Report scores tech companies on protecting user data from the government
An annual report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has declared that Twitter and Sonic.net are the best tech companies for protecting its users from government snooping and requests from courts and law enforcement. Out of the 18 companies examined in the report, MySpace and Verizon were judged the worst, failing to score a single star in any category, while Apple, AT&T, and Yahoo managed to attain at least one star out of a possible six.
Relaunch puts investor Justin Timberlake on front page
Social network MySpace has revealed another redesigned version of its site, with the main frontpage of the site devoted to prominent investor Justin Timberlake. The new design of the social network became available to normal users earlier this week, after an internal beta test from July onwards that later opened up to others through invitations.
Rare defeat for Apple legal
Apple has been denied a trademark on the orange Music icon used in iOS and elsewhere, reports say. The US Patent and Trademark Office's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board is this week said to have upheld an examiner's decision on the matter, arguing that Apple's logo is too similar to a trademark owned by MySpace. In 2008 a mark for an orange logo with a musical note was awarded to music tracking service iLike. MySpace bought iLike in 2009, but ended up closing the outfit earlier this year.
Site moving away from social networking
Myspace has finally launched its redesigned site, which focuses on music discovery and playback. The improved media integration marks a dramatic strategy shift that was first announced several months ago by the site's new owner, Specific Media, in an attempt to rebrand the service as the "Hulu of music" rather than maintaining direct competition with Facebook as an alternative social network.
Myspace to rebuild itself as the 'Hulu of music'
Specific Media, the new owners of Myspace, have used a special event to outline their growth strategy moving forward. The company is calling itself the ‘Hulu of music.’ It says that it has unique content rights with the Big Four labels and over 20,000 independent labels that ‘allows for ad-supported music video and audio streaming.’
New MySpace owners to talk strategy today
Ad producer Specific Media, the new owners of MySpace, are set to outline their strategy to help rebuild the ailing social web service. “Future of MySpace Talk” will be hosted by Specific Media CEO Tim Vanderhook and is open only to “CMOs and senior marketers." Justin Timberlake, an investor in the Specific Media/MySpace deal, is expected to be on hand at the special event today.
Facebook looking to hire exec for media deals
Social network Facebook wants to shore up its media offerings by hiring a high-profile executive, sources claimed Tuesday. Facebook wants to bring more music and movie content. To this end, it spoke with MySpace co-President and former MTV exec Jason Hirschhorn, according to the Reuters tips.
LG Cosmos 2 due at Verizon this week for $30
Verizon and LG on Tuesday revealed they will begin shipping the successor to the Cosmos horizontal slider phone with the Cosmos 2. It retains the same layout, including the four-row hardware QWERTY keyboard once the face is slid open, but has a sleeker look and more modern software. It carries a web web browser and shortcuts for Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.
Facebook Vibes may point to Spotify downloads
An expedition into the plugin code for Facebook's video chat by Jeff Rose has found possible clues as to Spotify integration coming soon. Along with calling on the actual Facebook app, Peep, it also goes to an unknown Vibes app. The component doesn't appear to be connected to the Skype-based video and is supposed to link to a "MusicDownloadDialog" box that serves as the giveaway of the plans.
MySpace now settling on 35m sale to Specific
(Update: Justin Timberlake is involved) MySpace's imminent sale has now been finalized as a new leak confirmed a deal has been struck. Ad producer Specific Media has agreed to buy the social network for $35 million. Under the terms seen by AllThingsD, current owner News Corp would have a "less than five percent" stake but cut the 400-person staff count in half.
MySpace may sell to ad or equity firms at 30m
MySpace's decline may not only include major job cuts but a sale at just a fraction of its purchase price. New sources claim the social network may sell for between $20 million to $30 million to lower-profile buyers. AllThingsD identifies ad network Specific Media at the front but followed closely by Golden Gate Capital, a private equity group known for rescuing companies in MySpace's state.
Sale also expected this week
Myspace is rumored to be cutting up to 300 employees from its workforce over the next few weeks. TechCrunch reports that 150 employees will receive pink slips tomorrow and probably another 150 will be shown the door over the next few weeks. This comes as the struggling company could have a new owner as soon as tomorrow.
iOS 5 may link to LinkedIn, more beyond Twitter
A further discovery inside the iOS 5 beta has shown that the social network integration runs deeper than just Twitter. Readily accessible settings in the contacts let users add Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, and even MySpace. The AllThingsD look showed that users just have to enter a given username and let the OS take care of the outbound links.
