Reading this on the move? If so, the chances are you are using an Apple or a Samsung Electronics device. By the time you have finished (we give you 10 minutes), the two companies will have sold almost 5,000 smartphones. Everyone knows about Apple. The iPhone has been flying off the shelves since 2007. But it is currently being outsold by Samsung. Of every five smartphones sold by the two companies, three will be a Samsung. Most impressively, South Korea’s largest company only began to gain traction in this market in 2010.

Continue Reading: Lex in depth: Samsung

Could some corporate twitter feeds – shock and horror – not be as popular with real people as they appear? New research published on Friday by a professor at Milan’s IULM University suggests that may well be the case, writes Eric Sylvers in Milan.

Marco Camisani Calzolari, a professor of corporate communications and digital languages, has examined the Twitter followers of 39 companies with major consumer brands, including DellOutlet, Starbucks, and Blackberry, and tried to determine which followers are likely humans and which are likely bots, or fake accounts. Read more

The dismal performance of Facebook’s initial public offering, after several years in which it was expected to crown the emergence on public markets of social networks, is bound to dampen the mood in Silicon Valley.

Paul Graham, who runs Y Combinator, a start-up incubator, says the effect will be what you might expect – early-stage valuations will suffer. His email to portfolio companies, obtained by Business Insider, contains this warning:

“If you haven’t raised money yet, lower your expectations for fundraising. How much should you lower them? We don’t know yet how hard it will be to raise money or what will happen to valuations for those who do. Which means it’s more important than ever to be flexible about the valuation you expect and the amount you want to raise (which, odd as it may seem, are connected). First talk to investors about whether they want to invest at all, then negotiate price.”

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Last month the European Commission proposed adding a new “right to be forgotten” to privacy law. This deceptively simple idea is a ticking time-bomb in the booming internet economy. It is also essential – both for Europeans and Americans – to protect personal privacy in the age of pervasive social media and cloud computing, writes Richard Falkenrath, cybersecurity adviser and adjunct senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations.

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Venture capitalists have long been touting Russia as the undiscovered market for e-commerce. While the postal system is notoriously bad and Russians have been reluctant to embrace online payments, investors argue that the market simply needs to be consolidated for homegrown versions of to enjoy the success of their western counterparts.

The leader of this consolidation appears to be – the online book, music and vido seller – which on Wednesday announced it would be acquiring, a dot-com shoe retailer.

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The internet industry scored a tactical victory this week with Wednesday’s blackout of sites such as Wikipedia and Reddit, and the White House’s decision to oppose parts of two bills intended to curb the file-sharing of films and copyrighted material. “Piracy rules,” tweeted Rupert Murdoch angrily.

Continue reading: “Halt the Silicon Valley historionics”

Almost everything about the introduction of new internet domain names stinks of self-interest. Politicians, pornographers, regulators and big business have been dragged into the suffix wars, as Icann – the internet naming organisation – tries to add new tags to the familiar handles in the web’s current system, such as .com and .org.

The whole controversy sounds very Web 1.0. I thought domain-name investment had peaked a decade or more ago, when unlikely sums were spent on generic names such as (once part-owned by the Financial Times). That bubble burst along with many of the dotcom companies.

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The Israeli military’s in-house high-tech research and development unit has spawned a process for coming up with new ideas

When Aharon Zeevi Farkash enters the offices of his company south of Tel Aviv, he needs neither key nor code. As soon as he leaves the elevator, a camera captures his face and body shape, and feeds the information to a computer that recognises his features. The door unlocks.

Should the face recognition software fail, Mr Farkash will be prompted to speak a few words into a receiver. The computer will switch to voice recognition – and unlock the door.

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In the titanic power struggle that has been taking shape between the giants of consumer technology, the looming clash between mobile and social has become the most intriguing.

It is almost hard now to remember a time, in the hazy past of half a decade ago, before the iPhone made the digital life a constant accompaniment to analogue existence, or before most people became enmeshed in the web of virtual personal connections that make up Facebook.

