Facebook Reaches Half a Billion Users Facebook reached the 500 million user mark this week, making Facebook’s population just a bit smaller than that of North America. PC World published a witty posting this week to commemorate Facebook’s milestone, check it out. Dell to Pay $100 Million Settlement Michael S. Dell and several former executives of the software company have agreed to pay more than $100 million for fraud charges brought on by the Securities and Exchange Commission. According to the claims, Dell misled investors by spending investments they received from Intel to pay their quarterly earning statements. According to Christopher Conte, associate director of the S.E.C.’s enforcement division, “Dell manipulated its accounting over an extended period to project financial results that the company wished it had achieved but could not. Dell was only able to meet Wall Street targets consistently during this period by breaking the rules.” Yahoo! Reports Disappointing Quarterly Profits Yahoo! reported a second quarter net revenue of $1.13 billion, falling short of analysts’ expectations of $1.16. The company reported that the reports reflected a decrease in advertising spending in June. Microsoft Reports Healthy Increase in Profits Microsoft reported a 48% in profits in their fourth fiscal quarter with help from Windows and Office operating systems. The company reported on Thursday a net income of $4.5 billion, at 52 cents a share and a year to year revenue improvement of 22% from $13.1 billion to $16.04 billion. Despite these optimistic numbers, shares of Microsoft stock fell immediately after the announcement. To read more on the growing doubt behind Microsoft’s abilities to compete with the likes of Apple, check out John C Abell’s article on Wired.com. This Week’s Must Read Blog Articles “If you’re happy and you know it, and you really want to show it, send a tweet.” Resident tech writer at the New York Times, Nick Bilton, reported this week on an interesting research project, conducted by Northeastern University College of Computer and Information Sciences and the Harvard Medical School that uses tweets to gauge America’s happiness levels at different times of the day and week. The paper, entitled “Pulse of the Nation: U.S. Mood Through the Day Inferred From Twitter,” is based on more than 300 million tweets collected between September 2006 and August 2009. The State of the Android Ecosystem This is a great article for anyone whose been following the Google Android project. Christ Head’s article takes an in depth look into the state the Android platform, probing at the challenges manufactures, carriers and Google face with the smartphone. Skype Finally Breaks Free on the iPhone Eliot Van Buskirk authored an article this week on Wired.com’s Epicenter blog, announcing that iPhone users will now be able to use the call feature of the app on their phones. This is a big announcement, as the application has been limited to messaging for years. Buskirk’s article discusses what this announcement actually means for users and weighs in on the recent Fring break up.