Wall Street Journal Stories March 27, 2015

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Google is no stranger to publicly responding to News Corp after the media company issued a letter last year claiming Google was engaged in unfair business practices, and today Google is once again slamming News Corp for what it’s calling inaccuracies in a recent article about the company.

In a blog post on its Public Policy blog, Google’s SVP Communications and Policy Rachel Whetstone takes apart a recent article in The Wall Street Journal profiling Google’s antitrust probe by the FTC and provides counterpoints to what she says are inaccuracies in the report: expand full story

Wall Street Journal Stories September 17, 2014

3eafe52The Wall Street Journal reports that Google’s ultrafast Internet service Fiber has a new leader running the show, and not just any new leader. Dennis Kish, a former executive at semiconductor company Qualcomm, is replacing Milo Medin to head Google Fiber going forward. The Journal reports that Medlin will remain “an adviser to the Google Fiber team,” but the Google vice president will begin work on other unspecified projects.

Kish was brought in for his operational expertise and will lead Google Fiber as the high-speed Internet and television service expands to new cities.

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Wall Street Journal Stories July 23, 2014

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Frustrations over delays in launching YouTube’s long-awaited subscription-based music service are the reason the company has just lost its second head of music in less than a year, reports the WSJ.

Chris LaRosa, YouTube’s product manager in charge of music, will be leaving Google this Friday to join a startup. A YouTube spokesman confirmed LaRosa’s departure but didn’t say which startup LaRosa would be joining.

We’ve been hearing rumors about YouTube’s plans to launch the service since last October – the rumors then suggesting it would launch that year. Then it was going to be the first quarter this year. And then the second quarter – which just ended, still with no sign of the service nearing launch …

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Wall Street Journal Stories June 26, 2014

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The WSJ reports that Samsung stock fell 1.9 percent as chief financial officer Lee Sang-hoon admitted that the company’s quarter two performance “doesn’t look too good.”

The comments were enough to drive down the stock price.  Samsung Electronics’ stock fell  1.9% to 1,320,000 won (US$1,296.4) as concerns over slowing profit growth reignited. Shares have fallen 8.5% so far this month, hit by a series of downgrades in earnings forecasts for the world’s largest seller of smartphones …

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Wall Street Journal Stories April 15, 2014

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Boy Genius Report has posted its knowledge of Amazon’s next smartphone. Although it technically hasn’t been confirmed to be an Android device, it is almost certain that it will be powered by Android at some level, given Amazon’s existing Android ecosystem. BGR claims to have the first pictures of the phone, shown above.

According to the report, the phone will feature a 3D interface. This feature is enabled through a set of four front-facing Infrared cameras that track the position and orientation of the user’s face. The user interface can then update in response to facial movements. Apparently, the four sensors are located in each corner of the front face. The Wall Street Journal reported that the product would feature a 3D interface last week and is set for a June launch.

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Wall Street Journal Stories March 31, 2014

Photo: Reuters

Photo: Reuters

Pieces in the NY Times and the WSJ suggest that the real target of Apple’s second courtroom patent battle with Samsung may be Android.

Some features in Samsung devices that Apple objects to are part of Google’s Android operating system, by far the most popular mobile operating system worldwide, running on more than a billion devices made by many manufacturers. That means that if Apple wins, Google could have to make changes to critical Android features, and Samsung and other Android phone makers might have to modify the software on their phones …

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Wall Street Journal Stories March 25, 2014

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LG has posted an image of its upcoming smartwatch on Twitter, perhaps trying to deflect attention away from the Moto 360. The watch will run on the Android Wear platform, but unlike Motorola, LG has opted to use a traditional square screen for the ‘G Watch’.

Other than teasing that the device is ‘coming soon’, LG is still reluctant to release detailed specifications about the device. However, the Wall Street Journal is reporting some more concrete technical specifications according to ‘a person familiar with the matter’. The Journal says that the device will feature a 1.65 inch display with a resolution of around 240 pixels per inch.

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Wall Street Journal Stories February 18, 2014

Ahead of its scheduled announcement at Mobile World Congress on Monday, Nokia is teasing what we expect to be its first venture into Android handsets.

What has been codenamed Normandy, an Android variant with a Windows Phone-like user interface seen on Nokia’s recent smartphones, is being branded as Nokia X according to information shared by evleaks and mirrored by Nokia’s promo (seen above).

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Wall Street Journal Stories February 12, 2014

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The Wall Street Journal has published a new report in which it claims that there are some major “strings attached” for manufacturers when it comes to using Android. According to documents obtained by the publication, Google has imposed strict regulations on companies that wish to have access to YouTube or the Play Store on their devices. The documents show that in order to receive access to those services, companies are forced to feature other Google apps and set Google search as the default search engine on the device.

Companies wishing to gain access to Google services are forced to sign a “Mobile Application Distribution Agreement” with Google. Both HTC and Samsung have signed such agreements, which force them to preinstall twelve Google apps on any device they release. Other details of the agreement include placing the Search and Play Store apps “immediately adjacent” to the homescreen, and that Google apps appear no more than one screen away. Samsung and Google also recently signed a deal to license each other’s patents for the next 10 years.

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Wall Street Journal Stories February 11, 2014

Future iPhones could be built by Google robots on Foxconn production lines

In what would be a rather amusing twist, future iPhones could be built by Google robots as Google’s robotics division assists Foxconn to “speed up robot deployment” at its factories.

The WSJ reports that Foxconn was looking for assistance in automating its production lines, while Google is aiming to introduce robots to manufacturing processes that have so far been largely manual – electronics assembly being a key example. It takes around 600 people to make each iPhone.

