AP Technology NewsBrief at 2:50 p.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Wireless show expected to draw crowds to BarcelonaWhen the top executives of the world's wireless industry gather next week in Barcelona for their annual trade show, cellphones will take a back seat to talk of cars, electric meters and insulin monitors. That idea of empowering new devices with wireless connections has been percolating for years. General Motors cars have had wireless OnStar connections for more than a decade. But the push is intensifying now that most people have cellphones _and the wireless industry's future growth depends on it. That means the GSM Mobile World Congress, the telecommunications industry's largest annual trade show, will be abuzz with discussion of devices like "smart" meters that report a home's usage of electricity, natural gas or water back to the utility, and to your phone.
Big studios behind swag-fueled Oscar pushLOS ANGELES (AP) _ Giant coffee table books, iPod Shuffles, signed letters from directors, even "Lincoln" turkey roasting pans. That's just some of the largesse doled out by the studios to voters for awards presented earlier this season _ each with the potential to influence the outcome of Hollywood's most important awards, Sunday night's Oscars. Such gifts are strictly forbidden by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. But for studios, the stakes are high, and they've been creative in working around the rules to give their movies the best spotlight possible. A best picture win can boost a film's commercial appeal and solidify relations with big-name actors and directors.
Judge blocks shareholder vote on Apple proposalNEW YORK (AP) _ A federal judge is blocking Apple from conducting a shareholder vote on a package of governance proposals, handing a victory to a rebel investor who is trying to persuade the company to share more of its cash with its investors. U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan in New York ruled Friday that Apple Inc. was wrong to bundle four amendments to its corporate charter into one proposal for a vote at next Wednesday's annual meeting. Shareholders should get to vote on the amendments separately, he said. Although the ruling was preliminary, before both sides had a chance to fully make their case, Sullivan said Apple was likely to lose. He granted dissident investors a preliminary injunction against Apple pending a full trial.
Microsoft joins list of companies recently hackedREDMOND, Wash. (AP) _ Microsoft has joined the list of prominent technology companies confirming they have been hit by a recent computer hacking attack. In a blog posting Friday, Microsoft said it had found no evidence that any customer data had been heisted.
Microsoft lapse cause outages in Azure serviceREDMOND, Wash. (AP) _ Microsoft unwittingly let an online security certificate expire Friday, triggering a worldwide outage in an online service that stores data for a wide range of business customers. The sloppy housekeeping represents an embarrassing lapse for Microsoft Corp. as the software maker tries to bring in more revenue from the storage service, which is called Azure.
AT&T, union reach tentative agreement on benefitsWASHINGTON (AP) _ AT&T is announcing a tentative agreement on wages, pensions and other benefits for more than 20,000 of its unionized workers. The four-year agreement covers members of the Communications Workers of America in 36 states and the District of Columbia. AT&T is not disclosing the details of the agreement until it has been presented to union workers.
HP's stock soars to biggest 1-day gain since 2008SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Hewlett-Packard Co.'s stock surged to its biggest one-day gain since 2008 after the company's latest quarterly earnings report indicated the ailing personal computer and printer maker isn't quite as sick as many investors feared. THE SPARK: Chalk up Friday's 12 percent gain to a quintessential relief rally. After the stock market closed Thursday, HP released quarterly earnings and revenue that topped the projections of the company's management and analysts.
SD college tests fingerprint purchasing technologyRAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) _ Futurists have long proclaimed the coming of a cashless society, where dollar bills and plastic cards are replaced by fingerprint and retina scanners smart enough to distinguish a living, breathing account holder from an identity thief. What they probably didn't see coming was that one such technology would make its debut not in Silicon Valley or MIT but at a small state college in remote western South Dakota, 25 miles from Mount Rushmore.
NKorea to allow mobile Internet for foreignersPYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) _ North Korea will soon allow foreigners to tweet, Skype and surf the Internet from their cellphones, iPads and other mobile devices in its second relaxation of controls on communications in recent weeks. However, North Korean citizens will not have access to the mobile Internet service to be offered by provider Koryolink within the next week. Koryolink, a joint venture between Korea Post & Telecommunications Corporation and Egypt's Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding SAE, informed foreign residents in Pyongyang on Friday that it will launch a third generation, or 3G, mobile Internet service no later than March 1.
Google adds new touch to line of Chrome laptopsSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Google is adding a new and more expensive touch to its line of Chrome laptops in an attempt to outshine personal computers running on software made by rivals Microsoft and Apple. The Chromebook Pixel unveiled Thursday includes a nearly 13-inch display screen that responds to the touch or swipe of a finger. That duplicates a key feature in Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 8, a dramatic makeover of the world's leading operating system for PCs.
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