WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. regulators are in the early stages of an antitrust probe into whether Google Inc, which dominates web display advertising, has broken antitrust law in how it handles some ad sales, a source told Reuters on Thursday. The source said that it was unlikely that the Federal Trade Commission had sent out civil investigative demands in relation to the probe, which would be the sign of a formal and more serious investigation. ...
By Poornima Gupta and Padraic Halpin SAN FRANCISCO/DUBLIN (Reuters) - Apple has operated almost tax-free in Ireland since 1980, welcomed by a government keen to bring jobs to what was then one of Europe's poorest countries, former company executives and Irish officials have said. Chief Executive Tim Cook faced criticism from a Senate subcommittee in Washington on Tuesday over the iPad and iPhone maker's tax practices, which had been shrouded from full view behind secretive tax-exempt Irish-based corporate entities. ...
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp did not violate a patent owned by Google subsidiary Motorola Mobility when it made its popular Xbox, the International Trade Commission said on Thursday. The fight over the Xbox is related to the larger smartphone patent war between Apple, Microsoft and the mobile phone makers who use Google's Android software, including its subsidiary Motorola Mobility. The case is at the International Trade Commission, No. 337-752. (Reporting by Diane Bartz)
By John O'Donnell BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Europe's top regulatory official is seeking to force large companies to disclose how much tax they pay in each country where they operate, a measure some politicians say could curb tax avoidance. Michel Barnier, the European commissioner in charge of drafting business regulation, said in a speech in Amsterdam that rules which will force banks to report their profits, taxes and subsidies by country from 2015 should be extended to cover other companies. "We will expand these reporting obligations to large companies and groups," he said on Thursday. ...
By Michelle Sierra NEW YORK (Reuters) - Activist investor Carl Icahn and Southeastern Asset Management Inc have initiated talks with banks and asset managers to line up commitments for as much as $7 billion in bridge loans to back their leveraged recapitalization proposal for Dell Inc, banking sources told Thomson Reuters LPC on Thursday. Jefferies & Co is leading the deal. Icahn and Southeastern are looking to lock in the financing before Dell shareholders meet in July to vote on a rival take-private offer from CEO Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners. ...
By Chandni Doulatramani and Malathi Nayak (Reuters) - GameStop Corp raised the lower end of its full-year earnings forecast on Thursday after beating fourth-quarter estimates, counting on a boost from new gaming consoles due later this year and further growth in digital and mobile sales. The videogame industry, which has struggled with declining sales as gamers migrate to mobile and social media platforms, is hoping for a strong finish to 2013 with the release of new titles like Take-Two Interactive Software's "Grand Theft Auto V" and Electronic Arts Inc's "Battlefield 4. ...
Thu, 23 May 2013 13:51:20 -0400
New Android apps worth downloading: Gravy - local events, CallSnap, Sonic the Hedgehog
Need help finding things to do? Grab Gravy, today's first app worth downloading, and find local events and all the information you need to plan to attend them. We've also got CallSnap, an app that lets you respond to a call you can't take by snapping and sending a photo. Finally, Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega's classic high-speed platformer, has finally come to Android for your old-school gaming approval.
Thu, 23 May 2013 08:18:11 -0400
Next-gen iPad will likely launch after iPhone 5S, feature iPhone 5-style rear mic
In addition to scoring rumors about the low-cost iPhone on Thursday, Japanese blog Macotakara also published the latest news on the fifth-generation iPad, which it says will likely launch after Apple releases the iPhone 5S in September and will feature a rear microphone located directly next to the camera, similar to the design of the iPhone 5. AppleInsider notes that early prototypes of the iPad mini also had a rear microphone but that this design was apparently ditched for the final version of the product. Earlier rumors have indicated that the fifth-generation iPad will take more design cues from the iPad mini, such as having thinner side bezels.
Thu, 23 May 2013 17:10:58 -0400
Prosecutor: IPad theft defendants ambushed victim
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Two men accused of killing a high school freshman who refused to let go of his iPad were like wild animals ambushing a weak victim, a prosecutor said Thursday.
Thu, 23 May 2013 17:08:10 -0400
Pandora posts in-line 1Q loss, upbeat sales
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Internet radio company Pandora Media Inc. reported higher-than-expected revenue in the latest quarter, with losses in line with analysts' forecasts, as the number of subscribers who pay for ad-free listening more than doubled to exceed 2.5 million.
