Saturday, December 15, 2012

Net, broadband subscriber base much below govt targets

There were 22.86 million Internet subscribers in India at the end of March 2012 - way below the target that was set for 2010 - on account of multiple factors that have prevented its spread, Parliament was informed today. 

The number of Internet subscribers as reported by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) for the last three years was 16.18 million (2009-10), 19.67 million (2010-11) and 22.86 million (2011-12), Minister for Communications and IT Kapil Sibal said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha. 

The government had set the target of achieving 6 million, 18 million and 40 million Internet users for the years 2005, 2007 and 2010 respectively, under the Broadband Policy 2004, the minister said. 

Internet restrictions and availability at selected countries across the world

United Arab Emirates: Envoys in Dubai signed a new UN telecommunications treaty Friday that a US-led delegation says endorses greater government control of the Internet. The US and more than 20 other countries refused to ratify the accord by the 193-nationInternational Telecommunications Union. 

Here is a look at Internet restrictions and availability at selected countries and regions around the world: 

NORTH KOREA: Internet use is extremely restricted with many of North Korea's 24 million people unable to get online. Some North Koreans can access an internal Intranet that connects to state media. Members of the elite, resident foreigners and visitors in certain hotelsare allowed full access to the Internet. 

US Wont sign ITU telecom treaty in current form

The United States, Britain and Canada refused to sign a new global telecommunications treaty, warning it would provide a mandate for governmental regulation of the internet, potentially ending 11 days of fractious talks in Dubai. 

In pre-written statements, the three countries informed a summit of the International Telecommunications Union of their decision, with Denmark, the Netherlands, and Kenya making similar announcements. 

Yahoo nets PayPal co founder Max Levchin in boardroom shake up

Yahoo Inc said that two of its directors have resigned immediately and that PayPal  co-founder Max Levchin has been appointed to the board, the latest change to the struggling Internet company under new chief executive Marissa Mayer. 

The changes come five months after Mayer, a formerGoogle Inc executive, took the top job, and complete a boardroom transformation that began in May when activist investor Dan Loeb settled a bitter proxy fight with Yahoo. 

Japans OSG selects Infosys CommerceEdge to transform its e commerce platform

OSG Corporation, one of Japan's leading cutting tool manufacturers, today announced it has selected Infosys CommerceEdge to transform its legacy e-Commerce platform.

The digital commerce platform will provide OSG with a robust merchandising support and offers a range of tools to engage with their customers through online and mobile channels, the city-headquartered firm said, adding, the Cloud- based platform will reduce operating costs by up to 40 per cent as compared to other available systems.

IIT Kharagpur grads offered Rs 80 lakh package

Placements at IIT Kharagpur have started with a bang. Three students have bagged salaries of Rs 80 lakh per annum while eight others have got annual offers of Rs 75 lakh each from Google and Microsoft. 

"All the students are from the computer science department. The three Google recruits will be based in Mountain View, US, while the other eight will be in Redmont," said Rinhul Chandra, vice-president of the student's council in IIT-Kgp. The placements started on December 1 and the first phase will last till December 20. 

Samsung Galaxy Note III to have 6.3 inch screen, Report

 Here's some news for Samsung's Galaxy Note series fans. According to a news report in Korea Times, Samsung will include an OLED screen measuring 6.3-inch in Galaxy Note III, a massive increase from Note II's 5.5-inch display. 

The report also said that the South Korean manufacturer Samsung will unveil its Galaxy S IV, the upcoming flagship, at Mobile World Congress in January 2013. It is speculated that this phone will have a 4.99-inch screen that will be unbreakable and bendable. 

Panasonic, Hitachi bet big on hiring in India

Hitachi and Panasonic, Japan's two biggest corporations, plan to invest more than Rs 5,700 crore in India as they have identified the country as one of their biggest bets for growth and a base to expand in Africa and Middle East markets. 

Hitachi, which held its first board of directors meeting outside Japan in its 102-year history in New Delhi, announced Rs 4,700-crore expansion plans that include building 5 manufacturing plants. 

