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[June 24, 2009]

TechBits package

(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) NEW YORK_A new study says top CEOs should do a better job managing their presence online, on social sites like Twitter and Facebook and even Wikipedia.

Sharon Barclay, who runs the executive public-relations firm Blue Trumpet Group and the blog UberCEO, took Fortune's 2009 list of the top 100 CEOs and found what she calls a "miserable level of engagement" when it comes to social networks.

Barclay only found two CEOs with Twitter accounts, and only 13 had profiles on LinkedIn, the social network for professionals. She found only 19 with a personal Facebook page, and while three-quarters had "some kind of" entry on the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, many of those entries had incorrect titles, missing information or a lack of sources.

Though Barclay did not poll the CEOs themselves, she said the results question whether these executives are managing their online reputation.

"I would think an executive at that level would want to exploit (an online) network as much as possible," Barclay said. "But the only executives using LinkedIn well were people in technology." Michael Dell, the CEO of computer maker Dell Inc., Gregory Spierkel, the head of technology products distributor Ingram Micro, and John Chambers, the CEO of Cisco Systems Inc., were three company heads Barclay said stood out from the pack on LinkedIn. Each had more than 80 "connections," links to other professionals.

Facebook can make it difficult to manage an online profile because fake pages are abundant for chief executives. Rex Tillerson, CEO of the No. 1 ranking company, Exxon Mobile, had at least two Facebook pages with his photo attached, though neither listed any "friends." "What CEOs need to realize is that millions of their customers are communicating this way, and it's foolish for them to dismiss this," Barclay said.

_ Barbara Ortutay, AP Technology Writer ___ Report: Newest iPhone model costs $179 to make NEW YORK (AP) _ Research firm iSuppli says Apple Inc.'s latest iPhone costs just a few dollars more to make than the previous model.

That analysis comes despite the new iPhone 3GS having new features like a better camera and video-recording capabilities.

ISuppli said Wednesday that its breakdown of the 3GS indicates the smaller 16-gigabyte model costs $178.96, mostly for parts, including $24 for flash memory. ISuppli estimates manufacturing is $6.50 of that amount.

The new iPhone costs $199 or $299, depending on its storage capacity, when purchased with a new two-year service contract from AT&T Inc.

An earlier teardown by iSuppli estimated that the 8-gigabyte iPhone 3G cost $174.33 to build. At the time, it cost $199 with a new two-year contract. It now costs $99.

_ Rachel Metz, AP Technology Writer ___ Comcast to sell advertising for Verizon FiOS TV PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Setting aside their rivalry in the interests of business, Comcast Corp. said Wednesday it will sell advertising for Verizon Communications Inc.'s FiOS television service in 10 markets where they both compete.

Starting in the fall, Comcast's advertising sales division, Comcast Spotlight, will sell local and regional ads known as spot cable for Verizon.

The five-and-a-half-year deal covers ad sales in Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, Fort Wayne, Ind., Harrisburg, Pa., Pittsburgh, Portland, Ore., Richmond, Va., Seattle and Washington, D.C.

"Even as we and Verizon compete in other areas of our businesses, we both recognize the value of being partners in the advertising business," said Steve Burke, Comcast's chief operating officer, in a statement.

While it's not unusual for competitors to do business together _ for example, satellite TV operators and phone companies pay fees to carry cable networks owned by cable TV operators _ Comcast said the Verizon deal is its largest ad sales agreement thus far.

Comcast Spotlight President Charlie Thurston said the company has begun expanding its ad sales efforts to encompass other providers. In January, Comcast reached an ad sales deal with another rival, Dish Network Corp. Comcast sells ads for Dish's ten regional sports networks feeds in seven markets.

Comcast Spotlight and its partners reach about 30 million subscribers nationwide. For national advertisers who want exposure across the country, Verizon's ad inventory will be handled by the National Cable Communications, or NCC. The NCC is owned by Comcast, Time Warner Cable Inc. and Cox Communications Inc.

_ Deborah Yao, AP Business Writer ___ Verizon pushes faster (and pricier) FiOS bundles NEW YORK (AP) _ Verizon is boosting speeds on its FiOS service. And it's throwing in a high-definition Flip video camera or Hewlett-Packard computer to get you to join.

But to get all that, chances are you'll also pay more if you sign up now.

The monthly rates on Verizon's two least expensive "triple play" bundles _ for Internet, phone and TV services_ are both up $10. The lower-tier bundle is now $109.99, while the middle-tier bundle costs new customers $119.99.

There's actually a $10 drop for the top-level bundle, with the highest speeds, to $129.99.

Current customers keep the same prices and speeds.

Internet speeds on all the bundles are ramping up, especially for upload capacity _ a feature Verizon says is in higher demand as people increasingly work from home and send pictures and videos on to social-networking sites.

Upload speeds traditionally lag download speeds in broadband plans from cable and phone companies, but the relative gap is closing.

Downloads under the basic plan, for instance, will move at 15 megabits per second, while uploading will be 5 Mbps. That's up from 10 Mbps and 2 Mbps, respectively.

The top two bundles also come with a choice of Flip Ultra camcorder or HP "netbook," a small laptop.

The TV channel selection has also been tweaked on the top bundle, which now offers Showtime instead of HBO.

Prices and speeds do vary some by region. Verizon has slightly different plans in New York City, New Jersey and Florida.

Verizon is also offering a two-year price guarantee for those who sign up under the new terms.

_ Andrew Vanacore, AP Business Writer ___ Kazakh lawmakers back restrictive Internet law ALMATY, Kazakhstan (AP) _ Kazakh lawmakers have approved Internet legislation that media rights activists say will limit freedom of speech in the Central Asian nation.

The bill would subject Internet outlets _ such as chat rooms, blogs and online stores _ to the same criminal prosecution currently applied to traditional media. Foreign Web sites deemed to be in breach of Kazakh law could also be blocked.

Authorities say the legislation approved Wednesday aims to curb the distribution of child pornography, extremist literature and other unsuitable material.

But opponents argue that laws already exist to prevent the dissemination of illegal material and say the proposed new rules are aimed at restricting criticism of the government.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev is expected to sign the bill into law.

Efforts to tighten regulation of the Internet in Kazakhstan are being closely scrutinized by international observers as the former Soviet nation prepares to take up chairmanship of a trans-Atlantic security and rights organization.

Government critics accuse Nazarbayev of quashing all political opposition and seeking to limit the free dissemination of information. He has ruled the oil-rich Central Asian nation of 15 million since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Tamara Kaleyeva, head of Kazakh media rights group Adil Soz, which has been fighting the proposed regulations, complained that the legislation would enable authorities to block any media outlet for its coverage of "elections, strikes, demonstrations and relations between ethnic groups, which are the most contentious social and political subjects." In bidding for the 2010 chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Kazakhstan committed to a wide range of democratic reforms, including improving press liberties.

Some minor changes have been made to laws regulating the media, but international rights groups have complained that they do not go far enough.

_ Peter Leonard, AP Writer ___ Got a technology question? Send an e-mail to gadgetgurus(at)

(c) 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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