The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Friday, May 1

Oracle shrugs off Salesforce rumors...House OKs plan to stop NSA phone dragnet...why Ford's CEO is wary of Apple and Google

Oracle Co-CEO Safra Catz spoke Thursday at a press event at Oracle headquarters in Redwood Shores, California.

Oracle Co-CEO Safra Catz spoke Thursday at a press event at Oracle headquarters in Redwood Shores, California.

Oracle shrugs at Salesforce acquisition rumors

Oracle executives say an acquisition of by a rival would help it, by distracting its competitor with culture clashes and other integration issues (and if anyone would know about that, it would be those oh-so-acquisitive Oracle executives). Co-CEO Safra Catz wouldn't comment directly on reports that Oracle itself is looking to make a deal with Salesforce, just offering the view on Thursday that "Disruption is always opportunity for the guy who's on mission."

House panel OKs bill to end NSA phone records program

A House panel overwhelmingly approved legislation designed to stop the bulk collection of U.S. phone records by the National Security Agency. The 25-2 vote in the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee sends the USA Freedom Act to the floor for a vote. The two votes against the bill came from lawmakers who had argued for stronger protections for civil liberties.

Ford Motor CEO is wary of Apple, Google

As tech titans pile into the car business, Ford Motor CEO Mark Fields is taking some lessons from consumer electronics, telling re/code that, "At the end of the day we don't want to end up as the handset business." So while Apple and Google want their operating systems to underly the advanced user experience in cars, automakers apparently see the risk in winding up with an unprofitable hardware business. Ford will support the auto software systems from both vendors but will keep them in their place: as "a secondary interface to a primary navigation system," re/code says.

Burundi government blocks social media in political move

Human rights group Access has appealed to the United Nations and the African Union to intervene in the Burundian government's decision to block mobile social media amid protests aimed at stopping President Pierre Nkurunziza's third-term bid. The government of Burundi on Monday demanded that Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp, and Viber be shut down on the mobile web, and ordered telecom operators to block the apps.

Tesla brings its batteries to new energy storage venture

Tesla's claim to fame is the high-end electric cars that dot Silicon Valley parking lots as high-status badges, but now it's turning its expertise in batteries to a new use: storing energy that's been generated by renewable sources like solar. The $3,500 Powerwall batteries rolled out on Thursday are particularly appealing to solar-powered consumers whose electricity rates vary by time of day, as they can use the battery power at night to avoid peak evening charges.

Investors feel less social after Twitter, LinkedIn results miss

The stocks of LinkedIn, Twitter and Yelp have lost nearly a quarter of their value this week after all three posted results that fell short of expectations, the New York Times reported. Sky-high valuations of companies in the social media space require them to show investors they can stay on the fast track for growth, but their recent results aren't helping shareholders to keep the faith.

Grooveshark closes after settling music piracy charges

Music streaming site Grooveshark has been shut down by record companies after years of litigation. The closure is the offshoot of a settlement reached ahead of a jury trial that could have awarded a trio of record companies up to $736 million in damages. Grooveshark directed its users to sites like Spotify that throw a few pennies into musicians' hats.

Watch now

On World Tech Update this week Microsoft moves to make Windows 10 universal, solar and battery-powered radios fill the communications gap in Nepal after a devastating earthquake and LG bets on battery life with its new flagship phone.

One last thing

Does crowdfunding end in tears more often than not? Gideon Lewis-Kraus delves into a Kickstarter project gone wrong, with well-meaning but ultimately not capable entrepreneurs and a Greek chorus of angry former supporters.

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IDG News Service staff

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