A Chinese anti-trust regulator said on Monday it has given Microsoft Corp 20 days to reply to queries on the compatibility of its Windows operating system and Office software suite amid a probe into the world's largest software company. The State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) questioned Microsoft Vice President David Chen and gave the company a deadline to make an explanation, the agency said in a short statement on its website. Microsoft is one of at least 30 foreign companies that have come under scrutiny by China's anti-monopoly regulators as the government seeks to enforce its six-year old antitrust law. According to a state media report on Monday, Microsoft's use of verification codes also spurred complaints from Chinese companies.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union antitrust regulators will decide by Oct. 3 whether to clear world No. 1 online social network Facebook's $19 billion offer for mobile messaging startup WhatsApp, the European Commission said on Monday. Facebook requested EU approval last week, the Commission's website showed. The EU competition watchdog can either clear the deal unconditionally, demand concessions or extend the preliminary review into a wider probe. Facebook expects to close the deal, its largest in its 10-year history, this year. U.S. ...
(Reuters) - Apple Inc plans to enable its next iPhone to become a mobile wallet by allowing owners to securely make mobile payments in a store with the touch of a finger, Bloomberg said on Sunday, citing a person familiar with the situation. The agreement includes participation by Visa Inc., MasterCard Inc and American Express Co and will be announced Sept. 9 along with unveiling of the next iPhone, according to the source, who Bloomberg said asked not to be identified because the talks are private.
By James Pearson SEOUL (Reuters) - In a move that makes it harder for North Koreans to gain illicit access to the global Internet, North Korea now only allows mobile phone SIM cards used by tourists to be active for the duration of their visit, tourism sources told Reuters. Unlike North Koreans, foreigners visiting the isolated country can freely browse social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter using the Koryolink domestic network. Under a change made in July, North Korea deactivates the card when a visitor leaves, ensuring that it can not be left for use by a resident, the sources said. "This basically means in practical terms that if someone leaves the country they can't simply leave their phone with a local friend and have them use the Internet," said one source, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of discussing such issues when working in North Korea.
Oracle Corp failed to revive a $1.3 billion jury verdict in its long-running copyright dispute with German software company SAP SE as a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said jurors used "an undue amount of speculation" in awarding $1.3 billion in damages in 2010. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton in Oakland, California, had erred in concluding that Oracle deserved only $272 million of damages, a sum Oracle rejected. Writing for a three-judge 9th Circuit panel, Judge William Fletcher directed Hamilton to offer Oracle a choice of $356.7 million of damages or a second trial.
(Reuters) - Apple Inc is working with Dutch chipmaker NXP Semiconductors NV to add secure near-field communications (NFC) technology into the next iPhone, which would enable smartphone users to pay by touch, the Financial Times reported, citing people familiar with Apple's plans. NXP will provide the secure near-field communications chips that will allow an iPhone to connect with payment terminals or ticketing systems, the daily reported. Apple has invited media to a "special event" in its hometown of Cupertino, California on Sept. 9, when the iPhone maker is expected to unveil the latest versions of its best-selling smartphones.
China's Tencent Holdings Ltd has suspended more than 300 accounts on its WeChat mobile messaging app and banned around 40 others as government restrictions on spreading political news online take effect, state media said on Friday. Earlier this month, China imposed new rules on what kind of information can be spread via instant messaging apps as well as restrictions on accounts which can broadcast news to large numbers of followers. Of the 357 accounts closed down by Tencent as of August 25, 46 were permanently banned while the rest were suspended, the official Xinhua news agency said on its microblog.
By Paul Carsten BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Dalian Wanda group and Tencent Holdings Ltd said on Friday they would set up a 5 billion yuan ($814 million) e-commerce joint venture with Baidu Inc , as the firms push into the high-growth e-commerce sector. The joint venture, to be registered in Hong Kong, will be 70 percent owned by privately-held Wanda, while Chinese internet giants Tencent and Baidu will hold 15 percent respectively, Wanda and Tencent said in separate press releases. China is the biggest e-commerce market in the world, with its No. 1 player, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd [IPO-BABA.N], transacting more goods than Amazon.com Inc and eBay Inc combined.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd said on Friday it will open a fifth data center in Shenzhen to service AliCloud, the latest sign of its growing investment in the small but potentially lucrative cloud computing business. Established in 2009, AliCloud posted $38 million in revenue during the quarter ending June, a relatively small slice of Alibaba's $2.54 billion in total revenue for the quarter, according to Alibaba's financial disclosures filed ahead of its imminent initial public offering in New York. AliCloud, which has been likened to a budding version of the cloud service run by Alibaba's U.S. AliCloud's new data center will serve "large and small companies, financial institutions and other third parties in southern China," the company said in a statement on Friday.
