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Apple iWatch, Google Glass First Shots in New Clash of Tech Giants

appleiwatch

Coming less than a year after Google unveiled its Google Glass Web-connected eyeglasses, reports that an Apple "iWatch" is in the works emphatically confirm that the battle is now joined for dominance over the next wave of tech - wearable computing.

According to the reports, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) has 100 people working on an iWatch users would wear on their wrists, but that would have many of the same capabilities as an iPhone.

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Can Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) Nexus Dethrone the Apple iPad?

When Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) launched its new line of Nexus tablets a couple weeks ago, it was a shot across the bow of Apple Inc.'s (Nasdaq: AAPL) dominant iPad.

Even though Hurricane Sandy forced Google to cancelan event planned to show off the new gadgets, it went ahead and launched its new products anyway.

The timing was no coincidence.

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Facebook Takes a Step Closer to Its Own Search Engine

And Facebook's reach grows bigger...

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) announced this week it is revamping its Bing search engine to include content from Facebook and other social media platforms.

The move introduces a new sidebar to Bing, which aims to connect users with friends and other aficionados who can provide help, assistance and advice related to the performed search.

The Redmond, WA-based Microsoft said the foray is based on the fact that "90% of people consult with a friend or expert before making a decision."

The venture will hopefully give Bing some bang. Data reveals that Bing has about 15% of the U.S. search market, while Internet search behemoth Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) commands a 66% portion. Microsoft is hoping many will likethe new element and it will entice people to favor Bing when Web searching.

The new service will appear to the right of all search results, and will highlight a feature dubbed Friends Who Might Know.

Microsoft wrote on its blog, "Bing suggests friends on Facebook who might know about the topic-based on what they "like," their Facebook profile information, or photos they have shared so you can easily ask them about relevant experiences and opinions. For example, if you're searching for diving spots in Costa Rica...you may discover that one of your friends knows a great spot, based on photos from their last trip."

Bing will also flag other topic "specialists," identified from their posts on Google's social network Google+, Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn and Quora.

The feature will roll out shortly in the United States, according to Microsoft. The company did not comment about other locations.

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Is Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Plotting a Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) Takeover?

Yahoo! Inc.'s (Nasdaq: YHOO) never-ending troubles may renew Google Inc.'s (Nasdaq: GOOG) appetite for the once-mighty Internet giant.

After all, it wouldn't be the first time Google considered the deal.

In October, Google talked to at least two private-equity firms about helping them finance a deal to buy Yahoo Inc.'s core business, a person familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.

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Post-PC Era Poses Challenge to Techs: Adapt or Face the Consequences

The accelerating transition to mobile computing devices - such as smartphones and tablets - will drive tech companies to adapt to shifting consumer preferences or risk getting left behind.
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Although they haven't yet tossed out their desktop or laptop PCs, more and more people are adopting mobile devices for such activities as checking e-mail, browsing the Web, playing games and interacting with social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
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Indeed, the recent success of Apple Inc.'s (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad, for instance, is just the one example of an ongoing paradigm shift that has come to be known as the "Post-PC Era."
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Music Streaming First Salvo in Battle to Dominate Cloud-Based Computing

Cloud-based computing is shaping up to be a major battleground in the U.S. high-tech sector for the rest of this year, as companies compete to deliver such services as music streaming to consumer-based mobile devices.

And it figures to be a true clash of titans, with such high-tech heavyweights as Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) serving among the major combatants.

And music is just the beginning.

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Hot Stocks: Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) Spreads Beyond Search With Groupon Bid

Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) is gunning for even greater Web dominance in 2011 by announcing an aggressive move in the online advertising industry, as well as a game-changing entrance into the rapidly growing e-book market.

Google is close to sealing a deal to buy online coupon company Groupon for $5.3 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. This would be Google's biggest purchase to date. The two-year-old Groupon's popularity has skyrocketed since its November 2008 start, making it a target for Internet companies wanting a stronger hold on local advertising.

