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Apple Knuckles Under to Taylor Swift
June 23, 2015
Apple has given in to a demand from pop diva Taylor Swift to pay royalties to owners of music streamed by its Apple Music service. "We hear you, @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple," tweeted Eddy Cue, who oversees Apple's content stores. "Apple will always make sure that artist[s] are paid." Cue's tweets might resolve the firestorm Swift ignited over the weekend.
Rumors Tell the Apple Watch Story
June 22, 2015
Apple hasn't been saying much, as usual -- but insiders and analysts are fitting together pieces of the Apple Watch puzzle through sales estimates, revelations about the vast gulf separating production costs from final prices, and expected features of the next version. CEO Tim Cook recently said the company was off to an "exciting start to the June quarter with the launch of Apple Watch."
Skies May Soon Be Friendlier to Amazon Drones
June 19, 2015
Amazon on Wednesday appealed to members of Congress to approve use of its fleet of drones for package deliveries. Electrically powered drones could deliver packages to consumer homes and offices faster, more efficiently and with less environmental impact than automobiles, Paul Misener, vice president of global public policy at Amazon, suggested in testimony before the House Oversight Committee.
Hyperloop Dreams May Become Concrete
June 19, 2015
SpaceX this week announced plans to construct a mile-long Hyperloop test track next to its headquarters in Hawthorne, California, scheduled for completion by June 2016. The company concurrently announced an open competition for university students and independent engineering teams to design and build the best Hyperloop pod. Entrants will be able to test their pods on the track.
US Internet Handoff Generates Sparks in Congress
June 19, 2015
The U.S. government has played a central -- perhaps critical -- role in the development of the Internet. Currently the U.S. retains a stewardship position in the worldwide operation of the Internet through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, an agency within the Commerce Department. That stewardship is slated to end, however.
Uber Loses Crucial California Legal Battle
June 18, 2015
Uber on Tuesday filed an appeal of a California Labor Commission ruling that is widely viewed as a threat to the company's business model. The ruling resulted from a claim filed by a San Francisco driver against Uber last year. The commission found that the plaintiff was an employee of Uber rather than an independent contractor, as the company had maintained.
Senators Aim to Ground FBI's Warrantless Spy Planes
June 17, 2015
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., on Wednesday introduced legislation that would require federal government agents to get a warrant before snooping from the sky. "Americans' privacy rights shouldn't stop at the treetops," Wyden said. The issue came to a head following the revelation earlier this month that the FBI was engaged in warrantless aerial surveillance across the U.S.
Anatomy of a CEO Failure
June 15, 2015
Much to Apple's dismay, I cover Apple events. One of the questions that frequently came up during its recent developer conference centered on Tim Cook. Was he becoming Steve Ballmer? The implication was that Steve was a failure at Microsoft, so the comparison didn't reflect well on Cook. I think this idea is wrongheaded, although Tim Cook's situation bears some similarity to Steve Ballmer's.
Costolo Out in Twitter's Latest Round of Musical Chairs
June 12, 2015
Twitter is changing CEOs for the fourth time in four years. Incumbent Dick Costolo is stepping down July 1 and company cofounder Jack Dorsey will take over as interim CEO while the board searches, both internally and externally, for a suitable candidate to hold the post. Costolo will remain on Twitter's board, and Dorsey will continue to serve as CEO of Square, which he also cofounded.
Duqu 2.0 Makes Other Malware Look Clunky
June 12, 2015
Duqu 2.0 may have just snatched the title of "most sophisticated malware ever," according to Kaspersky Lab, which published a report on the new threat this week. Kaspersky discovered Duqu 2.0 after the malware penetrated its own internal networks. "The philosophy and way of thinking of the Duqu 2.0 group is a generation ahead of anything seen in the APT world," said Kaspersky's Kurt Baumgartner.
Beware the Killer Robots
June 12, 2015
Russia's advanced military combat robot -- which has drawn alarmed comparisons to Hollywood's Terminator -- will be able to run and clear an obstacle course by late this year, according to reports this week. That's just the latest news fueling the already-fiery debate over what to do about killer robots. Stuart Russell, a UC Berkeley professor, believes the issue is urgent.
US Snooping Costs High-Tech Sector $35B and Counting
June 10, 2015
Other countries' concerns over U.S. government surveillance programs likely will cost American businesses more than $35 billion, according to a report released Tuesday by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation. Originally it was thought that the fallout from Edward Snowden's revelations of U.S. mass surveillance programs would be limited to cloud service providers.
