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IPhones dominate smartphone market

Fri., Jan. 17, 2014, midnight

Apple Inc.’s iPhone is owned by more than 40 percent of smartphone users in the U.S., giving the Cupertino, Calif., tech company the largest share of the national smartphone market, according to a report Thursday.

Apple’s U.S. iPhone ownership grew from 35 percent during the fourth quarter of 2012 to 42 percent during the same period in 2013, according to a study by NPD Group.

Samsung Electronics Co. came in second, with 26 percent of users reporting they own a device by the South Korean tech giant – up from 22 percent during the fourth quarter of 2012.

HTC had the biggest drop, with ownership falling from 12 percent in 2012 to just 7 percent in 2013, the study found. That was followed by Google Inc.-owned Motorola, which fell from 11 percent in 2012 to 8 percent in 2013.

BlackBerry’s share of the market fell from 5 percent in 2012 to 2 percent.

Inflation rate still low despite gas price hike

WASHINGTON – Higher gas costs helped push consumer prices up last month, but the annual inflation rate remained low, the Labor Department said Thursday.

The Consumer Price Index increased 0.3 percent in December, compared with the previous month. The index, a key measure of inflation, had been flat in November.

The December increase helped push up the inflation rate over the previous 12 months to 1.5 percent. The rate was 1.2 percent for the year ended November.

Higher gas prices were a major factor in December’s increase. The Labor Department’s gasoline index rose 3.1 percent last month after dropping the two previous months.

Stripping out food and energy costs, consumer prices were up just 0.1 percent in December compared with the previous month. That’s down from a 0.2 percent increase in November.

Boehner firm on flood insurance hikes

WASHINGTON – Speaker John Boehner says the House won’t take up legislation aimed at neutering a 2012 overhaul of the federal flood insurance program that is hitting homeowners who have long paid below-market rates with big premium hikes.

The Ohio Republican said “we’re not going to do that” when the topic was broached in a hallway exchange with the Associated Press in the Capitol complex.

The bipartisan 2012 overhaul of the much-criticized flood insurance program is requiring owners of vacation homes, frequently-flooded properties, and businesses to lose their subsidized rates over time. Other homeowners can keep their subsidies but can’t pass them on when selling their houses, which has caused a disruption in home sales.

Prosecutors: Bitcoins used to launder money

NEW YORK – A record $28 million of bitcoins was formally transferred to the U.S. government several months after it was seized from the server of the black market website Silk Road after the government claimed the digital currency was used to facilitate money laundering, prosecutors announced Thursday.

The action came a day after a Manhattan judge approved the forfeiture of the bitcoins and the website, and three months after San Francisco entrepreneur Ross Ulbricht was arrested on charges he operated an online marketplace for illegal drugs, following a crackdown on the website. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of narcotics trafficking, computer hacking and money laundering.

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