Twitter reveals list of most tweeted events in 2012

An election victory tweet  from President Barack Obama-- " Four more years" with a picture of him hugging his wife -- was the most retweeted ever, but the US election was topped by the Olympics as the most tweeted event this year. 
Obama's tweet was retweeted (repeated) more than 810,000 times, Twitter said as it published a list of the most tweeted events in 2012. 

"Within hours, that Tweet simultaneously became the most retweeted of 2012, and the most retweeted ever. In fact, retweets of that simple message came from people in more than 200 countries around the world," Twitter spokeswoman Rachael Horwitz said. 

How Apple iPad is revolutionising teaching in modern age

A verb chart, posters and pupils' work adorn the walls. The children lean over their desks, seven and eight-year-old brows furrowed in concentration. 

In its essence, it is a scene that could have been recorded at any time since Shakespeare was at school. 

Except it isn't. Instead of textbooks, the pupils are pouring over tablet computers linked in to a wireless broadband network. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

96 percent Indians check their phones regularly, Survey

A report by internet gear giant Cisco has revealed what we always suspected. An ever-networked Gen Y is practically making phones an intrinsic part of its daily routine. They wake up to check their updates -- often before brushing their teeth -- and fall asleep only after logging in to keep their status messages current. As phones become cheaper and mobile broadband proliferates, smartphone usage looks set to blur all previous boundaries. 

Ninety percent of respondents to the Cisco Connected World 2012 report released earlier today check their phones as a matter of routine -- in India its even higher at 96%, according to this study. What's more, through the day, they continued to be glued to their handsets, with 60% of respondents admitting that they checked their phones through their work day, with a higher percentage of women (85%) being online practically all the time. Besides being an instrument of communication, smartphone owners have almost become permanently welded to their phones -- 45% said they would suffer withdrawal symptoms if they couldn't log on periodically. This facet seems aggravated in India -- some 70% said they compulsively check their phones for updates and 42% of them admitted to feeling anxious when disconnected. 

Infosys ranked number one in corporate governance

 Infosys said it has been awarded the number one spot globally for its corporate governance  practices by IR Global Rankings (IRGR). 

IRGR is the most comprehensive technical ranking system for investor relations websites, corporate governance practices and financial disclosure procedures, according to the Bangalore-headquartered company. 

The 14th annual edition of the IRGR saw participation from more than 280 companies from 45 countries this year. 

Yahoo seeks slice of smartphone photo sharing pie

Yahoo! joined the fray oversmartphone photo-sharing Wednesday by making it more enticing for iPhone users to use its Flickr service amid a rift between Twitter and the popular photo app Instagram.

Improvements to Flickr software tailored for iPhones and iPod touch devices included the addition of Instagram-style "filters" that let people imbue photos with artistic effects.

"We know that some of your best photo moments happen on the fly, so we've made it easier to get the perfect shot when inspiration hits," said a Flickr blog post by Markus Spiering.

Amazon wins e book pricing battle with Apple

 European Union regulators ended an antitrust probe into e-book prices on Thursday, accepting an offer by Apple and four publishers to ease pricing restrictions on Amazonand other retailers.
The decision hands online retailer Amazon a victory in its attempt to sell e-books cheaper than rivals in a fast-growing market publishers hope will boost revenue and customer numbers. Reuters first reported in November that the Commission was accepting the settlement offer.
The European Commission said that the concessions from Apple and the publishers soothed concerns that their pricing deals curbed competition.

Wikipedia sees future and threat in cell phones

Cell phones could be Wikipedia's path to global domination, but may also pose a risk to the crowdsourcing culture the online encyclopedia relies on, chief executive Sue Gardner says.

On one hand, says Gardner, who is also executive director of the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, cell phones are by far the best way to reach vast new audiences in the developing southern hemisphere where people rely heavily on handheld devices, rather than desktops or laptops.

Apple Mac Mini, 21.5 inch iMac hit Indian stores

Apple's Mac Mini and the 21.5-inch iMac, both unveiled alongside iPad mini on October 23, are currently available in India. However, the company's official website for India shows the pricing for the Mac Mini, but says that the iMac is 'coming soon.' 

