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Morning Media Newsfeed: Microsoft to Cut 18,000 Jobs | Aereo Faces Setback

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Microsoft to Lay Off 18,000 Workers, Largest Cuts in History (SocialTimes)
Over the next year, Microsoft is eliminating 18,000 jobs, or as much as 14 percent of its workforce. CEO Satya Nadella wrote a public email to company employees on Thursday saying “every team across Microsoft must find ways to simplify and move faster, more efficiently.” He said that he would give more details on Tuesday, when Microsoft reports its fiscal 2014 results. Deadline Hollywood The layoffs will hit hardest at the Nokia Devices and Services phone handset business, acquired in April. “We are moving now to start reducing the first 13,000 positions, and the vast majority of employees whose jobs will be eliminated will be notified over the next six months,” Nadella said in the email Thursday. Microsoft expects the restructuring to result in as much as $1.6 billion in pre-tax charges over the next four quarters. That will include as much as $800 million for severance and related benefit costs, and up to $800 million in asset-related charges. Variety Microsoft is also getting out of developing original series for its Xbox gaming platform and will close Xbox Entertainment Studios in the coming months. Xbox chief Phil Spencer announced Xbox Entertainment Studios will shutter and that some projects in development and production, including a live-action Halo series, will still be produced. New York Post / Reuters The studio, set up in 2012 under then-CEO Steve Ballmer, said in April it had committed to several projects including Humans, a drama co-produced with U.K. broadcaster Channel 4, and Halo. NYT While Microsoft still makes profits that executives at other companies would be ecstatic to have, it has been beaten on the biggest new trends in tech, including mobile, Internet search and cloud computing. As a result, it is regularly left out of conversations about companies defining the next generation of technology, outflanked and overshadowed by companies like Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon.

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Wall Street Journal Film Reporter Moves Over to Twitter

As previously noted, Tuesday was the Wall Street Journal‘s 125th anniversary. It was also film reporter Rachel Dodes‘ last day.

RachelDodesTweet

Dodes was on maternity leave in recent months. But starting July 28, she will begin an impressive new job in New York City: partner manager for motion pictures at Twitter.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Aereo Plans Survival | Dish Makes Anti-Merger Case to FCC

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Aereo Signals Path to Survival if Classified as Cable System (WSJ)
Aereo Inc., the online video company that was widely expected to go out of business after losing a high-stakes Supreme Court case in June, signaled Wednesday that it sees a path to survival if it is classified in legal terms as a cable system. Mashable Aereo lost its case before the U.S. Supreme Court because a majority of the justices said its resemblance to a cable company meant it had violated copyright laws. Re/code The video streaming company told a U.S. district court in New York Wednesday it now thinks it’s entitled to be licensed as a cable system because of the Supreme Court’s decision. That would allow the company to stay alive although it would have to pay licensing fees in addition to costs to restart its stalled business. Aereo allowed consumers to watch local TV channels over the Internet for a monthly fee of up to $12 until shutting down its service a few weeks ago after the Supreme Court sided with broadcasters. Capital New York The broadcasters responded with their own argument, calling Aereo’s decision “astonishing.” “Whatever Aereo may say about its rationale for raising it now, it is astonishing for Aereo to contend the Supreme Court’s decision automatically transformed Aereo into a ‘cable system’ under Section 111 given its prior statements to this Court and the Supreme Court,” lawyers for the broadcasters wrote. Deadline Hollywood At issue is whether the District Court will lift a stay that allowed Aereo to remain in business while the case made its way to the Supreme Court. Broadcasters want it lifted so they can collect damages from Aereo’s infringement of their copyrights — a two-year period during which they say they “suffered irreparable harm.” Aereo faces additional hurdles even if the District Court agrees with its view. The FCC also might have to agree to define Aereo as a cable operator for it to qualify for the compulsory license — and it would have to be granted by the U.S. Copyright Office.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Palin Eyes The View | Rolling Stone Appoints Publisher

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Is Sarah Palin Pitching Herself to The View? (THR / The Live Feed)
Sportsman Channel has picked up a second season of Amazing America With Sarah Palin, the network announced Monday. Palin’s program, which has her introducing viewers to the great outdoors as well as the country’s unsung heroes, has brought significant attention to the niche cable channel, propelling Sportsman to triple-digit year-over-year growth in households and key male demographics. In an interview with THR, Palin names The View as a show that might “need a punch of reality and a voice of reason from America’s heartland to knock some humble sense into [its] scripts.” TVNewser The rumor mill on who will replace ousted View hosts Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy is in full force, and former Vice Presidential candidate Palin seems to be throwing her hat in the ring. In the interview, Palin mentioned that The View might be better if it goes “rogue.” FishbowlDC Palin said, “Maybe. But the politics would have to be interspersed with a whole lot of fun and real life and inspiration showcasing American work ethic, because those topics are all pretty much the antithesis of today’s politics, which I find incorrigibly disastrous!” She went on to add, “It’d be so much fun to shake it up taking on issues that make audiences objectively consider all sides, and I’d do it with my own real-life groundedness, candor and commonsense that I’m known for.” Mediaite With Barbara Walters’ semi-retirement underway and the pending departures of Shepherd and McCarthy, The View is actively looking for new co-hosts. MSNBC The program’s women co-hosts discuss a variety of political and social issues. Moderator Whoopi Goldberg is the only host not departing the daytime show. The series also previously included journalist Lisa Ling, television personality Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and comedians Rosie O’Donnell and Joy Behar as co-hosts.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Coulson Gets 18 Months | SiriusXM Fires Opie & Anthony‘s Cumia

