MAYER eats crow, cans No. 2 -- Hey, APPLE, size matters in China -- MICROSOFT flavor o' the month: Ericsson's Vestberg -- ISAACSON shorts Apple

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January 16, 2014 06:00 PST | 09:00 EST | 14:00 UTC

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>> BUH-BYE: 'Dead Man Walking' walks: COO Henrique De Castro out at Yahoo, by Kara Swisher: "Yahoo PR will likely try to put a pretty face on this departure. But he was fired, except he will get a very big severance per the rich contract he was awarded when he was hired in late 2012 from Google.... Consider: His total compensation in 2012 was close to $40 million.... This is clearly a big correction for CEO Marissa Mayer, since De Castro was her first major hire to be her No. 2.... Interestingly, despite giving off the impression they did, the pair actually did not work closely at Google, according to dozens of sources there. Therefore, Mayer did not seem to grok the many signals that De Castro had a troubled time there near the end of his tenure." Re/code

> Yahoo who made more than Marissa Mayer leaves with $20M stock bonus ValleyWag

>> GOOGLE SPREE: Security startup Impermium joining Google, by John Ribeiro: "Security company Impermium has joined Google to help boost the Internet giant's already considerable expertise in countering spam and abuse. Impermium's CEO and cofounder Mark Risher said in a post Wednesday on the startup's website that Impermium was joining Google... It is also not clear whether Google has acquired the company and its technology or mainly its staff, a trend known popularly as 'acqui-hiring.' A number of technology companies have acquired startups mainly to add talented engineers to their staff." InfoWorld

> Impermium, the scourge of spam across the web, has been acquired by Google VentureBeat

>> APPLET: Apple China push threatened by popularity of big screens, by Edmond Lococo: "Screen size also matters in China because mobile phones often take the place of tablets, personal computers and televisions. Apple's potential customer pool is limited by the cost of the iPhone, which is more than the equivalent of $700.... Chinese carriers don't offer the same levels of discounts and subsidies that carriers in the U.S. do. China Mobile will offer a free iPhone only with its most expensive data plan, which is a minimum 588 yuan a month, it said Jan. 15.... 'Many consumers in China use smartphones as their first and primary device for multimedia content consumption due to limited budget,' said Lydia Bi, a research analyst at Canalys. 'Apple will find it hard to continue justifying the decision of not catching up with the screen size in most devices."' Bloomberg

>> Steve Jobs' biographer Walter Isaacson says Apple less innovative than Google, suggests Tim Cook vulnerable 9to5Mac

>> CRIME & PUNISHMENT: Apple coughs up 7 hours of profit to refund kids' $32.5m app buying spree, by Shaun Nichols: "The settlement was brokered by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after youngsters were able to buy heaps of useless stuff in software -- such as power-ups in games -- without their guardians' full permission.... Apple's billing practices were branded unfair by the consumer watchdog after tens of thousands of users complained. The FTC said Apple hadn't made it clear how the parental controls on devices limited the spending of money in apps -- a mechanism regulated by Apple's App Store so it can take a cut of any transactions." The Register

>> ESCAPE VELOCITY: Spotify drops free Web listening time limit everywhere -- a big scalability milestone, by Josh Constine: "Spotify's advertising engine and paid customer conversion funnel are finally working well enough that today it eliminated all limits on free, ad-supported web listening in all countries. It's an important milestone for the scalability and sustainability of Spotify's business that contrasts with other streaming music services like Ex.fm and Rdio that are stumbling or shutting down.... Now, there are no limits on ad-supported free web listening at all, anywhere. The move matches Spotify's push to become more accessible across platforms." TechCrunch

>> LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD: Is Google scared of DuckDuckGo?, by Shlomo Wiesen: 'In those eight curious days between the news of the Snowden leak and Google's move to encrypt 100% of search queries, some startling search traffic occurred with one of Google's tiniest competitors, DuckDuckGo, if you can even call them a competitor.... 'It took 1445 days to get 1 million (daily) searches, 483 days to get 2 million searches, and then just 8 days to pass 3 million searches.' Can you guess when DuckDuckGo proudly sent out the above-tweet? If you clicked on it, you'll see June 18th as the date. Or, roughly 8 days after Edward Snowden leaked the NSA news." SeekingAlpha

