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Tech News: Will It Matter That Netflix Is Finally on Facebook?

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Plus, Google's machines are getting smarter and RIM's massive settlement loss.

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This column brings you the most interesting and useful business and financial commentary on the world of technology every day.

GigaOm
Link: Netflix Can Jump on Facebook at Last-But Does Anybody Care?
"When Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) introduced a much-hyped sharing feature in the fall of 2011, a goofy law prevented Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) from taking part. Since then, the video company has been lobbying Congress like a kid nags his parents for permission to go to the big dance. Now, Daddy has finally said yes - but, by this time, Netflix may have missed all the fun.

"The news, in case you missed it, is that Congress this week sent President Obama a bill that will update a 1988 law that prevents video companies from sharing rental histories unless a customer gives them permission to do so. This law prevents Netflix from tapping into the 'frictionless sharing' feature on Facebook that can tell all your friends every time you read an article or listen to a song. For instance, my Facebook friends might see a story like 'Jeff listened to the Backstreet Boys on Spotify.'"

TechCrunch
Link: RIM's Upfront Payment to Nokia in Patent Dispute Settlement Totals $65M
"RIM (NASDAQ:RIMM) responded to Nokia's (NYSE:NOK) request to have its devices removed from sale following a patent decision in the Finnish company's favor by working out a settlement, and now we're beginning to get a sense of the specific terms of said arrangement. AllThingsD has uncovered an SEC filing that details RIM's first lump-sum payments, which amounts to €50 million (or around $65 million). Following that initial exchange, RIM will have to make royalty payments on the sale of each device."

VentureBeat
Link: Christmas Day Retail Traffic Up 27% Over 2011; Amazon and Wal-Mart Most Visited Sites
"Christmas Day traffic in the U.S. to the largest online retailers - including Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), and Target (NASDAQ:TGT) - increased by 27% over 2011, according to new data from Experian.

"'Christmas Day 2012 saw a 27% increase in online traffic to the top 500 retail sites compared to 2011,' wrote Matt Tathan, the director of public relations at Experian, in a blog post.

"The top retail sites received more than 115.5 million total US visits. To date the holiday online traffic for the past seven weeks to retail sites are up 10 percent for 2012 vs. 2011."

ReadWriteCloud
Link: Google 2012: The Machines Are Getting Smarter
"Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) was full of surprises in 2012. It outdid Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) easily in mobile OS features. It rolled out a whole line of Nexus Android devices that are undeniably top notch. And it launched the Knowledge Graph, a watershed moment between the keyword-searching past of the Web and a future Web that understands whole concepts.

"2012 was also the year that Google unified its offerings under a single privacy policy, a move that freaked out lots of people, but which was totally rational from Google's perspective. If we're going to have a data-driven future offering pervasive, free technologies in exchange for better targeting of advertisements, we'll have to accept that companies like Google have an eerily accurate, real-time profile of us."

Nautilus Investment Strategies
Link: Microsoft Corporation: Over 150,000 Apps Now Available in the Windows Phone Store
"Good news for Windows Phone users – now you can find a wider selection of apps in Microsoft's online phone store. A new Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) blog entry detailing the growth of the Windows Phone store in 2012 talked about statistics. In the last year, more than 300,000 app updates were added and more than 75,000 new apps and games were published, which totals to more than double the final figure).

"Customer feedback gives the idea that an average Windows Phone user has downloaded around 54 apps, with Live Apps being very popular. Around 85% of Windows Phone 8 users have stated that they will select a Live App as opposed to one minus that feature. Live Apps display the latest news, weather, e-mails, appointments, and other information as it arrives."
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