Apple: Taking another crack at TV
Apple last week unveiled “a dramatically smaller and less expensive” device for streaming movies and other programming to high-definition television sets, said Greg Kaizer in Computerworld.com. The new iteration of Apple TV, a router-size hardware device, will cost $99—compared with $229 for Apple’s original version, which was introduced in 2006 and failed to win over consumers. The device can stream—but not store or record—programming from the Web, along with content from iPads and iPhones, and display it on television.
Despite “some interesting new features,” the new Apple TV is no game-changer, said Erica Ogg in CNET.com. On the plus side, it’s a quarter the size of the original Apple TV, it’s integrated with the all-you-can-watch streaming video service offered by Netflix, and it can display pages from the iPad. But “the content isn’t quite there yet.” So far, only ABC and Fox, among major TV networks, have agreed to supply programming. But the bigger issue is that CEO Steve Jobs “still has no larger articulated vision for Apple TV.” Until he figures out where TV fits into Apple’s “ecosystem” of entertainment products, Apple TV is “likely to remain a side project.”
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Web ads: Craigslist drops ‘adult-services’ ads
Craigslist, the popular classified-ads website, has “surrendered in a legal fight over erotic ads” posted on its site, shutting down its adult-services category and placing a “censored” sign on its home page, where a link to adult services used to be, said Christopher Leonard in the Associated Press. Craigslist has been under growing pressure from state attorneys-general, 17 of whom signed a letter last week threatening suit on the grounds that the service’s adult ads are merely thinly veiled solicitations from prostitutes and could encourage human trafficking. The online classified-ads service “has been caught for years in a murky legal fight” over the degree of responsibility it bears for the ads on its site.
Computers: HP wins bidding war for 3Par
Hewlett-Packard has prevailed in a spirited bidding war against Dell Computer for 3Par, a maker of computer storage systems, said Brandon Bailey in the San Jose Mercury News. HP will pay $2.35 billion, or $33 per share, for 3Par, which makes hardware and software to increase computer-storage capacity and reduce costs. Analysts questioned whether HP was overpaying for the relatively unknown company. 3Par’s stock was trading below $10 when the bidding war broke out on Aug. 16.
Drugs: Allergan settles Botox dispute
Allergan, maker of Botox, said last week it would pay $600 million to the federal government to settle civil and criminal complaints that it improperly marketed the neurotoxin, said Jon Kamp and Brent Kendall in The Wall Street Journal. The company will plead guilty to a single misdemeanor charge of encouraging physicians to prescribe the drug “for uses the Food and Drug Administration hadn’t authorized, such as treating headaches and pain.” The Justice Department accused Allergan of paying kickbacks to doctors who prescribe the drug, which is widely used to reduce facial wrinkles.
Trade secrets: HP sues Hurd for joining Oracle
Hewlett-Packard has sued its former CEO, Mark Hurd, after he took a top executive job at Oracle, said Julianne Pepitone in CNNmoney.com. HP said Hurd was jumping to Oracle, HP’s bitter rival in hardware and software markets, carrying trade secrets and strategic plans. HP’s board ousted Hurd in August “in the wake of a sex scandal and a disagreement” over his expense reports.
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