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Tech News: Microsoft Leaks Prices for Surface RT

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Also, Sprint's deal with SoftBank could catapult it into the mobile service stratosphere.

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This column highlights the most interesting and useful business and financial commentary on technology every day.

VentureBeat
Link: Microsoft Leaks Surface RT Pricing: Starting at $499, $599 With Touch Cover
"Seemingly accidentally, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has unveiled the pricing for its Surface Windows RT tablets on its online store this morning: The base unit with 32 gigabytes of storage will go for $499, making it the ideal iPad (NASDAQ:AAPL) killer, while the 32GB model with a Touch Cover Keyboard will cost $599.

"At the high-end, Microsoft will offer a 64GB Surface with a Touch Cover for $699. All of the models show October 26th as a shipping date. Microsoft also lists the Touch Cover separately for for $119, which features a flat touch keyboard, while the version with a more traditional keyboard costs $129.

(See also: Microsoft Says No to Bargain Bin for Surface, Aims to Fight iPad Head-On and Surface Tablet Likely to See Minimal Holiday Sales, Says Analyst.)

Wired Business
Link: Sprint's $20 Billion Deal Could Mean Lower Rates For All
"For years, the US mobile marketplace has been dominated by two heavyweights engaged in a two-party contest for dominance. Consumers often end up feeling like they have to pick between the lesser of two evils rather than what they really want. But as with voting for third-party candidates, you can feel left out of the national conversation when you choose a company other than AT&T (NYSE:T) or Verizon (NYSE:VZ).

"But independent mobile industry analyst Chetan Sharma says SoftBank (PINK:SFTBF) and its cash could give Sprint (NYSE:S) the heft it needs to become a relevant rival. The capital infusion lets Sprint build out its LTE network, creating a viable third high-speed option. And by combining forces for greater purchasing power, Sharma says Sprint and SoftBank together gain serious leverage when negotiating with handset makers for access to the best new phones."

Mashable Tech
Link: FBI Warns of Malware Targeting Android Phones
"The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center is warning smartphone users of malware that targets Android (NASDAQ:GOOG) operating systems.

"'Loozon' and 'FinFisher' are the latest known versions of this type of malware, according to the IC3, which investigates Internet-related criminal complaints. The organization is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center."

ReadWriteWeb
Link: Cisco Execs Plumb the Limits of Cloud Computing
"Cloud computing has become the all-purpose buzzword of business computing - it can mean pretty much whatever you want it to mean. Networking giant Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) has totally bought in to the concept, but a couple of top execs also described what they see as limits on how far pure cloud computing will spread.

"In a drab conference room out by Oakland Airport, Cisco's Murali Sitaram (VP/GM Cloud Collaboration Applications) and Lew Tucker (VP, CTO Cloud Computing) explained the company's approach as they introduced additions to Cisco's Cloudverse family."

GigaOM
Link: Square Officially Ends Its New York Taxi Pilot
"After seven months of testing an iPad-based payment system in New York taxis, Square is officially terminating its pilot, well short of its original planned ending date, according to a letter sent to the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission on Friday.

"Square said it was ending its trial because it wanted to try a different hardware and software combination for the so-called 'passenger enhancement project.' The company explained that impending taxi regulations in New York and elsewhere meant it would be 'commercially unreasonable' to pursue a new hardware-software combination while still supporting the current pilot program."
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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