The White House announced on Thursday that Todd Park, a technology and innovation policy adviser to President Barack Obama, is relocating to California to advise the president on technology from there. Park, who had built a reputation as a successful information technology entrepreneur, was thrust into the public spotlight during the disastrous rollout of the Affordable Care Act in the fall of 2013. While not in charge of the technology behind the flawed web portal that crashed when thousands of Americans tried to sign up for health insurance, he was one of several administration officials summoned to Congress to explain the breakdown. Park's focus in California will be on recruiting skilled technology experts into government roles, the White House said.
A German Greens party leader has taken the "ice bucket" charity challenge to a new high, standing next to a marijuana plant while dousing himself with water in a tacit call for the legalization of cannabis. Cem Oezdemir is one of many public figures and ordinary citizens around the world to take the challenge - pouring a bucket of ice water over one's head to raise funds to fight Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). "Yes, it is a cannabis plant," Oezedmir told the Essen-based Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) after speculation about the plant gripped social media.
By Jeremy Wagstaff SINGAPORE (Reuters) - 'Open data' - the trove of data-sets made publicly available by governments, organizations and businesses - isn't normally linked to high-wire politics, but just may have saved last month's Indonesian presidential elections from chaos. The embrace of open data has had few tangible benefits, but created a buzz and fostered a culture that prodded Indonesia's election commission to tweak the way it handles vote results.
By Jonathan Stempel NEW YORK (Reuters) - The maker of the popular Grand Theft Auto video games said Lindsay Lohan's lawsuit accusing it of basing a character on her without permission is frivolous and an effort by the actress to attract attention. In papers made public on Tuesday in a New York state court in Manhattan, Take-Two Interactive Software Inc called Lohan's claim "so legally meritless that it lacks any good-faith basis and can only have been filed for publicity purposes." Take-Two wants to dismiss the July 1 lawsuit and have Lohan pay its legal fees. A lawyer for Lohan did not immediately respond on Wednesday to requests for comment. The 28-year-old "Mean Girls" star accused Take-Two and its Rockstar Games unit of basing the Lacey Jonas character in "Grand Theft Auto V" on her.
Venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byer has agreed to invest in fast-growing messaging startup Snapchat at a valuation close to $10 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people with knowledge of the matter. At least one other strategic investor has committed to joining the latest round of funding, the Journal cited two of the people as saying. If the deal goes through, Snapchat would join a select club of tech startups with valuations of $10 billion or more, including car-ride service Uber and rooms-to-let startup AirBnB. Snapchat is similar to a new crop of popular mobile messaging apps that compete with established Internet services such as Twitter Inc's and Facebook.
Time Warner Cable Inc will pay $1.1 million to resolve a Federal Communications Commission investigation that last year found the cable and Internet provider did not properly report multiple network outages, the regulators said this week. "TWC (Time Warner Cable) failed to file a substantial number of reports with respect to a series of reportable wireline and Voice over Internet Protocol network outages," the FCC said in a report revealing the settlement released on Monday. "TWC admits that its failure to timely file the required network outage reports violated the Commission's rules." The FCC requires providers of fixed Internet connection or voice-over-Internet-Protocol calling to promptly report some network outages that last 30 minutes or longer, for instance those that potentially affect emergency response 911 facilities or those that impact enough consumers to collectively result in at least 900,000 minutes of disrupted Internet or phone use.
