MICROSOFT answers Apple with, er, Surface 2 -- BLACKBERRY bought for patent cudgel -- FLIPBOARD approaches $1B valuation -- BETAWORKS threatens VC model

 

September 24, 2013 06:00 PDT | 09:00 EDT | 13:00 UTC

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>> RESURFACED: Microsoft's hardware, round 2: Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, by Peter Bright: "October 22 launch... pre orders starting on September 24th. Surface Pro 2 runs $899 and the ARM Surface 2 costs $449. Both tablets are iterations of the design we've already seen with the first-generation Surface products... The kickstand... now supports two positions. The [Windows RT based Surface 2] upgrades the 1366×768 screen to 1920×1080... also thinner and lighter than the Surface RT, with 25% more battery life and a USB 3 port... Surface Pro 2... 75% improvement in battery life... it looks essentially identical to its predecessor... new Power Cover--a cover containing a battery to help extend the runtime... docking station that adds three USB 2 ports, one USB 3 port, another mini-DisplayPort output, and a gigabit Ethernet port... Type Cover 2... backlit, Touch Cover 2... significantly higher sensitivity... one year of free international calls and one year of free Skype/Boingo Wi-Fi acess, and 200GB of Skydrive cloud storage for two years... Microsoft will continue selling the Surface RT for $349." Ars Technica

>>>> With valuable bundled software and services, Microsoft desperately wants you to buy a Surface 2 Forbes
>>>> First look at the new keyboards, dock, and other Surface accessories, by Peter Bright:
"What could be better than a purple keyboard? Nothing, that's what." Ars Technica

>>>> Microsoft introduces 200GB SkyDrive storage upgrade for $100 per year TechCrunch
>>>> Surface 2 branding, specs, and prices: Wrong, wrong, and wrong InfoWorld
>>>> Despite improvements, there are still 155 million reasons the Surface 2 is a tough sell GigaOM

>> PLUCKED: BlackBerry enters into letter of intent with consortium led by Fairfax Financial: "BlackBerry shareholders would receive U.S. $9 in cash for each share of BlackBerry share they hold, in a transaction valued at approximately U.S. $4.7 billion. The consortium would acquire for cash all of the outstanding shares of BlackBerry not held by Fairfax." BlackBerry Press Release
>>>> Canada's Fairfax offers to acquire BlackBerry in $4.7 billion deal InfoWorld
>>>> Meet Prem Watsa: The man riding to BlackBerry's rescue WSJ MoneyBeat
>>>> BlackBerry's a bad buy: Fairfax could start patent war SiliconAngle

>> BREAKING: Apple updates iMac with new Intel processors, speedy 802.11ac Wi-Fi and faster flash storage, by Darrell Etherington: "Apple has just released an updated version of its iMac all-in-one computer... New features include Intel quad core processors, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and faster PCIe-based flash storage. These new iMacs now feature a 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor on the base model...802.11ac networking means the new iMacs can work with the latests AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule routers." TechCrunch

>> SNAIL GMAIL: Gmail hit by message delivery delays, close to 50% of users affected, by Juan Carlos Perez: "A bug bit Gmail on Monday and almost half of the webmail service's users have been affected by the problem, which causes email delivery delays and problems downloading attachments." Computerworld
>>>> "The problem with Gmail should be resolved. As of 1600 Pacific Time, Gmail message delivery and attachment download is functioning normally for all users... Between 0554 and 1530 Pacific Time today, 29.1% of messages received by Gmail users were delayed. The average (median) delay was just 2.6 seconds, but some mail was more severely delayed." Gmail status page

>> APPLE TV REPAIRED: After botched debut, new Apple TV update is back with fixes, by Mark Gurman: "After releasing a buggy version of new Apple TV software last week (and subsequently removing it from download) Apple has issued a new version of the update to Apple TV users. " 9to5Mac
>>>> Following criticism & lawsuit, Apple refunding 'Breaking Bad' iTunes Season Passes 9to5Mac

>> EVERYONE CHEWING BUBBLICIOUS AGAIN: 13 IPOs make for an unusually busy week in new tech stocks, by Dylan Tweeney: "We're entering an unusually busy week in IPO-land, with no fewer than 13 initial public offerings planned in the U.S. A good number of them are tech-related and/or based in Silicon Valley." VentureBeat

