1. Google’s presence in China, always in the balance after its very public spat with the Chinese government over censorship, seems to be at a critical juncture. Stats show the firm’s share of search in China is rapidly shrinking, but Google itself maintains its income from Chinese firms buying advertising is actually rising. Last week the government alleged Google was abusing tax laws–something Google denies. The global search giant may be about to lose its final foothold in China, and local (state-connected) companies may steal its business.
2. Anonymous, the loosely-associated hacker collective, seems to be taking on the mantle of global Net-based activists: It’s latest move, played out over the weekend, seems to have successfully targeted the online presence of Sony with a DDoS attack. Sony’s crime? A hard-pressed legal pursuit of hacker George Hotz who successfully hacked the PS3. Sony’s moves, which seem bizarrely disproportionate even to independent observers, are an abuse of the “judicial system” motivated by “corporate greed,” says Anon.
3. Apple once tried to say jailbreaking its iPhone was illegal, but the practice is increasingly common. Now in a move that recognizes the movement with a dab of officialness, Toyota has struck an advertising deal with Cydia–the unofficial app store for unofficial apps running on unofficially hacked iPhones. The trick is to promote apps for Toyota’s new line of Scion cars. It’s the first big-scale acknowledgement that jailbroken Apple devices could be a useful resource.
4. Sony and Apple are also in the news together: Sony’s CEO Howard Stringer, mentioning production issues in a post-earthquake Japan during an interview, seems to have confirmed that the upcoming iPhone 5 will get a boosted camera module made by Sony that packs an 8 megapixel sensor. Sony currently doesn’t supply Apple, and the iPhone 4 has a 5-megapixel unit. Is Apple hopping on the “megapixel wars” bandwagon to tackle the rising mass of Android phones?
5. Today’s the day that original founder Larry Page takes control of the big chair at Google. There are reported to be no ceremonies planned for the incoming CEO, no “big speeches.” But you can expect a whole bunch of stories in the media about the move–Google is facing some interesting challenges, and Page needs to tackle some company public image woes.