beiberThe rapid fall of BlackBerry has been one of the biggest, and perhaps saddest, tech news items of 2013. BlackBerry recently decided to keep going on its own after reported offers of buyouts from several companies did not go through. However, it's still questionable whether or not the business that once was one of the biggest smartphone makers in the world will still be around this time in 2014.

  Bloomberg Businessweek posted a new article that quotes a number of former BlackBerry employees, among others, about the history of the company. One funny, but still sad, statement came from Vincent Washington, BlackBerry's senior business development manager for a decade before leaving in 2011. He cited what could have been a huge promotional boost for the smartphones for very little money and effort several years ago, when BlackBerry was still using its Research in Motion name:

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Nokia Chairman elopMicrosoft's plans to acquire Nokia's Devices and Services business, which includes its smartphone hardware division, has cleared another hurdle. The plan has now been approved by U.S. government regulators.

The notice of approval from the Justice Department was posted on the Federal Trade Commission website today, showing that the actual thumbs-up was given on Friday. Microsoft first announced their plans to buy Nokia's smartphone business, including its Lumia smartphones running on Windows Phone, in early September for over $7 billion.

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We all hope for a joyous, fun-filled holiday season, but sometimes the work involved with the fun makes us a bit frantic. Between stringing lights, penning holiday letters, and shopping online for gifts, we may get frazzled enough to drop our guard. At least, that's what the scammers are hoping. The good people at McAfee have assembled a nice visual reminder, something to help us all keep from getting fleeced this season. Yes, you've heard some of this advice before, but now's a great time for a refresher course.

12-scams-of-christmas

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pirate keyboard keyApptricity, maker of logistics software useful for tracking location of soldiers and shipments in critical missions, has sued the US Government for defaulting on software license fees and operating unlicensed copies of the software for nearly a decade.

According to the company, the Government had unlawfully installed the software on 93 servers and around 9000 devices in addition to 500 licenses that were paid for. The license fees for the software are $1.35 million per server and $5000 per device which translates into $224 million in lost revenue.

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att-deathstarAT&T shareholders are being shut out from receiving information on any co-operation between the cellular giant and the U.S. government, despite leaks that suggest a close relationship with the telecoms industry and federal intelligence agencies.

In a letter obtained by the Associated Press, AT&T said it wasn't required to disclose to investors and shareholders what it does with customer data.

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One of the biggest suppliers of solid state drives has announced it has filed for bankruptcy after months of financial problems. San Jose, California-based OCZ Technology revealed its plans on Wednesday, along with a buyout offer from Toshiba.

ocz

OCZ released a number of other PC hardware products over the years since it launched in 2002, and even acquired a gaming PC maker, Hypersonic PC, in 2004. In later years, it gained a lot of fame as one of the biggest suppliers of consumer SSDs as prices for those storage drives started to come down.

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Last week, Microsoft launched a new campaign against another Google-based product: the Chromebook. Now the company is using one of its own, evangelist Ben Rudolph, to further Microsoft's notion that the Chromebook won't give consumers what they really need in a notebook. Rudolph did much the same thing in 2012 with the company's "Smoked by Windows Phone" campaign.

The Microsoft YouTube channel has a new video that shows Rudolph hitting the streets of Venice, California and asking people what kinds of things they like to do on a notebook. One person stated she uses her laptop for Photoshop and Illustrator. Another person stated she uses Microsoft Office programs like Word and Excel.

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google fanboyIt looks like Google is in trouble again in regards to its privacy policy as a Dutch regulator has clearly stated the company’s policy is “forbidden by law”.

The company behind the little search engine that could has managed to add another EU country to list of nations it has severely "annoyed" with the way it handles privacy. A number of European countries have launched investigations into Google’s practices and policies and all of them, including the UK and France have found that Google isn’t doing enough to inform users about what data it collects and how it uses it.

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MPAAFile-sharing website, Hotfile, has been ordered by the US District Court of Southern District of Florida to cease operations and pay about $80 million in damages for settling the copyright infringement lawsuit filed by the Motion Picture Association of America.

The lawsuit which began in early 2011 finally reached judgement today ending MPAA's litigation against the website and its Florida-based founder, Anton Titov. It was reported recently by TorrentFreak, that MPAA was seeking about $500 million in damages from Hotfile, but the court has awarded $80 million in damages to the various movie studios affected by the content shared on the website.

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Microsoft has released a new video for its Scroogled campaign and it’s clear, the gloves are off when it comes to bashing Google. In the clip, posted above, Microsoft has recruited a few of the cast members from Pawn Stars to talk about the Chromebook. The clip is nothing short of throwing mud directly at Google as Rick, the lead character in Pawn Stars, refuses to buy a Chromebook off of a potential customer because it is not a real laptop.

Rick says that because the Chromebook applications are web based, when you are not connected to the web, it’s basically a brick. Further, Rick says that by having the Chromebook logo, it’s not a real laptop because it doesn’t come with Office or Windows.

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