Tim Cook Says Apple Won't Create Court-Orderd iPhone Backdoor

Today's topics include Apple CEO Tim Cook's decision to resist a court order to create an iPhone backdoor, Dell's announcement that financing for the EMC merger is on track, Microsoft's implementation of SQL Server Express in the cloud, and Google's statement that its balloon-powered Internet system is ready for carrier testing.

Apple is publicly opposing a court order to help unlock an encrypted iPhone 5c that belonged to one of the suspects in the Dec. 2 mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California is asking Apple to "bypass or disable the auto-erase function."

Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a publicly posted letter to customers that the company wants to help the FBI in its investigation but would not yield on its principles of user privacy to do so.

Dell officials are pushing back at recent reports that the company is hitting a bump in its efforts to finance its $67 billion acquisition of EMC and its federated companies.

In a letter to employees, Rory Read, Dell's chief integration officer and the lead executive in the merger efforts, said the financing for the acquisition is coming together as planned and that officials with Dell and EMC still expect to close the deal sometime between May and October.

Read also said that integration efforts are on track for the deal, which is the largest by far in tech industry history.

Microsoft customers can now access Azure SQL Server Express with Tools 2014, 2012 and 2008 R2 virtual machines for Azure, the company announced.

Originally released as a slimmed-down database foundation for on-premises applications or embedded into basic desktop apps, the software has been updated and brought into Microsoft's "cloud-first" business strategy.

Google's Project Loon initiative to deliver Internet connectivity to poorly connected areas via a global network of high-altitude balloons could be headed for carrier testing later this year.

In a talk at the TED conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, this week, the head of Google parent Alphabet's X group reported that the company is in talks with carriers around the world about using the network to deliver Internet services to people in remote areas.

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