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Twitter acquires 'visual intelligence technology' startup Madbits

07/30, 6:48pm

Company prototyped several types of apps, decided to take system to Twitter

Madbits, a startup company founded by Clément Farabet and Louis-Alexandre Etezad-Heydari, announced this week that they are taking their technology to Twitter. The company was focused on making computers learn through the use of artificial intelligence, specifically "deep learning" as it readied for a public launch. Details of the deal have not been shared by either company.

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No redesigned Apple TV set-top until 2015, report says

07/30, 4:24pm

Cable deals, Comcast/Time Warner merger interfering

Apple is indeed working on a new set-top that will let people will watch both live and on-demand TV, but won't have it ready until sometime in 2015, a source indicates. Engineers at the company are allegedly being told not to expect to ship the device this year, and working along that timeline. The issue is claimed to be cable companies "dragging their heels," and the possible Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger, which together are interfering not only with the device but a matching TV service.

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Tor compromised earlier in year, relay attack to 'deanonymize' users

07/30, 3:42pm

The Tor Project announced on its blog today that the service suffered two different types of attacks in an attempt to uncover information that could remove the anonymity of sources accessing hidden services. Tor states that the attackers are so far unknown, but it states that anyone that accessed any hidden services from the beginning of February through July 4 should assume they're affected by the attack.

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Major layoffs impacting Beats during Apple takeover, sources say

07/30, 3:30pm

Developers, creative workers being kept

Although the takeover has yet to be fully approved legally, some workers and technology resources are already being shifted from Beats to Apple, sources say. Apple executives have allegedly visited Beats' California headquarters this week and the last, offering some workers new positions at Apple while telling others that their jobs will be cut. Many Beats employees in creative or development roles are being offered work at Apple; many of these are allegedly headed to Apple's Cupertino's headquarters, but the company is keeping both the Santa Monica offices and some engineers associated with Beats Music.

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Best Buy CEO: Post-PC era ending, tablet sales 'crashing'

07/30, 2:46pm

Struggling chain attempting to reinvent itself to survive the modern market

In an interview, electronics retailer Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly believes that the day of the tablet may be over. Citing observations at his stores, the CEO claims that the company has "actually had a revival of the PC business at Best Buy" giving credit to Microsoft for discontinuation of Windows XP and Apple for continuing to innovate for consumers.

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Sprint achieves $23M quarterly net profit, loses 220,000 customers

07/30, 10:47am

Financial results promising for Sprint, subscriber losses continue

Sprint has managed to return to profitability in its latest quarterly financial results, after earning a net income of $23 million for the period, something the carrier claims is the best performance in "almost seven years." Despite the financial success, the carrier is continuing from the last quarter's 595,000 customer reduction, with the further net loss of 220,000 customers.

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Amazon offers video credits for slower Prime deliveries, expands Fresh

07/30, 5:45am

Video credits offered to Prime subscribers opting for slower order deliveries

Amazon has made some changes to two of its delivery-based services. Users of Amazon Prime deliveries are reportedly being given video credits as an incentive to opt for slower deliveries. Amazon Fresh, the grocery delivery service operated by the retailer in a limited number of locations, is expanding its reach into San Diego, California.

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IDC: Chinese smartphone makers inching up in shipments

07/29, 10:07pm

Apple shows significant year-over-year growth while Samsung drops

On the release of its first set of statistics following last month's report of a two percent drop in Mac sales (that turned out to be a 16 percent gain), IDC has made the term "shipments" more prominent in its latest report on smartphone share worldwide. Although its reports have always been based on shipment data rather than on sales to end-users, the company emphasized the term in its latest set of numbers, and noted that both Apple and Samsung lost share to smaller Chinese smartphone makers.

