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EU Rides Apple Over Weak In-App Purchase Policies
July 23, 2014
The EU last year adopted a "common position" on how purchases made within mobile and online applications should be treated by operators of app stores. Now Google is drawing praise for striving to comply with EU guidance, while Apple is being rebuked for dragging its feet. Google announced specific steps it's taking, including removal of the word "free" from any app that enables in-app purchases.
Black Hat Tor-Busting Talk Nixed
July 22, 2014
The Tor Project is working to remedy a vulnerability in its anonymity software following the sudden cancellation of a talk at next month's Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas that would have revealed it. The planned talk would have demonstrated a way to unmask users of Tor, the privacy-minded Web browsing software. CMU researcher Alexander Volynkin was to deliver the briefing.
Long, Hot Summer Angling for Military Health Records Contract
July 22, 2014
Vendors could be spending a busy summer preparing to respond to a major federal IT project. The Defense Department is planning to issue a request for bids on a multibillion dollar EHR system by the end of September. The objective of the program is to modernize DoD's EHR system and to make records accessible to the VA, as well as to private medical providers.
Investors Wise to Secret's Tantalizing Promise
July 22, 2014
Secret last week announced that a recent round of funding, to the tune of $25 million, would help it expand its social networking reach. Since its launch about six months ago, Secret has provided a platform for users to post anonymous notes on topics ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime. Though its draw is anonymity, Secret points users to posts by people in their circle of friends.
Judge Rules Police Can Stuff Entire Email Accounts Into Evidence Lockers
July 21, 2014
Concerns about overly broad searches of digital data by law enforcement once again have emerged after a federal judge issued an opinion stating officials armed with a warrant can seize and hold a suspect's entire email account. Such an action would not violate the suspect's rights under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, said U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein.
Nokia X, We Hardly Knew Ye
July 21, 2014
"I told you so" is a refrain that's oft-heard here in the Linux blogosphere, and more often than not it refers to some fleeting Microsoft tie with FOSS that subsequently goes wrong. The latest example? It's a doozy. Redmond not only is laying off many, many thousands -- most of them in its ill-fated Nokia unit -- but also abandoning its short-lived support of Android through the Nokia X line.
Layoffs: There's a Right Way
July 21, 2014
Microsoft last week announced a large staff reduction tied to the acquisition of Nokia. There is actually a science to how to make layoffs, but much of that appears to have been lost over the last couple of decades. I have some theories as to why, but how you carry out job cuts actually is very important, and it reflects how well the CEO understands people.
Apple Settles E-Book Price-Fixing Case for $450 Million, Maybe
July 18, 2014
Apple has agreed -- conditionally -- to settle a lawsuit over allegations of fixing the prices of e-books brought against it by the attorneys general of 33 states in the United States, following a protracted legal battle. The settlement is subject to approval by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, which ruled on the case in September.
Red Hat's Inktank Buy Bears 1st Fruit
July 17, 2014
Scarcely two months have passed since Red Hat announced plans to acquire open source storage company Inktank, but already the union has produced results: Inktank Ceph Enterprise 1.2, which made its debut Wednesday. Ceph is a scalable, open source, software-defined storage system that runs on commodity hardware. "Our goal is to do for storage what Linux did for servers," said Red Hat's Ross Turk.
Microsoft CEO Nadella Hones His Axe
July 17, 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Thursday announced the elimination of 18,000 jobs -- roughly one in seven of the company's workforce -- in the next year. About 12,500 of the positions eliminated will be at Nokia. However, Microsoft will add jobs in "certain other strategic areas." Microsoft's time span may be shorter than Nadella's statement indicated, however.
Dish's Hopper DVR Is No Aereo
July 17, 2014
Dish Network this week chalked up another legal victory for its Hopper DVR service. An appeals court rejected Fox's bid to disallow some features in the Hopper platform, namely the place-shifting capabilities of Dish Anywhere and Hopper Transfers. Dish Anywhere gives Hopper customers the option to view content remotely from Internet-connected devices like tablets, smartphones and computers.
The Big Honking Business-as-Usual IBM-Apple Deal
July 17, 2014
The news that Apple and IBM have joined forces sent a shockwave through the Apple-focused world this week, and I admit it, I was surprised. At first glance, the deal seems to be this big group hug with the two companies becoming inextricably entwined. Yeah, it's not that. In fact, this is the biggest deal that really isn't all that "BIG" that I've seen in a long time.
Google, Novartis Team on 'Invisible' Health Monitor
July 16, 2014
Novartis' Alcon eye care division has entered an in-license agreement governing all ocular medical uses for Google's smart contact lenses, it announced Tuesday. Google unveiled a prototype of its glucose-monitoring lens in January. Novartis is aiming to expand its healthcare horizons. There are 382 million diabetics around the world today and that number is expected to grow to 582 million by 2035.
Apple, IBM Bond Over Big Business
July 16, 2014
Apple and IBM have teamed up on enterprise mobility in an exclusive partnership that will create iPhone and iPad business apps incorporating IBM's Big Data and analytics capabilities. "Mobility has been very much a catch-as-catch-can solution in most businesses," noted Yankee Group Research Vice President Carl Howe, with enterprises having to consider a variety of vendors.
Here Come the Cloud-Based Big Data Management Services
July 16, 2014
The explosive growth of data is one of the biggest challenges facing organizations of all sizes across nearly every industry, and a growing number of cloud service providers are recognizing that they can provide more than just simple storage and economical compute power to their customers buried in data. They also can help them manage their processing needs on an ongoing basis.
Microsoft Layoff Rumor Gets Mostly Good Vibes
July 15, 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella may launch a massive round of layoffs, possibly this week. Some details reportedly are still being worked out. Layoffs have been widely expected since Microsoft purchased Nokia, and Nadella's recent memo to Microsoft employees signaled they might soon be at hand. The layoffs are long overdue, said Mukul Krishna, digital media senior global director at Frost & Sullivan.
Comcast Rep Tears Into Fleeing Customer 'Like a Pit Bull on a Pork Chop'
July 15, 2014
Comcast on Tuesday was scrambling to repair the damage after a phone representative's rude treatment of a couple trying to disconnect their service went viral, thanks to a recording posted on the Web. The couple -- former Engadget editor Ryan Block, now at AOL, and his wife, TV host and writer Veronica Belmont -- called Comcast over the weekend and asked to cancel their service over the phone.
Internet Heavyweights Lock Arms to Block Fast Lane
July 15, 2014
A trade association including Amazon, Google and Netflix on Monday called on the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to adopt rules banning deals by broadband providers for faster delivery of some Internet traffic. The Internet Association, in written testimony submitted to the FCC, called for simple "light touch" rules to ensure an open and neutral Internet.
There May Be More to Salesforce's RelateIQ Buy Than Meets the Eye
July 14, 2014
Salesforce.com will shell out $350 million in common stock for RelateIQ in a deal expected to close by October. It will provide another $40 million dollars in stock for its cash balance. RelateIQ will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Salesforce, according to an SEC filing. "This gives Salesforce more of a footprint in process orientation," said Denis Pombriant, principal of Beagle Research.
Amazon Floats Drone Exemption Proposal to FAA
July 14, 2014
Amazon is ramping up its drone delivery project and is hoping approval to conduct outdoor testing on its own property. The company has petitioned the FAA for an exemption from rules barring it from testing the devices. Amazon last year revealed it was working on a project that would allow it to deliver small packages to consumers within 30 minutes of ordering via the unmanned aerial vehicles.

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