"This would basically get Google the feet on the street for what they would never build themselves," Jason Helfstein, an Oppenheimer & Company (NYSE: OPY) analyst, told The New York Times.

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Verizon iPhone On the Way – But Not Before Christmas

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) will escalate the war for smartphone dominance in early 2011 by releasing a new version of its iPhone to run on the popular Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) network, the biggest U.S. carrier by subscribers.

However, the phone won't make it out in time for the Christmas season, as many had hoped.

Apple will be ramping up to mass produce the new touchscreen handset by the end of 2010 and release it in the first quarter of 2011, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal. While the phone would be similar to the iPhone 4 sold by its current carrier, AT&T (NYSE: T), it would be based on an alternative wireless technology used by Verizon, the people said.

The Verizon iPhone will mark the end of AT&T's agreement with Apple that gave the telecommunications giant exclusive rights to market and sell the handset since 2007, when Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs introduced the original iPhone.

Verizon has been testing its networks and capacity to handle the heavy data load by iPhone users, seeking to avoid the kind of bad publicity that plagued AT&T after booming sales of data-hungry iPhones crippled its network.

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Hot Stocks: Windows Phone 7 Will Give Microsoft a Boost

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) has unveiled a lineup of smartphones that use its revamped Windows Phone 7 mobile-operating system in its boldest move yet to return to prominence in the mobile business.

The new operating system, which it spent two years developing, is the software giant's latest assault on the crowded smartphone market, where it has struggled to gain a foothold.

Microsoft's earlier mobile software was based on the design and interface of Windows desktop operating system. Although those phones showed early promise, the system's growth slowed dramatically as the company was upstaged by competitors like Apple Inc.'s (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone and Google Inc.'s (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android software.

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The Bright Future for Cloud Computing is Becoming Much Clearer

The cloud computing industry has yet to fully take off, but for an indication of its potential, look at the players getting involved.

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL), Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG), and Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) - the biggest names in the tech sector - are all racing to take the lead in this burgeoning industry.

So what's all of the excitement about?

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Nokia Needs More Than New CEO Stephen Elop to Reverse Its Steep Market Decline

Nokia Corp. (NYSE ADR: NOK) on Friday announced it was replacing its chief executive with Microsoft Corp.'s (Nasdaq: MSFT) Stephen Elop, in an effort to reverse its steep decline in the U.S. smartphone market.

The world's largest mobile phone maker said Chief Executive Officer Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo will step down and Elop, head of Microsoft's business software unit, will take the reins Sept. 21. The move represents a drastic shift for Nokia, which until Canadian Elop had never hired a non-Finnish executive for the top spot. But the company needs a strategy and management overhaul to compete in the profitable future of smartphones.

The move should appease Nokia's frustrated investors who have watched its market value slip 70% in the past three years as Apple Inc.'s (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone, Research in Motion Ltd.'s (Nasdaq: RIMM) BlackBerry, and phones using Google Inc.'s (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android platform stole the smartphone spotlight.

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Google-Verizon Deal Could Spell the End of "Net Neutrality"

A proposed agreement between Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) could spell the end of "net neutrality," and have smartphone users seeing red instead of their favorite videos.

The arrangement, which has yet to be unveiled, would allow Verizon to charge content providers more to give their services priority on its network, the Financial Times reported, citing people familiar with the plan.

News of the agreement spread like a virus on Thursday, when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) called off industry-wide talks, saying it had failed to reach an agreement on a "robust framework to preserve the openness and freedom of the Internet."

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Google's Android an iPhone Killer?

The struggle for dominance in the smartphone market is heating up and Google Inc.'s (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android operating system for handsets appears to be winning the war against Apple Inc.'s (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone system.

When Apple debuted the iPhone 4 on June 24 it broke sales records. In the first three days, the company sold 1.7 million devices in the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, France and Germany, the most for any version of its top-selling product.

But the popular device has been plagued by misfortune - including the suicide of a Chinese worker, lost prototypes, reception problems, and an inauspicious introduction to the press and public when Chief Executive Steve Jobs could not get the phone to connect to the Internet.

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