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MICROSOFT BUYS NOKIA: Speaking of Nokia, Ballmer's impending departure did not prevent Microsoft from putting in a $7.2 billion bid for Nokia's handset business. The move wasn't that shocking - Nokia committed to Windows Phone several years ago - which makes this the "slowest major merger in tech history," PCMag's Sascha Segan joked "Microsoft has a clearer path to success now, but it's far from guaranteed," he warned. Thus far, the deal has earned the go-ahead from a variety of regulatory agencies, but still has a few more hurdles until it closes next year. For more, check out With Nokia Buy, Microsoft Poised to Rule Enterprise Mobile. Honorable mention on the acquisition front: Yahoo's $1.1 billion Tumblr purchase and Google re-awakening our Terminator nightmares by purchasing Boston Dynamics.

BLACKBERRY'S CONTINUED DEMISE: Poor BlackBerry. It was once the smartphone to have, in large part because it was the only one that would support your work email. But with the enterprise embracing iOS and Android, and BlackBerry failing to wow consumers with BlackBerry 10, Thorsten Heins this year could not return the Canadian phone maker to its heyday. By August, it was exploring "strategic alternatives" and entertained a buyout deal from Fairfax Financial, which would have taken BlackBerry private. Ultimately, however, Fairfax decided to invest $1 billion in BlackBerry rather than purchase it. That deal meant that Heins was out and John Chen was in as CEO, but it remains to be seen if that will help the struggling company. The one bright light? BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), which was released on iOS and Android this year, and appears to be popular. BlackBerry also inked a deal with Foxconn for a smartphone deal in Indonesia

GOOGLE BARGE: Perhaps Google will be housing its robot army on its mysterious barges? In October, reports emerged of a barge in the San Francisco Bay that apparently belonged to Google. Given that the search giant had secured a patent for water-powered data centers several years ago, that seemed like the logical conclusion. But Google later revealed that the barges would be an "interactive space" to showcase its new technology. "Google Barge … A floating data center? A wild party boat? A barge housing the last remaining dinosaur? Sadly, none of the above," a spokesman said last month. "Although it's still early days and things may change, we're exploring using the barge as an interactive space where people can learn about new technology." That will likely include Google Glass, but hopefully not a self-driving car, unless it's James Bond's Lotus submarine.

Google Glass is a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD) that is being developed by Google in the Project Glass research and development project,[8] with a mission of producing a mass-market ubiquitous computer.[1] Google Glass displays information in a smartphone-like hands-free format,[9] that can communicate with the Internet via natural language voice commands.[10][11]

While the frames do not currently have lenses fitted to them, Google is considering partnerships with sunglass retailers such as Ray-Ban or Warby Parker, and may also open retail stores to allow customers to try on the device.[1] The Explorer Edition cannot be used by people who wear prescription glasses, but Google has confirmed that Glass will eventually work with frames and lenses that match the wearer's prescription; the glasses will be modular and therefore possibly attachable to normal prescription glasses.

Just 24 hours after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised more standalone apps in 2014, the company announced Paper on Thursday, a standalone news reader mobile app that hasreportedly been in the works for years.

The new app will surface content from 19 different "sections," including sports, tech, pop culture, and "LOL." The app also has a "Newsfeed" section, which is the same News Feed users are accustomed to on the native apps, but with a new design.

Each section will have a rotating carousel of images across the top,and individual cards and stories below that image. The new app was specifically designed to look different than the native apps, and has larger images and content cards without the typical blue trim present on Facebook's native apps