News Fuse for August 23, 2013

Steve Ballmer

Here are today's top 10 stories from Tech News Today for August 23, 2013:

  1. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced his retirement from Microsoft within the next 12 months. Ballmer will step down when a new CEO has been found. A special committee to find a replacement will be led by independent board director John Thompson and include Chairman Bill Gates. Ballmer said Microsoft is transitining into a 'devices and services' company and Ballmer said in his goodbye email, "We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction." Read more at reuters.com.

  2. Apple's lost as hell, and it's not gonna take it anymore! So it bought another map app. This time, the company is called Embark, and it builds free transit apps to help smartphone users navigate public transportation. Former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin says her sources tell her the company plans to directly integrate Embark’s technology into Apple Maps. Read more at jessicalessin.com.

  3. Bloomberg reports Amazon tested a wireless network on spectrum owned by Globalstar Satellite. The test took place in Cupertino California near Amazon's Lab126 which designs and engineers Kindle devices. Globalstar has applied to the US FCC to transition 80% of their satellite spectrum to Terrestrial Low Power Service which could serve as an alternative to WiFi. Read more at bloomberg.com.

  4. Lenovo just wants you to be happy. So the company will begin offering Start Menus on Windows 8 PCs. And this isn't the pseudo Start icon coming to Windows 8.1, this is actual Start Menu replacement software coming with all new Lenovo Windows PCs. Lenovo partnered with San Diego, California based SweetLabs to bundle its Pokki Start Menu software in new units, plus access to SweetLabs own app store. Read more at theregister.co.uk.

  5. Google bought patents from technology manufacturer Foxconn for technology to generate "a virtual image and is superimposed on a real-world view." Bloomberg and the Financial Times reported earlier this year that the wearable glasses will be manufactured by Foxconn in California, giving the company rights to say the devices were "made in the U.S." Read more at zdnet.com.

  6. Police affidavits related to the raid on Kim Dotcom's mansion point to New Zealand police and spy agencies tapping directly into United States surveillance systems such as PRISM to capture email and other traffic. Keith Ng made the discovery on his blog, On Point, that the Organised and Financial Crime Agency New Zealand (OFCANZ) requested assistance from the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), the country's signals intelligence unit, which is charge of surveilling the Pacific region under the Five-Eyes agreement. Read more at itnews.com.au.

  7. The US DoJ on Friday filed a revised proposed remedy for Apple in the ebook case. Apple was found guilty in July of conspiring with publishers to set ebook prices. The DoJ still wants Apple to drop in-app purchasing restrictions for competitors as well as restrict publishers from using agency pricing for five years. The new proposal reduces the injunction term from 10 years to 5, staggers negotiation with publishers and asks for an external monitor. The DoJ includes a 2010 email from Steve Jobs as further evidence Apple instituted in-app purchasing restrictions as retaliation against Amazon. Read more at gigaom.com.

  8. Pandora just had a healthy quarter, and wants to celebrate! Pandora executives said in an earnings calls yesterday that they would lift the 40-hour monthly cap on free mobile listening that was instated back in February. This is actually the second time Pandora has instituted a free cap and then lifted it again—it last lifted the cap in September 2011. Read more at techcrunch.com.

  9. Google launched the latest beta of Chrome for desktop and Android today. This release is the first Chrome for Android to support WebGL by default. A number of new swipe gestures come along, like swiping horizontally across the top toolbar to switch between tabs and drag vertically down from the toolbar to enter the tab switcher view. Read more at techcrunch.com.

  10. The Makerbot Digitizer is coming to a home office near you, if you have $1,400 that is...and it will start shipping in October. The machine is designed to allow the replication of objects without any need for the user to learn any 3D modelling software or have any other special expertise. It works by pointing several lasers at the object and detecting contours in the surface, and allows users to upload their 3D designs directly to Thingiverse, a website where 3D designs can be shared. Read more at bbc.co.uk.

For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for August 23, 2013.