Thu, 23 May 2013 17:43:27 -0400
Doesn't Ashton Kutcher know what happens to people who complain about how terrible Twitter has gotten since the good old days? They're shamed with the following adage: Twitter is what you make it, bro. Meaning, it's not Twitter's fault if you hate your feed, it's you and your bad taste in Twitter followers. And that's exactly the reaction the bygone Twitter darling is getting after blaming the media for "screwing" up Twitter. "Twitter's experience has changed for me, pretty drastically. ...
Thu, 23 May 2013 16:41:30 -0400
Apple to reportedly start production for cheaper iPhone in July
A new report suggests that Apple is preparing to begin testing its long-rumored low-cost iPhone sometime next month. According to Japanese website Macotakara, the handset will be available in a variety of colors, including Navy, Gold-Orange, White, Gray, Pink, Green, Blue and Yellow-Orange. Only 1,000 units of the low-cost iPhone will reportedly be produced for field tests in June, with consumer production slated to take place between July and September. Earlier reports claimed Apple would offer the device for as little as $99 or $149 from retailers. It has also been suggested that the cheaper iPhone would feature a shell made of polycarbonate plastic to bring the price down.
Thu, 23 May 2013 16:32:47 -0400
Learning a lesson from Facebook, Twitter has realized that the more it knows about us, the more valuable its ads can be, which is why it's working on a "custom audiences" tool that uses email addresses from retailers to serve more "relevant" ads for marketers, sources tell Bloomberg's Douglas MacMillan and Jon Erlichman. In an attempt to move beyond standard promoted tweets, Twitter is trying so hard to legitimize its business model that, well, you're about to find out just how much Twitter really knows about where you shop. ...
Thu, 23 May 2013 15:57:02 -0400
Skype faces trouble on both desktop and iPhone
It's no surprise that AIM and Yahoo Messenger are collapsing, with unique visitor counts declining by about 30-40% year on year, according to comScore. But it is fascinating that Skype (-12%) and Google Talk (-15%) are now losing ground now. There is no doubt that Facebook's messaging system is one major factor in the desktop messaging decline. Yet it's hard to avoid the notion that the rapidly multiplying messaging apps on smartphones are the biggest headache for Skype right now. Onavo's engagement data also shows Skype stalling when smartphone usage is measured. The share of iPhone users actively engaging with the Skype app slid from 16.7% to 16.5% in five months. In contrast, the WhatsApp engagement moved up from 7.6%
Thu, 23 May 2013 15:50:47 -0400
BlackBerry, Nokia, Apple could be hurt by flood of 'good enough' Android phones
While strong early sales for the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One have been making news lately, the real story for Android may be how well it does with lower-cost handsets in emerging markets. Barron's points us to a new note from Nomura Equity Research analyst Stuart Jeffrey, who thinks that many consumers in emerging markets will start upgrading to smartphones primarily because of "the increasing affordability and improved distribution of 'good enough' Android phones." But Jeffrey thinks that what's good for Android vendors is likely bad for non-Android vendors and notes that Nokia could find the emerging market transition from feature phones to smartphones particularly challenging. "With a leading 23% feature phone market share and just 2.8% smartphone market share,
Thu, 23 May 2013 15:15:29 -0400
Windows 8 sends Microsoft's customer satisfaction down to Vista levels
Despite racking up respectable license sales, Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system has done little to help struggling PC makers regain their footing. Microsoft will look to reverse the souring user sentiment later this year when it launches Windows 8.1, codenamed "Windows Blue," which will reportedly see Microsoft's Start button return along with an option to boot and log in directly to desktop mode. In the meantime, however, the damage has been done. According to this year's American customer satisfaction index report, Microsoft's customer satisfaction rating has now fallen to its lowest level since Windows Vista launched in 2007. Microsoft's customer satisfaction rating slid to 74 out of 100 in the new ASCI report, just one point higher than it was following Vista's launch.
Thu, 23 May 2013 14:40:36 -0400
ChannelAdvisor soars in debut
By Alistair Barr and Tanya Agrawal (Reuters) - ChannelAdvisor Corp shares soared more than 40 percent in their market debut on Thursday as investors bet the e-commerce software company will benefit from the rapid global spread of online buying and selling. The company's shares opened up 25 percent, after its initial public offering of 5.8 million shares was priced at $14 per share, the high end of its pricing range. ChannelAdvisor shares were trading up 40 percent at $19.54 on the New York Stock Exchange. They touched an intraday high of $19.73, valuing the company at about $400 million. ...
