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Tech Roundup: Google Books, LinkedIn Apps, Wireless Power, More

Google wins through losing to book publishers, authors -- You don't often see times when a company manages to get a big business win out of losing a copyright lawsuit. But it looks like that is exactly what Google pulled off. For two years they've been in a legal battle with a number of book publishers and an authors' organization over scanning in full libraries of books and making them available for searching. All parties finally settled, with Google paying $125 million. But $30 million goes to set up a registry that would let individuals buy books or libraries pay a licensing fee for access and Google gets 37 percent of the revenue. Plus, there will be advertising, and Google gets the same percentage. In short, for whatever money it pays, Google is probably ensuring a far larger income over the years with new business partners who have never been known for their forward thinking when it comes to new technology and business models. Even when they lose they win, so how long before other companies take a page from that book? [Source: BusinessWeek]

LinkedIn has app platform -- Business social networking site LinkedIn started a beta application platform for third party developers about ten months ago. Now it's officially launched but still with a limited number of approved providers, including Amazon, Google, SlideShare, Tripit, and WordPress. The concept seems to be apps that either extend the ways people can network or that provide business productivity. Eventually an API will let other web sites tie in to LinkedIn. What the social networking scene needs is a little more togetherness. Just in time, too -- as people get nervous about their jobs, the typical 60 percent of people who use social media at work (seems like a high number, but let's go with it for the moment) are going to be checking their connections and polishing up the CV on the off chance that something might happen. [Source: VentureBeat , Computerworld]

Wireless electricity -- MIT spin-off WiTricity received $4 million in series A funding in the second quarter of this year and is employing a bunch of PhDs and RF engineers to beam electricity through the air. Devices would tune in and pull their power down from radio signals. In theory at least it makes sense, because the signals carry energy. Put enough energy through the air and you can pull in enough to run a device. Can you imagine most consumers saying, "Sure, beam power everywhere. I don't mind walking through it." Hope there are some obvious industrial uses. [Source: Innovation Economy]

Logitech tries breaking out of peripherals -- Peripheral maker Logitech is paying $30 million for SightSpeed, an online video communications company. Logitech has reported unaudited figures with sales in the six months ending September 30 of about $1.17 billion â€" respectable, but showing that the PC add-on hardware business has its limitations. The company is trying to bolster its R&D to move more toward consumer video services. [Source: VentureBeat, Logitech]

Office goes virtual, sort-of -- Microsoft has finally given in and for Office 14 will make virtual cloud-based versions of applications that run in a browser. Unfortunately, that version of Office comprises "lightweight" versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, albeit with collaboration features that work across the web. Want to bet whether you have to own a license for Office before you can use the web apps? [Source: ZDNet Between the Lines]

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