AP Technology NewsBrief at 6:59 p.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Microsoft renews plea for crackdown on GoogleSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Microsoft began the new year harping on a favorite theme: The software maker is arguing that government regulators need to crack down on Google to preserve fair competition in the Internet and smartphone markets. The latest refrain came Wednesday in a blog post by Dave Heiner, Microsoft's deputy general counsel. His attack amounted to a last-ditch appeal to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission as they wrap up wide-ranging investigations into Google's business practices. Resolutions to those probes are expected early this year, perhaps within the next week at the FTC.
Review: Nintendo's TVii tops button-laden remotesLOS ANGELES (AP) _ Nintendo's TV-watching tool for the new Wii U game console beats my regular remote control hands down. Called TVii, the service transforms how you watch television in three key ways. It turns the touch-screen GamePad controller for the Wii U into a remote control for your TV and set-top box. It groups your favorite shows and sports teams together, whether it's on live TV or an Internet video service such as Hulu Plus. And it offers water-cooler moments you can chat about on social media.
APNewsBreak: Google exec chairman to visit NKoreaSEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ Google's executive chairman is preparing to travel to one of the last frontiers of cyberspace: North Korea. Eric Schmidt will be traveling to North Korea on a private, humanitarian mission led by former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson that could take place as early as this month, sources told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The sources, two people familiar with the group's plans, asked not to be named because the visit had not been made public.
Media stocks buoyant after 'fiscal cliff' dealLOS ANGELES (AP) _ Shares of media companies rose Wednesday as fears of an advertising slowdown based on slower economic growth abated somewhat due to a deal to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff." Movie studio owners could also benefit from a one-year extension of certain film and TV tax credits in the budget deal passed Tuesday.
LG beats rivals in race to sell new OLED TVsSEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ LG Electronics Inc. started taking pre-orders on Wednesday for the world's first big TVs that use an advanced display technology promising startlingly clear images on wafer-thin screens. The South Korean company said the 55-inch TVs, which use a technology called "OLED" and have a price tag of 11 million won ($10,335), will be delivered to buyers in its home market next month. The new TVs will be available in North America, Europe and the rest of Asia before the end of March, LG said in a statement.
California newspaper defies trend to shrink costsSANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) _ New and expanded sections to cover business, automobiles and food. A nearly five-fold increase in community news pages and more investigative reporting. Even daily color comics. It feels like a throwback to an earlier era at the Orange County Register, where a first-time newspaper owner is defying conventional wisdom by spending heavily to expand the printed edition and playing down digital formats.
APNewsBreak: Google exec chairman to visit NKoreaSEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ Google's executive chairman is preparing to travel to one of the last frontiers of cyberspace: North Korea. Sources tell The Associated Press that Eric Schmidt will be traveling to North Korea on a private trip led by former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson that could take place as early as this month. The sources, two people familiar with the group's plans, spoke Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the visit hadn't been made public.
Tribune exits bankruptcy with new TV-focused boardCHICAGO (AP) _ More than four years after crushing debt and plunging advertising sales forced it to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Tribune Co. has emerged with a new television-focused board and over $1 billion in new financing. Led by such creative and technology heavyweights as Ross Levinsohn, the former interim CEO of Yahoo Inc., and Peter Murphy, former strategic officer of The Walt Disney Co., the board's roster suggests a focus on the company's TV assets rather than newspapers, which haven't managed to turn around declines in readership and advertising. Peter Liguori, a former TV executive at Discovery Communications Inc. and News Corp.'s Fox, is expected to be named CEO in the next several weeks.
`The Hobbit' holds on to first place with $32MLOS ANGELES (AP) _ A tiny hobbit has a mighty hold on the box office, staying on top for a third-straight week and wrapping up a year that saw a record-breaking $10.8 billion in total annual grosses. The Warner Bros. fantasy "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" remained at No. 1 with $32 million for a total of $221.7 million, according to final studio figures Monday. That's slightly down from the Sunday estimate of just under $33 million but enough to retain first place in a holiday weekend that featured the much-anticipated debuts of awards contenders "Django Unchained" and "Les Miserables."
Colleges help students scrub online footprintsBUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) _ Samantha Grossman wasn't always thrilled with the impression that emerged when people Googled her name. "It wasn't anything too horrible," she said. "I just have a common name. There would be pictures, college partying pictures, that weren't of me, things I wouldn't want associated with me."
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