China to open up Internet broadband market with upcoming trials

From PC World: With China’s Internet growth slowing, the country is opening up the broadband provider market to private enterprises as part of government sponsored trial.

The country on Wednesday released a draft of the upcoming trial rules, which will let private enterprises sell broadband services in 16 cities across the country. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology didn’t mention when the project would begin, but is proposing it last for three years.

Twitter is now tracking the apps you download

From CNET: Twitter will begin collecting data on which apps its users are downloading in order to build a "more personal" experience, Recode reported.

In the Security and Privacy section of its support site, the company says that it will be "collecting and occasionally updating the list of apps installed on your mobile device so we can deliver tailored content that you might be interested in".

China Fines Microsoft $140 Million for Tax Evasion

From DailyTech: Fallout and repercussions over the Obama administrations bickering with China's ruling party continues to reverberate in the world's largest electronics market, producing painful consequences for American tech companies.

Sony to offer refunds over misleading PS Vita ads

From InfoWorld: Sony will offer partial refunds to customers to settle U.S. Federal Trade Commission charges that its ads in 2011 and 2012 for the PlayStation Vita console's cross-platform sharing and other features were deceiving.

Sony Computer Entertainment America will provide people who bought the handheld console before June 1, 2012, either a $25 cash or credit refund or a $50 voucher for video games or services, the FTC said in a release Tuesday.

Amazon Fire Phone price plunges to $199 unsubsidized after smoldering start

From PC World: Amazon is dropping the price of the Fire Phone again, at least for a limited time. The online retailer is now selling its debut smartphone for just $199, unlocked and contract free. As before, Amazon also includes a free, one-year Prime membership with every purchase. The latest sale follows a price drop in September when Amazon sold the device for $0.99 on a two-year contract, or $449 unlocked.

Samsung to speed up restructure by selling defense business

From CNET: Samsung Group, South Korea's largest conglomerate, has been rapidly merging its various affiliates this year to ease control and streamline its key businesses -- electronics, finance and construction.

According to executives of component suppliers to Samsung's defense and chemical affiliates, Samsung's top brass had been mulling how to get rid of these affiliates as they didn't have much synergy with its key businesses and was underperforming.

Hack of Sony Pictures Indicates Employees Were Pirating Blu-Rays

From DailyTech: Back in 2011 Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) was facing the onslaught of Lulzsec, a small, tightly-knit group of hackers. The hack began with the breach of the PlayStation Network (PSN) maintained by Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC (SCEA) and the Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) gaming network. Millions of account logins were stolen, forcing Sony to carry out a costly overhaul and rebuilding process of its gaming networks.

Office 365's spam filter gets smarter at sorting bulk mailings

From PC World: In time for the holiday shopping season, Microsoft has refined how Office 365 handles bulk promotional emails from vendors like Amazon, eBay and Macy’s.

Those messages, which contain special offers, newsletters and other sales incentives, fall into a gray area between legitimate email and obvious spam. Depending on a variety of factors, recipients sometimes find them useful and other times annoying.

T-Mobile agrees to reveal customers' throttled speeds

From CNET: T-Mobile has agreed to give its customers more accurate information about the speed of their mobile broadband connection, even when their speeds are being throttled.

The FCC announced Monday that T-Mobile will provide its customers with tools to allow them to accurately gauge the connection speeds they are experiencing after reaching their monthly data caps. The agreement comes in response to an FCC probe launched this summer into wireless carriers' speed reduction practices and concern that customers were not receiving accurate information about their service.

Report: Amazon Greenlights Free, Ad-Backed Stand-Alone Instant Video Service

From DailyTech: It's been three years since Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) first launched its Instant Video service for Prime subscribers. Now it's rumored to be preparing to decouple the service from Prime, allowing it to stand on its own, supported by ads.

While these reports remain the stuff of rumors, one must wonder if the increasing pace of independent reports could be merely speculative. After all, as Bob Costas once stated during an interview, "A reasonable person says where there's this much smoke, there must be plenty of fire."

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