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The Internet has been ruled as an essential part of life in Germany, with a Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe pushing it into law. German law already mandates that citizens can be compensated for the loss of use of essential material items.
This means that citizens have the right to go after compensation if something happens to disrupt their access to the Internet by their Internet Service Provider (ISP). The court reached their verdict after they listened to a case of a man who was unable to use his home Internet connection for nearly two months. This affected both his telephone and fax services, too, making all three inoperable from late 2008 to early 2009.
The man in question had received compensation from the ISP because he had to rely on a mobile phone for Internet connectivity, but he wanted compensation for not being able to use his home Internet connection.
Apple's recently released Supplier Responsibility Report covers the progress they're making for everything from empowering workers to labor and human right issues within their supply chain. The report highlighted results for 393 audits performed over the last twelve months, a 72% increase over the number of audits performed in 2011.
Apple have said that its worker empowerment program providing education on local laws and the company's supplier code of conduct was extended to 1.3 million employees last year. This is a 100% increase in the amount of workers trained in the program since 2008.
The report also had some information regarding a Chinese labor agency that had forged documents for underage employees to work within Apple-connected suppliers. After the company had discovered 74 cases of workers under the age of 16 during an audit of a circuit board supplier in January 2011, Apple cut all ties to their contract with the company and is now going after the agency who did the hiring. The report states:
In January 2012, for example, we audited a supplier, Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics Co., Ltd. (PZ) that produces a standard circuit board component used by many other companies in many industries. Our auditors were dismayed to discover 74 cases of workers under age 16-a core violation of our Code of Conduct. As a result, we terminated our business relationship with PZ.
Poor Apple. Investors continue to hammer the stock, even after they posted their best-ever revenues and profits. Because of this pounding, Apple's market cap has been shrinking and it finally has shrunk enough that Exxon Mobil has regained the title of most valuable company in the world.
Apple's stock prices have fallen to $439.88 at the close of the market, giving Apple a market cap of $413.06 billion. Not too shabby. Exxon Mobile, on the other hand, has a market cap of $418.23 billion. Last January is when Apple took over the top spot as most valuable company, taking it away from Exxon Mobil.
Apple's stock has plunged from the $510 it was before the earnings report came out. Investors are fearful of competitors, such as Samsung, who are quickly gaining ground on the company. They also don't like that Apple's profits are increasing as quickly as they used to be. How low do you think Apple's stock will fall? Let us know in the comments!
Apple sparked a bit of interest when some of the new iMacs arrived with a tag that said "Assembled in USA." May were curious just how much assembly was taking place in the United States and just how many were being assembled in the US. Apple has updated their list of suppliers and it now includes Quanta Computers located in Fremont, California.
Fremont plays host to several tech companies, including Corsair, and now plays host to a Mac assembly factory. Tim Cook has expressed the desire to bring back manufacturing of at least some Macs to the US, so this appears to be one of the first steps in that direction.
If you purchase an iMac assembled in the US, it most likely came from Quanta. Quanta is located at 44350 Nobel Drive Fremont, California, just a stone's throw from Cupertino, Apple's headquarters. It should be noted that Quanta also has a facility in Tennessee, though previous shipping labels have shown devices being shipped from San Jose, CA.
One woman isn't too happy with the date Match.com set her up with. It's an understandable position to take, as the man she met on the dating site stabbed her ten times in an ambush attack that took place in her garage. Because of this, she is suing Match.com for $10 million in compensation.
Mary Kay Beckman argues that Match.com misled her and failed to alert her of the potential dangers of online matchmaking. She met Wade Ridley in September 2010 via the service. Several online conversations took place and after 10 days of dating, she broke it off. The next day, Beckman alleges Ridley sent threatening text messages.
January 2011, he reportedly hid in her garage and stabbed her ten times. Beckman is looking for the $10 million as compensation for the multiple surgeries she underwent.
Beckman says that Match.com misrepresented that the "site was safe, consistently lead[ing] to loving relationships, and was comprised of individuals seeking healthy relationships." The site's terms of service does say that users are solely responsible for interactions.
