Sunday, October 31, 2010

Google racked up 40 acquisitions for $1.6 billion through the first three quarters of 2010


Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Google racked up 40 acquisitions for $1.6 billion through the first three quarters of 2010, a frenetic pace of more than four per month that recalled the buying binges of Cisco Systems in its M&A heyday.
The search engine, which revealed the numbers in a 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Oct. 29, shelled out $983 million of its M&A spend on three companies for talent and technology.
Google said it bought 37 other acquisitions for approximately $626 million in cash through Sept. 30.
The three large buys included mobile ad provider AdMob ($681 million); social software maker Slide ($179 million) and video software maker On2 Technologies ($123 million).
The bulk of the deals, which eWEEK profiled here, included mostly smaller talent acquisitions related to social software, where Google is facing a very real threat to its Internet dominance from Facebook. The social network has 500 million-plus users.
Google bought social search provider Aardvark, widget maker LabPixies, virtual currency specialist Jambool, social aggregator Angstro and gaming provider SocialDeck. Google also reportedly invested $100 million in social gaming power Zynga.
There were dozens more, covering all manners of Internet technologies from security (reCaptcha) to mobile e-mail (reMail) to virtual map technology (Quiksee).
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gobal handset market grew 14%


Image representing Nokia as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase
IDC estimated that the global handset market grew 14.6 percent during the quarter, with a total of 340.5 million shipments, which Strategy Analytics put the figure slightly lower, at 327 million.
Again, according to IDC, market leader Nokia shipped 110.4 million handsets, to claim 32.4 percent market share and was followed by Samsung, with shipments of 71.4 million units for 21 percent market share. Third-place LG shipped 28.4 million units, for 8.3 percent of the market, and Apple, jumping ahead of RIM to claim fourth position, shipped 14.1 million units to claim 4.1 percent market share—and post a remarkable 90.5 percent year-on-year growth.
Fifth-place RIM, with 3.6 percent of the market, shipped 12.4 million units, for a year-on-year growth of 45.9 percent. While IDC reports that RIM shipped a record number of units during the quarter, and showed particular growth in Latin America, in the U.S., Strategy Analytics highlighted that its “relatively weak touchphone portfolio for consumer users” has challenged the company, particularly following a lukewarm response to the Torch.
With its fellow top vendors, RIM will need to proceed smartly though the fourth quarter, or risk being chucked off the list.
“There is a long tail of second-tier players emerging who are knocking on the doors of the top five players,” Strategy Analytics’ Mawston warned. “ZTE, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, Huawei and Alcatel are all shipping volumes that are within touch distance of the leading group.”
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Saturday, October 30, 2010

18 months for pirated software


A short film included on many DVDs equates cop...
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A Texas man was sentenced to 18 months in prison for selling more than $1 million worth of pirated software via the Internet.
Todd Alan Cook, of Wichita Falls, Texas, was sentenced Oct. 29 and received a fine of $599,771 in addition to the prison time. Cook pleaded guilty to criminal copyright infringement in March, authorities said, admitting to his role in a scheme that also involved his father, Robert Cook, and another individual.
The elder Cook also pleaded guilty in March, and is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 3.
According to authorities, the group operated from July 2006 to May 2008 and sold large volumes of counterfeit software through several Websites they controlled. The group promoted their scheme by purchasing advertising for their sites from major Internet search engines, authorities said.
The case is part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s ongoing initiative to combat online commercial counterfeiting and piracy. Including Todd Cook’s guilty plea, authorities reported that the department has secured 46 convictions for online auction and commercial distribution of counterfeit software. 
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three main goals of the group are


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 Intel, Dell, EMC, IBM and Fujitsu are linking up to help start a new industry group with the goal of hammering out a common standard for PCI express motherboard cards.
 The three main goals of the new SSD Form Factor Working Group are to design a common connector specification, develop a form factor based on 2.5-inch hard drives, and support a hot plug capability, Intel Director of Technology Initiatives Jim Pappas told a conference-call audience on Oct. 27.
 PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect express) cards are used in PCs, servers and storage arrays as a motherboard-level interconnect (to link motherboard-mounted peripherals) and as an expansion card interface for add-in boards.
 The PCIe standard is designed to replace the older PCI, PCI-X, and AGP standards.
 PCIe 2.1 is the latest standard for expansion cards that is used on personal computers. This electrical interface is used in a variety of standards, most notably the ExpressCard laptop expansion card interface.
 A key difference between PCIe and earlier buses is a topology based on point-to-point serial links, rather than a shared parallel bus architecture.
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Friday, October 29, 2010

