AP Technology NewsBrief at 5:21 p.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Dell committee defends $24.4B sale as best choiceSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ The Dell Inc. committee that negotiated the slumping PC maker's $24.4 billion buyout is standing behind the deal despite the misgivings of major shareholders who believe the price is too low. In a four-paragraph statement released Wednesday, the four directors who oversaw the discussions to sell Dell provided their most extensive defense of the deal since it was announced a month ago.
Review: Despite flaws, voice search has potentialDOVER, Ohio (AP) _ I never thought I'd be telling my phone what to do. But I often find myself talking to various digital assistants _ Siri on the iPhone and Google Now on Android devices _ to request driving directions, restaurant recommendations and answers to all sorts of nagging questions. Until recently, I harbored a small prejudice against this kind of voice technology. I've long been annoyed by automated phone systems that make you speak instructions rather than enter them with a touch-tone phone. These technologies tend to hear me incorrectly and slow me down as I try to make a train reservation or check my credit card account. I also feel odd talking to my phone, rather than with a real human.
Facebook adds University of Calif chief to boardMENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) _ Facebook says the chancellor of the University of California at San Francisco, Susan Desmond-Hellmann, will join its board of directors. She will be the second woman elected to the Menlo Park, Calif., company's board, joining Facebook's No. 2 executive, Sheryl Sandberg. The company named Sandberg to the body last June after criticism that its directors were all men.
EU fines Microsoft $733M for breaking browser pactAMSTERDAM (AP) _ The European Union has fined Microsoft (EURO)561 million ($733 million) for breaking a pledge to offer personal computer users a choice of Internet browsers when they install the company's flagship Windows operating system. The penalty imposed by the EU's executive arm, the Commission, is a first for Brussels: no company has ever failed to keep its end of a bargain with EU authorities before.
Key dates in EU antitrust action against MicrosoftAMSTERDAM (AP) _ The European Union has fined Microsoft Corp. (EURO)561 million ($733 million) for failing to live up to the terms of a settlement that was to end the company's 15-year run-in with the continent's competition regulators. Here's a look at how a 1998 complaint by Sun Microsystems led to Microsoft receiving fines totaling (EURO)2.2 billion _ $2.9 billion at today's exchange rates.
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.
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