MediaFile

Tech wrap: AT&T preps plan to salvage T-Mobile deal

AT&T was expected to soon present a two-track plan that allows the company to try to find a settlement before the government lawsuit to block its planned $39 billion acquisition of smaller rival T-Mobile USA reaches the court. Details of AT&T’s proposed settlement were not available, but it is expected to include pledges to maintain T-Mobile’s relatively cheap mobile subscription plans, and asset sales.

TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington created a venture capital fund to invest in promising start-ups, sparking controversy over possible conflicts of interest involving the fund and questions about the integrity of the blog. Included in the debate was Arrington’s employment status, with one AOL spokesperson claiming that Arrington was no longer employed by the owners TechCrunch, and another claiming he was. Arrington’s creation of the “CrunchFund” comes months after he publicly announced that he had begun to actively invest in start-up companies, which also triggered a lively debate within the industry.

A senior exec from Acer said Microsoft will be the winner in Google’s buy of Motorola Mobility as the deal makes Google a direct rival to its phone-making clients. “They work against some of their clients,” said Walter Deppeler, president of Acer’s operations in Europe, Middle East and Africa. “It was a good gift to Microsoft,” he told Reuters.  Acer uses operating software from both Microsoft and Google in its smartphones and tablets. Deppeler said Acer would consider the implications of the deal before deciding on future platform choices.

Pay-TV operator Starz Entertainment decided to stop providing its content for streaming on Netflix. Starz content includes exclusive rights to first-run Sony and Walt Disney movies and shows, but account for just 8 percent of U.S. subscribers’ viewing, Netflix said. Netflix shares ended the day down 8.6 percent. UBS analyst Brian Fitzgerald said the announcement underscores the long-term concern that rising content costs and increasing competition will continue to weigh on the company’s stock.

The New York Times, the Guardian, Der Spiegel, Spain’s El Pais and France’s Le Monde which collaborated with WikiLeaks condemned the website and its founder Julian Assange for making public thousands of “unredacted State Department cables, which may put sources at risk.” In a message posted on its Twitter feed, which Assange is believed personally to control, WikiLeaks confirmed on Friday it had released “251,287 US embassy cables in searchable format.” Earlier this week, WikiLeaks issued a lengthy statement accusing a Guardian journalist and a former WikiLeaks spokesman of having “negligently” disclosed top secret passwords to a copy of the cable database which had been floating, unnoticed, around the Internet for months.

Tech wrap: Google unveils Chromebook

Google took the wraps off two Chromebook laptop PCs after nearly two years of delays and touts of its Chrome operating system as an alternative to Microsoft Windows. Samsung and Acer laptops using Chrome OS will go on sale June 15, as the world’s No. 1 Internet search engine tries to entice people to do more on the Web. As with Android, Chrome software will be free, but is expected to spur people to use the Internet more often and search for more things, potentially boosting Google’s Internet ads business.

Despite recent indications that Google is priming Chrome for use in tablets, Google says that it is “fully focused on notebooks” for the foreseeable future, writes Mashable’s Ben Parr.

Facebook users’ personal information could have been accidentally leaked to third parties, in particular advertisers, over the past few years, Symantec said in its official blog. Third-parties would have had access to personal information such as profiles, photographs and chat, and could have had the ability to post messages, the security software maker said.  Facebook had taken steps to resolve the issue, the blog post said.

Netbook grows up, learns to play games

Slowly but surely, the netbook is growing up.

At first these sub-notebook machines were seen as weaklings. Now Nvidia Corp, which makes computer graphics cards, has teamed up with Lenovo to offer its second “ion” Netbook, following an announcement last month with Acer.  Nvidia’s suggestion for computer makers is to soup up the low-powered Intel Atom chips which run netbooks by combining them with Nvidia graphics cards.

The new product, the Lenovo IdeaPad S12, is touted by the companies as having the long life of Netbooks, but the quick graphics performance of Nvidia chips. It has a 12-inch screen and a keyboard, which puts it closer in size to the average laptop than to the average netbook.  Of course, the machine is priced closer to a low-powered laptop than it is to a traditional netbook, at $499 (if netbooks, being of such recent vintage, can be characterized as traditional).

The machine is said to run video games and other applications that usually can only limp along on a normal netbook. It runs all recent versions of Windows and will show high-definition Blue-ray movies.

Acer, Nvidia unveil pint-sized desktop PC

Nvidia and Acer on Tuesday unveiled a low-cost, full-featured desktop computer the size of hardback book, the first device based on Nvidia’s Ion platform.

The new Acer AspireRevo features an Nvidia graphics processing unit along with Intel Atom microprocessor. (Although they might sit comfortably together in the new PC, Intel and Nvidia continue to be bitter rivals in the chip world and battle each other in court.)

Nvida says the AspireRevo uses one-quarter the power of standard desktops and is 10 times faster than comparably priced PCs.  The system can do most things a full-sized PC can, including play high-definition video and games, share digital pics and Web surfing.