Tech CEOs ask Obama, Congress to steer clear of ‘fiscal cliff’: Technology chief executive officers are urging the Obama administration and Congress to pass legislation to avoid broad spending cuts and tax increases — also known as the “fiscal cliff.”

“Few industries face greater global competition than America’s tech sector, and few have stepped up to the challenge more aggressively,” wrote CEOs from companies including Xerox, IBM, Dell and Intel. “Our nation’s difficult decisions are similar to the very hard questions tech sector leaders face in an unrelentingly competitive marketplace.”

Those who signed the letter recommended that the country follow the tax recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles plan and said spending cuts should be more strategic.

Nine executives signed the letter: Dell’s Michael Dell, Qualcomm’s Paul Jacobs, Intel’s Paul Otellini, IBM’s Ginni Rometty, Applied Materials’s Mike Splinter and EMC’s Joseph Tucci.

Google releases government request data: Google released updated data on the number of government data and takedown requests, showing that data requests from world governments are rising steadily.

The United States leads the list of governments who made data requests in the first half of 2012, logging nearly 8,000 requests for information. The United States was second in removal requests with 273 requests to Turkey’s 501.

In the first half of 2012, Google said, there were 1,791 requests from government officials around the world to remove 17,746 pieces of content.

Windows head Sinofsky leaves Microsoft: After seeing Windows 8 through development, Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky is moving on from the company.

He took over the Windows division in 2006, after the company released the much-panned Windows Vista. After seeing much better success with Windows 7 in 2009, he followed that with the release of Windows 8 — a system completely redesigned for use with touchscreens — in October.

According to All Things Digital, his clashes with other senior executives may have hastened his exit, though Microsoft’s release announcing the decision frames the move as a mutual decision.

At ZDNet, Mary Jo Foley noted that Microsoft hinted at a reorganization in its most-recent proxy statement. She also said she thinks that it’s too soon to cite poor reaction to the release of Windows 8 or the Surface — which has seen modest sales so far — as a reason for Sinofsky’s departure.

Google said to face FTC ‘ultimatum’: Google is reportedly being pressed by the Federal Trade Commission to resolve the agency’s concerns over antitrust in the next few days or face a lawsuit, Bloomberg reported. Citing two people “familiar with the matter,” the report said the FTC has said that it will not accept a settlement short of a consent decree and will take action in the next couple of weeks.

Google has said, repeatedly, that it is willing to answer any questions from the agency and is cooperating with the agency to address their concerns.