AP Technology NewsBrief at 4:59 a.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Analysis: Why Google NKorea visit irks USWASHINGTON (AP) _ Google chief Eric Schmidt's plan to visit North Korea has put the Obama administration in the awkward position of opposing a champion of Internet freedom engaging with one of the most intensely censored countries. But the Obama administration is wary for a reason: It fears Schmidt's trip could give a boost to North Korea's young leader, Kim Jong Un, just when Washington is trying to pressure him.
New search engine tailors its results for tabletsSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ The makers of Blekko believe they've built a great alternative to Google, but they're also realistic. They know their two-year-old Internet search engine won't ever supplant Google as the most popular place to search on laptop and desktop computers. But Web surfing on tablet computers is a different matter, creating an opportunity that Blekko hopes to exploit with a new product called Izik _ a search engine designed especially for Apple Inc.'s iPads and tablets running Google's Android software.
Huge gadget show gears up in VegasThink your high-definition TV is hot stuff _ as sharp as it gets At the biggest trade show in the Americas, which kicks off next week in Las Vegas, TV makers will be doing their best to convince you that HDTVs are old hat, and should make room for "Ultra HDTV." It's the latest gambit from an industry struggling with a shift in consumer spending from TVs, PCs and single-purpose devices such as camcorders to small, portable do-it-all gadgets: smartphones and tablets. The Consumer Electronics Association estimates that device shipments to U.S. buyers fell 5 percent in dollar terms last year excluding smartphones and tablets, but rose 6 percent to $207 billion if you include those categories.
Google emerges from FTC probe relatively unscathedSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Google has settled a U.S. government probe into its business practices without making any major concessions on how the company runs its Internet search engine, the world's most influential gateway to digital information and commerce. Thursday's agreement with the Federal Trade Commission covers only some of the issues raised in a wide-ranging antitrust investigation that could have culminated in a regulatory crackdown that re-shapes Internet search, advertising and mobile computing.
6 takeaways from Google's antitrust settlementGoogle Inc. has settled an U.S. antitrust probe that largely leaves its search practices alone. In a major win for Google, the Federal Trade Commission unanimously concluded that there is not enough evidence to support complaints from rivals that the company shows unfair bias in its search results toward its own products. Below are six of the biggest takeaways from the decision announced Thursday:
Spaceport wants protections from tourist lawsuitsALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ Spaceport America officials are urging legislators to limit potential lawsuits from wealthy outer space tourists who take off from New Mexico, saying such a bill is crucial to the future of the project. Legal experts, however, say there is no way to know whether the so-called informed consent laws will offer any protection to spacecraft operators and suppliers in the event something goes wrong.
It's 'cash only' now for tourists at the VaticanVATICAN CITY (AP) _ It's "cash only" now for tourists at the Vatican wanting to pay for museum tickets, souvenirs and other services after Italy's central bank decided to block electronic payments, including credit cards, at the tiny city-state. Deutsche Bank Italia, which for some 15 years had provided the Vatican with electronic payment services, said Thursday that the Bank of Italy had pulled its authorization after Dec. 31.
Review: Nintendo's TVii tops button-laden remotesLOS ANGELES (AP) _ Nintendo's TV-watching tool for the new Wii U game console beats my regular remote control hands down. Called TVii, the service transforms how you watch television in three key ways. It turns the touch-screen GamePad controller for the Wii U into a remote control for your TV and set-top box. It groups your favorite shows and sports teams together, whether it's on live TV or an Internet video service such as Hulu Plus. And it offers water-cooler moments you can chat about on social media.
Media stocks buoyant after 'fiscal cliff' dealLOS ANGELES (AP) _ Shares of media companies rose Wednesday as fears of an advertising slowdown based on slower economic growth abated somewhat due to a deal to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff." Movie studio owners could also benefit from a one-year extension of certain film and TV tax credits in the budget deal passed Tuesday.
NY comptroller sues Qualcomm on political spendingALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ New York's comptroller has sued Qualcomm Inc. in an attempt to compel the wireless technology company to disclose its political spending to him and other shareholders. The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Delaware seeks a court order to inspect company records, saying prior requests for the information have been rebuffed by the San Diego-based corporation. The suit cites studies that say corporate political spending tends to hurt investor returns.
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