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Court Lifts NSL-Imposed Gag Order on Warrantless FBI Probing
December 1, 2015
Calyx founder Nicholas Merrill -- who made history in 2004 when he sued to lift a nondisclosure order imposed by an FBI National Security Letter -- has won his 11-year battle. The ruling, handed down this summer by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, was stayed for 90 days to give the government time to file an appeal. It became public when the stay expired on Monday.
Pirate Bay Scores Rare Legal Victory
December 1, 2015
A District Court in Stockholm, Sweden, last week ruled against an international group of content providers who sought to force a local Internet service provider to block The Pirate Bay, a file-sharing site, said lawyers for the plaintiffs. The content providers had filed a lawsuit suit to compel ISP Bredbandsbolaget to block The Pirate Bay from operating in Sweden.
New US Asteroid Mining Law Could Violate International Space Treaty
November 30, 2015
President Obama last week signed the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, which governs ownership of asteroid resources, possibly triggering a new battle in the commercial space race. Section 5103 of the Act gives U.S. companies the right to resources mined from asteroids, although it does not give them rights to the asteroids themselves.
BlackBerry to Pull Out of Pakistan on Privacy Grounds
November 30, 2015
BlackBerry on Monday announced that it will cease operations in Pakistan at the end of the year. The move is the result of a shutdown order from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, which in July notified the company that its BlackBerry Enterprise Service servers would no longer be allowed to operate in the country beginning in December for what it said were security concerns.
Austrian High Court to Rule on Class Action Status in Facebook Privacy Case
November 27, 2015
The Austrian Supreme Court will consider whether a suit against Facebook Ireland can proceed as a class action. Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems brought the suit to challenge the transfer of private data to Facebook's European subsidiary in Ireland. The Vienna Court of Appeals previously had ruled that the suit could be filed locally, as Schrems' claim fell under local privacy laws there.
HPE Closes Ranks With Microsoft on Windows 10
November 23, 2015
Microsoft last week announced a collaboration with Hewlett Packard Enterprise to push Windows 10 solutions to enterprises worldwide. The collaboration will occur in three areas: cloud, productivity and mobility. The move harks back to the strategy Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella outlined last year, saying the company would focus on cloud, mobile and empowering users everywhere.
NY AG Subpoenas Yahoo in Daily Fantasy Sports Battle
November 21, 2015
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman this week sought an injunction to keep DraftKings and FanDuel from operating in the state, according to press reports. He also subpoenaed Yahoo as part of his effort to end the operation of daily fantasy sports platforms in New York, press reports said. If he's successful, it could tip the dominoes in other states.
Diane Greene to Lead Google Into Cloud Business Fray
November 20, 2015
Google CEO Sundar Pichai has announced the appointment of Diane Greene, cofounder of VMWare and current Google board member, to lead its cloud business. Google will acquire Bebop, another firm founded by Greene. Bebop is a new development platform that makes it easy to build and maintain enterprise applications. Bebop's team will help Google provide integrated cloud products at every level.
Investors Buying In Following Salesforce's Q3 Stunner
November 19, 2015
Salesforce shares rose to an all-time high Thursday, after the company reported better-than-expected Q3 revenue and raised earnings estimates for 2016. Salesforce reported earnings of 21 cents a share and a revenue increase of 24 percent to $1.71 billion, compared with a year ago. The company is on pace to become the fourth largest enterprise software company in the world.
Drone, Ferris Wheel Altercation a Worrying Sign of the Times
November 17, 2015
A drone crashed into the 175-foot-tall Seattle Great Wheel last week, triggering a police investigation. The Great Wheel is a ferris wheel near the downtown Seattle waterfront. No damage or injuries were reported in the crash. "I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often," commented Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.
Time for Apple to Broaden Its Model?