Foxconn has been working with former Android executive Andy Rubin since last year to carry out the U.S. company’s vision for robotics.

To speed up robot deployment at its own factories, Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou met with Rubin in Taipei recently and they discussed new robotic technologies, they said.

At the meeting, Gou expressed excitement over new automation technologies demonstrated by Rubin, they said. Rubin also asked Gou to help integrate a technology company that Google is acquiring as Foxconn’s strength lies in mechanical engineering.

Google has acquired eight robotics companies over the course of the past year, and is believed to have ambitions to create a robotic operating system that would be to manufacturing what Android is to smartphones. Foxconn is looking to reduce operating costs and boost efficiency.

“Foxconn needs Google’s help to step up automation at its factories as the company has the lowest sales per employee among the contract makers, given its large workforce,” said Wanli Wang, an analyst at CIMB Securities.

Wall Street Journal Stories December 29, 2013

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A new report out of the Wall Street Journal indicates Audi and Google will jointly announce a new in-car entertainment and information system at next weeks Consumer Electronics Show. The aim of both companies is to “allow drivers and passengers to access music, navigation, apps, and services that are similar to those widely available now on Android-powered smartphones.”

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Wall Street Journal Stories December 13, 2013

(via <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jbtaylor/5725362250/in/photolist-9HVYJf-dUa6Vv-9p5wzz-dktAoT-8zr6jL-8niyxG-ahWGGU-ahWGHh-ahWGHm-ahWGH3-8oqttH-dnDryR-8nfrfD-9HFdUX-c83Cah-7JfazN-e2xr5t-bURuKH-e1kDuL-9MSHjY-adVi2Z-aptqJu-ccdK8C-bmKsbu-bURuWi-ccdKcf-ccdKi5-e1faCa-8SdCBv-8MmowQ-dMm3Uk-dMrBxA-fmgSPT-dFmKF4-dFmqQ4-cCuqoG-ccdKb9-e1eY4P-8jshhM-e1eYeV-9GDiuc-9GGb4A-9MSF1E-dLUyCK-8niyGq-8nixJY-8nfrBp-g2sFSy-g2t57H-9Tufzo-9Trpo6/">Flickr</a>)

Almost two years to date since AT&T pulled its bid for T-Mobile USA, rival carrier Sprint is reportedly preparing its own offer to purchase the fourth largest carrier in the US.

That’s according to a The Wall Street Journal report which claims Sprint is currently looking into regulatory concerns that could be voiced if the third largest US carrier acquired the company which runs the fourth largest US carrier.

Sprint hasn’t yet decided whether to move ahead with a bid. Going forward despite regulators’ concerns would be highly risky. Any pursuit of a bid by Sprint could be aimed at testing antitrust officials’ reaction to a deal, and a bad reaction could put an end to the effort.

While Justice Department denied AT&T’s bid for T-Mobile in 2011 after a year long effort, it’s certainly possible a Sprint/T-Mobile merger could prove otherwise considering rival carriers AT&T and Verizon’s position in the market.

As the WSJ report notes, Verizon leads with 95 million postpaid subscribers and AT&T has 72 million subscribers, but such an acquisition would keep Sprint in a distant third place with just 53 million postpaid customers.

Both Sprint and Verizon have proved capable of adding competition in an an industry with so few key players. Sprint has long boasted its unlimited data offer for customers while T-Mobile famously reinvented the 2-year upgrade model with options soon adopted by the competition.

Unlike the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile acquisition bid two years ago, Sprint and T-Mobile operate with different technologies. The former company relies on CDMA technologies while the latter company is built on GSM.

Wall Street Journal Stories November 4, 2013

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Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt expressed his shock at reports that the NSA tapped into the internal communications links between Google servers, describing it as “outrageous” in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. The claim was made as part of the ongoing PRISM revelations.

It’s really outrageous that the National Security Agency was looking between the Google data centers, if that’s true. The steps that the organization was willing to do without good judgment to pursue its mission and potentially violate people’s privacy, it’s not OK …  expand full story

Wall Street Journal Stories August 28, 2013

HTC thinks China is the way out of its troubles, with custom OS

The WSJ reports that HTC is now working on a custom smartphone operating system designed specifically for the Chinese market.

HTC Corp is developing a mobile software system specifically for Chinese consumers, people familiar with the project say, as part of a big China bet that the Taiwanese smartphone maker hopes will help revive sliding sales.

While the reality is likely to be some kind of Android variant, rather than a completely new OS like Samsung’s Tizen, it does have all the hallmarks of a somewhat desperate move by a company which somehow manages to combine a superb flagship handset with less than stellar financial performance. With morale faring no better, it had even been briefly suggested that HTC might have been planning to exit the smartphone market.

China is a juicy target for all smartphone manufacturers, as China’s emerging middle-class create a market beyond the largely budget handsets that currently make up the bulk of sales in what is now the world’s largest smartphone market. Even Apple, which has so far been content to operate exclusively at the top end of the market, appears to be eyeing China in particular with the iPhone 5C it is expected to announce on 10th September.

But it would be a gamble for HTC, ploughing resources into a country in which it is currently nowhere. A recent Canalys report into smartphone market shares in China showed that HTC was buried somewhere in ‘Other’.

The WSJ suggests thatHTC may be playing the long game, viewing the move as a diplomatic one rather than hoping for short-term financial benefit.

The project is seen by HTC insiders partly as an effort to forge political and business ties in China, since third-party operating systems have little chance of actually competing against the dominance of Android and Apple’s iOS. In the second quarter, Android held 79% of the global smartphone market, while iOS snagged 14.2%, according to market research firm Gartner. No other operating system captured more than 4%.

If so, the question remains what HTC’s strategy is to ensure that it has a long-term.

