The guardians of the internet have finally unlatched a few gates: four, to be precise.
On Wednesday the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers – otherwise known as Icann, the private body that oversees the sprawling architecture of the web – announced that it was opening up four new generic top-level domain names, writes Sally Davies. Read more
Here’s our digest on the conclusions of the top US and UK reviewers ahead of the 5s and its cheaper, plastic sibling, the 5c, going on sale on Friday. Read more
Nexon continued its march westwards this week as it partnered with one of the newest entrants to US video game development, writes Jennifer Thompson in Tokyo.
The Japanese online game maker is to take a minority stake in Shiver Entertainment, a Florida-based studio set up by industry veteran John Schappert, a former top executive at Electronics Arts and Zynga. Read more
Tim Armstrong, chief executive of AOL, has apologized to employees of the internet company for firing an employee last week in front of more than 1,000 coworkers, writes Emily Steel
During a conference call to discuss the future of AOL’s struggling network of local Patch sites, Mr Armstrong told the group’s creative director to immediately put down a camera then declared that he was fired. A recording of the call has been making rounds on the internet and been listened to more than 1,000 times. Read more
The world of video gaming used to be dominated by the big publishers releasing games on consoles and the PC. But the rise of smartphone and tablet gaming and new digital distribution channels has led to a big increase in successful indie games. Reaching a large audience used to be about having the biggest budget or the most successful franchise. That isn’t the case today, writes Daniel Garrahan. Read more
Example of a space selfie, from Planetary Resources' kickstarter page
More than 17,600 people have raised $1.5m for a space telescope Kickstarter campaign, with the majority to receive a picture of themselves from outside the Earth’s atmosphere, writes Connor Radnovich
Yes, a selfie from space.
Planetary Resources – the ambitious space mining company backed by Larry Page and Eric Schmidt of Google alongside other investors such as Ross Perot Jr, raised the money over a 33-day campaign. Read more
From the FT’s Charles Clover in Moscow:
Russia’s gas monopoly Gazprom has ordered a custom-built, $3.7m gadget for its chief executive Alexei Miller to help him run the company, according to tender documents posted on the company’s website on Tuesday.
Gazprom says that the bespoke device is not just a run-of-the-mill tablet computer, but an “integrated workstation” for Mr Miller. The company is frequently under fire for spending too much money on everything from the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi to steel pipe. Read more
Will some online users pay to preserve a free service for all? Wikipedia’s fundraising efforts seem to show that they will – but only if it is not founder Jimmy Wales personally asking for the money, writes Andy Bounds
As regular as Christmas, Mr Wales has fronted an end-of-year fundraiser for the past decade that features his personal appeal to keep the site running without resorting to advertising. Read more
By Dan Thomas, telecoms correspondent
Sony will bolster its mobile range with a large screen “phablet” phone that is sized neatly between the high end smartphone and tablet launched last year to revive the Japanese group’s ailing devices business.
At 6.4 inches, Xperia Z Ultra acts perfectly as a small video screen, with a remarkably clear luminous display that carries HD videos with great clarity using Sony Bravia TV technology. Read more
By Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson, FT media editor
Most marketers see the “second screen” (the smartphone or tablet catching your eye as you watch television) as a valuable second opportunity for engaging viewers, rather than a distraction from their expensively-crafted messages on the first screen. But in spite of this, some experimentation in how to make this extra channel pay its way is starting to take place. Read more
It may seem hard to understand how one could go bankrupt selling iPads and MacBooks in one of Europe’s richest countries, but that is what happened Tuesday to iCentre, the largest Apple reseller in the Netherlands, writes Matt Steinglass in Amsterdam.
A judge in the Dutch town of Haarlem proclaimed the 34-store chain bankrupt on Tuesday, after a week of negotiations between the company, its creditors and potential buyers failed to produce a rescue plan. And on closer inspection, iCentre’s fate is not so hard to explain. Like other Apple resellers, iCentre was coping with a long-term shift from notebook and desktop computer sales towards smartphones and tablets, which have lower profit margins. Read more
By Richard Waters and Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson
By showing that it is prepared to play by the music industry’s rules with its new All Access subscription service, Google has won itself new friends among the music labels.
The main questions now: Can it overcome a patchy past track record in the music business, take advantage of its early lead in subscriptions over Apple and show that it can carve an audience of paying punters out of its massive user base? Read more