Apple and Google have won praise from privacy proponents for efforts to encrypt their latest smartphones in a way that would prevent law enforcement from accessing certain private data. The FBI, not so much.

Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey told reporters Thursday that the agency is talking to both companies to raise concerns that their privacy efforts could hinder criminal investigations.

Apple last week touted that with release of its latest operating system iOS8, it no longer could bypass the smartphone user passwords.

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Microsoft is expected to layoff more employees this week, according to insiders at the company, but these are all part of the 18,000 that were announced back in July. The news is expected to be announced on the 18th of this week but the exact number of cuts is not known.

Back in July, Microsoft said that they would cut 18,000 employees, which will cost them 1.1 to 1.6 billion dollars when the cuts are completed. These new cuts are part of the initial announcement and is the second wave of announcements for the company.

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Phones 4u, one of the UK's largest independent device retailers, collapsed into administration earlier this month, resulting in the immediate closure of its 550 stores across the country, as well as its website. The move came after two of the UK's largest networks - EE and Vodafone - withdrew their sales support from the chain, making it impossible for it to continue operations with so few major carriers still on board.

But it’s also conceivable that at least a certain batch of the 6 Plus phones were not up to Apple’s standards with OEMs being under so much pressure to fill the huge demand.

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Microsoft has been working hard to improve its Xbox One since its launch last year, with a steady stream of monthly updates delivering new features to the console, with plenty more lined up in the coming months.

Delivering improvements on the software side is a relatively simple way to make the console even better at no extra cost to the user. But some users have been experiencing a rather intrusive problem on the hardware side of things which, it seems, cannot be fixed with a software update.

As Kotaku reports, Microsoft has acknowledged that a "small number of customers" are being affected by excessive amounts of noise coming from the console.

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Security researchers have discovered a very serious vulnerability in Bash, the popular shell used in various Linux and Unix based operating systems.

Exploiting this vulnerability, termed as "Shellshock", hackers can take control of any device running on operating systems that make use of Bash for command line operations.

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Microsoft is in "serious discussions" to buy Mojang, the creator of the massively popular online game Minecraft, for more than $2 billion dollars.

The new report comes from the Wall Street Journal, who hinted that the deal could potentially come later this week. Mojang has long prided itself on being an "indie" company and keeping its in-house development team fairly small, so selling to Microsoft would be the largest development for the company thus far. Mojang currently employs 22 staffers, but less than half are developers and artists for Mojang's games.

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Home Depot confirmed Thursday that hackers exposed 56 million credit and debit cards during its months-long security breach.

The company also said it had eliminated the malware behind the attack from its payment systems.

Card readers that encountered the malware, which Home Depot said was a custom strain its security team had never seen before, were removed from service. The company is also beefing up its payment data encryption capabilities and other security measures.

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Microsoft's former CEO, Steve Ballmer, is credited with writing the original Blue Screen of Death text that has become a staple of the Windows platform. In a new blog post penned a few days back, Ballmer is given credit for re-writing the text that appears on the infamous BSOD that we all know and love.

The post talks about how he got involved with the text that would appear during a BSOD:

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Microsoft has announced this morning that it will be acquiring Mojang, the game studio behind Minecraft, for $2.5 billion. The wildly popular game is available on many different devices and is one of the most popular games of all time.

It's an interesting purchase for Microsoft, but the IP is highly valuable and the company will likely use the game to leverage many of its platforms.

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Despite his assurance that the recent iCloud hacking scandal wasn't a result of a security breach or compromise of the service itself, Apple CEO Tim Cook has announced that the company will be implementing new features in order to provide an extra layer of security in case of any unauthorized account access.

The statement came in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, where Cook discussed the iCloud hacks and how the events transpired. Most notable was his reiteration that the attacks were all targeted, and that no compromise of iCloud's security or infrastructure -- large scale or otherwise -- had occurred.

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