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Microsoft is reviving a smear campaign against Google's Gmail that it last used last year. Microsoft is planning to inform consumers about Google's practice of scanning e-mails in order to better serve targeted ads that are tailored to the content of the e-mail currently being viewed.
Google has responded to this advertising campaign before by reiterating that no humans ever read the contents of a user's e-mail to target ads.
"Advertising keeps Google and many of the websites and services Google offers free of charge," according to a statement issued by a spokesman for the company. "No humans read your email or Google Account information in order to show you advertisements."
Microsoft is planning to spend a "seven figure" dollar amount on this campaign. A planned advertisement reads "Think Google respects your privacy? Think again." Microsoft was part of the group that encouraged the FTC to launch an anti-trust investigation into Google that just wrapped up recently.
Users have the option of paying $20 to remove all advertising from Outlook.com's service.
Update: A previous version of this story stated that Microsoft scans subject lines to target ads. This was incorrect. We apologize for the inaccuracy.
Regulators weren't happy with Facebook collecting and using facial recognition data for EU users. Back in September, Facebook announced that it would delete all existing facial recognition data of EU users. They concurrently announced that they had turned the feature off for new EU users.
The Irish Data Protection Commissioner's office has confirmed that Facebook has deleted all of the data that they said they would. "We recently reviewed the source code and execution process used in the deletion process and can confirm that we were satisfied with the processes used by Facebook to delete the templates in line with its commitment," said Ciara O'Sullivan.
The EU was upset with Facebook over the collecting of facial recognition data without a user's express permission to do so. Facebook has said that they do not currently have plans to turn facial recognition back on in the EU like it has done here in the United States.
Blackberry has announced that they have no plans to launch the new BlackBerry 10 devices in Japan. According to BlackBerry, "Japan is not a major market for BlackBerry and we have no plans to launch BlackBerry 10 devices there at this time." Part of this could be to the fact they have just 0.3 percent of the market currently.
After all, why launch a device in a country when they appear to not be very keen on your previous devices. This appears to be the logic BlackBerry is operating off of as they say the cost of translating BlackBerry 10 to Japanese is just to high for them to consider it a good investment.
Current BlackBerry owners can rest easy knowing that BlackBerry will continue to offer to support to existing owners in Japan.
Rumor has it that Facebook is working on closing a deal with Microsoft to buy the latter's ad-serving business. Microsoft originally acquired the Atlas ad-serving platform as part of its $6 billion acquisition of aQuantive back in 2007 and has been trying to sell it for a while now.
AdAge is reporting that a deal between the two could come as early as next week with the price being somewhere south of $100 million. Rumors of the acquisition first surfaced back in December. Of course, spokespersons for both companies have declined to comment on the possible deal.
An acquisition of Atlas would prevent Facebook from having to reinvent the wheel for a third-party advertising network. It's a logical step for Facebook to start a third-party ad network, so this acquisition could fit perfectly into their plans.
For now, this is just a report, so be a bit skeptical until more information is known.
Sprint saw record iPhone sales during the 4th quarter of 2012, yet still lost billions in revenue thanks to a steady bleed off of subscribers. The numbers were released today in Sprint's annual financial report.
The company reported that it sold a total of 6.6 million iPhones during 2012, with 2.2 million being sold in the 4th quarter alone. Despite the record number of sales, the company still posted a $1.5 billion loss, with operating revenue of $35.3 billion. The good news is that the total revenue is up by almost 5% over 2011.
When compared to its rivals, Sprint's sales are way off the mark, but they are improving. Verizon sold 6.2 million iPhones in Q4 2012, while ATT sold 8.6 million. I personally attribute Sprint's dwindling user base to its lack of a quick LTE roll out nationwide, which is something Verizon is dominating in.
We all know that tablets are selling like hot cakes, as the need for a traditional desktop PC begins to fade. According to Canalys' latest data, PC market share for desktops and laptops is being eaten away by Apple's iPad and Mac range.
If we combine both the iPad and Mac systems, they ship 27 million units - or 20.1% of the 134 million computers that were shipped during Q4 2012. This is the first time that Apple has reached over 20%. HP have taken over second place ahead of Lenovo, where HP shipped 15 million PCs to take 11% of the market. Samsung walked up into fifth place with 11.7 million PCs shipped, and a nice 9% share.
Apple is taking today to celebrate the fact that they have sold 25 billion songs via the iTunes Store. In an announcement today, Apple said that they have officially reached 25 billion songs sold. The 25 billionth song to be sold was "Monkey Drums" by Chase Buch. The purchaser, a man from Germany, will be getting an iTunes gift card with about $13,500 on it.
"We are grateful to our users whose passion for music over the past 10 years has made iTunes the number one music retailer in the world," said Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services.
Just how do song purchases relate to the App Store? The App Store has seen about 40 million downloads since it opened in 2008. The iTunes Store, which opened in 2003, garnered one billion purchases in just over two years and 10 billion purchases in about six years.
Google's Transparency Report now includes takedown requests, where we see the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) requesting nearly 10 million URLs to be taken off the Internet.
The exact number of URLs requested to be removed sits at 9,986,936, with their most request request just days ago on February 1. The offending sites? Well, the top five domains are downloads.nl, mp3s.pl, filestube.com, mp3searchy.com and weblagu.com. The top copyright owners represented are the RIAA member companies, requesting virtually all of the near-10 million, with 9,979,021 URL takedown requests, with the RIAA requesting just 7,915 be taken dwon.
Google were seeing close to 800,000 takedown requests per week from the RIAA August-October of 2012 timeframe, but it looks to have died down to around 250,000 takedown requests as we reached November.
Zynga, the social gaming company that made it big on Facebook, has seen a boost in its share prices after beating fourth quarter expectations. The company announced its fourth quarter results today, which were higher than previously expected and included a 1 cent per share earning on an adjusted basis.
Previous estimates had Zynga losing 3 cents per share. Zynga's stock has received a "buy" rating from Bank of America/Merrill Lynch and has ticked up in after hours trading. First quarter results are expected to be a loss between $32 million and $12 million on revenues of $255 million to $265 million.
ORIGIN has announced a new way to contact their customer support. The new method is a bit different than most companies and should help users reach technical support in the most convenient way possible. ORIGIN's Nexus client will allow users to chat with technical support while in-game or on the desktop.
Along with contacting support, the client will allow users to chat with friends, take screenshots and video, and live broadcast gameplay. A nice feature of being able to contact support in-game is the ability to be looking at exactly what isn't working while talking to support. This allows you to get the best description of the problem.
Kevin Wasielewski, CEO and co-founder of ORIGIN PC:
ORIGIN PC's focus has always been to provide the best PC experience to our customers and we are proud to continue our legacy of providing the best support in the PC industry. Thanks to the great client from the Xfire team, ORIGIN Nexus makes it even more convenient for our customers to contact us without ever having to leave their game, and we're really excited to be the first and only company to offer this new level of support in our industry.
Chat is available to users during normal business hours. This means you can reach out to ORIGIN's in-game support from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST.