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California passes bill limiting student social media data collection

10/01, 7:42pm

Items collected can only be limited to school, pupil safety, parents must be notified

While California Governor Jerry Brown's signing of a bill banning single-use plastic bags across the state made its way to headlines this week, another bill signed the day prior made headway on how social media, schools and information collection interact. Brown signed Assembly Bill 1442 on September 29, limiting the amount of information schools can collect on student activity on social media.

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Verizon retreats from 'network optimization' for unlimited data users

10/01, 7:13pm

Carrier drops policy on LTE data speed limits on day it was set to be implemented

Verizon had a change of heart on its implementation of "network optimization" that would result in slower 4G LTE speeds for account holders with unlimited data. Initially, the carrier announced a change in policy that was said only to impact the "top five percent" of unlimited plan users, as the company would manage their data speeds in order to optimize speeds in the area for others.

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Analysts: Apple Watch likely a hit, but will take time to mature

10/01, 7:00pm

Piper Jaffray's Munster forecasts 10M units in first year, ASP of $500

Analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray, while calling the Apple Watch "light years ahead of any other smartwatch on the market," nevertheless advised both clients and market watchers to expect "conservative" initial sales of the device in its first year. Like the iPod, which took three years to become the dominant force in music players, Munster said that "consumer application may be limited initially, until developers begin to create useful applications for the watch."

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Apple drops German publication over iPhone 6 Plus bending video

10/01, 4:32pm

Editor issues open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple has dropped a German publication, Computer Bild, from receiving review units or covering company events, according to the publication's editor-in-chief, Axel Telzerow. Like some other websites, CB recently decided to produce a video testing whether the iPhone 6 Plus can be bent more easily than other phones. The clip (below) has managed to gather over 510,000 views so far on YouTube; its popularity apparently caught the attention of Apple, which contacted CB to revoke press privileges.

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FAA orders airlines to replace cockpit screens over Wi-Fi interference

10/01, 11:01am

Displays used by pilots in Boeing 737, 777 jets affected by wireless signals

A number of Boeing passenger aircraft will be receiving a cockpit upgrade, because of wireless interference. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has ordered for more than 1,300 Boeing 737 and 777 jets to replace their cockpit display units because the Honeywell International-produced screens were susceptible to interference from Wi-Fi and cellular signals.

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Evercore raises AAPL to $125 on increased iPhone demand

09/30, 6:26pm

Demand for larger sizes, increase average selling price drive analyst interest

Apple is not the only company that believes the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will not only drive a bigger upgrade cycle, but also bring at least some switchers from the Android platform. Evercore Partners analyst Rob Cihra has reiterated his "overweight" rating for AAPL and raised the price target to $125, along with encouraging investors to buy the stock in a new memo to clients. He also published optimistic estimates for both the September and December quarters in terms of iPhone sales.

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Apple broke off talks with PayPal because of Galaxy S5, sources claim

09/30, 5:02pm

Company upset because of tech arriving on rival device

Apple and PayPal were indeed in talks regarding Apple Pay, but those were cancelled after Samsung signed a deal to let people make PayPal transactions using the fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy S5, sources say. The people suggest that Apple was so upset that it not only backed out of talks but chose to exclude PayPal as an acceptable platform in developer documentation. Blame has been laid on eBay CEO John Donahoe, who went ahead with the Samsung deal despite opposition from former PayPal president David Marcus, who reportedly believed it might cause problems with Apple.

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Judge finds Grooveshark infringed on copyright with employee uploads

09/30, 4:52pm

Nearly 6,000 songs uploaded by employees under company instruction, without licenses

Another blow was dealt to Grooveshark today, as a New York judge found that its parent company infringed upon copyright by uploading 5,977 songs. Identified by its parent company Escape Media Group, Grooveshark employees -- including founders Samuel Tarantino and Joshua Greenberg -- were found to have participated in illegal uploads, some under instruction by the company.

