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Microsoft’s Big Loss; ISPs Delivering Advertised Speeds; Internet Bat Signal
Topping tech headlines on Friday: aQuantive write-down lowered Microsoft earnings, ISPs are delivering advertised broadband speeds, and the Internet Defense League launches an “Internet bat signal.”
Topping tech headlines on Thursday, Microsoft reported a $492 million loss in its fiscal fourth quarter, following record sales this year.
Redmond’s $6.19 billion write-down related to the 2007 acquisition of aQuantive, in addition to a $540 million revenue deferral for a Windows 8 upgrade promotion left the company with a loss when the quarter ended June 30. The software giant’s $6.3 billion deal for aQuantive was its largest, until the company bought Skype last year for $8.5 billion. For more, see Microsoft Office 2013 and Office 365: A Deeper Dive
Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission announced a win for Internet service providers who, according to a new report, are delivering, on average, 96 percent of advertised Web speeds, up from 87 percent in August. Five ISPs actually routinely meet or exceed their advertised rates, according to the FCC. If you’re looking for a new provider, fiber-based ISPs offer the most bang for your buck, delivering average speeds 117 percent of what was advertised. Cable follows with 99 percent, with DSL services hitting speeds 87 percent of advertised rates.
Taking a cue from Hollywood, the Internet Defense League launched its own “bat signal” for the Web yesterday. When the group detects a threat to the Internet – most likely via objectionable legislation – it will send supporters a snippet of code they can add to their website in order to organize the masses in protest.
In other news, the battle of smartphone videographer apps has begun. With Thursday’s launches of Hollywood-backed Vyclone and DreamWorks’ startup Ptch, iOS users have the world of video editing and sharing at their fingertips. While both apps bring the on-the-fly video documentary effect, Vyclone is a cooperative exercise, in which several people shoot the same real-time event, then let the app sync and edit the footage into one video with various camera angles. Ptch allows users to pull music, photos, video, and text from the app and their phone’s gallery to build a video, which can be shared with friends, then re-edited and pushed back into the network by others. Both apps are currently available for download in the Apple App Store.
Also making headlines Thursday:
- Microsoft Hires Former White House Advisor Mark Penn: Once a chief advisor to President Bill Clinton, Mark Penn is leaving Burson-Marsteller to become Microsoft’s corporate vice president of strategic and special projects.
- Nokia Sees Lumia Sales Bump, But Not in U.S.: While phone manufacturer Nokia announced an uptick in global sales of Windows Phone Lumia devices, sales in North America were sluggish.
- iPad Primarily a Leisure, Not Business Device: Apple’s iPad is most often used for entertainment purposes – accessing the Internet, watching video, browsing photos, playing games – rather than as a business device, according to a recent survey.
- Apple Pulls Bitdefender’s iOS Privacy App: After two months in the marketplace, Bitdefender’s Clueful app was mysteriously yanked from Apple’s App Store.
- Apple Ordered to Say Samsung Did Not Copy iPad: A U.K. judge this week ordered Apple to publicly state that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab tablets did not copy the iPad.
- Chinese Web Users Hit 538 Million: The number of Web users in China continues to grow, now reaching 538 million users and keeping the country at the top of the global Internet pyramid.
- Google Revenue Jumps 35 Percent as Motorola Transition Begins: In its first earnings announcement since its acquisition of Motorola Mobility, Google reported revenue of $12.21 billion, up 35 percent from the same time last year.
- Google Rolls Out Google+ ‘Share’ Button in Search Results: An experimental, if not subtle, “Share” button has replaced Google’s +1 button in its English-language search results.
- Adidas Technology to Track Major League Soccer Players: The sports merchandise company announced Thursday that Major League Soccer teams will begin using its set of personal fitness tracking devices to follow players’ movements, speed, heart rate, and more.
- Twitter Rolls Out Targeted Tweets for Advertisers: Twitter Thursday unwrapped its new advertising tool that lets companies target tweets toward specific users.
- 64GB Samsung Galaxy S III Still in the Works: Samsung confirmed Thursday that the 64GB version of its Samsung Galaxy S III is still alive, expected in international markets sometime later this year.
By Stephanie Mlot, PCMag