Today in Tech: How the Xbox blew it in Japan

December 17, 2012: 5:30 AM ET

Also: Why Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom's testimony doesn't add up; former Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson on his startup. 

xbox1Why Xbox failed in Japan [EUROGAMER]

Doing business in Japan is not the same as doing business in the US, and the Xbox team learnt the hard way. In the US businessmen meet, discuss a contract, terms, sign and then get to work. In Japan business is done based on the strength of a relationship, cultivated in the many restaurants and karaoke bars that litter Tokyo and other business centres. The Japanese want to get a sense of who they're dealing with before they sign on the bottom line.

Disruptions: Instagram testimony doesn't add up [THE NEW YORK TIMES]

Yet the accounts of several people close to Twitter and Facebook, and documents reviewed by The New York Times, contradict the statements he made under oath. Mr. Systrom and Mike Krieger, the other founder of Instagram, held several meetings as late as March with top Twitter executives, according to people on both sides of the talks, who requested anonymity because the talks were private and because they were concerned about legal repercussions. These people said the sides had verbally agreed weeks earlier on a price for Instagram of $525 million in cash and Twitter shares.

Apple stock takes investors on a wild ride [THE LOS ANGELES TIMES]

That performance affects just about anyone who has a 401(k) account or a pension. According to FactSet, a research firm that tracks investment funds, 2,555 institutional investors — mutual funds, hedge funds and pension funds, among others — owned stock in Apple, just behind the 2,590 that held Microsoft stock, as of Sept. 30, the most recent date funds had to disclose their holdings. However, the value of that Apple stock held by institutional investors on that day was $427 billion, compared with $172 billion for Microsoft, according to FactSet.

Former Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson is on the trail to redemption at new startup [SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS]

In his first interview with this newspaper since being booted from Yahoo, Scott Thompson said he's not trying to prove anything -- he's just "fascinated" by the challenge of whether he can grow a 60-person company into something big.

Two-year-old ShopRunner offers what Thompson called "Amazon Prime for everybody else." Users, who pay a $79 yearly membership fee, get perks like two-click shopping and free two-day delivery from dozens of online retailers, ranging from Toys R Us and Anne Klein to smaller merchants.

Washington Post moves Social Reader off Facebook [MASHABLE]

After several rounds of adjustments to Facebook's News Feed, which havedramatically decreased the amount of traffic sent to most publishers' apps, as well as user complaints about privacy settings, news organizations are no longer so enthused about the apps they developed for Facebook's platform. On Thursday, The Guardian announced it would no longer display articles in its Facebook app; instead, it would redirect readers to its website after clicking on a headline in the app.

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About This Author
JP Mangalindan
JP Mangalindan
Writer, Fortune

JP Mangalindan is a San Francisco-based writer at Fortune, covering Silicon Valley. Since joining in 2010, he has written on a wide array of topics, from the turnaround of eBay to the evolution of net neutrality. A graduate of Fordham University, Mangalindan has also written for GQ, Popular Science, and Entertainment Weekly.

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