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Andy Coulson Gets 18 Months in Tabloid Phone Hacking (NYT)
Andy Coulson, a former senior editor in Rupert Murdoch’s news empire and a onetime adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron, was sentenced on Friday to 18 months in prison for his part in the phone hacking scandal that convulsed Britain’s press, police and political elite and inspired calls for tighter regulation of journalists. HuffPost / AP Coulson was convicted June 24 after an eight-month trial triggered by a tabloid-wrongdoing scandal that led Murdoch to shut down the News of The World in 2011. Another former editor, Rebekah Brooks, and four others were acquitted. The Guardian The offense carries a maximum sentence of two years’ imprisonment, but Coulson received a discount of several months for his previous good character. He could be out in less than nine months because, as a non-violent offender, he is required to serve just half his sentence. THR Three other former News of the World staffers and one private investigator who hacked phones for the paper also pleaded guilty to hacking and also received their sentences Friday. They are former news desk editors Greg Miskiw, James Weatherup and Neville Thurlbeck, as well as Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator who was used for hacking. Miskiw and Thurlbeck were sentenced to six months each, Weatherup got a suspended sentence of four months, and Mulcaire was given a suspended sentence of six months. Variety Coulson faces a retrial along with former royals editor Clive Goodman on separate charges that they made illegal payments to police officers to obtain royal phone directories. Over a period of more than a decade, journalists at the now-shuttered Sunday paper listened in on thousands of voicemails belonging to celebrities, politicians and crime victims.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Google Buys Songza | MSNBC Holds Second Place

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Google in Deal for Songza, A Music Playlist Service (NYT)
In a sign of growing consolidation in the digital music business, Google announced on Tuesday that it had bought Songza, a three-year-old app that competes with Pandora and others in making customized playlists of recommended songs. Re/code The New York Post reported in June that the deal could be worth $15 million. Unlike some acquired startups, Songza won’t be shutting down. Its team will be joining Google in New York and helping with contextual recommendation features for Google Play and possibly YouTube down the line. GigaOM Songza offers custom curated playlists based on categories like genre, mood, decade and activity (“Drinking at A Dive Bar,” “’60s International,” etc.) and offers song suggestions based on the time of day and week. The service is free and songs aren’t interrupted by ads. THR The acquisition comes on the heels of Apple’s deal to purchase Beats Electronics and its streaming music service for $3 billion. Amazon also has jumped into the music streaming market with the launch of the Prime Music service, which comes as part of its $99 annual Prime subscription. The move appears to be part of Google’s plans to compete in this increasingly crowded music-streaming space, which is already dominated by Spotify. Variety Google said it plans to use Songza to make its Play Music service more attractive. The Songza purchase also comes as marketers are spending more on online and mobile radio services in the U.S. Ad sales generated $1.65 billion in the U.S. last year, a gain of 26.3 percent, according to digital research group eMarketer. That’s expected to increase another 23 percent to $2 billion this year.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Yahoo! Revives Community | AP to Automate Earnings Stories

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Community Picked Up by Yahoo! (LostRemote)
Greendale Community College is reopening its doors — on Yahoo! The cancelled NBC sitcom Community has been picked up by Yahoo for a 13-episode sixth season. Mashable Until recently, Community’s studio, Sony, had been in talks with Hulu about resurrecting the series following its May cancellation by NBC. NYT Community, which uses a study group at Greendale Community College as the jumping-off point for its self-referential story lines and pop culture obsessions, comes with a core audience of passionate fans. Those fans helped save the show from a previous threat of cancellation two seasons ago. Yahoo! Screen offers reruns of many shows, but Yahoo! has been putting more emphasis on adding original shows. WSJ In April, it announced the launch of 30-minute comedies Other Space and Sin City Saints, which will debut next year. In a time of “cord-cutting,” online services have helped attract subscribers with shows such as Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black and Amazon’s Alpha House. Deadline Hollywood The deal for Community extends Sony TV’s strong track record in bringing back cancelled series. The studio previously brokered a deal to move acclaimed drama Damages to DirecTV after it was cancelled by FX, and found a way to bring back on their original networks cancelled series Drop Dead Diva on Lifetime and Unforgettable on CBS. All three series have gone to air multiple seasons post-cancellation. What wasn’t immediately clear was how Yahoo! plans to make money from continuing the cult show online.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Al Jazeera Journos Sentenced | Post-Dispatch Defends Decision

