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March 1, 2013

Technology News Briefs — March 1, 2013

Google’s $48B Saved for Future Acquisitions

Google has a whopping $48 billion in the bank and that is where it will stay until the right acquisition opportunity or technology investment comes along, says the firm’s chief financial officer.

According to an article by The Associated Press, Patrick Pichette used Google’s $12.4-billion purchase of Motorola Mobility last year as an example of why the company wants to keep lots of cash on hand.

“It serves the shareholder best to actually have that strategic ability to pounce” on a good investment, Pichette said during a technology conference hosted by Morgan Stanley.

Google has not yet been pressured by its shareholders to share its stash, despite the fact the technology titan has yet to make a dividend payment since going public nine years ago. Google’s stock, however, is a hot commodity, sitting at about $800 — a significant hike since its initial public offering of $85 in 2004.

Pichette added Google’s plans for its stockpile could change depending on the circumstances.

iTunes U Surpasses 1B Downloads

More than one billion people have taken advantage of the free educational downloads on iTunes U, Apple has announced.

iTunes U is the world’s largest online index of free educational content from top schools and prominent libraries, museums and organizations.

“It’s inspiring to see what educators and students of all types are doing with iTunes U,” said Apple senior vice-president of Internet software and services Eddy Cue. “With the incredible content offered on iTunes U, students can learn like never before ― there are now iTunes U courses with more than 250,000 students enrolled in them, which is a phenomenal shift in the way we teach and learn.”

Top universities such as Duke, Yale, Cambridge, MIT and Oxford use iTunes U to extend their reach by enrolling more than 100,000 students in single iTunes U courses. Stanford University and The Open University have each exceeded 60 million content downloads. The Ohio State University’s Matthew “Dr. Fus” Stoltzfus’ general chemistry course enrolled more than 100,000 iTunes U students in the first year it was offered.

More than 60 percent of iTunes U app downloads originate from outside the U.S. giving schools of any size a venue to share their content globally.

Woman Attacked With Pitchfork Over Social Media Post

A California woman is facing charges after another woman was attacked with a pitchfork because of a photo she posted on an unnamed social media site, the Vallejo Times Herald is reporting.

Police arrested a woman at 9:15 p.m. Feb. 27 after responding to reports of a fight. Witnesses allege a woman assaulted the unnamed victim with a pitchfork before trying to run her down with her car.

Vallejo Police Lt. Kenny Park said a woman became “enraged at the victim, who she knew, over a photo on an Internet site and poked her several times with a pitchfork. She was stopped by several bystanders, and then she got in a car and tried to run the victim over.”

The victim sustained only minor injuries and didn’t require hospitalization.

Charged with assault with two deadly weapons in connection to the incident is Xanadu Cain, 28, of Vallejo, Calif.,