>> JAVA FAITHFUL: JavaOne opens with IoT hype and promises of unification, by Lucy Carey: "The speeches began with an address from Peter Utzschneider, Vice President, Java Product Management, who outlined Oracle's goal of making Java stronger, more robust, and relevant for decades to come. Utzschneider put a good deal of emphasis on IoT...He also highlighted just how essential Big Data has become in driving the work of developers, asserting that dealing with the data itself has become 'a whole new paradigm.'" Jax
>>>> Oracle: We're getting Java security under control InfoWorld

>> NOT PAGE FROM WILLIAM GIBSON NOVEL: Silicon Valley programmer mugged of 10 Bitcoins: "'It was terrifying', John exclaimed, 'he handed me a pen and waited patiently for 45 minutes while I wrote down the encrypted text required to retrieve the money'. The stolen Bitcoins were valued at $415 at the time of the mugging, but fluctuated between $600 and $3 during the time John was walking home." Nick Cammarata

>> API WARS: Google looks to drop Netscape Plugin API support in Chrome, starting with blocking most plugins in January 2014, by Emil Protalinski: "Google will temporarily whitelist the most popular NPAPI plugins (the built-in Flash plugin and PDF viewer are unaffected because they don't use NPAPI): Silverlight; Unity; Google Earth; Java (already blocked for security reasons); Google Talk; Facebook Video… Google wants to completely remove NPAPI support from Chrome 'before the end of 2014.'" TNW

>> EXTRA NITRO FOR ROCKET LAUNCH: Twitter seeks $1 billion line of credit, by Kurt Wagner: "[Twitter is] reportedly seeking a line of credit between $500 million and $1 billion leading up to the company's IPO... the tactic is similar to one used by Facebook during its pre-IPO run in 2012, and the money could be used to help Twitter expand even further in the months immediately before hitting the market." Mashable

>> MONEY SHOT: Flipboard's Mike McCue confirms $50M raise, says Windows 8 app, more international versions coming by end of year, by Ingrid Lunden: "Flipboard, the mobile-first 'social' magazine that lets people tag, assemble and then share collections of stories from around the web, has now raised another $50 million at an $800 million valuation led by Suhail Rizvi, with Goldman Sachs close behind and existing investors like Insight Venture Partners, Index Ventures and Kleiner Perkins also participating (KPCP has confirmed its investment directly with us as well)." TechCrunch

>> COLD DAWN IN VC-LAND: Betaworks embraces crowdfunding with syndicate seed investment, by Lauren Hockenson: "In the wake of the lifting of the general solicitation ban, Betaworks has officially announced a syndicate seed investment program for Openbeta." GigaOm

>> BREAKING: China to lift ban on Facebook -- but only within Shanghai free-trade zone, by George Chen: "Beijing has made the landmark decision to lift a ban on Internet access within the Shanghai Free-trade Zone to foreign websites considered politically sensitive by the Chinese government, including Facebook, Twitter and newspaper website The New York Times." South China Morning Post

>> POWER BLOGGING: Fancy Node.js-based blogging app Ghost goes live to backers, by Lee Hutchinson: "Ghost is a new blogging platform that's just unleashed the first semi-public release of its application. Development so far has been funded by a successful Kickstarter, and the application is barreling toward a full public release in the near-future... coded in Node.js, a server-side Javascript execution engine... a ground-up revisualization of how blogging works; it's intended to have a very light user interface with nothing separating the blogger from the words he's blogging...some extremely easy-to-grok analytics in a responsive dashboard so bloggers can keep track of who's reading about what." Ars Technica
>>>> The triumph of JavaScript InfoWorld

>> DEPARTURE LOUNGE: Utility sets IT department on path to self-destruction, by Patrick Thibodeau, Jaikumar Vijayan: "Northeast Utilities has told IT employees that it is considering outsourcing IT work to India-based offshore firms, putting as many as 400 IT jobs at risk." Computerworld

>> More job cuts in the works at HP? Mercury News/Siliconbeat

>> Rogue web ad injectors Ben Edelman

>> iMessage for Android Google Play

>> MotoX update dramatically improves camera AnandTech

>> Oracle's in-memory database ripe for the picking by open source InfoWorld

>> Astroturf 5-star reviews? Online, it might cost you NY Times (paywalled)

>> New California law lets minors digitally erase their online past The Verge

>> Dataviz of the history of the World Wide Web Web Directions

>> The Trendline a weekly newsletter aimed at making you a better web engineer by discussing advanced web application development topics. Trendline

>> TWEET O' THE DAY: "But I'm really looking forward to those Windows RT phablets," said nobody ever. @MattRosoff

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

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