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A roundup of the latest high-tech news from The Associated Press:
• Another redesign for Facebook on 6th birthday
NEW YORK — is redesigning its site yet again, this time to better emphasize applications, games and search.
Links and items have moved around the home page as Facebook tries to streamline navigation and make games and apps stand out more.
The latest evolution continued Friday after Facebook started rolling the changes out late Thursday, the company’s sixth birthday. The changes were being made in stages, so not all users were seeing them right away.
The world’s largest online social network has continuously morphed its home page as it’s grown from a closed hub for college students to a Web and mobile destination for 400 million people worldwide.
Past changes have sparked protests from many users, though Facebook says it makes them to serve its audience better. Facebook says that it conducts months of testing and that many users request such changes.
With the latest redesign, links to friend requests, messages and comment notifications are no longer scattered around and now reside on the top of the page.
On the updated site, the search box stands out more. Microsoft Corp., which powers Facebook search and advertising, said Friday in a blog post that search results on the social site will go beyond just links to include "richer answers combined with tools that help customers make faster, smarter decisions."
Under a new agreement, Microsoft will run text ads next to Facebook search results worldwide, rather than only in the U.S. as was the case before. However, Microsoft loses the right to sell display ads — the online billboards that command more money than search ads, but aren’t as lucrative yet. Facebook will now sell those ads directly.
Facebook’s chat feature also becomes more prominent with the redesign. Users can now see friends who are currently online without clicking on a link. This doesn’t include all friends, only the ones they communicate with often.
There are also new links on the left that take users to online dashboards where they can organize games and applications and find new ones by seeing what their friends use. Games such as "Farmville" and "Mafia Wars" have surged in popularity on Facebook.
• Macmillan books coming back to Amazon
NEW YORK — After a weeklong absence, new copies of Andrew Young’s "The Politician," Hilary Mantel’s "Wolf Hall" and other books published by Macmillan are available for purchase on Amazon.com.
Since last Friday, Amazon had limited the availability of Macmillan releases in a dispute over e-books, with Macmillan calling for a new pricing system that would end the $9.99 rate Amazon had been setting for best-sellers on its Kindle e-reader. Macmillan and other publishers believe $9.99 is too low and threatens the value of books overall.
During the dispute, Amazon had stopped offering new copies and e-book editions of many Macmillan titles, allowing purchases only through third-party sellers.
Amazon, where new copies of Macmillan books were returning Friday night, had announced last week it expected to "capitulate and accept Macmillan’s terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books."
On Thursday, Macmillan CEO John Sargent had issued a memo saying a resolution was probably near. Macmillan’s authors include Janet Evanovich, Jonathan Franzen, Barbara Ehrenreich and its imprints include Farrar, Straus & Giroux, St. Martin’s Press and Henry Holt & Co.
Under Macmillan’s model, known as the "agency model," e-books will be priced from $12.99 to $14.99 when first released, with prices changing over time. Macmillan and other publishers are widely believed to have agreed to a similar structure for Apple’s iPad device, coming in March and expected to strongly challenge Amazon’s dominance of the growing digital market.
Hachette Book Group USA, where authors include Stephenie Meyer and Malcolm Gladwell, announced Thursday its support for the agency model, which gives publishers more control over pricing.
The new revenue sharing system will likely reduce initial profits for publishers, but publishers, authors and agents believe that setting a higher price benefits the industry in the long-term.
• Chinese man gets 2½ years for phony Cisco parts
LOS ANGELES – A Chinese businessman who sold phony Cisco computer parts to U.S. buyers has been sentenced to 2½ years in federal prison.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles announced the sentence Friday against Yongcai Li. He also was ordered to repay nearly $800,000 to Cisco Systems Inc.
Li had a technology company in China. Prosecutors say he obtained counterfeits of Cisco products and shipped them to the United States in 2005 and 2006. The indictment alleges the products had phony Cisco trademarks.
Leap Wireless shares downgraded
NEW YORK – Shares of Leap Wireless International Inc. took a hit Friday after a JPMorgan analyst downgraded the prepaid wireless service provider, saying a sale of the company would be "very challenging."
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that the company has hired bankers to explore a sale. JPMorgan analyst Mike McCormack said he believes the company is actively seeking a buyer, with rival MetroPCS Communications Inc. the most likely suitor.
But the analyst downgraded Leap to "Underweight" from "Neutral," saying that amid "industrywide pricing pressure, and deteriorating fundamentals, we believe that Metro would be unwilling to pursue a bid for Leap, even at current levels."
Metro made a bid for Leap in 2007 but the companies did not work out a deal.
Leap has not commented on the reports and spokesman Greg Lund said Friday it had no plans to do so.