Wall Street Journal Stories February 26, 2013

Samsung-Galaxy-S3While Google might be happy with the mobile ad revenue Samsung brings in shipping roughly 40 percent of the devices running Android, The Wall Street Journal said Google execs worry behind closed doors that Samsung could use its dominance to renegotiate its cut of revenue from mobile ads and search:

Google executives worry that Samsung has become so big—the South Korean company sells about 40% of the gadgets that use Google’s Android software—that it could flex its muscle to renegotiate their arrangement and eat into Google’s lucrative mobile-ad business, people familiar with the matter said.

Citing its usual “people familiar with the matter,” WSJ claimed executives at Google are betting on companies like HTC and HP to release compelling Android devices that compete with Samsung. According to the report, Android chief Andy Rubin discussed the situation at a recent event for Google executives. He described Motorola as “a kind of insurance policy against a manufacturer such as Samsung gaining too much power over Android.” expand full story

Wall Street Journal Stories January 4, 2013

Toyota, Lexus, and Audi to show off their own Google-like self-driving cars at CES

While Google often uses Toyota vehicles in its fleet of self-driving cars, Toyota is planning to show off its own autonomous car technology next week at CES. As noted by The Wall Street Journal, Toyota yesterday posted a short five-second clip of its advanced active safety research vehicle, a Lexus LS 600h, equipped with advanced cameras and sensors. Toyota confirmed to the WSJ that its system is being developed independently from Google. Audi is also said to have self-driving capabilities ready to demonstrate at CES in Las Vegas next week. We’ll be on hand with live coverage from Las Vegas, and we’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for any vehicles driving around by themselves.

Toyota’s prototype vehicle is a Lexus LS 600h fitted with radar and camera equipment that can detect other vehicles, road lane lines and traffic signals, giving the vehicle the ability to navigate streets without a driver. It also includes what appears to be the same roof-mounted laser that Google Inc. has been using on its autonomous research cars. Google began testing self-driving cars in 2009.

An Audi official also said the luxury-car company will be demonstrating autonomous vehicle capabilities at the Las Vegas show, including a feature that allows a car to find a parking space and park itself without a driver behind the wheel.

Earlier this year, Cadillac also showed off its own “Super Cruise” self-driving car technology.

Wall Street Journal Stories December 19, 2012

FTC updates online child privacy law to require parental consent for data collection, exempts Google Play

The Wall Street Journal reported today that the US Federal Trade Commission has announced its decision to update its more than 10 year old law governing the privacy of children online. The changes will mean app developers and websites will be required to obtain parental consent when collecting photos, videos, geolocation information, or tracking behaviour of children 13 and under. However, as noted in the report, the updated rules have been altered since originally proposed in August and would not require third-party plug-ins, like Facebook Like buttons, or app platforms such as the App Store and Google Play to enforce the law:

in a departure from rule changes the government proposed in August, third-party “plug-ins” on websites—things like Facebook Inc.’s “Like” button and ads placed by advertising networks—will only have to meet child online privacy regulations if they have “actual knowledge” that they’re collecting information through a website or app that targets kids… 

Apple made that point in five meetings with FTC officials in the fall. The FTC responded by explicitly exempting the Apple App Store and Google Play, the app store for mobile devices running Google’s Android software, from having to make sure that the apps they provided complied with Coppa.

Cross-posted on 9to5Mac.com

Wall Street Journal Stories November 9, 2012

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Many reports are coming in that Chinese users are having trouble accessing a number of Google’s web products. There is no word on the exact cause of the service disruptions, but The Wall Street Journal noted Google’s Transpareny Report website shows “a precipitous drop in traffic in China starting more than eight hours ago,” although the site doesn’t list the services as completely inaccessible in the country. Google provided a statement to WSJ confirming the interruptions do not appear to be on its end:

“We’ve checked and there’s nothing wrong on our end,” a Google spokeswoman said in a prepared statement.

The Washington Post reported “Users with special VPN (virtual private network) services,” which many Chinese users take advantage of to access banned sites like Facebook, are still able to access Google’s services.  expand full story

Wall Street Journal Stories October 18, 2012

It looks like Google’s Q3 earnings have been released early with The Wall Street Journal reporting Google posted revenue of $14.1 billion and a net of $2.18 billion. A summary of the company’s earnings report from a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing is below. In the report, we see Motorola accounted for 18 percent of consolidated revenues. It brought in $2.58 billion, while reporting a $527 million operating loss. Of that $527 million operating loss, $505 million comes from Motorola’s mobile segment and $22 million from its home business. Google reported cash, cash equivalents, and short-term marketable securities at $45.7 billion as of Sept. 30 and operating income of $3.26 billion.

As highlighted in the screenshot above, Google is down almost 10 percent following the news. Google made a statement on what happened with the early filing (via Business Insider):

“Earlier this morning RR Donnelley, the financial printer, informed us that they had filed our draft 8K earnings statement without authorization. We have ceased trading on NASDAQ while we work to finalize the document. Once it’s finalized we will release our earnings, resume trading on NASDAQ and hold our earnings call as normal at 1:30 PM PT.”

Google is scheduled to announce earnings later today at 4:30 p.m. EST.

Q3 Financial Summary Google Inc. reported consolidated revenues of $14.10 billion for the quarter ended September 30, 2012, an increase of 45% compared to the third quarter of 2011. Google Inc. reports its revenues, consistent with GAAP, on a gross basis without deducting traffic acquisition costs (TAC). In the third quarter of 2012, TAC totaled $2.77 billion, or 26% of advertising revenues. Operating income, operating margin, net income, and earnings per share (EPS) are reported on a GAAP and non-GAAP basis. The non-GAAP measures, as well as free cash flow, an alternative non-GAAP measure of liquidity, are described below and are reconciled to the corresponding GAAP measures at the end of this release.