MySpace said to be nearing partnership deal
News Corp, the owner of MySpace is getting closer to signing a deal for MySpace since formally opening a bidding process in April. However, it appears that instead of an outright takeover, any deal will be in the form of a major partnership. News Corp, which paid $580 million for MySpace in 2005 had been hoping for offers at around $100 million for the struggling website, but has not received any credible offers in that vicinity.
MySpace takes bids from six companies in selloff
News Corp's plans to sell off MySpace will come to a head this week, insiders said Tuesday night. About six companies, possibly including Vevo and Bebo's recent acquirer Criterion Capital Partners, were all expected to make bids by the end of the week. A Wall Street Journal source named an unnamed Chinese company as having talked about a deal, but it wasn't said whether this company would make the bid.
MySpace rumored dumped to joint venture with Vevo
News Corp's plans to offload MySpace may have it move the social network to the music video site Vevo, insiders said. While tentative, the strategy would see MySpace sold to Vevo in return for a share of the project. Bloomberg's sources suggested it would bolster the music videos with artist and fan pages as well as MySpace's other music content.
Media giant to meet with prospective buyers
News Corp. has reportedly ramped up efforts to divest its MySpace assets, unnamed sources have told the Wall Street Journal. Investment bank Allen & Company is said to be scheduling meetings with prospective buyers on behalf of the company, while providing the first in-depth looks at MySpace's financial information.
News Corp says MySpace best sold off
News Corp while talking about its latest results confirmed that it was effectively ready to sell MySpace. Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey thought that the major redesign and music focus showed "very encouraging metrics" but weren't enough by themselves. Real growth "may be best achieved under a new owner," he said.
Rogers adds limited time $40 smartphone plan
Canadian wireless and cable provider Rogers has started a new smartphone plans for entry-level smartphones, MobileSyrup reported on Thursday. The promotional plan is called an Exclusive $40 Promo Plan, and has gone into effect on January 25 for a limited, though unknown, amount of time. It requires a three-year contract and includes 200 minutes per month, 100MB of data and unlimited social networking, which grants unlimited access to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Bebo, Flickr, Photobucket and LinkedIn.
MySpace cuts 47 percent of workers
MySpace today confirmed job cut rumors in a bid to keep the social network afloat. The company is dropping 500 workers, or about 47 percent of its entire workforce. It didn't say where these would be focused but made ad deals in Australia, Germany and the UK that implied more of the cuts would be located outside of the US.
MySpace job cuts due tomorrow amid selloff talk
MySpace's rumored dramatic job cuts should happen tomorrow, tips supported on Monday. Between 550 to 600 of the 1,100 workers at the music and social network site could lose their jobs on Tuesday. January 11 was a hard deadline for determining the cuts, according to AllThingsD contacts.
MySpace could cut as much as 50 percent of staff
MySpace might cut up to 50 percent of its staff to stay alive if a leak from multiple industry tipsters on Friday is accurate. Planning is underway for cuts that could reach up to half of its roughly 1,100 workers both in the US and worldwide. Details were still very much uncertain, AllThingsD said, and could be less.
Jobs, Zuckerberg top CEO approvals while MS lags
An updated list of CEO approval ratings from Glassdoor has shown a wide disparity between some technology firms' executives. Apple's Steve Jobs, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Google's Eric Schmidt lead the group, all claiming 96 to 97 percent approval from their staff on the site. Rivals were much lower, however, and saw MySpace president Mike Jones at 60 percent, Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz at 56 and Microsoft's Steve Ballmer at a particularly low 49 percent.
MySpace launches modernized mobile site
Social networking site MySpace on Tuesday announced it has launched a new site optimized for mobile devices with modern WebKit browsers. This includes iOS devices, Android, Palm and modern Symbian^3 and BlackBerry 6 devices from Nokia and RIM, respectively. The site features music and celebrity news and offers video content, but there is no music streaming.
News Corp says MySpace may drop in months
News Corp might chop MySpace if it doesn't turn around within the next several months, the company's Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey said during a quarterly fiscal results call today. After a $70 million drop in revenue and plummeting traffic, the executive said the results were "not acceptable or sustainable" and implied the site would shut down if it wasn't fixed. A timetable wasn't given, but MySpace's timeframe would be measured "in quarters, not in years," Carey said.