Apple revisited the seventh generation of iMac all-in-ones and reduced the thickness of the 21.5-inch model by a whopping 80% vis-a-vis existing models. The new aluminium and glass casing of the iMacs reduces their volume by 40%. 

The company has removed the optical drive so that the monitor now measures 5mm at the edges and reduces reflection by 75% without compromising on colour and contrast, it claimed. For internal storage, Apple has used a flash drive of 128GB capacity and FusionDrive - a HDD alternate with capacity varying between 1 to 3TB. Users can also opt for optical drives for the two iMac desktop computers. 

Hackers brought down BSNL website

State-owned telecom firm BSNL's Website was hacked today by a group that demanded withdrawal of section 66 A of the IT Act. 

The Website '' was, however, quickly restored. 

The group Anonymous India said that it hacked the Website in support of activists Aseem Trivedi and Alok Dixit, who are on a hunger strike to protest Section 66A of the IT Act. 

Now, a headset to give you 360 degree vision

Eyes in the back of your head! French scientists claim to have developed a headset that gives you a 360-degree field of vision. 

The headset captures images from every direction around the user, then transforms them into something the human vision system can comprehend. 

The system called FlyVIZ was designed by Jerome Ardouin and colleagues at the Grande Ecole d'Ingenieurs Paris-Laval in France, the New Scientist reported. 

Lenovo launches Windows 8 PCs starting at Rs 29,990

Lenovo today announced the launch of C-Series All-in-One (AIO) personal computers running on Windows 8 - IdeaCentre C340 and IdeaCentre C440. Lenovo IdeaCentre C340 and C440 will be available in December with models starting at approximately Rs 29,990 and Rs 41,990, respectively. 

IdeaCentre C340 and C440 come with 20 and 21.5-inch HD LED screens, respectively. The two desktops are powered by 3rd generation IntelCore i3 processors and use Nvidia GeForce 615 2GB graphic card. 

What may hurt Chinese smartphone makers

Chinese mobile phone makers chasing market share with lower prices in the world's biggest smartphone market will see their margins continue to be pressured as they upgrade to quad-core chips to satisfy demand from users for faster speeds and flashier graphics. 

Most smartphones now are equipped with single and dual-core chips, but Chinese handset makers are planning quad-core powered devices as consumers get more picky with the speed of screen swipes, how fast they can download movies, send a photo via WeChat messaging or seal a purchase on Taobao online mall. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Mobile Internet forcing computers to evolve

The shift to smartphones and tablets became a landslide this year, crushing desire for laptop computers and pressuring manufacturers to adapt to the mobile Internet era. 

The trend promised to gain momentum in 2013, with people using handheld gadgets to remain connected to the Web on the go and switching to sophisticated systems in homes or offices. 

"Tablets will not kill PCs (personal computers)," Forrester Research analyst Frank Gillett told AFP. "Tablets will force them to evolve." 

Government issued directions to block 690 offensive webpages in 3 years

The government on wednesday said it has issued directions to intermediaries for blocking 690 webpages/ URLs for carrying anti-social and anti-national and hateful content under Section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 this year. 

"Based on the request of law enforcement agencies and directions of the Courts during the last three years, the competent authority...issued directions to intermediaries for blocking of 690 webpages/URLs carrying such anti-social, anti-national and hateful content," Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibalsaid in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. 

Out of these, 663 webpages/URLs were blocked during the current year, he added. 

Accentia Education launches tablet, laptop for students

Technopark headquartered Accentia Technologies made a giant stride into the IT and education sector by launching four new innovative products under the its education banner. 

The products are iNotePad, iNoteBook, Safecomm and iSchoolPad. 

The iNotePad is an Android Jellybean tablet that would perfectly meet the needs of today's digital home, office and person. 

Google raises spirit of the times from online searches

Google on Wednesday provided a look at the "spirit of the times" based on what people sought online using the world's most popular search engine.

"While there are perennial themes - 'what is love?' topped the list in ten countries - it's the unusual and surprising that caught our attention in 2012," Google senior vice president Amit Singhal said in a blog post.