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FTC head speaks out against proposed FCC Title II regulation of ISPs

09/30, 12:56pm

Dueling regulatory boards fight over future of ISP regulation

Allegedly concerned about protecting the American consumer, US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) head Maureen Ohlhausen has come out as strongly against Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler's net neutrality provision -- specifically, the possibility of Title II regulation of ISPs. The comment against the possibility of regulating Internet providers as a utility is the FTC's second in September.

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New York regulators seek concessions for Time Warner/Comcast merger

09/30, 11:30am

Improvement in customer service, expansion of low-cost broadband demanded

Several states are having regulatory discussions in governmental circles about the Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger. Two New York state agencies, the Division of Consumer Protection Utility Intervention Unit (UIU) and the Department of Public Service, are taking serious issue with the merger and are demanding concessions. As a result, the UIU's vote on its discussion has been postponed from October 2 until November 13, over "deficiencies associated with the Companies' current substandard customer service" and other issues that is sees as being generated or exacerbated by a combined company.

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PayPal, eBay splitting into two separate public companies in 2015

09/30, 10:38am

Splitting of eBay, PayPal expected to be beneficial to each business

Auction site eBay and payment service PayPal are splitting apart into two separate companies. A plan has been approved by the eBay board of directors to separate the two into independent publicly traded companies by next year, subject to regulatory approval, with each company set to be presided over by two new chief executives.

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Project Ara head claims modular smartphone parts 'hot swappable'

09/30, 6:38am

Modules from Project Ara will be switchable while smartphone is in use

Google's modular smartphone project will allow users to replace individual modules from the mobile device while it is still running. The majority of Project Ara modules will be hot swappable, with exception to the processor and display, so users will not be required to shut down the device before making any changes to the hardware.

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San Francisco, Los Angeles issue legal threat to ride-sharing services

09/29, 4:35pm

Lyft, Sidecar and Uber receive letters accusing them being misleading, breaking California laws

District attorneys in San Francisco and Los Angeles drafted a letter to the three large ride-sharing operations, asking them to make changes to the way they do business, or face legal action. The letters state that the companies make misleading statements regarding the background checks into drivers, on top of the shared-ride fees running afoul of California law.

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Study finds Google Glass as dangerous as smartphones when driving

09/29, 2:33pm

Researchers put 40 students in driving simulator to simulate speech-to-text distractions

In a joint study between the University of Central Florida and Air Force Research Laboratories, researcher Ben Sawyer found that drivers wearing Google Glass are just as distracted as those using smartphones to text. The study attempted to discover the level of driver distraction using Google Glass, a hands-free device that many claimed offers no or a lesser degree of distraction than other in-car devices.

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Circle opens up insured Bitcoin banking service globally

09/29, 2:19pm

Bitcoin storage service usable around the world, aims to simplify transactions

Circle, a start-up offering Bitcoin banking facilities, has opened itself up for business after a brief invitation-only period. The service, acting as a simplified Bitcoin wallet, can now be used by anyone in the world rather than an invited few, allowing customers to buy the digital currency and transfer the funds to other online accounts.

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CloudFlare rolls out free SSL website encryption to all users

09/29, 1:41pm

SSL added after Google's decision to rank encrypted sites higher in search rankings

CloudFlare is pushing its users toward security in a good way, as it is adding secure socket layer (SSL) encryption to all of its customer accounts starting today. Where the company says that only around two million sites supported encrypted connections previously, CloudFlare believes it will double that number by the end of the day. The SSL encryption is being adding to all accounts, even free users.

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Executive confirms Microsoft Store opening soon on Fifth Avenue

09/29, 7:47am

Flagship Microsoft Store several blocks away from iconic Apple Cube store

Microsoft will be launching its first flagship retail location in Manhattan, a few blocks away from Apple's iconic Fifth Avenue glass cube store. The software giant has confirmed its Microsoft Store will be taking the place of a Fendi shop located at 677 Fifth Avenue, with executives claiming the store has already been five years in the making.

