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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.
It looks as though Microsoft's Xbox platform isn't doing so well, with revenue dropping 29% year-over-year when comparing 2011 to 2012. Microsoft reported their results for the second quarter of their 2013 fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2012 through to June 30, 2013.
Microsoft may have been making a point of their record-breaking $21.46 billion in revenue, which was a 2.7% increase over 2011, but the Entertainment and Devices Division - which includes Xbox, Windows Phone and Skype - dropped by 11%, from $4.24 billion to $3.78 billion.
From October to December of last year, Microsoft shipped 5.9 million Xbox 360 consoles, a sharp 28% drop from the 8.2 million in the same quarter of 2011. Microsoft also pumped $98 million into research and development costs for the three-month period, which hopefully is for the next-gen console.
Kim Dotcom wants to encrypt half of the Internet, would like to keep it away from government surveillance
During an Interview with RT, Kim Dotcom talks of his problems over the past year or so, where the US government accuse the MegaUpload founder of being a 'mafia organization' and set up their Internet business, to be an organized crime network.
The US government had to say this, as it was the only way to try and extradite Dotcom to the US, as there are different extradition laws in New Zealand. These charges had to be thrown on top, or else the US government wouldn't have a leg to stand on. The goal was to take MegaUpload down, with Dotcom saying "it was their mission".
Dotcom talks about Aaron Swartz, the co-founder of Reddit, with RT asking what it's going to take for people to stand up and take action. Dotcom says the US government was exposed in this case, as they went in with all guns blazing, spying on citizens, illegal search warrants, and more. Dotcom says it was an urgent mission, they just wanted to take him down.
Dotcom then heads into discussion about Mega, and encryption on the Internet as "nothing seems safe from prying eyes", says the RT interviewer. Dotcom talks about the US government spying in people, spy clouds, massive datacenters that store data on citizens - storing any communication that goes through US networks. They're not spying on citizens based on an action, but a permanent spying solution.
Belkin have just announced that they have plans to acquire's Cisco's Home Networking Business Unit, which includes all of its products, technology, employees and even Linksys. Belkin have said that they will maintain the Linksys brand and will continue to offer support for Linksys products.
Support will include honoring warranty for all valid products under the Linksys umbrella, as well as future products. Once the deal is closed, Belkin will account for around 30% of the US retail home and small business networking market. It has worked out well for Cisco, who was looking to exit the consumer space and Belkin who are looking to juice up their presence in the consumer space scooping up Linksys and various other parts of Cisco's business will only help them achieve their goals.
Intel are set to build a new processor fabrication plant in Ireland, after they received permission from the Irish planning agency An Bord Pleanala. The Ireland fab plant will cost the chipmaker $4 billion, but the plant will be pumping out 14nm processors.
The only roadblock now is Intel management's final decision before construction plans begin. The Ireland fab plant will be a redevelopment of an existing facility in Country Kildare, and has been in the planning stages from as early as 2011. When construction is finished, which will take two years, it will give Intel 245,000 square meters to play with their next-generation 14nm-based processors.
The construction will employ close to 3,500 construction workers, and once the plant is complete, the plant itself will employ 800 full-time staff for chip production.
Microsoft has come out with their Q2 2013 financial results and they managed to pull in $21.46 billion in revenue for the quarter. This equates to a 2.7 percent increase year-over-year. Even with a slowing PC market, however, Microsoft's Windows division posted revenues of $5.88 billion, up 24 percent from last year.
Microsoft reported earnings per share of $0.76 and a $6.38 billion net income.
"We saw strong growth in our enterprise business driven by multi-year commitments to the Microsoft platform, which positions us well for long-term growth," said Peter Klein, chief financial officer at Microsoft. "Multi-year licensing revenue grew double-digits across Windows, Server & Tools, and the Microsoft Business Division."
"We see strong momentum in our enterprise business. With the launch of SQL Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012, we continue to see healthy growth in our data platform and infrastructure businesses and win share from our competitors," said Kevin Turner, chief operating officer at Microsoft. "With the coming launch of the new Office, we will provide a cloud-enabled suite of products that will deliver unparalleled productivity and flexibility."
Microsoft's full report is available on their website.
Research in Motion (RIM) aren't doing well these days, so the rumors of Lenovo acquiring them make sense right now. We have Lenovo's Chief Financial Officer, Wong Mai Ming, mentioning during an interview that Lenovo were looking at multiple companies for acquisition and strategic alliances in order to help their mobile business.
According to Ming, one of these targets is the company behind the BlackBerry, RIM. Ming didn't talk about timeframes, or even whether they would eventually acquire RIM, but he did state that Lenovo would have no hesitation if the right opportunity was to drop at their feet that would benefit both the company itself, and its shareholders.
Lenovo doesn't have much of a presence in the US smartphone market, but they do have a decent amount of power in the Chinese market. Their upcoming K900 smartphone will be one of the first smartphones to launch featuring Intel's new dual-core Atom processor. The K900 is a 5.5-inch, 1080p IPS display-powered device that is just 6.9mm thick and weighs just 5.7 ounces. This should definitely have tongues wagging and the sheer mention of a RIM deal would have all ears listening if it were to happen.
Amazon announced this morning that it had acquired text-to-speech software developer IVONA, the company who developed the Kindle Fire's Text-to-Speech, Voice Guide and Explore by Touch features.
Ivona's software holdings are not limited to Android based devices. The company delivers text-to-speech products and services for thousands of developers, businesses and customers around the world. This could be the beginning of a true competitor for Apple's Siri, or even Google's Voice Search.
"IVONA's exceptional text-to-speech technology leads the industry in natural voice quality, accuracy and ease of use. IVONA is already instrumental in helping us deliver excellent accessibility features on Kindle Fire, including Text-to-Speech, Voice Guide and Explore by Touch," said Dave Limp, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. "The IVONA team shares our passion for innovation and customer obsession, and we look forward to building great products to deliver world-class voice solutions to customers around the world."