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New Zealand bans software patents in bid to drive innovation
There is (one imagines) nothing worse for inventors than creating something that may change the world, only to discover someone else holds the patent. New Zealand's government made waves when it dropped the ability to patent software, but went even further by banning software patents completely. The new Patents Bill effectively outlawed software patents, making the Pacific island one of the frontrunners in efforts to reform patents worldwide.
Image: New Zealand Government
High speed rail, jog on. Here comes Hyperloop
"No-one loves a smartass," goes the saying. Unless you're Elon Musk, the Paypal founder and Tesla chief executive, who is heralded as one of the greatest geniuses of our time. Earlier this year, Musk drew up a sketch that became the first design incarnation of "Hyperloop," a way to travel from one side of the U.S. to the other in less than three hours. We'll see if it ever comes to fruition, but Musk is enough of a well-established entrepreneur to make it happen above all else.
Image: Elon Musk/SpaceX
Microsoft buys Nokia's devices, services unit
Just when you thought the rumors wouldn't die away, Microsoft went and did what everyone thought it was going to do all along but took so long rumors began to wane. It bought Nokia's devices and services unit — effectively it's phone-making business — for a total of $7.2 billion. Later in the year, U.S. regulators and the European Union regulators announced they would allow the acquisition, making it a done-deal.