Apple and Amazon have ended a deal that tied them into an exclusive contract for the supply and sale of audio books.
The deal was signed before 2008 when Amazon bought audio book supplier Audible, which had the Apple iBooks contract.
Pressure from anti-trust regulators in Germany and the European Commission led to the deal being abandoned.
Competition in the audio book market should get a boost now the deal has ended, said regulators.
The terms of the agreement meant Audible could not offer audio books to any other company and Apple had to take audio books only from Audible.
The investigation into the Apple-Amazon arrangement over audio books was started by the German Federal Cartel Office in late 2015. It responded to complaints from German publishers who said the two tech giants were abusing their market dominance.
In Germany, said the publishers, more than 90% of all downloads of audio books were done via the Apple iTunes store or through the Amazon and Audible websites.
With the deal abandoned, Audible will now be able to supply firms other than Apple with audio books. In addition, Apple can now get audio books from other sources and sign up other publishers who can push their titles through its iTunes and iBooks outlets.
In a statement, competition regulators at the European Commission said they “welcomed” the ending of the exclusivity contract.
“This step is likely to improve competition in downloadable audio book distribution in Europe,” said the statement.
The German Federal Cartel office said it had closed its investigation as a result of Apple and Amazon terminating the exclusive contract.
Adverts for Google products occupied 91% of the top ad slots on the firm’s search results pages, in a study done for the Wall Street Journal.
Advertising data firm Semrush analysed 25,000 pages for the study.
It looked at 1,000 results for 25 search terms including laptop, watches, speakers and smoke detectors on Google.
Products sold by Google’s parent firm Alphabet dominated the top of the results. Google said it had strict rules for buying its advertising space.
A spokesman said that the firm’s marketing policies were “consciously and carefully designed” so as not to intervene with ad pricing.
“All our bids are excluded from the auction when determining the price paid by other advertisers and we have strict rules and processes – set to tougher levels than our customers – to govern the use of our own ads products,” he said.
Additionally 98% of searches for “watches” resulted in links to Android smartwatch retailers appearing on top.
Android and Chromebook are both owned by Alphabet.
It also noted that alarm products by another Alphabet firm, Nest, featured highly in searches for smoke detectors.
The paper added that after sharing the results with Google many of the ads disappeared – and a BBC test found that other brands including Apple, Lenovo and Apollo now appear to dominate the top of results pages for these terms.
Photos taken in Mosul, Iraq, appear to show grenade-dropping drones used against the Iraqi security forces.
The improvised weapons consist of a plastic tube attached to a consumer camera drone to carry explosives.
The images were taken by former US Army special forces officer Mitch Utterback, who was in the country as a journalist.
Last week a US Army commander said so-called Islamic State fighters were using such weapons as they tried to avoid losing control of the city.
“It’s not as if it is a large, armed UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] that is dropping munitions from the wings – but literally, a very small quadcopter that drops a small munition in a somewhat imprecise manner,” said Col Brett Sylvia.
Islamic State has previously used drones to record footage for propaganda videos and for aerial surveillance, as well as creating improvised weapons.
In October, two Kurdish Peshmerga fighters were killed in northern Iraq when a modified drone exploded.
Many off-the-shelf drones can fly for up to half an hour, have a range of several miles and retail for less than £1,000. making them affordable for militant groups.
“The group is known for turning things they can get hold of into weapons,” said Justin Bronk, a research fellow at the UK military think tank Rusi.
“While it shows innovation, the main threat from drones is far and away the ability to hover a camera drone and adjust aim of more direct weapons.”
Mr Utterback told the BBC the devices’ electronics had been modified to release grenades.
“We saw these every day. The Iraqi forces are very concerned with them,” he said.
Drones can be difficult to shoot down, but new weapons are being developed to tackle them.
Some aim to disable to devices by blocking the radio signals they require to be controlled.
“Commercial drones tend to operate in the 2.4 gigahertz range, they are relatively easy to jam,” said Mr Bronk.
“They are difficult to spot and shoot down, but if you have jamming capabilities you can deny them airspace.”
Mr Utterback said the Iraqi forces he had been visiting had had some success shooting down the drones.
