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BlackBerry released its quarterly earnings report this morning and the numbers look good, but I will save that for my next post. The biggest news to come out of the report is that Mike Lazaridis, the founder of Research in Motion, is leaving the company entirely.
Just 15 months ago Lazaridis stepped down as co-CEO of the company he founded and left all of the executive duties to the current CEO, Thorsten Heins. Lazaridis stayed on with the company as a Vice Chair of the Board, a position that he will vacate on May 1st. In a statement Lazaridis said "With the launch of BlackBerry 10, I believe I have fulfilled my commitment to the Board... I believe I am leaving the company in good hands."
Current CEO Thorsten Heins said of Lazaridis:
"I admire Mike for his many achievements and for his vision in helping bring BlackBerry 10 to fruition... On a personal level, I am grateful to Mike for his help, guidance and advice during my first 15 months as CEO of BlackBerry. I wish him all the best."
Australian retailers already charge an arm and a leg over their overseas counterparts, but now one particular retailer is stepping over a very expensive line. A retailer in Brisbane is battling to keep customers in their store, so now they're charging people to for "just looking."
We're not even kidding here, as the retailer has thrown up a notice on their door, stating:
As of the first of February, this store will be charging people a $5 fee per person for "just looking."
The $5 fee will be deducted when goods are purchased.
Why has this come about?
There has been high volume of people who use this store has a reference and then purchase goods elsewhere. These people are unaware our prices are almost the same as the other stores plus we have products simply not available anywhere else.
This policy is in line with many other clothing, shoe and electronic stores who are also facing the same issue.
It looks like our private lives are set to not be as private as we think, with the Federal Bureau of Investigation looking at a future of monitoring online chats in real-time by as early as 2014.
FBI general counsel, Andrew Weissman, talked about the Justice Department's power to put pressure on cyber criminals during an address last week at the National Press Club in Washington. During his speech, he talked about what the FBI would like before the year ends: they want the ability to listen in on conversations that occur all over the Internet by gaining access to up-to-the-second feeds on what users would consider their secret chats.
Telecommunications within the US can be bugged with court approvals, something that has been in place since the 1994's Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA, took place. Weissman added that with technology advancements coming thick and fast, the FBI has been behind the ball in tracking down criminals who have moved operations off of the streets and onto the Internet. He adds:
The problem is where we are today. The way we communicate is really not limited to telephone nowadays and sort of the old fashioned picking up the phone and calling someone.
The future is looking scary, and reading the rest of this story should give you the chills.
The IDC has some wonderful data we like to take a look at regularly, with their latest report talking about global shipments of smart connected devices breaking through a billion units in 2012.
This marks an increase of 29.1% from 2011, and a mammoth value of $576.9 billion. There are multitudes of smartphones and other "smart" electronics shipped in the past twelve months, but this growth was thanks to a 78.4% year-on-year increase on tablet shipments, busting through 128 million units.
IDC now expects tablet shipments to overtake desktops this year, with their next target - notebooks - for 2014. The desktop market is expected to shrink consistently until 2017, with growth expected to be -1%. The IDC forecasts that companies will ship 190 million tablets across the world in 2013, which if true, would be an annual growth of 48.7%. Smartphone shipments are expected to bulge out by 27.2% to 918.5 million units.
Apple has been forced to ditch the marketing tagline that it has been using in conjunction with the Retina MacBook Pros. The tagline: "The highest-resolution notebook ever. And the second highest." This no longer holds true thanks to the release of the Google Chromebook Pixel.
While the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro does still feature a higher resolution screen, the Pixel crams nearly as many pixels into a much smaller area. The Pixel has also displaced the 13-inch MacBook Pro in terms of resolution, meaning the second part of the tagline is false. Apple could continue to market the 15-inch model with the first part.
Apple's new tagline? "High performance has never been so well defined." The Chromebook Pixel also resulted in another change, though not as visible.
Google wasn't happy when it found out that Sweden had added a word that meant "ungoogleable" to a list of new words. After Google applied some pressure, The Language Council of Sweden has removed the word from the list. Google's complaint is questionable, with both sides seeming to be quite reasonable.
The word "ogooglebar" was defined to mean something "that you can't find on the web with the use of a search engine." Google requested the council redefine the term to describe something that used Google's own search engine exclusively. The argument is much the same as "Kleenex" being used to mean facial tissue or "Xerox" being used to describe a photocopy.
Google must fight to protect its trademark or the name Google could go the way of zipper, escalator, and aspirin--words that used to be brand names. What are your thoughts? Should Google have fought this? After all, they can't prevent locals from using the term--they've just managed to keep it from getting a formal definition.
It took T-Mobile long enough to get the iPhone. All of the other major carriers, and even some minor carriers, have had it for a good period of time. We knew that T-Mobile would eventually get the iPhone as they said that they would be getting it this year. At the time, we weren't sure when it would be arriving.
For users looking to pick up the iPhone 5, you'll have to put $99 down and pay $20 per month for the next two years. This works out to a cheaper upfront cost, though you do have to pay the full price of the device over its life.
The iPhone 4S will set you back $70 at the outset and the same $20 per month. If you're into really old tech, the iPhone 4 can be had for just $15 down and $15 per month.
Google has made a move to curb the early leaks by Francois Beaufort by hiring the leaker onto the payroll. As of yesterday, Beaufort was hired by Google to be a Chromium Evangelist. Unfortunately, this means that the rest of us will continue to be in the dark about upcoming Chrome and Chromium features until much closer to their respective release dates.
It's no secret that I love Chromium and Chromium OS and have been diving into the open source project deeply over the years. In this new role, I'll be able to do a series of more in-depth "behind the scenes" pieces about the Chrome team, its culture, and upcoming features.
Google isn't the first company to hire someone who was making life difficult for the company. For example, Jagex, maker of Runescape, hired one of the bot developers to join the team that worked on stopping bots in the game. We'll see if Beaufort continues to provide early leaks or if him being on the payroll will limit his ability to do so.
Square Enix has just lost their boss due to an "extraordinary loss" in their last financial year, with slow sales in console games in the West to blame, Square Enix said in a statement to investors. Yoichi Wada has been head of the company since 2000, and has now been replaced with former Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda.
Profit forecasts have been cut, making room of plans for "major reforms and restructuring" within Square Enix, something that will cost around $70 million to do so. Console game sales are the cause for these issues, and the restructuring, but it is the reforms themselves that will see the company tripping that line into the red this year. The company were expected to make a $24.4 million profit, but will now make a $90 million loss.
Last October, 19-year-old Adam Gardenhire pleaded guilty to aiming a laser pointer at a private aircraft, and a police helicopter. On Monday, a federal judge based in California sentenced Gardenhire to 30 months in prison.
President Obama signed in a law in February of last year, where aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft now deemed a federal crime. Gardenhire is the second person in the US to be sentenced under the new law, with four more Californians indicted on similar charges this month alone. Gardenhire pointed a "commercial-grade green laser" at two aircraft on March 29, causing the Cessna pilot to "suffer vision impairment that lasted for hours."
The second case saw a Pasadena Police Department helicopter pilot hit in the eyes with the laser, but he "was wearing protective gear and did not suffer eye damage or vision impairment as a result of the laser," according to a statement from the Office of the United States Attorney Central District of California that Ars Technica got their hands on.