MICROSOFT brain drain? -- INSTAGRAM tops 150 million -- NSA tapping smartphones -- No free AMAZON smartphone -- SPOTIFY valued at $5.3 billion -- TECHCRUNCH #epicfail


September 9, 2013 06:00 PDT | 09:00 EDT | 13:00 UTC

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>> BREAKING: Windows unit gets fresh leaders as Phone, PC and Xbox efforts move closer together, by Ina Fried: "Among the names not atop the new leadership list are Windows testing head Grant George, Windows services head Antoine Leblond and Microsoft veteran Jon DeVaan." AllThingsD

>>>> Worries that Microsoft is growing too tricky to manage NY Times (paywalled)

>>>> The end of Windows as we know it InfoWorld

>> INSTA-CASH: Instagram to begin monetizing service with ads 'within the next year' as it tops 150m monthly users, by Ken Yeung: "Instagram has just grown a little bit more -- today, the photo-sharing company revealed that it now has 150 million monthly users, a 15 percent increase since its last count two months ago. The news also comes in light of a report from the Wall Street Journal that says the company will begin monetizing its service within the next year. Yes, ads are coming to the popular mobile app. Right now, Facebook has no way to make money off of the service. It isn't offering any premium features, stickers, or anything else to generate revenue." TheNextWeb

** Gartner: Mobility's Impact on Remote Access: Organizations need a strategy for enabling productivity while employees are mobile. Read the free Gartner report to learn why a mix of secure wired, wireless, VPN and VDI technologies is needed to support new use cases for remote and mobile access. Download the report.

>> COMING ATTRACTIONS: Facebook exec: We're solely focused on being a mobile platform, by Jolie O'Dell: "Why would Facebook, the world's largest social network, want to buy a mobile-backend-as-a-service company, Parse? More to the point, why would Facebook want to keep Parse's service up and running? The simple answer is that Facebook aims to be the be-all, end-all, snout-to-tail solution for developers." Venture Beat

>> GRINDING THE NSA RUMORMILL: No, the NSA can't spy on arbitrary smartphone data, by Robert Graham: "The NSA has been exposed as evil and untrustworthy, but so has the press. The press distorts every new revelation, ignoring crucial technical details, and making it sound worse than it really is. An example is this Der Spiegel story claiming 'NSA Can Spy On Smartphone Data', such as grabbing your contacts or SMS/email stored on the phone... The NSA can't reach out through the ether and touch your phone. Instead, they have a limited number of ways to reach your phone." Errata Security

>>>> iSpy: How the NSA accesses smartphone data, by Marcel Rosenbach, Laura Poitras and Holger Stark: "The US intelligence agency NSA has been taking advantage of the smartphone boom. It has developed the ability to hack into iPhones, android devices and even the BlackBerry, previously believed to be particularly secure." Der Spiegel

>>>> Google encrypts data amid backlash against NSA spying WaPo

>>>> NSA: Possibly breaking US laws, but still bound by laws of computational complexity Scott Aaronson

>>>> Of course NSA can crack crypto. Anyone can. The question is, how much? Ars Technica

>> CRIMES & MISDEMEANORS: Spy service exposes Nigerian 'Yahoo Boys', by Brian Krebs: "A crude but effective online service that lets users deploy keystroke logging malware and then view the stolen data remotely was hacked recently. The information leaked from that service has revealed a network of several thousand Nigerian email scammers and offers a fascinating glimpse into an entire underground economy that is seldom explored." Krebs on Security

>> REDMOND CONCLAVE: Elop moves from long shot to shoo-in as next Microsoft CEO, by Gregg Keizer: "Former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has moved into a commanding position as the overwhelming favorite to win the chief executive's chair at Microsoft, according to online bookmakers. Stephen Elop is now seen as the frontrunner for the CEO post at Microsoft." Takeaway: Nobody has a clue. InfoWorld

>>>> Microsoft's hand was forced in Nokia deal, by Gregg Keizer: "Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia was a defensive move to keep the Finnish phone maker from going under or falling into the hands of an Android-first rival… 'Had Nokia abandoned Windows Phone, then Windows Phone would be dead,' said Ben Thompson, an industry observer and independent analyst... 'Nokia was either going to switch to Android or was on the verge of going bankrupt. I suspect the latter,' said Thompson, pointing to the $2 billion in instant credit [MS gave Nokia as part of the purchase]." Computerworld