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After the spectacular leadership bust-up at Yahoo, co-founder Jerry Yang and Carol Bartz, the just-dumped chief executive, probably don’t make for the closest of boardroom allies. Ms Bartz, you will recall, denounced her former colleagues on the Yahoo board as “doofuses” and attacked chairman Roy Bostock for a lack of class in firing her over the phone.

Five miles east of Yahoo’s Silicon Valley HQ, though, Ms Bartz and Mr Yang still have to make nice. That’s the home base of another troubled tech titan, Cisco Systems, where both are on the board.

Amazon CEO Bezos holds up the new Kindle Touch at news conference in New York

Amazon has launched a head-on challenge to the dominance of Apple’s iPad by unveiling a low-price tablet computer, in a move set to intensify competition over the way consumers enjoy books, music and video.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and chief executive, launched a new series of Kindle products in New York on Wednesday, at a media gathering. He began his presentation with the launch of a new eReader -  the black-and-white Kindle Touch priced at $99, as well as a Kindle without a touch interface priced at $79. But the much-awaited direct competitor to the iPad was the $199 Kindle Fire.

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steven sinofsky

Here is some unexpected news from the frontline of the tablet computing revolution: the screens full of “apps” that have achieved an almost iconic status thanks to the success of the iPad, may not be the be-all and end-all of touchscreen computing.

The unlikely prompt for this thought is none other than Microsoft. The PC software leviathan has hardly been known for its pioneering ways with computer interfaces, let alone for design flair. Nevertheless, it looks set to add an interesting new twist to tablets.

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The embarrassment of foreign riches among US tech companies is starting to become conspicuous.

This is not just a reflection of the huge amounts of cash involved. (Apple has nearly $50bn stuffed under mattresses in countries beyond its home base. Like other US companies, it prefers to keep its foreign earnings offshore rather than bring them home and pay tax.) Read more


I have taught my mom to use e-mail three times. Starting when she was in her late 60s, we went over the basics of Hotmail. We exchanged a few messages – hers were usually all in capital letters – but the correspondence died off when she accidentally clicked on her Trash folder and never figured out how to navigate back.

We tried the tutorial again when I visited the following Thanksgiving, then a couple of summers later, until my mom quietly disconnected her internet service altogether. “If someone needs to reach me, they can call me,” she said.

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In the decades since Dick Tracy got his own wristwatch radio in a cartoon strip, many technology companies have tried and failed to produce a successful wristwatch gadget in real life.

Wimm Labs, a Silicon Valley startup backed by Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn, is the latest to come up with a wearable device, insisting its own timepiece tells us the wristwatch gizmo’s time has come.

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The more gadgets we accumulate the harder it becomes to remember where we put them and, more often, what we’ve put on them. I remember I took photos of a dogs’ pool party (yes, really) at the weekend on my iPod Touch but the pictures of the last barbecue could be on my Android smartphone or the digital camera – and I may have copied them to my PC or my laptop, or maybe not at all. It is the same story with video, while the songs I buy on Napster and Amazon could be on any number of devices.

Keeping these devices in sync is driving us crazy – not my words, but those of Steve Jobs when he unveiled Apple’s iCloud service last week. Read more

Microsoft was in advanced discussions on Monday night about purchasing Skype, the internet telephone company, in what would be one of the US software company’s largest deals so far as it seeks to boost its online operations. Read more

Worldwide shipments of personal computers declined in the first quarter of 2011, contrary to expectations of modest growth, due to competition from tablets, disruptions in Japan, and increased fuel and commodity prices. Read more

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the identical twins who claimed Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for building the social network that became Facebook, lost their final battle with the company in US courts on Monday, exhausting their legal options for claiming any further stake in the company.

The Winklevosses, whose initial claims against Facebook were popularised in the film, The Social Network, asked the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in January to dissolve the handwritten settlement agreement they signed with Facebook, including cash and stock valued at $65m.

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