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Twitter beats expected second quarter revenue with $312 million

07/29, 9:58pm

Revenues up more than $170 million compared to last year, posts $145 million loss

Twitter released its quarterly results today, showing a strong surge in business during the second quarter of its 2014 fiscal year. The company posted revenues of $312 million, compared to only $139 million during the year-ago quarter. The increase represents a 129 percent increase year-over-year. The social media company also saw an increase in users compared to the results from the previous year.

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Amazon reveals motives in Hachette war: forcing lower e-book prices

07/29, 8:34pm

Retailer holds e-book authors hostage in standoff for lower profits for publishers

Painting itself in an altruistic, pro-consumer light, Amazon in a post posing as an "update" on the Hachette standoff -- that has prevented customers from buying print or e-book editions from the publisher because Amazon refuses to fill orders -- explains that it is putting pressure on Hachette (and other publishers soon to follow) to lower the wholesale price of e-books to where Amazon can make a profit on them selling them at $10 or less. Amazon argues that e-books "must stay competitive" against all other forms of media.

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Netflix to give customers better speeds through AT&T peering deal

07/29, 8:13pm

Agreement dates back to May, but wasn't planned to be announced to the public

In the quest to give its users a better streaming experience, Netflix has reached an agreement with AT&T to gain a direct network connection. The two companies revealed that they entered into a peering deal after news broke from anonymous sources that the movie service reached another streaming arrangement. Previously, Netflix had worked out similar deals with Verizon and Comcast.

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FCC opens comments on request to preempt state laws for broadband

07/29, 6:15pm

Comments opened after organizations in Tennessee, North Carolina petitioned agency

After receiving petitions from the Electric Power Board (EPB) of Chattanooga, Tennessee and the City of Wilson in North Carolina, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is opening comments on the subject of preempting state laws. Based on Chairman Tom Wheeler's previous comments on municipal broadband, the FCC would get involved in the battle if it meant better serving consumers.

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Apple confirms buyout of radio/podcast app Swell

07/29, 4:57pm

Value of deal kept secret

As rumored yesterday, Apple has indeed bought Swell, a spokesperson tells the Wall Street Journal's Daisuke Wakabayashi. The company has refused to provide any other information, issuing a standard statement that "we buy smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans." Monday's claims put the value of the takeover at $30 million.

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London police replacing advertisements on illegal download sites

07/29, 4:15pm

Replacement ads state that a site has been reported, branded with force logo

The City of London Police is taking a new approach when it comes to curbing piracy. The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) recently started replacing advertising banners on websites involved with copyright infringement, warning users that the site is known to authorities. The move is aimed at cutting off revenue streams on sites promoting intellectual property (IP) theft, even when the ads are legitimate.

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Rhapsody International reaches 2M premum service subscribers

07/29, 3:36pm

Napster, unRadio help company grow, launching services in Europe and Latin America

Rhapsody International announced today that it hit a significant milestone for its business. The company revealed that it reached two million subscribers for its premium services, including Rhapsody, Napster and the joint venture with T-Mobile called unRadio. On the success of unRadio, the company announced plans to extend the service to other parts of the world.

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BlackBerry acquires German security firm Secusmart

07/29, 12:48pm

Company turnaround underway, says CEO in wake of deal

At its annual BlackBerry summit, the beleagured smartphone manufacturer has announced a deal that will see it acquire Germany's Secusmart to enhance its own security offerings. BlackBerry CEO John Chen said of the deal that it "creates that much more distance between [BlackBerry] and competitors" in the battle for corporate and governmental business share.

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Trouble at TPK may hint at iWatch production issues

07/29, 12:35pm

Effect on launch schedules uncertain

Changes in profit forecasts at TPK may signal delays in iWatch production, reports suggest. Taiwanese publication UDN notes that TPK -- thought to be making touch modules for the iWatch -- has pushed back a predicted third-quarter profit surge into the next quarter. Since suppliers often experience such surges in association with Apple orders, it could mean that iWatch production has suffered setbacks. TPK also provides touch components for devices like the iPhone and iPad, however.

