Tech News: Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iTunes Soaring, Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) & Barnes & Noble, Inc. (BKS) News

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Editor’s Note: Related Tickers: Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY), Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)

iTunes’ recent growth shows content could be a big business for Apple (GigaOM)
For a nice visual aid of how Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iTunes content business is doing, the Asymco blog has done a great job chart-ifying the company’s most recent earnings results. The charts show how iTunes content revenue has been steadily growing upward and to the right. But they also show that Apple saw an increase in iTunes net sales by $300 million just from the holiday quarter (when Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) always sees its biggest concentrated pop in downloads) to the March quarter, making $2.4 billion in sales. This is also up from $1.9 billion during the same quarter a year ago.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Employee Says Barnes & Noble, Inc. (BKS) NOOK Deal ‘Not Happening’ (Insider Monkey)
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) apparently didn’t really do anything, but Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS) shares spiked last week with a rumor that floated which said that Microsoft, which owned a 17-percent stake in NOOK Media LLC – the Barnes & Noble subsidiary that creates the NOOK e-reader tablets and related content – was making a $1 billion offer to buy the entity outright and take it over, perhaps to incorporate the Windows operating system over the current Android OS that runs on the tablets now. However, we at Insider Monkey received word from a highly placed source inside Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) who said that the story was only a rumor, and that nothing imminent is happening in regards to Microsoft and its investment in the NOOK Media entity, or reports that it is buying out Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS) from the operation.

Wikitude Announces Places Beta for BlackBerry 10 (BerryReview)
As Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) goes “live” with its biggest annual event in Florida tomorrow, so does “Wikitude Places beta” for BlackBerry 10. Wikitude Places beta is the first preliminary release of the next generation of Wikitude on BlackBerry’s new BB10 platform. For the very first time, this beta version shows Wikitude’s whole new UI concept and the focus on location based services such as sights, restaurants and hotels in your vicinity. Contrary to Wikitude on older platforms, this new beta release for BB10 does not yet include the full augmented reality content portfolio and the integration of Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) Messenger (BBM) functionalities.

Nokia unveils £65 budget phone with 48 DAYS of standby battery life (Daily Mail)
Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) has revealed a budget phone with a 48 day standby time. The Asha 501 is aimed at people who cannot afford a smartphone, but want to upgrade. Nokia has worked with developers such as Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter to make apps for the phone. It offers 17 hours of talk time, 56 hours of music playback and 48 days of standby time on 2G networks, the Finland based phone manufacturer says. ‘The new Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) Asha 501 raises the bar for what is possible in affordable smartphone design and optimisation,’ said Timo Toikkanen, executive vice president, Mobile Phones, Nokia.

Why Facebook might buy your location for £650 million (Wired.co.uk)
Multiple reports have Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) in talks to buy Waze, a mobile traffic map constantly updated by users, for roughly $1 billion (£650 million). Why is Facebook so interested in a map? It’s not. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is almost certainly interested in the mutual self-tracking club behind the map rather than the map itself. The way Waze works, you see, is that everyone who downloads fresh traffic data is also contributing fresh traffic data; the app regularly and automatically uploads your physical locations, which can be used to determine your speed.

Apple Recovery Is on Its Way (Forbes)
Much has been made about Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s share price decline over the past few months, as the stock fell from $700 in September 2012 to below $400 just a few weeks ago. Is the stock, and the company itself, on its way to recovery? It is, if you believe one Wall Street pundit. Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White said he believes that Apple has a three-pronged approach towards a sustainable share price recovery: returning cash to shareholders; a profit cycle trough and move higher; and new areas of growth. White rates Apple “buy” with a $888 price target. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) completed the first part of the recovery process when it announced earnings, raised its buyback program by $50 billion and lifted its dividend 15% per annum.

Could Skype Be The Killer App For Microsoft’s Next Xbox? (Forbes)
As we look ahead to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)‘s announcement of its next Xbox, there’s as much attention being paid to non-gaming uses as there is to actual games. That’s good and bad — while broader appeal is always nice, this is a games console and it needs to attract gamers. The notion of a TV tuner has gotten a lot of press, but there’s one other app that could prove crucial to marketing and selling the next Xbox: …

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