Netflix is having an interesting week. Last week they hiked their prices by 60% if you stay with the streaming and mail DVD plan. This week their stock is down. Customers are angry, and they had an outage on Sunday night. This seems like an overreaction. People should really be upset with the cable companies.
Giving you yet another reason (Amazon.com hopes) to buy its Kindle e-reader, the company Monday announced its Kindle Textbook rental program for students. "Students tell us that they enjoy the low prices we offer on new and used print textbooks. Now we're excited to offer students an option to rent Kindle textbooks and only pay for the time they need - with savings up to 80 percent off the print list price on a 30-day rental," said Dave Limp, vice president, Amazon Kindle, in a press release.Amazon says "tens of thousands of textbooks" are available from publishers including John Wiley & Sons, Elsevier and Taylor & Francis. Students can rent textbooks for up to 360 days, and will only pay for the "specific time they need a book," the company said. Rental times can also be extended day by day.
The new social networking project by Google called Google+ has reached over 10 million users and may even close in on 20 million before the end of the month. Although Facebook has over 750 million users, Google+ is growing faster than Facebook at this point, and the critics seem to really like Google+. This is not the first stab at social networking by Google. Many other attempts ended in failure and were shut down. This time, however, it appears to be sticking and they are starting to lure away Facebook users even before it's out of beta.
Microsoft is working on their social networking project called Tulalip, according to details from a splash page that was accidentally published to Socl.com recently. As of Thursday, Microsoft has taken down the splash page and replaced it with a message acknowledging the project. "Thanks for stopping by. Socl.com is an internal design project from a team in Microsoft Research which was mistakenly published to the web. We didn't mean to, honest," the message states. Will it be possible for Microsoft to make any headway into the social networking industry?
The rumor mill is out this week that Microsoft is on a spending spree. The first was the possibility of Rim splitting in two at the last shareholder's meeting. Although that did not appear to happen, it was rumored that Microsoft may make a bid on the Blackberry maker. Blackberry has been losing market share for several years since Apple and Android have come out with their smart phones. The second rumor is that Microsoft may buy Twitter. Although Twitter doesn't make much money at this point, they do have 200 million users. Microsoft could use that for all kinds of ad revenue, and possibly change the free model to a paid one.
An online Sears ad that mistakenly advertised the 16-gigabyte, Wi-Fi-only iPad 2 for $69 - and got shoppers' hopes up and orders placed - was retracted by the retail giant, which blamed a third-party seller of Apple's popular tablet for an advertising typo. That model iPad 2 is normally sold for $744.99 by a third party reseller. Sears did not honor the sales and that has customers in an uproar.
Google News Badges, which rolled out last week, is supposed to "encourage people to visit sites of their interest and share them with others using its networking site Google+, which in turn will increase traffic to those sites," reports International Business Times. Google says there are 500 badges available, news junkies! You can earn the "Stock Market" badge, the "US Elections" badge or even a "Harry Potter" badge (just to name a few). Just how will Google do this? It's going to keep track of the articles you visit. Depending on the topic, you can earn a badge simply by visiting. "The more you read, Google gives you more stars on your badges starting at the bronze level and moving up to silver, platinum and ultimate," says International Business Times.
Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp. said it believes it has a strong case for an appeal of a U.S. International Trade Commission ruling that HTC violated two Apple Inc. patents. HTC said it does not yet have the full ruling and analysis to determine the details of the findings, but General Counsel Grace Lei said, "We are highly confident we have a strong case for the ITC appeals process and are fully prepared to defend ourselves using all means possible," in a release dated Saturday. HTC makes the HTC Incredible and other smartphones that run Android software from Google Inc. The dispute goes back to March 2010, when Apple alleged that HTC had violated a number of its patents related to the manufacture of the iPhone.
Apple is rumored to be selling a contract-free, $350 iPhone 3GS for the prepaid customer segment. The report also said the next iPhone, which may or may not feature a radical design, will be coming out or announced "by the end of summer, late August-ish." An Apple representative wasn't immediately available to comment on the validity of the report.. Apple has been looking at ways to expand its potential base of customers and cement its leadership role in the smartphone world. The company has already expanded its distribution with the addition of Verizon Wireless as a carrier partner. But Apple wants to go after the burgeoning prepaid market, one of the few areas of customer growth still left in the wireless industry.
A hacking group might not the best people to handle your private, social-networking profile details, but don't tell Anonymous. The group, spurned by Google+, has pledged to start its own social network, dubbed AnonPlus. Over the weekend, Anonymous posted a screen shot on its Tumblr blog of what it said was its suspended Google+ account. "Didn't take long to get banned from Google+ our Gmail is also gone," the group wrote. The image said Anonymous' Google+ account was suspended for violating Google's community standards with its posts. In response, Anonymous has started AnonPlus, which it described as "a social network where there is no fear of censorship, of blackout, nor of holding back." "There will be no more oppression. There will be no more tyranny. We are the people and we are Anonymous. We have arrived," the group continued.
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George from Portland asks "Why are there so few apps available for my Android tablet compared to my phone?"