Apple Plans to Ship Less-Expensive iPhone to China Mobile

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By Daisuke Wakabayashi, Lorraine Luk, Ian Sherr and Paul Mozur   Apple Inc. is preparing to ship iPhones to China Mobile Ltd. , people familiar with the matter say, an arrangement that would significantly increase Apple’s distribution in the world’s biggest smartphone market. A deal would cap years of negotiations between the two companies. Apple has tried…

Samsung to Step Up Efforts in U.S. PC Market

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Samsung Electronics Co. is known particularly well for its smartphones, tablets and televisions.

Raymond Wah, an executive at the company’s computer division, wants to add PCs to that list. The former Hewlett-Packard Co. executive said Samsung plans to amp up its efforts in the U.S., where it still lags major competitors such as H-P Dell Inc Lenovo Group Ltd. and Apple Inc. in market share.

“Given that now we have market leadership in the smartphone space, you will see a lot more exciting new go-to-market strategies from us,” he said during an interview at the Consumer Electronics Show here.

Take-Two Builds ‘Civilization’ Game for South Korea

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Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. is developing a new version of “Civilization,” one of its most storied franchises, featuring interconnected virtual worlds in which players compete. But it isn’t for the U.S., its largest market; this game is being developed for South Korea.

The New York company—best known for its “Grand Theft Auto” and “Borderlands” franchises—is the latest of a bevy of large U.S. game companies attempting to embrace the fast-growing Asian markets, where gaming consoles such as Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox and Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 3 barely have a presence. Instead, gamers there typically play on a personal computer at home or in Internet cafes.

Apple Makes a Wrong Turn as Users Blast Map Switch

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Apple Inc.’s move to replace Google Inc.’s mapping software with its own on its mobile devices sparked a world-wide consumer backlash, marking a rare strategic blunder by a company more accustomed to rave reviews from users.

As Apple prepped its stores for the first sales of the iPhone 5 on Friday, the company faced vociferous complaints from consumers over the mapping application it released this week, which replaces the Google maps that have been part of the iPhone since the device’s initial 2007 release. The new maps come installed on the iPhone 5 and will be seen by other users who upgrade their iPhones and iPads to the company’s latest iOS 6 mobile operating system.

Activision to Bring New, Free Version of ‘Call of Duty’ to China

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Consumers in the U.S. frequently line up to pay $60 apiece for each year’s installment of Activision Blizzard Inc.’s biggest franchise, “Call of Duty.” But when the war-simulation shooting game reaches China’s shores later this year, Activision will take a different tack: giving it away for free.

The Santa Monica, Calif., company is responding to the peculiarities of the fast-growing Chinese market, where game consoles barely have a presence and people typically gather in PC-laden Internet cafes to play free games that are supported by sales of virtual goods.

San Francisco Tries New Tack in Preparations for America’s Cup

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San Francisco hoped hosting the 34th America’s Cup next year would revitalize parts of its aging waterfront. Now it will have to settle for just keeping things afloat.

The regatta had looked like a prime opportunity for the city to fix up some of its piers—particularly Piers 30 and 32, which sit between the Bay Bridge and AT&T Park and are now being used in a limited manner. An initial estimate by the event organizers for making the repairs totaled about $55 million, which was to be borne by the America’s Cup and eventually earned back by renting out the renovated area.

Amazon Removes Resellers’ iPads From Sale in China

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Apple Inc. pulled its iPad 2 tablet from the websites of some unauthorized merchants in China, including Amazon.com Inc.’s Chinese site, in the latest challenge for the consumer-electronics giant in a key growth market.

Apple requested that the iPad 2 be removed from online storefronts because the sites weren’t authorized to sell the device, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The people said that the removal wasn’t related to a long-running dispute over the iPad trademark in China.

In addition to Amazon’s China site, which has a relatively small market share, the country’s second-largest business-to-consumer e-commerce company by sales, Jingdong, also stopped offering iPads. Although listings for iPads still appeared on Jingdong’s shopping site, 360buy.com, attempts to purchase an iPad through any of those listings Thursday produced a message saying the seller is out of stock.