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Consolidation continues: Salesforce.com acquires GoInstant, Oracle purchases Involver, a social media software company, Betaworks, a technology-investment start-up company buys Digg and Microsoft acquires Perceptive Pixel, the maker of CNN’s ‘Magic Wall’. In other news Yahoo and Facebook end their patent litigation battle by forming a strategic alliance and Google pays the largest fine ever imposed by the FTC over privacy issues.

10. Salesforce.com to Buy GoInstant
Salesforce.com announced that it will be acquiring GoInstant, a Canadian-based shared-browser technology start-up company for $70 million. The acquisition will add to a string of purchases by Salesforce.com of companies in social media and other technology and services areas. Salesforce.com is looking to beef up its customer-service offerings and has been buying start-ups that have “developed social-media tools and Web-based services”. This is all part of Salesforce.com’s plan to be a leader in the social-enterprise category.

9. Apple drops environmental certification; the city of San Francisco drops Apple
Apple removed all 39 of its desktop and laptops from the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT), a green certification for computers, causing a backlash against Apple from government officials in San Francisco. The San Francisco’s city government announced it will no longer buy Apple products following Apple’s decision to withdraw from a national green certification program.

8. Oracle’s social-media acquisition spree continues with S.F.-based Involver
Oracle made its third acquisition in less than three-months adding San Francisco-based social media software company Involver, to its cloud-based software offerings portfolio. The acquisition will help create the most advanced and comprehensive “cloud-based social platform across marketing, sales and service touchpoints.” The financial details of the deal have not been disclosed yet.

7. RIM CEO, board moves to appease shareholders
Lately, it’s been all bad news for RIM. After the announcement of its fourth quarter loss and delay of Blackberry 10, RIM’s board moved to appease frustrated shareholders. Having lost much of its market value in the past 12 months, RIM is fighting for relevance. CEO Thorsten Heins reassured shareholders reiterating that it’s considering all “strategic options” which could mean anything from “breakup, to merger, to licensing BlackBerry software to other companies to outright sale.” Smart money is on a breakup as the company is still cash and asset rich.

6. Digg sold to Betaworks for pocket change
Digg, once a popular news-sharing website was reportedly bought by Betaworks, a New York-based technology-investment company. Digg will join Betaworks’ portfolio of products “designed to improve the way people find and talk about the news.” The financial details of the deal have not been confirmed, but The Wall Street Journal pegged the price tag at just $500, 000 which is a pittance for a company that raised $45 million from prominent investors including LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and Marc Andreessen. 

5. Yahoo hacked, 450, 000 passwords posted online
On Thursday, Yahoo confirmed the hack of Yahoo Voices, part of its news service saying more than 450, 000 email addresses and passwords were leaked online by hackers belonging to group called D33Ds Company. Hackers have posted the account information on a public website calling it a “wake-up call”. Yahoo is investigating the security breach. The risk extends beyond the site, however, as those whose email addresses and passwords may have used login details on other websites. Check out some basic steps to secure your PC and online accounts.

4. Microsoft acquires multi touch company Perceptive Pixel
Microsoft announced during its Worldwide Partner Conference in Tokyo that the company is acquiring Perceptive Pixel, a multi-touch interface provider for workstations and walls. The software giant plans to power multi-touch displays with Windows 8 which is slated for release in October. The acquisition will help Microsoft move the technology beyond mobile devices, “deeper into the enterprise.”

3. Yahoo and Facebook settle patent litigation
The patent war between Yahoo and Facebook ended with the companies reaching a settlement. There was no exchange of money; instead the tech giants announced a “strategic alliance” that includes a “new advertising partnership, expanded distribution arrangement s and a patent cross license.”  The alliance could help Yahoo gain some of the revenue it has been losing as marketers shift more of their spending to the larger, more engaged audience on Facebook.

2. Some Ultra disappointments for computer makers
Research firms, IDC and Gartner reported that the worldwide PC shipments fell 0.1 percent in the second quarter from a year ago. With smartphones and tablets, PC business is declining even as PC makers are spending a fortune promoting Ultrabooks, a new line of thin laptop computers. According to IDC, Ultrabooks have not produced a significant rise in sales, in part because they remain expensive. With PC chips making up 65 percent of Intel’s first quarter revenue, Intel analysts have voiced their concern about the potential impact of a slowing PC market.

1. Google, FTC near settlement on privacy
Google is nearing an agreement to pay $22.5 million to settle a U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) probe over claims its violated user privacy on Apple’s Internet browser. The fine is expected to be the largest penalty ever imposed by the FTC to date. The fine is of a small financial impact but the series of negative reports about Google’s privacy practices could undermine users’ trust in its brand.

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