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Mobile operators unite to challenge Apple’s apps February 15, 2010

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Twenty-four telecom operators have formed an alliance to build an open platform that will deliver applications to all mobile phone users in an effort to compete with Apple’s successful apps store.

The initiative, known as the Wholesale Applications Community, is the most coordinated attempt yet by operators to take a larger slice of the mobile applications market.

Apple, which for years defined itself in opposition to the more powerful Microsoft, is itself the strongest player in the applications sector with 130,000 products on offer. Over 3 billion applications have been downloaded through its store, although many of those are free.

The move is supported by three of the world’s largest device makers — LG Electronics, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, the telecoms industry body GSM Association said on Monday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

But analysts were skeptical whether so many operators could work together efficienctly and noted that it was difficult to compete with the strength of Apple’s brand.

AT&T, Bharti Airtel, China Mobile, MTN Group, NTT DoCoMo, Orange, Orascom Telecom, Telefonica and Vodafone are among those who have agreed to the initiative, the GSMA said.

Nokia, Intel partner for new mobile operating system February 15, 2010

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Nokia and Intel will merge two of their mobile operating systems into Meego, a Linux-based, open operating system for everything from advanced smartphones to netbooks, connected TVs and tablet computers, the companies said at a joint press conference on Monday.

Nokia’s Linux Maemo software platform has been used in its flagship N900 phone; Intel’s Moblinc is also based on Linux open-sourced software.

MeeGo is an open source Linux project that mates Moblin and Maemo into a single open source activity. The goal of the new OS is to integrate the experience and skill of Nokia and Intel into a single project. MeeGo features optimized performance and intends to deliver a rich computational and graphically oriented platform for applications and connected services development. The Linux Foundation will manage the project.

MeeGo uses a Linux stack that is specifically optimized for size and capability for small footprint platforms and mobile devices and will offer broad compatibility with Linux software. The OS is targeting netbooks and entry-level desktops along with mobile phones, in-vehicle entertainment, and connected TVs.

It will be available later this year with the avowed intention of taking on Android in everything from smartphones to tablets.

Google Releases Chrome For Mac, Linux December 9, 2009

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Google on Tuesday released beta versions of its Chrome browser for Mac and Linux.

The company also unveiled extensions in Chrome for Windows and Linux.

“It took longer than we expected, but we hope the wait was worth it,” Brian Rakowski, Google product manager, wrote in a blog post.

Google unveiled Chrome in September 2008, but only for Windows. Rough versions of Chrome for Mac and Linux were released in June, but they did not include Flash support, and did not allow users to print, manage bookmarks, or alter privacy settings.

Climate Change E-mail Hack Fuel Firestorm November 24, 2009

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Thousands of emails and documents were stolen from a prominent climate research center in the UK recently and posted online, firing up a fresh controversy over global warming.

Hackers broke into the e-mail server of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, one of the United Kingdom’s premier climate research institutes, on Friday, stealing more than 1,000 e-mails and more than 3,800 documents. The CRU hack occurred in the weeks prior to a major global climate summit in Denmark slated for December.

The stolen materials cover roughly a decade’s worth of research and also include the names and email addresses of several prominent researchers.

Hackers then posted the e-mails and documents onto an anonymous FTP server in Russia, as well as a link to the 61-MB file on the blog Air Vent, accompanied by a note that read.

The effect of the hack, meanwhile, has been to incite fresh controversy over the science of global warming.

 

Microsoft’s Bing gains market share November 12, 2009

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ing’s search queries increased 7% in October, according to marketing metrics company Experian Hitwise, rising to 9.6% of all searches in the U.S. for the month. Bing’s gains, which may be linked to the release last month of Microsoft’s new Windows 7 operating system, came at the expense of Google and Yahoo, whose shares of searches declined.

Bing will now pull more information and tools from other Web sites into its search results instead of offering links to other sites. For example, results pages will include information such as travel options, in-depth weather reports and product details.

Microsoft also announced a new partnership with “answer engine” Wolfram Alpha. Microsoft said it is incorporating into Bing the advanced algorithms of Wolfram Alpha, an online service launched in May that gathers query results based on compiled research and a core knowledge base, rather than presenting a list of Web pages as a traditional search engine would.

Intel Settles Lawsuit With AMD November 12, 2009

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According to an AP report, Intel and Advanced Micro Devices Thursday announced that they have settled all antitrust litigation and patent cross-license disputes between the companies. Intel will pay Silicon Valley rival Advanced Micro Devices $1.25 billion to squash a legal battle over Intel’s sales tactics, a rift that led to antitrust charges against Intel.  

The biggest case is in Europe, where regulators have fined Intel a record $1.45 billion over what they described as Intel’s illegal tactics to bully PC makers into choosing Intel chips over AMD’s. EU spokesman Jonathan Todd said that the European Commission “takes note” of Intel’s settlement with AMD but that it does not change Intel’s duty to comply with European antitrust law, AP reported. 

AMD and Intel also said they have agreed to a new five-year cross-license agreement, and have given up claims of breach of contract from the previous license agreement. 

Intel still has to deal with the antitrust charges that AMD pressed governments to file.

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