By Jim Finkle and Gerry Shih BOSTON/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Twitter Inc crashed on Tuesday for the second time in nine days when a software glitch stalled the popular messaging service for about one hour. The company apologized to its 250 million users in a status blog, saying it had encountered "unexpected complications" during "a planned deploy in one of our core services." The outage began around 11 a.m. Pacific time and service had "fully recovered" by 11:47 a.m., the San Francisco-based company said. The stock rose as much as 3.7 percent before Twitter confirmed the glitch, but gave up most of the gains to end 0.25 percent higher. The outage occurred just as Twitter co-founder Biz Stone took the stage in Austin, Texas, to speak at the South by Southwest Interactive festival, the annual gathering of tech enthusiasts that helped propel Twitter to national fame in 2007.
(Reuters) - CBS Corp Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves said the No. 1 rated broadcaster could offer its content directly to consumers over the Internet and cut off its traditional broadcast signal if the Aereo video streaming service is deemed legal. Major broadcasters are challenging Aereo Inc's use of their television broadcast signals without paying for them. The case will be argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in April. "If Aereo should work, if they should win, which we don't think will happen, we can go OTT with CBS," Moonves said on Tuesday at an investor conference.
By Sarah McBride AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Entrepreneur P.K. Fields was delighted when she won a contest and a chance to pitch her Los Angeles-based startup to a venture capitalist. So delighted, she dropped everything and flew 1,400 miles on her own dime to the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas, for just 20 minutes alone with angel investor Dave McClure as he was driven around town in a tiny red-and-black electric BMW i3. Fields is emblematic of the thousands of entrepreneurs who converge on Austin each year, hoping to rub shoulders with venture capitalists and win funding for their companies amid the current startup boom. But that convenience comes with a price: The growing volume of startups today at South by Southwest, or SXSW as many call it, engulfs both the startups and their audience.
Facebook will soon update the layout of its pages for brands, institution and celebrities, as it informed administrators on Tuesday. The move will bring the look of these pages more in line with that of the network’s personal pages, with the timeline appearing in a single column on the right. According to the first images provided by Facebook, the new page layout will include a wide column with the timeline to the right. The social network claims that the new layout will give page administrators easier access to the tools they use most for monitoring their audience or changing settings.
EBay Inc on Monday rejected activist investor Carl Icahn's two nominees to its board, saying both were unqualified, and urged shareholders to vote against them at its next annual meeting. Icahn, who owns just over 2 percent of the e-commerce company, has been pressuring eBay for weeks to spin off its PayPal payments business. He has also repeatedly accused eBay of poor corporate governance. The chairman of eBay's corporate governance and nominating committee, Richard Schlosberg III, said the board considered both but rejected them because "neither nominee has relevant experience or expertise." EBay said since each Icahn nominee currently sits on four public company boards, they are not in compliance with eBay's guidelines on "overboarding." EBay founder and Chairman Pierre Omidyar in a statement urged shareholders to support the company's slate, which includes Chief Executive John Donahoe.
Google Inc will pay Finance Chief Patrick Pichette a $3 million annual bonus, and Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora a $3.5 million bonus, a slight increase from the previous year, following a year in which the Internet company's stock surged nearly 60 percent. Google Chief Executive Larry Page and co-founder Sergey Brin will receive no bonus, the company said Monday in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, continuing the founders' practice of not taking a bonus. Page and Brin, who are each paid a $1 a year in salary, have a large portion of their personal wealth tied directly to Google's stock. Google's shares shot up 58 percent in 2013, breaking the $1,000 mark for the first time and outpacing the Nasdaq's 38 percent gain for the year.
By Paul Carsten BEIJING (Reuters) - Tencent Holdings Ltd's new partnership with China's No. 2 online retailer JD.com takes aim at dominant rival Alibaba's Achilles heel - its weakness in mobile - in a move set to reshape the country's e-commerce industry. The deal gives JD.com a headline slot on Tencent's WeChat app that dominates China's smartphones, an entry into eBay-style consumer-to-consumer shopping and a backer with the muscle to help it make the most of a logistics infrastructure that Alibaba lacks. It also burnishes the appeal of JD.com's planned $1.5 billion U.S. listing while taking some shine off Alibaba's own IPO, which is expected to be worth $15 billion.
HONG KONG (Reuters) - An online education company backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd said on Monday that a unit of Softbank Corp had made a strategic investment in the company for an undisclosed amount. The investment in TutorGroup from SBI Group, formerly known as Softbank Finance Group and one of Asia's biggest venture capital firms, follows a capital raising of nearly $100 million for TutorGroup in February from Alibaba, Singapore state investor Temasek Inc and China's Qiming Venture Partners. ...
By Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York businessman must face criminal fraud charges for trying to claim a billion-dollar stake in social media company Facebook Inc, a federal judge ruled on Friday. Paul Ceglia, 40, is accused of forging a 2003 contract with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that supposedly entitled him to part ownership of the company. After an hour-long hearing in New York, U.S. District Judge Andrew Carter rejected Ceglia's request to throw out the charges, finding he had failed to meet the "high standard" needed to dismiss a grand jury indictment. Ceglia sued Zuckerberg and Facebook in 2010 in a federal court in Buffalo, New York, claiming that he and Zuckerberg had signed a contract while Zuckerberg was a freshman at Harvard University for Ceglia to invest $1,000 in a planned social networking website.
