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  • Grooveshark copyright violations 'willful,' judge says before trial
    By Andrew Chung NEW YORK (Reuters) - Online music streaming service Grooveshark could potentially have to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to major record labels after a U.S. judge ruled ahead of its trial starting on Monday that Grooveshark's copyright violations on nearly 5,000 songs were "willful" and made "in bad faith." U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa, who will preside over the trial in federal court in Manhattan, said in a court order on Thursday that because of Grooveshark's actions he will tell jurors they can choose to award the statutory maximum of $150,000 in damages per song. Last September, Griesa ruled that Escape and its founders, Samuel Tarantino and Joshua Greenberg, were liable for the illegal uploads of thousands of recordings by artists such as Madonna, Eminem, Bob Marley and Jay-Z. Griesa said the defendants had directed their employees to make the uploads in spite of the legal risk.

  • EU antitrust case against Google based on 19 complainants: sources

    Euro coins are seen in front of a Google logo in this picture illustration taken in ZenicaBy Foo Yun Chee and Eric Auchard BRUSSELS/BERLIN (Reuters) - The European Union's decision to take on Google last week stems from official complaints by 19 companies in Europe and the United States, including Microsoft and a number of small firms, people familiar with the matter said on Friday. The list of complainants in the European Commission's charge sheet, which includes companies not directly involved in the charges around Google's shopping service, would make it easier for the regulator to expand the case beyond its preliminary focus on price-comparison shopping sites. Being an official party to the case gives the companies an insider track on the regulatory proceedings as they will be able to get a copy of the detailed EU charge sheet and argue their case at a hearing of competition experts should Google ask for one. While around 30 firms have since gone public with their complaints, to date no one other than the EU enforcer and Google knows exactly which parties have been included as official complainants on the charge sheet.

  • Infosys bets on new services to push sales to $20 billion by 2020

    Employees walk along a corridor in the Infosys campus in BangaloreBy Aman Shah and Devidutta Tripathy MUMBAI (Reuters) - Infosys Ltd, India's second-largest software services exporter, on Friday posted quarterly net profit that lagged most analyst expectations, dampening hopes of a quick turnaround after top management changes. Bengaluru-based Infosys, once seen as the bellwether of India's $150 billion IT services industry, has in recent years struggled to innovate and retain market share due to a staff exodus that also impacted its ability to win lucrative deals. Infosys, however, said it was on track to revive growth and expected its revenue to rise to $20 billion by 2020 up from $8.7 billion now, as it focuses on acquisitions and wins more new technology services. Under Chief Executive Vishal Sikka, brought in last year to chart a new strategy, Infosys has been making bets on automation and other high-margin services like artificial intelligence to regain some ground lost to rivals including sector leader Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. "It's a long-drawn initiative ... it's not going to come in immediately, said Sarabjit Kour Nangra, vice president of IT research at Angel Broking.

  • India's Paytm adds mobile marketplace app for e-merchants
    Paytm, an Indian online payments platform backed by China's Alibaba, is pushing deeper into India's booming e-commerce industry with a zero-commission mobile app marketplace targeted at small and medium-sized firms, the mainstay of the country's economy. "This is our move into mobile commerce," said Paytm Chief Executive Vijay Shekhar Sharma, adding the mobile app was designed to connect small businesses and consumers.

  • Former NSA head Alexander asks agency to review patents

    Former National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander participates in a panel discussionBy Joseph Menn SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Former National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander has asked the U.S. intelligence agency to review patent filings by his company to make sure that they do not reveal any secrets or misappropriate any government work. Alexander told Reuters he took the step to head off additional controversy about IronNet Cybersecurity, a startup he announced after leaving the NSA last year. "We think it's a good idea that the government review them," Alexander said in an interview ahead of an appearance at the RSA Conference on cyber security in San Francisco. Alexander said his company had already applied for some patents, which should eventually become public record.

  • House passes second 'threat-sharing' cybersecurity bill

    A magnifying glass is held in front of a computer screen in this picture illustration taken in BerlinThe U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to pass a bill that extends liability protection for companies that share information about cyber attacks, if they give the data to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The House voted 355 to 63 in favor of the bill, a companion to a measure the chamber passed on Wednesday making it easier for private companies to share information about cybersecurity threats with each other and the government without fear of lawsuits. The legislation must still be passed by the Senate and signed by President Barack Obama to become law. The White House has said it had some concerns about the bill but supported its passage and believed it could be fixed as the legislation is finalized in Congress.

