Today's Top Technology Headlines
- Korea's quirky messaging apps go on offensive in text-happy Indonesia
By Miyoung Kim and Andjarsari Paramaditha SEOUL/JAKARTA (Reuters) - South Korea's pioneering mobile messaging apps have taken their oversized emoticons to Indonesia, intent on breaking the dominance of BlackBerry Ltd's BBM messaging service in one of the world's most active social media markets. Kakao Corp has hired pop stars and Naver Corp unit Line Corp has partnered Samsung Electronics Co in a country whose capital Jakarta boasts the most users of Twitter Inc's microblog by city, according to researcher McKinsey & Company. BBM has long been Indonesia's most popular messaging app, with Facebook Inc's $19 billion buyout target WhatsApp in pursuit.
- IBM factory strike shows shifting China labor landscape
By John Ruwitch SHANGHAI (Reuters) - A wildcat strike at an IBM factory in southern China illustrates how tectonic shifts under way in the country's labor market are emboldening workers to take matters into their own hands, raising risks for multinationals. More than 1,000 workers walked off the job last week at the factory in Shenzhen, bordering Hong Kong, after managers on March 3 announced the terms of their transfer to new ownership under Chinese PC maker Lenovo Group Ltd. Lenovo agreed in January to pay $2.3 billion for International Business Machine's low-end server business. The strike, which continued into Sunday, fits a growing pattern of industrial activism that has emerged as China's economy has slowed. A worsening labor shortage has shifted the balance of power in labor relations, while smartphones and social media have helped workers organize and made them more aware than ever of the changing environment, experts say.
- AT&T cuts wireless data charges for individual customers
(Reuters) - AT&T Inc said on Saturday it is cutting wireless data charges for individual customers who have no annual service contract, as the No. 2 U.S. mobile operator attempts to better compete with rival T-Mobile US Inc. Customers having one smartphone with no annual service contract will now pay $65 per month instead of $80 for a plan that includes 2GB LTE wireless data, unlimited talk and text messaging, unlimited international messaging and 50 GB cloud storage. The latest plan follows price cuts AT&T announced last month for families and customers who share large data plans, as well as its offer of a $200 credit to customers who switch to its network. AT&T has been fiercely competing with smaller rival T-Mobile U.S. after T-Mobile spent several quarters directly marketing to AT&T customers.
- Man who sued Facebook's Zuckerberg must face fraud charges: judge
By Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York businessman must face criminal fraud charges for trying to claim a billion-dollar stake in social media company Facebook Inc, a federal judge ruled on Friday. Paul Ceglia, 40, is accused of forging a 2003 contract with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that supposedly entitled him to part ownership of the company. After an hour-long hearing in New York, U.S. District Judge Andrew Carter rejected Ceglia's request to throw out the charges, finding he had failed to meet the "high standard" needed to dismiss a grand jury indictment. Ceglia sued Zuckerberg and Facebook in 2010 in a federal court in Buffalo, New York, claiming that he and Zuckerberg had signed a contract while Zuckerberg was a freshman at Harvard University for Ceglia to invest $1,000 in a planned social networking website.
- Mexico telecoms regulator reins in Slim and his empire
By Tomas Sarmiento and Christine Murray MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's telecommunications watchdog unveiled a slew of regulations on Friday to claw back the massive telephone business of billionaire Carlos Slim, but said it would not order a break-up of his companies for now. Mexico is trying to open up its phone and TV industries to more competition following last year's passage of a major telecoms reform that targets the vast market shares enjoyed by Slim and the country's no. 1 broadcaster, Televisa. Slim's America Movil controls about 80 percent of Mexico's fixed-line business via its Telmex unit and some 70 percent of the mobile sector through its Telcel unit. As was expected, the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) declared America Movil "dominant", and therefore needs to be subject to tougher regulation.
- UK court ruling may prompt more scrutiny of Amazon tax plans
By Tom Bergin LONDON (Reuters) - Amazon's tax affairs could come under more scrutiny in Britain, tax experts said, after a judge questioned whether it really was organized in the tax efficient way it said it was. The ruling comes as big technology groups, including Amazon, face increasing scrutiny in Britain over their tax practices. A UK judge ruled earlier this month that Amazon had infringed the trademark of soap maker Lush by posting advertisements on Google mentioning "Lush soap" and by offering customers who searched for "Lush soap" on its own website a list of options. Since Lush products were not available on Amazon's UK website - on the manufacturer's insistence - the judge ruled customers could be confused.
