Daily Tech Briefing: Sept. 22, 2014

Alibaba, a China-based e-commerce merchant made financial history Sept. 19 with its record IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. The company garnered $21.8 billion on its first day as a public company, which easily eclipsed the previous record, $19.7 billion, set by Visa International when it went public in 2008.

Alibaba sells a variety of merchandise but more than anything markets mobile devices, cloud services and mobile apps. It wants to sell in high volumes to small and midsize companies in the same way Amazon sells to consumers.

For the first time, Google's upcoming new mobile operating system, Android L, will include provisions to encrypt user data by default, rather than providing encryption only after it is turned on by users.

This is part of Google's latest push to improve the data security of millions of Android users, especially in light of allegations made in 2013 of government snooping in Google and Yahoo data centers. Android L is expected to be released by Google in October.

In light of the massive cyber-attack on its point-of-sale systems, Home Depot is accelerating its move to EMV chip and PIN cards. The company said all stores will be equipped with such terminals by the end of 2014.

While counterfeit cards bearing account number exposed in the breach now can't be used at Home Depot, they could still be used at stores that haven't upgraded beyond magnetic strip readers. In addition, those cards would remain vulnerable to "card not present" transactions such as phone and Internet purchases.

During the Computex show in June, Advanced Micro Devices executives simultaneously launched the Pro A-Series brand and new "Kaveri"-based chips for notebooks aimed at consumers as well as businesses.

Combined, the announcements highlighted an aggressive push into the commercial PC chip space by AMD. Over the past several months, AMD executives have talked up the chip maker's efforts in the business space, touting the capabilities of their processors and predicting that the PC industry will see the number of AMD-based commercial offerings on the shelves double by the end of the year.

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