  • Amazon revenue beats, cloud computing more profitable than expected

    A woman holds an Amazon Fresh delivery bag in Brooklyn, New YorkThe e-commerce company for the first time broke out financial details of its secretive cloud computing unit, Amazon Web Services, on Thursday, saying revenue jumped almost 50 percent to $1.57 billion, or about 7 percent of total revenue. The unit's operating income grew 8 percent to $265 million. Amazon shares rose $26.01 to $416 in extended trading, after closing slightly higher at $389.99 on Nasdaq. Chief Executive Jeff Bezos revealed in a statement that Amazon Web Services is a $5 billion business and its growth is accelerating.

  • Microsoft profit, revenue beats Wall Street view; shares up

    A shadow of a man using his mobile phone is cast near Microsoft logo at the 2014 Computex exhibition in TaipeiMicrosoft Corp on Thursday reported revenue and profit above Wall Street expectations, as sales of its hardware and cloud-computing services helped to offset a decline in the company's core Windows business. "The Street will cheer these results as it appears Microsoft is back on the right track after a head-scratching performance last quarter." Sales of Windows to computer manufacturers to install on new PCs fell 19 percent in the quarter, reflecting a sharp dip from a year ago when Windows got a brief boost from consumers rushing to buy new machines after Microsoft stopped support for the 14-year-old XP operating system. Microsoft's overall revenue rose 6 percent to $21.7 billion, above Wall Street's average forecast of $21.1 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Taking out the effects of the strong U.S. dollar on currency rates, Microsoft said revenue would have risen 9 percent.

  • Google shares rise after online ad sales drive revenue higher

    A neon Google logo is seen as employees work at the new Google office in Toronto in this file photoGoogle Inc reported higher quarterly revenue and profit as rising online ad volume offset a hit from the strong dollar, sending the Internet company's shares higher in after-hours trading. While revenue and profit missed the forecasts of Wall Street analysts, many investors had been bracing for a weaker report, said BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis. The company has faced challenges in mobile advertising and is running up more expenses as it invests in new businesses. Analysts on average had expected revenue of $17.5 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. The rising dollar took a toll on results at Google, which generates about half of its revenue overseas.

  • Microsoft coy on cloud profit after Amazon delivers

    Worker handles items for delivery at Amazon's new distribution center in BrieselangBy Bill Rigby and Nandita Bose SAN FRANCISCO/CHICAGO (Reuters) - Inc surprised investors on Thursday by disclosing for the first time that it makes a profit from its fast-growing cloud-computing business. Microsoft, its closest rival in that arena, also touted a fast-growing cloud business, but held back on key numbers, leaving investors with as many questions as answers. Analysts honed in on Azure, Microsoft's cloud-computing platform, in a conference call on Thursday after earnings, but Microsoft executives avoided specific answers. "The lack of disclosure on Azure profitability is conspicuous by its absence," said Todd Lowenstein, a portfolio manager at HighMark Capital.

  • Factbox: Nasdaq's 'Cubes' ETF reaps Nasdaq's big run
    The QQQ exchange-traded fund, often called the "Cubes" or the "Qs," tracks the Nasdaq 100, the index of the biggest 100 non-financial companies listed on the Nasdaq and is a proxy for the much broader Nasdaq Composite Index. * Since its 1999 launch with fewer than $15 million in assets, the QQQ has grown 2,645-fold in assets, making it larger now than the entire U.S. ETF industry was then. * The fund started as a side project for a handful of Nasdaq employees seeking to bring mom-and-pop investors into the dotcom boom, but it is now widely held by many large long-term investors, including the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Japan's Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co Ltd. Its typical penny bid/ask spread was barely affected last year, when a single Middle Eastern sovereign fund pulled $10 billion out of the fund, according to John Jacobs, founding father of the QQQ and a former Nasdaq executive who retired in January.

  • Turner Broadcasting, Hulu sign exclusive video streaming deal
    (Reuters) - Turner Broadcasting System Inc, part of Time Warner Inc, said it granted exclusive subscription video-on-demand rights to its programs from Cartoon Network and Adult Swim to video-streaming service Hulu. The multi-year licensing agreement, which also includes selected series from Turner channels TNT and TBS, allows Hulu to stream all episodes from select Cartoon Network's original series such as The Amazing World of Gumball, Steven Universe and Clarence. The deal marks the first-ever licensing agreement between Turner Broadcasting and Hulu, the companies said. ...

