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February 5, 2013

Technology News Briefs — Feb. 5, 2013

Multi-Billion Dollar Dell Deal Closer to Reality           

Dell is inching ever-closer to a $24-billion buyout deal that, if completed, would be the largest leveraged buyout since the financial crisis.

Dell and a consortium led by founder and chief executive Michael Dell were in talks Feb. 4 to take the firm private and an outcome  — good or bad — should be reached soon, a source told Reuters.

Microsoft, a member of the investment consortium, is expected to invest approximately $2 billion in the deal and private equity firm Silver Lake is to contribute about $1 billion, the source said.

It is anticipated Michael Dell will roll over his approximate 16 percent stake and throw some of his own money into the pot to ensure he has control of the company, the source added.

Any deal negotiated by Michael Dell requires the approval of the bulk of the stockholders.

Apple Loses Bid for Early Sales Ban Push            

A U.S. District Judge has denied Apple’s request to expedite its bid for a sales injunction on a number of Samsung Smartphones.

Judge Lucy Koh would not permit Apple to plead its case to the full appeals court immediately. Instead, a three-judge panel will weigh Apple’s request. The full appeals court will not decide if it will hear the case until that step is completed.

A lower court judge denied Apple’s request last year for a permanent ban following a much-publicized trial.

Apple was awarded a $1.05 billion verdict against Samsung in a California courtroom. It was following this win that Apple began its quest for a permanent ban on a number of older Samsung Smartphones.

Facebook to Release Offline Friend-Finding App

Facebook is reported to be developing an app to help users find their friends offline.

The app, which has yet to be named, is set for release in mid-March, according to a Bloomberg report. A source told Bloomberg the app would track the user’s location in the background, even when not open, and share that location with nearby friends.

A team, led by product director Peter Deng, who formerly worked at Google, is developing Facebook’s location software, the source said. The team includes engineers from Glancee, “a location-tracking startup Facebook acquired in May, and Gowalla, a location-based social network whose assets were purchased in December 2011,” the report said.

The planned tracking app may aid Facebook in selling ads based on users’ location and activities, the report indicated.

The app is also likely to attract the attention of privacy watchdogs who already are critical of the social network’s handling of personal information.