Whitney Houston's unexpected death resulted in information about the singer being the most explored topic globally on the Internet, according to the Google Zeitgeist 2012 report.

Go Daddy appoints ex Yahoo exec as CEO

Go Daddy, one of the world's biggest internet hosting firms, appointed Yahoo's former chief product officer Blake Irving as chief executive. 

He will take over from interim CEO Scott Wagner on January 7. Irving left Yahoo, where he headed a centralised products group that straddled several client types, on April 27. 

"Blake Irving's deep technology experience and his history of developing new cutting-edge products and leading large global teams make him a... compelling choice to drive Go Daddy to the next level of its growth," said Bob Parsons, Go Daddy's executive chairman and founder. 

Apple testing new TV, Report

US technology giant  Apple has been working with component suppliers in Asia to test new TV sets in a possible move to branch into the television market, a report said Wednesday. 

Apple has been testing several TV prototypes for large-screen high-definition TV for a few years, sources familiar with the situation were quoted by the Dow Jones Newswires as saying. 

Facebook unveils new privacy controls

Facebook Inc began rolling out a variety of new privacy controls on Wednesday, the company's latest effort to address user concerns about who can see their personal information on the world's largest social network. 

New tools introduced on Wednesday will make it easier for Facebook's members to quickly determine who can view the photos, comments and other information about them that appears on different parts of the website, and to request that any objectionable photos they're featured in be removed. 

A new privacy "shortcut" in the top-right hand corner of the website provides quick access to key controls such as allowing users to manage who can contact them and to block specific people. 

Tata Comm to lay off 300 employees

Tata Communications pink-slipped 300 executives , becoming the latest Tata Groupcompany to slash jobs amid a sluggish global environment. The world's largest wholesale voice carrier cut jobs across functions and geographies to speed up reforms, said a senior executive. 

Aakash tablet price to come down to Rs 1900 soon, Sibal

Telecom and IT Minister  Kapil Sibal today said that the price of Aakash tablet will soon come down to $ 35 (about Rs 1,900 approximately) from $49 at present. 

"Aakash is a tablet which at the moment costs $49. It will come down to $35 very soon. It has all the amenities of any modern tablet," Sibal said at Reverse Buyer Seller Meet (RBSM) here organised by Telecom Equipment and Service Export Promotion Council. 

Infosys CEO still hopeful of meeting guidance

Software major Infosys, which has raised concerns about meeting its full-year guidance is hopeful that it can address challenges if business momentum picks up and deal closures happen in the next four months. "We have some new challenges that emerged after October and some of them will impact guidance but we still have 4 months to go. And if business velocity picks up, close large deals, it will address some of the challenges," Infosys CEO SD Shibulal said. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer unveils overhaul of email service

Yahoo Inc.  Chief Executive  Marissa Mayer on Tuesday introduced a new version of Yahoo Mail, making one of company's most popular products faster and cleaner, with a consistent look across all devices. 

The new version, which Mayer unveiled in a blog post, will be available on all major platforms, includingWindows 8, iPhone and Android. 

It is Yahoo's first product overhaul under the leadership of Mayer, a former Google Inc executive widely admired in Silicon Valley for her Web product savvy. 

Wi LAN sues Blackberry maker RIM for infringing bluetooth patent

Patent licensing company  Wi-LAN said it has filed a lawsuit against Research In Motion Ltd for infringing on a patent related to bluetooth technology. 

The company said it filed a suit in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida against the BlackBerry maker. 

Wi-LAN, which has licensed its intellectual property to over 255 companies worldwide, alleged RIM infringed its US Patent No. 6,260,168 related to bluetooth technologies. 

Obamacare, Big opportunity for Indian IT companies

Barack Obama's re-election has sparked fresh interest in the healthcare, insurance and medical technologies sectors of the $100-billion Indian information technology industry, which hopes to gain from reforms initiated by the US President in his previous term. 

About 50 million uninsured Americans are expected to buy healthcare insurance because of the reforms that come into effect on January 1, 2014. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often referred to as 'Obamacare' , is a major overhaul of the American healthcare system that is expected drive up demand for IT services in the new year. 