Adobe under attack


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Image via CrunchBase
Adobe’s security response team is scrambling to respond to new zero-day attacks against a computer hijack vulnerability in two of its most widely deployed products: Flash Player and Adobe PDF Reader.
The flaw, which is currently being exploited in the wild with booby-trapped PDF documents, affects Windows, Mac, Linux and Solaris users. The zero-day attacks are currently targeted Windows users.
Here’s a summary of the problem:
A critical vulnerability has been identified in Flash Player 10.1.85.3 and earlier versions for Windows, Macintosh, Linux and Solaris; Adobe Flash Player 10.1.95.2 and earlier versions for Android; and the authplay.dll component that ships with Adobe Reader 9.4 and earlier 9.x versions for Windows, Macintosh and UNIX, and Adobe Acrobat 9.4 and earlier 9.x versions for Windows and Macintosh. This vulnerability (CVE-2010-3654) could cause a crash and potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system.
Adobe has posted an advisory that notes that the attacks are only against Adobe Reader and Acrobat. The company said it was not aware of attacks targeting the ubiquitous Flash Player.
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

enthusiasm for solar panels could overload the country's ageing electricity grid

The Gift


Solar One power plant in Mojave Desert, California
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HARNESSING the sun's energy could save the planet from climate change, an approach that Germany has readily adopted. Unfortunately, this enthusiasm for solar panels could overload the country's ageing electricity grid.
Solar power is intermittent and can arrive in huge surges when the sun comes out. These most often happen near midday rather than when demand for power is high, such as in the evenings. A small surge can be accommodated by switching off conventional power station generators, to keep the overall supply to the grid the same. But if the solar power input is too large it will exceed demand even with all the generators switched off. Stephan Köhler, head of Germany's energy agency, DENA, warned in an interview with the Berliner Zeitung on 17 October that at current rates of installation, solar capacity will soon reach those levels, and could trigger blackouts.
Subsidies have encouraged German citizens and businesses to install solar panels and sell surplus electricity to the grid at a premium. Uptake has been so rapid that solar capacity could reach 30 gigawatts, equal to the country's weekend power consumption, by the end of next year. "We need to cap installation of new panels," a spokesperson for DENA told New Scientist.
However, the German Solar Industry Federation rejects DENA's concerns, claiming that extra solar energy takes the pressure off high-voltage power lines because it tends to be generated close to where it is used. The federation adds that the grid only needs to be strengthened in some rural areas where solar supply can exceed demand.
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Limewire has been ordered to shut down by a federal judge

Image representing LimeWire as depicted in Cru...Image via CrunchBaseLimewire has been ordered to shut down by a federal judge who argues that the file-sharing service "intentionally encouraged direct infringement." By all appearances, this could represent the endgame of music companies' four-year effort to take Limewire offline.
Indeed, Limewire's Website seems dead, its landing page covered with a plus-sized legal notice: "Limewire is under a court-ordered injunction to stop distributing and supporting its file-sharing software. Downloading or sharing copyrighted content without authorization is illegal."
Meanwhile, Limewire executives attempted to put a positive spin on developments.
"The injunction applies only to the Limewire product. Our company remains open for business," George Searle, CEO of Limewire, wrote in an Oct. 26 posting on Lime Company's corporate Website. "We remain deeply committed to working with the music industry and making the act of loving music more fulfilling for everyone."
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rogers profit drops 24%


Rogers Yahoo! Hi-Speed Internet logo
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Rogers Communications Inc. shares fell more than 7%, or $2.95 to $38.36, after the company reported a significant miss in its third-quarter results Tuesday, led by a 24% drop in profit.
 For the period ended Sept. 30, Rogers earned $370-million (64¢ a share), compared with $485-million (79¢) in the same period last year.
 Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had forecast a much-higher $459-million profit (78¢) for the quarter.
 Revenues of $3.12-billion, up 3% on the previous year, also missed expectations. Analysts had predicted sales of $3.18-billion.
Adjusted to factor out unusual items, Rogers earned $476-million (83¢), down 6% from the previous year yet beating out analyst forecasts of $456-million (79¢).
"The third quarter 2010 results demonstrate continued steady growth in new subscribers, revenues and free cash flow, and the return of significant amounts of cash to our shareholders through dividends and share buybacks," Nadir Mohamed, chief executive with Rogers, said in a release.
 Rogers reported increases in adjusted operating profit for its cable operations and media lines, offset by a 3% decline in wireless.
 This was blamed on increased costs related to a significant year-over-year increase in smartphone activations and upgrades, with wireless network margins actually shrinking to 48.3% from 51.4%.
Wireless cost of equipment sales rose 25% to $341-million compared with $272-million, while sales and marketing expenses rose 13% to $175-million in the quarter.
 The company set a quarterly record with the activation and upgrade of 529,000 new BlackBerry, iPhone and Android smartphones.
 Overall, the number of postpaid retail subscribers rose 6% to 7.3 million, however net additions in the wireless postpaid category was down 25% to 125,000 from 167,000 a year ago.
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PayPal Oct. 26 said at its developer conference it is launching a micropayments platform


