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First official pic of Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs

Zuckerberg, Musk and Fake Steve Jobs invest in secretive AI firm

Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have become some of the latest investors in secretive artificial intelligence software firm Vicarious. The SpaceX billionaire and the Facebook founder took part in a $40m funding round, the second major cash-raising from the firm in the last two years, the Wall Street Journal reported. The actor who …

Move over Microsoft: RealNetworks has a GOOGLE problem

Analysis “When you start a company that has good success, then you step away from it and it doesn’t continue on the trajectory you would like it to be on, your pride kicks in,” says RealNetworks chairman and interim chief executive Rob Glaser. Glaser was explaining why he returned to the company in mid-2012 after a two-and-a-half year …
Tim Anderson, 24 Mar 2014
Toilet

How to Poo on a Date wins odd book title of the year

Getting a date is hard enough to begin with. So what happens if cruel nature calls when things are just starting to get romantic? That's the question posed and answered by a tome titled How To Poo On A Date by Mats & Enzo, which has just won the 36th annual Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year. The book achieved 30 …
Jasper Hamill, 24 Mar 2014
LG's Scope Ratio 105-inch curved LED TV

TV sales PLUMMET. But no one's prepared to say what we all know

Analysis TV sales are falling everywhere. It’s kind of official, but people are still prepared to argue about it. The number of LCD screens are being forecast to recover but no one is giving a reason why, as the number of TVs that they ship in, are definitely not rising. There is lots of intelligence out there in TV land, but the two …
Faultline, 24 Mar 2014
Nokia Lumia 900

Nokia gobble: Microsoft can't get free of red-tape bondage 'til April

Here's an eyebrow-raiser: Microsoft's general counsel and executive veep for legal and corporate affairs Brad Smith has roused himself late on Sunday evening to blog about the company's acquisition of Nokia. In a statement posted at 11:10 PM on Sunday night, Smith said "we expect to close next month, in April 2014." Why did …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Mar 2014
Apple TV

SECRET Apple-Comcast CONFAB BLAB: Movies streamed to TV? – report

Apple is reportedly in discussions that would see it create “... a streaming-television service that would use an Apple set-top box and get special treatment on Comcast's cables to ensure it bypasses congestion on the Web,” according to The Wall Street Journal. The report says discussions are “still in early stages and many …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Mar 2014
Kim Dotcom at the NZ parliamentary hearing

Kim Dotcom extradition: Feds can keep evidence against Megaupload mastermind a surprise

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has suffered another setback in his fight against extradition to America to face piracy charges, as the New Zealand Supreme Court denied his appeal to access the evidence the US feds have on him. The top court decided [PDF] that Uncle Sam's prosecutors are not required to disclose the evidence they' …
New York City's Manhattan skyline

Airbnb might get $10bn price tag ... despite its legal woes

Airbnb, the online home-rental marketplace, is in talks to raise funding from private equity firms that would value the company at a sturdy $10bn. New York City's Manhattan skyline Those kind of valuations are par for the course for today's net startups really, but it's still a strong vote of confidence for a company that's …
BB_PLAYBOOK_RIM_DOWN_TOILET

They want me to install CCTV to see what YOU did in the TOILET

Something For The Weekend, Sir? I have just come out of a boardroom presentation in which a fibre network installer bored us all shitless speaking in initials and acronyms for an hour and a half. The one time we woke up was when he used the expression “SLA”, being the only abbreviation that everyone in the room was familiar with – including the accountant. …
Alistair Dabbs, 21 Mar 2014
Padmasree Warrior

Sync'n'sharers Box snaffle Cisco's Warrior CTO .... IPO time?

