Daily Tech Briefing: April 9, 2014

Microsoft recently introduced its answer to Apple's Siri and Google Now in the form of voice assistant technology called Cortana, which is powered by Bing. Cortana proved itself to be quite capable and stole the show at the Build 2014 conference, but it was not the only Bing-powered technology featured at the event.

Microsoft also showed off App Linking, which launches application functions based on Bing search results and the Bing Knowledge Widget, which is a JavaScript module designed to enhance any Website or blog with the power of the Bing knowledge engine, according to a post on the Microsoft blog.

IBM recently announced new enterprise cloud offerings for its big iron platform. The goal of these new offerings is to help users cut the cost of operations and quickly use trusted cloud services with mainframe technology.

The company announced this technology at the System 360 mainframe's 50th anniversary event. IBM added that there will be a new flexible utility pricing model. This will allow service providers to pay for Linux-based mainframe cloud infrastructure over time based on compute consumption, rather than system capacity.

Last year, the Federal Trade Commission reviewed thousands of complaints from consumers who were upset that their children made unauthorized purchases with their Apple iPhones.

In response, Apple made a $32.5 million settlement with the FTC, and is now in the process of refunding customers for the unapproved purchases. Customers who have been charged for in-app purchases were sent an email from Apple and asked to review their purchase histories to see if they qualify for a refund.

Finally, Google announced "Sustained Use Discounts" for Google Compute Engine users who run large projects on virtual machines. These discounts will allow users to save money when they use more virtual machines in the Google Cloud. Along with simpler pricing, the discounts will give users higher agility and lower risk.

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