November 16, 2015
Apple shares have been sliding since Credit Suisse last week warned of weaker-than-expected iPhone 6s demand. Credit Suisse lowered its earnings estimates for calendar year 2016 by 6 percent, based on Apple cutting component orders by as much as 10 percent due to the weak demand. Credit Suisse lowered its calendar year estimates to 222 million units from 242 million units.
Microsoft Hands Cloud Data Control to German Trustee
November 12, 2015
Microsoft announced it will offer its Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM cloud services to business clients using two Germany-based data centers hosted by a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. The arrangement will protect the integrity and privacy of customer data, the company said. The data centers will be under the control of T-Systems, a unit of Deutsche Telekom, which will act as data trustee.
Microsoft to Add Secure Islands to Its Cloud
November 11, 2015
Microsoft on Tuesday announced that it has agreed to purchase data security firm Secure Islands. It will pay between $78 million and $150 million, according to reports, but company spokesperson Joel Sider declined to disclose the terms of the acquisition, which requires regulatory approval. Secure Islands' products will be integrated into the Azure Rights Management Service.
Cisco and Ericsson Hook Up for IoT Network
November 10, 2015
Cisco and Ericsson on Monday announced a partnership to build out a next-generation network for smart things and the carriers and enterprises that want to support such devices. The deal plays to the companies' strengths in cloud, data center, mobility, management, networking, routing and global services, they said. Each company expects to earn about US$1 billion in revenue by 2018 from the deal.
NSA Keeps Some Security Bugs Under Its Hat
November 10, 2015
The U.S. National Security Agency is getting a collective side-eye after posting what it characterized as proactive information: the fact that it discloses 91 percent of security vulnerabilities that pass through its internal review process. While the agency appears pleased with its newfound transparency, it's being called out en masse for the things it's not reporting.
Karma Serves Up $50 All-You-Can-Eat Data Plan
November 9, 2015
Karma Mobility last week unveiled Neverstop, an all-you-can-eat data plan for its mobile hotspot. There are no data caps, and the service, which runs on Sprint's 4G LTE network, is available in more than U.S. 450 cities. For $50 a month, customers get unlimited data minutes at speeds of up to 5 Mbps for both downloads and uploads. When LTE isn't available, the hotspot runs at CDMA speeds.
Toyota's $1B AI, Robotics Play Jolts Driverless World
November 6, 2015
Toyota Motor on Friday announced plans to launch a new company, Toyota Research Institute, as part of a five-year $1 billion investment in artificial intelligence and robotics technology for automobiles. The new company will begin operations in January 2016 under the leadership of Toyota's executive technical advisor Gill Pratt. Its headquarters will be in Silicon Valley near Stanford University.
Microsoft and Red Hat Collaborate in the Cloud
November 6, 2015
Microsoft and Red Hat on Wednesday announced a deal that bridges their cloud technologies, which have been separated by the competing Windows and Linux platforms. The partnership lets customers migrate their data to either Microsoft Azure or Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It also integrates features in both cloud systems so customers can use them interchangeably.
Lawsuit Threatens Amazon's Prime Now Delivery Model
November 6, 2015
Four former delivery drivers for Amazon Prime Now, or APN, last week filed a lawsuit against Amazon, arguing they should have been classified as employees rather than independent contractors. The suit also names Scoobeez, the courier service through which they worked for Amazon; ABT Holdings, Scoobeez's parent company; and 10 John Does as co-defendants.
Activision Welcomes King Into Its Court
November 5, 2015
The deal isn't done, but Activision Blizzard already was calling itself a "crowned leader" earlier this week, as it anticipated acquiring Candy Crush publisher King Digital Interactive. Both companies' boards of directors are on board with the acquisition, and the two sides have signed a "definitive agreement" that entails Activision Blizzard picking up King's outstanding shares.
Film Industry Claims Victory in Shutdown of Major Piracy Sites
November 4, 2015
The Motion Picture Association of America ran a victory lap after announcing the shutdown of movie and television torrent sites Popcorn Time and YTS. The shutdowns resulted from major legal wins in Canada and New Zealand. The MPAA last month obtained injunctions against the sites in those countries, effectively blocking them from further operation.