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Image via CrunchBase
PayPal Oct. 26 said at its developer conference it is launching a micropayments platform that will allow consumers to purchase goods and content online.
Facebook is PayPal's marquee customer for PayPal for digital goods, which when it launches later this year will enable the payment platform's 90 million users to pay for games, music or video content from Websites in two clicks.
PayPal also counts Autosport.com, FT.com, GigaOM, Justin.tv, Ooyala, Plimus, Tagged, Tyler Projects and Ustream as customers already using its PayPal for digital goods platform.
Speed to payment is the key here, as PayPal has learned from years as eBay's payment engine that consumers who find paying online frustrating will abandon purchases.
"The decision to purchase digital goods and content usually happens on impulse, so the act of paying needs to be as quick as that impulse," said Sam Shrauger, PayPal's vice president of global product strategy, in a statement .
Pricing for the platform is 5 cents plus 5 percent of the transaction for purchases under $12. Publishers and merchants get paid automatically rather than wait several days or weeks for transactions to clear.
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Android Manager WiFi is the closest you'll get to an "iTunes for Android"

Android Manager WiFi - HomeIf you're looking for an all-in-one utility to manage your Android phone's contacts, applications, SMS messages, photos, music, and other files, Android Manager WiFi is the closest you'll get to an "iTunes for Android" solution. The app lets you browse files on your Android phone easily, backs up all of your photos, music, text messages, and video, and can sync with your mobile device without connecting directly to your computer. Android Manager WiFi is free, and requires an Android device and Windows PC to run.
Android Manager WiFi lets you back up virtually everything of value on your Android phone, including contacts, SMS messages and their attachments, photos, videos, music, saved files, and apps you have installed. The app also allows you to sync your contacts and mail items from Windows Contacts, Microsoft Outlook, and Windows Mail and your Android phone.
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High Risk Credit Card Processing at Ecomtechnology


Credit cards
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eComTechnology  provides merchant account and credit card processing services to businesses; working with not only traditional businesses but high risk and high volume businesses as well. eComTechnology is known and established with International Business and Banking Services providing greater flexibility with banking services and getting the right match for the business and location.
In order to provide the most effective and efficient credit card payment processing solutions to our merchants, eComTechnology operates various business units dedicated to industry segments while working closely with our providers to determine which of the varied services in the market are best suited to their business needs.
Whether in Asia, United States, Canada or based in Europe inquire or apply today and in most cases you can be processing in less than 10 days through your own virtual terminal or gateway.
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New eCheck high risk virtual terminal for pharmacy.
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integrated e-mail security to cloud providers that offer Open-Xchange groupware as a service



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Image via CrunchBase
Open-Xchange, a provider of business-class open source collaboration software, and SpamExperts, a provider of e-mail security solutions for Internet service providers and Web-hosting companies, announced an agreement to deliver integrated e-mail security to cloud providers that offer Open-Xchange groupware as a service.
The fully managed ISP solutions by SpamExperts can be installed directly on the servers of the service provider -- or run as a hosted cloud service on redundant SpamExperts servers in 10 secure data centers around the world, while updates, 24/7 monitoring and regular maintenance help ensure filtering accuracy at all times. A quarantine system, full API, reporting and many more functions allow full control of e-mail flows and integration into existing systems.
"With the combination of Open-Xchange and SpamExperts, SAAS providers can deliver greater value to their SMB customers, while differentiating themselves in the competitive market by offering professional, secure and affordable communication solutions," said Rafael Laguna, CEO of Open-Xchange. "By integrating the Open-Xchange and SpamExperts software, considerable cost-savings accrue that improve service providers' competitive position."
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Monday, October 25, 2010

