Netflix expands into 130 more countries as 'global TV network'

Netflix has already crossed off the biggest item on its New Year's list of resolutions. The Internet video service debuted in 130 countries Wednesday in a surprise move likely to reel in millions of new subscribers.

CEO Reed Hastings revealed the scope of Netflix's expansion at the end of a presentation in Las Vegas at CES, a technology industry event.

"You are witnessing the birth of a global TV network," he said. The news caught most off guard because Netflix had previously set a goal of being available in most of the world by the end of this year. It looked like the Los Gatos, California, company had plenty of work ahead because it ended December in 60 countries.

Now, Netflix is available in 21 different languages and streaming in just about every market that it had in its sights, with the exception of China.

Investors were delighted with Netflix's quantum leap across the globe. Its stock climbed $10.02, or 9.3 percent, to close at $117.68 on a grim day in the rest of the market.

The uptick in the shares reflects a belief that Netflix is now in a position to sign up more subscribers this year than analysts had previously anticipated, generating additional revenue that the company can spend on TV series and movies as it bids against rivals such as HBO, Amazon.com, YouTube and Hulu for licensing rights. — AP

Oculus Rift headset price, shipping details announced

The much-hyped Oculus Rift virtual reality headset will cost $599 and ship to 20 countries beginning on March 28, the company said Wednesday in Las Vegas at the technology event CES.

Bundles that include a powerful computer needed to use the device will be available for preorder in February starting at $1,499.

The pricing details and shipping information had been long awaited. Oculus, which Facebook bought in 2014 for $2 billion, began accepting pre-orders for the device Wednesday.

It will also be available in some undisclosed retail locations starting in April.

The Rift comes with built-in headphones and mike, sensor and an Xbox One controller. It also comes with a remote to help navigate virtual worlds.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said the cost of the Rift is higher than the $449 he expected, but said he still expects a few hundred thousand units to sell during 2016. — AP

Apple stock falls over worries about iPhone sales

Apple fans keep buying iPhones, but Wall Street keeps worrying the company won't be able to match last year's blistering sales pace.

Shares in the world's most valuable company have fallen more than 15 percent over the last month, amid a drumbeat of news reports that some Asian parts suppliers are expecting Apple to trim orders for its signature smartphone this winter. Those fears were compounded Wednesday when the Wall Street Journal said one of Apple's most important contractors is sending some workers home on "early holiday" before the Chinese New Year in February.

Even an upbeat report from Apple announcing that its online App Store set a sales record last week failed to boost the stock. Its shares fell 2 percent Wednesday and closed at $100.70. — AP

Microsot pulling the plug on Internet Explorer 8, 9, 10

Are you using an old version of Internet Explorer? Now is the time to upgrade or switch to another browser because Microsoft is phasing out support for Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10 on Tuesday.

The shift will basically mean the end of security updates and technical help for versions of Internet Explorer other than 11, the latest iteration. That could leave users clinging to the old versions more vulnerable to cyberattacks against their computers, because problems with the software down the line won't be fixed. — The Washington Post

FAA apps lets drone users know where it's OK to fly

The Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday it has developed a smartphone app, B4UFLY, to show drone operators where it's OK to fly and what areas are off limits.

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta also said at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas that 183,061 operators had registered their drones as new rules require.

The FAA launched online registration Dec. 21. Officials say they hope registration will help them trace drones caught flying too close to manned aircraft or over crowds, and create a "culture of accountability." — AP

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