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The Tech Bet

  Thursday, 12 Mar 2015 | 12:09 PM ET

How Alibaba's Snapchat investment could pay off

Posted By: Althea Chang

A $200 million investment by Alibaba in social network Snapchat could help the Chinese online retailer's own growth as it develops worldwide, according to one expert.

"This isn't just about an investment. Snapchat [has] tremendous reach, almost 200 million active users, and this will give Alibaba a great learning experience as they invest deeper in their own mobile services in China, the U.S. and beyond," said Jag Bath, senior vice president of product at RetailMeNot.com.

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  Wednesday, 11 Mar 2015 | 11:07 AM ET

Amazon just launched a new 'Exclusive' marketplace

Posted By: Althea Chang

Inflatable paddle boards, detachable cellphone camera lenses and turn-signal gloves for cyclists—Amazon's vast offerings just became a little quirkier.

The e-commerce giant on Wednesday launched its Amazon Exclusives. The new marketplace gives customers a "first look" at products from what Amazon called "up-and-coming brands"' that have appeared on "Shark Tank" and crowd-funding campaigns.

The site will offer select items funded by Kickstarter campaigns, according to Engadget, as well as other inventions sold on companies' own websites and their brick-and-mortar stores. Amazon has the exclusive third-party rights to the items on new store, the company said.

Read More Three reasons why Amazon has room to run

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  Tuesday, 10 Mar 2015 | 12:32 PM ET

Apple Watch has one 'big challenge' left: Expert

Posted By: Althea Chang

With the Apple Watch weeks away from hitting the market, the tech giant behind the wearable still needs to sell the pricey device to the public, experts told CNBC on Tuesday.

Apple took the tech world by storm Monday when it detailed the watch during its "Spring Forward" event. Andrew Holland, engagement manager of consulting firm Vivaldi Partners Group, told CNBC that Apple still has work to do.

"The big challenge is in offering something that is truly valuable to the consumer, rather than just a trivial distraction," Holland said. "For this, marketers will need a continuous stream of quality data about the wearer's behaviors. The areas where it is most obviously relevant are retail, travel and fitness."

Another concern? The life cycle of the watch, said Sarah Kahn, an industry research analyst at IBISWorld. It will take years to find out how long the Apple Watch can last, and whether owners need to upgrade them as often as they do smartphones.

Apple said the battery is expected to last 18 hours on a charge, but skeptics may be wary of this estimate, Kahn said.

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  Monday, 9 Mar 2015 | 11:30 AM ET

Apple's big Watch problem: The wearable market

Posted By: Althea Chang

Apple's much anticipated entry into the wearable market faces one big challenge—the wearable market itself.

Mike Prospero, reviews editor at Tom's Guide, told CNBC that the market seemed "fairly tepid," and it's already rife with competition. Only about 1 million smartwatches has been sold so far, he added.

Read MoreApple Live Blog: Here comes the smartwatch

Smartwatches are "all sort of incomplete at the moment," said Prospero, who recently reviewed the most popular ones. "None really last more than a day on a charge except for maybe the Pebble, which is a big consideration when you're carrying something around."

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  Friday, 6 Mar 2015 | 11:34 AM ET

What could make or break the Apple Watch

Posted By: Althea Chang

The Apple Watch is expected to make it big debut on Monday, and both Silicon Valley and Wall Street will be eyeing the much-hyped wearable for imperfections.

Max Wolff, chief economist and tech expert at Manhattan Venture Partners, had a laundry list of concerns about Apple's entry in the wearable tech scene, chief among them water resistance, battery life and screen size.

Apple showed off its watch design last September, but it didn't provide several vital details that many consumers would use to determine whether to buy one. Many gadget lovers are looking to find out whether the watch is water resistant, Wolff said.

"Nobody wants to pay $500 for something, then wash their hands and have it be a very expensive paperweight," Wolff said. "Also the battery life. It's also fun to have a watch that's alive on your wrist."

Read MoreApple Watch won't move the needle: Analyst

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  Thursday, 5 Mar 2015 | 10:45 AM ET

Why 13-inch iPad delay may be good news for Apple

Posted By: Althea Chang

The reported delay in production of Apple's 12.9-inch iPad could actually be good news for the tech giant, analysts say.

