Today in Tech: News around the Web

September 28, 2010, 10:30 AM UTC

A round-up of the companies, deals, and trends that made headlines.

Every day, the Fortune staff spends hours poring over tech stories, posts, and reviews from all over the Web to keep tabs on the companies that matter. We’ve assembled the day’s most newsworthy bits below.

“We think it sets a dangerous precedent.”
— State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley on the UAE BlackBerry ban (
All Things D)

  • Research in Motion (RIMM) finally unveiled its .9 lb. tablet competitor, the PlayBook. (Sorry, “BlackPad,” fans.). Specs include a 7-inch, 1024 x 600 capacitive touch screen (full multi-touch and gesture support, natch), a 1 GHz dual-core ARM processor of RAM, dual HD cameras (front: 3 MP, 5 MP back) with 1080p HD video recording capability, and a brand-new BlackBerry Tablet OS with Web OS-like multitasking. (Engadget)


  • AOL (AOL) is reportedly in final talks to acquire TechCrunch. Could this mean the end to Michael Arrington’s famously independent streak? (Our guess: probably not) (GigaOm)
  • British Segway Inc. owner Jimi Heselden rode an off-road Segway off a Yorkshire cliff yesterday. The 62-year-old philanthropist, who bought the once-promising “personal transporter”-manufacturer in 2009, made his wealth as chairman of Hesco Bastion Ltd., the maker of blast wall foundations used to protect soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Daniel Domscheit-Berg, spokesman for WikiLeaks, stepped down because increasing friction with founder Julian Assange left him with no other option but “an orderly departure.” (The New York Times)
  • Zynga CEO Mark Pincus believes the Web will eventually resemble his company, with advertising making up a small part of overall revenue. Said Pincus: “As big as ads are, I think what I call the user-pay economy will be much bigger than the advertising economy.” (GigaOm)
  • Clarium Capital president Peter Thiel says Facebook is relatively undervalued compared to other big tech properties. (VentureBeat)
  • IBM (IBM) agreed to purchase embedded/top-of-rack Ethernet switch-maker Blade Network Technologies for an undisclosed amount. Blade customers include more than 50% of the Fortune 500 companies. (The New York Times)
  • HP (HPQ) finalized its acquisition of data storage company 3PAR for a cool $2.35 billion. (Digital Daily)
  • Nokia (NOKBF) apparently developed an iPhone-like smartphone with a large touchscreen in 2004 but killed it because they thought it would probably flop. (Toss that one in the growing heap of mistakes the company has already made.) (MobileBeat)
  • Meet Namesake: a startup by former MySpace execs Dan Gould and Brian Norgard that’s designed to be part LinkedIn, part Twitter and part Facebook. Users can import their Twitter and Facebook contacts, post jobs, recommend people for job opps, and so on. (TechCrunch)
  • HP Executive Vice President Todd Bradley predicts the tablet market will account for over $40 billion in revenue over the next few years. (Boy Genius Report)
  • Promoted Tweets, those sneaky sponsored ads posing as normal-looking user Tweets, apparently sell for somewhere in the ballpark of $100,000. (Read Write Web)
  • Gilt CEO Susan Lyne and Gilt chairman Kevin Ryan will switch roles. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Textbook rental company Chegg raised another $75 million in funding. (It’s estimated the company will make $130 million in revenue this year.) (paidContent)
  • According to a new study posted on Smart Data Collective, the most popular words that appear in Retweets are “increase,” “socialize,” “automate,” and “manage.” (Read Write Web)