Google search algorithm helps track spread of cancer

The equations search engine Google employs to predict the webpages its users visit has inspired a new way to track the spread of cancer cells in the human body. 

"Each of the sites where a spreading, or metastatic, tumour could show up are analogous to Web pages," said Paul Newton, a mathematician at University of Southern California. 

Cloud connected eHealth Centre launched in Kaithal

Aiming to provide health care in remote areas and generate data for research and policy-making, Union Minister for Science and TechnologyJaipal Reddy on Tuesday launched a cloud-connected eHealth Centre in Kaithal district of Haryana from here.

Customised in unused shipping containers with high-end cloud-connectivity for video and audio links, the eHealth Centres can be rapidly deployed at any place. The centres will be manned by trained medical staffs equipped with necessary medical equipments.

Google makes dollar 100 laptop a reality

Google began selling basic laptop computers to schools at a price of $99, meeting a price point that prominent MIT professorNicholas Negroponte famously held out in 2005 as key to bringing computing power to the masses. 

The internet giant said on Monday that it will be offering the steep educational discount on Series 5 Chromebooks from Samsung Electronics through December 21. They typically retail for $249. 

IBM working on chips that deliver data via light

Tech giant IBM has announced that it has developed a chip that makes it easier to shuttle data about via pulses of light instead of using electrical signals. 

IBM said it should offer a way to move large amounts of information between processors in computer servers at higher speeds than at present. 

These provide computing power and data used by apps and other net services. 

Top Google searches in 2012 revealed

Google has brought out the list of the most searched topics in its search engine this year. 

According to the search engine, Euro 2012 beat Olympics tickets as the top internet search of the year in the UK, the Sun reported. 

The company's stats also show that pop diva Whitney Houston's death in February attracted more interest than Kate. 

'Gangnam Style' beat 'Call Me Maybe' as the most trending pop song and 'Skyfall' topped 'Prometheus' as the most enquired about film. 

Intel working on smaller chips for smartphones, tablets

Intel presented new manufacturing technology that it said keeps it on track to launch a new generation of chips for smartphones and tablets as it rushes to catch up with Qualcomm and other rivals in the fast-growing mobile market. 

The world's largest chipmaker dominates the PC industry but has been slow to adapt its processors for mobile gadgets that depend on batteries and demand power efficiency. 

NIIT announces diploma course in digital marketing

NIIT has announced a tie-up with Ireland's Digital Marketing Institute (DMI) to launch a professional diploma programme in digital marketing in New Delhi on Tuesday. 

The diploma programme, introduced for the first time in India, is validated by the Industry Advisory Council which consists of companies in IT, media, finance and communication, such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Microsoft, NIIT said in a statement. 

Dell looks to tap opportunities in healthcare business

Multinational IT firm Dell, which recently roped in Indian IT veteran Suresh Vaswani to head its services business, is preparing to tap opportunities in the healthcare sector in the country even as Indian IT service providers are on the lookout for opportunities from healthcare reforms in the US.

Dell, which gets most of its services revenue from the healthcare industry, wants to open its innings in India by going after the mid-market segment, which consists of firms employing up to 5,000 people, said Sid Nair, global head, healthcare and life sciences , Dell Services.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Airtel, Need to sort issues before implementing free roaming

Even as the government is hopeful of implementing free roaming in the country from next year, Bharti Airtel said issues like varied spectrum pricing and tariff in different circles need to be studied before introducing such facilities.

"The issue has to be viewed holistically. Its not just about one part, it includes STD...we have to look at the 22 circles in the country. Every state has different spectrum pricing. Tariffs are different," Bharti Airtel CEO (India and South Asia) Sanjay Kapoor told reporters on the sidelines of an Assocham event.

STMicro to quit ST Ericsson mobile chip jv

STMicroelectronics plans to quit its loss-making mobile chip joint venture with Ericsson in a drive to cut costs and catch-up with larger, more profitable U.S. rivals.
However, some analysts said on Monday it would not be easy or cheap for the Franco-Italian group to back out of a venture which lost $841 million last year and which its Swedish partner was unlikely to want to take over on its own.
Europe's semiconductor firms are struggling to compete with bigger U.S. and Asian rivals, which have largely outsourced chip manufacturing to cope with volatility in demand and prices.

