Walt Mossberg’s Review
The Dell Venue 7 is a heck of a buy for a brand-name Android tablet, says Walt Mossberg, but if you can spare more money, you’ll get a better experience in a more expensive small tablet.
Google Inc.’s hopes of settling its high-profile antitrust case in the European Union suffered a setback Thursday as rivals and consumer groups publicly blasted its latest proposal for resolving the EU’s competition concerns.
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After shopping it around for a few months, Google has found a buyer for Motorola Home, which makes set-top boxes, cable modems and related equipment. The business, one of the acquired Motorola Mobility assets Google is shedding, will go to Arris, a broadband media tech outfit, for $2.35 billion in cash and stock.
Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, and Jared Cohen, director of Google Ideas, will address the promises and pitfalls of a digitally connected world in a book titled “The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business,” due out on April 23 from Knopf.
As tipped by Liz Gannes last month, Google has indeed acquired Meebo, which in its current incarnation is making tools that allows users to create interest profiles and publishers to increase user engagement. The price was not revealed, but was reportedly in the $100 million neighborhood. The Meebo team will be folded into the ever-growing Google+ social structure.
According to a regulatory filing, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt plans to sell as much as $1.5 billion in Google stock over the course of the year as part of a trading plan adopted in November. The sale of up to 2.4 million shares would cut his ownership stake to about 2.1 percent from 2.8 percent.
Just hours after European Union antitrust regulators gave the okay to Google’s $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility, their counterparts at the U.S. Department of Justice did the same. The DOJ echoed the EU concern over how Google will handle standards essential patents and said it would be watching, but it concluded overall that “the specific transactions at issue are not likely to significantly change existing market dynamics.” Also approved was the sale of a batch of Nortel patents to a consortium composed of Apple, Microsoft and RIM.
Google’s annual Zeitgeist roundup of the year’s fastest-rising queries once again reflected the world’s fascination with celebrities and tragedies (or in the case of 2011’s No. 1, Rebecca Black, a combination of the two). But the real winner was anything to do with Apple — among the year’s Top 10 were searches on the anticipated iPhone 5, the iPad 2 and the late Steve Jobs. Lots more grist in the various categories.
YouTube’s movie rental operation is getting a big infusion of Disney over the next few weeks. Google announced today that the first handful of what will eventually be hundreds of films from Disney, Pixar and DreamWorks Studios are now available on the service in the U.S. and Canada, joining movies from Sony Pictures, Universal and Warner Bros.
Amazingly, nothing bad happened to me at Google. Everyone just laughed at me a lot, all the way up to the top, for having committed what must be the great-granddaddy of all Reply-All screwups in tech history. But they also listened, which is super cool.