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China regulators launch antitrust investigation against Microsoft

07/29, 10:19am

Investigation centers on Windows operating system dominant position

Following yesterday's raid on Microsoft offices in China, China's State Administration for Industry & Commerce (SAIC) has officially launched an anti-monopoly investigation into the company's ubiquitous Windows operating system. SAIC claims to have data backing up its investigation from the raids, but says that it cannot complete the investigation until some Microsoft executives come to China.

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Apple drops cross-appeal against Samsung, gives up injunction

07/28, 8:48pm

Bid for sales ban against 23 copying Samsung products had been denied twice

Two years after the first Apple-Samsung patent trial, the big winner in that case -- Apple -- has dropped a motion to cross-appeal a portion of Judge Lucy Koh's final verdict. The action means that the company has officially given up hope of seeing any product bans on the 23 Samsung products found guilty of copying Apple technology, though the matter is largely moot as none of the products are still offered for sale anyway. Despite the clear victory in the jury trial, Judge Koh twice refused to issue sales injunctions on the infringing Samsung products.

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HBC department stores Lord & Taylor, Hudson's Bay to use iBeacons

07/28, 6:28pm

Apple technology will be used by Swirl, Motorola Solutions to deploy in Canadian, US stores

HBC Department Store Group, which owns both the Lord & Taylor and Hudson's Bay department store chain, has announced it will be using indoor iBeacons leveraging Apple technology, manufactured by Motorola Solutions and powered by software from Swirl Networks across more than 130 of the corporation's stores in Canada and the US. The move follows in the footsteps of Macy's, which did a similar deployment of iBeacons last November in stores in New York City and San Francisco.

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OkCupid defends Facebook, admits to running its own experiments

07/28, 5:47pm

Dating site owns up to experiments, claims that's just 'how websites work'

Dating site OkCupid took to its blog today in a small defense of the outrage over Facebook's study involving manipulation of users' emotional states through data on its news feed for "psychological research." In a post titled "We Experiment on Human Beings," the dating company proceeded to make light of the data situations, while owning up to several of its own experiments.

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Bitcoin app Blockchain allowed to return to App Store

07/28, 4:46pm

Part of sea change in Apple policies

A Bitcoin trading app, Blockchain, has been allowed to return to the iOS App Store, reports note. The title was one of several removed from the App Store early this year during an Apple crackdown. The company's policy is normally to prohibit apps allowing activities which may be illegal in some countries. Although Bitcoin has become increasingly accepted, it still sits in a legal limbo in many regions.

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Chinese officials make surprise visits to four Microsoft offices

07/28, 4:13pm

Visit tied to investigation, Microsoft states that it will cooperate with officials

Officials from the China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce (AIC) showed up at four Microsoft offices in the country unannounced earlier today. Offices in Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Shanghai received the sudden visits, that could be tied to the start of an antitrust investigation for a presently-unknown reason. The visits come at a time when Microsoft faces scrutiny in the country, over spying allegations and government refusal of Windows 8.

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FISA Court judges ruling on surveillance reportedly own Verizon stock

07/28, 2:35pm

Report claims three judges in FISA Court bought Verizon stock in the last year

Judges sitting on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court) may not be entirely impartial, according to a report. A number of judges on FISA Court allegedly own stock in Verizon, one of the companies subject to NSA bulk surveillance orders issued by the court, with the report suggesting this could be considered as unethical behavior by judges in an important role.

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Apple 'close' to buying radio app Swell for $30M, sources say

07/28, 11:23am

Could give iOS Pandora-like podcast feeds

Apple is on the verge of buying out Swell, a radio and podcast streaming app for iOS, sources say. The deal is reportedly worth $30 million, and if completed should result in the shutdown of the app's services sometime this week. While Swell has a dedicated fanbase, it's also said to have had trouble finding users beyond that group. An Android app was in beta testing but never released.

