Tech 2.0 for Thursday, February 13, 2014

Contributor: Matt Davenport
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Updated: 2/13 3:01 pm


Comcast Corp. has confirmed that it plans to buy Time Warner Cable for about $45.2 billion in stock in a deal that would combine the nation's top two cable TV companies. The deal amounts to $158.82 per share, which is about 17 percent above the Wednesday closing price of Time Warner Cable Inc. shares. The deal trumps a proposal by Charter Communications Inc. to buy Time Warner for about $38 billion in cash and stock worth $132.50 per share and comes just a day after Charter said it was preparing a proxy fight by nominating a full slate of directors to Time Warner Cable's board.

You don't just have to be male or female on Facebook anymore. The social media giant is adding a customizable option with about 50 different terms people can use to identify their gender as well as three preferred pronoun choices: him, her or them. Facebook said the changes being rolled out Thursday for the company's 159 million U.S. users are aimed at giving people more choices in how they describe themselves, such as androgynous, bi-gender, intersex, gender fluid or transsexual. Facebook, which has 1.15 billion active monthly users around the world, also allows them to keep their gender identity private.

Verizon Wireless is offering $10 or $20 monthly discounts for subscribers who buy their phones through the company's installment plan. Before, customers who opted for Verizon's Edge plan had essentially been paying for their phones twice — through the installments and again as part of monthly service bills that include the costs of phone subsidies that Edge customers weren't taking advantage of. The discount doesn't fully cover the installments on high-end phones, but it helps. AT&T Inc. has already offered $15-a-month discounts for people on its Next installment plan, while T-Mobile did away with subsidies and reduced all service charges last March. In both cases, customers save if they buy their own device elsewhere and don't participate in the carrier's installment program. Verizon's discounts apply only to its installment customers.
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