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Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee covers technology policy, including copyright and patent law, telecom regulation, privacy, and free speech. He also writes about the economics of technology. He has previously written for Ars Technica and Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter or send him email.

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Brian Fung

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post, focusing on electronic privacy, national security, digital politics and the Internet that binds it all together. He was previously the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at the Atlantic. His writing has also appeared in Foreign Policy, Talking Points Memo, the American Prospect and Nonprofit Quarterly. Follow Brian on Google+ .

Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government. She also delves into the societal impacts of technology access and how innovation is intertwined with cultural development.

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Posted at 08:42 AM ET, 08/22/2011

The Circuit: Skype snaps up GroupMe, July tops social media metrics, smartphone patents

LEADING THE DAY: Skype announced Sunday that it’s sealed a deal to acquire GroupMe, a group messaging service. The companies didn’t disclose the terms of the deal; All Things Digital reported that Skype paid about $85 million for the company. The acquisition, similar to the Facebook acquisition of Beluga that laid the groundwork for the network’s new Messaging app, brings Skype (and maybe Microsoft) into competition with other high-profile companies looking to retool the SMS space. Facebook and Google have recently launched mobile messaging apps, and Apple is also launching its own version, iMessage, with its next operating system.

Verizon workers begin returning to work: Striking Verizon workers will begin to return to their jobs late Monday, The Washington Post reported, concluding a two-week strike in which 45,000 workers joined the picket lines. On Saturday, the two sides agreed that workers would return to their jobs this week under the terms of a contract that expired on Aug. 6 while negotiations continued.

Facebook, Twitter broke visitor records in July:A comScore analysis of Facebook and Twitter revealed that the site had a record numbers of visitors in July, TechCrunch reported. Facebook hit 162 million unique views in the U.S., while Twitter had 32.8 million visitors to its site. Though Twitter is still far behind Facebook in terms of unique visits, it’s showing steady growth. The report also found that Google’s new foray into social networking, Google+, is also steadily gaining users.

Smartphone patents: Things are heating up in the patent space as the smartphone industry watches what will happen at this week’s Motorola hearing before the International Trade Commission, The Washington Post reported. The hearing will determine whether Motorola — which announced plans to be acquired by Google last week — is infringing on nine Microsoft patents. If the commission rules that the patents are being infringed upon, it could ban imports of Motorola phones.

4G Jobs: A new study from Deloitte finds that implementation of the 4G network could add between 371,000 and 771,000 jobs as carriers invest billions of dollars to build out the high-speed networks. The 4G rollout will increase U.S. competitiveness, the report said, as well as accelerate cloud computing capabilities and provide greater Internet access to marginalized groups such as minorities and rural communities. The report does indicate that the Federal Communications Commission needs to find ways to make better use of spectrum and unlock additional spectrum.

Apple moves away from UDID: In what might be a nod to privacy concerns, Apple is moving away from the unique identifying identification number assigned to each device, TechCrunch reported. The company has reportedly told developers not to use the identification number, which is used for advertising and tracking customer habits.

By  |  08:42 AM ET, 08/22/2011

Tags:  Apple, Spectrum, FCC, IP, Facebook, Twitter, Verizon, Skype

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