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European Commission approves Apple acquisition of Beats

07/28, 10:08am

Clears major legal obstacle

The European Commission has authorized Apple's $3 billion takeover of Beats, according to an official statement. The organization was tasked with scrutinizing any possible antitrust concerns in the deal. In its judgment, the Commission notes that while both Apple and Beats sell headphones in Europe, even their combined marketshare is low, and the companies aren't in close competition. Their headphones are said to "differ markedly in functionality and design."

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Amazon opens 3D printing store with curated list of customizable items

07/28, 7:52am

Personalized 3D-printed models, accessories offered by Amazon

Amazon has become the latest retailer to offer sales of 3D printed objects. Just as with Hasbro, the Amazon 3D Printing Store is making more than "200 unique print-on-demand products" available to buy and created through manufacturing partners, and though it is a curated collection of items instead of a user-designed object printing service, it still provides customers the chance to customize some of their purchases before printing.

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Mayor promises 5G mobile network across London by 2020

07/28, 6:19am

Connectivity map, high-speed mobile network in development for UK capital

London will be one of the first major cities in the world to be covered by a 5G mobile Internet service, the city's mayor has pledged, among other connectivity claims. Mayor Boris Johnson revealed the city is working with the University of Surrey to develop part of the capital's long-term infrastructure investment plan, which should lead to the 5G mobile network being deployed by 2020.

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Samsung patent application for tablet sleeve uses prior Apple art

07/27, 4:30pm

Application for 'foldable pouch mobile cradle' uses art from Apple's Smart Cover

A new patent application from Samsung has surfaced, in which the company is seeking to claim a patent on a new type of sleeve for tablets. While that would not be cause for concern in most cases, some of the art in the application makes a direct call to a familiar cover for Apple's iPads. In the filing, Samsung - which has been repeatedly accused by Apple and others of "slavishly copying" the iPhone maker -- introduces prior art in the form of Apple's Smart Cover.

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The Pirate Bay debuts 'The Mobile Bay' website, talks new sites

07/27, 2:45pm

Popular torrent site launches easier to use mobile version, looks at new resilient sites

The Pirate Bay, a website linked to illegal torrent downloads, launched a new version of the site last week that aims to make the experience of using the service easier for mobile users. The new website, aptly named The Mobile Bay, revamps the design of the current website to make it friendlier to touch devices and easier to filter content.

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Coalition of authors blames 'thuggish' Amazon for Hachette dispute

07/26, 10:01am

Amazon fires back, continues to claim to be looking out for consumers

Some authors have begun to side with publisher Hachette in its struggle against Amazon. A letter, signed by almost 900 authors, is objecting to the way that Amazon is handling Hachette, saying that the fight is "harming authors who have nothing to do with this dispute to gain leverage." Amazon claims to be "looking out for the customer" in the dispute, and has already responded to the unpublished letter, calling the spearhead of the campaign "entitled" and an "opportunist."

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Facebook: SEC IPO query dropped, no enforcement action coming

07/26, 9:25am

Investigation centered on technical issues, bank actions marring launch

As part of Facebook's quarterly financial disclosures, the social networking giant reported that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has ended its investigation involving Facebook conduct surrounding the initial public offering in 2013. In its quarterly report, Facebook claims that the SEC ""notified us that it had terminated its inquiry and that no enforcement action had been recommended." Shareholder lawsuits against Facebook and affiliated banks are unaffected by the disclosure.

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Apple buys book analytics site BookLamp to aid iBookstore discovery

07/25, 10:04pm

Boise-based company dubbed 'the Pandora of books' sold for $10-15 million

On Friday, Apple revealed that it had purchased book analytics and discovery company BookLamp for an undisclosed sum, though TechCrunch estimated the sale between $10-15 million. While it acknowledged the deal, the iPhone maker's only comment on the deal was its standard "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans" line. The company is likely to use BookLamp technology in its iBookstore to help readers discover new content.