Despite social networking, direct friendship holds its own

You are more likely to be friends with people living close to you despite the growing popularity of social media, according to data drawn from the location-based social network provider Gowalla.

Research by the Social Cognitive Network Academic Research Centre (SCNARC), atRensselaer Polytechnic Institute, also showed that people tend to move in groups of friends, and that two people chosen at random at a specific event (like a concert or at a particular store) are unlikely to be friends.

Browser wars flare again, this time for phones and tablets

le took a video camera to Times Square in 2009 and asked passers-by what a browser was, most of the answers were hilariously incorrect, from "a search engine" to "broadband" to " Yahoo."

But even if consumers are not so sure what Web browsers are (programs like Internet Explorer and Firefox), they have become a crucial business for tech companies like Google and Microsoft. That is because they are now the entry point not just to the Web but to everything stored online, like Web apps, documents and photos.

How mobile video calling is changing communication

The next competition in technology is your face - anywhere, anytime.

As the cameras and screens of smartphones and tablets improve, and as wireless networks offer higher bandwidth, more companies are getting into the business of enabling mobile video calls. 

The details vary from one service to the next, but the experiences are similar: From anywhere in the world with a modern wireless network, a smartphone's screen fills with the face of a friend or relative. 

Iran launches Mehr, its own YouTube website

Image has launched its own video-sharing website to compete against Google's popular YouTube whose content is deemed inappropriate by the Islamic regime, the state television reported on Sunday.

The website ( called 'Mehr', meaning affection in Farsi, aims to attract Persian-speaking users and also promote Iranian culture, according to its About Us page.

"From now on, people can upload their short films on the website and access (IRIB) produced material," said IRIB deputy chief Lotfollah Siahkali.

Job website inks deal with

Job portal said it has entered into a strategic partnership with social recruitment platform for providing innovative hiring solutions.

MyParichay is a Facebook-based social recruitment platform.

"We really look forward to integrating and MyParichay, changing the landscape of social hiring in the near future," HT MediaInternet Business's Head (Business ) Amit Garg told reporters here.

How smartphones are replacing wallets

re are a couple of things I still carry in my pocket, held together with a money clip: the debit card and my driver's license. 
But I'm confident that those, too, will someday disappear. 

Growing up, I noticed that something happened to my father as he aged: his wallet expanded with each passing year. 

Googles popular GMail service suffers disruption

 Google Inc's popular email product, GMail, appeared to go dark for users across North America and Europe on Monday. 

Google confirmed there was a "service disruption" beginning around 9:30 a.m. Pacific Time but did not specify how many users were affected, or where. 

"We're investigating reports of an issue with Google Mail. We will provide more information shortly," Google said on the Google Apps Dashboard, a website that provides status updates for the company's various Web products. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Stock market to see profit booking this week

Besides, hopes of interest rate cut by the Reserve Bank will guide investor sentiment, they said. 

Following the government's winning vote in Parliament on FDI in multi-brand retail, investors are now expecting further financial reforms. 

"After gaining more than 4.5 per cent in last two weeks, the Sensex is likely to witness some profit-booking," said Rakesh Goyal, Vice President at Bonanza Portfolio. 

Cos line up NCDs worth Rs 19K cr to raise funds

Non-convertible debentures seem to be emerging as a preferred fund-raising option for companies, especially those from NBFC space, as they have lined up plans to raise more than Rs 19,000crore through this route. 

NCDs (Non-Convertible Debentures) are loan-linked bonds issued by a company that cannot be converted into stock and usually offer higher interest rate than that of convertible debentures. 

Delhi may become first state to have Walmart, Tesco stores

Delhi may soon become the first city in the country to have global retail chains like Walmartand Tesco, with the city government all set bring a bill in the Winter session of assembly beginning Tuesday to remove hurdles in ensure "effective" implementation of FDI in multi-brand retail. 

The city government will bring an amendment to theAgricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act for facilitating direct purchase of produce from farmers by multi-national retailers. 

