MediaFile

Tech wrap: Samsung to take smartphone crown

Samsung will become the world’s largest smartphone maker this quarter followed by Apple, overtaking struggling Nokia which has lead the market since 1996, Nomura said. Research firms Gartner and Canalys both said they saw Nokia — which created the smartphone market with its 1996 launch of the Communicator model — losing smartphone volume leadership later this year.

Facebook is preparing to file for an initial public offering as early as October or November that could value the social networking site at more than $100 billion, CNBC reported. Goldman Sachs is leading the chase to manage the offering, which could come in the first quarter of 2012, CNBC said.

The Wall Street Journal’s Shira Ovide sums up what is known about Facebook’s IPO. Perhaps one of the most interesting facts is only a couple dozen U.S. companies, such as Exxon Mobil, GE and J.P. Morgan Chase, have stock-market values above $100 billion.

Google  plans to buy online advertising company AdMeld to grab a larger slice of the market for graphical display ads. Google did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, although TechCrunch reported last week that Google paid roughly $400 million, citing anonymous sources.

Governments, multinational corporations and global institutions are losing the battle against computer hackers and must combine their resources if they are to lock out cyber intruders, experts say. The International Monetary Fund has joined Sony and Google on a growing list of hacking victims but it is hard to identify the culprits who consistently manage to keep one technological step ahead of their pursuers. “This is an example of technology developing faster than the frameworks and sometimes the regulations around that,” said Unilever chief executive Paul Polman on the sidelines of a World Economic Forum meeting in Jakarta.

Tech wrap: Spain makes Sony attack arrests

Spanish police arrested three men suspected to be members of the hacker group Anonymous, charging them with organizing cyber attacks against the websites of Sony, Spanish banks BBVA and Bankia, and Italian energy group Enel SpA– but not the recent massive hacking of PlayStation gamers. Anonymous responded by threatening to retaliate for the arrests: “We are Legion, so EXPECT US,” the group said on its official Twitter feed.

EU countries agreed on tougher sanctions against people conducting cyber attacks. Under the new rules, which have to be agreed by the European Parliament, hackers would face a sentence of at least five years if found guilty of causing serious damage to IT systems.

Nokia was expected to report a loss for this quarter and next as it cuts prices to try to prevent more customers defecting to rivals’ smartphones, a Reuters poll found. Analysts also forecast a meager profit in the normally buoyant fourth quarter, as the once-undisputed leader in mobile phones loses the initiative to smartphones like Apple’s iPhone and devices based on Google’s Android software.

Tech wrap: Myspace sale saga nears end

An investor group involving Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick is in final talks to take a controlling stake in News Corp’s social network site Myspace, according to a source familiar with the matter. Kotick’s involvement is personal and nothing to do with Activision at this stage, the source said.

News Corp, which paid $580 million for Myspace in 2005, had hoped to do a deal valuing Myspace at about $100 million, but sources said it was unlikely to achieve that target.

Major U.S. banks came under growing pressure from banking regulators to improve the security of customer account information after Citigroup became the latest high-profile victim of a large-scale cyber attack. While Citigroup insisted the breach had been limited, experts called it the largest direct attack on a major U.S. financial institution, and forecast it could drive momentum for a systemic overhaul of the banking industry’s data security measures.

Tech wrap: Apple “spaceship” to tackle “weed” problem

Apple plans to build a circular “spaceship” building in hometown Cupertino — and be the best office building in the world, CEO Steve Jobs said. The ailing Jobs, formally on leave from the company, made his second public appearance in two days late on Tuesday to show off plans to the Cupertino city council. Apple has grown “like a weed” Jobs said, and needs a place to put roughly 12,000 people. The massive new structure would be in addition to the main campus at 1 Infinite Loop.

Facebook is providing European regulators with information about its use of facial recognition technology, in response to concerns about the company’s roll-out of the technology’s availability outside of the U.S.. Facebook said there was no “formal investigation” under way. The move comes after comments by Gerard Lommel, a Luxembourg member of the so-called Article 29 Data Protection Working Party, who said the group would study Facebook’s use of facial recognition technology for possible rules violations, according to a report in Bloomberg earlier on Wednesday.

EBay is hunting for acquisitions to speed up its development of image recognition and augmented reality features as the online retailer and auctioneer seeks to capitalize on the potential of mobile phones to help consumers make impulse purchases. Steve Yankovich, head of eBay mobile, told Reuters his division had the company’s full support to spend money on innovative technology, as the fastest growing part of eBay which is helping to renew the 15-year-old company’s image.

Steve Jobs’s biggest gadget yet

“Apple’s grown like weeds” begins Apple CEO Steve Jobs at a presentation to the Cuptertino City Council. Jobs rocked the PC industry with the Mac. He’s roiled the music industry with the iPod. Then back again to the PC industry with the iPad. Now, he wants his own UFO/HQ. Business Insider summarizes.

Here are some images of illustrations included in the proposal for the new Apple Campus, courtesy of Cupertino City Hall:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rule Britannia? FT fires warning shot at Apple

The release of a Financial Times app that bypasses Apple’s App Store is a warning shot at the iPad maker’s quest to rule the high seas of digital publishing.

Launched just hours after Apple announced Newsstand, the iPad maker’s destination to access digital versions of mags and rags, FT made clear why it created the app:

“We are determined to make it as accessible as possible for the user,” John Ridding, chief executive of the FT told Reuters. “Readers will be able to get our journalism through whatever device or channel they may choose.”

Apple and Twitter: A New Power Duo?

One big winner coming out of Apple’s developers’ conference on Monday is Twitter.

Apple announced that the Internet microblogging service will be integrated directly into future versions of the iPhone and iPad software.

That means iPhone users can quickly publish information on Twitter by tapping on a photo taken with the iPhone’s camera, or by tapping on a news article in the phone’s Web browser.

Tech wrap: Steve Jobs pitches Apple’s iCloud

Apple CEO Steve Jobs emerged from medical leave to launch an Internet-based service for consumers called the iCloud, which lets users play their music and get access to their data from any Apple device. Jobs walked briskly onstage after James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good)” blasted over the sound system, but shared the spotlight with other Apple execs who showcased Apple’s enhancements to its PC operating system and mobile platform.

Jobs laid out his vision for the iCloud with the elminiation of MobileMe, a subscription-based collection of online services and software. Jobs said the iCloud will allow people to share book purchases, music and data in general, such as calendar items, across different devices, while backing up and updating information regularly.

Among the new features for Apple’s OS X Lion operating software were an improved email infrastructure and multi-touch features. Early impressions by experts watching the presentations were favorable.

Live coverage: Steve Jobs at Apple’s 2011 developers conference

Apple CEO Steve Jobs leaps back into the spotlight to unveil the iCloud, an online music storage and streaming service that investors hope will be the next source of growth for the maker of the popular iPhone and iPad mobile devices.

Reuters covers the event live, starting at 10:00 a.m. PT ( 1 p.m. ET).

Tech wrap: Apple’s iCloud on the horizon

Apple will pay between $100 million and $150 million to the four major music labels in order to get its music streaming service iCloud started, according to the New York Post.

Besides increasing the consumer appeal of future Apple gadgets because they’ll need less computer memory, the company’s iCloud service will make it more likely that subscribers will stick with Apple products, Robert Cyran writes. If users store data and programs remotely, devices blend together, Cyran argues.

Together with colleagues and analysts, I’ll be covering Steve Jobs’s keynote speech at Apple’s WWDC live on Monday at 10:00 a.m. PT (1:00 p.m. ET). Chime in at: http://live.reuters.com/Event/Apples_2011_WWDC_Keynote_Speech