Tech wrap: Google to launch music service

November 16, 2011

Social media and mobile communications will be the two big targets for Google Inc when it unveils a new music store for users late Wednesday, according to people familiar with its plans. However, the giant web search company’s new music partners have already labeled the service “unexciting.” Music executives had been hoping for a more groundbreaking, fully functional cloud-based service; but after licensing talks broke down earlier this year, Google scaled back their ambitions.

Rambus lost an antitrust trial against Micron Technology Inc and Hynix Semiconductor Inc, with a jury snatching away the chip designer’s chance at a multi-billion dollar reward and decimating the company’s stock market value. Rambus attorneys had argued that South Korea’s Hynix and Idaho-based Micron colluded to fix prices of memory chips used in personal computers and to prevent Rambus’s technology from becoming widely used. Rambus claimed the deal cost it up to $4.38 billion in lost profits. When Rambus shares resumed trading Wednesday afternoon following the decision they fell 60 percent.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Sony has already started talking to big media companies like NBCUniversal, Discovery Communications and News Corp. about launching an alternative to cable TV. In what would be a threat to the well-established business of cable and satellite distributors, the Sony service would offer live programming over an internet-enabled Sony device, cutting out the need for cable boxes, satellite dishes or regular antennae.

IDG News reports that Apple’s Steve Jobs initially hoped to create his own network with the unlicensed spectrum that Wi-Fi uses rather than work with mobile operators.

Western institutions such as the IMF, Louis Vuitton and Unilever have joined Weibo, China’s most popular microblogging platform with over 250 million mostly educated and white collar users. Reuters reports Weibo has quickly become the place to promote, lobby and win over the important Chinese audience, as Twitter, Facebook and other social media are blocked there by a government worried that unfettered Internet access could undermine Communist Party rule.

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