News Fuse for December 6, 2013

Microsoft

Here are today's top 10 stories from Tech News Today for December 06, 2013:

  1. Microsoft may be battling some government agencies over surveillance but they’re still working with others. The US FBI and Europol teamed up with Microsoft and A10 Networks to try to take down the “ZeroAccess” botnet. They’ve disrupted a major portion of the click-fraud system but due to its complexity do not expect to fully eliminate it. US Federal Court, not operating in secret, allowed the operation block communications and take control of 49 domain names. Europol executed actual legally obtained search warrants and seizure orders on computers related to 18 IP addresses. Microsoft also filed a civil suit in US District Court for the Western District of Texas against 8 anonymous individuals. Read more at pcworld.com.

  2. And the thanks for nothing award goes to... GoldenShores Technologies! the company took ID and location data from the millions using its Brightest Flashlight Android app, then shared the data with ad networks but did not tell users, says the FTC. To settle the charges, GoldenShores has agreed to give users more control over what happens to their data. Read more at bbc.co.uk.

  3. After tests in New York, Apple officially launched iBeacon in all of its stores in the U.S. The technology lets Apple know your exact location using Bluetooth. Before you get paranoid about the fruit company tracking you, you'll have to download an app from Apple's app store and then give Apple permission to track you. iBeacon is already active in some MLB stadiums and Macy's as well. Read more at engadget.com.

  4. Spotify has an event next week and the WSJ and TechCrunch report the company will introduce a free mobile music service. Right now Spotify has a free desktop service but members have to pay for the $10 a month level to get mobile access. Similar to the desktop service the mobile service would be ad-supported and allow a limited number of songs on demand. Read more at gigaom.com.

  5. A U.S. appeals court is reviewing Google's claim that Oracle does not enjoy copyright protection over certain parts of the Java programming language. Google's Android is the world's best-selling smartphone OS. The Java programming language was created by Sun Microsystems, which Oracle acquired in 2010. Oracle sued Google soon after, claiming that Google had incorporated parts of Java into Android. The ongoing issue is whether computer language that connects programs - known as application programming interfaces, or APIs - can be copyrighted. Read more at reuters.com.

  6. Instagram just sent invites to the press for an event to take place on December 12th. The invite itself was sent via FedEx and contained a wooden block with a printed Instagram picture and a slot on the back so you could hang it on the wall. Why a wooden block? Because Instagram has too much money -- well, they didn't say. The company is reported to be building a private messaging service; perhaps we'll see that on the 12th. Read more at cnet.com.

  7. Comscore’s marketshare numbers for mobile are out and Apple seems to be leveling out a cursing altitude of 40.6%. Samsung inched up above a quarter of the market at 25.4% while Motorola jumped ahead of declining HTC and LG in that order. Meanwhile on the OS side, Android stopped declining, and rose from 51.8% in July just side to 52.2%. Apple also nudged up from 40.4% to 40.6%. Blackberry held on to third though fell to 3.6% just barely escaping being caught by Microsoft at 3.2%. And Symbian. Symbian still exists. Read more at thenextweb.com.

  8. Genetic-testing startup 23andMe will stop giving health analysis information to new customers in compliance with demands made by the US Food and Drug Administration but will not stop sales of the kits. The FDA issued the Google-backed startup a warning two weeks ago telling the company to stop selling its at-home testing kits because they required regulatory clearance. In response, the company put its advertising campaigns for its popular at-home testing kits on hold. Read more at cnet.com.

  9. A small amount of patent reform made it through the US House of Representatives yesterday. The Innovation Act gives customers of alleged infringing devices more protection, allowing the manufacturer’s to protect them during a lawsuit. Yes YOU can be sued for owning a router that infringes a patent right now. If you bring an unreasonable lawsuit and lose you have to pay the entity you sued. And the expensive discovery process is moved to after a judge reviews the merits of a suit, making it less likely someone will settle just to avoid the cost of the threat. The bill does not address the rules for granting low-quality patents. It goes to the US Senate next and is likely to be passed and signed into law by the President. Read more at gigaom.com.

  10. The Chinese government may be tepid on Bitcoin, but analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch issued a report saying Bitcoin could be a "major means of payment for ecommerce." Bank of America thinks that if Bitcoin becomes mainstream, it could be worth $1300 a piece. The report says that the currency can become a "serious competitor to traditional money transfer providers," but also notes the volatility of price and questionable legal standing as downsides. Read more at theverge.com.

For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for December 06, 2013.