File sync'n'sharer Box has recruited a big hitter to its board: Cisco’s chief technology officer. Padmasree Warrior, the capable chief technology and strategy officer for Cisco, is becoming a director at Box, where the CEO is co-founder Aaron Levie, and the goal is, we understand, an IPO. She will be the second independent …
Chris Mellor, 21 Mar 2014

Bono bests Bezos in Fortune's 'World's 50 Greatest Leaders' list

Fortune has published its list of the worthies they deem to be the "World's 50 Greatest Leaders", and the tech world is represented in the top 10 not by a Zuckerberg, Page, Ellison, or Brin, but by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, whom Fortune describes as "an extremely rare combination of visionary and master builder." Jeff Bezos Top tech …
Rik Myslewski, 21 Mar 2014
iiNet Logo

iiNet CEO Michael Malone resigns

Michael Malone has resigned his position as chief executive officer of Australia's third-most-subscribed-to internet service provider iiNet. Malone's story is Australia's very own technology fairy tale: he founded the company in his parents' garage in 1993 and led the company to its current position as a listed entity with over …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Mar 2014
Dunce

Symantec fires CEO Steve Bennett: To lose 1 chief is unfortunate, to lose 2 is OK, apparently

Symantec has fired its second CEO in two years: the company's chief exec, president and former board chairman Steve Bennett was today shown the door after less than 18 months on the job. "We recognize Steve's contributions to Symantec, including developing and leading a series of successful initiatives focused on organizational …
Iain Thomson, 20 Mar 2014

Twitter turns 8: Five tech kingpins whose first tweets are UNBELIEVABLE

Twitter celebrated its eighth birthday today, and has provided a tool to help tweeters pull up their first ever tweet. "In 2006, people began to say a little something on Twitter through 140-character bursts of plain text," the newly IPO'd company said in a blog post. "Eight years later, our users have transformed Twitter into …
Iain Thomson, 20 Mar 2014
head and body picture of Michael Robertson, wearing navy jacket and blue shirt

Deceased music locker gets final knock

Michael Robertson has lost a long-running copyright infringement case against his unlicensed cloud music service MP3Tunes. The verdict by the Manhattan federal jury on Wednesday is the third headline-grabbing copyright settlement this week. Robertson's cloud-based music streamer first launched in the pre-Cambrian era, 2005, and …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Mar 2014
New Sonos phone app

Sonos offers updated music controller to Fandroids for testing

Streaming Wi-Fi speaker whiz Sonos is testing an updated version of its smartphone/tablet app, with beta test software now available to Android phone users. New Sonos phone app Forthcoming phone controller app The new features in the app include: search for music tracks enabled across all services, refreshed design with “ …
Chris Mellor, 20 Mar 2014
closed_sign shut down under collapsed liquidation

Ad-funded mobile carrier goes titsup

OVIVO, a mobile virtual network operator that did not charge for calls, SMS or data, has suddenly closed its doors. The carrier has pulled down almost all of its site, save for a home page stating “We are very sad to announce that for reasons beyond our control, OVIVO Mobile is closing down on the evening of Wednesday 19th March …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Mar 2014
Smile_scan_02

Google, Microsoft tackle climate change as IBM seeks cancer cure

Three of the technology industry's largest companies today harnessed their resources to some Big Problems. Google and Microsoft have both signed up to US president Barack Obama's new Climate Data Initiative, an effort aimed at “bringing together extensive open government data and design competitions with commitments from the …

We're being royalty screwed! Pandora blames price rise on musos wanting money

Streaming music biz Pandora will raise the price of its One subscription service, blaming a jump in royalties it has to pay out to record labels. The company on Wednesday said that it will raise the cost of its online service from $3.99 per month to $4.99 for new users. Pandora said that current users will not be subject to the …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Mar 2014

Ex-Autonomy boss Mike Lynch goes nuclear: Claims HP 'misleads' its own shareholders

Mike Lynch, former chief of HP-owned Autonomy, tossed an explosive shareholder letter onto the internet today – just hours before HP's annual investors' meeting in Santa Clara, California. The scathing missive alleges Hewlett-Packard has been "misleading" its shareholders about the reasons behind the computer giant's $8.8bn …
Jack Clark, 19 Mar 2014
Jar Jar Binks in <i>Star Wars</i>

Star Wars movie to start shooting in UK this summer

The shadowy figures behind the newest instalment of the Star Wars franchise have slipped out a few more details about the movie as they announced that filming will start at Blighty's Pinewood Studios in May. Disney and LucasFilm said that Star Wars: Episode VII would be set around 30 years after the events of Episode VI: Return …
Marc Whitten

