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Tech News: The Internet Went Public 20 Years Ago Today; Apple Attracts $50 Billion in Bond Orders


Plus, tweeting with your eyes on Google Glass, Yahoo's lengthened maternity leave, and Nielsen ratings will now include online viewers.

The World Wide Web Is 20 Today

On April 30, 1993, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known commonly as CERN (the same CERN behind the Large Hadron Collider), made the software required to run a Web server free and open to anyone. Along with that software, CERN published a basic browser and library of code, handing over the technology behind the Internet to the public. The free and open World Wide Web we know today was born from that offering.

The man behind the release to the public was Tim Berners-Lee, a CERN physicist who invented the World Wide Web in 1989, for the purpose of information sharing between scientists in universities and institutions across the world.

To commemorate the occasion, and as part of a larger effort to preserve Internet artifacts, CERN has published its original website (the first ever) with its original URL. You can see the site here.

Nielsen Ratings Will Finally Include Online Viewers

Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Hulu have driven millions of views from network and cable TV to the screens of their computers, yet Nielsen (NYSE:NLSN), the New York-based, global information measurement company, has only just now decided to include online viewers in its ratings.

Though it seems like an obvious move, the company should have made years ago, many factors have limited Nielsen's ability to measure Internet viewership. Unlike with standard TV, the company has no way to track for how long viewers watch a given show, a major consideration of advertisers.

Nielsen's pilot program is called "Nielsen Digital Program Ratings" and major broadcast networks like NBC (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Fox (NASDAQ:NWSA), ABC (NYSE:DIS), and Univision have enrolled, as well as cable networks Discovery (NASDAQ:DISCA) and A&E. The pilot program will run May through July.

In addition, the company announced in December a program called "Nielsen Twitter TV Rating," which is intended to deliver "a syndicated-standard metric around the reach of the TV conversation on Twitter." That service will be available for the fall 2013 TV season, according to Nielsen.

Apple's Bonds Have Attracted $50 Billion in Orders

Apple began selling three-year and five-year fixed and floating-rate bonds, in addition to 10-year and 30-year fixed-rate bonds through Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB). The company has already received $50 billion worth of orders for its debt sale. Despite the overwhelming demand for the bonds, Apple expects to sell between $15 billion and $16 billion worth of debt through the bonds, as part of its long-term plan to return $100 billion to shareholders. It seems David Einhorn's activist efforts have inspired action at Apple.

Yahoo Doubles Maternity Leave

After drawing flak for restricting her employees from working from home, Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) CEO Marissa Mayer has granted a major perk to her employees: She has doubled maternity leave for women -- and also for men. New mothers at Yahoo can now take 16 weeks of maternity leave, and fathers can take up to eight weeks. Today's news puts Yahoo closer to other major tech companies in terms of maternity leave: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) allows 22 weeks for women and seven for men; Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) allows four months of paid leave for both men and women.

The no-working-from-home rule stirred the most conversation and backlash, but Mayer has also been responsible for several employee perks since she took the CEO job in July 2012. Some of the perks, including free food and regular town hall meetings for employees, have helped Yahoo catch up with its Silicon Valley competitors in terms of attracting top talent. Mayer has claimed that the number of job applications to Yahoo has almost doubled year-over-year.

Canceled Soaps Return... on Hulu and iTunes

In 2011, ABC canceled two of its longest running and most popular soap operas, All My Children and One Life to Live. And now, two years after the privately held production company Prospect Park bought rights to both shows, new episodes have debuted on Hulu and iTunes. One of the holdups for the new seasons was a $25 million lawsuit that Prospect Park filed against ABC, accusing the network of undermining the new series by using characters from the two soaps on General Hospital, which still airs on ABC.

Prospect Park has cut the shows production budget from $175,000 to $80,000, primarily owing to the cut from an hour to a half hour runtime.

Both shows premiered on Monday and are amongst Hulu's most popular shows for the week (the company doesn't release specific streaming data for its shows). If Hulu, iTunes, and Netflix can prove the resurrection of canceled network and cable show is good business (Netflix is bringing back the sensational Arrested Development in late May), we can expect to see the move from TV to Internet exclusive happen more and more often.

Full Disclosure: The author currently has a small, non-speaking role on All My Children.

Follow me on Twitter: @JoshWolonick and @Minyanville
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