THE BROWSER: Truth and rumors from the tech world
Moto says goodbye to autos
The company that got its start in car radios is selling its automotive business. Plus: AT&T fiber rollout cut short in Chicago.
By Owen Thomas, Business 2.0 Magazine online editor and Oliver Ryan, Fortune Magazine reporter

SAN FRANCISCO (Business 2.0 Magazine) - Motorola has announced plans to sell its auto electronics business to Continental of Germany for $1 billion in cash. The company made its last "motor Victrola" -- better known as a car radio -- in 1987, but it has stayed in the automotive business, supplying behind-the-dashboard electronics to Ford (Research), General Motors (Research), DiamlerChrysler (Research) and BMW, among others. The move could make Motorola a more attractive merger partner, since it leaves the company chiefly with broadband and wireless businesses. One question remains: Should we call the company just plain "Ola" now?

AT&T drops fiber rollout in Chicago area

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Faced with opposition from a local government, AT&T (Research) is halting its rollout of a fiber-optic network in the Chicago suburb of Roselle, which declared a 180-day moratorium on the telecom's work. AT&T, which wants to deliver television over high-speed Internet connections, doesn't want to negotiate a franchise agreement with Roselle -- the kind of agreement which cable companies have long been required to sign to get permission to deliver TV in local areas. AT&T and Verizon (Research) are pushing for state and national legislation that would obviate having to negotiate TV rights city by city but require companies to pay cities 5 percent of video revenues. Roselle officials say that money isn't the only issue -- they're also concerned about the big boxes of electronics AT&T plans to install around town.

Google zooms in on Las Vegas

Does what happen in Vegas really stay in Vegas? Not if you look on Google (Research) Maps, which has added detailed satellite imagery for Las Vegas and other cities around the world. Google Earth watchers noted the appearance of extremely high resolution images of one section of Las Vegas -- images that allowed viewers to read billboards and even make out people. Naturally, this is the sort of thing to raise the hackles of privacy advocates. Indeed, the Indian military is apparently unhappy with Google Earth and is considering a formal complaint against Google for revealing certain state secrets, like the location of 30 expensive MKI fighter planes. Of course, Google Earth isn't always quite so accurate:The Google Earth Blog blithely notes that Google "put back some islands around Thailand which were accidentally removed in the 23-March update."

The Times online gets an update

Today's most-discussed software launch is The New York Times' website. One year in the making, the Gray Lady unveiled a new look and feel for its web site. Gawker took a few predictable shots, noting that most of the changes were superficial ("New Fonts!") and that the coolest new feature -- a personalized MyTimes page which allows readers to pull together stories from both the Times and other websites -- was still in testing. While MyTimes suggests a growing Internet savvy at the paper, Jeff Jarvis at BuzzMachine groused that in its news coverage, the Times "seems to have trouble grasping the full impact of the Internet handing control over to the people." Top of page

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