AP Technology NewsBrief at 2:54 p.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) AT&T to expand wireless, wired broadband reachNEW YORK (AP) _ Many homes in AT&T Inc.'s local-phone service areas will see the company becoming more competitive with cable for broadband service under a new $14 billion investment plan the company revealed Wednesday. But in more outlying areas, the company will start shifting customers from regular phone lines to wireless service. Like other phone companies, AT&T is having a hard time competing with cable broadband in much of its service area, because regular "DSL" broadband is now much slower than what cable companies offer. After reviewing its options, AT&T concluded that it won't sell off phone lines in outlying areas like Verizon Communications Inc. did. Instead, it will pursue a split strategy of upgrading some areas to higher speeds and abandoning phone lines in less dense areas in favor of wireless.
Sprint buying some US Cellular markets for $480MNEW YORK (AP) _ Sprint Nextel Corp. on Wednesday said it has agreed to buy U.S. Cellular Corp.'s service areas in the Midwest for $480 million to boost its network capacity in that region. Sprint, the third-largest U.S. cellphone carrier, is buying spectrum and 585,000 customers in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio. That's about 10 percent of U.S. Cellular's customer base and includes its key Chicago and St. Louis markets.
AT&T, govt reach deal on data plan complaintsNEW YORK (AP) _ AT&T agreed to pay the federal government $700,000 and offer refunds to customers for mistakenly forcing some smartphone users into monthly data plans. In late 2009, AT&T began to require new smartphone customers to subscribe to monthly data plans. Existing subscribers with pay-per-use plans or no plan at all had to get a monthly plan when they upgraded to a new smartphone.
Apple shares drop 20 percent from peakNEW YORK (AP) _ Apple's stock is falling along with a sell-off in the broader market. The stock of the world's most valuable company has now fallen more than 20 percent from its all-time high of $705.07, hit on Sept. 21. That was the day the latest iPhone went on sale.
Time Warner 3Q earnings up on cable TV strengthNEW YORK (AP) _ Time Warner said Wednesday that its third-quarter earnings grew 2 percent, as a strong performance in its cable television channels offset declines in the Warner Bros. movie business following the final Harry Potter movie last summer. Net income was $838 million, or 86 cents per share, higher than the 82 cents expected by analysts surveyed by FactSet. That compares with $822 million, or 78 cents a share, a year ago.
Apple suit vs. Google over patent rates dismissedNEW YORK (AP) _ A federal judge in Madison, Wis., on Monday threw out a suit by Apple Inc. claiming that Google subsidiary Motorola Mobility is seeking unreasonably high license fees for the use of patents on wireless technology. The suit is part of a world-spanning battle between Apple and Google, whose Android software powers the smartphones that compete with Apple's iPhone. Google bought Motorola Mobility, a once pioneering maker of cellphones, this summer to gain control of its patents and gain leverage against Apple in its court battles.
Photo-sharing app Instagram expands to the WebNEW YORK (AP) _ Instagram, the photo-sharing app that was created for mobile phones, is expanding to the Web. The service will launch Instagram profiles on the Web over the next few days. Previously, users' profiles existed only on Instagram's mobile applications accessed on the iPhone or Android devices. Now, users will have a website with a profile photo, bio and a selection of the snapshots they've recently shared on Instagram.
IDC: Apple 3Q share of tablets drops to 50 pctNEW YORK (AP) _ Apple's share of the market for tablet computers fell to 50 percent in the third quarter as the iPad faced more competition from Android devices such as Samsung's Galaxy tablets and Google's Nexus 7. Apple still had a solid lead and shipped more iPads worldwide than a year earlier, according to Monday's study by IDC. Apple had no new tablets out in the third quarter. It also might have seen sales slow amid expectations of a smaller iPad.
Netflix moves to block a hostile takeoverNEW YORK (AP) _ Netflix is moving to protect itself against hostile takeovers, less than a week after activist investor Carl Icahn disclosed a stake of nearly 10 percent in the online video company. Netflix Inc. said Monday that it has adopted a shareholder rights plan, also known as a poison pill. Such a plan is designed to make it difficult or even impossible for someone to take over the company without an agreement from the board. When the provision is triggered, additional shares flood the market and make it prohibitively expensive for a takeover.
Apple sells 3M iPads after Mini launchNEW YORK (AP) _ Apple says it sold 3 million iPads of all kinds in the first three days it sold the new Mini model. Apple started selling the Mini on Friday, starting at $329. It's a third smaller than the full-size iPad.
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