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  1. There’s good news and bad news for executives in Redmond today — Windows Phone’s market share has edged above BlackBerry’s, but the overall size of Microsoft’s slice of the pie hasn’t budged. According to the latest data from ComScore, Windows Phone now accounts for 3.2 percent of handsets in the United States, with BlackBerry lagging behind on 3.1 percent. Dig deeper into the figures and the news isn’t so encouraging for Microsoft. That 3.2 percent market share is the same as it was last October, so Windows Phone hasn’t made any inroads into the iOS/Android stranglehold. BlackBerry’s share fell from 3.6 percent, and it looks like it’s the iPhone that has taken up the slack. Android remains the most widely used mobile operating system in the U.S., seen on 51.7 percent of handsets (down 0.5 percent since October). iOS comes in second with 41.6 percent (a rise of 1 percent over the last three months). The market continues to expand, so Microsoft did sell more handsets during the previous quarter, but it will be disappointed not to have made more of an impact in terms of overall share. Elsewhere in the ComScore figures, Facebook was the app with the widest reach, appearing on 77.6 percent of mobile phones running iOS or Android. Google Play was second (52.4 percent) and YouTube came in third (49.7 percent).Google and Facebook also dominated the list of sites accessed via mobile browsers. For BlackBerry, the dark times continue — earlier in the week CEO John Chen gave the company a 50/50 chance of surviving, saying that he plans to have the firm profitable again by March 2016. Microsoft, meanwhile, will be pinning its hopes on the 2014 range of Nokia Lumia handsets, including the recently leaked Lumia 630. Source
  2. In the heat of its financial struggles, BlackBerry just got a breath of fresh air thanks to the US Department of Defense, which has placed an order for 80,000 of its smartphones. As part of its smartphone expansion strategy, the Department of Defense is also giving 1,800 undisclosed mobile devices to its employees including "Apple iPad 3 and iPad 4, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets and Samsung Galaxy S3, and Motorola RAZR," the statement reads. The news caused quite a stir in the stock market, as the company's stock shares peaked to $10 per share. In the end of last year BlackBerry shares were hovering around the $7 mark. In spite of BlackBerry losing ground in the consumer market, the Canadian phonemaker has historically been the preferred partner for government agencies and security companies due to its smartphones' enhanced security features. In May last year, BlackBerry successfully certified its entire BlackBerry 10 family of devices to the Department of Defense security standards. This resulted in the Pentagon approving a contract for nearly half a million BB phones. The news, however, isn't good enough to get the company out of the financial swamp it's currently in. The company is still on track with its plan to put the majority of its Canadian real estate in sale-leaseback. More than 3 million square feet of the company's commercial real estate is destined to be rented and sold in the future. Source
  3. Woman finds wrong body in her mother's casket WARWICK, R.I. (AP) -- A woman wants answers after discovering the wrong body in a casket that should have contained her mother, who died unexpectedly while on vacation in St. Maarten. Lisa Kondvar, of Warwick, and her family discovered another woman's body in the casket at a New Jersey funeral home last month. The body of her mother, Margaret Porkka, had been prepared at a funeral home on the island. "I looked up, and I was like, `Good God, are you kidding me?' I was stunned," Kondvar said by telephone Friday. The family proceeded with the wake, with the casket closed, because they discovered the mistake just before calling hours were about to begin. The relatives believe a hospital or funeral home confused Porkka's body with that of a Canadian woman who died on the island around the same time. They also think Porkka's body was cremated in Ottawa. The family wants to know for sure and will take possession of the ashes if they are determined to be those of Porkka, Kondvar said. The two dead women bore no resemblance to one another and were of different frames and heights, she said. The family has hired a detective and is looking for an international attorney. St. Maarten Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams said Friday the government there has formed a committee to investigate the case at the request of U.S. officials and will conduct a DNA analysis to verify the identities of both bodies. She said the women were in their 80s and died Nov. 29 from natural causes and their bodies were flown to the U.S. on the same airline. She said the body flown to Canada was cremated. Emerald Funeral Home director Orlando Vanterpool said he took the bodies to the airport on the same day and the air trays containing the bodies were identical. "To my knowledge, we sent the correct human remains," he said. "Everything was regulated with the government. All the paperwork was in order, but apparently somewhere, somehow, something happened." Vanterpool said he would give the family a refund if the government determines a mistake was made. Kondvar said her sister wasn't allowed to see the body on the island and the funeral home wouldn't release it unless the family wired $7,000 in cash because it wouldn't accept a check or credit cards. Vanterpool said Emerald Funeral Home has a policy of not releasing human remains until the necessary payments have been made, especially if the remains are being flown abroad. St. Maarten, which is part of the Netherlands, shares a Caribbean island with St. Martin, a French dependency. Porkka and the family were there over Thanksgiving. Kondvar said her 82-year-old father, who lives in Englewood, N.J., and couldn't make the trip to St. Maarten, is distraught after being unable to say goodbye to his wife of more than 60 years. "He's very angry and very bitter," she said. Kondvar said a cause of death for her mother hasn't been provided and the death certificate issued in St. Maarten listed her as a man. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_WRONG_BODY_IN_CASKET?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2014-01-10-14-20-56
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