Ex-Xbox gros fromage joins wireless speaker whizzkids Sonos

Microsoft’s chief Xbox product officer Marc Whitten has joined streaming Wi-Fi speaker biz Sonos as its chief product officer. A note on Xbox Wire said: “The Xbox team is sad to share today that Marc Whitten, Chief Product Officer (CPO) of Xbox, will be leaving the team to become Chief Product Officer of Sonos.” Whitten joined …
Chris Mellor, 19 Mar 2014
Elephant

Cloudera bags $160m from Google Ventures and Mike Dell

Cloudy startup Cloudera has raised $160m from top investors including T Rowe Price and Google Ventures in its latest funding round to expand further into the big data market. "Cloudera will use the funding to further drive the enterprise adoption of and innovation in Hadoop and promote the enterprise data hub (EDH) market, …

Our Moderately Sized Data analytics engine pooh-poohs Acer '30 second support' claims

Biz customers with broken Acer kit might want to sling a call into the technical centre: then put on the kettle and make a cuppa, because they could be on hold for a lot longer than they were expecting. Certainly longer than the half a minute average response time that Jakob Jersild Olsen, veep at Acer's commercial division EMEA …
Paul Kunert, 19 Mar 2014

Haunted Empire calls Apple 'a cult built around a dead man.' Tim Cook calls it 'nonsense'

Apple CEO Tim Cook doesn't much like the new book, Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs by Yukari Iwatani Kane, which paints a picture of today's Apple, as its title implies, as being haunted by the ghost of its former cofounder Steve Jobs, adrift, and based on "a cult built around a dead man." To Cook, the book is "nonsense …
Rik Myslewski, 19 Mar 2014
wall_street

Oracle takes an arrow to the EPS: It's that darned strong dollar... again

Oracle is claiming a $9.3bn haul of revenues, up 4 per cent year-on-year, in its third quarter of fiscal 2014 – but that fell short of Wall Street analyst earnings expectations. The company said that on the quarter it saw GAAP earnings per share of $.56, up 8 per cent and just short of the projected 10 per cent increase. Overall …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Mar 2014

Beastie Boys settle with toy maker over Girls copyright dispute

The remaining members of the Beastie Boys have quietly settled their curious legal spat with US toy maker Goldieblox. The hip-hop stars bowled a sueball at Goldieblox in December last year, after the toy San Francisco-based company - which specialises in building blocks purported to get little girls interested in engineering - …
Kelly Fiveash, 18 Mar 2014
Lyons Tea Shop Oxford Street, London

PAF! MPs go postal over postal location data sell-off by Coalition.gov

MPs have accused the government of short-sightedness, after it agreed to offload the Postcode Address File (PAF) as part of the sale of Royal Mail. The PAF contains location data for tens of millions of postal addresses across the nation. The parliamentary public administration committee said in a report, which scrutinised the …
Kelly Fiveash, 18 Mar 2014

MtGox allows users to see a picture of their money, but not have it

Bitcoin exchange MtGox has finally allowed thousands of concerned customers to view their balances, but not to withdraw the digital funny money. On its website, MtGox said it would let users look at their accounts as long as they were happy not to touch. "This balance confirmation service is provided on this site only for the …
Jasper Hamill, 18 Mar 2014
Facebook WhatsApp

WhatsApp founder: Privacy WON'T vanish under Facebook

WhatsApp founder Jan Koum has insisted that his messaging service's privacy policies will stay the same after it's slurped by Facebook, while lamenting "baseless, unfounded and irresponsible" reports about how the social network may use users' data. "I want to make sure you understand how deeply I value the principle of private …
Nikon D600

China's annual TV smear segment drags Nikon's name through the mud

Nikon is braced for weeks of fun after it was targeted by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV in an annual consumer complaints show which last year forced a grovelling apology from Apple. The investigative program “3.15” broadcast a special edition last Saturday to coincide with World Consumer Rights Day, however it’s often used to …
Phil Muncaster, 18 Mar 2014
Uber logo