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SoftBank allegedly offers to acquire DreamWorks Animation

09/29, 5:54am

Claimed offer from SoftBank to buy animation studio may be worth $3.4B

Japanese carrier SoftBank is still on the hunt for acquisitions in the United States, following its earlier failed attempt to merge T-Mobile with Sprint, a report claims. The company is said to be in talks to buy DreamWorks Animation, a studio behind film franchises including Shrek and Kung-Fu Panda, with the deal claimed to be worth somewhere in the region of $3.4 billion.

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China to begin iPhone 6 sales on October 10, reports say

09/28, 2:56pm

Long-delayed device hampered by regulatory approval process

While it is currently possible to legally buy an iPhone 6 in some parts of the regional "Greater China" area (such as Hong Kong or Taiwan) the country of China itself -- which manufactures and assembles the new iPhones - ironically does not yet offer them for sale, due to a cumbersome regulatory process. This may finally be changing, as various reports out of the region indicated that both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will finally debut in China on Friday, October 10.

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AT&T doubles data caps on shared data plans until October 31

09/28, 2:55pm

Value plans now offer up to 100GB of data, only expire if changed after promotion

The never ending race for data cap superiority continues, AT&T has announced a limited-time offer that increases the data for its Mobile Share Value plans. Beginning today, AT&T is doubling the data included in the plans starting at the 15GB level. Where a 30GB plan was previously $225 a month, AT&T is now offering it for $130 until October 31.

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Yahoo trims away more fat, three services shutting down before 2015

09/28, 1:37pm

Directory, Education and Qwiki to be shuttered to better align with company vision

In the last two years, Yahoo has made a large number of changes to its core business, acquiring more than 40 companies to bolster various division of the company or open new areas of business. However, the company also ended more than 60 products in order to refine its vision since coming under the leadership of CEO Marissa Mayer. To that effect, Yahoo states three other products are coming to the end of their lives, as Yahoo Education, Directory and Qwiki will be closing down before 2015.

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Analysts raising price targets for AAPL on sales strength, China debut

09/26, 8:00pm

'Bendghazi' controversy not phasing sales, swift refutation by Apple credited

After falling four percent on Thursday, Apple's stock closed out the week by bouncing back and regaining more than half the drop as Wall Street reacted positively to the company's refutation of the "bending" controversy. Some new questions are being raised about the original video that started the kerfuffle, as careful observation reveals that the video was edited (and the reported noted in the video that his iPhone 6 was already slightly bent before demonstrating the flaw). Investment firms Stifel Nicolaus and BMO Capital Markets have both raised their target prices for AAPL.

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Google reportedly adds more restrictions to Android agreements

09/26, 4:48pm

More pre-installed Google apps allegedly stipulated in manufacturer contracts

Producers of Android smartphones and tablets will need to increase the promotion of Google apps and services in their devices in the future, according to a report. It is claimed a number of hardware partners including Samsung, Huawei, and HTC will have to accept a new set of terms before being able to use Android, as Google attempts to keep users within its ecosystem.

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BlackBerry posts better-than-expected $207 million loss for quarter

09/26, 8:18am

Recovery seemingly working, but phone sales still need to climb for profit

While still not yet profitable, BlackBerry has posted a significantly lower-than-expected loss for the quarter. At the end of its fiscal 2015 Q2, the company reported a net loss of $207 million. This time last year, the company posted a $965 million loss. Of the $207 million loss, $33 million was attributed to mandatory charges from the company's near-complete restructuring program.

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FAA grants drone exemptions, warns of air traffic control issues

09/26, 6:44am

Future air traffic control system not built to accommodate drones

The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has taken an important step in enabling drones for commercial use, by granting six media companies regulatory exemptions. At the same time, it has also revealed its next generation of air traffic control system may not be able to cope with drones, as it was not designed to take into account the automated craft.

