January 2016

By Dustin Volz WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Facebook Inc prohibited global users from coordinating person-to-person private sales of firearms on its online social network and its Instagram photo-sharing service on Friday, countering concerns that it was increasingly being used to circumvent background checks on gun purchases. U.S. President Barack Obama has urged social media companies to clamp down on gun sales organized on their platforms. It updates Facebook's regulated goods policy, introduced in March 2014, that banned people from selling marijuana, pharmaceuticals and illegal drugs.

Xerox Corp will split into two companies, one holding its legacy printer operations and the other its business process outsourcing unit, it said on Friday, in a bid to be more nimble after years of trying to integrate the businesses. Activist investor Carl Icahn, who first revealed a stake in Xerox in November, will get three board seats on the outsourcing company. Xerox Chief Executive Officer Ursula Burns said in an interview on Friday that the strategic review had been underway before Icahn publicly revealed he had bought Xerox shares.

Facebook Inc smashed investors' expectations with a 52-percent jump in quarterly revenue as it sold more ads targeted at a fast-growing number of mobile users, sending its shares sharply higher after hours. The world's biggest online social network bucked the trend of underwhelming tech results from Apple Inc and eBay Inc, in the face of economic uncertainty around the world and a strong U.S. dollar depressing the value of overseas sales. “It's phenomenal at these (currency headwind) levels that they're accelerating to that level of growth,” said Rob Sanderson, an analyst at MKM Partners.

Apple Inc is expected to report a 1.3 percent increase in iPhone sales in the holiday quarter, its slowest ever and a far cry from the double-digit growth investors have come to expect. Apple sold 75.5 million iPhones in the October-December quarter, according to research firm FactSet StreetAccount, 1 million more than what was sold in the year-ago quarter. Shares of Apple, which will announce earnings after markets close on Tuesday, were trading up 0.3 percent at $99.76, after dipping to $98.07 in morning trading.

By Yasmeen Abutaleb SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Four senior Twitter executives are leaving the media company, which is also adding a new chief marketing officer and two board members, a source said on Sunday, outlining the biggest leadership changes since Jack Dorsey returned as chief executive, calling for “bold rethinking”. Media head Katie Jacobs Stanton, product head Kevin Weil, and the head of the engineering division, Alex Roetter, will all leave the company, the source familiar with the matter said. On Sunday night Jason Toff, who heads Twitter's video streaming service, Vine, tweeted that he was leaving Twitter to join Google to work on virtual reality.

Japan's Toshiba Corp plans to sell part of its chip business as it aims to recover from a $1.3 billion accounting scandal, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Saturday. The electronics conglomerate has started accepting bids, with early interest shown by the Development Bank of Japan Inc, said the sources, who declined to be identified because they are not authorized to talk to the media. The state-owned bank has already invested in Seiko Holdings Corp's semiconductor operations.

The US Environmental Protection Agency ordered the state of Michigan today to take “immediate action to address serious and ongoing concerns” with the city of Flint’s drinking water system, which has been contaminated for more than 18 months with elevated levels of lead. “EPA has determined that the City of Flint’s and the State of Michigan’s responses to the drinking water crisis in Flint have been inadequate to protect the public health and that these failures continue,” the order reads. The EPA will begin sampling Flint's tap water and publishing analysis results on its website and lead an independent investigation into what could have been done to prevent the crisis.

By Eric Auchard MUNICH (Reuters) – The world's most popular messaging service, WhatsApp, is dropping its token $1 fee still levied on some users as it experiments with making businesses pay to reach their customers, Chief Executive Jan Koum said on Monday.

(Reuters) – Apple Inc said it will soon start charging for iTunes Radio, its music-streaming service that competes with Pandora Media Inc. ITunes Radio, which was announced in 2013, will no longer be free from the end of January, Apple said in statement. The ad-supported service, available only in the United States and Australia, will be folded into Apple Music, which costs $9.99 a month. Beats 1, the global 24/7 radio station, will now be the free music option for listeners.