Thu, 23 May 2013 14:30:16 -0400
Video: Halo creator teases 'Destiny' for PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Game developer Bungie has teamed up with Iron Man director Jon Favreau and Breaking Bad's Giancarlo Esposito to release another teaser trailer for its upcoming game Destiny. Little is known about the lore behind the new science fiction first-person shooter, however expectations are already sky-high for the new game since Bungie was the studio responsible for the first three smash-hit Halo games. Destiny will be released for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One in 2014. Bungie is planning a "worldwide gameplay reveal" during Sony's E3 press conference on June 10th. The teaser video follows below.
Thu, 23 May 2013 14:05:27 -0400
HTC One is no flop: Shipments of HTC's potential savior approach 5 million
Many industry watchers believed the delayed launch of HTC's flagship HTC One smartphone would be its undoing. The notion wasn't exactly a stretch with Samsung's Galaxy S4 looming on the horizon, but comments made to The Wall Street Journal by an unnamed HTC executive suggest shipments of HTC's new flagship phone have been impressive thus far. According to the paper's report, an anonymous executive confirmed that HTC One sales into channels have reached about 5 million units in the month since the phone launched. "Orders are pretty good so far and are still more than what we can supply," the executive said. "This is partly due to the shortage of components. When the issue is resolved next month, we will
Thu, 23 May 2013 13:30:00 -0400
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Few have explored the remote volcanic islands of the Galapagos archipelago, an otherworldly landscape inhabited by the world's largest tortoises and other fantastical creatures that inspired Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.
Thu, 23 May 2013 13:24:25 -0400
Microsoft working on integrating Windows Phone with Xbox One
Microsoft is working on some important features for Windows Phone that could help it become more than an also-ran. Microsoft senior marketing manager Greg Sullivan tells PCMag that his company is working on a project with the goal of producing "an increased seamlessness and integration across" both Windows Phone and the Xbox One. Although Sullivan wouldn't go into any details about what this integration would entail, PCMag notes that Windows Phone 8 already "has Xbox-branded games and an Xbox-branded media store" that "lets you accumulate Xbox gamer points and connect to the Xbox Live network," so it seems that Microsoft has some very ambitious plans for making its mobile operating system a part of its gaming world in the future.
Thu, 23 May 2013 12:55:24 -0400
EU pledges 5 billion euros funding for electronics research
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union is pledging 5 billion euros ($6.5 billion) to boost research on semiconductors and other electronics items used in everything from smartphones to cars, in a bid to boost the sector which is lagging U.S. and Asian rivals. Europe's micro- and nano-electronics industry has grown 5 percent annually since 2000, even in the financial downturn. But the sector's level of investment and returns lag those of other regions. ...
Thu, 23 May 2013 12:40:24 -0400
Why does the iPhone 5 cost so much to repair?
Take your iPhone 5 to Apple with a broken display and the company will charge as much as $229 to swap it out. As MarketWatch notes, that's a pretty steep price to fix a phone that starts at $199 on contract. This is pretty bad news for iPhone owners; according to third-party gadget insurer SquareTrade, almost one out of every three iPhone owners damaged their phones last year. Why is it so expensive to fix iPhones? The simplest explanation is often the correct one: iPhone 5 parts are much more expensive than typical smartphone parts. Apple's restrictions on components are making parts so expensive, in fact, that some popular repair companies are refusing to service the iPhone 5. In the end, AppleCare is unfortunately still the
Thu, 23 May 2013 12:20:56 -0400
Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10 still don't offer apps people want
If you purchase a Windows Phone or BlackBerry 10 smartphone, don't expect to download the same applications your friends are using on their iPhones and Android devices. A new report from research firm Canalys has found that a majority of the top Android and iOS applications still aren't available on Windows Phone or BlackBerry 10. When combined, the two operating systems were found to only support 34% of the top 50 free and top 50 paid applications in the App Store and Google Play in the United States. The Windows Phone Store offered 16 of the top 50 free apps from the App Store, and 14 of the top 50 paid apps. The operating system fared slightly better when compared to Google
Thu, 23 May 2013 11:55:47 -0400
Shazam, the song-identifying app whose logo keeps making its way onto TVs for second-screen expansion, has expanded its smart-listening deeper into your life with a new automatic tagging feature that basically turns your iPhone or iPad into a personal little wiretap. (The new feature isn't available for Android yet.) To save users time, Shazam no longer requires users to tag songs, shows, or advertisements to get a fuller experience about said ditty, program, or marketing campaign. ...
