Microsoft, SNL, Sprint and Softbank News for Monday October 15, 2012

Microsoft is jumping into the music business and this is perhaps the biggest news of the day and possibly the week. Redmond is now offering ad supported music streaming and going up against Sirius XM, Pandora and Apple’s iTunes all at once. Boasting a 30-million strong library of songs, users can listen to playlists for free or download to own music across their TV, computers and smartphones. The ad-free version is $9.99 per month and includes access to music videos as well.


SNL was actually funny for once. If you tuned into SNL this past weekend and were expecting to be disappointed as it continues to struggle to be funny, you would have been surprised. Many of us tuned in to hear them make fun of the recent bizarre VP debates where the world witnessed Vice President Biden laughing in an uncontrollable fashion. Thing is, the original was funnier than the imitation. The good news is, later in the program the show aired a segment pitting iPhone 5 reviewers and their silly minor grievances against factory workers in China who build the devices. As a techie, I loved this segment and laughed out loud. Remember, I have written about over-picky iPhone 5 reviewers myself.

Apple is sprinting away from Samsung as you might imagine. These once great partners are parting as Apple is looking to punish the Korean conglomerate for infringing its patents and becoming perhaps the strongest hardware competitor to the iOS line of devices. The company will likely lose the A7 chip contract or maintain it in a limited way as alternative supplier TSMC may not be able to keep up with demand.

Softbank and Sprint deal ink a deal as 70% of the US phone carrier will go to the Japan-based company for $20B and in the process Sprint will have the deep pockets needed to compete head-to-head against Verizon and AT&T.

Microsoft says Google and Motorola are infringing its mapping patent which means Redmond seems to want an active role in the latest round of patent wars hitting the tech market.

ZTE’s biggest problem is a quarterly loss of $300M and you thought the US Congress was the company’s biggest headwind. Shares dropped 16% today on the news.

KidsCash launches in Beta allowing parent to help kids manage their money and shopping. In an age where US-based adults compete with their government to see who can spend money they don’t have at a faster pace, using tech to teach the next generation how to budget and manage money more effectively seems to be a great idea.

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