The US Government’s role and approach to piracy dominated the news and demonstrated once again the power of a mobilized public.

Starting as a technology industry led grass roots movement, the anti-SOPA message spread as popular web sites censored their content to raise awareness. The public outcry against SOPA and PIPA forced legislators in both houses to announce that they would delay voting on the bills. Federal authorities took down Megaupload, proving that they don’t need additional legislation to stop sites that infringe on copyright. The move caused hacktivist group Anonymous to shut down several government websites. In other news, several major tech companies issued quarterly earnings reports, and Jerry Yang resigned from Yahoo.

10. Facebook’s New Actions Go Beyond ‘Like’
Facebook’s approved more than 60 new apps for its “Open Graph” API that allows users to do more than just “like” other people’s status. The update allows users to “cook,” “eat” “travel” or “review movies.” Still missing, however, is the oft requested “dislike” button.

9. Time Warner Cable’s New iPhone App Brings Live TV To The Small Screen
Time Warner’s new iPhone app lets Time Warner Cable customers access cable TV programming from their Wi-Fi connected iPhones. The app will work on the most iPhones, iPads and iPod touches. Stay tuned as this is part of the Entertainment Everywhere trend.

8. Larry Page: Google+ Now Has 90 Million Users
According to Larry Page, Google+ has more than 90 million registered users, two times as many from three months ago.

7. Intel Shuffles Executive Ranks
Intel promoted Brian Krzanich to chief operating officer, potentially setting up Krzanich to succeed current CEO Paul Otellini. Intel has signaled that Otellini will stay until 2016. Intel also announced a 21% increase in revenue growth, above Street expectations.

6. Chegg and Apple Announce E-book Text
Apple and Chegg both unveiled plans to publish digital textbooks from major textbook publishers. Chegg, whose announcement came ahead of Apple’s, will allow students to rent textbooks through the Cloud from any Internet-connected device, while Apple’s textbook reader requires students to access textbooks through iPads.

5. China Tops Half Billion Internet Users
Chinese microblogging and social networking sites are mostly responsible for the surge of Chinese Internet users. China has the most Internet users in the world, followed by the United States.

4. Quarterly earnings reports: Microsoft reported $20.9 billion in revenue for its second quarter, a 5 percent increase from the year before and a new quarterly record for the company despite poor PC sales. Revenue for Microsoft was driven by Xbox 360 and Kinect sales. IBM reported $29.5 billion in revenue with strong increases in software sales. Google fell short of analysts’ expectations with a 6.3% increase in earnings for its fourth quarter. Oracle’s earnings were lower than analysts expected, causing it’s stock to tumble 11%. Oracle attributed its low earnings for the quarter on delayed software purchases from corporate customers. Yet Oracle competitor SAP announced its best quarter ever. Juniper Networks announced lower-than-expected fourth quarter earnings driven by lower demand for routers from service providers.

3. Jerry Yang Resigns From All Positions At Yahoo
Yang, who founded Yahoo In 1995, stepped down from all positions including his role as chairman of the board. Yahoo’s stock jumped 5% following news of Yang’s departure. Yang resigned two weeks after former PayPal executive Scott Thompson took over as CEO.

2. US Prosecutors Shut Down One Of World’s Largest File-Sharing Sites, Megaupload
A large-file sharing website, Megaupload, was taken offline by federal authorities, and several of its key executives were arrested and charged with violating piracy laws. In response to the attacks, hacktivist group Anonymous disabled several government websites.

1. Web Site Protests Delay SOPA and PIPA Votes
The United States House of Representatives and Senate will re-evaluate two controversial pieces of legislation as a result of protests from Internet users. Popular websites such as Wikipedia and Reddit participated in the protest by censoring their content for a day. Opponents of SOPA and PIPA claim the bills are vaguely worded and could shut down any website that hosts user-generated content.

Disclaimer: Microsoft and Chegg are Weber Shandwick clients.

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