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In Brief

Michael Sippey, Twitter’s VP of Products, announced on Friday that he would be stepping down to an advisory role at the company. “Over the past few weeks I’ve talked with Dick and Ali about what I want next in my career, and what Twitter needs at this stage of its life,” Sippey said. “And I’ve decided that it’s time for me to move on.”

Sippey, who spent time at SAY Media before joining Twitter in 2012, scaled Twitter’s platform and mobile offerings as well as Tweetdeck and Vine post-acquisition.

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On The Web

Apple’s sales of the iPhone continue to do very well domestically, with the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c boasting record numbers last year, but the Cupertino company struggles to bring its products to countries that are just now embracing smartphones. A feature in the New York Times on Sunday showed the intricacies of Apple’s iPhone sales in India, employing monthly plans and special discount deals to sell phones — key in an area where incomes can be just a few hundred a month. It’s a good glimpse into the brand’s attempt to crack developing markets and gain crucial users.

In Brief

Target’s massive data breach, which occurred in mid-December of last year, has affected millions of customers, but the company has remained quiet about how personal and financial information was leaked. But CEO Gregg Steinhafel’s interview with CNBC yesterday finally shed some light on the attack, and it’s not pretty: the information was lifted via malware distributed directly through Target’s point-of-sale systems, and the company waited four days before disclosing the attack. That’s probably not very reassuring to the 110 million customers potentially affected by the attack.

In Brief

In case you weren’t already convinced, Nintendo has a favorite console, and that would be its successful 3DS line of mobile handhelds. In a press release on Friday, the Japanese company boasted that more than 11.5 million units of the 3DS console line (including the 3DS XL and the 2DS) have sold in the U.S. alone since its release in 2011. In addition, the company sold roughly 16 million units of software — both physical and digital — for the year 2013. It’s definitely a positive note for Nintendo, if a bit glossy: Despite extolling the virtues of the 3DS, the still-struggling Wii U was not mentioned at all.

On The Web

Up to 2 million European Yahoo users may have received malware from ads on the company’s homepage that turned computers into bitcoin-mining zombies, according to the Guardian. Malicious bitcoin-mining software is a rising trend among malware distributors, and the Guardian article stresses the ease with which the software was installed through Java exploits. Yahoo has stayed silent on how the malicious ads made it onto the site in the first place — repeating the same old mistakes and risking brand damage that the malware could never do.

In Brief

Health insurer and 2014 Crunchies finalist for “Best Health Startup” Oscar will soon announce a $30 million funding round, led by the Founders Fund, according to the New York TimesThe latest round brings the startup’s overall funding to more than $75 million — quite a chunk of change considering it was formally founded in July of 2013. Serving New York City as well as a few other counties in New York state, Oscar provides healthcare, along with some very startup-y perks, including one-on-one communications with doctors and a search database that also shows how much a provider will charge for a given procedure.

In Brief

It’s a little late to the party, but Kickstarter has finally released its 2013 year in review. According to the company’s own internal numbers, roughly $480 million went to 19,911 projects last year. That’s a big increase over 2012, which saw $319,786,629 and 18,109 projects. Unfortunately, that’s the most information Kickstarter is willing to give. Despite turning over a wealth of information about how individual categories performed in the past years, 2013’s report is relatively light on numbers in favor of spotlights on popular Kickstarter products. It’s no doubt a successful year for the platform, but the lack of details doesn’t make the review a very interesting read.

On The Web

If there was a belle of the proverbial ball at CES 2014, the Oculus Rift might actually be it. And this year, creator Oculus VR not only trotted out a sleeker version of the Rift, but also a new prototype. Wired got a hands-on with the new device — Crystal Cove — which utilizes both VR and motion tracking to monitor a user’s movements in real time. It makes sense, especially considering the increased sophistication of motion technology and Oculus VR’s stated goals of total immersion. But the real magic moment, I believe, will come when the company can greatly reduce latency.

In Brief

The holidays are over, and both Microsoft and Sony have numbers on how their latest-gen consoles have fared. In a blog post on Monday, Microsoft said that it sold more than 3 million Xbox One units by the end of 2013. And onstage at CES on Tuesday, Sony exec Andrew House said the company passed 4.2 million PlayStation 4 units sold on December 28. While it appears that Sony has the upper hand, there are a lot of factors in play to make it too early to call it the winner of these so-called “console wars.” However, it does show how hot both consoles have been running since their November debuts.

In Brief

What a difference a year can make: at CES 2013, so-called “Steam Boxes” were gossiped about but not really seen. Now, at CES 2014, with Steam Machines fully announced, Valve has 14 third-party hardware partners on display, including Alienware and Falcon Northwest, according to The Verge. It seems like the only one missing is the prototype machine distributed late last year, a proof-of-concept that won’t make it to store shelves. The price tags on the consoles range from $499 to $6,000, and show off Valve’s vision of a diverse hardware system to support Steam.

In Brief

In a move designed to ease the growing tensions between deep-pocketed Silicon Valley workers and activists on behalf of lower-income communities forced out of their homes, San Francisco mayor Ed Lee announced Monday that tech shuttle buses will now be subject to a fee based on the number of public stops they frequent, according to SF Gate. The tech shuttle buses have borne the brunt of the struggle over the income disparity within the city, and some have been vandalized during protests. The move may take some of the heat off of tech workers’ transportation choices, but it’s unlikely that tensions will dissipate completely.

In Brief

Ubuntu will add a new default scope set for Unity to allow users to conduct BitTorrent searches directly from the desktop, according to TorrentFreak. The feature, developed by Ubuntu software developer David Callé on Google+, is designed to “embed free culture” directly into desktop UI — and Ubuntu Founder Mark Shuttleworth called it “super-useful.” Ubuntu Linux’ status as an open-source OS makes it a natural home for torrent searching, but embedding that capability into the Unity GUI does dip into murky legal territory. However, it is a practical and important tool for many, despite ISPs’ complaints about it, and it will likely make many open-source advocates very happy.

In Brief

Good news, sports fans: Variety reports that NBC, CBS and FOX will be offering online live streams of the NFL postseason and Super Bowl XLVIII, with most content freely available. NBC’s wildcard games, as well as coverage of the Pro Bowl later this month, will be streamed live for free. Similarly, CBS’s coverage of all AFC playoff games will be free to watch online via CBSSports.com for the first time ever. As for FOX, Variety says that NFC games will be free behind a “TV Everywhere” paywall (Fox didn’t confirm), but will offer the big game, including the halftime show with Bruno Mars, online and via mobile at no cost.

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