Wall Street Journal Tech
- The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to regulate Internet service like a public utility, expanding the U.S. government’s oversight of a once lightly regulated business. - Amazon’s streaming videogame-streaming site Twitch has begun broadcasting online poker games with players fielding questions from viewers and talking through their strategy in real time. - Hedge fund Marathon Partners plans to nominate three directors to the board of online photo service Shutterfly, citing concerns about acquisition strategy and compensation. - IBM plans to shift $4 billion in 2015 spending to what it calls the “strategic imperatives” of cloud, analytics, mobile, social and security technologies. - YouTube accounted for about 6% of Google’s overall sales last year, but the video website doesn’t produce a profit—despite a billion monthly users. - The WSJ’s Billion Dollar Startup Club has identified 73 private companies that have been valued at $1 billion or more by venture capitalists. Here are two members of the club. Explore the full list at wsj.com/billionclub. - The Ellen Pao discrimination trial turned from sex to money Thursday, and got right at the heart of the case: Why are nearly all the partners who make the big money at the legendary Silicon Valley venture-capital firm men? - Amazon.com has filed patent applications for delivery trucks with 3D printers. - Apple said it will hold a “special event” for March 9 that is likely to be a coming-out party for Apple Watch. Apple has said the watch will go on sale in April. - Google said it will begin allowing developers to pay to promote their apps in its Play store, a move that could generate significant revenue. - Amazon is bringing in former White House press secretary Jay Carney to head up its public relations and public policy, potentially giving the e-commerce giant added heft in Washington. - US tech giants Google and Apple both played up their respective companies’ job creation achievements in Europe this week, as pressure to curtail their dominance on the Continent mounts from legislators and competitors. - Apple's CEO Tim Cook visited the company's new R&D center north of Tel Aviv. Together with its other center in Haifa, in northern Israel, Apple's Israeli R&D operations are the company's second largest research and development hub outside of the US. Their focus: chip design. - Comedian and Internet celebrity Ryan Higa has more than 13 million subscribers on YouTube, 2 more million than singer Taylor Swift. - KakaoTalk is ubiquitous in South Korea, one of the world’s most wired nations in the world. But outside the country, it’s still an unknown brand. - Lenovo’s technological woes are continuing. The personal-computer maker said a cyberattack had taken down its website on Thursday, a week after the company apologized for preloading software on some of its laptops that made customers more vulnerable to hacking. - A former partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers who testified Wednesday in a high-stakes gender-discrimination case acknowledged organizing events attended only by males but denied deliberately excluding women. - A startup scene is popping up in Iran’s capital city, part of a nascent technology scene developing amid—and some say because of—international sanctions and censorship laws keeping Western firms away. - ‘Chappie’ and ‘Ex Machina’ will explore artificial intelligence in the coming weeks, with more movies to follow. - With gasoline prices down 33% from a year ago and buyers cooling toward electric vehicles, Nissan dealers worry that weak demand for used electric Leaf cars will put a flood of used models on the market. - The Federal Communications Commission will allow some cities and towns to set up and expand municipal Internet services, overruling state laws that had been put in place to block such efforts. - Internet search firm Google pulled its European operations under a single executive in what it said was to better align itself with large customers and develop more unified responses to rising regulatory pressure. - Chip designer ARM is seeking to diversify its business beyond smartphones, with moves into the market for so-called connected devices and the server segment. - Germany’s main consumer protection group has sent a warning to Facebook demanding it change its terms of service or face a lawsuit over data protection and other issues. - The Nasdaq Composite Index’s longest winning streak in more than five years ended with a whimper at the hands of a surprising culprit: a pullback in the world’s most valuable company. - Barnes & Noble said Thursday that it plans to spin off its college bookstore unit from its retail and Nook operations, scrapping a plan to spin off its struggling e-book business. - Gemalto said U.S. and British intelligence services could be responsible for a “sophisticated intrusion” of its networks, but denied that the alleged hack could have widely compromised its chip encryption. - Samsung Electronics said Thursday it will freeze its employees’ salaries this year as part of an effort to cut costs amid shrinking profits. - KakaoTalk, the maker of South Korea’s ubiquitous mobile chat service is running into growing pains, underscoring the difficulty of turning a dominant position in mobile messaging into a profitable business. - In a new study in the journal Lancet, three men who completely lost the use of their hands because of devastating nerve damage were fitted with robotic hands they can control with their thoughts. - Drivers and passengers can freely switch between Uber and Lyft, but investors thinking about backing either car-hailing app must pick a side and stick to it. - European policy makers feel crowded out by U.S. Internet companies and are proposing a plan to give themselves a larger role. - Tech Review: The low-priced Xiaomi Mi Note phablet may not be in the U.S. yet, but Apple and Samsung had better pay attention, Geoffrey A. Fowler says. - It’s now surprisingly easy to live a fruitful mobile life, free of carrier contracts, thanks to unlocked phones, writes columnist Joanna Stern.
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