LG Octane coming to Verizon for $100 on Thursday
The LG Octane feature phone, spotted in a Verizon roadmap back in August, will come to the provider on Thursday, October 28. The device has a flip-out hardware QWERTY keyboard and is meant for young social networkers. The Social Beat Widget aggregates content from synced Facebook, MySpace and Twitter accounts, as well as over 50 news, sports and entertainment feeds.
Skype to cut off Nimbuzz support by October 31
We test Samsung's Seek messaging phone for Sprint
Making a messaging phone that stands out is increasingly a near-impossible feat: it needs to be more advanced than a market of dozens of rivals but keep the price well below that of a smartphone. Samsung's Seek is unique in adding a touchscreen but actually costing less than many of its rivals at just $20 on a contract. While tempting, is it enough to leap in? We find out in our Seek review.
Zune HD gets Win Live Messenger in new app mix
Microsoft overnight gave the Zune HD its first significant app catalog update in months and headlined it with Windows Live Messenger. The app is the Zune's first instant messaging app and supports most of the same features, up to Facebook chat as well as social feeds from Facebook, Flickr and MySpace. It doesn't truly multitask but will change status to reflect any currently playing music.
MetroPCS launches Dallas 4G LTE service
Wireless provider MetroPCS on Wednesday announced that it has now made its 4G LTE service available in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, the second rollout after Las Vegas. The service, available on the 4G LTE-compatible Samsung Craft, will cost $55 per month all inclusive and include unlimited voice, text and web services, at least initially. Subscribers will have access to a social network and IM aggregation app that brings together Facebook, MySpace and Twitter along with AIM, MSN and Yahoo.
Sanyo Innuendo flip-phone now exclusive at Sprint
Sprint has begun offering a unique Sanyo-branded handset built by Kyocera. The Innuendo is a horizontal flip-phone that reveals a QWERTY hardware keyboard and a 2.8-inch, 400x240 display. The exterior has a keypad that is hidden from view when not lit up and in use, along with a matching 1.3-inch OLED external display.
Ping at 1m as third of iTunes signs up
Apple tonight hit a milestone quickly as it reached over one million users of Ping within the first 48 hours of its going online. The tally represents a third of the three million that have downloaded iTunes 10. Internet Services VP Eddy Cue expected that number to grow much higher, as "many more people" are likely to download iTunes.
Sony Ericsson Vivaz gets official US launch on ATT
Symbian got a rare foothold in the US today as AT&T today picked up the Sony Ericsson Vivaz. The S60 device focuses on video first and can snap either 8.1-megapixel photos or 720p movies. As the OS already handles real multitasking, it can upload a video (over Wi-Fi) in the background.
RIM promises BB 6 updates to older phones
RIM as part of the BlackBerry Torch launch provided details of the upgrade plan for BlackBerry 6. The new OS will reach the Bold 9700, the Bold 9650 and the Pearl 3G as well as future devices. A timetable hasn't been set, but it should reach devices in the "months ahead."
Samsung Intensity II upgrades Verizon's messaging
Verizon chose the mid-day to bring out an upgrade to its basic messaging phone. The Intensity II replaces the original and mostly claims a greener design with a partly recycled body and similar efforts in the box and manual. It's implied through Rhapsody subscription support that the phone now supports 3G, but the design still has the familiar sliding QWERTY keyboard, 2.2-inch display and 1.3-megapixel camera.S
Microsoft brings out first Kin software update
Microsoft has released a minor update for its discontinued Kin phones. The software giant hasn't detailed the changes in version 1.0, build 2814.0, but Bernard on WMPowerUser has researched them. The update seems to focus on Twitter functions, including new Twitter avatars in the Kin Loop and a delivery of Twitter statuses that mimics Facebook and MySpace status updates, which includes a comment form and feed.
MySpace may have unlimited music after poor sales
Industry contacts said on Wednesday that MySpace Music could turn to a subscription model. Backing an earlier story, the rumor asserts that the social network's executives have talked to labels about an unlimited service. Progress isn't known by CNET or others, but the new approach could be ready by the end of the year.
Pantech Jest now available online at Verizon
Verizon began shipping the Pantech Jest handset on Tuesday. The feature phone has a 2.6-inch color screen and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Navigation is done using an optical directional key, and users can send out IM and chat messages.