A page on Nissan Motor Co's Japanese website had been altered for nearly two months before being remedied and users that accessed it may have downloaded files infected with viruses, the Japanese automaker said on Tuesday. Users opening the page for calculating vehicles trade-in value were automatically sent to a non-Nissan website from which they may have downloaded virus files had they clicked on anything, spokesman Chris Keeffe said. Nissan has not confirmed if any personal information was leaked and an internet security firm is investigating, the company said in a statement.
By Gerry Shih and Paul Carsten BEIJING (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp's internet browser and media player are being targeted in a Chinese antitrust probe, raising the prospect of China revisiting the software bundling issue at the heart of past antitrust complaints against the firm in the West. Microsoft has not been fully transparent with information about its Windows and Office sales, but has expressed willingness to cooperate with ongoing investigations, Zhang Mao, the head of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), told reporters at a briefing in Beijing on Tuesday. As Windows became the world's dominant operating system in the 1990s and 2000s, the issue of how Microsoft bundled its web browser and media player became the focus of respective antitrust cases brought by U.S. Microsoft settled in 2001 with the U.S.
By Letitia Stein TAMPA Fla. (Reuters) - The library opening with the first day of classes on Monday at Florida's newest college features a sunlit arched roof and cozy reading chairs - but not a single book. A fully digital library is among the futuristic features of Florida Polytechnic University's striking dome-shaped building, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. "It's a boldly relevant decision to go forward without books," said Kathryn Miller, the university's director of libraries. Rising along a drab stretch of highway between Tampa and Orlando, Florida Polytechnic envisions building a technology corridor in the image of Silicon Valley.
By Malathi Nayak and Sophie Knight SAN FRANCISCO/TOKYO (Reuters) - Sony Corp's PlayStation Network was back online on Monday following a cyber attack that took it down over the weekend, which coincided with a bomb scare on a commercial flight carrying a top Sony executive in the United States. Sony said on its PlayStation blog that its PlayStation network had been taken down by a denial of service-style attack, which overwhelmed the system with traffic, but did not intrude onto the network or access any of its 53 million users' information. A Twitter user with the handle @LizardSquad claimed responsibility for the attack on Sunday, and said the attack was meant to pressure Sony to spend more of its profits on the network.
(Reuters) - CME Group delayed the start of trade on its electronic platform by four hours on Monday due to technical problems, the latest glitch to hit the world's largest futures market operator. The start of trade in all contracts on the Globex Markets platform, apart from Bursa Malaysia derivatives, was halted because of an unspecified technical glitch, the top U.S. The delay marks another headache for CME, which shut electronic trade for leading agricultural contracts on April 8 in the worst-ever trading outage for those markets. CME Executive Chairman Terrence Duffy has said that outage was triggered when sophisticated technology tripped over a trading halt in a single market.
(Reuters) - Amazon Inc is planning to develop its own software for placing advertisements online, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter. While the in-house platform is initially planned to replace ads supplied by Google Inc on Amazon's own website, the new system could challenge Google and Microsoft Corp's advertising business in the future, the newspaper cited the people as saying. Amazon's system would resemble Google's AdWords, and is planned to make it easier for marketers to reach the company's users, the newspaper reported the people as saying. The retailer is also building a tool that would help advertising agencies buy in bulk for thousands of advertisers, the Journal said, citing the people.
(Reuters) - Pharmacy chain Walgreen Co suffered a system outage for several hours on Friday, taking all of its 8,200 pharmacy outlets offline and delaying prescription orders. The company faced a "technical issue" during a system update and had to bring the entire system offline to resolve it, spokesman Michael Polzin said. Some prescription orders may have been lost as a result of the outage, Polzin said, but most were queued and processed when the system was restored. Shares of Walgreen closed at $61.05 on Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.
By Gerry Shih BEIJING (Reuters) - IBM will help China's largest server vendor Inspur International design server systems, the two companies said on Friday, an unexpected development in what has been a politically charged rivalry in the Chinese technology market. Since last year Inspur has aggressively marketed its servers to Chinese state-owned firms as a replacement for IBM (International Business Machines Corp) systems while U.S.-China relations have worsened dramatically over mutual suspicions of cyber-spying. Inspur shares soared in late May after it told Chinese news outlets that its servers had begun to replace the U.S. The Chinese firm has coined the term "I2I" - IBM to Inspur - as a marketing catchphrase.