AP Technology NewsBrief at 7:18 a.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) EU fines Microsoft $733M for breaking browser pactAMSTERDAM (AP) _ The European Union Commission has fined Microsoft Corp. (EURO)561 million ($733 million) for breaking the terms of an earlier agreement to offer users a choice of internet browser. The penalty is a first for Brussels _ no company has ever failed to keep its end of a bargain with EU authorities before.
Samsung invests $112 million in Japan's SharpSEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ Samsung Electronics Co. said Wednesday it will invest 10.4 billion yen ($111.5 million) in Sharp Corp. to secure a supply of large-size LCD panels. The agreement gives Samsung a 3 percent stake in Osaka-based Sharp and a supply of large-size LCD panels for televisions. Samsung said in a statement that the investment will help strengthen Sharp's LCD panel business. The South Korean company known for its Galaxy smartphones and tablets said it will not be involved in Sharp's management.
Roku adds headphones to latest online video playerSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Roku is plugging headphones and several other new features into its latest set-top box for streaming Internet video to TVs, a move that amplifies its effort to upstage Apple's better-selling player. The Roku 3 box going on sale Wednesday also includes a more powerful search engine to find movies, TV shows and music more quickly and new menu for perusing the more than 750 online services available through the device. The new model will be sold for $100, initially only at Roku's website and Amazon.com. Next month, it will expand into other retail outlets, including Costco and Best Buy stores. Prices for older Roku models with less horsepower start at $50.
Schools shift from textbooks to tabletsWASHINGTON (AP) _ Well before the cleanup from Superstorm Sandy was in full swing, students could read about the weather system that slammed the East Coast in their textbooks. Welcome to the new digital bookcase, where traditional ink-and-paper textbooks have given way to iPads and book bags are getting lighter. Publishers update students' books almost instantly with the latest events or research. Schools are increasingly looking to the hand-held tablets as a way to sustain students' interest, reward their achievements and, in some cases, actually keep per-student costs down.
Telecommuting: Was Yahoo doing it right NEW YORK (AP) _ Yahoo's leaked edict under CEO Marissa Mayer that calls remote workers back to the office lit the Twitterverse on fire, angering advocates of telecommuting and other programs intended to balance work and home life. A new study from the nonprofit Families and Work Institute shows a tide moving the other way, with more workers now telecommuting _ and men significantly more likely than women to be granted the freedom to work at least partially at home.
Rebel Dell shareholder demands more informationROUND ROCK, Texas (AP) _ Dell's largest independent shareholder is turning up the pressure against the proposed $24.4 billion sale of the struggling personal computer maker to a group of investors that includes its CEO. In a letter Tuesday, Southeastern Asset Management demanded that Dell Inc. provide a list of the company's other stockholders. Obtaining that information could help Southeastern rally support for a shareholder mutiny to block the deal.
White House: cell phone unlocking should be legalNEW YORK (AP) _ An Obama administration adviser says the White House believes smartphone and tablet users should be allowed to unlock their phones and use the devices on the network of their choosing. In a blog post entitled "It's time to legalize cell phone unlocking," R. David Edelman, White House adviser on Internet, innovation and privacy, responded to a petition about the issue by saying the administration feels consumers should be allowed to unlock their phones without civil or criminal penalties, especially if the phones were purchased secondhand or as gifts.
Hackers target Czech banks, affect online bankingPRAGUE (AP) _ Hackers are targeting major commercial banks in the Czech Republic, bringing down their website and affecting their online banking. The websites of the country's central bank and the Prague's Stock Exchange were also not accessible Wednesday morning.
Online ivory trade threatens Africa's elephantsBANGKOK (AP) _ Conservationists say there's a new threat to the survival of Africa's endangered elephants that may be just as deadly as poachers' bullets: the black-market trade of ivory in cyberspace. Illegal tusks are being bought and sold on countless Internet forums and shopping websites worldwide, including Internet giant Google, with increasing frequency, according to activists. And wildlife groups attending the 178-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Bangkok this week are calling on global law enforcement agencies to do something about it.
Mystery of the Chinese zombie YaliesBEIJING (AP) _ U.S. universities have responded to China's exploding demand for American higher education with branch campuses and aggressive recruiting. Now, some are trying to boost their brands by casting photos and other snippets of campus life out into the confounding sea of Chinese social media. How confounding Consider the mystery of the Chinese Yale zombies.
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