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FBI Director Comey worried Apple, Google encryption 'above the law'

09/25, 6:35pm

Agency thinks Android L, iOS 8 security put consumer security ahead of law enforcement

Addressing reporters in Washington today, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey voiced his concerns over the recent shifts in security policy for Android and iOS 8. Specifically, Comey believes that the new security encryption measures that cannot be bypassed for law enforcement puts consumers before possible emergency situations.

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Phones 4U customers unlikely to receive iPhone 6 preorder refunds

09/25, 4:58pm

Administrators refer Phones 4U customers to credit card companies

Customers of UK retailer Phones 4U may not receive a refund for their pre-ordered iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. PWC, the administrators of the failed retail chain, has effectively reversed an earlier decision to allow for refunds to proceed, with affected customers now extremely unlikely to receive a refund directly from the company at all.

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DirecTV shareholders vote overwhelmingly in favor of AT&T buyout

09/25, 2:16pm

DirecTV internal issues now resolved, all that remains is US Government approval

As part of the process towards a purchase by AT&T, DirecTV shareholders have voted nearly unanimously in favor of the acquisition. Votes representing 77 percent of all outstanding shares have been cast, with 99 percent of them in favor of proceeding with the merger. Discussion amongst US regulatory bodies is continuing, but the shareholder vote was potentially a major issue, now overcome.

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New iPhone 6, 6 Plus take lead in Japanese smartphone market

09/25, 11:39am

82.2 percent favoring regular iPhone 6

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are commanding the Japanese smartphone market, just a week into their availability, according to BCN sales rankings cited by Forbes. The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 was the most popular phone overall, taking eight out of the top 10 spots, and even then the iPhone 5s claimed 5th and 8th places. The larger, 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus reached no higher than 11th, but still took five out of the next seven spots.

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European Commission reportedly ready to approve Facebook Whatsapp buy

09/25, 11:01am

Deal said to be unconditional, no conditions likely to be assessed

According to sources familiar with the matter, the European Commission is poised to offer unconditional approval to Facebook's purchase of message service WhatsApp. The official decision is due by the European regulatory agency on October 3, and no official comment of approval has yet been made.

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Anti-Amazon author group petitioning DOJ to examine Hachette conflict

09/25, 9:53am

1,000 authors affected by dispute sending missive to DoJ antitrust head

Amazon's battle with publisher Hachette is continuing, with authors still being affected by the issue. The Authors United group, who previously took out an ad in newspapers decrying treatment by Amazon, is planning to send a letter to the head of the US Justice Department's antitrust division, asking them to look into the matter. Authors attached to the letter include Stephen King, Donna Tartt, Paul Auster, James Patterson, John Grisham, Jennifer Egan, Joshua Ferris, Karen Joy Fowler, Siri Hustvedt, Joseph O'Neill, Jeffery Deaver, Lee Child, Barbara Kingsolver, Clive Cussler, Anita Shreve and Philip Pullman.

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New poll suggests iPhone 6, 6 Plus will draw Android switchers

09/24, 11:42pm

Twenty-seven percent of respondents say they're willing to switch platforms

A new survey suggests that the latest iPhone is attracting a very broad range of customers, with primarily four groups of roughly the same size who say they plan to buy an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. About 26 percent were, as one might expect, current iPhone owners looking to upgrade. About 20 percent said they don't own a phone. A quarter of the 250 poll respondents indicated they would be switching from a non-Android phone, and other 27 percent say they will dump Android for iOS.

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PayPal lets merchants accept Bitcoin with processor partnerships

09/24, 8:00pm

Coinbase, GoCoin and BitPay agreements allow processing, Bitcoins not added to wallet

PayPal is slowly embracing Bitcoin, as it said yesterday that it's working with three Bitcoin payment processors to allow merchants to accept the online currency. While Bitcoins aren't being held in the PayPal wallets at this time, the company is taking a step to help merchants that may want to experiment with accepting the currency through the PayPal Payment Hub.