Windows Live Messenger iPhone marks 2nd MS app
Microsoft today posted its second major iPhone app today in the form of Windows Live Messenger (free, App Store). The download gives the expected instant messaging on Windows Live but also integrates closely with other networks; it also talks to Yahoo Messenger contacts, pulls status updates from Facebook, Flickr and MySpace.
Spny Ericsson shows entry-level Cedar handset
Sony Ericsson announced the entry-level Cedar handset on Wednesday. Although a feature phone, it gets top-level social network and e-mail access right from its home screen, such as for Facebook and Twitter. The handset can access HSPA-based 3G networks and is part of SE's GreenHeart range of eco-aware phones, which gives it recycled plastics, a low power charger, waterborne paint and a no-excess box.
Telstra to bring T-Hub touchscreen home phone
Australian carrier Telstra has introduced a new home phone, the T-Hub, that brings smartphone-like applications into the home. The device, equipped with a 7.1-inch touchscreen, lets users read and send text messages, view Internet sites, play music and tune in to online radio stations. There is also a built-in organizer and widgets that bring the latest news, sports and weather to the screen.
KIN alerts to be delayed by up to 15 minutes
Microsoft's recently unveiled KIN handsets will apparently only automatically fetch information from any synchronized social networks every 15 minutes, unless users manually refresh the feeds. This, according to one engineer involved in the project, is in the interest of preserving battery life and because of immature social network APIs.
Kin One and Two reach Verizon in May
Microsoft today took the wraps from Kin, its first self-branded phone line. The series focuses on social networking and centers on the Kin Loop, a home screen that shows Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and Microsoft services. Contacts can be favorited and will take the lead in all parts of the phone UI depending on how often they're used.
Verizon adds LG Cosmos to line
Verizon started off CTIA by adding an LG messaging phone. The Cosmos brings a slide-out QWERTY messaging phone to the carrier and promises a handful of social networking features that tap directly into Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, including GPS for geolocation features. Calling is also a strong point as it auto-adjusts sound to compensate for ambient noise.
Murdoch said desperate to unload MySpace
(Update: statement received) News Corp. is frantically trying to sell MySpace, a short but potentially major rumor maintained this afternoon. Company head Rupert Murdoch is said by SAI to be "desperately" looking for a buyer and has been talking to private equity firms as possible candidates. The social network would be tentatively valued at $700 million.
InstantAction shows in-browser game platform
At the GDC show, InstantAction has shown off a new platform that will enable game developers to embed video games in websites such as Facebook, MySpace or blogs, as well as in e-mails. This means users do not need to download the games, and access them from any web-connected computer that has access to a website or e-mail that hosts their game. The company claims that thanks to a combination of in-browser, thin-client and progressive downloading technologies, embedding even high-end games is as easy and fast as uploading a photo or video.
Nokia C5 a very low cost Symbian smartphone
Nokia today marked the rare start to a new phone line by launching the C5, its first Cseries phone. The range aims to bring smartphone-level software to the very entry level and runs Symbian S60 in a candybar shape. Although it has just a number pad and a D-pad for navigation, it has full messaging and web browsing as well as Nokia's custom home screen with a "carousel" of contacts, upcoming calendar items and new e-mail.
LG Arena for AT&T brings FLO TV on Feb 26
AT&T finished the week by adding to its mobile TV roster through the previously leaked LG Arena. The touchscreen feature phone appropriately supports AT&T's own 3G bands but also adds a FLO TV tuner for watching over-the-air subscription video on its 3-inch display. In its American guise, it further gets support for AT&T Navigator and the Social Net portal to Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.
Device offers GPS, Wi-Fi
Samsung has introduced its latest feature phone, the S5620 Monte. The device features Wi-Fi connectivity and a 3-inch WQVGA touchscreen with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Samsung's TouchWiz 2.0 Plus interface provides quick access to apps for social networking services such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. A 3.2-megapixel camera is paired with software capable of smile shots, panoramas, and face detection.
Online music sales not yet at turning point
Online sales of music were up significantly in 2009 but still weren't enough to compensate for dropping CD sales, the IFPI said today in its annual overview. The revenue from Amazon, iTunes and other sources climbed 12 percent to $4.2 billion during the year, but a corresponding drop in CD sales is estimated to have made total revenues shrink by 8 to 9 percent to about $15.6 billion.