Wall Street Journal Stories October 15, 2012

LG might not be the only manufacturer to release a device sporting the pure Google experience and Nexus branding. Today, we get shots of a yet-to-be-announced Sony smartphone, posted by XperiaBlog (via The Verge), that looks to carry-on the design aesthetic of the company’s Xperia Ion hardware. Unfortunately, there are not any details to go along with the photos. However, we can see “Google” and Sony branding on the back of the device. According to XperiaBlog, the device in the image is called the “Sony Nexus X”. Oddly, there is no visible Xperia branding.

They could very well be fakes; but with LG, this would only make two of the five OEMs that The Wall Street Journal said would release Nexus devices with Jelly Bean. Others likely to join the Nexus device launch party include past Nexus makers Samsung and HTC. Unfortunately, there is a good chance the images above could just be a new Sony/Xperia device with a more stock Android experience. We will wait for a little bit more information before filing this as confirmation of a Nexus phone from Sony.

Wall Street Journal Stories October 12, 2012

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The Wall Street Journal just published a lengthy report detailing how Google convinced Nevada state assemblywoman Marilyn Dondero Loop, as well as other states’ transportation committees, to introduce legislation that would help legalize its driverless cars for streets.

“This will save taxpayers countless millions of dollars and revolutionize driving as we know it. No more being distracted, no more accidents, and not another DUI attorney again.”

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company persuaded lawmakers, according to The Wall Street Journal, with “demonstrations and rides in its exotic cars,” and it subsequently earned “legislative wins” in Nevada, California, and Florida. There are even bills pending before legislators in Hawaii, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and the District of Columbia:

In the process, the Mountain View, Calif., company is building its credentials as an astute political operator. Google has been “pretty savvy” at navigating state capitols, said Frank Douma, a transportation-policy author and associate director at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. With its self-driving cars, Google “knew what they were doing by moving forward in Nevada” before approaching bigger states, he said. “If you blow it in the first state, you’ve really got problems.”

Success at legalizing self-driving car technology has broader implications for Google. Skills learned from lobbying state lawmakers could aid other endeavors that will require local policy-making, including the potential expansion of its Google Fiber Internet and TV service into markets dominated by cable companies.

Google spent roughly $9 million during the first and second quarters of 2012 lobbying in Washington and coaxing lawmakers and U.S. Department of Transportation officials, but Google did not disclose how much went toward lobbying state officials.

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Wall Street Journal Stories October 11, 2012

The only 2012 U.S. Vice Presidential election debate, with nominees Vice President Joe Biden and Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan, will live stream tonight on YouTube’s Politics Channel.

The YouTube Politics Channel often swaps its feature video on the main page, as 9to5Google previously reported, but today’s prominent live feed is from partners ABC News and Yahoo News (above). ABC News just finished airing preview debate coverage with predictions, insights, and commentary by leading analysts, but the network will go live again this evening to cover the debate at 9 p.m. EST. The debate is scheduled to conclude at 10:30 p.m. EST.

The video below, now spotlighted on the channel’s main page, is “The Choice 2012” by PBS’ Frontline. Additional preview coverage between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. contains live streams by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Al Jazeera.

A screenshot of the schedule is also below, or just check out the YouTube Politics channel now.

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Wall Street Journal Stories August 17, 2012

Google, Samsung join Apple and other adversaries to buy Kodak patents, perhaps signaling intent to curtail litigation

It must be a cold day in Hell. Google and Samsung are consorting with Apple, LG Electronics, and various ventures and firms to bid as a group on Kodak’s intellectual property.

Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection in January, according to The Wall Street Journal, and it is looking to auction its patents to raise money for surviving a Chapter 11 court protection. Kodak could barter all 1,100 digital photography-based patents or end the auction without a deal, as the company announced it would name the winning bidders on Monday but eventually pushed the deadline upon talking with creditors.

The Wall Street Journal explained:

  • Negotiations and the bidding group’s composition are fluid, the people said. If the consortium reaches a deal to buy some or all of Kodak’s patents, they would essentially be kept out of any one company’s hands and could prevent consortium members from using them in litigation against each other. A deal, however, could also attract attention from federal antitrust regulators.
  • A deal for the entire portfolio—one of many options under discussion— could fetch more than $500 million based on recent negotiations, people familiar with the process said. That is well above opening bids when the auction started last week, but far below the $2.2 billion to $2.6 billion Kodak at one point said the patents could be worth.
  • In a statement Thursday, Kodak said discussions with buyers are active and that it isn’t ready to announce a result. The company added that it might decline to sell some or all of the patents, depending on how the auction progresses.

Photography and cameras are obviously a main feature of mobile devices. Competitors in the tech arena have joined forces in the past to snatch up attractive patents, but The Wall Street Journal noted it is “unusual for them all to join the same camp.”

Patent law whiz Michael Carrier, of Rutgers University in Camden, said the companies would not suffer antitrust issues if the tech giants commit to licensing on reasonable rates. Otherwise, an action such as dividing the patents without sharing the rights to use them could likely meet legal trouble down the road.

Get the full report at The Wall Street Journal.

This article is cross-posted on 9to5Mac.

Wall Street Journal Stories August 14, 2012

The majority of American teens prefer YouTube to iTunes, radio, online radio, and CDs when it comes to finding and listening to music.

Approximately two-thirds of 18-and-younger U.S. teenagers, according to a “Music 360” survey from research firm Nielsen (via The Wall Street Journal), claimed they sidestepped other music-listening mediums for Google’s video-sharing platform.