Just how much does Microsoft charge for a Windows Phone license? If you're Nokia, it's around $1 billion. In Nokia's earnings report, it announced that Microsoft will be getting a $1 billion payment in royalties for using Windows Phone. Previously, Microsoft had paid Nokia "platform support payments," amounting to $250 million each quarter, and this amount always exceeded how much Nokia had to pay Microsoft.
"To date the amount of platform support payments received by Nokia has exceeded the amount of minimum royalty commitment payments to Microsoft," Nokia wrote in its earnings report. "Thus for the remainder of the life of the agreement the total amount of the minimum software royalty commitment payments are expected to exceed the total amount of the platform support payments."
This should indicate that Nokia will be shipping more Windows Phone devices, likely through its popular and flagship line of Lumias. Nokia sold just 4.4 million Lumia devices in the last quarter of 2012, which is 4 times higher than it managed in 2011. Windows Phone continues to increase in popularity, which partially explains why Nokia can ship more devices.
Of course, iOS and Android continue to take the large portion of the market, but this piece of information at least shows that Microsoft and Nokia have a chance. IDC expects Windows Phone market share to increase to 11.4 percent by 2016. It currently sits at about 2.6 percent.
Oddly enough, Apple has rejected Samsung's request to view the source code for iOS 6. The request came as part of an on-going legal battle between the two in South Korea. Samsung accuses Apple of infringing upon a patent the electronics giant received back in November of 2006 that relates to the notification center.
Samsung believes that the Apple Notification Center in iOS, added to the operating system in 2011, infringes upon the patent. Samsung argues they need to see the source code of iOS 6 in order to decide whether or not it infringes upon the patent that they own. Apple, of course, isn't happy with this.
According to The Korea Times, Apple's legal representatives apparently described this request as "insane." However, if it goes to court, Apple could be on the hook to produce the source code anyway. If they produce it now and show that it doesn't infringe, they could avoid a possibly costly legal battle.
The US government allows its citizens to petition the White House via an easy online form. Since responding to the Death Star petition, the government has increased the number of signatures required before a response must be issued to 100,000, which is still a pretty easy number to reach on anything worthwhile these days due to the power of the internet.
A while back, the Library of Congress decided that jailbreaking smartphones was legal, but jailbreaking tablets and unlocking wireless devices without the carrier's consent was illegal. A new petition has popped up on the White House petition site looking to force the Librarian of Congress to change his decision about the unlocking of smartphones.
"As of January 26, consumers will no longer be able unlock their phones for use on a different network without carrier permission, even after their contract has expired," reads the petition. "Consumers will be forced to pay exorbitant roaming fees to make calls while traveling abroad. It reduces consumer choice, and decreases the resale value of devices that consumers have paid for in full."
In a landmark ruling the German Federal Court of Justice has ruled that consumers have the right to monetary compensation whenever their internet service is interrupted. The court went on to say that the internet is an "essential" part of life as we know it.
The ruling issued on Thursday was the response to a complaint filed by a citizen whose internet connection was on the fritz for over two months in 2008 and 2009. The ISP has already paid some compensation for the outage, but the plaintiff wanted to be compensated for his loss of internet services as well.
Germany's highest court had the same opinion and in a statement said "The Internet plays a very important role today and affects the private life of an individual in very decisive ways," it continued, "therefore loss of use of the Internet is comparable to the loss of use of a car."
Samsung enjoyed a stellar Q4 2012, where the South Korean company saw $52.04 billion in revenue for the three-month period, posting profits of $8.27 billion. This is nearly double what the company reported in the same period last year.
Samsung reported "strong" sales of their smart devices, where both the Galaxy S III and Note II have been mentioned specifically. Last we heard, the Galaxy S III had smashed through 30 million sales, and the Note II was enjoying 5 million sold. Samsung expects demand for replacements of those devices to be strong with the push of LTE connectivity, but the sales drop in Q1 will soon happen.
In the TV department, demand was flat from last year, but the push to LED models has provided Samsung with higher profits. The South Korean company sees the 60-inch and higher market growing this year, but Q1 sales - as we said before - are going to be slow before any new models are introduced. Weak demand for PC RAM was also discussed, but growth was seen in the server and mobile markets.