• Yahoo Japan Talking Buyout With Yahoo
    Confirming what many expected, Yahoo Japan this week confirmed ongoing talks with its U.S. counterpart regarding the acquisition of outstanding assets. "Yahoo Inc. is still trying to finalize the mechanism (for selling its stake in Yahoo Japan) and we are cooperating with them," Akira Kajikawa, Yahoo Japan's chief financial officer, said at a news conference Wednesday, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. A key issue, according to WSJ, is the high tax penalty associated with Yahoo selling its stake in the Japanese company, which is reportedly valued at about $6 billion. “Yahoo Inc. is considering a complex asset swap ...
  • Google Debuts Public Alert Service
    In other Google news, the Web giant just debuted a new public alerts service, which will now be baked into Google Maps. Dubbed Google Public Alerts, the service will provide users with up-to-date information on emergency messages, such as hurricane and storm warnings. “Google will be providing weather, public safety and earthquake alerts, throughout the United States,” The Next Web reports. For the information, Google will rely on the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Weather Service, and the US Geological Survey. As TNW notes, Google Public Alerts users can search for key terms and locations to find out more about ...
  • Google Privacy Changes Jolt Critics
    No matter the platform, Google this week said it will begin tracking consumers as they use every one of its services, from Google search and Google+ to Gmail and YouTube. As USAToday notes, the news follows Facebook’s plan to make Timeline and Open Graph part of its default user interface. “These new services chronologically assemble and make more easily accessible the preferences, acquaintances and activities of its 800 million members,” it writes. Regarding the efforts of both companies, P.J. McNealy, an analyst at Digital World Research, said: "It's clear that they're doing this to chase more advertising revenue.” Yet, as ...
  • EU Mulls Harsh Privacy Protection Laws
    What are U.S. authorities doing to assure consumers that the information they share online is secure? Good question. Across the Atlantic, however, the European Union says companies could soon face fines as high as 2% of yearly global sales for losing users’ personal data. As Bloomberg reports: “Data protection agencies in the EU’s 27 countries would gain the power to sanction companies that violate requirements for handling personal information proposed by the European Commission today.” Of particular notes, the measures target online- advertising and social networking sites -- something that US companies will a European presence (Google, Facebook, etc.) will ...
  • Twitter Buys "Anti-Malvertising" Start-up
    In the interest of more secure ad products, Twitter this week acquired spam and malware protection service Dasient. Mashable sees the deal as an effort to bolster Twitter’s forthcoming self-serve advertising service, which is currently being beta tested by a small number of advertisers. According to a Twitter spokesperson, Dasient’s team will be integrated into Twitter’s “revenue engineering team because they have a deep understanding of advertising-platform security issues.” Founded by former Google employees and funded by Google Ventures, as Mashable reports, Dasient launched an “anti-malvertising” service in 2010 and has been active in securing ad networks. Meanwhile, Twitter is ...
  • Report: Microsoft Scrapping Virtual Currency
    Microsoft is in the process of discontinuing its Points virtual currency system, reports Inside Mobile Apps, citing a single source. The change -- which would affect developers for Windows Phone, the Zune marketplace and Xbox Live -- is expected to be completed before the end of the year, at which point consumers will need “real money” to purchase Windows Phone content. “The move puts the Windows Phone Marketplace in line with the purchasing practices used in the App Store and the Android Market,” according to Inside Mobile Apps. While Microsoft would not comment on the move, mobile developers that have ...
  • Google+ Adds Friends To Search
    Continuing to integrate its various services, Google just introduced a new Google+ feature that lets users ask friends about search results. The search giant is currently testing the new “Ask on Google+” feature, which appears at the bottom of users’ search results. As VentureBeat reports, users can click the link to ask their friends any question related to restaurants, movies, or other topics. “Google has taken social interaction with your friends to another level,” VB writes. Users' questions will automatically be posted to their Google+ stream for friends to answer. “Our goal for search is to help you find the ...
  • Apple Textbook Sales Strong
    Off to a promising start, consumers have downloaded more than 350,000 textbooks in the three days since Apple debuted its education initiative. That’s according to Global Equities Research, which also found that some 90,000 users downloaded the Apple’s ebook authoring software, iBooks Author. Apple unveiled the “Textbook” category in its iBooks app last week, originally offering two textbooks from partners McGraw- Hill, Pearson and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, priced at $14.99 or less. “Apple’s ambitions, however, go far beyond these two books,” writes Mashable. “With iBooks Author it aims to make it easy for everyone to create an ebook or a ...
  • Nokia/Microsoft Phones Selling Well
    How popular is the Lumia, i.e., Nokia’s first phone running Microsoft software? Popular enough, Bloomberg suggests, to regain investor confidence in the company despite losing $19 billion in market value last year. The Lumia handsets, which went on sale in Europe in November, “probably” sold 1.3 million units globally to operators and retailers by the end of last year, Bloomberg estimates, based on the average estimate of 22 analysts. “The projections range from 800,000 to 2 million and only one analyst predicted sales of fewer than 1 million handsetsm” it reports. On average,“The numbers look promising,” says Espen Furnes, an ...
  • CEO Shift At Battered RIM
    Giving in to investor unrest, Research In Motion co-CEOs, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, have turned over the top job to Thorsten Heins -- the company’s co-chief operating officer. Putting the change in context, The Wall Street Journal writes: “For months, investors have clamored for a significant strategic overhaul, fresh leadership or a sale of the company as the BlackBerry maker struggled to stay competitive with rivals Apple Inc. and Google Inc. amid operational blunders and a tumbling share price.” The WSJ suggests that the change is more drastic than some expected, though it expects some critics to call for ...
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