YouTube snagged 64 percent of 13-to-17 year olds, while radio came in second at 56 percent. iTunes held 54 percent, with CDs and Pandora rounding the top five at 50- and- 35 percent respectively.

The Wall Street Journal noted young folks regard YouTube as a “de facto free music service,” but adults do not take full advantage of the site’s complimentary content. The survey showed 67 percent of them actually preferred radio for music consumption, but another 61 percent still gave CDs a whirl. Meanwhile, YouTube stole 44 percent, Pandora landed the No. 4 spot at 32 percent, and iTunes sat at fifth with 29 percent.

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Wall Street Journal Stories August 1, 2012

Google Senior Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra just posted an exclusive link on his Google+ profile for users to Hangout with their fantasy league at NFL.com.

The league is integrating Google+’s popular Hangout video-chat feature on NFL.com to give users a chance to visually interact with other Fantasy Football players from anywhere at any time. This is a huge advancement for the imagination-based sport, which typically eyes participation growth without any changes to technology.

According to The Wall Street Journal, this is the first time Google has implemented Hangouts into a third-party service. The feature is free and available 24/7 by way of a button on fantasy team pages. Google also increased Hangout’s 10-person limit, because leagues usually have about 12 players.

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Wall Street Journal Stories July 31, 2012

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After announcing it would invest around $100 million in original TV quality content for YouTube last year, Google added almost a 100 new channels offering high-quality content. Today, we get some updates on the progress of the project from a report in The Wall Street Journal. According to WSJ’s sources, advertisers already committed over $150 million in ads on the channels for this year alone. Google also plans to throw another $200 million at the effort going forward. Google will also apparently fund content for international viewers:

YouTube plans to expand its channels initiative to Europe by funding a couple dozen video channels for British and French viewers by next year, according to people familiar with its initiative.

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Wall Street Journal Stories July 25, 2012

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Following an article on The Wall Street Journal from columnist Gordon Crovitz, titled “Who Really Invented the Internet?“, Vint Cerf, “father of the internet” and Google’s chief internet evangelist, is weighing in on Crovtz’ assertion that the government’s hand in creating the Internet is an “urban legend.” In an email interview with CNET, the man behind the evolution of TCP/IP networking protocols disagreed with Crovitz and talked about his involvement in the development of the Web:

In his Wall Street Journal column, Gordon Crovitz writes that the federal government’s involvement in the creation of the Internet was modest. Does that jibe with your recollection?

Vint Cerf: No. The United States government via ARPA started the project. (Bob Kahn initiated the Internetting project when he joined ARPA in late 1972. He had been principal architect of the ARPANET IMP (packet switch) while at BBN.

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A new report from The Wall Street Journal today, citing an SEC filing, noted Google has put an exact value on the patents acquired in its purchase of Motorola Mobility. In the filing, Google claimed “patents and developed technology” acquired in the deal were valued at $5.5 billion—less than half of the $12.4 billion Google paid for the company.

Google also broke down the rest of the purchase price in the SEC filing: expand full story

Wall Street Journal Stories July 16, 2012

Microsoft is slated to unveil its next iteration of Office today, and The Wall Street Journal’s Shira Ovide is prepping the announcement with some comparison data about the productivity suite and its direct cloud-based rival Google Apps.

According to the WSJ’s video above, Dominion Enterprises held a $2 million annual contract with Microsoft, but it recently decided to switch to Google Apps. The company now pays $200,000 for Google’s services.

Despite the loss, the Office sodtware remains a hugely successful product for Microsoft. It is one of the company’s most profitable goods, and it continues to maintain a stronghold in the desktop productivity market. Google Apps, on the other hand, is still in its infancy, but it is rapidly gaining steam and attention.

Today’s announcement from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will surely set the pace for the company’s future against the ever-growing Google Apps.

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Wall Street Journal Stories July 10, 2012

Google to pay $22.5M settlement in FTC’s iOS Safari privacy investigation

The last time we updated you on the FTC’s investigation into Google’s method of bypassing the default Safari browser settings on iOS devices, reports claimed the company was facing possible fines that could reach tens of millions. Today, The Wall Street Journal said Google is close to reaching a $22.5 million settlement with the FTC, according to people close to the negotiations:

The fine is expected to be the largest penalty ever levied on a single company by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. It offers the latest sign of the FTC’s stepped-up approach to policing online privacy violations, coming just six months after The Wall Street Journal reported on Google’s practices.

In recent weeks, the FTC staff and Google have reached a proposed settlement and agreed on a fine, according to several people close to the investigation. The settlement is awaiting approval by FTC commissioners and could still be altered before it becomes public.

Wall Street Journal Stories July 5, 2012

In a story detailing some recent updates to the two-year-old GoogleEDU program, The Wall Street Journal noted today that last year saw roughly 11,000 Google employees enrolled in the program’s classes as Google “cut classes that didn’t work and retooled others.” That is about one-third of the 33,100 Google employees worldwide.

“What’s important is that it aligns with our overall business strategy,” says Karen May, Google’s vice president of leadership and talent, who has led the revamping of GoogleEDU.

As part of the revamping of the program, the report described how Google is using data analytics and other methods to suggest new courses to employees: expand full story

Wall Street Journal Stories June 19, 2012

We heard several reports in the past that Google was working on various evolutions of its Voice Actions platform for Android. We heard of “Project Majel” in December, which, according to reports, is the codename for a new voice-controlled assistant app similar to Siri. In March, TechCrunch reported on a similar project dubbed “Google Assistant.” According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, Google is accelerating its plans to launch a competitor to Apple’s Siri:

Google, meanwhile, has accelerated plans to launch its own Siri competitor that would work on Android-powered devices, people familiar with the matter have said.

