iFive: Facebook’s iPad App, Spotify In U.S., Sony Ericsson’s NFC Phones, Slowing RIM Sheds Jobs, Streaming Movies A Felony?

432 years ago today Sir Frances Drake claimed a land he called “Nova Albion” for England. You may know it better as California. Will anything as historic happen today? Here’s the early news:

Rebecca Black Friday video taken down notice


As you can see, the bizarre story of Rebecca Black’s “Friday” runaway viral video hit has taken another strange turn. It’s been taken down not due to YouTube’s strict copyright infringement rules, but by Black’s command. Is there a plan to try to monetize the song? It did score nearly 170 million views before disappearing. On with the news:

1. Facebook is at last building an iPad app, according to sources who’ve spoken to the New York Times. Mark Zuckerberg himself is “heavily” involved in the app’s design, representing something of a U-turn by Zuckerberg, who famously dismissed the iPad for not being a mobile device. Mobile is one direction Facebook can move in to try to gain more users and get those users more engaged, so the 25 million iPads out there are an important target.

2. Spotify’s general manager has all but confirmed that a U.S. launch of the highly popular European music streaming service is en route, and could be mere weeks away. According to reports, Spotify has signed three of the big four U.S. music labels, and negotiations with Warner are underway right now. It’s a big move, and it could boost the online music market, giving Rhapsody competition.

3. Sony Ericsson is leaping aboard the NFC bandwagon, and has signed up with chipmaker NXP (which powers NFC tech in Google and Samsung phones) to put the wireless system into future Android phones and tablets. It’s another sign that wireless credit card payments are coming, and it could help Sony distinguish its devices in the crowded Android market.

4. RIM revealed its first quarter results late yesterday and they’re not good: Just 500,000 PlayBook tablets have been shipped, which is a blow as the tablet is one of RIM’s key tools to re-invigorate its business. The company’s net income slipped by nearly 25% on the previous quarter’s results, and that quarter was slower than the previous one. The company is laying off staff as a result. Is RIM going to follow Nokia downhill?

5. The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has approved the idea of making illegal streaming of video content over the Net a felony, and the proposed law now heads to the full Senate for approval. Elevating the criminality of TV and movie content streaming like this is a powerful weapon against some forms of piracy.


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