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ZDNet is reporting that Apple has been blocking 4G networks to certain carriers around the world, with the Cupertino-based giant now looking at possible fines for LTE blocking in Belguim.
The Council of Ministers has ruled that no mobile phone maker can block 4G access for any carriers. Apple has a preferred partner relationship with Mobistar in the region, with Mobistar being the only officially certified by Apple to sell the iPhone. Mobistar doesn't have operational 4G network for consumers yet, but its competitors Proximus and Base do, but they are now officially certified by Apple.
Base's Corporate Affairs Manager, Coralie Miserque, wrote in a blog last November: "It was a true obstacle course; after months and months of (fruitless) attempts to approach Apple, Base finally received a typical Apple answer that the certification process was pending and would require some time. But how much time, the company refused to specify. It seems that Apple continues to protect its preferred partner in Belgium and refuses to certify its two competitors or at least is delaying the process until Mobistar has deployed its own 4G network. And this is not an exception, in other countries, Apple often grants its preferred partners 4G access months before anyone else".
Apple was awarded quite the patent on Tuesday, that might end up with consumers seeing a solar-powered MacBook being announced sometime in the future. The concept's original patent filing took place in 2010, so we might not even see this technology used by Apple in the coming years.
The patent described multiple formats which could be used, with a laptop being powered by direct sunlight. All versions did share the same core concept, that the display and functional features on both sides, were labeled as "electronic device display module". Currently displays baked into laptops have a screen on one side, and a non-functional lid surface on the other - which is for protection purposes.
Apple's new patent would see the back of its MacBook screen turned into a very special part of the device. The main concept involves a multifunctional outer surface for the laptop, which would feature photovoltaic cells, that would let the computer run indefinitely, as long as it was in sunlight.
Thanks to Facebook's 945 million monthly users, 53% of the social network's revenue comes from mobile advertising. Facebook earned $2.59 billion in revenue for Q4 2013, with 556 million daily active users on mobile for the month, and 945 million monthly active users on mobile.
The 556 million daily active users was just for December, which represents a 49% year-over-year increase, while the 945 million mobile monthly active users is up 39% year-over-year. This is so thanks to Facebook's News Feed ads, and its auto-play videos - as much as they annoy you, it's making the social network some serious green.
Lenovo has just purchased Motorola Mobility from Google for a cool $2.91 billion, which will provide the Chinese smartphone manufacturer with a more competitive stance in the US market.
The Chinese manufacturer will complete the purchase with a mix of cash, and stock. Google will continue to own most of Motorola's patents, while 2,000 patents and a license on the remaining patents will be handed over to Lenovo. Lenovo will shell out $660 million in cash to Google, $750 million in stock, and the remaining $1.5 billion will be paid out over the next three years.
Google CEO Larry Page said in a statement "Lenovo has the expertise and track record to scale Motorola Mobility into a major player within the Android ecosystem. This move will enable Google to devote our energy to driving innovation across the Android ecosystem, for the benefit of smartphone users everywhere".
Lenovo has just announced that as of April 1, it will split itself into four business groups that will each tackle completely different parts of the market.
Yang Yuanqing, Chairman and Chief Executive of Lenovo, said "Today, Lenovo is in one of the most important and exciting phases in our history. We are the number 1 PC company in the world. We are number 3 in Smart Connected Devices (PC, tablet, smartphone). And we just announced the intent to make an acquisition that will make us a significant competitor in the enterprise space".
Lenovo will split into four completely different business groups, as follows:
PC Business Group (including Lenovo and Think brands), led by Gianfranco Lanci, who currently leads Lenovo EMEA. The business unit will continue to sell PCs and ensure that they offer value to both traditional users of Think-branded machines as well as offer modern functionality.
Mobile Business Group (smartphone, tablet, smart TV), led by Liu Jun, who currently leads the Lenovo Business Group (consumer and mobile products). This group is focused on making Lenovo a profitable global player in the smartphone and tablet markets and developing the company's smart TV business.
