The Circuit: Dell and HP; Facebook, Twitter, Google oppose Calif. law; lawmakers demand more from Sony

LEADING THE DAY: In its earnings report, Dell far outshone rival HP, with profits climbing to $945 million from $341 million last year. Both companies saw a drop in the personal computer market, which analysts have blamed on sales of the iPad and other tablets, Bloomberg reported.

Facebook, Google oppose Calif. privacy law: Facebook, Google, Twitter and Skype are among the members of a coalition that has expressed its concern with a proposed bill in the California Senate that would require social networking sites to make personal information private by default. The companies argued that “just-in-time” privacy settings, when users choose the privacy settings only for data they are currently entering, are better for users than up-front controls which have to be more general and complex.

Bono Mack, Butterfield follow-up with Sony: Reps. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif) and G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) sent a follow-up letter to Sony asking the company to answer more questions about the attack that took down its online networks for more than three weeks. Bono Mack and Butterfield asked the company to provide answers to questions it could not answer at an earlier time, such as more specifics on what personal information was stolen from its servers, and for more information on the breach of its Sony Online Entertainment network, which was discovered after the initial attack. The letter asks for a Sony response no later than May 25.

YouTube launches Town Hall: YouTube announced a new initiative Wednesday called YouTube Town Hall, an online platform where members of Congress can post short videos debating their positions on the issues of the day. Members of Congress have posted videos explaning their position on issues such as the budget, health care and education — users can vote for videos they agree with and submit questions to ask members of Congress.

Android security issue: German researchers have found that a huge majority of Android phones are vulnerable to hacking when surfing on unsecured WiFi networks. The researchers found it was possible to impersonate a Google user and access services such as Calendars and Contacts on open, unsecured WiFi networks. The vulnerability affects phones running Android 2.3.3 or earlier--about 99.7 percent of Android users.

Gates defends Ballmer: Microsoft founder Bill Gates defended current chief executive Steve Ballmer and the company’s $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype in an interview with the BBC.

“I was a strong proponent at the board level for the deal being done,” Gates said. He added that video conferencing will be a developing area of technology and will “get so much better than it is today.”

FCC names lead for merger review: The Federal Communications Commission named Washington antitrust attorney Renata Hesse to oversee the agency’s review of the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile, The Washington Post reported. Hesse is a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosat and has previously worked at the Justice Department. She is not related to Sprint Nextel chief executive Daniel Hesse.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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