Google Android reaches 100,000 apps

Toy Story 3Android_Market.png
 Google used the Android Developers Twitter page to announce today that it has formally reached 100,000 apps in its Android Market. That's a milestone Apple's App Store hit back in 2009--it's now well over over 250,000, so Google still has a ways to go in order to catch up.
The Android Market, which has been open since October 2008 hit 80,000 back in September
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Adobe Systems announced the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite

Image representing Adobe Systems as depicted i...Image via CrunchBaseAt its annual Adobe MAX developer conference, Adobe Systems announced the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, providing publishers with a set of turnkey hosted services and viewer technology to create, publish, optimize and sell digital content direct to consumers, through content retailers or leading mobile marketplaces.
The new Adobe Digital Publishing Suite is built on the foundation of Adobe Creative Suite and Adobe InDesign CS5 software, and it enables the design and delivery of publisher-branded reading experiences, paired with flexible commerce models and support for deep analytics reporting, Adobe said in a press release outlining the technology. Adobe announced the new Adobe Digital Publishing Suite at Adobe MAX 2010 in Los Angeles on Oct. 25.
Using InDesign CS5, PDF, HTML5 and the Digital Publishing Suite, publishers will be able to author both fixed and adaptive layouts, natively build new levels of interactivity directly in InDesign, distribute and monetize their digital editions, and optimize their editorial and advertising content for a complete end-to-end digital publishing workflow, Adobe officials said
"The publishing industry is reinventing itself, and a new era of editorial and advertising innovation is upon us as publishers target new mobile hardware platforms," said David Wadhwani, senior vice president and general manager for Creative and Interactive Solutions at Adobe, in a statement. "By leveraging the InDesign CS5 workflow and the services of the Digital Publishing Suite, professional publishers can design and commercialize a new class of innovative digital magazines to create a richer and more dynamic reading experience that will attract high-value subscribers and advertisers."
Adobe Chief Technology Officer Kevin Lynch will officially unveil the Digital Publishing Suite during his Adobe MAX 2010 keynote on Oct. 25 at 9:30 a.m. PT. Sign up for live streaming of the keynotes on the MAX 2010 Website at here.
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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Federal Communications Commission claims the allocation of 500MHz of new spectrum for mobile broadband will stimulate $120



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Concerned about the current crunch on spectrum, the Federal Communications Commission claims the allocation of 500MHz of new spectrum for mobile broadband will stimulate $120 billion in near-term value and hundreds of billions of dollars for the U.S. economy over time.
Spectrum is leveraged by wireless communication devices, including smartphones and tablet computers. Data consumption on these mobile devices has seen a major rise in adoption; more people are using them to surf the Web, send text messages, play video games and shoot video.
Data use on these devices and applications has triggered a dearth in spectrum the FCC would like to see addressed sooner rather than later because it takes anywhere from six to 13 years to provision.
"The explosive growth in mobile communications is outpacing our ability to keep up," claimed FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.
"If we don't act to update our spectrum policies for the 21st century, we're going to run into a wall—a spectrum crunch—that will stifle American innovation and economic growth and cost us the opportunity to lead the world in mobile communications."
To wit, the FCC's National Broadband Plan calls for 500MHz of new spectrum for mobile broadband within 10 years.
That includes 300MHz allocated for mobile use within five years. The FCC believes the country will be operating at a spectrum deficit of 300MHz over that time if this call to action goes unmet.
This proposal has the support of President Barack Obama, who in June called for 500MHz of new spectrum to be allocated for fixed and mobile broadband use.
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Foxit PDF Reader and Foxit Creator at eComTechnology

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Amazon, Facebook, social gaming giant Zynga, Comcast, Liberty Media and Allen & Company Oct. 21 joined venture capital fund KPCB


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Lost in the sound and fury over Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers' (KPCB) creation of the sFund was the fact that investor Facebook stands to gain the most from the new venture.
Amazon, Facebook, social gaming giant Zynga, Comcast, Liberty Media and Allen & Company Oct. 21 joined venture capital fund KPCB to invest $250 million in the sFund to finance new social applications and Web services.
KPCB partner John Doerr said the sFund's raison d 'etre is to help foster the third great wave of innovation after the rise of personal computers in the '80s and the Internet and Web browser in the '90s.
"The third wave is based on the convergence of mobile and social and cloud computing," said Doerr, who announced the sFund with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Zynga CEO Mark Pincus at Facebook's head quarters Oct. 21.
The sFund is a tremendous launching pad for the type of startups Facebook loves to buy: small, bleeding-edge startups that Zuckerberg himself likes to characterize as hungry with little to lose.
Facebook likes to work with "scrappy underdogs" that are "incentivized to go deep and do something innovative that other companies aren't doing, said Zuckerberg recently.
Take Cafebots, one of the first beneficiaries of the sFund. The Web services helps Facebook users have more fun and productive relationships. Another sFund startup, Lockerz, is a social commerce company geared to help consumers shop and connect.
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Friday, October 22, 2010

