Stories for Jul. 23, 2014

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In Brief

The Windows Phone app store is a lot better than when it launched, but that just makes its app holes more glaring — like Uber, which used to have an app (really a website in an app wrapper) until it pulled it from the platform last April. Well, good news for Windows Phone users who love on-demand car services: you can now download an official Uber app, as opposed to using the service’s mobile website. Like my colleague Kevin Tofel and his need for a decent Google+ client, I’m sure there are people whose last hurdle to adopting Microsoft’s mobile OS was the lack of a decent Uber app.

In Brief

Sprint and Google already have a history of close cooperation on consumer apps — Sprint was the only major U.S. carrier to support Google Wallet — but now it looks like they’re making their partnership more professional. In August, Sprint will start offering Google apps to small business and enterprise customers. The carrier won’t just resell access to Gmail, Calendar, Drive and Docs business accounts; it will provide customer support, giving those businesses a single point of contact for their mobile network and device problems as well as their app issues.

In Brief

Otter Media, the adorably named joint venture between AT&T and the Chernin Group, is about to buy a majority stake in Fullscreen, according to a Recode report. The deal would value Fullscreen between $200 and $300 million, according to Recode. Fullscreen is a one of a number of so-called multichannel networks on YouTube, and clocks more than 3.5 billion views every month across its channels. The company’s YouTube talent includes Grace Helbig, Shane Dawson, the Fine Brothers and Michael Buckley.

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In Brief

Fans of the Lowe’s Iris smart home platform can now automate their pet doors, garage doors, hoses and window blinds. The hose timer is actually pretty interesting, especially for folks that might not have an irrigation system or just want to water some plants while they are on vacation. The automated blinds will likely also prove popular. Lowe’s has been offering the Iris platform since 2012, and was one of the first DIY providers in this market, but this summer Home Depot has gotten aggressive offering the Wink platform and a variety of other connected devices.

In Brief

When Yelp and the European Consumer Organisation joined the 4-year-old EU antitrust case against Google, it became pretty clear that competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia would not get his wish of settling the case before his departure later this year. And lo, it comes to pass: According to the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal, the European Commission is now planning to reopen its settlement arrangements with Google for an unprecedented fourth round of revisions. A Wednesday letter from original complainant Foundem expressed clear dissatisfaction with existing settlement proposals, and it seems the NSA mess is providing political pressure as well.

Stories for Jul. 22, 2014
In Brief

Video curation startup Frequency added Chromecast support to its Android app this week, making it possible for Frequency users to cast any of the app’s curated channels of online video sources to the TV screen. Frequency’s app offers more than 4000 channels from sources including popular YouTube creators as well as media outlets like CNN, the York Times and BBC News. The company has also struck partnerships with TV manufacturers, and most recently launched a SDK for pay TV operators.

In Brief

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is now equipped with landing legs, which could eventually allow it to be reusable–a crucial step toward lowering the cost of carrying cargo to space. The space startup released a video today taken from the surface of the rocket as it passed through the planet’s atmosphere and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. “The water impact caused loss of hull integrity, but we received all the necessary data to achieve a successful landing on a future flight,” a blog post states. “At this point, we are highly confident of being able to land successfully on a floating launch pad or back at the launch site and refly the rocket with no required refurbishment.”

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