Of the millions from which to choose, these are among the most useful, recommended and interesting.

By MSN Money Partner Dec 14, 2012 6:08PM

smartphone userBy Michelle Price, The Wall Street Journal 


Microsoft Word and Excel are both applications, but these rather staid and well-established pieces of software are not what modern-day tech enthusiasts mean when they talk about "apps."


The emergence of Web or "cloud"-based IT services and super-smart mobile phone and tablet technology, as embodied by the iPhone and the iPad, has given birth to a universe of weird and wonderful pieces of software brimming with all sorts of information and tools.


Apps combine the unique features of the new wave of super-clever hardware -- including a camera, a global positioning system, a high-resolution screen and Wi-Fi capability -- with a bottomless pit of Web-based information and data to deliver some truly innovative and mind-boggling gizmos.

 

Far from losing relevance, the networking giant continues to perform solidly while making steady progress toward sharpening its game plan.

By MSN Money Partner Dec 13, 2012 11:33AM

Wall St. © Photographers Choice RF, SuperStockDavid Sterman, StreetAuthority


Investors have been more squarely focused on the consumer end of the tech landscape, bidding ups shares of Apple (AAPL), Google, (GOOG), Amazon.com (AMZN) and others. But on the business end of high-tech, the big winners haven't been such industry leaders.


Instead, most gains have come from small but growing software and data-storage providers. 


But this theme may be upended in 2013, as one of the most dominant companies in the enterprise space regains its mojo. I'm talking about Cisco Systems (CSCO), which has had little to show investors during the past five years. 

 

The revamped service is designed to be faster and easier to navigate with smartphones and tablets.

By MSN Money Partner Dec 12, 2012 12:07PM
By Douglas MacMillan and Brian Womack for Bloomberg Bloomberg logo

Yahoo (YHOO) upgraded its e-mail service to woo mobile users, the first major product unveiling since CEO Marissa Mayer took over with a mandate to improve tools and services to lure back customers.


The revamped e-mail service is designed to be faster and easier to navigate on the Internet, smartphones and tablets, the Sunnyvale, Calif., company said Dec. 11 in a Web posting.


Mayer, a former Google (GOOG) executive, is seeking to reverse three straight annual sales declines by updating widely used products, including mail, the Yahoo Messenger chat service and Yahoo's home page. The efforts will likely stoke competition with her former employer, which has added millions of users to Gmail as Yahoo Mail has stagnated.


"I don't think this in itself will be what saves Yahoo," Shar VanBoskirk, an analyst at Forrester Research, said in an interview. "This looks like a nice feature set. It certainly looks like it will be a cleaner experience for e-mail users."


The shares have gained 21% this year.


Comeback strategy

Versions of Yahoo's new email service will be available for devices running software such as Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows 8, as well as Apple's (AAPL) iPhone and iPad and machines powered by Google's Android operating system. (Microsoft is the publisher of MSN Money.)


"Because mobile is everything these days, Yahoo! Mail now has a consistent look and feel across devices," Mayer said on the blog.


Yahoo products have failed to keep up with changes in online habits, the chief executive said on a call with analysts in October.


Internet communication is "primed to be re-imagined," Mayer said on the call. "There is great opportunity to modernize Yahoo Mail and Messenger, especially given the continual increase in the amount of communication we're all receiving."


Mayer has said she plans to invest in hiring engineers with expertise in mobile applications, boosting the company's technology for buying and serving ads, and building services that are more personalized for individual users.


The chief executive kicked off her Yahoo comeback strategy by hiring several senior deputies, including Henrique de Castro, previously Google's vice president of global partner business solutions, as operating chief. Mayer promoted Adam Cahan, the founder of a social-TV startup acquired by the Web portal last year, to lead mobile services at the company.


Yahoo's U.S. email user base slipped to 77.7 million people in November, down from 92 million a year earlier, according to market researcher ComScore.


More from Bloomberg:

·         What $1 billion was worth in tech in 2012

·         Buying Groupon hard for anyone as growth slows

·        Google: Android winning mobile war with Apple

 

 

Why break the cable/satellite model? It's profitable for the content providers and, while there are disputes over fees, the carriers aren't such a competitive threat.

By TheStreet Staff Dec 11, 2012 4:16PM

thestreet logoThe Netflix logo on a television screen © Paul Sakuma/AP PhotoBy Rocco Pendola, TheStreet

 

Even though last week's deal giving Netflix (NFLX) exclusive U.S. rights to movies from Walt Disney (DIS) Studios doesn't begin until 2016, it's a groundbreaking development.


Of course, we don't know what shape Netflix will be in three years from now, but this is big: Disney will provide first-run motion pictures to Netflix, an online streaming company, rather than the traditional premium pay-cable services like HBO or Showtime. 

 

As AT&T announces an ambitious plan to expand its wireless and fixed broadband networks, smaller rivals see little reason to engage in a spending war.

By TheStreet Staff Dec 10, 2012 4:00PM

Smartphone user © Bloomberg via Getty ImagesBy Antoine Gara,  TheStreetthestreet logo

 

Continued consolidation in the wireless communications sector presents investors with a changed landscape heading into 2013. Investors need to understand how mobile carriers are assessing their investment strategies and what each is doing to address the vexing question of how to serve high-data-load users of smartphones and tablet devices.

 

Recent announcements from the largest carriers in the United States indicate that competing theories are emerging over how to handle -- and profit from -- soaring demand from users of Web-enabled devices.

 

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