Apple Shares Soar, China Tightens Net Access, EMI Exec Loves Pirates, HTC Wants Apple IP Chat, Google On "Real Names" Fiasco

This and other breaking news, updated throughout the day by Fast Company's editors.

The Old Spice Battle Is On. The old Old Spice guy, Isaiah Mustafa is going mano a mano with interloper Fabio today on the brand’s YouTube channel. Each spokesman will tackle online commenters’ queries, like @taylorphyllis’ request for help writing a love letter. Viewers can vote for their favorite. Night vision tophat! —TI

Apple Shares Rise Past $400. Seemingly well on its way to becoming the world's most valuable company, Apple's share price today blasted through the $400 ceiling, and kept going. Of course, the stock market being what it is there's no guarantee it'll stay there...but that's not the point. Those predictions of lots of upside in Apple's price now seem even more plausible. —KE

—Updated 12:05 p.m. EST.

China Snoops More On Its Netizens. Censorship-centric Chinese Net policies are actually getting stricter:Authorities are now requiring venues that offer web access to install expensive monitoring software that can track and control what visiting customers can reach on the Internet—as well as reporting the indentity of the users themselves. There's a heavy fine for avoiding the $3,000-plus requirement, so many businesses are simply terminating their service. Not such a smart move for Beijing's tourist industry, perhaps? —KE

Acer And Asus MacBook Air Clones Will Cost More. Proof that Apple's product design-engineering-manufacture synergies are honed to very high levels has emerged in news that both Acer's and Asus' ultralight MacBook Air clone "ultrabooks" will likely cost far more than the entry-level Airs do. It's partly an aim at high-quality kudos at a high price, and partly due to constraints enforced by component pricing—and it's an interesting admission from two firms that were kings of the netbook. —KE

Ex EMI Boss Loves Pirates. Former Googler Douglass Merrill has made an amazing statement: EMI's own secret internal research confirms what many have long thought—music pirates are actually a record label's best customers, going on to spend more on legitimate music purchases than the average consumer via stores like iTunes. Merrill also said the practice of suing pirates was akin to "trying to sell soap by throwing dirt on your customers." Will the music industry see sense? Don't hold your breath, most likely. —KE

—Updated 7:30 a.m. EST

smartphonewars

HTC Wants IP Discussions With Apple. This is a more adult way of doing business: Fresh from a torrid legal battle that's seen minor victories scored on both sides (most recently, and most seriously in Apple's favor) HTC is signalling that it would like high-level talks with Apple over who is violating whose patents in their smartphone devices, and how the legal battle can be ended smoothly. Talks have happened before, but not since the ITC's rulings over the last several months. —KE

Google Responds To Real Names Fiasco With Partial Fix. Google's responded to the ongoing "real names" fiasco which has seen disconnection of users with psuedonyms or just with names that abide by international norms but disagree with Google's rules. The system needs work, and according to Google's Ben Horowitz there will be improvements in the sign-up process as well as the alert that "violating" accounts get. And Google's investigating how do deal with nicknames, pseudonyms, and maiden names. All very well, but when will Google get international and realize that names like Topol are real names too? —KE 

Twitter's New Monetizing Execs. Twitter's quest for serious profitability is continuing with an interesting adjustment to its management: Three new folks with deep knowledge of the agency and marketing spheres. Its new director of global brand strategy is CEO of Moxie—a digital ad agency with clients like Coca Cola and Verizon—and a senior executive from E-trade, and one from a Facebook software marketing firm called Vitrue. Twitter's very serious about promoted tweets, it seems. —KE

—Updated 7:15 a.m. EST

[Image: Flickr user laihiu]

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