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1:50 PM ET, January 12, 2012

Techmeme

 Top Items: 
Ashlee Vance / Business Week:
Steve Ballmer Reboots  —  Cooler tech, more energy, higher profit—the Microsoft CEO is out to prove Steve Jobs wrong and make Redmond relevant again  —  They had his dining room waiting.  Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's chief executive and one of the richest men in the world …
RELATED:
Farhad Manjoo / Slate:
The Year of Microsoft  —  How the former tech giant can reclaim its throne in 2012.
Benjamin Edelman / Ben Edelman:
Google Tying Google Plus and Many More  —  Disclosure: I serve as a consultant to various companies that compete with Google.  But I write on my own — not at the suggestion or request of any client, without approval or payment from any client.  —  This week Google announced Google Search Plus Your World …
RELATED:
Danny Sullivan / Search Engine Land:
Real-Life Examples Of How Google's “Search Plus” Pushes Google+ Over Relevancy
Mary Jo Foley / All about Microsoft Blog:
LG signs Android, Chrome OS patent deal with Microsoft  —  Summary: LG Electronics is the latest Android vendor to license Microsoft patents in order to head off potential legal issues.  —  It's been a couple of months since Microsoft has touted any new Android/Chrome OS vendors agreeing to license its patents.
RELATED:
Curt Woodward / Xconomy:
Microsoft Claims Patent Licenses on 70% of Android Phones
Mike Masnick / Techdirt:
If SOPA's Main Target Is The Pirate Bay, It's Worth Pointing Out That ThePirateBay.org Is Immune From SOPA  —  In looking over Eric Goldman's excellent “linkwrap” of a bunch of recent SOPA/PIPA stories, it pointed me to a News.com article from last month, about how SOPA was really about going after one single site: The Pirate Bay.
RELATED:
Alexandre Roche / Facebook Blog:
Listen to Music With Your Friends  —  Music is one of the most powerful and fun ways to connect.  Whether it's at a concert with a bunch of people or on a long car ride with your best buddy, we love listening to music with our friends.  But what if you could listen to music with your friends …
Stephen Rosenman / Seeking Alpha:
Apple's Foreign Cash Hoard  —  Apple (AAPL) is piling up boatloads of cash: just not here.  —  Those boatloads are increasing becoming docked in Apple's foreign subsidiaries and cannot be repatriated without incurring additional hefty U.S. taxes.  A whopping $54 billion of Apple's $82 billion cash …
Discussion: TUAW, Techie Buzz and PhoneArena
Leena Rao / TechCrunch:
Amazon Kindle Owners Are “Borrowing” Nearly 300,000 Electronic Books A Month  —  Amazon is releasing new data on its Kindle Lending Library, which the e-commerce site says now has over 75,000 books.  The Kindle Owners' Lending Library is a collection of books that Amazon Prime members who own …
Jennifer Van Grove / VentureBeat:
Foursquare's mobile recommendation engine, Explore, hits the web  —  Chances are that the insights gathered from one-and-a-half billion check-ins and 15 million tips are better than your own eyes and ears at sleuthing out the best places to eat, drink and see nearby or afar.
Walter S. Mossberg / AllThingsD:
Working In Word, Excel, PowerPoint On an iPad  —  Although Apple's popular iPad tablet has been able to replace laptops for many tasks, it isn't a big hit with folks who'd like to use it to create or edit long Microsoft Office documents.  —  [ See post to watch video ]
Gregory Lyons / iCrossing:
Facebook to Hit a Billion Users in the Summer  —  Last summer we took a look at Facebook usage around the world, and with Facebook recently announcing that they're currently at over 800 million active users we thought it would be interesting to extrapolate their current grown rate and estimate …
Nate Anderson / Ars Technica:
MPAA attacks Ars for “challenging efforts to curb content theft”  —  The Motion Picture Association of America doesn't like us.  According to the MPAA blog on Tuesday, “Arts Technica” is a “tech blog with a long history of challenging efforts to curb content theft.”
Discussion: Fortune and MPAA Blog
David Barboza / New York Times:
