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TITLE: Here Comes Amazon TV, 974GUEST CO-ANCHOR: Elise Hu

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This is Tech News Today for Friday, March 28, 2014!

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This episode is brought to you by:
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Welcome to Tech News Today, I'm Mike Elgan - I'm Jason Howell.

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Tech News Today explores the big stories of the day in conversation with some of the world's best journalists.

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Our guest co-anchor today is Elise Hu, an online and on-air reporter for NPR. Elise Hu
Reporter, NPR @elisewho

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Amazon is expected to announce a new streaming TV service on Wednesday. The company sent invitations out yesterday. Reports based on leaks, unnamed sources and those annoying “people familiar with the matter” have suggested a set-top box that streams TV shows, movies and music videos and possibly that plays games as well. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304688104579465690663213198http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304688104579465690663213198

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* WSJ reported yesterday a free, ad-supported TV service but Amazon denied it

* Amazon Instant Video = more than 40,000 movies and TV episodes to Prime members

* 'Betas' Amazon original show offered to Prime subscribers last year

* Amazon last year invested about $1 billion in content

* Data collected on viewing preferences could improve targeted advertising

* We’ll cover the event live, so join me and my guests at live.twit.tv Wednesday, April 2, at 8am Pacific, 3pm UTC, for our special coverage of the Amazon event.

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AD 1: Squarespacehttp://squarespace.com

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CONVERSATION 2SHOWLINKS

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Microsoft announced Office for iPad yesterday. The suite includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint, but not Outlook, which is sold separately. Four years in the making, Office for iPad is getting generally positive reviews. And it’s free to download, but the free version allows only the ability to read, but not create or edit, Word documents. You can edit Excel spreadsheets and present with PowerPoint documents with the free version. Unlocking full functionality requires an Office 365 subscription, which starts at about a hundred bucks a year for the Home Premium edition. http://www.pcworld.com/article/2111900/microsoft-office-for-ipad-review-finally-true-productivity-on-your-tablet.html http://recode.net/2014/03/27/microsoft-office-finally-comes-to-the-ipad-with-caveats/

http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-office-for-ipad-sets-the-gold-standard-for-tablet-productivity-7000027797/

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Mark Hachman is a Senior editor for PCWorld

Q: Are you impressed by Office for iPad, and would you recommend it?

Q: What are some of the best and worst features?

Q: How does this compare with Office running on Surface tablets?

Q: If you don’t have an Office 365 subscription, what can you do with Office for iPad, exactly?

Q: Microsoft’s revenue model means they don’t have to pay Apple 30%, right?
Mark Hachman
Senior editor, PCWorld @markhachman

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* Not really a suite -- downloaded as separate apps

* $80 per year for the student version.

* $70 per year Office 365 Personal edition later this spring

* Compatible only with Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud service (previously known as SkyDrive) and OneDrive for Business and SharePoint

* Reviewers (and Microsoft) say it’s ground-up iPad

* Mark up slides using a pen tool, or you can hold your finger on the screen to bring up a laser pointer.

* Only for iPads running iOS 7 or later

* Custom keyboard for Excel

* Ed Bott: “Formulas ribbon includes an extensive selection of functions, arranged by category just as in the desktop app. Even obscure statistical and financial functions are available.”

* Ed Bott: Office for the iPad is how it “leapfrogs Microsoft’s Windows tablets. On Windows 8 and Windows RT devices, Office is still a desktop app with some grudging interface tweaks designed to ease the pain of using an app without a mouse. Anyone who owns a Surface RT is likely to look enviously at these iPad apps, which for now are the gold standard for Office on a modern tablet."

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pcworld.com @markhachman

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BlackBerry released its fourth quarter earnings today, and as you might expect, things look pretty grim. Revenues are down 64 percent, dropping below $1 billion for the first time since 2007. The company lost $42 million for the quarter. But CEO John Chen is optimistic. http://www.theverge.com/2014/3/28/5557108/blackberry-q4-2013-earnings-financial-report-bold

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Here to try to explain this optimism, and BlackBerry’s prospects for survival in an iOS and Android world, is Verge editor Dan Seifert.

Q: Is John Chen nuts, or does he have reason for optimism?

Q: BlackBerry plans to differentiate with physical keyboards. Is that a winning strategy?

Q: How can BlackBerry gain new users, rather than simply thrilling old ones with keyboards?

Q: Bringing back the BlackBerry Bold?

Q: BlackBerry Messenger is now available on iOS and Android, and soon Windows Phone and on the Nokia X. Is this a significant business for BlackBerry?
Dan Seifert
Editor, The Verge @dcseifert

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* reduced operating expenses, down 51 percent

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theverge.com @dcseifert

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg yesterday provided some surprising facts about the company’s previously announced Connectivity Lab. The group will use drones, satellites and lasers to bring Internet access to remote places as part of Zuck’s Internet.org project. http://youtu.be/pxX6r-xDgG4http://recode.net/2014/03/27/send-in-the-drones-facebooks-plans-to-beam-internet-to-the-world/

https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10101322049893211?stream_ref=10

http://internet.org/press/announcing-the-connectivity-lab-at-facebook

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* Partners: Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm and Samsung

* 50 employees led by Dr. Yael Maguire, formerly of MIT’s Media Lab

* Hired people from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, Ames Research Center and National Optical Astronomy Observatory

* Facebook also partially acquired employees from Ascenta (solar aircraft)

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FOLLOW-UP

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We told you yesterday about how Twitter is becoming more like Facebook, and we even talked about the possibility that Twitter might add something similar to Google+’s interactive posts, which enable downloads directly. Now we’ve learned that Twitter is planning to release a mobile ad product targeted at app makers. The format is called the "app-install ad," and it’s designed to encourage users to download the advertised app straight from the ad, according to a report on Bloomberg. Twitter's been testing app-install ads for at least several weeks. One mobile-app maker contacted by Bloomberg said cost of acquiring each new user dropped by four-fifths using the new format. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-27/twitter-said-close-to-releasing-new-ad-product-for-apps.html

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IN OTHER NEWSSHOWLINKS

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In explaining why Facebook spent $2 billion on the company that makes the Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles, Mark Zuckerberg said Oculus has the potential to be the most social platform ever. So a Montreal-based collective called KO-OP Mode tested -- OK, mocked -- the idea by creating an app for browsing Facebook using Oculus Rift. The app lets you wander around in a 3D environment where the walls show the live Facebook profiles of your friends. The app is called Face rift. http://facerift.ko-opmode.com/http://www.psfk.com/2014/03/oculus-rift-facebook-profile.html

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* * * FIN * * *

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Amazon is getting ready to launch a streaming TV service

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Microsoft announces Office for iPad -- better late than never, I guess.

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BlackBerry remains optimistic despite a grim earnings report.

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And somebody created an Oculus Rift interface for... you guessed it! Facebook!

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Coming up this week! Everything happens on Wednesday, April 2!

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Microsoft’s annual Build Developer Conference kicks off in San Francisco that day.

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Amazon is expected to unveil a new streaming video product at a special event Wednesday at 8am Pacific -- we’ll cover it live here on the TWiT network.

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And some guy named Leo Laporte will host a Google Hangout with Internet legend Vint Cerf Wednesday at 11am Pacific.

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That’s what’s coming up on the Wednesday ahead! Back to you, Leo!

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