Nintendo Switch tops US gaming systems for holiday shoppers

From CNET: According to NPD Group, which tracks US video game sales, 1.5 million Nintendo Switch systems were purchased during December -- more than any other video game system. With more than 4.8 million systems sold in the 10 months since its release, the Switch is the fastest-selling home console in US history.

Microsoft brings 15-inch Surface Book 2 to 17 more countries

From The Verge: Microsoft first launched its new 13- and 15-inch Surface Book 2 laptops back in November, but the larger model has only been available in the US so far. Starting today, the 15-inch Surface Book 2 will be available in 17 new countries, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Facebook to Simplify Messenger

From PC Mag: In a Tuesday blog post, Facebook Messenger Head Davis Marcus admitted that the app has "become too cluttered" as of late.

"Over the last two years, we built a lot of capabilities to find the features that continue to set us apart. A lot of them have found their product market fit; some haven't," he wrote. "Expect to see us invest in massively simplifying and streamlining Messenger this year."

OnePlus disables credit card payment after fraud reports

From CNET: The OnePlus 5T is one of the best phones you can buy today -- but for now, you can't buy it with a credit card.

Following customer complaints about fraudulent activity on their credit card after using it on the company's site, OnePlus is disabling credit as a payment form. OnePlus' online store is the only official place to buy its phones.

Tencent and Apple Make Peace over Tipping in WeChat

From PC Mag: It's time for more tipping with Tencent—again. Apple and Tencent have reached a deal over tipping on WeChat, a super-popular social media app that allows users to send each other monetary donations, or tips, for content they enjoy.

To put it another way, WeChat's tipping feature is like attaching a bank account to a "Like" button. You don't have to tip anything on WeChat if you don't want to, but the feature allows some content authors to make a not-so-insignificant amount of money for popular content they create.

OnePlus is investigating reports of customers’ payment information being stolen

From The Verge: OnePlus is investigating reports of customers’ credit card details being stolen after they bought goods from the smartphone maker online. The investigation began after a poll posted by users on OnePlus’ forums found that many customers had experienced the same problem. In the poll, 174 respondents said they had discovered fraudulent transactions on their cards after making a purchase from OnePlus. One customer who bought a OnePlus 5T wrote that he was alerted by the bank as someone tried to make an unauthorized purchase at Walmart worth $790.

Lyft grows gangbusters in 2017, bringing competition to Uber

From CNET: Lyft went from Uber's smaller and less-familiar rival to solid competitor in the US last year.

Growing at a rapid rate, the San Francisco-based ride-hailing company provided passengers with 375.5 million trips in 2017. The increase marked a 130 percent rise in the number of rides from the previous year.

The jump coincided with an approximate doubling of both passengers and drivers. Lyft released these numbers Tuesday in its annual Economic Impact Report.

Kraken Cryptocurrency Exchange Finally Back Online

From PC Mag: Patches and upgrades are normally pretty predictable —or, at least, most companies can give a decent estimate for when services might come back online after a routine upgrade cycle. Kraken, a popular cryptocurrency exchange, was stuck in upgrade Hell for much, much longer than it anticipated this week, adding to the anxiety of users who have already blasted the site for trading errors and slowdowns.

Intel’s Spectre patch is causing reboot problems for older processors

From The Verge: Intel is running into problems protecting its chips from the major Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities that became public last week. The company has been warning customers of three specific flaws in a recent firmware update and recommending that customers hold off installing the patch, according to emails first reported by The Wall Street Journal. According to a follow-up announcement by Intel, the issue may cause reboot issues in systems running older Haswell chips.

Alibaba hits back at US over market blacklist

From CNET: The Office of the US Trade Representative has blacklisted Alibaba's popular online shopping platform again this year over its problem with fake goods. And Alibaba is not happy.

The Chinese e-commerce titan published a point-by-point rebuttal in response to the US Trade Representative's 2017 list of notorious markets released Friday, on which its eBay-like Taobao platform is listed for the second consecutive year.

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