The report does not offer any additional details on the project, but it noted: “In coming weeks, Google is expected to unveil a lower-priced Android tablet that it developed with Asustek Computer.” Google recently acquired Clever Sense, the makers of popular local recommendations app Alfred, and some have speculated the technology could be included in Google Siri competitor. Many expect the Google tablet, mentioned by WSJ, to unveil later this month at Google I/O, where we could also possibly see some of Jelly Bean and this rumored assistant feature.

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Wall Street Journal Stories June 8, 2012

Google attempted to “set the record straight” today with a blog post aimed to dismantle rising anti-competitive claims against the world’s leading search engine.

The Wall Street Journal published a scathing post yesterday—penned by the CEO of online retailer Nextag—that essentially painted Google as a monopoly. No—Jeff Katz did not paint; he declared:

Google has enjoyed this unrivaled position for nearly a decade. It is the most popular search engine in the world, controlling nearly 82% of the global search market and 98% of the mobile search market. Its annual revenue is larger than the economies of the world’s 28 poorest countries combined. And its closest competitor, Bing, is so far behind in both market share and revenue that Google has become, effectively, a monopoly.

The company has used its position to bend the rules to help maintain its online supremacy, including the use of sophisticated algorithms weighted in favor of its own products and services at the expense of search results that are truly most relevant. […]

At my company, Nextag, a comparison shopping site for products and services, we regularly analyze the level of search traffic we get from Google. It’s easy to see when Google makes changes to its algorithms that effectively punish its competitors, including us. Our data, which we shared with the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 21, 2011, shows without a doubt that Google has stacked the deck. And as a result, it has shifted from a true search site into a commerce site—a commerce site whose search algorithm favors products and services from Google and those from companies able to spend the most on advertising.

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Wall Street Journal Stories June 4, 2012

According to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, Google is preparing to launch a new ad service and tools aimed at small businesses as soon as July. Noting that the new service was once called “Business Builder” internally, the report claimed it will consist of various products that have been developed by Google and technologies/services acquired through the purchases of over six companies at a cost of roughly half a billion dollars since last year. The source claimed Google is hoping the new service will bring in billions in new revenue each year.

A few of the acquisitions mentioned in the report include in-store loyalty program Punchd and SMS customer interaction serviceTalkBin. The service would also include aspects of AdWords Express, Google Offers, Google Wallet, and several new products.

The report explained the Google+ angle: expand full story

Wall Street Journal Stories June 1, 2012

(via <a href="http://phandroid.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Nokia-Event-Elop-Ballmer-10_web1-550x369.jpg" target="_blank">Phandroid</a>)

Google claimed in a formal complaint with the European Commission recently that Microsoft and Nokia conspired to use their patents against competitors.

“Nokia and Microsoft are colluding to raise the costs of mobile devices for consumers, creating patent trolls that side-step promises both companies have made,” said Google in a statement to The Wall Street Journal, while Microsoft deemed the search engine’s filing as a “desperate tactic.”

According to the filing, Microsoft and Nokia entered agreements that allow Mosaid Technologies Inc. to legally enforce patents and share the outcome’s revenue. Reuters further specified that the two collaborating companies moved 1,200 patents to Mosaid.

Google called Mosaid a “patent troll” for holding patents and litigating hawkishly, and then it described its filing as a “pre-emptive measure against a developing legal hazard for Android partners.” In a nutshell: Google’s “legal hazard” concerns if smartphone manufacturers begin to view Android as a legal danger, they may decide to do business with Microsoft and Nokia instead.

“Google is complaining about antitrust in the smartphone industry when it controls more than 95 percent of mobile search and advertising,” added Microsoft in an emailed statement to The Wall Street Journal.

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Wall Street Journal Stories May 22, 2012

Google just got its hands on four more Project Glass-based patents this morning.

As discovered by Engadget, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted patents this morning that detail the majority of Google Glasses’ right-side. The eye-hovering camera and its inner-workings hidden within the spectacle rim were successfully patented, as well as the nose-bridge sensor, and the function for illustrating sounds in the heads-up display with source, direction, and range details. The Mountain View, Calif.-based Company also got the rights to use both eye spectacles as separate displays. The patent’s included example, as shown above, depicts a map visible in one eye with navigation particulars streaming to the other eye.

Just last week, patents published by the USPTO showed Google successfully patented at least the ornamental design of its augmented reality glasses that were unveiled last month. The patents show a device that does not look exactly like the prototypes revealed in the concept videos, nor the pair worn by Sergey Brin, but most designs get altered before hitting the stores’ shelves anyway.

Meanwhile, in related news, according to the Wall Street Journal, eyeglasses designer Michael Pachleitner Group is jumping on the bandwagon by integrating technology to display information and imagery on to spectacles in its workforce. The Austrian company recently dressed its warehouse employees with $13,000 frames built by Knapp AG.

The devices provide visual details through a Wi-Fi connection, so warehouse workers can access over 1.4 million items stored in the facility. The eyewear company hopes to staff all six warehouses by July with employees who will wear the costly apparatus all day. The measure aims to cut “picking errors” by an estimated 60 percent.

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Wall Street Journal Stories May 16, 2012

Google’s product leader for display ads business, Jason Bigler, took to Twitter yesterday to announce his not-so shocked reaction over General Motors, ya know—the nation’s third-biggest advertiser, slashing its $10 million Facebook campaign budget to zilch.

The Wall Street Journal’s Dennis K. Berman told the world via the micro-blogging service that GM pulled its $10 million advertising campaign from Facebook because “the ads didn’t work.” Bigler obviously agreed with the reporter’s sentiments.