25 hottest games on Facebook in 2012

Games can be both a welcome and an annoying diversion on Facebook, the world's most popular online social network. This year, Facebookcrossed a big milestone - reaching 1 billion active users. Game companies such as "FarmVille" creator Zynga and Rovio Entertainment of "Angry Birds" fame seek to tap into that vast base of users to gain more players for their games. 

This week, Facebook issued a list of the 25 top-rated games that launched on Facebook in 2012. The company says the rankings are based on user ratings and engagement with the games. It's the same methodology that Facebook uses to rank apps in its App Center. 

Lego, How tech is changing the toymaker

Danish toy maker Lego will move deeper into the digital world, with more computer games and tie-ups with popular movie franchises, as it battles to grow in a shrinking toy market, its chief executive told Reuters. 

Jorgen Vig Knudstorp said growth in sales of the group's trademark colorful plastic building bricks was likely to slow in the coming years as sluggish economies in its main European markettake their toll. 

But he was optimistic the world's third-largest manufacturer of play materials would outperform the broader toy market, helped by growing demand in Asia, as well as its drive to combine the worlds of physical and virtual play. 

BioShock Infinite, 5 ways its different

 Fans clamoring for the video game "BioShock Infinite," the highly anticipated
 spiritual successor to the landmark "BioShock," will have to wait a bit longer, but it should be worth the wait.
At a media preview of the game this at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, creative director Ken Levine said "Infinite" is now scheduled for release on March 26, 2013, so the developers can do further polishing. It had initially been set for release in October, then delayed to February 26.

Japan still on alert over N Korea rocket launch

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said today that Japan is still on alert over a planned rocket launch by North Korea, although Pyongyang has suggested it may postpone it. 

"The government has not yet confirmed the postponement," Noda said on a Fuji Television Network Inc. program. "We will take all possible measures" against the expected launch, he added. 

The government set up a countermeasures office at the crisis management center of the prime minister's office at 1 pm Sunday to prepare for the expected launch sometime between Dec 10 and 22, Kyodo news reported. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Three theories behind Apple stocks slide

This holiday season is shaping up to be a record-breaking period forApple as shoppers snap up iPhones and iPads. So, why is the world's most valuable company losing its luster with investors?

Apple began selling the iPhone 5 on September 21, the same day the company's stock hit an all-time peak of $705.07 per share. Since then, the stock has plunged more than 20 per cent, trimming the company's market value by more than $150 billion. On Friday afternoon, shares were trading at around $534.

YouTube inks deal with Virgin America

Imagenounced it was taking to the skies with a deal to stream shows from some of its partners free to seatback screens on Virgin America planes in the United States and Mexico. 

Within two weeks, Virgin passengers will be able to tune into shows from five partners of the Google-owned video service including "H+ The Digital Series" from Warner Brothers, according to YouTube marketing manager Kate Berland. 

Google to replace Mergers and Acquisitions group chief

Imageis replacing the head of its in-house mergers and acquisitions group, David Lawee, with one of its top lawyers, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Don Harrison, a high-ranking lawyer at Google, will replace Lawee as head of the Internet search company's corporate development group, which oversees mergers and acquisitions, said the source, who spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to speak publicly. 

Google is also planning to create a new late-stage investment group that Lawee will oversee, the source said. 

Pakistani Taliban using Facebook to recruit

The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan have created a Facebook page to recruit persons to write for a planned quarterly magazine and to work on tasks like video editing and translation. 

The Umar Media TTP page, which has nearly 290 likes, has a message posted on November 22 seeking writers for "Ahyah-e-Khilafat", which is described as the "official quarterly magazine" of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. 

"Dear brothers and sisters, 'Pen is mightier than the sowrd (sic)'. Now you have a chance to use this mighty weapon," the message says. 

Groupon surges on takeover chatter

Groupon shares surged as market players reacted to chatter about a possible takeover for the troubled online deals company. 

Groupon closed with a gain of 22.97 per cent at $4.68. 

The Chicago-based firm made no comment on reports of takeover talk. Nor did Google, which made an unsuccessful $6 billion bid for Groupon a year ago.