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Apple: App Store turns 1; NC server farm investment; new lawsuit

Apple's App Store celebrates its first birthday this week. Meanwhile, the company's investment in rural North Carolina could conceivably double to $2 billion in the coming years. And a new lawsuit claims that iPods, as well as Wiis and PSPs, tread on patented technology.

Happy Birthday App Store

The App Store will official have a year under its belt later this week, and to celebrate, Apple is highlighting some of its favorite games and applications. These include the likes of E*Trade Mobile, MLB At Bat 2009, Brushes, Pandora Radio, Let's Golf, Rolando, and Real Racing.

"Light a candle and cue the music," the company said. "Okay, forgive us for sounding like doting parents, but we're just so proud —having watched the App Store go from a promising newcomer to full-fledged revolutionary."

In just under 12-months, the App Store has surpassed milestones that might have at one time seemed unfathomable, the most notable of which include 1 billion downloads by users and 50,000 approved applications for developers.

Apple's NC investment could double

As expected, North Carolina's Catawba County on Monday afternoon announced that Apple has selected the 183 acre Catawba Data Park in Maiden as the site for its future $1 billion data center.

If all goes according to plan, development of the 500,000-square feet building could begin as early as next month. Construction efforts are expected to employ about 750 workers and run through late 2010.

Both Maiden and Catawba County also agreed Monday to give Apple another $7.3 million in incentives on top of the $46 million in tax breaks the electronics maker is expected to reap over the next 10 years.

Scott Millar, president of the Catawba County Economic Development Corp, also said there's a reasonable chance Apple's plans for the data farm and investment in rural North Carolina could double to $2 billion in the coming years.

Apple hit with new patent suit

Apple, along with Nintendo and Sony, were sued last week in an Arkansas district court on the grounds of patent infringement.

According to Dow Jones, Newport Beach, Calif.-based Shared Memory Graphics LLC "alleges Apple iPods and iPod Touch music and video players, Nintendo's motion-controlled Wii and Sony PSP and PS2 game consoles uses two graphic accelerator systems patented by the company."

The pair of patents, acquired by Shared Memory from holding company Alliance Semiconductor in 2005, reportedly "escribe ways in which microprocessors fine-tune graphics by balancing the flow of data from various sources."