Tech news from around the web:
People who used Megaupload to store files – legitimate or otherwise – could soon find their data has been deleted altogether, reports the WSJ. Federal prosecutors bringing a huge criminal copyright infringement action against the file-sharing site have written to the Virginia judge overseeing the case, saying: “It is our understanding that the hosting companies may begin deleting the contents of the servers beginning as early as February 2, 2012.” Read more
Apple has finally named a successor to Ron Johnson as head of its retail store operation, choosing John Browett, chief executive of the British electronics retailer Dixons.
Mr Browett (pictured left) will join in April as senior vice president of Retail, reporting to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Mr Johnson was named last June as the new chief executive of JC Penney, the US department store chain. Read more
Google was dragged over the coals by a British parliamentary committee on Monday afternoon, as the technology company’s approach to removing illegal content from its search results again came under scrutiny. Read more
Venture capital investors appear to be growing increasingly wary of European companies. In 2011, they put just E4.4bn into 1,012 start-ups in the region, a 14 per cent drop from the previous year, according to Dow Jones VentureSource.
This was the lowest annual deal count since Dow Jones began tracking investments in Europe in 2000. Read more
Apple has done it again. For a brief moment last week, following the announcement that it beat quarterly forecasts with record numbers, the Silicon Valley company once again became the world’s most valuable company.
This time, though, things were different, with Tim Cook, who took over as Apple’s chief executive from co-founder Steve Jobs, now at the helm. Read more
Dropcam released a new version of its Wi-Fi security webcam at the Consumer Electronics Show this month and while it is due to go on sale on Tuesday, the company says it is currently sold out and orders placed will not ship till late March.
In which case, I am one of the lucky ones to try out a Dropcam HD, although, while it is a big improvement on its predecessor, I also had some reservations when testing it. Read more
A week on from his spectacular arrest, fascination with Megaupload’s Kim Dotcom shows no sign of abating.
One nugget which hasn’t yet been noted: the German-born hacker does actually own the domain name kim.com. Read more
Twitter has gained something of a reputation for standing up for internet users against institutional authority, for instance in fighting a gag order in the Wikileaks case.
But even Twitter has to bow to censorship sometimes. Read more
Talking to TVs was the talk of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this month, with voice and gestures being demonstrated as new ways of controlling internet-connected TVs that have become too smart in their interfaces and capabilities for regular remote controls.
But there are other uses for the cameras and microphones being introduced that can see and hear us. In this week’s Personal Technology column, I have been comparing the telyHD and Biscotti TV webcams that promise better living room communications over Skype and Google Talk. Longer reviews of both are after the jump. Read more
No wonder the record labels are sounding much more positive about music subscription services. Spotify is starting to reap the benefits of its oft-doubted “freemium” business model.
After hitting 2.5m subscribers in November, the Anglo-Swedish digital music service has now reached 3m, with more than 20 per cent of its active user base paying every month to banish advertisements or listen on smartphones. Read more
One thing is going smoothly for Eastman Kodak. This afternoon, in the basement of a Wall Street hotel, it took just three hours to decide who should make up the committee to represent creditors in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy process. Read more
After posting forecast-beating results last night, Apple has hit another high this morning.
According to figures published on Wednesday by Kantar Worldpanel, the WPP-owned market researcher, Apple’s iPhone has just overtaken Google’s Android to become the most popular smartphone platform in the US. Read more
Norwegian public sector organisations will be banned from using Google Apps after the Norwegian data protection authorities ruled that the service could put citizens’ personal data at risk.
The data protection authority said Google Apps did not comply with Norwegian privacy laws because there was insufficient information about where data was being kept. The decision came from a test case in Narvik, where the local council had chosen to use Google Apps for their email. Read more
The problems for the global PC supply chain caused by the flooding in Thailand are slowly receding, if not as fast as the floodwaters themselves.
Western Digital, the hard-disk drive maker hardest hit, said on Monday it was continuing to ramp HDD production and had resumed manufacturing on Sunday of sliders – a key component where the heads that read and write to a disk are mounted. Slider operations had been suspended since October 10. Read more
Six months ago, we called it the Great Patent Bubble: when wireless tech company InterDigital (almost all of whose value resides in its patents) put itself up for sale, it capped a threefold rise that saw $2.5bn added to its stock market value.
Monday’s news that the InterDigital sale has been called off suggests that the bubble is deflating. Read more
The initial noises out of the shake-up at Research in Motion, although it was more far-reaching than had been expected, are not especially encouraging for the investors and analysts who want radical action.
Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, the joint chairmen and chief executives of the maker of BlackBerries, have relinquished both roles. But they have handed over to an insider who looks determined to stick to the same course. Read more
This week brought black outs, shut downs and online protests as online piracy was placed at the forefront of tech news. While Congress announced that it suspended the proposed piracy bills, SOPA and PIPA, commentators wrote that the debate over how to reduce online piracy was not over yet. Read more
RSS readers used to be the standard way for web users to collect and consume news from different sources, but the advent of tablets has brought personalised photo-rich magazine-style experiences rather than long RSS lists of headlines.
With traditional journalism in decline, the seven news aggregators reviewed here make a case that bots and social networks may be able to take the place of good editors by automatically providing a rich and more personalised news experience. Read more