It's Hard to See WWDC Through My Apple TV Tears
June 4, 2015
By the time you read this, I'll have finished swearing in the privacy of my office, and likely will have entered the acceptance stage of grief. Already, realization is dawning that I was right to withhold hope that Apple would reveal a new Apple TV at its WorldWide Developers Conference on Monday. I hate it when pessimism wins. But how can I know that Apple isn't going to introduce a new Apple TV?
And the Dish Ran Away With T-Mobile?
June 4, 2015
T-Mobile, which has tried unsuccessfully several times to get acquired, is now in talks with Dish, according to press reports. The purchase price and possible cash-stock mix that could pay for the deal remain to be thrashed out. The two companies reportedly are planning a merger with Dish CEO Charlie Ergen to chair the new company and T-Mobile head John Legere (shown here) to be its CEO.
AT&T May Leave Anti-Net Neutrality Ranks
June 3, 2015
AT&T has just revealed what it would take for it to change its stance on Net neutrality: regulators' approval of its purchase of DirecTV. The company has offered to accept the rules adopted by the FCC early this year, according to reports. It was just last month that the FCC denied petitions from a slew of companies -- including AT&T -- to delay its implementation of the rules.
Customer Satisfaction With Pay-TV, ISPs Hits New Low
June 2, 2015
"Customer first" is the motto businesses live by -- or should -- but that doesn't seem to resonate with companies providing pay-TV or Internet-access services, based on ACSI data gathered in Q1 of 2015. Customer satisfaction with information services fell to 68.8 percent, the lowest level in seven years. Subscription-TV services and ISPs are at the bottom of the 43 industries covered by the index.
Nintendo Scotches Android Console Rumor
June 2, 2015
Nintendo not only has embraced the idea of releasing its iconic intellectual properties for mobile devices, but also is planning to base its next videogame console on a version of the Android operating system, according to a Japanese-language business publication. The publication claimed an inside source revealed that Nintendo's next console, code named "NX," will run on Android.
Senate Ready to Rumble Over Freedom Act Amendments
June 2, 2015
The U.S. Senate on Tuesday voted to close debate on the USA Freedom Act, a measure that would prohibit the NSA from the indiscriminate collection Americans' phone call data. The bill already has passed in the House. However, the brawling over the bill is not quite over. The Senate has yet to address several proposed amendments to the legislation before voting on it later on Tuesday.
5 Reasons Jony Ive's Step Back Is Apple's Step Forward
May 28, 2015
There seem to be two major reactions to the "promotion" of Apple's Jonathan Ive to the newly created position of chief design officer: first, that he deserves the recognition and reward; and second, that this is the beginning of the end for Jony Ive's tenure at Apple. Apple released the news in the UK... on Monday, which was the Memorial Day holiday in the United States.
Charter, TWC Approval May Not Be Enough to Revitalize Cable
May 28, 2015
Will the Charter Communications, Time Warner Cable merger be approved? Comcast and Time Warner Cable decided to merge last year, but that deal eventually was blocked by regulators. After it fell apart last month, we all wondered what big deal might be next. Now we know. So will the Charter, TWC deal be approved? It's way too early in the process to know for sure one way or the other.
Charter, TWC Merger Could Be Fine With Feds
May 26, 2015
Charter Communications on Tuesday announced a deal to acquire and merge with Time Warner Cable, and also reaffirmed its commitment to buy Bright House Networks. The $56 billion cash-and-stock acquisition, if regulators give it a nod, will result in a merger of Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable under a new parent company called "New Charter." The deal values TWC at $78.7 billion.
Spy Agencies Planned to Corrupt Google Play
May 22, 2015
The United States and its leading Western allies, known as the "Five Eyes," reportedly planned to hack into smartphones through their links to Google and Samsung's app stores. They wanted to infect apps with spyware and find ways to send misinformation to targets, according to documents released to the media by National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
Popcorn Time Offers Smooth-as-Butter Streaming
May 20, 2015
Popcorn Time, known as the "Netflix for Pirates," has introduced a browser-based service that lets users play streaming videos without having to download anything. The videos play on the company's servers. However, the browser-based service does not include a built-in virtual private network, a feature of the downloadable Popcorn Time app. Most of the videos stream in HD.
Researcher's Airplane-Hacking Claims May Not Fly
May 19, 2015
A security researcher who last month bragged he'd hacked into a passenger jet's internal computer systems while in flight appears to have performed the act more than a dozen times over a three-year period. Chris Roberts, founder and CTO of One World Labs, told FBI investigators earlier this year that he'd hacked into the flight systems of commercial passenger aircraft from 15-20 times.

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Is Microsoft starting to get cool again?
Yes - thanks to Satya Nadella's vision.
Yes - but only in certain areas, like AI and VR.
Maybe - it doesn't seem as stodgy as before.
No - it never was.
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