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Ars Technica reports Microsoft has taken Office for Android tablets out of preview today. Android users can download and use Word, Excel and PowerPoint for free to run on ARM Android tablets between 7 and 10.1 inches in size that run Android 4.4 and include 1GB or more of RAM.. A subscription to Office 365 is necessary for some features. Microsoft also released Outlook for iOS and a preview version of Outlook for Android. Outlook works with Exchange, Gmail, Yahoo and of course Microsoft’s Outlook webmail service.
The Wall Street Journals reports that Microsoft is part of a $70 million round of funding in Cyanaogen, the company that makes its own version of Android for phones. The Verge notes that Cyanogen CEO has said his company is on a mission to “take Android away from Google.” I’m guessing Microsoft doesn’t have a problem with that intention.
Facebook wants to be Yelp-ier. Or if you prefer, Foursquareish. CNET reports Facebook has announced a new feature called Place Tips that gives location-based info. For example if you are standing outside of a restaurant wondering whether to eat there, Place Tips would show you the menu on the restaurant’s Facebook page, and food photos from your friends if they’ve eaten there. The feature will only appear if you give Facebook permission to access your location. Your location will not be shared publicly. Facebook will start testing Place Tips in the New York City area, which is where the most people stand outside the most restaurants.
Reuters reports a spokesman for the U.S. Trade Representative said on Thursday the US has consistently pressed China about the impact of new regulations on IT firms. US tech lobbyists called for urgent discussion with China over new regulations that require source code to be turned over and possible access to systems.
The Verge reports the US FCC raised a record $44.9 billion from the auction of AWS-3 spectrum in the 1700MHz and 2100MHz blocks. The spectrum is valuable but the high frequency will mean it is used mostly to bolster capacity. Next up is the 600MHz auction of former TV signals, which can cover large areas. Expect another record-breaker.
Broadband is now faster in the US thanks the FCC. By definition. Well only by definition. The Verge reports the commission voted 3-2 to change the definition of broadband in the US from 4 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up to 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up. The change means that 13.1 percent of US households are now defined as not having access to broadband. Under the previous definition it was 6.3 percent. Most DSL service is no longer considered broadband under this definition.
Samsung released their earnings which AP reports were down 27% in Q4. The company reported shipping 95 million handsets and that high-end phones were in the “high 70 percent range” of that number. Samsung’s lack of precision means one can’t say for sure if Apple, which sold 74.5 million iPhone in the quarter, has passed Samsung in the smartphone battle. To the analysts! The Vergre reports Counterpoint Research pegs Samsung shipments at 73.8 million giving the edge to Apple. Creative Startegies also says Apple’s ahead now. Strategy Analytics calls it a tie. However PC Mag notes IDC puts Samsung ahead with 75.1 million. No matter how you slice the numbers Apple, Huawei, Xiaomi and Lenovo are all taking a bite out of Samsung right now.
If long airplane flights don’t make you motion sick, try this! The Next Web reports that Samsung and Quantas Airlines have teamed up to make Gear VR available in first class on select A380 flights to LA, and also inside the First Class Lounges in Sydney and Melbourne. A Quantas Ap on the Note 4 will show 360 degree views of the first class lounge at LAX, videos of A380 planes taking off and landing, and video of a boat ride down a river. If these aren’t enough to last you to Los Angeles, you can also watch movies on the Gear VR. The trial will last for three months appearing in the lounges in mid-February and on flights in mid-March.
Amazon announced its Q4 earnings and the takeaway is the company stopped losing money which means the FirePhone effect is easing. The company reported $29.33 billion in revenue, $214 million in net profit representing $0.45 per share. Analysts only expected of $0.17 per share but on $29.67 billion in revenue.
TechCrunch reports Google’s Q3 earnings were mixed. Google had gross revenue of $18.1 billion and non-GAAP EPS of $6.88. Analysts had expected $7.13 EPS. Revenue grew slower than 20% year over year for the first time in 5 years. Average cost per click was down 8% yoy as well but aggregate total of paid clicks rose 14%. Expenses also went up. So basically Google looks like a grown up company now.
News From You:
spsheridan sent us the Business Insider report that Nickelodeon has announced it will soon be offering a stand-alone streaming service, with more details to come during its adverstising up fronts in February. Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman told CNET the service will focus on mobile and possibly operate under a different name than Nickelodeon.
starfuryzeta posted the Engadget article that Dropbox has published its first transparency report regarding data requests from government other than the US, which it has previously reported. From the period July through December, Dropbox received 5 requests from France, 5 from Germany and 2 from Italy, 2 from the UK and 1 each from 6 other countries. In the US Dropbox reports 137 search warrants, 116 subpoenas, 2 court orders and the useless national security request range of 0-249. Dropbox claims to have more than 200 million users.
TriviallyTravis notes the Nintendo post opening the Nintendo Creators Program on YouTube. To catch you up, Nintendo claims all game footage of Nintendo games on YouTube and takes all the ad revenue from them. This new program lets you get a cut of that money. The program sends money through paypal and shares 70% of revenue to channels and 60% to videos registered individually.
Discussion Section Links: Let’s talk tablets!
Pick of the Day: Xerox Xerox Xerox Xerox via Rich in Lovely Cleveland
My pick of the day is the essay “Xerox Xerox Xerox Xerox” by John Brooks, originally published in the New Yorker, more notably in his collection of essays Business Adventures. Its a fascinating business profile of the company in the late 60s, showing the company coming off the height of its powers, still a technological giant and as kind of the counterpoint to IBM in tech corporate culture at the time. It still feels really fresh today in an odd way, Xerox was dealing with IP issues that parallel what we’re seeing today with online piracy. I originally came across it after reading that its one of Bill Gates’ favorites, and I can see why (Xerox was Powerpoint before Powerpoint). Here’s a link to a free copy that seems legit:
Rich from Lovely Cleveland
Tomorrow’s guests: Darren Kitchen and Len Peralta