TECHNOLOGY BRIEFING

TECHNOLOGY BRIEFING

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Friday, February 24, 2006

MUSIC

More Than 1 Billion Songs Sold Via iTunes

Apple Computer has sold more than 1 billion songs through iTunes since beginning the online store in April 2003. Apple leads the market for legal music downloads and broke into the top 10 list of U.S. music retailers for the first time last year when it ranked seventh, NPD Group said. Revenue from the iPod, left, Apple's fastest-selling product, and music sold through iTunes accounted for 60 percent of sales last quarter.

LEGAL

Credit Card Payment Firm Settles Charges

CardSystems Solutions and the San Francisco-based company that acquired it settled Federal Trade Commission charges that the credit card payment processor failed to protect sensitive customer information. Atlanta-based CardSystems disclosed last summer that tens of millions of mostly MasterCard and Visa accounts were exposed to possible fraud after a hacker broke into its computer system. Pay by Touch, which acquired CardSystems in December, agreed to implement a comprehensive security program and obtain independent audits every other year for 20 years.

Intermix Founder Sues Over Sale

Intermix Media founder Brad Greenspan sued his former company, claiming that its $580 million sale to News Corp. did not reflect the growth prospects of its main asset, MySpace.com.

The lawsuit, filed in California state court, accuses Intermix directors of breaching their fiduciary duties by failing to seek a higher price and acting "despite numerous conflicts of interest," according to a statement Greenspan distributed through PRNewswire.

Greenspan wants News to auction off Intermix or pay billions of dollars in compensation.

Sony Ericsson Sues Samsung Over Patents

Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications filed a lawsuit accusing rival Samsung Electronics of infringing on patents related to cellular telephones. Sony Ericsson claims that Samsung infringed on 15 patents. The lawsuit also seeks a ruling that Sony Ericsson doesn't infringe on 12 patents owned by Samsung, which had the third-highest share of the global handset market last year.

NTP Accuses RIM of Influencing Patent Office

NTP accused the BlackBerry maker Research in Motion of using its political clout to try to sway the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. "NTP believes that RIM has utilized its money, power and political influence to overcome its complete defeat in the court system and to inappropriately influence the U.S. Patent Office process," Arlington-based NTP said in a statement.

A federal judge in Richmond is scheduled to hear arguments today on a possible injunction on BlackBerry's U.S. sales and service. Analysts believe an actual BlackBerry blackout is highly unlikely.

EARNINGS

TeleCommunication Systems of Annapolis, which provides wireless technology, lost $3.1 million (8 cents a share) in the fourth quarter, compared with a loss of $12.7 million (36 cents) in the comparable period a year earlier. Revenue rose 27 percent, to $26.7 million. For the year ended Dec. 31, the company lost $11.5 million (30 cents), compared with a 2004 loss of $18.6 million (56 cents), and revenue increased 5 percent to $102.2 million. Shares fell 4 cents to close at $2.

NII Holdings of Reston, which provides mobile communications for businesses in Latin America, said fourth-quarter earnings fell to $55.6 million (33 cents ) from $56.7 million (35 cents). Revenue rose 41 percent, to $512.6 million. For the year, earnings increased to $181 million ($1.09) from $57.3 million (40 cents), and revenue climbed 36 percent to $1.75 billion.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.


© 2006 The Washington Post Company

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