Thu, 23 May 2013 11:26:03 -0400
Google Glass: Not just for nerds
Google Glass is a big deal. It marks the beginning of the next paradigm in consumer electronics, where intelligent wearable gadgets will take the place of common accessories rather than compliment them. BGR has argued that Glass itself likely won't sell terribly well because it is so unnatural, but it will instead evolve over time and serve as a jumping off point for wearable devices from Google and others that might appeal to a wider audience. Not everyone agrees, however, and Google's Developer Advocate Tim Bray recently shared his thoughts on Google Glass publicly for the first time. The biggest knocks against Glass are its jarring "dorky" look, its awful battery life and its privacy implications. Regarding battery life, Bray agrees
Thu, 23 May 2013 11:20:16 -0400
Netflix goes back to the basics, explaining what video streaming is, and how it works
Thu, 23 May 2013 10:57:34 -0400
Don't expect Google Fiber to come to your town anytime soon
Google Fiber has taken the United States, and the world, by storm. Google is looking to shake things up with extremely fast Internet speeds available at reasonable prices, while at the same time pressuring traditional industry players to adapt. But millions of Americans will be forced to settle with the mediocre speeds provided by their current Internet service providers, unfortunately. A recent report from market research firm IHS iSuppli suggests that Google is unlikely to deploy Fiber on a nationwide level. The firm believes the cost of building a national Fiber infrastructure will be too high for Google and the company is expected to remain a minor player in the U.S. broadband market. "While the deployment of Google Fiber to the
Thu, 23 May 2013 10:45:32 -0400
Some of the best technology writers in the world spill the beans on the most outdated gadgets they still own
Thu, 23 May 2013 10:45:01 -0400
Video: Microsoft takes a page from Samsung's Apple-bashing playbook in new ad
Samsung's smartphone commercials didn't really begin to generate any buzz until the company took aim at Apple and started to mock its products and users. Now, it appears Microsoft is going to try to take the same road to riches with Windows 8 and Windows RT. Alongside a new campaign that compares Windows RT tablets like the ASUS VivoTab Smart to the competition, Microsoft has debuted a clever ad that pits Apple's iPad against Windows RT. As the commercial shows off various features of Microsoft's tablet OS, Siri on Apple's iPad continuously complains that it cannot perform all of the functions being demoed on the Windows slate. The full video follows below.
Thu, 23 May 2013 10:10:31 -0400
BGR exclusively reported last week that HTC's First, also known as the "Facebook phone," will soon be discontinued at AT&T. Sales during the phone's first month of availability totaled less than 15,000 units according to our source, and AT&T has given up hope that things might turn around. According to a new report, AT&T isn't alone. Mobile News on Thursday reported that the HTC First's launch has been canceled in the United Kingdom. Facebook, which is footing the bill for HTC's new handset, reportedly made the decision and all preorders will be canceled. "The HTC First has been pulled and will never go on sale in the UK," the blog's unnamed source said. "Sales in the US were poor and Facebook
After taking a little break from the classic Mac-vs- PC wars to punch a little lower (at Samsung), Microsoft has decided to return to its old rivalry, hoping to revive slow Surface tablet sales with a little anti-Apple advertising. This latest spot is a robot-future version of the cool Mac-guy-and-dorky-PC-guy campaigns that Apple used to build up its hip-cred in the aughts. But instead of getting actors to do its bidding, Microsoft used dueling tablets, creating a Siri-vs. ...
Thu, 23 May 2013 09:21:15 -0400
It's official: Samsung's Galaxy S4 is the fastest-selling Android phone ever
We all expected Samsung to reach its goal of selling 10 million Galaxy S4 smartphones into distribution channels within the phone's first month of availability. An unnamed Samsung executive confirmed last week that shipments had reached 6 million units in two weeks following the phone's launch, and now Samsung is on record confirming that global channel sales of the Galaxy S4 have reached 10 million units. "On behalf of Samsung, I would like to thank the millions of customers around the world who have chosen the Samsung GALAXY S4. At Samsung we'll continue to pursue innovation inspired by and for people," Samsung's mobile boss JK Shin said in a statement. Samsung's Galaxy S III previously held the title of fastest-selling
Thu, 23 May 2013 08:50:26 -0400