nationwide carrier as its partner, using its middle-of-the-road phone as the kickoff device. Seriously?

Bloomberg reports that eBay’s PayPal business, aiming to challenge Groupon and in the market for online daily deals, plans to start offering coupons tailored to users’ buying habits and mobile-phone locations.

Google is making $11.5 million in grants to fight modern slavery and its hold on 27 million people worldwide, the technology company said on Wednesday.

The donation is believed to be one of the largest corporate initiatives ever to fight slavery.

Finally, almost a quarter of the European Union’s 500 million people have never used the Internet and there is a widening division between the web-savvy north of Europe and the poorer south and east, figures released on Wednesday showed.

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Tech wrap: Apple changes course on iAd Tue, 13 Dec 2011 20:54:04 +0000 The reports that Apple is softening its approach to its iAd mobile advertising service due to the tepid response as it loses ground to Google in the fast-growing mobile-ad market.

Marketers say they have been turned off by iAd’s high price tag as well as Apple’s hard-charging sales tactics and its stringent control over the creative process which has forced Apple to make some changes.

Facebook is probably not the first place that comes to mind when contemplating new career opportunities.

But, the career search website, hopes to change that with BeKnown, a professional networking app that allows users to build their professional identities within Facebook.

Staying with Facebook, Bloomberg reports that the social networking site is planning its first push into mobile advertising by the end of March, giving the company a fresh source of revenue ahead of a possible initial public offering, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

With Apple said to be in talks to buy Israel’s Anobit, a maker of flash storage technology, says that Flash memory is becoming one of the biggest tech stories of the year.

U.S. safety investigators called for a nationwide ban on texting and cell phone use while driving, a prohibition that would include certain applications of hands-free technology becoming more common in new cars.

Finally, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is planning to build a spaceship that could replace the Space Shuttle this decade.

Allen is hoping his new company — called Stratolaunch Systems — will launch unmanned rockets from a flying carrier plane to ferry government and commercial payloads into space and back, and eventually evolve to human space missions.


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Tech wrap: HP spinning off PC division Thu, 18 Aug 2011 20:00:54 +0000 Hewlett-Packard is close to a deal to buy software company Autonomy for $10 billion and will announce a long-rumored spinoff of its PC division.

Autonomy, which counts Procter & Gamble among a long list of major corporate customers that use its software to search and organize unstructured data like emails, confirmed it was in talks with HP.

Google+, which has picked up more than 25 million users since launching in June, is headed down the right path and is the first serious challenge to Facebook’s dominance.

Google’s infant social network, which counts Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as a member, has met skepticism so far but some venture capitalists see reason to be optimistic.

Speaking of Facebook, the social networking giant has won access to computers, files and emails it hopes will prove an upstate New York man’s claim to own half of Zuckerberg’s stake in the company is a fraud.

At issue is the authenticity of an alleged 2003 contract under which Paul Ceglia said he hired Zuckerberg, then a Harvard University freshman, to work on, a street-mapping website intended for the insurance industry.

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion is close to rolling out its own music streaming service that will work across its mobile devices.

The new service is likely part of an attempt by RIM to beef up its BlackBerry Messenger service as it seeks to compete with the mobile media platform strengths of rival Apple and of Google”s Android.

Are governments inching ever closer to the some form of censorship of social media?

British Prime Minister David Cameron has flirted with the idea after recent riots and Western democracies and emerging authoritarian states alike, the temptation to try and regain control through censorship may grow.

As governments draw up strategies for cyberspace they face fundamental questions about the power and limits of the state.

Finally, Blippar has developed a smart phone application which detects the shape of chocolate bars and other objects and converts them into virtual experiences.


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Tech wrap: Companies continue patent buys Wed, 17 Aug 2011 19:57:55 +0000 Tech giants continued attempts to shore up their patent portfolios continued on Wednesday, with InterDigital being targeted by Apple, Nokia and Qualcomm.

Bidders have been eager to get their hands on InterDigital”s 8,800 patents — including crucial 3G and 4G/LTE patents to strengthen operating software for smartphones.

Key potential bidder Google, who earlier this week acquired Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, has not formally withdrawn from the auction but it is unclear whether they will bid for the company.

In related news the head of Google’s rival Nokia warned that phone makers depending on Android software should worry about the Web search leader’s deal to buy Motorola Mobility.

Analyst concern about whether Motorola will get preferential treatment over rivals Samsung and HTC are justified said Nokia Chief Executive Stephen Elop.

Finally, want to buy a tablet but don’t want to break the bank doing it? Beetel Teletech has launched a 7-inch tablet priced at $220. The Beetel Magiq runs on Google’s Android operating system and supports both 3G and Wi-Fi networks, Beetel said in a statement.

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Tech wrap: Apple involved in legal battles Tue, 16 Aug 2011 20:06:13 +0000 Samsung can sell its latest iPad rival in most of Europe again after a German court lifted most of an injunction it had imposed at Apple’s request.

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab line of tablet computers has taken the market by storm and is considered the most credible alternative to the iPad, selling about 30 million since its launch a year and a half ago.

In other legal news, the shoe is on the other foot for Apple as smartphone maker HTC has sued the tech giant, seeking to halt U.S. imports and sales of Macintosh computers, iPads, iPods, iPhones and other devices because of alleged patent infringements.

HTC is alleging infringements of three patents obtained in 2008 and 2010, and which relate to Wi-Fi capability and other functions. It seeks compensatory damages as well as triple damages for willful infringement.

A day after Google’s $12.5 billion deal to acquire Motorola Mobility, Emanuel Derman wants to know if Google will tackle their lacking customer support or user interface.

Sony is slashing the price of its basic PlayStation 3 gaming console by nearly a fifth in the United States, hoping to jump-start sales of a device losing ground to Microsoft’s Xbox.

Finally, readers around the world can view the manuscripts of Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Arundel on the iPad.

The manuscript written in Da Vinci’s characteristic “mirror writing” — left-handed and moving from right to left — is a collection of notes, drawings and short treatises on subjects ranging from the physical properties of water to descriptions of a prehistoric sea monster.

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