Apple Announces New Smart Card Reader and 4 Tech Titans to Watch

Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) first engineering center located outside of the United States opened in London on Tuesday, andit boosted the British government’s ambition to make the digital economy a central to its growth strategy. The company’s vice-president of engineering, Mike Schroepfer, stated that London is “rapidly emerging as a global technology hub”, allowing access to the best engineers in a place where other talented engineers would be willing to relocate.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL): Identive Group, which markets products, software, and services for identity management and cashless payment, saw a boost following the company’s announcement earlier in the morning regarding a new smart card reader  that can be used with Apple mobile devices. Identive stated that its iAuthenticate reader allows iPad, iPhone, and iMac users to authenticate themselves to secure networks, websites, and payment systems via their smart chip-based IDs or credit cards. The initial version of the reader is targeted toward the U.S. government and worldwide enterprise markets, according to the comany, who also said the reader complies with all relevant U.S. federal standards. Also, an application is in process for its inclusion on the U.S. General Services Administration’s Approved Product List. In mid-morning trading, Identive shares surged 38c, or 36.18 percent, to $1.43.

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Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG): Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has begun to plan large volume production of its Surface tablet during Q4, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company gave orders to produce 3 million to 5 million of the tablets during Q4, report component suppliers in Asia, similar to orders that were placed for Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle Fire tablets and Google’s Nexus 7 tablets.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) entry price for its Surface tablet will match the new iPad’s price, according to information that reached the Internet early on Tuesday. It also rivals the prices of Microsoft’s PC-building partners. The basic, 32-GB version of Redmond’s self-branded tablet has a cost of $499, which is the same as the 16-GB, Wi-Fi-only version of the newest iPad. For only $100 more, buyers are able to get the 16-GB Surface with a cover doubling as a typing pad. The 64-GB model, in which the cover is included, is set to sell for a price of $599.

Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) already scaled back its expectations last month when it reduced its sales outlook due to excess inventory, weak demand, and slower growth in emerging markets. Intel’s stock already has dropped 10 percent since its outlook was cut, but was last trading up over 2 percent ahead of its Q3 report, as the top gainer on the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

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