Google’s ad boss has a reason to jump on the Facebook-bashing bandwagon, though. After all, his company operates its own social network that directly competes with Mark Zuckerberg’s widely-popular website. However, amid the Twitter trash-talk, there just might be some actual truths to Facebook’s potentially flawed campaign techniques when compared to Google’s advertising methods.

According to Business Insider:

Google’s perfect online ad product is the search ad. Search ads are perfect because the people paying for the ads know that the people looking at the ads want to see them. Consumers go on to Google and search for products or information about products, and Google shows them ads from the company that makes that product (and ads from its competitors).  There is no guesswork in the targeting of Google ads. The same cannot be said for Facebook ads. Facebook ads are targeted the old-fashioned way.

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Wall Street Journal Stories April 17, 2012

In February, the story broke that Google and other advertising companies were bypassing iOS Safari’s privacy settings and continuing to track users without their consent. Google quickly disabled its code responsible for the tracking after a story from The Wall Street Journal published, and Apple then claimed it was “working to put a stop” to the issue.

Now, a new report from Mercury News claimed the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is considering whether to fine Google over the incident. The decision is expected in the next 30 days:

The Federal Trade Commission is deep into an investigation of Google’s actions in bypassing the default privacy settings of Apple’s (AAPL) Safari browser for Google users, according to sources familiar with ongoing negotiations between the company and the government… Within the next 30 days, the FTC could order the Mountain View search giant to pay an even larger fine in the Safari case than the penalty the Federal Communications Commission hit Google with Friday, say the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The report is referring to Google being recently fined $25,000 by the FCC after it allegedly “deliberately impeded and delayed” an investigation related to Street View cars. The heart of the Safari bypassing investigation is whether the company is violating a previous privacy agreement made with the FTC following controversy over the failed “Buzz” service. The report claimed Google could face up to $16,000 per violation per day for violating the agreement. Google said to Mercury News today it would “cooperate with any officials who have questions” and explained making its +1 compatible on mobile Safari created the issue:

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Wall Street Journal Stories March 29, 2012

ye olde Nexus One Store circa 2010

The Wall Street Journal today reports that Google is in the process of building an online store to sell tablets running the Android operating system, including some with Google branding. We heard about the ASUS 7-inch Google tablet before, but the WSJ says Samsung may make devices too.

The Internet search company is planning to market and sell tablets directly to consumers through an online store, similar to rivals Apple and Amazon.com Inc., according to people familiar with the matter. The move is an effort to turn around sluggish sales of tablet computers powered by Google’s Android software.Some of the online store’s future tablets are expected to be co-branded with Google’s name, said people familiar with the matter. Google won’t make the devices and its existing partners such as Samsung Electronics Co. and ASUSTeK Computer Inc. will be responsible for the hardware. One Android tablet that may be sold in the online store is due to be released later this year by Taiwan-based Asus, said one of these people. Some details about the project remain unclear, including when Google plans to unveil the online store. Google is expected to release the next version of its Android software, called Jelly Bean, in the middle of this year, people familiar with the matter have said.

Google killed its Nexus One mere months after opening it in 2010. However, the company said carriers were crushing its ability to sell the device (tablets often sell without contracts).

Oh, and they expect JellyBean to be announced mid-year (read: Google I/O).

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Wall Street Journal Stories March 27, 2012

The Cloud storage Google Drive has been an on-again, off-again rumor for years.

Today, GigaOm’s Om Malik says Google Drive will release to the public in the first week in April.

I am told the big day is sometime during the first week of April 2012…Google is going to offer 1 Gb of storage space for free, but will charge for more storage. The market leader Dropbox currently offers 2 Gb for free. Google’s product will come with a local client and the web interface will look much like the Google Docs interface. Interestingly, it will launch for Google Apps customers and will be domain specific as well. Google has also built an API for third party apps with this service so folks can store content from other apps in the Google drive. My sources are impressed, so far with what they have seen.

This could be the last piece of the Cloud puzzle. expand full story

Wall Street Journal Stories March 14, 2012

Google is reinventing its Web-search technique with direct information for queries to better maintain the majority market share.

The Wall Street Journal said Google aims to replace some Web links with summarized answers and facts. The search formula transition will roll out over the next few months as the search engine begins to merge relevant results with semantic search, which attempts to understand the meaning of words versus keyword identification. One source said the change could influence 10 percent to 20 percent of all search queries.

Under the new strategy, a search for “Mount Everest” will display key attributes, such as the mountain’s location, altitude, or geographical history, aggregated from Google-indexed websites. Longer queries might uncover a real answer instead of links to websites. For example, the question “What are the 10 largest mountains in the United States?” would subsequently reveal a list of mountains and not ambiguous links to various state parks or hikers’ fan pages.

Google’s top executive Amit Singhal told WSJ that the new search results are the product of hundreds of millions of “entities” stored in a database. The company’s Metaweb team of 50 engineers painstakingly gathered particulars on people, places, and things over the last two years to build an immense collection for associating different words through semantic search.

More information is available below.

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Wall Street Journal Stories March 5, 2012

Google’s premier apps partner merged with Salesforce.com’s top partner to offer an international cloud service for businesses in the United States and Asia Pacific.

According to a press release, the combined company will also help businesses that use social enterprise Salesforce.com or Google to employ cloud computing.

“The demand for cloud services in Asia-Pacific continues to grow at breakneck speed,” explained GlobnalOne founder and Senior Vice President for Asia-Pacific at Cloud Sherpas John Orrock. “Our cloud consultants in Australia and New Zealand, combined with our newly acquired mobility practice and offshore development capabilities in the Philippines, sets the new Cloud Sherpas apart from other cloud service providers in the region.”

