News Fuse for December 12, 2013

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Here are today's top 10 stories from Tech News Today for December 12, 2013:

  1. Instagram announced Instagram Direct today at an event in New York City. The messaging service lets Instagram users on iOS and Android send text video and of course photo messages to each other privately. The system works similar to Twitter Direct Messages in that you can only send messages to someone who follows you. Messages must be tied to a photo or video as well and you can send a message to up to 15 people at a time. Read more at theverge.com.

  2. Andreessen Horowitz believes in the future of Bitcoin, so much so that the firm has dropped $25 million Series B into Coinbase, joining existing investments and earning a seat on Coinbase's board of directors. Coinbase holding over 600,000 bitcoin wallets, which bitcoin owners use to store the digital currency in the cloud, and also helps people buy and sell bitcoins through bitcoin exchanges. It charges a one percent transaction fee for buying and selling bitcoins. Read more at allthingsd.com.

  3. The Seoul Central District Court says Apple can still sell iPhones and iPads in South Korea. Samsung filed a lawsuit in that court saying that Apple violated three of Samsung's mobile patents and asked for about $95,000 in damages. The court said that the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, and iPad 2 do not violate those patents. Samsung said it would review the ruling before deciding whether to appeal. Read more at gigaom.com.

  4. Yahoo’s partial mail outage is stretching into it’s third day. The service went down Monday at 10:27PM Monday due to a hardware failure. Yahoo announced last night that web, mobile and POP versions of the service seem to be fully restores and they’re working on IMAP. The company expects all mail to be delivered by Thursday afternoon. Read more at techcrunch.com.

  5. The National Library of Norway is digitizing every book in its collection, making the text searchable, and making all books available to read online. Norway also has agreements with many publishers to allow anyone with a Norway IP address to access copyrighted material. The digitization of the entire collection, which literally goes back to the Middle Ages, will take 20 to 30 years. The project started in 2006. Read more at theverge.com.

  6. The Alliance for Wireless Power is launching a new brand of wireless charging called "Rezence." It's a mashup of the words "resonant" and "essence." Rezence uses resonant wireless charging that uses electromagnetic resonators that can charge devices at a distance. That means your device doesn't need to be right on top of a charger like the Qi standard by the Wireless Power Consortium. The Alliance for Wireless Power counts LG, HTC, Qualcomm, Broadcom, Samsung, and Intel as members. Read more at theverge.com.

  7. The Federal Patent Court of Germany ruled that Microsoft’s European Union patent for its File Allocation Table is entirely invalid. Microsoft gets licensing deals from many Android device makers, partially based on the strength of that patent. In fact Microsoft got a German Court to ban all Motorola Android devices from sale in Germany in July 2012 on the strength of it. Microsoft will appeal the decision and has fought off challenges to it before. Read more at pcworld.com.

  8. Several privacy groups have asked the Federal Communications Commission to declare phone companies to be in violation of the Communications Act when they sell subscriber information to third parties, including the CIA. The action is in response to a New York Times report last month that the CIA pays AT&T more than $10 million per year for access to subscriber data. Read more at cnet.com.

  9. Reuters reports US wireless carriers are close to agreeing with the US Federal Communications Commission on new policies to make it easier for consumers to unlock their phones. The agreement is expected to ensure providers notify customers when their phones are eligible to be unlocked, and require unlocking requests to be processed or denied within two days. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will appear at a House of Representative hearing later Thursday where the policy is on the agenda. Read more at reuters.com.

  10. After all those rumors of Microsoft considering Ford CEO Alan Mulally as its next CEO, Reuters reports Ford is going to press Mulally for a decision on his future. Apparently the Ford board is annoyed and Mulally's future will be discussed today when the board meets. Reuters' sources say even if Mulally doesn't take the Microsoft job, it's unlikely he will stay at Ford through the end of 2014. Read more at reuters.com.

For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for December 12, 2013.