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It seems as if Amazon has waved the white flag of surrender against Apple's iTunes Match today, beefing up its Cloud Player service with a few features that sound awfully familiar to iTunes users. But hey, the more the merrier, and we're quite happy to have all of our Amazon MP3 purchases available for redownload just the same. While you wait for Cloud Player to scan and match your own music library, why not take in today's recap for this terrific Tuesday, July 31, 2012?
E-tailer Amazon is stepping up its MP3 music game today, announcing upgrades to its Cloud Player service. Thanks to agreements with all of the key music labels (as well as 150 indie music publishers), Amazon is introducing the same type of "scan and match" technology used in Apple's iTunes Match (goodbye, uploads!), and those matched tracks will also receive a free high-quality bump to 256Kbps MP3. The new deal also allows previous and future Amazon MP3 purchases to be automatically saved to Cloud Player, which doesn't count against any storage you might be paying for. Tracks can be streamed to any web browser, Kindle Fire or iPhone and Android apps, with the Roku and Sonos players soon joining this elite club. Amazon Cloud Player pricing has also gotten a tweak, with free users allowed to import up to 250 songs, while Cloud Player Premium users can fork over $24.99 per year to import up to 250,000 songs.
We never like to report on folks losing their jobs, and today AllThingsD has brought us the unfortunate news that tablet news publication The Daily is putting 50 full-time employees on the chopping block. That amounts to 29 percent of the organization's staff, but the changes don't stop there. The onetime iPad exclusive is reorganizing its Sports and Opinion sections, which it claims saw the lightest traffic; partners like Fox Sports will now provide this content, while the standalone Opinion section has been given the axe. The tablet app is also ditching the extra work it's taken to be viewed in landscape, and will feature content in portrait-only mode from now on. “These are important changes that will allow The Daily to be more nimble editorially and to focus on the elements that our readers have told us through their consumption that they like and want,” Editor-in-Chief Jesse Angelo said in a statement. The news outlet has been rumored to be on the chopping block itself, with reports claiming it could be axed altogether following the Presidential election in November.
Well, ain't this a kick in the head: TechCrunch is reporting that Russia's largest mobile carrier, MTS, is none too happy about the high cost of offering the iPhone, and has some strong words for Apple about the handset, which costs upwards of $1,000 in the country. “They’re more in a dictatorship mode where they say, ‘This is what you have to do or you don’t get the iPhone,’” explains MTS VP of marketing Vasyl Latsanych. “Being arrogant with your partners in big markets doesn’t pay off.” Of course, the high price hasn't deterred Russians from buying the iPhone, but with smartphone penetration expected to skyrocket from 15.4 percent in Q1 2012 to 60 percent by the end of 2014, a price cut sure couldn't hurt.
Those groovy cats up in Redmond are back with yet another new product announcement. Microsoft News Center has unleashed the details on Outlook.com, the company's new personal email service which promises "modern email" for all, with a cleaner look, less obtrusive ads and links to social media sites. “We think the time is right to reimagine personal email, from the datacenter to the user experience,” Microsoft corporate vice president of Windows Live Chris Jones explains. The service hopes to ditch the aging Hotmail and Live accounts of old, and those looking for a new email experience can sign up for a free Outlook.com today.
It's that time again, folks -- another Apple product is being put out to pasture on Tuesday, but this is one that few of you probably even used. iWork.com, which was intended to be "an easy way to share your iWork documents with anyone on a Mac or PC," never quite gained any traction and in a move quite rare for Apple, failed to even leave its beta period. After numerous warnings about its imminent demise, the lights have gone out on iWork.com today, and users "will no longer be able to access your documents on the iWork.com site or view them on the web." Godspeed, iWork.com, on your trip up to Tech Heaven...
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