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A roundup of the latest high-tech news from The Associated Press:
• MySpace plans makeover after exec shakeup
LOS ANGELES — Long-ago lapped by Facebook in popularity and with fast-growing Twitter on its tail, social networking site MySpace is planning a series of updates over the next months that will link its users’ posts to those sites more easily and carve out its niche as an entertainment hub more clearly.
Those changes, among others, were unveiled by co-presidents Jason Hirschhorn, 38, and Mike Jones, 34, this week following the abrupt departure of CEO Owen Van Natta in February after just 10 months on the job.
The two remaining executives, who once shared a single office with Van Natta and now remain in it together, declined to comment much on Van Natta’s departure, other than to say his decision to leave was between him and parent News Corp.’s chief digital officer Jonathan Miller.
They also shed no new light on the ongoing ad-sharing deal with Google Inc., which forms the backbone of MySpace’s revenue but expires in August.
"Owen’s decision and Jon’s decision were their own. Jon came to us and said, ‘Would you like to be co-presidents?’ We said, ‘Hell yeah.’ We didn’t have to move our desks," Hirschhorn said in an interview at the Beverly Hills headquarters. "We were very much operating the company from a day-to-day basis and believed in the strategy that we laid out with Owen, frankly."
Attempts to reach Van Natta were unsuccessful.
The executives acknowledged that change has been slow coming to the site, and critics have often cited its clunkiness compared to Facebook.
MySpace’s monthly visitors declined 7 percent in January from a year ago to 120 million worldwide, compared to Facebook’s 471 million visitors, a 100 percent increase, according to Internet tracker comScore Inc. Twitter grew 1,100 percent to 74 million visitors over the same time.
• ‘Nobel of computing’ goes to early PC designer
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A Microsoft Corp. researcher won the $250,000 Turing Award, one of technology’s most coveted prizes and the industry’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize, on Tuesday for his work helping design and build what is widely considered the first modern personal computer.
While at Xerox Corp.’s famed Palo Alto Research Center, or PARC, in the 1970s, Charles Thacker led the hardware development for the Alto, which featured innovative display and other technologies that helped inspire future generations of computers.
Thacker, 67, was also co-inventor of the Ethernet networking technology for connecting computers, which is still widely used.
Thacker said he would probably donate the money to his alma mater, the University of California, Berkeley.
"I was flabbergasted," he said in an interview Tuesday. "I frankly never expected to get the award, because it wasn’t given to people like me. Most of the people who have gotten the Turing award in the past few years are software people or theoreticians. There are scant few people who have actually built some hardware."
Other recent winners include Internet pioneers Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn, and Doug Engelbart, the inventor of the computer mouse.
The Turing Award is funded by Google Inc. and Intel Corp. It is named for the mathematician Alan Turing and is administered by Association for Computing Machinery.
The association’s president, Wendy Hall, said that Thacker is "one of the most distinguished computer systems engineers in the history of the field" and that his innovations have "profoundly affected the course of modern computing."
• Arris shares jump after Needham upgrade
NEW YORK — Shares of Arris Group Inc. jumped Tuesday after Needham & Co. upgraded the provider of equipment for the cable industry, predicting a growth spurt led by international sales and new products.
Arris shares climbed 96 cents, or 8.4 percent, to $12.38 in afternoon trading. The stock has ranged from $6.15 to $13.75 over the past year.
Needham analyst Greg Mesniaeff raised his rating to "Buy" from "Hold." In a note to clients, he wrote that as spending by cable providers on broadband equipment in the U.S. wanes, Arris will have to increasingly look abroad to drive sales.
He wrote that the company won "sizable orders from key customers in Latin America and in Europe" in the fourth quarter that will contribute to revenue this year.
He also pointed to the company’s acquisition of set-top box maker Diego Inc. Mesniaeff said the deal will give Arris a range of new products to compete with rivals including Cisco Systems Inc., Motorola Inc. and TiVo Inc