  • As Amazon parties on, some large fund managers take their leave

    File photo of an Amazon box on a counter in GoldenThe average large-cap fund that holds Amazon has 1.4 percent of its assets in the stock, down 23 percent from this time last year, according to the latest available Lipper data. They include such well-known names as Fidelity Contrafund, Washington Mutual Investors Fund, Touchstone Sands Select Growth fund and the T. Rowe Price Growth fund. Some investors and analysts said that a drop in aggregate fund ownership - in a period when Amazon's shares have been climbing - suggests that large-cap managers increasingly see the company as over-valued, particularly at a time when it is spending tons of cash branching off into everything from selling its own smartphone to producing a Woody Allen TV series. Reuters contacted the 25 mutual fund managers who sold the greatest number of Amazon shares over the last year, and none of them were willing to be quoted by name for this story.

  • Yelp wins dismissal of lawsuit over quality of its reviews

    The Yelp Inc. logo is seen in their offices in ChicagoYelp Inc has won the dismissal of a lawsuit that claimed it deceived shareholders by overstating the authenticity and quality of consumer reviews on its website, and thereby enabled insiders to sell company stock at inflated prices. In a decision made public on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco said reasonable investors would know that not all reviews posted on Yelp were "firsthand," this being a "common-sense understanding of what it means for a website to host user-generated content." Tigar also said Joseph Curry, who is the named plaintiff and seeks class-action status, did not show that Yelp tried deliberately to extort businesses into buying ads or making payments before it would suppress bad or fake reviews. "A reasonable investor during the class period was aware that some businesses maintained that Yelp tried to coerce businesses into advertising by manipulating reviews," Tigar wrote.

  • Online store merger prods luxury goods makers toward Internet

    People stroll past Prada's fashion store in downtown MilanThe merger of the world's two biggest online fashion stores, Net-a-Porter (NAP) and Yoox, sends a warning to luxury brands to embrace the Internet with more vim after years of resistance.

  • As YouTube marks tenth year, Facebook emerges as video threat

    Electronic cables are silhouetted next to the logo of Facebook in this illustration photo in SarajevoIt's 10 years to the day since the first clip ("Me at the Zoo") was uploaded on YouTube, and the service - now owned by Google Inc - has dominated online video-sharing ever since. Facebook Inc said on Wednesday that its users were watching 4 billion videos a day, compared with 3 billion in January and just 1 billion in September. Almost all analysts saw video advertising as one of Facebook's most promising areas for revenue growth. "The Internet is experiencing something of an inflection point in terms of demand for video and mobile advertising, and FB may well be the single biggest beneficiary of this inflection," RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney said.

  • Indian jeweller pulls 'racist', 'slave-child' ad with Bollywood actress

    Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai poses on the red carpet as she arrives for the screening of the film "Deux jours, une nuit" at the 67th Cannes Film Festival in CannesBy Nita Bhalla NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A major Indian jewellery chain has withdrawn an advert featuring Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan with a dark-skinned boy holding a parasol over her after it was slammed by activists and on social media for being racist and promoting child slavery. Kalyan Jewellers, which employs about 4,000 people across India, said the advertisement featured in a national newspaper on April 17 was intended to present "royalty, timeless beauty and elegance". The ad shows Rai Bachchan, 41, a former Miss World and goodwill ambassador for the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, in regal Indian attire and adorned with jewellery, reclining under a parasol held by a boy of darker skin. In an open letter to Rai Bachchan published on Indian website Scroll, a group of social activists said the image reflected 17th and 18th century European paintings of noblewomen with their child servants and was "insidiously racist".

  • Facebook revenue growth slows, costs weigh on profit

    A smartphone user shows the Facebook application on his phone in Zenica, in this photo illustration(Reuters) - Facebook Inc posted its slowest growth in quarterly revenue in two years and higher spending on research and development ate into profits. Facebook has warned of heavy investments in 2015 as it steps up efforts to expand a collection of products that include messaging service WhatsApp, photo-sharing service Instagram and virtual reality headset maker Oculus Rift. As a result, Facebook's operating expenses rose 83 percent in the first quarter as R&D costs jumped 133 percent and marketing and sales spending nearly doubled. The cost rise is one thing that can derail this story," said Macquarie Research analyst Ben Schachter.

