AP Technology NewsBrief at 5:00 p.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Exxon passes Apple as most valuable companyNEW YORK (AP) _ Exxon has once again surpassed Apple as the world's most valuable company after the iPhone and iPad maker saw its stock price falter. Apple Inc.'s stock has been on the decline since the company's quarterly earnings report Wednesday suggested that its fast growth phase, rare for a company of its size, may be coming to an end.
Smartphone 4Q sales rise 36 pct led by SamsungSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Smartphone shipments rose 36 percent worldwide in the fourth quarter as the sleek devices supplanted personal computers and other gadgets on holiday shopping lists, according to a report released Friday. The findings from the research firm International Data Corp. are the latest sign of the technology upheaval being wrought by the growing popularity of smartphones that can perform a wide variety of tasks, including surfing the Web and taking high-quality photos.
Will smart machines create a world without work WASHINGTON (AP) _ They seem right out of a Hollywood fantasy, and they are: Cars that drive themselves have appeared in movies like "I, Robot" and the television show "Knight Rider." Now, three years after Google invented one, automated cars could be on their way to a freeway near you. In the U.S., California and other states are rewriting the rules of the road to make way for driverless cars. Just one problem: What happens to the millions of people who make a living driving cars and trucks _ jobs that always have seemed sheltered from the onslaught of technology
Luddites: They raged against the machine and lostWASHINGTON (AP) _ Their name is synonymous with futile attempts to roll back technology _ and with fuddy-duddies who can't figure out how to use the iPhone. The Luddites were British textile artisans who 200 years ago smashed the mechanized looms they thought threatened their jobs.
Inventor's rewards: angry mobs, exileNEW YORK (AP) _ For every clever man who invents a labor-saving machine, it seems a crowd of angry men rises up to destroy it. The most famous of the machine haters were the Luddites, the skilled weavers of England who, in 1811, began smashing power looms that were threatening to take their jobs. Their name became a byword for technophobes ever after, but they were neither the first nor the most violent.
Microsoft's 2Q earnings dip despite Windows 8 liftSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Microsoft's latest quarterly earnings slipped, even as the world's largest software maker showed modest progress adapting to a shift away from the personal computers that have been its financial foundation for decades. The results announced Thursday are the first to include Windows 8. The program is a dramatic overhaul of the Microsoft Corp. operating system that powers most PCs. Windows 8 came out Oct. 26 with slightly more than two months left in Microsoft's fiscal second quarter.
Samsung 4Q profits top forecasts on Galaxy salesSEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ Samsung Electronics Co. said quarterly profit soared 76 percent, boosted by the popularity of its Galaxy smartphones, which outsold the iPhone for a fourth straight quarter. But the company said Friday it expects earnings to decline during the current quarter because of seasonally low demand for consumer electronics. It is also leaving its 2013 capital expenditure at the same level as last year at 23 trillion won ($21.5 billion), underlining uncertainty about the global economy and declining demand for personal computers.
AT&T gains customers in 4Q, posts big lossNEW YORK (AP) _ The launch of the iPhone 5 helped AT&T attract more new customers in the holiday quarter than it has in three years, but the company posted a big loss because of an annual adjustment to its pension obligations. AT&T Inc. on Thursday said it added a net 780,000 new phones and other devices on contract-based plans from October to December, its best result in three years. It activated 8.6 million iPhones in the quarter _ a record for any company. AT&T was the first company to introduce the iPhone in 2007, and has more iPhone users than any other U.S. carrier.
Verizon sells spectrum to AT&T for $1.9 billionNEW YORK (AP) _ Verizon Wireless said Friday that it's selling space on the airwaves to AT&T Inc. in exchange for $1.9 billion and the transfer of some airwave rights from AT&T. The sale of spectrum rights will let AT&T expand its capacity for wireless broadband in areas that include Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Oklahoma City and Cincinnati. In return, it's getting other frequencies in Los Angeles, Fresno, Calif., Phoenix and Portland, Ore.
Practically human: Can smart machines do your job WASHINGTON (AP) _ Art Liscano knows he's an endangered species in the job market: He's a meter reader in Fresno, Calif. For 26 years, he's driven from house to house, checking how much electricity Pacific Gas & Electric customers have used. But PG&E doesn't need many people like Liscano making rounds anymore. Every day, the utility replaces 1,200 old-fashioned meters with digital versions that can collect information without human help, generate more accurate power bills, even send an alert if the power goes out.
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