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Cellphone unlocking bill without bulk unlock ban passed by House

07/25, 4:10pm

Bill headed to oval office, with Obama willing to sign

In an unexpected move, and avoiding a potential fight, the House of Representatives has passed bill S517, aiming to make cellphone unlocking legal. The amended bill, passed by the Senate last week, was passed with no changes -- a controversial clause of the bill previously passed by the House, prohibiting bulk unlocking by companies, has been removed from the final passed version.

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Bose suing Beats over infringement of active noise reduction patents

07/25, 3:29pm

Apple now on the hook in another patent infringement case

In a court filing discovered today, Bose is suing Beats over noise cancellation headphone technology. Bose claims that Beats has knowingly infringed on 50 years of "signficant investment in the research, development, engineering, and design" on the technology, with the Beats lineup for sale now using "36 US patents and applications" that Bose now owns or has filed for.

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Presidential executive order over drone usage reportedly on the way

07/25, 7:34am

NTIA may be called to create voluntary best practices for commercial drones

President Barack Obama may issue privacy guidelines for commercial drones in the United States, claims a report. Plans to issue an executive order allegedly involve the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) working with consumer groups, and companies planning to operate drones in the future, to create "voluntary best practices" for the unmanned aircraft.

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Report: Google signs deal to purchase game-streaming platform Twitch

07/24, 9:35pm

Deal said to be worth $1 billion, matching previously rumored purchase amounts

A new report has surfaced that Google has signed a deal that would see the search giant picking up the popular game streaming platform Twitch for $1 billion. The report adds builds on the previous report floating around that Twitch was being courted by Google's video arm for a possible purchase with a price tag in the same ballpark. By purchasing Twitch, Google could be positioning itself to be the number one destination for live streaming games, as well as watching associated videos.

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FCC gets a chance to flex muscle on municipal broadband issue

07/24, 8:48pm

EPB asks agency to step in, overturn state law to allow service outside existing area

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) could soon have a chance to act on Chairman Tom Wheeler's promise to overturn state laws when it comes to municipal broadband networks. Today, the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga (EPB) filed a petition with the agency asking that they step over state law to allow them to expand access.

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US Court issues temporarily order to stop bitcoins domain auction

07/24, 6:10pm

Court order stops holding company from selling assets as part of CoinLab dispute

A US District Court judge in Washington state issued a restraining order yesterday, placing a temporarily restriction on the bitcoins.com domain from being auctioned off. Yesterday, Tibanne KK, the company owned by former Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles, was ordered to account for and hold all assets. The order stems from a legal issue between CoinLab and Mt. Gox dating back to 2013.

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Amazon widely misses street, hit with $126 million quarterly loss

07/24, 5:37pm

Growing losses troubling investors, stock down six percent in an hour

Amazon today announced financial results for its second quarter. The company reports that net sales increased 23 percent to $19.34 billion in the second quarter, compared with $15.70 billion in second quarter 2013. However, despite the increase in sales, the company's net loss was $126 million in the second quarter, or $0.27 per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $7 million, or $0.02 per diluted share, in second quarter 2013.

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Proposed French law may require Uber drivers to go home between fares

07/24, 3:02pm

Anti-Uber law proposal demands headquarter visits by drivers

French legislators are continuing to work against app-based driver services, by proposing a new law changing the way they operate. The proposal from the French Senate would require drivers for car-service companies to return to their headquarters, or in the case of a driver using Uber or a similar service, a parking garage or their home, between clients.

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Apple's iPad maintains global dominance, but loses further ground

07/24, 11:55am

Apple, Samsung give up share to Lenovo, ASUS, others

Although Apple's iPad is still the leading tablet globally, the company is continuing to lose marketshare, according to new IDC shipment data. Year-over-year, Apple's June-quarter tablet share fell from 33 to 26.9 percent, based on shipments of 13.3 million iPads this quarter versus 14.6 million in Q2 2013. The company's next closest competitor, Samsung, saw its share slip from 18.8 percent to 17.2.

