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Tech Companies Ramp Up Fight Against Patent Trolls

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Google, BlackBerry, Earthlink and Red Hat today petitioned the Federal Trade Commission to crack down on companies whose chief business is enforcing patents held by individuals. The move came one day after cloud host Rackspace announced that it was suing one such patent assertion entity, IP Nav, for violating a previous agreement that both companies would provide 30 days notice before suing over a group of contested patents.

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Social Media Newsfeed: Foursquare’s Future | Child Trafficking on Facebook?

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Foursquare Replacing Check-in Data with Data from APIs, Crowley Indicates (SocialTimes)
Foursquare CEO and co-founder Dennis Crowley indicated that the company does not need users to check in to businesses and other points of interest to retain relevance as a local search engine, suggesting that the company can rely instead on data sent from apps that use its API. “If people think it’s all about mayorships, that muddles the story. We’re starting to put a lot of that stuff in the background,” Crowley said in a keynote presentation at South by Southwest, the tech confabulation where Foursquare launched four years ago.

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Neil Gaiman & BlackBerry Team Up for Storytelling Project

Novelist Neil Gaiman and BlackBerry have teamed up to create a storytelling project called A Calendar of Tales.

Gaiman will write a new tale for every month of the year, drawing inspiration and illustrations from his millions of online fans. The project will create “an amazing calendar showcasing your illustrations beside Neil’s stories.” We’ve embedded a video explanation above.

Here’s how to join the project: “Why is January so dangerous? Tweet your answer to Neil’s question and your thoughts could be the inspiration for his January story. Make sure you’re following BlackBerry so if you’re lucky enough to be chosen by Neil we’ll be able to contact you directly. If you’re not a follower, we won’t be able to use your tweet. Start sending Neil your tweets from 5pm GMT 4th February and get them in by 5pm GMT 6th February.”

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Social Media Newsfeed: Instagram Privacy | Apple-Foursquare Talks?

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Instagram Assures Users it Will Not Sell Their Photos (SocialTimes)
Tuesday morning tech blogs and social media lit up with users reacting to changes to Instagram’s privacy policies, which some users took to give the company permission to sell user’s photographs to advertisers. Instagram has taken notice and has issued a response reassuring users that it is not claiming rights to their photos.

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Social Media Newsfeed: Zuckerberg Speaks | iPhone 5 | 9/11 Anniversary

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Mark Zuckerberg Discusses Mobile, IPO, Search and Facebook’s Future (AllFacebook)
At TechCrunch’s Disrupt SF event in San Francisco Tuesday, Facebook CEO and co-Founder Mark Zuckerberg — dressed in a grey shirt, jeans and tennis shoes — kept a happy tone as he discussed his company’s focus on mobile, the brain drain, its initial public offering, search and his vision for the future. This was Zuckerberg’s first public address since Facebook’s IPO in May. AP He emphasized that Facebook cared about making money as well as pursuing his mission to make the world a “more open and connected place.” Zuckerberg also repeated his belief that the company would figure out numerous ways to profit from the growing number of its 955 million worldwide users who visit the social network through mobile applications instead of Web browsers on desktop computers. ZDNET Zuckerberg identified what he called Facebook’s biggest strategic mistake in the last few years: “The biggest mistake we made as a company was betting too much on HTML5 rather than native.” A large portion of the audience seemed to be in accord with Zuckerberg on this one (or at least fans of native apps) as his ensuing explanation garnered a bit of applause. San Francisco Chronicle One rumor that has echoed for two years is that Facebook is building its own smartphone, but Zuckerberg said that as juicy as those reports may sound, they are off base. “It’s so clearly the wrong strategy for us,” he said. The New York Times/Bits Blog Zuckerberg’s remarks seemed to have a positive effect; immediately after he spoke, Facebook shares rose about 3 percent in after-hours trading. Still, Facebook shares are now worth roughly half of the public offering price, and Zuckerberg is under intense pressure to restore its credibility among investors, a problem he acknowledged. Read more

Blackberry App World Downloads Hit 3 Billion

While Research in Motion as analysts and journalists speculate that the company may be going out of business, today’s news from the company is actually quite positive.

Blackberry App World –RIM’s answer to the App Store or Google Play– has hit 3 billion downloads. The Blackberry Developer’s blog has more:

Three billion app downloads averages out to over 2.5 million downloads each day.  What’s even more important – and impressive – is that the number of daily downloads continues to increase. It took 786 days to reach the one billion mark, 210 days to reach two billion, and only 176 days to reach the three billion number. I should also note that this number does not include apps downloaded from third party BlackBerry app stores, or those pushed internally at companies around the world, or those downloaded directly from the web.