Techmeme
February 21, 2014, 3:15 PM

Top News

Peter Kafka / Re/code:
Sources say Amazon readying an Android-based Web TV box competing with Apple TV and Roku, for March rollout  —  Amazon Gets Its TV Box Ready, Again  —  Amazon is gearing up to take on Apple and Roku, again.  —  Industry sources say Amazon is getting ready to launch a Web TV box …
Colleen Taylor / TechCrunch:
Sam Altman Taking Over As President Of Y Combinator, Replacing Paul Graham At The Helm  —  After nine years at the helm of Y Combinator, Paul Graham is stepping away from his leadership role at the famed Silicon Valley startup incubator.  Taking over as Y Combinator's president is Sam Altman …
TechCrunch:
TestFlight Owner Burstly Acquired By Apple  —  Burstly, the makers of an in-app ad management platform called SkyRocket and the parent company of popular mobile app testing platform TestFlight, has been acquired, we're hearing.  Though we're working to get more information on this now …
Bloomberg:
Verizon completes $130B buyout of Vodafone's stake in Verizon Wireless  —  Verizon Sale Cuts Vodafone Value by Half to $100 Billion  —  Vodafone Group Plc (VOD) completes the biggest sale of the past decade today, leaving the wireless carrier about half the size it was …
Darrell Etherington / TechCrunch:
Google Acquires Spider.io To Help Spot And Stop Online Ad Fraud  —  London-based Spider.io has been acquired by Google, the company's DoubleClick advertising blog announced today (via Re/Code).  Spider.io is a startup that specialized in weeding out fraudulent clicks around online ads.
Darrell Etherington / TechCrunch:
Secret Adds Subscribe/Unsubscribe Options, Post Flagging, Unlinking And More  —  Hot anonymous social network Secret has just pushed an update for its app that addresses a number of issues and improves performance.  The new version allows users to subscribe or unsubscribe to any Secret post by swiping left …
More: Medium and The Verge
Brad Stone / Businessweek:
Invasion of the Taxi Snatchers: Uber Leads an Industry's Disruption  —  Ray Markovich started driving a taxi in Chicago three years ago after shuttering his struggling wireless phone store.  Driving a cab wasn't particularly gratifying or lucrative—he had to pay $400 a week just to lease his 2011 white Ford Escape.
Kevin Fitchard / Gigaom:
Sprint launches Wi-Fi calling, turning the Galaxy Mega, S4 Mini into IP phones  —  In the next few weeks, Sprint customers with a Samsung Galaxy Mega or a Galaxy S4 Mini will get an over-the-air software update that will turn their devices into IP phones - at least when they're connected to Wi-Fi networks.
Wall Street Journal:
Korea's dominant text messaging service Kakao preparing for IPO at $2B valuation  —  Kakao Close to Signing Morgan Stanley, Samsung Securities as IPO Advisers  —  Offering Possibly Poised to Value Text-Messaging Company at More Than $2 Billion  —  Kakao Corp. is close to signing Morgan Stanley …
More: TechCrunch and VentureBeatTweets: @wsjd
Laura Northrup / Consumerist:
Fitbit Voluntarily Recalls Rash-Inducing Force Wristbands  —  Since the first reports of contact dermatitis caused by Fitbit Force movement trackers surfaced on the company's forums (and gained publicity when Consumerist broke the story last month) customers have asked that the company recall the trackers.
Don Clark / Digits:
Samsung to collaborate with UCSF in validating the effectiveness of medical sensors  —  Samsung Forges Medical Tie-Up in San Francisco  —  Samsung Electronics already has a smartwatch, and is positioned to play a broader role in the wearable device movement.
More: 9to5Google
Matt Brian / Engadget:
New Google WiFi app could automatically log you into Starbucks and other private hotspots  —  Google is working on a new WiFi app that could take a lot of the drudgery out of accessing wireless hotspots.  According to our sources, the search giant has built Android and iOS versions of an app …
Ashlee Vance / Businessweek:
Willow Garage, rare privately funded Silicon Valley robotics research lab, shuts down  —  Willow Garage's Last Days  —  In 2006, Scott Hassan, a prolific software engineer, started a research lab dedicated to robotics called Willow Garage.  Since then, he's funded the lab with about $20 million …
More: SiliconBeat and Gigaom
Chris Welch / The Verge:
Users blast LinkedIn for falsely implying that friends and colleagues have accounts  —  Nowadays, plenty of companies will — with permission — scan your contacts to find people you know already using their app or service.  But LinkedIn may be taking things a step too far …
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:
LinkedIn Finally Lets You Block Other Members  —  LinkedIn has at last added a long-requested feature with the introduction of member blocking.  This adds a new privacy control to the service, which lets you restrict access to your profile, direct interactions, and network activity …
Darrell Etherington / TechCrunch:
BufferBox Ending Standalone Service, Closing Down Pick-Up Locations And Rolling Into Google  —  Waterloo-based BufferBox, which was acquired by Google in November 2012, is shutting down its standalone service.  The company sent an email to members today alerting them to the news …

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Microsoft:
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Intel:
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