LEADING THE DAY: Amazon is said to be looking into launching a mobile payments program, Bloomberg reported, citing two people with knowledge of the project. The program would allow customers to pay for Amazon goods in actual stores using their mobile phones. The company may also be considering a NFC-based marketing service. That service would let customers who can’t find the right size of a product, for example, wave the near-field communications chip over an item in a store and find the item they want on Amazon.com. The report said the company will likely make a decision about whether to launch the service in “the next three to five months.”
Time Warner removes channels from iPad app: Time Warner Cable agreed to remove 11 popular channels from its iPad app, Business Insider reported. The channels, which include Comedy Central and FX, make up roughly a third of the channels offered by Time Warner’s app. Programmers put pressure on Time Warner to remove the channels from the streaming app, and some reportedly threatened to sue the company.
Google faces Chinese tax accusations: Three Chinese companies associated with Google are facing accusations of tax violations in Beijing, Reuters reported. In a statement, Google told Reuters, “We believe we are, and always have been, in full compliance with Chinese tax law.” A Chinese state-run newspaper, the Economic Daily, reported the companies presented false claims valuing 40 million yuan ($6 million) but did not say when the violations took place. Reuters reported that two of the companies are Google units and the third is a company it works with closely.
Whether the claims are true or not, this is only the latest in a string of battles Google has faced in China, as it continues to lose its footing in the country.
OMB prepares to shut down open government sites: The Office of Management and Budget is preparing to shut down seven open government Web sites by May 31 because of a lack of funding. Federal News Radio reported that a government official who requested anonymity said the office will shut down data.gov and paymentaccuracy.gov as well as several internal sites. The Sunlight Foundation, an open government advocacy group, has sent an open letter to Congress urging that the sites stay live.
House hearing on broadband stimulus funds:The House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a hearing today on a proposed bill that would ensure any unspent money allocated to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration for its stimulus projects would be returned to the Treasury. The committee held a hearing in February to discuss similar topics.
In a statement, Assistant Secretary Lawrence E. Strickling said, “NTIA is working closely with grantees as part of our vigorous oversight process to ensure that taxpayer dollars are invested wisely and broadband projects are completed on time, within budget, and deliver the promised benefits to communities.”
Happy April Fools’ Day: It’s April Fools’ Day today, so here are a few “reports” that should not be believed: Google is not launching motion controls for Gmail, nor has its Places feature been marked as a content farm, as TechCrunch cheekily reported, and Groupon has not trademarked April Fools’ Day.