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DxO optics: iPhone 6, 6 Plus are best smartphone cameras

09/24, 7:00pm

Influential test bests Samsung Galaxy S5, Sony Xperia Z3

Backing up anecdotal evidence and tests by independent third parties such as the Wall Street Journal, high-end image software and optical lens testing company DxO Optics has issued its DxOMark ranking of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, finding that both models beat the formerly top-rated Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z3. The company, which also ranks high-end DSLR lenses, proclaimed that the new iPhones "set the gold standard for smartphone image quality."

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Amazon teams up with Twitter to add wish list items with hashtag

09/24, 6:52pm

Social media, commerce combination adds to previous Amazon cart initiative

Amazon and Twitter teamed up again for another commerce experience within the micro blogging platform. Similar to the previous initiative that the two companies launched earlier this year, users can reply to a tweet with a certain hashtag to add an item to their Amazon wish list. The only catch is that it only works with tweets that have links to the item on Amazon, while also required Twitter and Amazon accounts to be linked.

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Blizzard terminates seven-year development of next-gen Titan MMO

09/24, 5:45pm

Projected cancelled as the company 'didn't find the fun' after a year in reevaluation

Blizzard fans waiting for details on the massively multiplayer online (MMO) game codenamed Titan to be officially revealed from the developer should be set for disappointment, as the company announced it has cancelled development. While the game was never officially announced by Blizzard, it has been teased for several years as the next-generation MMO to follow the company's successful World of Warcraft.

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Apple-IBM deal took eight months, was not first partnership discussed

09/24, 4:40pm

Companies working with 'several large customers' on iOS apps

The Apple-IBM partnership announced in July took about eight months to negotiate, and was not the only arrangement the two corporations considered, according to a new profile of IBM CEO Ginni Rometty. It's not mentioned what other options the companies were considering. IBM's global business executive, Bridget van Kralingen, says reaching the current agreement took "tons of meetings" that were "pretty broad-based," roping in engineering, marketing, and development teams as well as executives.

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Comcast accuses businesses of extortion for merger support

09/24, 4:17pm

Provider calls Dish Network, Discovery Communications, and Netflix out in FCC response

Comcast believes that a number of companies are trying to bully the cable and Internet provider in order to get favorable terms -- in exchange for their non-opposition of the merger with Time Warner Cable. In a response to the comments filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over the proposed merger, Comcast claims that companies are engaging in a sort of blackmail to further their own business interests at the cost of the deal.

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DHL starts drone deliveries to North Sea island as part of trial

09/24, 1:36pm

Shipping firm testing regular deliveries of supplies to island using drones

While companies such as Amazon and Google are exploring ways to use drones for deliveries in the future, DHL is starting to use the autonomus flying machines for some deliveries in Germany as part of a trial. The shipping company will be using a drone to transport packages to Juist, an island located in the North Sea which is home to around 1,700 inhabitants.

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Macs top over one quarter of US share during back-to-school PC sales

09/24, 11:01am

Chromebook, Mac gains come at expense of still-dominant Windows

During the span between July 4 and Labor Day -- the peak of the back-to-school shopping season -- Macs accounted for 26.8 percent of all US computer sales, according to NPD tracking data. That amount is a 14 percent increase year-over-year, and contrasts with a three percent dip for Windows PCs. Windows remains the leading computer platform, however, with 68.4 percent of the market.

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Amazon spreads Kindle Unlimited e-book subscriptions to UK

09/24, 5:19am

British launch includes fewer books than US Kindle Unlimited catalog

Amazon has expanded its all-you-can-eat e-book subscription service to the United Kingdom, just two months after the retailer's original United States launch. Kindle Unlimited offers book readers over 650,000 titles and thousands of audiobooks to read and listen to, with the UK subscription priced at £7.99 ($13) per month accompanied by a 30-day trial.

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Apple again tops in PC customer satisfaction, but some rivals gaining

09/23, 8:06pm

Mac maker tops competitors for 11th year running from 70,000 surveyed

For the 11th year in a row, Apple has topped the satisfaction ratings in the most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index rating buyer happiness with PC purchases, including tablets. Noting a slight uptick in overall satisfaction with desktop computers, ACSI Chairman Claes Fornell could not say if desktop PCs are poised for a comeback or if consumers who disliked being bound to a desk have simply moved on to other devices. Apple has won the top slot every year since 2004.