Enterprise (including servers and storage), will be led by Gerry Smith, who currently leads Lenovo's Americas Group. The goal of this group is to aggressively build a new, fast-growing profit engine in enterprise, where we already have a solid foundation. Pending regulatory approvals, the business represented by the recently announced acquisition of IBM's x86 server business would be integrated into Mr. Smith's organization.
Ecosystem and Cloud Services (including both Android and Windows opportunities), led by George He, senior vice president, Lenovo, who currently serves as Chief Technology Officer. The goal of this group is to continue building Lenovo's China ecosystem and drive a strategy for monetization and ecosystem expansion.
Electronic Arts has posted its fiscal Q3 2014 results, where the company reported a net revenue of $808 million, compared to $922 million reported in
the same quarter of last year.
The company reported that 50.7% of its $808 million in revenue came in from digital sales, which is a massive point. $410 million, over 50%, came in from non-physical sales. EA is also reporting a trailing twelve-month total revenue of $3.66 billion, with a projected revenue for the entire of fiscal 2014 of $3.52 billion.
Last year was a massive year for smartphones, with over one billion smartphones shipped last year. The International Data Corporation has some data that shows that 1,004.2 million smartphones were shipped last year.
This is an increase of 38.4% from last year, where 725.3 million smartphones were shipped. Of those 1 billion smartphones shipped, Samsung held the lions share with 313.9 million handsets, increasing its market share from 30.3% to 31.3%. Apple took second place with 153.4 million iPhones shipped over the course of 12 months.
Apple's market share slipped however, from 18.7% to 15.3%, even with it posting a record number of iPhones in the last quarter. Huawei, LG, and Lenovo did not mind though, as they scooped up that lost market share. Huawei shipped 48.8 million, LG shipped 47.4 million, and Lenovo pushed out an impressive 45.5 million smartphones in the quarter.
Google and Samsung have just shown how a certain fruit logo company the way it's done in the patent game, by signing a massive deal to license their patent portfolios to one another.
The new deal sees existing intellectual property covered, as well as patents filed over the next ten years.Samsung's Seungho Ahn says "Samsung and Google are showing the rest of the industry that there is more to gain from cooperating than engaging in unnecessary patent disputes". Google's Allen Lo chimed in with "By working together on agreements like this, companies can reduce the potential for litigation and focus instead on innovation".
This is how the industry should be acting, with two of the biggest players cooperating with one another. Samsung is a massive partner for Google, but could be a potential competitor with Tizen on the horizon. Google on the other hand, is simply unstoppable right now with the amount of hardware and services it provides to the world.
After some major slumps in revenue, Apple is back, bigger than ever for its Q1 2014. Revenue reached $57.6 billion, setting a new quarterly record for the company, with profits reaching a nice $13.1 billion.
Device sales are where it gets interesting, with iPhone sales bursting through the 50 million mark - the first time it has ever done so in a quarter. iPad sales also reached a new record, selling over 26 million units. The iPod didn't see the same success, with sales dropping to 6 million, down from 12.7 million at the same time last year.
Apple has seen its share price completely erode from 2012 when we saw it coming - from $700 down to under $400 throughout 2013. At the moment, it is half way back sitting at around $550. Today's earnings report should help Apple claw back some of that much needed increase in stock prices.
BitInstant CEO Charlie Shrem was recently arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, accused of funneling funds for the now defunct Silk Road website. Specifically, Shrem and his accused partner, Robert Faiella, allegedly sold more than $1 million in Bitcoin to Silk Road users, with the funds later used to purchase drugs and other illegal goods.
"The charges announced today depict law enforcement's commitment to identifying those who promote the sale of illegal drugs throughout the world," said James Hunt, DEA spokesperson, in a statement. "Hiding behind their computers, both defendants are charged with knowingly contributing to and facilitating anonymous drug sales, earning substantial profits along the way."
Shrem also used Silk Road to order marijuana brownie edibles, with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Internal Revenue Service lending a hand in the investigation, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
This is a major blow to the Bitcoin community, as Shrem has traveled the world to promote the use of Bitcoins for consumers and businesses alike. As federal investigators continue to look for financial backers and supporters of the Silk Road operation, additional high-profile arrests are possible later down the road.