Friday’s Tech Stocks Updates: Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s Password Successor, Google Inc (GOOG)’s Ended Agreement & Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)’s Gift Cards

Microsoft to lay off freelancers, contract writers at MSN (IndiaTimes)
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is laying off dozens of contract and freelance writers from its MSN news and entertainment portal as the giant software company seeks to reshape itself as a devices and services company. A spokesperson for the company confirmed the layoffs but declined to specify the number or comment further. A person familiar with the situation said the cuts could affect more than 100 people in all.

Entry of NTT Docomo in iPhone sales brings in new era of competition (The-Japan-News)
In a growing smartphone market, a new era of ever-intensifying competition has come. Major domestic cell phone carriers will be urged to rethink their strategies, for instance, by lowering fees and improving service. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) said Tuesday that it will launch two new models of its popular iPhone in nine countries, including Japan, on Sept. 20. The U.S. firm also said NTT Docomo Inc (ADR) (NYSE:DCM) will begin selling iPhones in Japan for the first time. Docomo has been locked in an uphill battle with its two rivals SoftBank Mobile Corp. and KDDI Corp., which already offer the iPhone, as Docomo has been unable to stem the outflow of subscribers switching to other carriers under the mobile phone portability system.

Google Coder Allows You To Build Raspberry Pi Apps In A Browser (Ubergizmo)
We have seen our fair share of projects that have involved the super small Raspberry Pi computer, and most of these are just pure genius in nature. There is always the line that we would like to cross from time to time, pushing the boundaries to explore new possibilities, and while it is theoretically possible to transform a Raspberry Pi into a web server, the real truth is, it ain’t that easy. The folks over at Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) might have just unraveled the mystery and made things a whole lot easier by streamlining the process via its latest Coder project.

Report: Microsoft’s take on Siri is called Cortana (Polygon)
A feature headed to Windows Phone 8.1 may include Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s take on Siri, which uses a name that references the Xbox’s flagship first-person shooter franchise, ZDNet reports. The feature is apparently codenamed Cortana, a reference to Halo’s AI companion. It will reportedly outperform Windows Phone’s current voice command capabilities and allow users to interact with the device using natural voice commands, like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s Siri and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Google Now. ZDNet’s sources also suggest that the underlying technology will also appear in other Microsoft products like Windows 8 and Xbox One.

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