Blackberry might be down, but not out yet.

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Rejoice Blackberry lovers (currently in minority) your favorite platform will get a shot in the arm soon. Visa has approved the technology which will enable Blackberry users to swipe mobile phones and make the payments. It was announced on Wednesday by RIM that Visa has given the green signal for RIM to develop the technology which will enable this.

“It’s a good sign to see that the hardware providers and the carriers and the financial institutions are becoming increasingly co-ordinated on how they’re gong to go to market on this,” said Doug Macdonald, senior manager at Deloitte Canada. “The more these types of standards being approved the better it is for consumers.”

More than 1600 customers in North America had registered for the program which helps the customers to ease the transition to Blackberry 10 and Blackberry Enterprise Server 10. Customers included more than 60 Fortune 500 companies and top Government organizations.  Shares of RIM which fell as low as $6.22 in September, have more than doubled in value since.

RIM’s announcement will likely increase the interest of mobile phone payments in US where the adoption has been low due to security concerns and long standing habits of using credit cards. In Japan and South Korea, people have already been using this from the past decade to pay their transportation costs which was helped in large by the co-operation between carriers and banks.

Internet pioneer commits suicide.

Co-founder of Reddit and a warrior who championed the cause of freedom on the Internet Aaron Swartz died at a young age of 26, authorities confirmed yesterday. This caused outpour from the online community who all had much to grieve about the life and times of Aaron Swartz.

His uncle Micheal Wolf told that Aaron hanged himself and that a friend discovered the body. At a young age of 14, Aaron helped in creating the RSS the popular tool which helps in subscribing to online information. He later became an Internet hero, in which he wanted to make online legal information free to the world. He was charged with illegally downloading 4.8 million documents from JOSTR, a paid service which distributes scientific and literary documents. 

If found guilty he would have faced decades in prison and US$ 1 million in fines. People close to him have said that facing years in prison in which he would lose his liberty might have prompted him to take this extreme decision. He was also battling depression, a fact which he had made public.

Harvard Law School’s Safra Center for Ethics director Lawrence Lessig had this to say “To the co-creator of RSS, of the Creative Commons architecture, of part of Reddit and of endless love and inspiration and friendships, rest. We are all incredibly sorry to have let you down”

We at the Nature Of Technology deeply mourn the loss of Aaron Swartz. RIP

FTC examination of Google dropped

Heave a sigh of relief Google. You have been cleared. In a statement by the FTC, it was announced that Google was NOT manipulating its search engine so as to get Google’s own sites at an advantage.

Google although has made a voluntary agreement that competitor’s will have much more access to their own information. It was also agreed that Google will be ‘fair and reasonable’ when other competitors will access Motorola Mobility’s (Google owned) patents.  These patents are considered very important to the smartphone industry such as the patent for Internet over wifi. If Google was charging exorbitant prices for these patents in the past, it was very wrong of Google to do so. It would have led to decreased innovation, and the FTC is right in legally binding Google to be fair and reasonable.

Although all is not well with the competitors who wanted the investigation results to go the other way. Fairprice, an organization which represents many of Google’s critics such as Microsoft, Yelp, Expedia said the below in a statement.

“The FTC’s decision to close its investigation with only voluntary commitments from Google is disappointing and premature, coming just weeks before the company is expected to make a formal and detailed proposal to resolve the four abuses of dominance identified by the European Commission, first among them biased display of its own properties in search results.”

Reacting to the decision Google’s Chief Legal officer David Drummond said “The US Federal Trade Commission today announced it has closed its investigation into Google after an exhaustive 19-month review that covered millions of pages of documents and involved many hours of testimony. “The conclusion is clear: Google’s services are good for users and good for competition.”

FTC might have cleared Google, but Google has to submit an answer to the EU where a parallel investigation is being conducted. Officials from EU have reviewed the decision from FTC and have said that the decision will not have an effect on the EU investigation.