Nokia Bets on Artemis' 4G LTE Booster
November 4, 2015
Nokia will test Artemis Networks' pCell technology, which promises speed boosts in bounds for wireless broadband without requiring new handsets, the companies announced Monday. Nokia plans to work with wireless carriers to test the technology in the U.S. and other countries starting in 2016. It has entered into a memorandum of understanding on pCell tech with Rearden, parent company of Artemis.
Airbnb Holds its Breath as San Franciscans Vote on Prop F
November 3, 2015
San Franciscans will vote Tuesday on Proposition F, also known as the "Airbnb Initiative," which seeks to restrict short-term rentals. Polls will open at 7:00 a.m. At first glance, it appears that the fight is about short-term rental aggregators such as Airbnb. However, the battle lines are muddy. On one side, landlords support Prop F. However, many tenants also support it.
HP, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Go Separate Ways
November 2, 2015
The long-awaited split of HP's personal computer and enterprise operations has taken place, and CEO Meg Whitman clearly faces the most challenging crisis of her career -- trying to save a legacy business from being buried by the sands of time and progress. HP on Monday began its first official business day as a house divided into two brand new $50 billion enterprises.
Google Migrates Project Loon to Indonesia
October 30, 2015
Project Loon, part of Google's parent company, Alphabet, on Wednesday announced that it has signed agreements with three mobile network operators in Indonesia -- Indosat, Telkomse, and XL Axiata -- to begin tests of its balloon-powered Internet service in 2016. Only about one in three of Indonesia's 250 million residents is connected to the Internet, according to Project Loon.
Nintendo's Miitomo Smartphone 'Game' Fails to Charm Investors
October 29, 2015
Nintendo shares dropped 9 percent on Thursday, and partner DeNA's stock dropped 15 percent after Nintendo announced that it would wade into the mobile waters next year with social mobile app Miitomo. Based on the Mii digital avatars made popular by the Wii, Miitomo will seek to connect players through trivia, Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima reportedly said.
Library of Congress Brings Digital Rights Rules Into Modern Era
October 29, 2015
The Library of Congress, which oversees the U.S. Copyright Office, on Wednesday published new rules to replace a set of controversial -- and for many, outdated -- measures. Consumers now may hack their own tablet computers, automobile software and Blu-ray devices without fear of being sued. The ruling upgrades certain provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Europe's New Net Neutrality Law Draws Jeers
October 28, 2015
The European Parliament on Tuesday passed Net neutrality legislation to a chorus of boos from Net neutrality proponents. The European Union has found consensus on the common principles of Net neutrality -- no blocking, no throttling and no prepaid prioritization -- said Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger. However, the rules have three major loopholes, Net neutrality supporters said.
CISA Passes Senate Despite Privacy Advocates' Fear and Loathing
October 28, 2015
The U.S. Senate on Tuesday voted 74-21 to pass the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA, in the face of strong opposition from legal and cybersecurity experts, the high-tech industry, privacy and civil liberties organizations, and members of the public. The Act calls for several federal agencies to share cyberthreat indicators between the public and private sectors.
Microsoft Opens Tony Fifth Avenue Store
October 27, 2015
Microsoft on Monday opened its flagship store in Manhattan. At more than 22,000 square feet, it's the company's largest store and its 113th brick-and-mortar retail establishment. It's also the first Microsoft store that's two stories high. The company gutted a 1930s building that was previously a Fendi store and replaced the street-facing facade with giant glass panes.
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I plan to do my holiday shopping…
Online only -- I like the convenience and comfort.
Online only -- I'd shop in stores if their stock weren't so limited.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I like to see what I'm getting.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I enjoy the holiday shopping atmosphere.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I want to support local merchants.
Online and in stores -- I want the best of both worlds.
I'm not planning on doing any holiday shopping.