On this day in history: 4 a.m., March 28th, 1979 marked the time of the U.S.'s worst nuclear disaster, as clouds of radioactive steam vented into the atmosphere above the failed Three Mile Island nuclear power station in Pennsylvania—the public wasn't warned until 9 a.m. More happily, in 1797 a chap name Nathaniel Briggs of New Hampshire patented a washing machine. On with the news:
1. According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is taking its NFC plans very seriously and has now partnered with MasterCard and Citigroup to create an in-store wireless credit card payment platform. Google's even patented a system that places its digital shopping services at the core of some of the transactions—acting as a virtual shopping cart and coordinating delivery. It's half about getting rich customer data, and half about beating Apple.
2. Warner Bros. grabbed some headlines and raised some speculation and confusion recently when it revealed plans to rent the movie Dark Knight via streaming systems inside Facebook. Now the company is raising its stake and will add five more titles to the experiment, including blockbuster Inception and the first two Harry Potter movies. Can we take it that the experiment is succeeding, and people, for whatever reason, actually do want to watch movies inside Facebook?
3. Samsung grabbed headlines last week with a new, improved Galaxy Tab lineup carefully crafted to tackle the iPad 2. But it's emerged that Samsung has been bending the truth to try to garner limelight—and it's been called out for its nefarious tactics. The new 10.1-inch Tab, which is thinner than the iPad according to Samsung, may actually be slightly thicker. And the over-enthusiastic Tab users in Samsung's promo videos have proved to all be actors, pretending to be real people.
4. As if to prove it's really got market chops, Facebook is rumored to be courting former Obama aide Robert Gibbs as an advisor before its expected IPO in 2012. According to inside sources, talks with Gibbs are in an early stage and no agreement has been reached, but Facebook hopes to lure him away from his plans to help with Obama's re-election campaign to help it manage its public image, lobbying positions and public communications.
5. In the long, drawn-out patent battle between ailing Nokia and ascendant Apple, a key decision has just swung Apple's way: A judge has decided that Apple doesn't violate five key Nokia patents. The next step may be for the ITC to throw out the entire case at a meeting in August. The ITC is also scrutinizing the billion-dollar patent war between ailing photography firm Kodak and Apple (and RIM), but meanwhile there's no news about patent law reform in the U.S.
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