Tech 2.0 for Thursday, May 16, 2013

Contributor: Matt Davenport
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Updated: 5/16/2013 3:41 pm

A labor group hired by Apple Inc. to assess working conditions at three manufacturing plants in China, where its products are made, says conditions are improving. But employees are still working more hours than the country's legal limit. The Fair Labor Association said Thursday that Apple's largest supplier, Foxconn, has made all recommended improvements to working conditions that were due by the end of December. The group says there have been "notable increases" in workers' participation in union committees. Foxconn has reduced work hours, though not enough to comply with the Chinese legal limit of 40 hours per week, which it is scheduled to do by July. Foxconn is also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Apple joined the Fair Labor Association in January 2012.

Dell's first-quarter earnings plunged 79 percent as the shift to smartphones and tablets reduced demand for the company's personal computers. The dismal performance announced Thursday actually might work to Dell Inc.'s advantage. That's because Dell's board is trying to persuade shareholders to accept a $24.4 billion buyout offer from CEO Michael Dell and other investors. Some shareholders say the sales price of $13.65 per share is too low, but Dell's board contends it's a good deal in light of challenges facing the Round Rock, Texas, company. The company earned $130 million, or 7 cents per share, in the three months ending May 3. That compares with $635 million, or 36 cents per share, at the same time last year. Revenue dipped 2 percent to $14.1 billion.

Google is taking on music-streaming sites like Pandora and Spotify with its own music service. The company announced the launch of Google Play All Access at its Google I/O conference Wednesday. The service supposedly offers users more control of by allowing them to edit a radio play list long before the song begins. Google play all access will cost $9.99 a month in the U.S. after a one-month free trial period.

Apple says its customers have downloaded more than 50 billon applications from its App Store since its launch in 2008. Apple Inc. said Thursday that the 50 billionth download was a game called "Say the Same Thing" by Space Inch. The App Store had 500 apps when it first opened. It now has more than 850,000 individual apps for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The store hit the 10 billion downloads mark in early 2011 and 25 billion in March 2012. The 50 billion milestone does not include updates or re-downloads. Apps range from newspapers and magazines to games, business tools and travel applications.

Report: Apple supplier Foxconn still exceeding work hour laws - AppleInsider - Apple Insider

iPhone manufacturer rumored to want split: "Foxconn senses Apple's best time has come and gone"

RT @wallstreet: Dell $DELL profits slump 79% on slowing PC sales. Dow closes down 43 points at 15,233. Nasdaq down 7 at 3,465. $ADSK down on missed EPS est.

#Dell profit plunges 79% on falling #PC sales (by @jniccolai)

Google Play Music All Access: Android / US-only rollout is just the start

Google announces All Access music subscription service at I/O developers conference; live video, updates:

Introducing Google Play Music All Access, a new music subscription service that blends your music collection with ours. #io13 #keynote

Apple just served up its 50 billionth app. And one lucky app user won a $10,000 iTunes 'thank you' gift card

We just hit 50 billion app downloads. Thank you. It couldn't have happened without you. #50BillionApps

Apple passes 50 billion App Store downloads
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