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Report: EMC explores merger possibilities with Hewlett-Packard, Dell

09/23, 7:39pm

Talks with HP stalled, resulting company would have held $130 billion market share

A report from the Wall Street Journal suggests that EMC Corporation has been looking into a possible merger under pressure from an activist shareholder. The cloud computing and data storage company was considering a merger with Hewlett-Packard, a move that would have created a resulting company with a combined market share of approximately $130 billion.

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Lyft set to build on Lyft Line service with acquisition of Hitch

09/23, 6:40pm

Hitch co-founders to join Lyft, Hitch technology to be integrated into Lyft

In a move that strengthens its multi-passenger Lyft Line ride service, Lyft has acquired the San Francisco-based Hitch. The ridesharing service boasted a price less than its competitors, including Lyft, while focusing on the social experience and personal connections of the ride. Complete details of the acquisition weren't stated by either company, but Hitch co-founders Snir Kodesh and Noam Szpiro will be joining Lyft.

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Ron Johnson recruiting former Apple staff for new delivery firm

09/23, 5:04pm

Includes former VP Jerry McDougal

Former Apple retail head and later JC Penney CEO Ron Johnson is working on a "high-end, on-demand delivery service" for gadgets, says The Information, citing sources in contact with him. Johnson has allegedly recruited some other former Apple workers, including ex-VP Jerry McDougal. McDougal left Apple at the beginning of 2013; Johnson left JC Penney roughly three months later.

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Samsung exiting Europe PC market; sales continue in US, elsewhere

09/23, 4:00pm

Changing 'market needs and demands' cited for exit

Following continued dismal sales in Europe of computer hardware, electronics giant manufacturer Samsung has ceased sales in the region, effective immediately. The sales stop includes the company's popular Ativ line, as well as the generally-successful Chromebook products by the Korean manufacturer. While the company claims the stop is temporary, no word has been given on when the company may resume sales again.

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Google to spend $772 million on data center in the Netherlands

09/23, 3:58pm

Cost spread out over four years, expected to bring more than 1,000 jobs to area

Google has said that it is making a four-year investment into the construction of a new data center in the Netherlands. The data center, being built in Eemshaven, will cost the company approximately $772 million to construct (€600 million). The new data center marks the fourth built in Europe, following construction in Ireland, Belgium and Finland.

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Square CEO: Apple Pay, Bitcoin payments included in future register

09/23, 1:06pm

Jack Dorsey encouraged by Apple Pay, does not see it as competition to Square

Square's next generation of payment terminal could allow retailers to accept payments from Bitcoin and Apple Pay, the company head has suggested. In an interview, CEO Jack Dorsey explained that a future version of its cash register system will be able to accept a number of different payment types, on top of the current credit card payments it currently works with.

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AT&T targets cord-cutters with $40 basic TV, HBO, Amazon Prime bundle

09/23, 11:33am

Bundle combines HBO, HBO Go with local TV channels, Internet

AT&T is following Comcast's lead, in offering a basic service aimed at cord-cutters. The bundle combines a basic television service with Internet at a relatively low cost, and while it copies Comcast in providing HBO and HBO Go under the subscription, it also unusually adds in one year of free Amazon Prime deliveries and Prime Instant Video.

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EU anti-trust chief officially demands more from Google settlement

09/23, 11:07am

Fourth settlement deal falls through, deal not likely before departure of head

European Commission anti-trust head Joaquin Almunia has called for Google to improve its proposal to mitigate concerns that the search engine is abusing its industry-leading position and manipulating search results. The previous deal struck has now apparently collapsed, leaving the Mountain View, California-based company to start negotiation a new one, or face fines of up to $6 billion if the complaint moves to formal monopoly charges.

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