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Jailed Al Jazeera Journalists Convicted in Egypt (CNN)
Three Al Jazeera English journalists were convicted Monday of aiding the Muslim Brotherhood in a ruling that immediately outraged journalists and activists around the world. The Guardian Former BBC correspondent Peter Greste, from Australia, ex-CNN journalist Mohamed Fahmy and local producer Baher Mohammed were jailed for seven, seven and 10 years, respectively. Four students and activists indicted in the case were sentenced to seven years. NYT Prosecutors accused the three journalists of conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood to broadcast false reports of civil strife in order to bring down Egypt’s military-backed government. But the prosecutors have not publicly disclosed any evidence that the journalists either conspired with the Brotherhood or broadcast false news. HuffPost / AP “I swear they will pay for this,” Fahmy, who was Al Jazeera English’s acting Cairo bureau chief, shouted angrily from the defendants’ cage after the sentences were announced in the Cairo court Monday. Greste, a correspondent, raised his fists in the air. “They just ruined a family,” said Fahmy’s brother Adel, who was attending the session. He said they would appeal the verdict but added that he had little faith in the system. “Everything is corrupt,” he said. Al Jazeera Al Jazeera English managing director Al Anstey said the verdicts defied “logic, sense and any semblance of justice,” adding, “[Monday] three colleagues and friends were sentenced, and will continue to be kept behind bars for doing a brilliant job of being great journalists. ‘Guilty’ of covering stories with great skill and integrity. ‘Guilty’ of defending people’s right to know what is going on in their world.” The Washington Post The verdict was delivered in a brief session at a courtroom in the Tora prison complex, where the detainees have been imprisoned for nearly six months.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Handler to Host Netflix Show | NYT, WaPo, Mozilla Team Up

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Chelsea Handler to Host Talk Show on Netflix (LostRemote)
Late-night comedian Chelsea Handler is moving from TV to Netflix, announcing Thursday she’ll host a talk show on the streaming service in 2016. NYT The idea could appear counterintuitive because Netflix, the subscription streaming video service, has thus far only posted original series in their entirety, not day by day or even week by week. But this apparent incongruity may be what appealed to Handler, a comic who has been public about seeking a new and different landing place after declaring that she was planning to leave E!, where for seven years she has hosted Chelsea Lately, a daily late-night show. WSJ Netflix will likely release the talk show episodes in a different way than it has debuted its other original series, where it is released all the episodes at once to encourage “binge viewing.” THR / The Live Feed “If I was going to continue working in this industry, I knew I had to do something outside the box to keep myself interested. I wanted to sit with the cool kids at lunch so I approached Netflix to make sure they were as cool as I thought they were, and when I confirmed my suspicions, like with any other future lover, I made my move,” said Handler in a statement. The Washington Post / Style Blog Before this, Handler made no secret that she despised the E! network — and her manager told the media she was actively looking for another gig. When E! announced the series finale of her talk show this summer, she offered the most lukewarm departure statement ever: “I will always look back at my time on E! as most people look back at their time in college. I’m glad I went.” HuffPost In addition to the talk show, Handler will also be collaborating with Netflix on five comedy specials into next year, including stand-up and docu-comedy specials.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Amazon Unveils Fire Phone | Carney’s Final Briefing

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Amazon Launches Smartphone (GalleyCat)
Amazon has gotten into the smartphone business with the launch of the Fire, Amazon’s first smartphone. NYT Though the device is called the Fire phone, Amazon’s new gadget is less a phone than a pocketable cash register hooked directly into the retailer’s intelligent warehouses. And it’s not cheap. The Fire phone sells for $199 with a two-year AT&T contract. Although it also comes with a free one-year subscription to Amazon’s Prime membership, the Fire phone is essentially the same price as high-end phones made by Apple and Samsung. For Amazon, a company whose previous devices have had innovative pricing plans that often involved selling devices at cost, the Fire phone’s uninspired price tag is a surprising disappointment. The Washington Post / The Switch The phone lets you scan products in stores, so that you can buy things directly from Amazon, using a new service called “Firefly.” Users can even use the phone to “listen” to songs or videos, and link users to places to buy them. It can also recognize art, and scan text such as phone numbers and then immediately place a call. The Verge There’s one big difference here: the Fire phone’s interface changes based on how you’re looking at it and how you orient the device. Amazon calls the feature “Dynamic Perspective,” which basically means that some apps on the phone will have a three-dimensional depth to them, and tilting the phone will let you peer around edges, just as you can with real objects. Mashable The history of 3D-type screens in mobile suggests consumers aren’t interested in the feature. The two most notable devices, the HTC Evo 3D and the LG Optimus 3D, both flopped. The only real 3D success in mobile so far has been the Nintendo 3DS, which is explicitly a game console.

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