Foxconn Resolves Pay Dispute With Workers  —  SHANGHAI — Foxconn Technology, the largest contract electronics manufacturer in the world, said Thursday that it had resolved a pay dispute with scores of workers at one of its factories in central China, following a large protest that involved threats …
Cade Metz / Wired Enterprise:
Google's Data Center Engineer Shares Secrets of ‘Warehouse’ Computing  —  Luiz André Barroso doesn't see Google's data centers as data centers.  He sees them as computers the size of warehouses.  Barroso is a distinguished engineer at Google and a former researcher at the once …
Jamie Keene / The Verge:
Boxee's Live TV joins the Facebook Open Graph party  —  Boxee has announced a new level of Facebook integration to its service, using the Open Graph auto-sharing feature to post what you're watching in Live TV dongle direct to your Timeline.  The integration runs a little deeper than this …
Enigmax / TorrentFreak:
EMI Sues Irish State For Not Implementing Piracy Blocking Provisions  —  The place where breaking news, BitTorrent and copyright collide  —  EMI Sues Irish State For Not Implementing Piracy Blocking Provisions  —  After failing last year in its attempt to force a local Internet service provider …
Janko Roettgers / GigaOM:
First numbers: How successful are Spotify's apps?  —  Are Spotify's new apps the missing piece to the social music puzzle, or merely gimmicks that are ignored by the majority of the company's users?  It's been a month this week since Spotify rolled out its app platform to all of its users …
Seth Weintraub / 9to5Mac:
The MacBook Air Samsung SSD is about to get twice as fast  —  I had a chance to meet with Samsung Storage solutions at CES 2012 this week and got the low down on its new OEM SSDs that Apple tends to buy in large numbers.  Samsung and Toshiba are the OEMs that provide the SSDs in MacBook Airs.
Discussion: SlashGear
Om Malik / GigaOM:
Bigger than Google+, MySpace isn't dead yet  —  MySpace, the grand daddy of social services is still wheezing along, comScore says in its latest social media report.  In fact it is bigger than Tumblr and Google Plus.  I have no idea where (and why) MySpace is getting so much traffic - still.
Discussion: hypebot
Wall Street Journal:
Google Renews Push in China  —  Two Years After Censorship Clash, Company Renews Push to Expand in World's Biggest Internet Market  —  Google Inc., which pulled its Web-search engine out of mainland China two years ago after a confrontation with Chinese authorities over censorship …
Eric Slivka / MacRumors:
Target Confirms Plans to Bring Dedicated Apple Shops to 25 Stores  —  Reuters reports that Target has confirmed its plans to launch “store-within-a-store” concepts for Apple products in 25 of its stores around the United States.  The announcement comes alongside a broader effort called …
Julie Bort / Business Insider:
Amazon Web Services Now Available Without That Messy ‘Web’ Part  —  Data doesn't have to travel over the messy, dangerous public Internet to use Amazon's cloud.  —  Amazon today expanded its AWS “direct connect” service to Northern California and three other global locations.
Discussion: Computerworld
 
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 More Items: 
Bill Rigby / Reuters:
ARM chief not impressed with Intel phone chips
Discussion: TG Daily, SlashGear and Globe and Mail
ICANN:
New gTLDs Update: Applications Accepted Today; New Guidebook Posted; Financial Assistance for Qualifying Applicants
Alex Wilhelm / The Next Web:
Microsoft: Windows Phone will not battle Android on specs, will instead fight for ‘quality’
Discussion: WMPoweruser and The Verge
Eric Eldon / TechCrunch:
NewsGator Has Quietly Built An Enterprise Social Networking Business On Top Of SharePoint
Jack Purcher / Patently Apple:
Sharp is Reportedly Out of the Race for iPad 3 Display Production
Jenna Wortham / Bits:
Beyond Siri: Voice Recognition Pops Up in More Gadgets
Discussion: PC World
 Earlier Items: 
Chris Foresman / Ars Technica:
Will 2012 be Thunderbolt's year? Devices arrive in force at CES
Alicia Eler / ReadWriteWeb:
Study: Your Facebook Personality Is The Real You
Chris Ziegler / The Verge:
Motorola's Sanjay Jha: 'Verizon and AT&T don't want seven stock Android devices on their shelves'