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A roundup of the latest high-tech news from The Associated Press:
• Google donates $2 million to support Wikipedia
SAN FRANCISCO — Google Inc., the Internet’s most profitable company, is giving $2 million to support Wikipedia, a volunteer-driven reference tool that has emerged as one of the Web’s most-read sites.
The donation announced Wednesday matches the largest grant made so far to Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit group that oversees the 7-year-old Wikipedia. Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar also donated $2 million to Wikimedia six months ago through one of his investment arms.
The latest largesse has catapulted Wikimedia beyond its $10.6 million revenue target for its fiscal year ending in June. That goal had looked ambitious, given that it represented an increase of more than 20 percent from $8.7 million a year earlier.
But the worst recession since World War II evidently didn’t dampen support for the Internet’s most popular encyclopedia, which has more than 14 million entries written and edited by some 100,000 unpaid contributors in about 270 languages.
Wikimedia, which gets most of its revenue from donations, has collected contributions from more than 240,000 individuals so far this fiscal year, mostly in small sums.
The outpouring has allowed Wikipedia to expand while keeping its Web site commercial free, spokesman Jay Walsh said. "We intend to keep it that way, too."
Wikimedia, based in San Francisco, plans to spend about $9.4 million of its revenue this year, mostly to pay salaries and benefits to a staff of more than 30 people. The second-biggest expense is for operating Wikipedia’s Web site.
The donation is a pittance for Google, which ended December with $24 billion in cash. Google makes much of its money from ads that run alongside Internet search results, many of which send people to Wikipedia.
In a statement, Google co-founder Sergey Brin hailed Wikipedia as "one of the greatest triumphs of the Internet."
• Trade agency reviewing Kodak patent complaint
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A federal agency that oversees trade disputes said Wednesday it will investigate Eastman Kodak Co.’s patent-infringement complaint over digital-camera technology used in iPhones and BlackBerrys.
The U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington will weigh whether to block imports of the smart phones after Kodak alleged Apple Inc.’s iPhone and Research in Motion Ltd.’s camera-enabled BlackBerry models infringe on a 2001 patent covering ways to preview digital images.
Patent cases can take years to resolve, and agreements over licensing and royalty payments often emerge. But the trade commission, which can order Customs to stop imports of products made with contested technology, is seen as a fast-track mediator that typically resolves disputes in 12 to 15 months.
In December, after a yearlong legal tussle, Kodak negotiated royalty paying deals with South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. It followed up in mid-January by suing Apple and Research in Motion after failing to negotiate patent-royalty deals with the two companies.
RIM and Apple officials declined to comment Wednesday.
Among the smart phones in Kodak’s complaint are touch-screen models like the BlackBerry Storm that Canada-based Research in Motion introduced to compete with the iPhone, Apple’s hottest gadget.
Kodak also has filed separate lawsuits against Apple in U.S. District Court in Rochester, claiming an infringement of patents related to digital cameras and certain computer processes. It is asking for unspecified monetary damages and a court order to end the disputed practices.
In 2009, Kodak booked $622 million in intellectual-property income. It will draw $450 million in payments from Samsung alone this year, possibly in the first quarter.
The picture-taking pioneer, based in Rochester, has amassed more than 1,000 digital-imaging patents, and almost all of today’s digital cameras rely on that technology. It has licensed digital-imaging technology to about 30 companies, including mobile-device makers such as Motorola Inc. and Nokia Corp.
• DVD rental chain Redbox will wait on Warner Bros. releases
SEATTLE — DVD rental kiosk chain Redbox has agreed to wait 28 days after Warner Bros. releases new movies for sale before offering to rent them for $1 a night.
The agreement announced Tuesday ends a lawsuit that Redbox, a subsidiary of Coinstar Inc., filed against Warner Bros.’ home video unit last August. That was its third such suit against a studio that wanted to delay cheap rentals to boost sales of DVDs, a significant moneymaker for movie studios.
Redbox said in the lawsuit that it was being unfairly prevented from buying discs from wholesalers. The company had resorted to buying new-release DVDs from retailers at higher prices to keep its kiosks stocked with new titles.
The two-year deal with Warner Bros., a division of Time Warner Inc., will lower the cost Redbox has to pay to stock its machines. Redbox agreed to destroy used DVDs after their popularity in the kiosks wanes instead of selling them for $7.
Warner Bros. movies make up about 15 percent of Redbox’s inventory, the company said.
The deal will also give Redbox the right to rent Blu-Ray discs from its kiosks. The company said it expects to start renting the high-definition versions for more than $1 a night starting in the middle of the year.
Netflix Inc., which sends DVDs to renters through the mail, agreed last month to a similar delay for Warner Bros.’ latest movies.
Redbox’s lawsuits against General Electric Co.’s Universal, which wants a 45-day window to sell DVDs before rentals start, and News Corp.’s 20th Century Fox, which wants 30 days, are still making their way through the courts.
Redbox said the deal with Warner will allow it to buy more of Universal’s and Fox’s videos at retail.