Adobe Systems is warning users about a critical bug in Shockwave Player

Image representing Adobe Systems as depicted i...Image via CrunchBaseAdobe Systems is warning users about a critical bug in Shockwave Player that impacts both Macintosh and Windows computers.
The company issued an advisory about the bug Thursday. According to Adobe, the vulnerability exists in Shockwave Player 11.5.8.612 and earlier, and could be exploited to cause a crash and potentially allow an attacker to hijack a vulnerable system.
At the moment, Adobe said it is now aware of any attacks exploiting the bug, though details of the vulnerability have been disclosed publicly. According to an advisory by Secunia, the vulnerability is caused due to an array-indexing error in the handling of a certain record value in a "rcsL" chunk and can be exploited to use an arbitrary dword in memory as a function pointer via a specially crafted Director file.
Secunia advised Shockwave Player users to avoid untrusted Web sites, while Adobe recommended users ensure their machines are fully patched.
“We are currently working on determining the schedule for an update to address this vulnerability in Adobe Shockwave Player…As always, Adobe recommends that users follow security best practices by keeping their anti-malware software and definitions up to date,” Adobe's advisory reads.
In part because of their ubiquity, Adobe products have become a major target for attackers in recent years. To improve security, Adobe is introducing sandboxing technology into the next version of Adobe Reader for Windows. The update is scheduled to come in the next few weeks.
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Technology giant Dell announced the release of a line of XPS notebooks

Kindle Wireless Reading Device, Wi-Fi, 6" Display, Graphite - Latest GenerationImage via CrunchBaseImage representing Dell as depicted in CrunchBaseTechnology giant Dell announced the release of a line of XPS notebooks aimed at mobile entertainment enthusiasts. Available in 14-, 15- and 17-inch screen sizes, the notebooks offer JBL and Waves sound design, HD video featuring graphics from Nvidia and Skype certification with HD video streaming Web cams. Available through Dell’s Web site, starting prices for the new XPS laptops are $899 for the XPS 14, $849 for the XPS 15 and $949 for the XPS 17.
All are 3D TV ready and include Nvidia’s 3DTV Play software, which allows users to connect their Dell XPS notebooks to 3D HDTVs and play PC games in 3D, watch Blu-ray 3D movies, and browse 3D photos and videos in stereoscopic 3D. The XPS brand joins the Inspiron and Alienware families in rounding out Dell's consumer portfolio. The notebooks come standard with silver anodized aluminum display back and palmrest, or can be personalized with one of more than 200 designs from Dell Design Studio.
Included are built-in JBL designed and certified speakers with integrated Waves MaxxAudio technology for enhanced notebook speaker performance, with 12-watt subwoofers on the 15- and 17-inch models. The High Definition LED displays are powered by 1GB to 3GB Nvidia graphics processor options; a Blu-ray disc drive is optional. The notebooks also feature Intel Core processors and the latest Nvidia GeForce 400 series graphics with Optimus technology.
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

developers and businesses can now apply for a free EC2 [Elastic Cloud 2] usage tier to use for a full year


Diagram showing overview of cloud computing in...
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Amazon.com, which jumped way out ahead in the cloud computing trend in 2006, is putting out an offer to potential software development customers that will be hard for many of them to pass up.
The Seattle-based company's Web Services division announced Oct. 21 that developers and businesses can now apply for a free EC2 [Elastic Cloud 2] usage tier to use for a full year.
These people also will be allowed to utilize a new free usage tier for Amazon S3 [Simple Storage Service], Amazon Elastic Block Store, Amazon Elastic Load Balancing, and AWS data transfer.
Of course, if an application is developed and running on EC2 after a full year has elapsed, then Amazon's standard pay-as-you-go pricing goes into effect.
A key ownership point in all this: Applications developed on the Amazon cloud are not beholden to Amazon and can be moved elsewhere, if desired.
"Developers are free to stop using the service at any time. As with all of our services, there are no long term commitments," Amazon spokeswoman Kay Kinton said.
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Ontario won't stop double-ending

Ontario moves to tighten rules around real estate agents 'double-ending,' but won't ban the practice If legislation is pa...