Tech 2.0 for Thursday, March 6, 2014
A federal judge in California has denied Apple's request to permanently ban Samsung from selling 23 older-model smartphones and tablets smartphones that a jury found infringed on patents held by the maker of iPhones and iPads. Judge Lucy Koh on Thursday said Apple failed to prove that the South Korean company's patent infringement caused irreparable harm to Apple sales. Apple accused Samsung of ripping off designs for its iPhone and iPad. A jury in 2012 found that close to two dozen of Samsung's products used technology controlled by Apple. Apple's allegations involved touchscreen features such as tapping and swiping. Koh said she was not convinced those features drive consumer demand for Samsung products. The two biggest smartphone makers are scheduled to begin a third patent trial later this month.
Disney says it is laying off 700 people from the interactive unit that makes video games and operates websites, about a quarter of the workforce in the division. A Walt Disney Co. spokesman confirmed the layoffs Thursday. The move narrows the company's focus on mobile and social games that use key Disney characters. Some games that Disney acquired when it bought social game maker Playdom in 2010 for $563 million, such as Sorority Life, will be discontinued. It is also discontinuing one-time hits, such as music play-along game, Tap Tap Revenge. Disney Interactive had long been a money-losing unit and last month posted only its third profitable quarter since results began being broken out in 2008, thanks in part to its Disney Infinity console game, which Disney will keep supporting.
Google's mystery barge is floating toward its new home in California's delta after being ordered to leave San Francisco. The barge departed from Treasure Island early Thursday to comply with a Jan. 31 regulatory order concluding that Google Inc. didn't have the proper permits to build the four-story vessel there. Google says the odd-looking vessel consisting of steel shipping containers will be anchored in Stockton, a city located about 80 miles east of San Francisco on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River delta. The Port of Stockton falls outside the jurisdiction of the agency that forced the barge to leave Treasure Island. Google says the barge will serve as an interactive technology center once it's done. There has been speculation that it might be used as an aquatic store or party boat.