• Intel paid $884m in cash for Wind River Systems, a software company that should help the chipmaker’s push into new markets. Wind River, based in the San Francisco Bay area, represents Intel’s biggest acquisition in the four-year tenure of Paul Otellini as chief executive.
  • Data Domain said it would evaluate EMC‘s all cash $30 a share offer, a day after saying it had agreed to an offer of $30 in cash and stock from NetApp. The unusual reversal signaled potential discord within Data Domain’s management. EMC has significantly more free cash than NetApp, and is well-positioned to win the bidding war.

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Palm’s improbable comeback story got some help on Thursday when a carefully selected group of reviewers gave the new Pre smartphone the thumbs-up.

“Elegant, joyous,” says David Pogue. “It’s a myth, an idea, possibly a legacy,” raves Engadget. The Pre will “certainly give the iPhone and other rivals a run for their money,” declares USA Today.

Nice to see the Pre get over the first hurdle, but there’s a long way to go if it is to save Palm. Read more

  • Google is one of those companies that we generally refer to as a frenemy,” New York Times executive editor Bill Keller said recently. Perhaps, but today Google proved it will be no saviour to the newspaper business, either. Google chief executive Eric Schmidt told the Financial Times that the company had previously considered buying a newspaper or using its charitable arm to support news businesses seeking non-profit status, but is now unlikely to pursue either option.
  • Craigslist is on the offensive. The US-based classified-advertising website has taken legal action against the attorney-general of South Carolina, who had attacked the site over its erotic services category. The company, which came under pressure from law enforcement officials to take down the section, then did so, is seeking declaratory relief and a restraining order against Henry McMaster, who has repeatedly threatened the company and its executives with criminal charges unless it complied with the requests.

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The beginning of June is shaping up to be the big moment in this year’s smartphone calendar.

Palm and Sprint just announced a launch date for the much-anticipated Pre: Saturday 6th June. We got pretty excited about the device ourselves when it was first shown off at the start of the year, though a veiled threat of a lawsuit from Apple and a warning that early sales will fall well short of the hype are a reminder that this remains a high-risk proposition for the struggling Palm.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the launch has been set for two days before an Apple event at which the latest iteration of its iPhone is expected to be introduced – and, possibly, a larger touchscreen device that pushes the boundaries of this new category. Read more

After the hype, a supremely negative take on the prospects of the eagerly awaited Palm Pre smartphone and the company itself from Collins Stewart analyst Ashok Kumar today.

Mr Kumar says his supply-chain checks indicate that “due to multiple hardware and software issues, Palm has dramatically reduced its production orders” with its manufacturing partner. Read more

As if there weren’t enough iPhone apps, now we have too many App Stores from which to choose.

Research in Motion on Wednesday became the latest company to launch one, with its unveiling of App World for its BlackBerry phones at the CTIA wireless telecoms conference in Las Vegas. Read more

  • Steve Ballmer is still hopeful. The Microsoft CEO said he had not talked to Yahoo‘s Carol Bartz since a preliminary conversation when she took over, but that he still believed an internet search deal between the two companies would come. Meanwhile, despite news of acquisition talks between IBM and Sun, he predicted that the slumping stock market would make large deals harder to do.
  • Trying to escape from the shadow of Amazon‘s Kindle, Sony announced an arrangement with Google to bring 500,000 out-of-copyright books to its own electronic reader. That makes Sony’s virtual book store more than twice as big as Amazon’s – at least for now.

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Which Silicon Valley phone to buy this summer? The new Palm Pre with its scintillating operating system and clever design, or the old iPhone with an updated OS containing features it should have had in the first place?

That may be too simple a comparison. How about making it a choice between a phone with few exciting applications from third-party developers to one with more than 25,000 apps and games to choose from, many enabled with a new sophistication? Read more

  • You would not be reading this techfile if Sir Tim Berners-Lee had not come up with the concept of the World Wide Web 20 years ago today.  He has returned to CERN in Switzerland where it all began for a speech and celebrations and a demonstration of the original browser.
  • Time Warner hopes that Tim Armstrong will do for AOL what he did for Google. In convincing Mr Armstrong, who has been head of Google’s North American sales, to take the reigns of AOL, Time Warner is betting that the ad-sales guru who helped grow Google will be able to turn around AOL, the dial-up  service  turned online media company for which Time Warner has so far failed to find a buyer.

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  • They’re still just rumours, but they’ve gotten stronger. A day after leaks from Taiwan suggested Apple might be preparing a touch-screen netbook, sources told Dow Jones Newswire that the new computers, which will be designed primarily for web browsing and mobile computing, will have touch-screens between 9.7 and 10-inches.
  • Google’s Gmail has suffered another outage, which it said had affected only a “subset of users”, but comes only two weeks after a major global crash of the service. Gmail’s increasing popularity was highlighted in a Hitwise blog post and charts that showed it overtaking YouTube.

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  • Ahead of the launch of its highly anticipated Pre, Palm is seeking to raise extra cash through the resale of shares recently acquired by Elevation Partners. Palm, which has no more than $220m in cash on hand, badly needs the cushion, and will use some of the capital to help finance the launch of the Pre.
  • Livemocha, the social language-learning network we wrote about last year, has announced a partnership with education publisher Pearson (owner of the FT). The move should extend the reach of Pearson’s Longman languages teaching and strengthen Livemocha’s offering, which depends in large part on users helping each other with language learning.

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Palm Pre@CES, Las Vegas – That was Wall Street’s verdict on Thursday when the struggling company showed off its long-awaited new operating system and the new Pre smartphone (the stock bounced by 35 per cent, though it’s still 50 per cent off its 12-month high).

If you really had to bet your company on a single gadget, this is not a bad one to pick. Read more