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Microsoft, Nokia March to Altar
April 22, 2014
Microsoft's ambitious $7.4B acquisition of Nokia's mobile business is set to close. There have been some minor changes to the deal since its announcement, said Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith. The original deal did not address the management of online assets, for example. The two companies have agreed that Microsoft will manage the Nokia.com domain and social media sites for the next year.
Popular UK Sports File-Sharing Site Shuttered
April 22, 2014
The Sports Torrent Network, a brazenly named file-sharing site, shut down after UK police threatened to put its operators behind bars for up to 10 years. TSTN was a hotbed for illicit broadcasts of European soccer, the National Hockey League, Formula 1 races and more. The site reportedly had about 20,000 members, making it "possibly the largest site of its type."
Samsung Strikes Deal With Fellow Apple Patent Foe
April 16, 2014
Samsung, longtime patent foe of Apple, will partner with Swiss Federal Railways, another -- unlikely -- Apple patent foe. While the deal itself may not be groundbreaking -- Samsung will supply the state-owned rail company with 30,000 mobile devices -- it is interesting given both parties' litigious background with Apple. Samsung's court battles with Apple have been documented ad nauseum.
Drone Wars: Google Snatches Titan From Facebook's Grasp
April 15, 2014
Google has acquired Titan Aerospace, a drone maker that could help its efforts to improve Internet access worldwide. Facebook reportedly was interested in buying the company itself. Titan makes high altitude drones that Google could use in a variety of ways as it works to increase Internet connectivity. Titan's technology has plenty of room for growth, Titan said.
Icahn, eBay Kiss and Make Up - for Now
April 11, 2014
eBay and corporate raider Carl Icahn on Thursday ended their months-long acrimonious battle with metaphorical hugs and kisses. eBay's board accepted an Icahn nominee -- CVS Caremark Chairman David Dorman -- as one of its 10 independent directors, and the disputants sang each other's praises. "Extremely pleased about agreement," Icahn tweeted. "Believe it's a win-win for all shareholders."
Comcast Argues TWC Merger Would Level Playing Field
April 09, 2014
Comcast on Wednesday pulled out all the stops in a "public interest" statement on its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable, one day before it has to appear before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill for questioning about the deal. Hot buttons such as Net neutrality, consumer choice, better and lower-cost services for business, and competition were touched on.
Microsoft's Nokia Deal Clears China Hurdle
April 09, 2014
Microsoft's proposed $7.4 billion acquisition of Nokia's mobile phone business is moving closer to the finish line, having just won approval from China's Ministry of Commerce. It is a key milestone for the transaction, which sailed through the U.S. and European approval processes with little difficulty or delay. The deal is expected to close this month.
April Schools' Day: School Canceled Thanks to IT System Hack
April 01, 2014
Well, an A for creativity. In Australia, someone penetrated a high school's IT system and penned text messages and emails to parents saying that the school had been badly damaged by a fire and was not fit for students. There was no truth to the message, however -- just a bit of April Fools' Day shenanigans. An unknown person apparently wiggled into the school's IT systems Tuesday morning.
Microsoft Launches Public Cloud in China
March 27, 2014
Microsoft is now offering general availability of its Azure cloud service in China, becoming the first multinational company to provide public cloud services in the Middle Kingdom. Microsoft is partnering with 21Vianet, a Chinese data center services provider, a marriage that likely helped appease Beijing officials. Until now, all major cloud providers in China have been Chinese.
Facebook Makes Unreal Acquisition
March 26, 2014
Facebook has agreed to acquire Oculus VR, maker of the Oculus Rift virtual reality gaming hardware. Facebook will pay around $2 billion for the company. That figure includes $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock, valued at $1.6 billion based on recent average trading price. There is a provision for an additional $300 million earnout based on performance.
