Facebook has agreed to pay $20m to settle a class action lawsuit, after it included users’ names and photos in paid advertisements.
Some 614,000 users who appeared in a Sponsored Story on the site without giving their consent will now receive $15 each. That’s slightly more than anticipated under an earlier proposal, partly because lawyers and activists will receive less.
For Facebook, whose market cap has just surpassed $100bn, this is hardly an Erin Brockovich moment. But it’s another reminder that there’s a fine line between social advertising – which uses your friends’ buying habits to influence your own – and anti-social advertising, which just annoys everyone. Read more
After thirteen years in the role, the ever-quotable Steve Ballmer will step down as Microsoft chief executive within twelve months. Here are some of his most memorable soundbites:
On the iPhone: “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It’s a $500 subsidized item.” (April 2007)
On Apple: “In every category Apple competes, it’s the low-volume player, except in tablets.” (October 2012) Read more
Some things are worth waiting for. Is a new Yahoo Logo one of them?
Marissa Mayer’s team announced on Wednesday that Yahoo will change its logo permanently in a month. To build up excitement until then, it will also showcase a new temporary logo every day in the meantime.
A constantly-changing logo is an interesting idea… that Google has been practising for over a decade. And the problem for Yahoo is that its temporary logos are unlikely to be as interesting as one of Google’s Doodles. Read more
Sales of PCs in western Europe fell by nearly 20 per cent year-on-year in the three months to June, according to research organisation Gartner.
To put that decline in context, in 2009, during the financial crisis, the worst quarterly performance was a 5 per cent fall. Read more
A South Korean website has unearthed trademark and patent filings by Samsung regarding a possible smartwatch. That’s a reminder that – while Samsung and Apple squabble over old intellectual property – they will soon have a whole new set of designs to fight over.
In the drawings, Samsung’s device looks like a smartphone bent round a wrist. Unlike similar products from Sony, LG and Pebble, it has a flexible screen rather than the familiar usual strap. Read more
Michael Dell and US private equity firm Silver Lake Partners have once again increased their offer for Dell Inc, to $13.75 a share. Shareholder voting for the deal now postponed a week until August 2.
The long drawn-out process has resembled a high-stakes poker game, with shareholders so far succeeding to extract higher offers from Mr Dell and Silver Lake. They, however, call this latest offer their “best and final proposal”.
Need a recap of the bidding war so far? Here’s a summary: Read more
Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke has pulled the music of his latest band Atoms for Peace from Spotify, accusing the streaming service paying musicians too little.
New artists “will no[t] get paid. meanwhile shareholders will shortly being rolling in it,” Yorke told his 400,000-odd Twitter followers.
That’s unwelcome PR for Spotify, the Swedish start-up that seemed to be getting the music industry onside with streaming, rather than downloads, as a viable model for serving up music to fans. Given that the service fails to make a profit even at current royalty rates, is its model in question? Read more
How will they pay for souvenirs?
Imagine the faces of PayPal’s executive team when their boss asked for ideas on how to make payments in space.
Let’s just hope no one laughed, because David Marcus, PayPal’s president, wasn’t joking.
As if international expansion wasn’t hard enough, he has now launched PayPal Galactic – a partnership with the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute – to find ways of taking payments into outer orbit. Read more
One of the world’s greatest computer scientists and prolific authors, Dr James Martin, has died. His body was found in waters off Bermuda on Monday, although the news did not immediately become public. Police say there were no suspicious circumstances.
As well as writing 104 textbooks, Dr Martin stood out for his gifts totaling $150m to the University of Oxford for the study of future challenges. That highlighted his belief that people could anticipate the effect of technology if they put their minds to it in the right way. Read more