Tech 2.0 for Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Contributor: Matt Davenport
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Updated: 10/16/2012 1:04 pm


Microsoft's discontinued "Zune" failed to offer much competition for the Apple iPod portable music player. But now the tech giant is taking on Apple's music dominance again -- with a different approach. This image from Microsoft shows off its new service, "X-box Music". It starts rolling out this week. Microsoft says the all-in-one service will feature music purchasing like iTunes. But also promises streaming online radio like Pandora, and a subscription service similar to Spotify. It's available right now to owners of the X-box 360 video game console. Microsoft will expand the service to P-Cs, phones and tablets when Windows 8 comes out later this month. It will eventually be available on the Apple iPhone and iPad as well.

Amazon is telling Kindle customers they'll be getting a credit on prior e-book purchases. It's part of a settlement between some major e-book publishers and the government. A federal judge last month approved the U.S. Justice Department's settlement with Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, which were accused of conspiring in a price-fixing scheme. The agreement requires the publishers to abandon the pricing system that they had conceived with Apple before it released its iPad tablet in 2010. The publishers must also provide the funds for the Kindle credit. If the settlement is approved by the court in February, the credit will be applied to customers' accounts. State Attorneys General estimate the credit will be from 30 cents to $1.32 for every eligible Kindle book purchased between April 2010 and May 2012. The credit can be used to buy e-books or print books, or customers can request a check in the amount of the credit.

Just in time for the holidays, Nintendo is dropping the price of its six-year-old Wii console to a suggested retail price of $129.99. The new configuration includes a black Wii console, both Wii sports and Wii sports resort on a single game disc, a Wii remote plus and a nunchuk controller.

The launch of the latest iPhone helped fuel a 1.1 percent surge in retail sales in September. The Commerce Department says sales of electronics and appliances last month increased by 4 and a half percent. Economist Chris Christopher Jr. says Apple's new iPhone was definitely a factor. He estimates that 4 million iPhones were sold in the U.S. in the latter half of the month.

There's word that EBay's PayPal is planning layoffs in the coming weeks. That's according to people familiar with the plans. Bloomberg says the cuts could affect as many as 400 of PayPal's almost 13,000 employees. PayPal says it has told employees about plans to "strengthen and simplify" how it creates and delivers products. It hasn't said how that might affect jobs.


#Microsoft's music streaming service comes to the #Xbox today. Can it take on #Spotify, #Pandora? http://t.co/p2RuQxo3

Microsoft launching Xbox Music on Oct. 16 ahead of Windows 8 release http://t.co/fqyQU3lJ

Microsoft launches a new digital music service today called XBox Music: http://t.co/jU9fyPGd

Amazon says Kindle users are entitled to e-book refunds | Reuters http://t.co/mQ98TOU0

Amazon & Apple will give e-book customers a credit as part of recent price-fixing settlement. http://t.co/MpMJLKlJ

Nintendo cuts the price of Wii ahead of Wii U launch: http://t.co/ToytnA1I

Nintendo To Drop Price Of Wii To $129 For Holiday Season http://t.co/upTdNId6

eBay To Fire Hundreds Of PayPal Workers $EBAY http://t.co/L8mhKoXJ
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