>> MONEY SHOT: Spotify might be raising another huge round at a $5.27B valuation, by Tom Cheredar: "The news comes from Swedish newspaper Dagens Industri, a financial publication that didn't indicate exactly how much money Spotify might be trying to raise. It did, however, speculate that the new funding might come in the form of a loan rather than an equity investment that would cause the original founders to give up another portion of the company. Spotify has previously raised about $288 million in funding and is valued at an estimated $3 billion." VentureBeat

>>>> Xbox Music gets iOS and Android apps, free web playback; cloud locker to follow, by Janko Roettgers: "Xbox Music, the company's Spotify-like music subscription service, is launching on iOS and Android Monday, making it the first Microsoft-owned entertainment service to launch on the two leading mobile platforms. And speaking of firsts: Microsoft is also debuting free, ad-supported music streaming on the web." Apps are free, but you have to pay for a Music Pass subscription to, uh, hear music -- $100/year. GigaOM

>> OUT OF THE LAB: New tools for surfacing conversations on Facebook, by Justin Osofsky: "Starting today, selected news organizations can begin to integrate Facebook conversations into their broadcasts or coverage by displaying public posts of real-time activity about any given topic... Partners can also use these tools to show the number of Facebook posts that mention a specific word over a period of time, including a demographic breakdown for the people talking about that topic." Facebook Newsroom

>> ER, NEVERMIND: Amazon: No phone launch 'this year' and 'would not be free,' by Jessica Lessin: "A spokesman for Inc. said Sunday the online retail giant won't launch a smartphone this year, and that if it did launch one in the future, it 'would not be free.' ... The statement is the first time that Amazon has said it will not offer a phone this year, addressing long-running reports it has been working on one." Jessica Lessin

>> COURTROOM: Federal judge upholds Apple's 30% take on in-app e-book sales, by Gregg Keizer: "A federal judge on Thursday rejected government regulators' demand that Apple waive its 30% commission on all in-app e-book sales by third-party retailers, including Amazon, for two years. Instead, Judge Denise Cote ruled that Apple could continue to bar e-book apps from its iOS App Store if the programs included links to external websites where customers could buy books or subscriptions." Computerworld

>> PUNISHMENT: China frees journalist incriminated by Yahoo provided email records, by Michael Kan: "Shi Tao, a former reporter and editor of a Chinese newspaper, was released 15 months before finishing his 10-year sentence... It is unclear why he was released early." PC World

>> HIGH SECURITY: Quark: A Web browser with a formally verified kernel, by Dongseok Jan, Zachary Tatlock, Sorin Lerner: "Quark exploits formal verification and enables us to verify security properties for a million lines of code while reasoning about only a few hundreds... consists of a small browser kernel which mediates access to system resources for all other browser components. These other components run in sandboxes which only allow the component to communicate with the kernel." Source code available. UCSD CS&E

>> LET 'EM EAT CAKE: 96% of US schools facing huge cost of Windows XP upgrades, by Stephen King: "We found that over 96% of schools in the United States are likely to face a major technology crisis in the new year when Windows XP will no longer be supported by Microsoft. Educational institutions of all sizes around the world are going to have to foot the bill of upgrading not only their operating system but also their hardware." Avast Blog

>> WHY WE DO IT: Let's stop focusing on shiny gadgets and start using tech to empower people, by Margaret Stewart: "'I'm not going to teach you any software programs. Software changes. Technology changes. You are here to learn how to learn.' Those are the first words I recall hearing from Red (Burns) in my very first class at ITP.... It wasn't a coincidence that Red created ITP inside NYU's Tisch School of the Arts rather than the computer science department; she wanted the program to be filled with dreamers, inventors, artists, and change-makers. She questioned the status quo and continued to do so as an educator and industry provocateur." Wired

>>>> TECHCRUNCH DUNCE-ERUPT: TechCrunch Disrupt kicks off with "Titstare" app and fake masturbation ValleyWag

>> EMPIRE BUILDING: Politico Publisher Robert Allbritton purchases Capital New York, by Kara Bloomgarden-Smoke: "'I have very big ambitions for Capital: to do in New York what we did in Washington with POLITICO,' Mr. Allbritton." The New York Observer

>> FX: How Game of Thrones used geese and tennis balls on sticks to make Daenerys' dragons: Wired

>> REPURPOSE: What the strange slot in your old car's dashboard is really for: Gizmodo

>> TWEET O' THE DAY: "How in the f*** can we actually fix this industry when we have to expend so much time and energy stamping out Misogyny 101?" @shanley

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