  • House passes cyber-threat information bill

    Illustration file picture shows a man typing on a computer keyboard in WarsawBy Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday that would make it easier for private companies to share information about cyber security threats with each other and the government without fear of lawsuits. Several previous bills addressing the issue had failed, partly because of concerns that they might lead to more of the surveillance exposed two years ago by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. "At some point, we need to stop talking about the next Sony, the next Anthem, the next Target, the next JP Morgan Chase and the next State Department hack, and actually pass a bill that will help ensure that there will be no next cyber attack," said Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

  • Active online, foreign women become Islamic State widows
    By Alistair Bell WASHINGTON (Reuters) - At least 15 young Western women who joined Islamic State and married jihadi fighters are now widows after the militant group suffered losses in clashes in Syria and Iraq, according to researchers who closely monitor Islamist radicals online. The Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) think tank in London gave Reuters access to its database of 106 foreign women it says have moved to IS territory and are active online. Fifteen of the women have either mentioned on social media that they lost their husbands in fighting, or other known IS supporters have announced the men's deaths online, said ISD researcher Melanie Smith. Although Reuters could not independently confirm the identities of the women, many of them have been said by relatives to have left their home countries for Syria and Iraq.

  • Google rolls out new U.S. wireless service

    A logo is pictured at Google's European Engineering Center in ZurichBy Yasmeen Abutaleb NEW YORK (Reuters) - Google Inc on Wednesday launched a new U.S. wireless service that switches between Wi-Fi and cellular networks to curb data use and keep phone bills low. The service, Google's first entry into the wireless industry, will work only on the company's Nexus 6 phones and be hosted through Sprint Corp and T-Mobile's networks, Google said in a statement. Sundar Pichai, Google's senior vice president of products, said at a Barcelona conference last month the company was preparing to experiment with a mobile network, but that it did not intend to disrupt the wireless industry. The service will be available on only one device and has limited carrier coverage, so it will not make Google a major wireless industry player, said Brian Blau, research director at Gartner.

  • Russia cuts space funding as economic crisis bites

    A general view shows a building of Russian Federal Space Agency in BaikonurBy Jack Stubbs MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia is cutting spending on its space program by more than a third over the next 10 years because of the country's economic crisis, forcing it to scrap plans to develop a super-heavy launch rocket. Space exploration is a subject of national pride in Russia, rooted in the Cold War "space race" with the United States that saw Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin become the first man in orbit. The collapse of the Soviet Union starved the program of funds, but President Vladimir Putin has nurtured plans for a revival. Russia is planning to develop its own space station by 2023 but economic constraints are growing.

  • Angie's List posts surprise profit helped by higher ad sales
    Angie's List Inc , operator of a website that allows users to review local businesses, reported a surprise quarterly profit as it earned more from advertising contracts. Shares of the company, which competes with Yelp Inc and TripAdvisor Inc , rose as much as 20 percent in early trading on Wednesday. Angie's List expects marketing expenses to keep falling as a percentage of revenue, Chief Marketing Officer Angie Hicks said on a post-earnings call. Angie's List will return to a normalized growth rate in the long-term without a significant increase in marketing costs, Chief Executive Bill Oesterle said.

  • Uber returning to Portland under city-approved regulations

    Photo illustration of logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone over a reserved lane for taxis in a street in MadridBy Shelby Sebens PORTLAND, Ore. (Reuters) - A divided Portland City Council on Tuesday voted to allow ride-sharing companies to operate in the city under a four month pilot program, which includes certain regulations and requires the firms provide access to disabled riders. After a more than four-hour special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to allow app-based ride hailing services Uber and Lyft to operate in Portland. Uber has been fighting with cities across the country, contending it is not a taxi service and should not be required to adhere to existing taxicab regulations. The firm agreed in December to halt services in Portland until the city could draft regulations.  "This is a change that none of us wanted.

  • BlackBerry introduces security offering for IoT devices

    An attendee takes a photo during the launch event for the new Blackberry Classic smartphone in New YorkBlackBerry Ltd said on Tuesday it is launching a new certificate service that will help bring the security level it offers on smartphones to a slew of devices from cars to smart meters. Certicom, a subsidiary of BlackBerry and an industry pioneer in elliptic curve cryptography, announced a new offering that it contends will secure millions of devices, expected to be part of the growing Internet of Things (IoT) sphere. The company said it has already won a contract in Britain to issue certificates for the smart meter initiative there with more than 104 million smart meters and home energy management devices. Separately, BlackBerry also outlined a plan to expand its research and development efforts on innovation and improvement in computer security.

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