AP Technology NewsBrief at 4:48 p.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) YouTube getting into movie rental businessSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Movie rentals are coming to the Internet's most popular video site. YouTube is making its debut as a rental outlet Friday to help promote some of the movies that will be shown at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival.
Amazon offers new royalty program for Kindle booksSEATTLE (AP) _ Amazon.com Inc. said Wednesday it will begin offering do-it-yourself authors and publishers a bigger cut of book sales on its Kindle e-reader _ but with strings attached aimed at keeping prices down for consumers. The company said that starting in June, it will offer users of its e-book self-publishing program, the Kindle Digital Text Platform, royalties on book sales of 70 percent after delivery costs. With those costs equaling less than 6 cents per book, Amazon said authors will be able to earn $6.25 per copy on a book that sells for $8.99, rather than the old rate of $3.15.
New York Times to charge for Web access in 2011NEW YORK (AP) _ The New York Times says it will charge readers for full access to its Web site starting in 2011, a risky move aimed at increasing online revenue without driving away advertisers that want the biggest possible audience. The potential pitfalls have made most other major newspapers hesitant to take a similar step. But after months of deliberation, the Times said Wednesday that it will use a metered system, allowing free access to a certain number of articles each month and then charging users for additional content.
Microsoft backs AT&T, sues TiVo over TV technologyPHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Microsoft Corp. is backing AT&T Inc. in a patent lawsuit filed by TiVo Inc. against the phone company. Microsoft's tactic: Filing a lawsuit of its own against TiVo. TiVo, the maker of digital video recorders, won a series of court victories over Dish Network Corp. for violating a patent on a technology that lets viewers pause and rewind live TV. Last August TiVo took the same fight to AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., alleging that television services offered by those companies also violate this and two other TiVo patents.
EBay 4Q profit jumps with Skype saleSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ EBay Inc. said Wednesday its fourth-quarter profit more than tripled, largely because of the sale of its Skype telecommunications business. The company also saw growth in its PayPal payments business and a holiday shopping season that was healthier than the year before.
FCC closes loophole in cable program access rulesWASHINGTON (AP) _ Cable TV operators will no longer be able to withhold sporting events and other popular programming that they own from satellite providers and other rivals. The Federal Communications Commission voted 4-to-1 on Wednesday to eliminate the so-called "terrestrial loophole" in a 1992 federal cable law, which requires cable operators to give competitors access to cable-owned programming that is transmitted using satellite connections. Until now, the provision didn't apply when the cable operators send those programs over land-based networks instead.
IBM offers clues on tech recovery, boosts guidanceSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Going into IBM Corp.'s fourth-quarter earnings report, a key concern was whether the technology company could eke out higher revenue after a year and a half of declines. IBM has been pumping out higher profits for most of that time, but some analysts have worried it might be running out of moves to keep up its pace. IBM answered those fears Tuesday with slightly better revenue than last year, a stunning amount of new services contract signings, and a better profit forecast for 2010.
Sony delays release of motion controllerTOKYO (AP) _ Sony Corp. said Wednesday it has pushed back the release of its highly anticipated motion controller for the PlayStation 3 game console to the fall. The device will be available in North America, Europe, Japan and other Asian countries. Sony did not say how much the controller will cost.
New tech tools help Haiti quake reliefHundreds of tech volunteers spurred to action by Haiti's killer quake are adding a new dimension to disaster relief, developing new tools and services for first responders and the public in an unprecedented effort. "It really is amazing the change in the way crisis response can be done now," said Noel Dickover, a Washington, D.C.-based organizer of the CrisisCamp tech volunteer movement, which is central to the Haiti effort. "Developers, crisis mappers and even Internet-savvy folks can actually make a difference."
Bill Gates brings far-ranging musings to the WebSEATTLE (AP) _ When Bill Gates was at Microsoft's helm, his internal memos set the company's course for such radical shifts as the rise of the Internet. Now, Gates is making his musings public on a new Web site called The Gates Notes.
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