Apple's biggest iPad was expected to be released in the first quarter of this year, but manufacturers have been instructed to delay production until the latter half the year, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources.

So what's the good news? It all comes down to the iPhone.

Read MoreApple Watch may give these companies a boost

"In a way I would argue this is almost a better thing because [the] iPhone still has a lot of momentum, a lot of steam ahead of it," RBC Capital Markets Research Analyst Amit Daryanani told CNBC. "As that starts to ease up a little bit towards the end of this year … it would be optimal for the iPad to come out at the point."

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  Tuesday, 3 Mar 2015 | 12:33 PM ET

Billions at stake on Apple-Google search deal: UBS

Posted By: Althea Chang

The deal that makes Google's search engine the default option on Apple's Safari browsers expires soon, and that could be bad news for Google if the companies don't reach a new agreement.

Google could potentially lose billions in gross revenue if Apple switches to a different default search engine, according to a UBS research note Monday. Neither Apple nor Google have detailed when the agreement expires, but reports put the time frame in 2015, the note said.

Read MoreGoogle expands low-cost Android One smartphones

Google this year stands to bring in about $7.8 billion in gross revenue—about 10 percent of total revenue—from its existing search engine deal with Apple, according to UBS.

If Apple switches to a competitor, that could represent a 5 percent headwind, or about $3.9 billion, to 2015 gross revenue, the note said. UBS made those projections under the assumption that 50 percent of Apple iOS users switch their default search engine back to Google.

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  Monday, 2 Mar 2015 | 11:33 AM ET

Can Samsung edge Apple with new smartphones?

Posted By: Althea Chang

Samsung unveiled its Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge phones at the Mobile World Congress this weekend, but they may not be enough to unseat the Apple iPhone 6 Plus in a mobile phone popularity contest.

The Galaxy S6 Edge features a curved screen, which Samsung said will create a more "immersive experience." Others are less taken by the screen.

"The curved edged screen is a gimmicky parlor trick," said Shelly Palmer, managing director of the digital media group at investment bank Landmark Ventures. "They got rid of the removable battery, which was the best feature of the phone," Palmer added.

Mark Spoonauer, editor in chief of Tom's Guide, also criticized the lack of a removable battery, but he lauded the Edge's screen.

"I love the way that they've put Gorilla Glass on the back and it reflects the light, so it seems like it's changing colors," Spoonauer told CNBC.

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  Friday, 27 Feb 2015 | 11:30 AM ET

Ericsson seeks to block iPhone sales in the US

Posted By: Althea Chang

Swedish cellphone maker Ericsson is suing Apple in hopes of blocking the sale of iPhones and iPads in the United States, the company said on Friday.

Ericsson claims Apple has infringed on 41 of the more than 35,000 patents it holds.

Read MoreApple faces lawsuit for alleged auto engineer poaching

The patents cover the design of user interfaces, semiconductor components, location services, operating systems and more, Ericsson said.

"Apple's products benefit from the technology invented and patented by Ericsson's engineers. Features that consumers now take for granted—like being able to live stream television shows or access their favorite apps from their phone—rely on the technology we have developed," said Kasim Alfalahi, chief intellectual property officer at Ericsson, in a statement on the company's website.

"We are committed to sharing our innovations and have acted in good faith to find a fair solution. Apple currently uses our technology without a license and therefore we are seeking help from the court and the [U.S. International Trade Commission]." Alfalahi said.

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  Thursday, 26 Feb 2015 | 1:11 PM ET

Who wins—and who loses—on net neutrality rules

Posted By: Althea Chang

The Federal Communications Commission passed new rules Thursday that reclassified the Internet as a public utility, and there's a clear list of winners and losers.

The new rules allow the FCC to regulate Internet service providers the same way they regulate telecom companies and prevent them from creating "slow and fast lanes" for web traffic.

Allowing internet providers to charge more for faster service would benefit the likes of Time Warner Cable and Comcast, but potentially hurt streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon.com as well as social networks like Facebook and Tumblr.

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