>> BEHIND THE CURTAIN: The tipping point (e-commerce version), by Jeff Jordan: "We're in the midst of a profound structural shift from physical to digital retail.... The stark reality for brick-and-mortar retailers is that there currently are just too many stores. Remember, these retailers have very high levels of operating leverage, and a meaningful decline in sales can quickly render them unprofitable and eventually unviable. And $30 billion in lost sales is most definitely a meaningful decline in sales. It's not surprising that few retailers are opening new locations, and that a large number are shuttering existing ones." Re/code

>> GET SMART: A first look at the Target intrusion, malware: "This type of malicious software uses a technique that parses data stored briefly in the memory banks of specific POS devices; in doing so, the malware captures the data stored on the card's magnetic stripe in the instant after it has been swiped at the terminal and is still in the system's memory. Armed with this information, thieves can create cloned copies of the cards and use them to shop in stores for high-priced merchandise. Earlier this month, U.S. Cert issued a detailed analysis of several common memory scraping malware variants." KrebsOnSecurity

>> REDMOND CONCLAVE: Microsoft CEO candidate list is said to include Ericsson's Vestberg, by Dina Bass, Jonathan Erlichman, Beth Jinks and Peter Burrows: "Microsoft's board is considering Ericsson AB Chief Executive Officer Hans Vestberg as a potential successor to departing leader Steve Ballmer, according to people briefed on the search.... Vestberg, 48, is in the running alongside other candidates, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is private. Microsoft cloud-computing chief Satya Nadella and former Nokia Oyj CEO Stephen Elop, as well as other outsiders, are also on the list, people familiar with the search have said. The board hasn't yet reached a decision and who is under consideration is still subject to change." Bloomberg

>> UNPATCHABLE: THE END OF AN ERROR: AOL just disposed of controlling interest in Patch, by Nicholas Carlson: "The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. That probably means AOL got little or zero money from Hale Global for Patch. It's possible that AOL has even committed to investing cash into the joint venture. An AOL spokesman wouldn't say either way.... Patch almost cost Tim Armstrong his job a couple years ago.... When he became AOL CEO in 2009, he thought that Patch could become a business that sparked the AOL turnaround. So he invested hundreds of millions of dollars into hiring hundreds of local journalists and ad sales people around the country." Business Insider

>> STAT O' THE DAY: China's Internet population hit 618 million at the end of 2013, with 81% connecting via mobile, by Kaylene Hong: "China ended last year with 618 million Internet users and 500 million mobile Internet users, according to a report published by state-affiliated research organization China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), spotted first by Tech in Asia.... This means the country tacked on 54 million new Internet users from 2012, while mobile Internet users increased year-on-year by 80 million people. The Internet penetration rate in China also climbed to 45.8 percent at the end of last year from 42.1 percent in 2012." TNW

>> Accenture replaces CGI Federal for troubled Obamacare website InfoWorld

>> Blackphone could be the first NSA-proof phone Mashable

>> The rise of older women as 'encore entrepreneurs' BBC

>> Contently raises $9 million to expand sponsored-ad business Bloomberg

>> Adobe introduces support for 3D printing to Photoshop, brings a glut of new features to its Creative Cloud apps TNW

>> Why you should care about Net neutrality (FAQ) Cnet

>> Stop whining that the Web is broken Bloomberg View

>> BitTorrent creator's new software DissidentX hides secrets in plain sight Forbes

>> Bitrot and atomic COWs: Inside 'next-gen' filesystems Ars Technica

>> Facebook's Zuckerberg to headline Mobile World Congress this year GigaOm

>> First photos show GeeksPhone revolution dual OS Smartphone with Android OS & Firefox MobileGeeks

>> What Satoshi said: Understanding bitcoin through the lens of its enigmatic creator Motherboard

>> BITCOIN: $922 Mt.Gox

>> TWEET O' THE DAY: "The longer it takes Microsoft to find a CEO, the worst it will look if it ends up picking one of its internal people." @jyarow

FEED ME, SEYMOUR: Comments? Questions? Tips? Shoot mail to Trent or Woody. Follow @gegax or @woodyleonhard.

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