Today in Tech: Oracle, Amazon, and WikiLeaks

December 2, 2010, 11:00 AM UTC

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.

“I remember him [Larry Ellison] very distinctly telling me one time: Bruce, we can’t be successful unless we lie to customers. … All the things that you would read in books of somebody being a leader, he wasn’t.  But he was tenacious; he would never give up on anything.”

— Bruce Scott, Oracle co-founder (Tech Crunch and Bloomberg TV)

  • Tim O'Shaughnessy, CEO and co-founder of LivingSocial. Photo: The Washington Post

    LivingSocial, the number two most popular local deals site (Groupon being number one) could receive a hefty investment from Amazon amounting to $150 million, raising its valuation to $1 billion-plus. (BoomTown)

  • Mozilla community coordinator Asa Dotzler is so tired of Apple, Microsoft, and Google sneaking plug-in installations into Firefox without his express consent, that Dotzler to his blog this week and told them to “stop being evil.” “In my book, that fits the definition of a trojan horse. Yes, that is precisely how a trojan horse operates. These additional pieces of software installed without my consent may not be malicious but the means by which they were installed was sneaky, underhanded, and wrong.” (Los Angeles Times)
  • WikiLeaks’s downtime yesterday was at least partly due to Amazon refusing to host the Wikileaks site on Amazon Web Services moving forward. (The site is now hosted by a Swedish provider.) Said Senator Joe Leiberman: “Wikileaks’ illegal, outrageous, and reckless acts have compromised our national security and put lives at risk around the world. No responsible company — whether American or foreign — should assist Wikileaks in its efforts to disseminate these stolen materials.” (TechCrunch)
  • As part of an FTC report strongly suggesting that social networking sites set up a “Do Not Track” feature for users to opt out of pesky targeted ads, the commission recommends integration of a new browser feature like a “Do Not Track” button. (Ars Technica)
  • Old Navy is the first company to use Apple’s EasyPay nifty point-of-sale system, which, if you’ve visited an Apple Store, transforms an iPhone into a mobile credit card machine. Old Navy stores have receipts printed wirelessly via nearby printers or mini-printers toted by employees on their belts. (9 to 5 Mac)
  • Verizon will launch its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in 38 markets and 60-plus airports this Sunday. Also coming: two LTE dongles, the LG VL600 and Pantech UML290, priced at $99.99 after a $50 rebate and with a two-year contract. (The Motley Fool)
  • Netflix signed a multi-year deal with film distribution company FilmDistrict to bring first-run films to its Netflix Instant library. According to the company, major movie releases traditionally licensed to premium cable channels will go instead to Netflix for streaming starting next year. (Read Write Web)
  • After The New York Times published an eye-opening feature on shady eyeglass e-commerce site DecorMyEyes earlier this week, Google developed a search algorithm that detects merchants that provide “bad user experience” and makes sure they appear lower in search results. (TechCrunch)
  • The BP oil spill was the number one most searched topic on Yahoo this year. (CBS News)
  • NYU announced the Technology Venture Competition, open to students, faculty and researchers, aimed at giving aspiring entrepreneurs educational, mentoring and financial support and encouraging new ventures. Cash prizes totaling $250,000 will be awarded to three winners. (NYU)