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Tech News: Microsoft Is Rumored to Be Testing Its New Smartphone


Plus, Apple loses a crucial lawsuit in Mexico.

This column highlights the most interesting and useful business and financial commentary on technology from around the Web.

Link: Microsoft Is Reportedly Testing Its Own Smartphone
"First it built the Surface, and now Microsoft (NASDAQ:MFST) is said to be working on another new hardware product, this time a smartphone. That's according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, which says that Microsoft is currently working with Asian component suppliers on its own handset design, though it isn't yet clear whether or not the device will ever go into mass production."

Phone Arena
Apple Has Lost Their Legal Claim to the iPhone Name in Mexico
"Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) may have solved their trademark problems in China, but it appears they may have a bigger problem on its hands south of the US border, as a court in Mexico City has denied an injunction that would have allowed Apple to continue to sell under the iPhone brand because it violates the trademarks of iFone, a Mexican telecommunications company. The ruling could have a major impact on Apple's phone sales in Mexico, as well as affecting the marketing and sales plans of several wireless service providers in the country, some of which were gearing up to offer the iPhone 5 to customers this weekend."

Link: Browser Wars, Cont'd: IE Sees Gains, Chrome Falls Behind
"During the latter half of 2012, Firefox has once again overtaken Chrome (NASDAQ:GOOG) as the number-two browser for desktop computers, and Internet Explorer has not only stayed on top but has actually seen some small gains.

"Chrome had eclipsed Firefox briefly during 2012, but Google's desktop browser lost its position during the second half of the year."

Link: Amazon Speeds Up EBS Storage Input-Output Again
"Some computing and storage tasks require faster data input/output than others. That's why in August, Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ:AMZN) said customers could, for an additional fee, allocate up to 1,000 IOPS per EBS storage volume. On Thursday, the company doubled the limit to 2,000 IOPS per EBS volume according to a post on the very busy AWS blog. Faster storage input/output is important in database and transaction processing applications.

"Amazon, which prides itself on rolling out new and improved services seemingly by the week - while also cutting prices on existing services - has been busy this week. On Thursday it announced Ruby and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) support for Amazon's Elastic BeanstalkPlatform as a Service (PaaS)."

The New York Times
Link: One on One: Google Android Director on Nexus Strategy
"Google on Monday introduced new Android devices in small, medium and large: a phone, the Nexus 4; an upgraded seven-inch tablet, the Nexus 7; and a 10-inch tablet, the Nexus 10. That puts Google in even more direct competition with Apple, which offers a similar family of three: the iPhone, the iPad Mini and the iPad.

"In an interview, John Lagerling, director of business development for Android, talked about the company's strategy with the Nexus brand, one that revolves around lower prices. An edited transcript of the interview follows."

Money Morning
Link: Netflix: Is Carl Icahn a Madman or a Genius?
"Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) shares rallied 11.4% in late trading on Wednesday to close at $79.24 following news that activist investor Carl Icahn made a big move on the stock.

"Icahn took a nearly 10% stake in the company through shares and long-term, over-the-counter call options mostly purchased at prices below $60."
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