According to numerous reports across the Web, Google is close to releasing a new note-taking application meant to challenge Evernote, the clear-cut leader in the space with more than 50 million users worldwide. Tech blogs and news sites were busy Monday with reports that Google debuted a new desktop-based App called Keep on Google Drive Sunday, leaving the app up for just 30 minutes before taking it down. Android Police noted that the service is somewhat similar to Notebook, Google's note-taking program that was sunsetted in 2009. A spokesman for Google declined to comment on the new app.
Microsoft Inc announced on Tuesday that sales of its Windows 8 operating system hit 40 million this week, matching the initial success of its predecessor, Windows 7. The revamped Windows product was launched October 26th, just prior to the beginning of the all-important holiday shopping period, and the Redmond, Washington based tech giant said it sold its 40 millionth license for the software earlier this week. Perhaps even better news for Microsoft, upgrades to Windows 8 from earlier versions are being sold faster than with any previous version. Of course, that's not all that surprising, given Microsoft's promotional offer giving Windows XP, Vista or 7 users a chance to upgrade for just $40. That promotion runs through January 31st, and applies to online upgrades only.
Tech giant Microsoft will be searching for a new heir apparent for CEO Steve Ballmer after Steven Sinofsky, head of the company's Windows unit, stepped down on Tuesday after 23 years with the company. Sinofsky had long been considered the obvious choice to replace Ballmer to run the Redmond, Washington-based firm. Neither Sinofsky nor a Microsoft spokesman offered an explanation for the abrupt departure, but an anonymous source described the decision as “mutual,” adding that Sinofsky won't likely be taking a position with another company any time soon.
Apple's smartphone market dominating iPhone has shown the first chink in its armor, as its sales total was outpaced in the third quarter by Samsung's Galaxy S III, according to a research from a data tracking firm called Strategy Analytics. According to the report, Samsung moved a whopping 18 million Galaxy S III units between July and September, surpassing Apple's total of 16.2 million iPhone 4S units. Combined, the two phones accounted for over 10 percent of the entire smartphone market for the period. The Galaxy S III, which hit the market in May, is equipped with the capability of accessing 4G networks, the main deficiency cited for the iPhone 4S. The Galaxy also features a longer-lasting battery and a larger screen than the 4S, prompting a number of consumer electronics reviewers to rate it the best on the market.
According to a report issued Tuesday by McAfee, cybercrime is on the rise as more than 8 million new types of malware were found in the second quarter, a 23 percent increase from the first three months of the year. The company's quarterly “Threats Report” showed that there are now more than 90 million viruses, trojans and other types of malware wreaking havoc across the web. Computers running Microsoft's Windows platform are still the most at risk of being targeted, but Apple's Macintosh PCs have also come under fire, as have tablet computers and smartphones running various operating systems.
Internet powerhouse Google announced on Monday it has agreed to acquire Frommer's, a brand of travel guide books, for an undisclosed amount. John Wiley & Sons, who agreed to sell the Frommer's brand, revealed back in March that it was seeking a buyer for the business in an effort to re-focus the company's efforts. As for Google, the purchase is part of a broader effort to strengthen its local search offerings. The Mountain View, California search giant also acquired Zagat's about a year ago and launched Google Flight Search about five days later.
Despite having already taken a number of pre-orders for its Nexus Q, tech titan Google announced on Wednesday it was delaying shipment the media streaming device to make improvements based on feedback from a beta testers requesting more functionality. Industry writers who got their hands on the Q were not kind in their initial assessments, deriding the device's price tag, limited functionality and compatibility with only Android devices.
New Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has begun the likely difficult task of returning the former search giant to a state of health. Mayer's first order of business, ironically, looks a little like turning Yahoo into Google, in an attempt to lure more talent to the Sunnyvale, California tech power. Mayer has instituted a new, weekly all-hands-on-deck meeting for Yahoo staff and has ordered the company's campus cafe, URLs, to stop charging for food, a move that many Silicon Valley companies, not just Google, have done. Even Facebook and Twiiter offer free meals for staffers.
Google launched its highly anticipated Google Fiber high-speed data network on Thursday in Kansas City, which was selected from among 1,100 candidate cities last year to receive the high-speed Internet system first. The service was made immediately available to all residents of Kansas City, Kansas, but was also made available to some residents of Kansas City, Missouri because the tech titan is running ahead of schedule with the network's launch. The company also surprised KC residents by launching Google Fiber TV, a television service powered by the high-speed network.
Online retail giant Amazon revealed on Wednesday that it will begin collecting sales tax for sales made on its website in eight more states over the next few years, more than doubling the six states it currently collects taxes in. The first new states to drop will be California and Pennsylvania, whose residents will start paying a little more for online shopping in September. As an example, residents of some California communities will pay as much as 9.75 percent in taxes, while Philadelphians will pay 8 percent, based on state and local sales taxes in those areas,.