Tech wrap: Sony admits PlayStation Network privacy breach

April 26, 2011

A visitor plays with a Playstation at an exhibition stand at the Gamescom 2009 fair in Cologne in this August 22, 2009 file photo. Reuters/Ina Fassbender

An unauthorized person stole names, addresses and other personal data belonging to about 77 million people who have accounts on Sony’s PlayStation Network, Sony said. The person gained access to people’s names, addresses, email address, birthdates, usernames, passwords, logins, security questions and more, Sony said on its U.S. PlayStation blog.’s quarterly sales beat expectations but earnings fell steeply as it spent heavily on everything from online multimedia services to its Kindle e-reader. Net income for the world’s largest online retailer was $201 million, down 32.8 percent from $299 million, a year earlier. Revenue was $9.86 billion. “This is another investment year…It’s probably not going to be until Q4 that we see some leverage from that,” Lazard Capital Markets’ Colin Sebastian said.

Facebook began offering users in five U.S. cities Deals coupons, offering discounted prices or access to limited-availability goods. Facebook became the latest Internet heavyweight to jump into the daily deals market pioneered by Groupon. Last week, Google began marketing a new daily deals service called Offers to users in Portland, with plans to expand to San Francisco and New York, and invested $175 million in LivingSocial in December. Facebook will take a cut of each transaction, though declined to say how much.

Google’s Android beat out Apple’s iOS in a Nielsen survey of smartphone operating system market share. In March, 50 percent of smartphone owners who bought one in the past six months said they had chosen an Android device; 25 percent said they bought an iPhone; and 15 percent said they had picked a Blackberry phone. Of current smartphone owners, 37 percent owned an iPhone; 27 percent owned an iPhone; and 22 percent owned a BlackBerry.  The numbers mean Apple’s market share is “dead in the water“, writes Business Insider’s Henry Blodget.

Sony launched its first tablet computers in an ambitious attempt to grab the No.2 spot from Samsung in a fast-growing market dominated by Apple’s iPad. Sony is banking on the unusual, off-center design of its “S1″ tablet and access to first generation PlayStation games and other networked content to differentiate its products from the flood of tablets in the market. Sony gave no clues on how much it will charge for its glossy black slate or clamshell tablet.

Zynga poached COO of Electronic Arts John Schappert, sources familiar with the matter said. The social games company, which has enjoyed explosive growth with games such as FarmVille and CityVille, is gaining an executive with deep experience in leading a publicly traded video game company, which could help it gear up for an initial public offering, analysts said.

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