“When spotted, every rifle and man-carried machine gun opens up to try and shoot them down,” he told the BBC.
A coalition of more than 70 civil rights groups has urged Facebook to be clearer about the content it removes.
In a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, the group accused the social network of “disproportionate censorship of Facebook users of colour”.
The coalition wants the site to specify which rule a deleted post has broken, and provide an appeal process.
Facebook has previously responded to a letter submitted by the group, but has not yet replied to the latest one.
The social network sometimes removes content that has been reported or flagged by members, if it is judged to have broken the website’s guidelines.
But the coalition argued that the moderation was “racially biased”.
“Activists in the Movement for Black Lives have routinely reported the takedown of images discussing racism and during protests, with the justification that it violates Facebook’s community standards,” the coalition wrote.
“At the same time, harassment and threats directed at activists based on their race, religion, and sexual orientation is thriving on Facebook.
“Your recent response indicates you are adequately addressing the problem. We disagree.”
Police in the Netherlands are contacting more than 20,000 people who they suspect had their data stolen by a rogue web developer.
They say the man coded a backdoor into the sites he built for businesses, to harvest their customers’ data.
He then used the credentials to make online purchases, open gambling accounts and impersonate victims’ family members, police allege.
Credentials for more than 20,000 people were found on the suspect’s computer.
“He has worked for various companies building websites with online shopping functionality,” police said in a statement in October, when they first revealed their investigation.
“It is suspected that he was able to capture usernames and passwords by installing a special script.”
The 35-year-old suspect was arrested last July and the investigation is continuing.
The police have emailed the people whose contact information was found on the suspect’s computer, encouraging them to change their online passwords. They said it was not possible to identify whether all the credentials had been abused.
However, the force has also warned that opportunistic scammers are impersonating the police and are sending out rogue attachments.
The genuine email from the Dutch police did not have an attachment.
“Never download files in emails if you do not know the sender,” the police force advised.
The prototype microscope attachment was 3D-printed and developed as a joint effort by the University of California, Stockholm University and Uppsala University.
One of the researchers involved said the tech could help medics examine tissue samples without having to send them to what might be a remote laboratory.
“It can use the information that is carried in our DNA to make diagnoses,” Prof Mats Nilsson told the BBC.
“There are two main areas where this is done today.
“In cancer, where certain mutations in tumours confer resistance to drugs, it can be used to prescribe the right treatments.
“And in infectious diagnostics, it’s the fastest way to work out if an infection is viral or bacterial, and, if it’s bacteria, to figure out if it carries antibiotic resistant genes or not.”
To use the device, a sample of the patient’s tissue is put in a container and then placed under a special lens attached to the smartphone’s own camera.
Two laser diodes and a white LED then beam light into the sample in a pre-set sequence, and the resulting images are fed into an algorithm for analysis.
A Nokia Lumia 1020 was used in the experiment – a model known for its picture quality when it was released, in 2013.
But Prof Nilsson said the equipment could be adapted for use with newer smartphones.
And he suggested that an immediate use could be to treat tuberculosis in India and elsewhere.
“Currently it’s a trial and error thing – they start with the first-line drugs even if one knows that only 50% of the patients will respond, since resistance is so widespread,” he said.
“Then it can take three months to follow up, in which the patient can spread the disease.
“So, one should stop doing that and treat patients with the right antibiotics at the time of diagnosis, and the only way to figure that out in the short-term is an affordable and simple DNA test.”
If the equipment does go into production, it will face competition.
Oxford Nanopore Technologies has already developed handheld equipment that can analyse long sequences of DNA data and other biological molecules, which it says provides a richer set of information than looking for mutations at a single point.
The company is in now in the process of adapting this to create a matchbox-sized device that can be plugged into smartphones, which it plans to release before the end of the year.
Because the forthcoming device will rely solely on electronics-based tests, rather than using camera lenses and lasers, the company believes it will be cheaper to make than the US-Swedish proposal.
“Nanopore-based electronic devices, including those attached to mobile phones such as SmidgION, allow anybody to sequence anything, anywhere,” the company’s chief technology officer Clive Brown told the BBC.