iFive: iPhone 5 NFC, Spacecraft Orbits Mercury, Microsoft Kills Spam, Friendfinder to IPO, Is Groupon Worth $25 Billion?

1. Reports of the demise of wireless payment NFC tech in the upcoming iPhone 5 may be exaggerated: A new rumor has surfaced, purporting to come from an entrepreneur working on a "secret" NFC project, that suggests Apple will indeed support the contact-free system in its new edition. This backs up moves by Apple in January to hire an NFC/RFID expert.

2. Late yesterday a little NASA spacecraft pulled off a world's (or should that be "space's"?) first: The Messenger vehicle successfully fired its retro rockets, commanded by NASA 96 million miles away, to put itself in orbit around Mercury--a feat that's never been done before by anyone. We can expect miraculous data to start arriving about our solar system's innermost planet in just a few weeks.

3. If your inbox is freer of spam emails than it usually is this morning, you've got Microsoft and the Feds to thank. As part of a civil lawsuit filed in Seattle, MS and U.S. Marshalls launched a number of raids to cease the operations of the botnet called "Rustok," a system behind many of the typical spam emails that comprise a huge percentage of global email traffic. An MS spokesman says the raids were "100% effective."

4. Remember Friendfinder? It canceled plans to IPO over a year ago because of bad market conditions, but apparently the trading situation has improved enough to please the company's execs and financial backers: It's just filed an S-1 amendment form with the SEC to re-start its IPO. The company is an offshoot of Penthouse (actually it's Media Group), and when it last tried to IPO it was valued at close to $500 million.

5. Meanwhile there's a brouhaha swelling over the potential value of Groupon at IPO. Last April it was valued at $1.4 billion, then later in the year it turned down a $6 billion acquisition offer from Google. Now there's a rumor its valuation could poke as high as $25 billion--an astonishingly high figure. Is it a realistic one, or is it a symptom of another tech investment bubble?

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