AP Technology NewsBrief at 6:26 p.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Microsoft's 2Q earnings dip despite Windows 8 liftSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Microsoft's latest quarterly earnings slipped, even as the world's largest software maker showed modest progress adjusting to a shift away from the personal computers that have been its financial foundation for decades. The results announced Thursday are the first to include Windows 8. The program is a dramatic overhaul of the Microsoft Corp. operating system that powers most PCs. Windows 8 came out Oct. 26 with slightly more than two months left in Microsoft's fiscal second quarter.
AT&T gains customers in 4Q, posts big lossNEW YORK (AP) _ The launch of the iPhone 5 helped AT&T attract more new customers in the holiday quarter than it has in three years, but it posted a big loss because of an annual adjustment to its pension obligations. AT&T Inc. on Thursday said added a net 780,000 new customers on contract-based plans from October to December, its best result in three years. It activated 8.6 million iPhones in the quarter _ a record for any company. AT&T was the first company to introduce the iPhone in 2007, and has more iPhone users than any other U.S. carrier.
Analysts to Apple: Bend your knee to Wall StreetNEW YORK (AP) _ Apple needs to start making nice with Wall Street, analysts said Thursday as investors hammered the company's stock. The sell-off put Apple a hair's-breadth away from losing its status as the world's most valuable company. At Thursday's close, it was worth $423 billion, just 1.6 percent more than No. 2 Exxon Mobil Corp.
Practically human: Can smart machines do your job WASHINGTON (AP) _ Art Liscano knows he's an endangered species in the job market: He's a meter reader in Fresno, Calif. For 26 years, he's driven from house to house, checking how much electricity Pacific Gas & Electric customers have used. But PG&E doesn't need many people like Liscano making rounds anymore. Every day, the utility replaces 1,200 old-fashioned meters with digital versions that can collect information without human help, generate more accurate power bills, even send an alert if the power goes out.
Manufacturers cutting white-collar jobs now, tooNEW YORK (AP) _ Manufacturers have been using technology to cut blue-collar jobs for years. Now, they're targeting their white-collar workers, too. Factory Automation Systems makes machines that help companies cut, bundle and load products faster and cheaper than humans can. But it didn't realize how much technology could help its own business until the Great Recession hit.
Netflix shuffles the TV deck with 'House of Cards'NEW YORK (AP) _ In Netflix's bid for a flagship original drama of its own _ a "Sopranos" to its HBO _ the subscription streaming service is presenting a high-class adaptation of a British political thriller offered up all at once, with its first season immediately ready for TV-viewing gluttony. The show, "House of Cards," is a bold attempt to remake the television landscape with the kind of prestige project cable channels like HBO, AMC and Showtime have used to define themselves. But "House of Cards," produced by David Fincher and starring Kevin Spacey, won't be on the dial of that refuge of quality dramas _ cable television _ but streamed online to laptops and beamed directly to flat-screens through set-top boxes and Internet-enabled devices.
Apple's profit rocket hits air pocketNEW YORK (AP) _ Apple's blockbuster revenue growth is slowing drastically, as iPhone sales plateau and the company finds itself lacking revolutionary new products. The company's warning, issued Wednesday as part of its financial results for the holiday quarter, sent Apple Inc.'s stock plunging by more than 10 percent, wiping out a year's worth of gains.
Sony fined in UK over PlayStation cyberattackLONDON (AP) _ British regulators have fined Sony 250,000 pounds ($396,100) for failing to prevent a 2011 cyberattack on its PlayStation Network which put millions of users' personal information _ including names, addresses, birth dates and account passwords _ at risk. Britain's Information Commissioner's Office said Thursday that security measures in place at the time "were simply not good enough." It said the attack could have been prevented if software had been up to date, while passwords were also not secure.
Cuba confirms undersea cable carrying data trafficHAVANA (AP) _ Cuba's state telecom monopoly confirmed Thursday that the island's first hard-wired Internet connection to the outside world has been activated, but said it won't lead to an immediate increase in access. In a statement published in Communist Party newspaper Granma and other official media, ETECSA broke its long silence on the ALBA-1 fiber-optic cable, which island officials once boasted would increase capacity 3,000-fold.
Netflix's 4Q restores company's investment lusterSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Netflix has re-emerged as a stock-market star after a fourth-quarter performance that demonstrated its success in broadening the appeal of its Internet video service despite stiffer competition. The results announced Wednesday served as a resounding endorsement of Netflix Inc. CEO Reed Hastings, who has been spending heavily to license more compelling movies and TV shows in hopes of warding off intensifying competitive threats. Companies such as Amazon.com Inc. and Coinstar Inc.'s Redbox have expanded into streaming video to Internet-connected devices to compete with Netflix.
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