Breakfast Briefing: Google to charge smalls firms for Apps, Apple's Cook talks transparency, Facebook's ad moves

7 Dec 2012
Breakfast Briefing

Today's top tech stories feature Google Apps, Apple's Tim Cook, Facebook ads, and more from John McAfee

Today in tech, we have bad news for small businesses using Google Apps, Apple's Tim Cook on transparency and company decency and how Facebook wants to change online advertising.

Google to charge small businesses for Apps tools

Small businesses relying on Google's free Apps productivity software will have to start rummaging down the back of the sofa as the company is to start charging for its web-based tools. The service will now cost $50 a year per person - an additional burden during tough times. The company justified the price increase by saying the free model wasn't working.

"Businesses quickly outgrow the basic version and want things like 24/7 customer support and larger inboxes," the company said in a blog post. "Similarly, consumers often have to wait to get new features while we make them business-ready."

However, in a case of Google taking with one hand and giving with the other, the company has said the Snapseed image editing software it acquired when it bought Nik Software earlier this year will be free for iOS. As Tuaw reports, the software previously cost $4.99, and has been tweaked to include integration with Google+, so expect a right stampede from the social network's masses. The OS X version version remains at $19.99.

Apple's Cook on transparency

Apple's CEO Tim Cook has given an interview with Bloomberg Business Week in which he talks about the changes he has brought to the company in the post Jobs era. Cook has made the company more open – evidenced by an apology over the mapping debacle - and says by being more transparent and more charitable the company can make a difference.

"My own personal philosophy on giving is best stated in a [John F.] Kennedy quote, 'To whom much is given, much is expected.' I have always believed this. Always. One of the things that we have done is match our employees’ charitable contributions, where they select who they want to give to. So it’s not some corporate committee deciding, but it’s our 80,000 employees deciding what they want to do," Cook said. "Our transparency in supplier responsibility is an example of recognising that the more transparent we are, the bigger difference we would make."

Facebook hoping to shake-up online ad industry

Facebook and Microsoft are in negotiations over a deal that could see Facebook set up its own advertising network, Business Insider reports. Citing industry sources, the site says Facebook is planning on buying Atlas solutions, an ad-serving product picked up by Microsoft when it bought aQuantive for $6 billion in 2007.

According to Business Insider, the deal "would put Facebook one huge step closer to launching an ad network that could rival Google's in size, and change the way advertising is done online forever".

Apple turns to former Microsoft hacker

Apple's Ivory Tower stance on security appears to be changing as the company's software becomes more widespread and a better target for hackers. According to Wired, the company has turned to a former Microsoft hacker credited for dragging Windows from the security quagmire to strengthen Apple's defences. Kristin Paget — formerly known as Chris Paget – confirmed she has been hired by Apple, and the report highlights how her hacks saw Microsoft roll out the sandbags ahead of Windows Vista.

"We prevented a lot of bugs from shipping on Vista," Paget said. "I’m proud of the number of bugs we found and helped get fixed."

McAfee case getting serious

The tech world has largely taken a quizzical stance on John McAfee's on-the-run antics as he's slipped from one bizarre event to another amid an investigation into the murder of his neighbour in Belize. But things are looking bleaker by the day. Yesterday, he was arrested in Guatemala for illegally entering the country, and according to authorities there, he is set to be deported after being refused asylum.

"If he comes from Belize after the murder of his neighbour, it doesn't give us the impression that there's any kind of political persecution but that there is a fear of the ongoing investigation," the president said, according to the BBC.

"So we're not going to allow people who are trying to flee an investigation to come here to Guatemala."

No wonder that in a later report the BBC said the antivirus expert was hospitalised while suffering from stress.

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