The original Cloud Sherpas, founded in 2008, won GoogleEnterprise’s Partner of the Year in 2011. It is a Premier Google Apps partner. GlobalOne, founded in 2007, is a leading firm that encourages cloud technology. It is a Salesforce.com partner.

“Bringing together a dominant Salesforce.com partner with a leading Google Enterprise partner enables us to provide customers around the globe with a more comprehensive range of enterprise cloud solutions,” contended Cloud Sherpas’ President Douglas Shepard.

More information is available below.

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Wall Street Journal Stories February 27, 2012

Entry-level prepaid Android phones sell for as low as $50.

Last year, the iPhone was the best-selling smartphone in the world, and Apple re-captured the crown for top smartphone maker in the United States last quarter with an estimated one-fifth of the market. While the original arrived at $499 (remember Ballmer’s reaction?), Apple would not hit the ground running until switching to the subsidized model with the second-generation iPhone 3G. Nowadays, U.S. carriers subsidize the full price of the device with an estimated $400, so those willing to commit to a two-year contract end up paying just $199 upfront for the hardware.

The trick worked and the iPhone went on the become an iconic device, but sales numbers did not replicate in various Southern European countries where carriers steer away from paying billions in upfront subsidies. As a result, prepaid Android phones are now undercutting Apple’s device and selling like crazy. Take Portugal or Greece, for example, where the iPhone last quarter accounted for 9 percent and 5 percent of all smartphones sold, respectively, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In the U.S., where contract plans and phone subsidies dominate, IDC says that around 90% of smartphone shipments over the past four years were for devices that cost more than $300 — despite the recession and uncertain recovery. In Italy, where prepaid plans dominate, that proportion was 67% last year, and in crisis-hit Greece and Portugal, only about 40% of the smartphones shipped in 2011 cost more than $300.

The article author Anton Troianovski said some European carriers are considering eliminating subsidies in favor of the more affordable pay-as-you-go plans. This includes major carriers, such as Spain’s Telefónica SA and Denmark’s Telenor ASA.

The price matrix of the unlocked, contract-free iPhone 4S.

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Wall Street Journal Stories November 4, 2011

Google is looking into offering a paid cable subscription model WSJ reported today. The move would put Google at competition with cable providers, and bring new technology to the Google TV. In September, Google brought on former cable-TV executive, Jeremy Stern, to look into adding the subscription model to the platform.

The report says that Google has already begun talking to Walt Disney, Time Warner, and Discovery Communications — but no final decisions have been made. Besides Google TV, Google also has the opportunity to incorporate cable streaming into YouTube, but that is not on the table right now says the report. Google’s fiber network would help with the delivery of the content, which is expected to roll out in Kansas in 2012. We look forward to seeing this story develop.

Wall Street Journal Stories October 21, 2011

When Asus chairman Jonney Shih sat opposite the Wall Street Journal columnist Walt Mossberg at the AsiaD conference saying his company was taking Android seriously, he wasn’t kidding. The Eee Pad Transformer Prime, the successor to his company’s Eee Pad Transformer tablet, will run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

However, the device will have Android 3.2 pre-installed when it ships shortly and will be upgradeable to Ice Cream Sandwich via a software update, which will be arriving by the year’s end, DigiTimes reports:

The first batch of Transformer Prime tablets will run on Android 3.2 before migrating to Android 4.0 by the end of 2011, said Shih, who unveiled the new tablet at the All Things Digital (AsiaD) technology forum being held in Hong Kong from October 19-21.

Like its predecessor, the 10-inch Eee Pad Transformer Prime functions as a tablet which can be docked to a keyboard attachment that turns it into a full-fledged notebook replacement. It is powered by Nvidia’s latest quad-core chip dubbed Kal-El and the company recently released a nice-looking teaser announcing its imminent arrival. They used advanced material processing so the device features high-quality chassis crafted from aluminum. The keyboard dock is understood to include a touch panel and expansion slots. expand full story

Wall Street Journal Stories September 27, 2011

Citing the obligatory “people familiar with the matter”, the Wall Street Journal in a story this morning reports that Google is finalizing contracts for upcoming YouTube channels that will stream premium entertainment content on a regular basis. Google CEO Larry Page apparently wants to give people a good reason to tune into YouTube instead of television. Content owners are being “encouraged” to create schedules of programming much like traditional TV, the paper noted.

YouTube has requested some content for the channels within the next 60 days, according to one of these people, as it considers a launch in early 2012. YouTube, which media companies have long griped is too stingy cutting content deals, is paying from a few hundred thousand dollars to several million to content creators to create and curate videos for a channel, according to these people. Google recoups the original payment through ad revenue, and Google and the partner share ad revenue after that.

This could be viewed as part of Google’s broader push towards providing high-quality Hollywood entertainment on YouTube. The timely strategy ties nicely with the Google TV project, which is also about to be updated with a new software release soon. The Wall Street Journal first reported on Google’s plans to spend a hundred million dollars on premium YouTube content back in April. Google is reportedly in talks with Creative Artists Agency, William Morris Endeavor and International Creative Management over professionally produced programming on broad themes, including arts, fashion and sports.

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Wall Street Journal Stories June 21, 2011

Image representing comScore as depicted in Cru...

The WSJ reports that Google has hit an internet first: one billion unique visitors in a month’s time. The number comes from comScore data released earlier today, citing that the visitors came in the month of May. While on its way to one billion unique visitors, Google saw a 8.4% increase over April month. Microsoft is trailing behind with a close second of 905 million unique visitors a month.

That’s about one seventh of the world’s population visiting Google.com last month.  Considering the difficulties Google is having trying to reach the 1.4B people in China, the news is no small feat.

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