Seattle pops a cap in Uber and Lyft: Rideshare bizs get 150-driver limit

Seattle city council has agreed to put in place a controversial cap on Uber, Lyft and other informal taxi booking services. On Monday the authority voted to rubber-stamp a measure that caps each unlicensed cab service to 150 drivers on the road at any one time – normally the companies organize hundreds at a time. For the …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Mar 2014
Spain

Spanish cable firm Ono says oh yes to €7.2bn Vodafone takeover

As has been widely speculated, the Spanish cable company Ono has accepted a €7.2bn (£6bn) offer from Vodafone, dropping its plans for an IPO. Vodafone is growing its unified communications strategy across Europe and this follows a similar purchase of Kable Deutschland. The price of 7.5 times EBITA is considered low by some …
Simon Rockman, 17 Mar 2014

Crap turnover, sucky margins: TV is a 'terrible business' – Steve Jobs

Fanbois hoping to upgrade their Apple streaming set-top box to a fully fledged Apple TV set will have been disheartened by revelations in a new book claiming Steve Jobs did not support building an iTelly. According to former WSJ journo Yukari Iwatani Kane's book Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs, the fruity führer …
Jasper Hamill, 17 Mar 2014
French fries

Takeaway order spewer Just Eat plans to raise £100 MEEELLION in IPO

Online takeaway aggregator Just Eat is hoping to raise a hefty £100m from an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange. The 13-year-old Danish firm connects hungry folks to local takeaway and delivery services in 13 countries, including the UK, France, Canada and Ireland and claims to have had revenue of £96.8m last …

Proper boffins make your company succeed, even if you're not very technical

Good news for British techies. A wide-ranging innovation study recommends that firms should hire more staff who can solve complex technical problems, even if they’re not tech companies or the techies aren’t employed in a narrowly technical function. So says a report on Innovation and Growth prepared for the Department of …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Mar 2014
Nokia 2110

Indian supremes demand $573m in Nokia-Microsoft phactory selloff deal

India's Supreme Court has ordered Nokia to hand over a $572.5m guarantee before it can give the keys of one of its biggest manufacturing facilities to Microsoft. The order stems from a tax dispute over the plant in Chennai and upholds the verdict of the Delhi High Court, Reuters reported. The Finnish firm originally offered to …
alibaba logo

Alibaba float could make Facebook's look like small change

Chinese tat bazaar e-commerce and cloud giant Alibaba Group has finally announced plans to IPO, but in something of a surprise it will take place in the US rather than Hong Kong. The firm, which runs China’s hugely popular Taobao and T-Mall e-commerce platforms, could be valued as high as $200 billion and may even raise more …
Phil Muncaster, 17 Mar 2014
Vodafone Smart

Reports say Vodafone to gobble Spanish cable outfit Ono

Vodafone is about to pay around $US10bn to acquire Spain's Ono, according to several sources. The Wall Street Journal reports the deal will be announced on Monday, with $9.73bn to change hands. Bloomberg offers round $10bn, citing the same folks familiar with the report as does the Journal. Ono is a triple-play operator, …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Mar 2014

Elon Musk slams New Jersey governor over Tesla direct sales ban

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has taken to the web to address the entire state of New Jersey about what he claims was a "backroom deal" to defeat his company's business model. Earlier this week, New Jersey became the third US state – after Arizona and Texas – to enact a rule banning auto manufacturers from selling cars directly to …
Neil McAllister, 14 Mar 2014

eBay boss tells workers to ignore 'noisy' Icahn's PayPal sale campaign

eBay chief John Donahoe has warned employees to ignore Carl Icahn's "noise" about the board and the proposed spin-off of PayPal. Icahn has been engaged in a fierce campaign to convince the online bazaar to spin off the payments firm and has levelled allegations that the board isn't fit to make the decision, claiming conflicts of …
Obama and Mark Zuckerberg, Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Facebook's Zuckerberg buttonholes Obama, rages against NSA dragnet spying

Mark Zuckerberg is furious with US President Barack Obama, who - metaphorically, at least - clasped his hands over his ears and repeatedly said to himself "I can't hear you" when the Facebook boss tried to grumble about spies spying on people. The free content ad network supremo said in a public post on Facebook that he was fed …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Mar 2014