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A roundup of the latest high-tech news “Hot Off the Wire” from The Associated Press and Local Tech Wire:

• Wal-Mart slashes price of iPhone

SEATTLE — Wal-Mart says it’s cutting the price of the most up-to-date iPhone in half. That’s another sign Apple (Nasdaq: GOOG) is getting ready to unveil a new model.

Wal-Mart says that starting Tuesday the iPhone 3GS with 16 gigabytes of storage space will cost $97 with a two-year contract with AT&T. It currently costs $197.

Leaked prototypes for an updated iPhone surfaced on blogs recently. The price cut could signal retailers are clearing the shelves to make room for a new Apple smart phone.

Apple declined to comment on whether it’s planning to release a new iPhone soon, or whether it will also sell the iPhone 3GS for less.

The company’s annual developer conference kicks off June 7.

Apple unveiled the iPhone 3GS at the same event last year.

• Google discloses how it divides ad revenues

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) has finally revealed one of its financial secrets and spelled out how it splits revenue with other websites that show its online ads.

The Internet search leader’s partners get 68 percent of the revenue from ads placed alongside articles and other content on Web pages. Websites keep 51 percent of the revenue from Google’s
ads shown next to their own search results.

The breakdown appeared Monday on one of Google’s blogs.

Google has always said its advertising partners keep most of the revenue, but has faced criticism for not being more specific about the commission rates.

The commission for ads shown next to general Web content has remained the same since 2003, Google said. The rate for search ads has been in effect since 2005.

Most of the ads that Google sells appear next to its own search engine and other services that it owns. The company keeps all that revenue.

Ads shown next to Google’s own services brought in $15.7 billion in revenue last year compared with $7.2 billion from marketing messages that Google distributed to other websites.

• Non-Latin characters in domain names offer ‘personalized’ Net

CAIRO — The use of non-Latin characters in Internet addresses is a key step to opening up the Web and making it more “personalized” for billions of users, the head of the nonprofit body that oversees Internet addresses said Monday.

Rod Beckstrom, CEO of the , said around half of the people using the Internet do not use Latin script. But the recent approval of Arabic and Russian characters for domain name suffixes will help bridge that linguistic barrier and encourage more users online, he said.

“This is part of the Internet becoming more truly global,” Beckstrom told The Associated Press on the sidelines of an event celebrating the introduction of such suffixes in Arabic. “We see this just opening up and making the Internet more global.”

“It seems to be a more important offering for the psyche of people. Our language is part of our culture and our identity, and having … the ability to express our domain in our chosen language is something that people feel very powerfully about,” Beckstrom said.

Earlier this month, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Russia become the first nations to get Internet addresses entirely in non-Latin characters.

Egypt, for example, secured the right to the “.masr” domain (written in Arabic).

The step marked a fundamental shift in the Internet domain name system since its creation in the 1980s.