Tech 2.0 for Monday, July 15, 2013
A court document says Lucasfilm and Pixar have settled a lawsuit that claims they and other giant companies conspired to keep wages down by agreeing not to poach each other's workers. In a Sunday filing, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh says lawyers representing the workers had notified her about the settlement with Lucasfilm and Pixar. Terms of the settlement weren't disclosed. The San Jose lawsuit still continues against Apple Inc., Google Inc., Intel Corp., Intuit Inc. and Adobe Systems Inc. It contends they schemed to cheat employees by artificially suppressing the demand for their services. A status report on efforts to settle the case is supposed to be filed by Friday. Emails seeking comment from Lucasfilm Ltd. and Pixar weren't immediately returned Monday. The Walt Disney Co. owns both companies.
Microsoft is slashing the price of its Surface RT tablet by $150 as it fights to increase its tiny share of the booming tablet market. The cut brings the price of the Surface RT with 32 gigabytes of memory to $349 without a cover, which also acts as a keyboard. Including a cover with a touch-sensitive keyboard, the device comes to $449. The Surface has a 10.1-inch screen measured diagonally. According to market research firm IDC, Microsoft shipped about 900,000 tablets in the first quarter of 2013. That includes both the slimmed-down RT version and the Pro version of Surface, which is compatible with regular Windows programs. That gives Microsoft a slim 1.8 percent share of the global tablet market. Apple is the leader with 39.6 percent.
A leading news magazine for Native Americans is dropping its print version to focus on its website. But some readers worry that could mean less access to news for older tribal members and those on remote reservations. This Week From Indian Country Today will become an online newsletter starting with the July 17 issue. The national weekly magazine based in New York City has been a leading source for news coverage for rural and urban Native Americans since 1981. Publisher Ray Halbritter says readers want to get news quickly, and the digital newsletter will help with that. Federal data show far fewer Native Americans have broadband Internet than the general population.
Headed to the beach or the pool? Sony is out with a new phone that can take a dunking and keep on talking. The company says the Xperia Z can even shoot video underwater. Sony says you can submerge the cellphone at least 3 feet deep for 30 minutes. The Xperia Z runs Sony's version of the Android operating system from Google. Sony touts a battery saving function called Stamina. It's supposed to block apps from checking for updates when your screen is off. Calls and texts will still come through, tough. In the U.S., T-Mobile is offering it exclusively, in black or purple. The up-front cost is $100, with $20 monthly payments over two years for a total cost of $580.