Disney Snaps Up Maker to Court Millennials
March 26, 2014
Disney this week announced it would acquire Maker Studios, a provider of short-form videos, for at least $500 million -- a number that could go up if Maker meets performance targets. Maker's videos account for more than 5.5 billion monthly views on YouTube -- it has 380 million subscribers. Among its more than 55,000 YouTube channels are the popular Epic Rap Battles of History.
Alibaba Takes Tango for a Whirl
March 21, 2014
Alibaba is putting some skin in the mobile-messaging game with a $215 million investment in Tango; the companies announced the funding on Thursday. Mobile messaging apps are hot. Facebook recently scooped up WhatsApp for $19 billion, and Japanese e-commerce titan Rakuten recently acquired Viber for $900 million. Tango is a cross-platform app -- Android, iOS, Windows Phone, PC and Mac.
Icahn Escalates War of Words With eBay
March 12, 2014
Carl Icahn's latest move in a campaign to compel eBay to sell its PayPal division is to take on its CEO John Donahoe. The company on Monday rejected Icahn's nominees to the eBay board -- employees Daniel Ninivaggi and Jonathan Christodoro -- on the grounds that they were unqualified. The board urged shareholders to vote against them at its upcoming annual meeting.
Lenovo: IBM Strike's Not Our Problem
March 11, 2014
Chinese PC maker Lenovo is washing its hands of a wildcat strike at an IBM factory in Shenzhen, China. In January, Lenovo purchased one of IBM's server businesses, and the striking workers -- more than 1,000 of them -- are among those who will be absorbed by Lenovo. The $2.3 billion deal is not yet final, and Lenovo doesn't want to get stuck with any of IBM's headaches until the ink is dry.
Privacy Groups Bring WhatsApp Worries to FTC's Door
March 07, 2014
The consumer privacy backlash stirred up by Facebook's recent deal to purchase WhatsApp for $19 billion is now in full swing. The Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy jointly filed a complaint about the deal with the FTC. Following the announcement of the agreement, both companies offered reassurances that WhatsApp user data would be safe from Facebook.
1,000 Strikers Protest 'Illegal' Offer, Hours at IBM Factory in China
March 07, 2014
Workers at a factory in China are on strike after rejecting compensation plans offered as a result of IBM's $2.3 billion deal to sell its low-end server business to Lenovo. More than 1,000 workers brought production to a halt Monday at IBM's International Systems Technology Company server-making factory in Shenzhen, Guangdong. The strike has continued throughout the week with no end in sight.
Russia Implicated in Ukrainian Cyberdisruptions
March 06, 2014
Security forces in Ukraine, where tensions are running exceedingly high after weeks-worth of turmoil, have accused the Russian army of tampering with its mobile communications. In addition, Ukrainian news websites and social media have been smeared with pro-Russia propaganda. In other words, an entirely new element appears to be in play: cyberconflict between Kiev and Moscow.
Sprint Softbank's Jockeying for the Inside Track
March 06, 2014
What is going on with Sprint Softbank? What will the company look like when it finally emerges from its cocoon? Who else will it merge with? Where will it be based? There has been quite a bit of transformational work going on. Sprint and Softbank won U.S. government approval after months of vigorous debate and got together last summer. It once seemed doubtful the merger would happen, yet it did.
Flipboard Gets Its Hands on Zite
March 05, 2014
Zite has traded hands again, three years after CNN bought it for $20 million. Flipboard now is acquiring the service, CNN reported, initially pegging the new sale price at $60 million. It later backed away from that figure, calling it "inaccurate." The transaction is a multi-stage deal in which CNN gains an equity stake in Flipboard, according to unnamed sources.
Facebook Floats Idea of Buying Drone Maker
March 04, 2014
Facebook reportedly is in talks to buy drone maker Titan Aerospace to bolster Internet.org, the project that aims to provide Internet connectivity everywhere in the world. Facebook, which is one of the main backers of Internet.org, may buy Titan for $60 million. Titan builds near-orbital solar-powered drones that can fly for five years before needing to land.

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