week in review Facebook makes its biggest acquisition to date, while the Justice Department files e-book price-fixing lawsuit against Apple. Also: a privacy-minded ISP.
week in review Just weeks away from what’s expected to be a historic Internet IPO, Facebook announced it had agreed to acquire the hugely popular photo-sharing smartphone app Instagram in a cash and stock deal valued at about $1 billion.
Facebook has made a slew of acquisitions to date, but nothing of this scale. Instagram is a 2-year-old startup that comes with some 33 million users and a growth rate that’s the envy of Silicon Valley.
The key win for Facebook here is mobile engagement. The social network has had a mobile app for years, but it doesn’t have the user love that Instagram does. By acquiring the best-of-breed mobile app — at least in terms of audience development — Facebook both takes out a future competitor and grows its mobile presence.
• Instagram: How to go from zero to $1B in under two years
• Will Instagram users quit now that Facebook owns the app?
• Complete coverage
The Justice Department is alleging that Apple worked with publishers to raise e-book prices.
• DOJ announces three e-book settlements, but not with Apple
• Multistate e-book pricing lawsuit seeks refunds for buyers
• This is why DOJ accused Apple of fixing e-book prices
• Why e-books cost so much
• Amazon says DOJ deal with book publishers win for Kindle owners
Step aside, AT&T and Verizon. A new privacy-protecting Internet service and telephone provider still in the planning stages could become the ACLU’s dream and the FBI’s worst nightmare.
Groups critical of Apple and its manufacturing partner Foxconn say Apple can afford to pay suppliers more. That, in turn, could lead to improved working conditions at factories in China.
• Could Foxconn’s factory in Brazil be a model for Apple production?
• See an iPad being built at a Foxconn factory
The online retail company says in-app purchasing can be easily integrated into apps available in the company’s Appstore.
• Amazon’s new Appstore feature could be patent suit bait
• Apple given the OK to intervene in in-app purchase lawsuit
Apple’s removal tool for the Flashback malware is available as part of a Java security update.
• Symantec cuts Flashback infection estimates in half
Nokia confirmed a problem with the Lumia 900′s ability to access data and is taking drastic actions to make up for it, offering a $100 credit to existing and new customers through April 21.
• Nokia Lumia 900 irks users by not connecting to the Web
• Is AT&T’s sales force prepared to sell the Nokia Lumia 900?
Sergey Brin and Larry Page issue a letter explaining their decision for the first stock split in the company’s history.
• Google earnings strong for 1st quarter
Microsoft opens up its wallet to get 800 patents and patent applications, and it also will get a non-exclusive license for the patent portfolio that AOL retains.
• Why Microsoft spent $1 billion on AOL’s patents
• AOL patents could help Microsoft battle Google Maps
Appeals court rejects government’s interpretation of a nearly 30-year-old act, ruling it was intended to prosecute computer hacking, not misappropriation of trade secrets.
• Anonymous hacks into tech and telecom sites
Brian Dunn resigns and director G. Mike Mikan will serve in the interim. Best Buy says it was “time for new leadership to address the challenges that face the company.”
• Best Buy lost share for the first time in a decade, analyst says
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Modern warning systems plus radar and a better sense of oceanography make it unlikely that a ship could be lost at sea — with hundreds or even thousands dead — in 2012.
• Titanic ‘story map’ delves into passengers’ fates
• In praise of the Twitterati who think Titanic never happened