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Swatch denies any involvement with Apple on iWatch tech

07/24, 9:53am

Says it only supplies some components to mobile phone makers

Swatch has quickly denied a report that it's working with Apple on iWatch-related projects, according to Reuters. A spokeswoman for the company claims that the report is unfounded, and that the only involvement Swatch has with phone makers is supplying various components, such as integrated circuits. Apple's iWatch is expected to ship in the fall.

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Researchers tout 1TB RRAM storage for future mobile devices

07/24, 6:43am

Rice University close to licensing deal with memory manufacturer over RRAM production method

Future smartphones could ship with storage measured in terabytes, according to researchers at Rice University. The team has spent five years working on a method to produce resistive RAM (RRAM) at room temperature and with a low voltage, rather than at the high temperatures or voltages it typically requires, with the technique likely to help current RRAM manufacturing efforts, allowing it to be included in devices in the future.

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RBC follows others, raises AAPL to $110 by year's end

07/23, 9:10pm

Expects 'busy fall' with new iPhone, long-awaited 'iWatch' debuts

Despite some disappointments in Apple's latest quarterly earnings report, analysts appear to be satisfied that the company's overall financial picture is in order, particularly on the strength of rising margins and strong developing market sales. The stock closed up $2.47 on Tuesday (an increase of 2.61 percent) to close at $97.19, not far from its 52-week high. On Tuesday, RBC Capital Markets raised its year-end target price to $110, joining Barclays and Morgan Stanley in predicting the company would hit an all-time high this year.

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Facebook hits $2.9 billion in second quarter revenues, up 61 percent

07/23, 5:40pm

Revenues beat industry projections and earnings per share, user counts increase

Facebook released its quarterly earnings for the second quarter of 2014, showing a large increase year-over-year. Revenues topped out at $2.9 billion, a staggering $1.1 billion, or 61 percent, increase from 2013. The revenue jump is due largely to advertising revenue and an increase in daily and monthly active users.

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AT&T misses revenue guidance, blames customer transition to AT&T Next

07/23, 4:56pm

Company still rolling in cash, pulls down $5.6 billion in income

Communications giant AT&T has released its quarterly earnings report for its second quarter of the fiscal year. AT&T's consolidated revenues totaled $32.6 billion, up 1.6 percent versus the year-earlier period. Compared with results for the second quarter of 2013, operating expenses were $27.0 billion versus $26.0 billion; operating income was $5.6 billion versus $6.1 billion; and operating income margin was 17.2 percent versus 19.1 percent.

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FCC reminds broadband providers that they can't lie to customers

07/23, 4:40pm

Notice on Open Internet Transparency Rule tells ISPs to give accurate service information

In a public notice to Internet service providers, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reminded business that they cannot lie to consumers about the services they offer. The notice informs business and the general public that "every provider of broadband Internet access in the United States" is subject to the Open Internet Transparency Rule.

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Google to battle Rockstar Consortium after judge denies dismissal

07/23, 3:49pm

Patent lawsuit over notifications asked to be tossed based on Supreme Court ruling

Google has stepped into the ring for another patent dispute in East Texas, this time involving its Android operating system, Samsung and the Rockstar Consortium. Last November, the consortium filed a complaint with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, claiming that Samsung phones using the Android operating system infringed on seven patents that Rockstar holds. The patents in question include messaging and notification systems found on mobile devices, but Google asked to have the case thrown out.

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Sony puts $345M towards boosting mobile image sensor production

07/23, 11:12am

Apple could be key client

Sony has announced plans to invest 35 billion yen, or about $345 million, on scaling up production of image sensors for phones and tablets. Manufacturing of stacked CMOS sensors will increase at two factories in the southern Japanese island of Kyushu; meanwhile, the company is planning to complete work on a factory in northwestern Japan that it bought from Renesas. The hope is to boost wafer output 13 percent to 68,000 per month by August 2015, moving towards a longer-term target of 75,000, itself just a mid-term goal.

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