Taking its mobile strategy seriously, The Wall Street Journal is releasing a remodeled app that makes full use of Apple’s brand-new iOS 8 operating system. Along with “expanded notifications and continuous reading,” The Journal’s refreshed app is “a simplified and streamlined experience designed to take advantage of new features in Apple’s iOS 8,” Nieman Lab reports. Of note: Edward Roussel, Dow Jones’ head of products, says that about 85% of the publisher’s total app usage is on iOS devices.
News Corp. is complaining to the European Commission that it’s not taking a tough enough stance on Google. “In [a] strongly worded letter, [News Corp. CEO] Robert Thomson says ‘the shining vision of Google’s founders has been replaced by a cynical management,’” BBC News reports. “It calls Google a ‘platform for piracy’ whose power ‘increases with each passing day.’” In response, a Google spokesperson tells BBC News: “Phew! What a scorcher! Murdoch accuses Google of eating his hamster!”
Re/Code checks in on Gawker, where, according to publisher Nick Denton, business has never been better. With 280 employees generating 80 million uniques a month, it’s time for a fancy, new 60 square foot office, Denton has decided. Giving himself the grandest of missions, Denton tells Re/Code: “At stake is not just our own long-term future, but the viability of intelligent independent media in a sector dominated by hype-fueled ventures, media conglomerates and tech giants.”
During an otherwise disappointing fiscal third-quarter, Adobe this week said revenue from its digital marketing business -- including campaign management and analytics services -- rose 8% to $336.6 million. Overall, however, total revenue rose 1% to $1.01 billion, while analysts were expecting at least $1.02 billion, Reuters reports. “I think the market has come to expect perfection from this company and today was not perfect,” Edward Jones technology analyst Josh Olson told Reuters.
Courts documents unsealed this week show how the U.S. government threatened to fine Yahoo $250,000 a day for failing to provide it with private user communications, in 2008. The records “illuminate how federal officials forced American tech companies to participate in the National Security Agency’s controversial PRISM program,” The Washington Post reports. Though it believe the requests to be unconstitutional, Yahoo was one of a number of tech giant that did ultimately surrender personal user communications to the U.S. government.
It was probably only a matter of time, but Microsoft is reportedly erasing any and all uses of the Nokia brand name. That leaves “Lumia” as “the hero brand for upcoming devices,” Geeks On Gadgets reports. Based on an internal document obtained by the tech blog, “Microsoft is shying away from placing the Windows Phone logo next to their devices in promotions and advertisements, and will instead place the standard Windows logo alongside them (sans the ‘Phone’).”
TMZ.com, once derided by some (many?) as a sleazy gossip Web site, has officially earned the respect of The New York Times. Following a series of major scoops -- from audio of Donald Sterling’ racist remarks to video of Ray Rice’s domestic violence -- the paper of record concedes that TMZ’s “reporting is having an impact.” NYTimes then puts that impact in historical context. “Tabloids have always trafficked in gossip and scandal-mongering,” it writes. “The idea was never just to titillate, though; it was, at least in part, to hold the rich and powerful accountable.”
Google Glass is so unpopular in some circles that consumer products are emerging to block the headgear’s privacy invading powers. For less than $100, Glass-haters should soon be able to buy Cyborg Unplug -- a gadget that detects nearby devices, and kills their connections to local Wi-Fi networks, Wired reports. The contraption is also expected to deter other “potential surveillance gadgets like Google Dropcams, Wi-Fi-enabled drone copters, and certain wireless microphones,” according to Wired.
Some plucky tech companies, including Reddit, Etsy, Foursquare, and Kickstarter, are planning to protest the FCC’s net neutrality proposal. As The Verge reports, the group is going to mark next Wednesday, September 10, as a day of action, “during which they'll showcase net neutrality issues on their sites and drive visitors to contact the FCC, Congress and the White House.”
As expected, Google’s Megan Smith has been named country’s next chief technology officer. Among other attributes, “Smith … has a record of focusing on digital inclusiveness,” The Washington Post reports. “Before Google, she was the CEO of the online LGBT community PlanetOut … And she has worked to bring more women in the engineering and technology fields.” Also on Thursday, The White House named former Twitter lawyer Alexander Macgillivray as deputy U.S. CTO. Thus, “President Obama gets a pair of widely respected technology world figures, both steeped in the workings of some of Silicon Valley's biggest and highest-profile companies.”