iFive: Zynga’s Billions, No iPhone Mini, Gov’t vs FCC’s Net Neutral Rules, Apple App Store Bills, Facebook Hosts “Civil Union”

Before the weekend arrives there’s one last day of work, so let’s get up to speed with the early tech news:

1. Zynga, controversial casual online gaming giant, is in the headlines again, this time because it’s raising $500 million in funding in its current round, which puts the company value at about $10 billion–more than Twitter. This time the cash comes from big names like Morgan Stanley, and it’s part of the early maneuvers before Zynga IPOs.


2. The New York Times is squashing rumors that Apple’s working on an iPhone Mini to expand its sales into a new market–according to insiders who’ve spoken to the paper, and who’ve seen the devices. Apple is working on a cheaper phone, they say, using cheaper materials for a lower price point, but the smaller device is ruled out due to design and practicality constraints.

3. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a budget bill amendment that un-funds the FCC’s net neutrality plans–those controversial neutral/non-neutral for wired/wireless Internet regulations the FCC announced late last year. According to the government the FCC has no right to enforce these regulations, and it’s bitten the FCC where it hurts to prove it.

4. Faced with controversy as kids are running up large bills with in-app purchases on iOS devices, Apple’s apparently considering a reduction in the 15-minute automatic sign-in period during which purchases can be made without knowing the iTunes password (the trick kids are using to buy in-game extras). It’s a simple tweak for Apple, but the added security may anger many expert iOS users, and it sets an industry precedent.

5. Speaking of precedents. Facebook is used by something like one tenth of the human population, so the social precedents it sets are important: Sensitive to this, the social networking site has just added “civil union” to the list of relationship statuses that users can select. It seems to only exist for users in some countries, but has been embraced by the gay and lesbian communities as a very positive move.

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