- Neil Young's music player for audiophiles reaches Kickstarter on March 15th
We now know how Neil Young plans to make his dreams of high-quality digital music come true: crowdfunding. The artist's company PonoMusic is launching a Kickstarter campaign on March 15th that will let you reserve the PonoPlayer, Young's long-teased, audiophile-grade portable jukebox. The 128GB device will set you back a whopping $399 when it goes on sale (less with the Kickstarter discount), but its creators are promising audio fidelity worthy of the price tag.
- Loss of employees on Malaysia flight a blow, U.S. chipmaker says
By Noel Randewich SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Employees of Freescale Semiconductor who were on a Malaysia Airlines flight presumed to have crashed were doing sophisticated work at the U.S. chipmaker, a company spokesman said on Sunday. The 20 Freescale employees, among 239 people on flight MH370, were mostly engineers and other experts working to make the company's chip facilities in Tianjin, China, and Kuala Lumpur more efficient, said Mitch Haws, vice president, global communications and investor relations. "It's definitely a loss for the company." None of Austin, Texas-based Freescale's most senior executives were on board the Boeing Co 777-200ER airliner that vanished from radar screens about an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing on Saturday. The employees who were on board, 12 from Malaysia and eight from China, came from a range of disciplines and they were part of a broad push by Chief Executive Officer Gregg Lowe to make Freescale more efficient and cost effective, Haws said.
- Mt. Gox CEO's blog hacked, database leak claims there should be a 951k Bitcoin balance
The latest twist in the fall of Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox is here, as CEO Mark Karpeles, personal blog, MagicalTux.net (along with his Tumblr and Reddit accounts) has apparently been hacked. Whoever has control now used them to post a "MtGox2014Leak.zip" that claims to show "relevant database dumps, csv exports, specialized tools, and some highlighted summaries compiled from data."
- Neil Young's high-fidelity iPod competitor will cost $399
The age of the iPod might be over, but music artist Neil Young doesn't believe portable media players are dead. On March 15th, he'll offer pre-orders on Kickstarter for the PonoPlayer, a $399 triangular digital music player designed to sound worlds better. The company describes the sound as "studio master-quality digital music at the highest audio fidelity possible," giving listeners the ability to "experience music the way the artists intended." The player is designed to be paired with the upcoming PonoMusic.com service, which will offer "the finest quality, highest-resolution digital music from both major labels and prominent indpendent labels," according to the company.
- 23andMe's Anne Wojcicki envisions the future of preventative medicine
Anne Wojcicki and her genetic sequencing company 23andMe are locked in a battle with the FDA. Even though it can't report results to customers right now, Wojcicki isn't letting herself get bogged down in the present. At SXSW 2014 she laid out her vision of the future of preventative medicine -- one where affordable genome sequencing comes together with "big data."
- Fujitsu's latest all-in-ones don't need to be turned off
With all of the talk surrounding smartphones and tablets, it's sometimes easy to forget that desktops still occupy most of our working days. Fujitsu hasn't forgotten them, however, and is wheeling out a pair of all-in-one units that'll accompany you on the 9-to-5. The Esprimo X923 comes with a 23-inch 1,920 x 1,080 IPS LCD and a wide variety of build-to-order options, including a choice of Core i3 - i7 CPUs, HDD or SSD and up to 16GB RAM.
- BAE report says Ukraine has faced cyberattacks
LONDON (AP) — Ukraine was repeatedly attacked by sophisticated cyberspies as tensions between pro-Russian and Western-leaning factions escalated in recent months, according to a report from U.K.-based defense contractor BAE Systems.
- Lyft assembles massive funding round to take on Uber
Documents filed last week reveal that ridesharing service Lyft has started work on a $150 million round of funding, amassing $80 million of it so far from big names including Andreesen Horowitz. Though Uber has unquestionably grabbed the top slot in the burgeoning car dispatch industry, Lyft's pink mustaches — attached to the front of drivers' cars — have grabbed enough attention in many big cities to become well-known. Uber competes directly with Lyft through its UberX service, which employs private drivers with their own cars to effectively serve as cabs at a lower rate.
- Android lead says wearable developer tools coming in two weeks (updated)
We've got very few details at the moment, but Sundar Pichai is preparing to lead the Android charge into the wearable space. He announced that the company will launch a new wearable SDK for Android at SXSW Interactive. The tools will be available to download in roughly two weeks time and will expand the efforts to put Google's mobile OS on smart watches or fitness bands.