Visa Inc and MasterCard Inc said they had launched a cross-industry group to improve security for card transactions and press U.S. retailers and banks to meet a 2015 deadline to adopt technology that would make it safer to pay with plastic. The move follows several data breaches at U.S. retailers, including one at Target Corp late last year involving the theft of about 40 million credit and debit card records. The new group - which includes banks, credit unions, retailers and industry trade associations - will initially focus on the adoption of 'EMV' chip technology, MasterCard and Visa said in a statement on Friday. However, the National Retail Federation, the world's largest retail trade association, said it had not joined the group because there were no plans to immediately implement the PIN option, making for a "half-baked solution." "They're not serious about reducing fraud, unless they put a pin on," said Mallory Duncan, the NRF's general counsel.
By Daren Butler and Humeyra Pamuk ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey's president on Friday ruled out any ban on Facebook and YouTube after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said the sites could be shut to stop his foes anonymously posting audio recordings purportedly exposing corruption in his inner circle. In the latest recording, released on YouTube late on Thursday, Erdogan is purportedly heard berating a newspaper owner over the telephone about an article and suggesting the journalists be sacked, in comments that will further stoke concerns over media freedom and Erdogan's authoritarian style of leadership. Erdogan, who rejects any accusations of corruption, blames U.S.-based Turkish Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, a former ally, for the wiretaps which he says have been "fabricated". Gulen, who denies any involvement, has many followers in Turkey, especially in the police and judiciary.
A homeless man wins the lottery, a news anchor quits on national television and celebrities float on hoverboards. Details of these and other most popular YouTube videos on Friday, March 7 can be found below.
Activist investor Carl Icahn told eBay Inc shareholders in a letter on Thursday he has "not yet begun to fight" to get the e-commerce company to spin off its PayPal payments unit. Icahn, who owns just over 2 percent of eBay, also used the letter to lay out new arguments for the split. He has sparred with eBay management via open letters and press releases since January, when eBay said the pugnacious billionaire had made an unsolicited proposal for eBay to hive off PayPal and nominated two directors to the eBay board. In his latest missive, Icahn said a spinoff "could allow two separate management teams to focus more closely on the core businesses" and could also "provide a more compelling currency to attract top talent to the respective companies." He also said an independent PayPal would find it easier to land strategic partnerships with companies that compete with eBay.
By Alexei Oreskovic SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Privacy advocates have asked U.S. regulators to halt Facebook Inc's $19 billion acquisition of messaging service WhatsApp until there is a clearer understanding of how the company intends to use the personal data of WhatsApp's 450 million users. But there's no guarantee that that commitment will hold true once the service becomes part of Facebook, according to the filing to the Federal Trade Commission by the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy, both non-profit groups. The complaint asks regulators to investigate the deal "specifically with regard to the ability of Facebook to access WhatsApp's store of user mobile phone numbers and metadata." Facebook, the world's No.1 social network with 1.2 billion users, generates the majority of its revenue by showing ads that target users by age, gender and other traits.
By Alexei Oreskovic SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets will vastly expand the number of companies who advertise online and will allow Internet companies to reap more revenue than they have from customers on PCs, Google Inc Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora said on Wednesday. Small, local businesses will represent the largest influx of new marketers as they discover the benefits of reaching on-the-go consumers on their mobile devices, Arora said, speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in San Francisco. Google, the world's No.1 Internet search engine, generates the vast majority of its revenue from advertising. But its ad rates, like those of other Internet companies including Yahoo Inc, have been under pressure as more consumers access its online services on small-screened mobile devices, where advertising rates are lower than on PCs.
By Jeremy Wagstaff SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Some of those who have lost bitcoins in the collapse of Mt. Gox have turned to internet sleuthing to find out where their money has gone - but they're unlikely to have much luck. Forum websites like Reddit and internet relay chatrooms have attracted hordes of users as the Mt. Gox debacle unfolded in recent weeks. "The crowdsourcing so far has been a miserable failure," said Emin Gun Sirer of Cornell University, who posted his own analysis challenging several theories about what may have happened at Mt. Gox. The problem, Gun Sirer and others say, is two-fold: users of such forums are not always methodical or disciplined in their research on one hand, and on the other, bitcoin's combination of transparency and complexity invites the unwary to draw false conclusions.
Samsung says the Oscars selfie that went viral was a "surprise for everyone," after reports it was part of a pre-planned marketing stunt by the company, a sponsor of the Academy Awards. But the South Korean tech giant, which earned huge publicity when Ellen DeGeneres used a Samsung device to take the photo, said it would donate $3 million to charities of the Oscar host's choice. The Wall Street Journal reported that the stunt "wasn't entirely unplanned," saying that a Samsung smartphone was used in the show as part of a sponsorship and $20 million advertising deal with Oscar broadcasters ABC. During rehearsals Samsung executives trained DeGeneres in how to use the Samsung Galaxy, it reported.
Facebook Inc and its photo sharing subsidiary, Instagram, will delete posts offering to buy or sell guns without background checks, Facebook announced on Wednesday. In an effort to curb what gun control advocates say is the increasing use of the social networks to circumvent checks and controls on firearms sales, Facebook and Instagram will also bar users under 18 from viewing gun offers posted by individuals or groups. "We will not permit people to post offers to sell regulated items that indicate a willingness to evade or help others evade the law," Facebook said.
By Noel Randewich SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - You can't spend bitcoins at Amazon.com or to pay your mortgage but, as the Winklevoss twins showed on Wednesday, you can use the digital currency to book a trip into suborbital space. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who famously accused Facebook Inc founder Mark Zuckerberg of stealing their idea, said they used bitcoins to buy tickets for a high-altitude voyage on billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic commercial spaceflight venture. The brothers, Olympic rowers who earned MBA degrees from Oxford University, have become bitcoin evangelists and investors and are planning to launch a fund to make it easy to trade the digital currency on the stock market. In a blog post, Tyler Winklevoss compared Branson's space endeavor and bitcoin entrepreneurs to major historical figures who changed the way the world was perceived, like Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama and Nicolaus Copernicus.