A scary bill rewrite has taken place by Senator Patrick Leahy. His previous version of the bill would have actually increased privacy for American's e-mails, however, a rewrite that the bill has undergone after law enforcement voiced concerns would do the exact opposite of the original piece of legislation.
The new bill, as it has been rewritten to read, would provide warrantless access to American's e-mails. Angencies ranging from the SEC to the FCC would be allowed access to e-mail, Google Docs, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without consulting a judge or obtaining a search warrant.
Users are better off storing secret and sensitive data on their personal computers. Cloud companies will no doubt be saddened and their businesses damaged if this bill passes. It's probably a worse bill than SOPA, yet no one is protesting like they did against SOPA. CNET has a full description of the bill with highlights of what it means for users. I encourage you to read it and share this around.
HP is a little bit worse for wear today after the news broke that they are taking an $8.8 billion charge on their September 2011 purchase of Autonomy. It seems that the company was practicing some bad accounting practices. While HP CEO Meg Whitman wouldn't exactly call them liars or say they had committed fraud, she did say "serious accounting improprieties" at Autonomy were the cause of the write-down.
Whitman has also promised legal action that will attempt to recover as much as they can for shareholders, though that likely won't be easy, or much. HP's shares have tumbled on the news of this write-down. It, combined with less than expected revenue results, caused shares of HP stock to tumble more than 10 percent.
The deal was crafted by the previous CEO, Leo Apotheker, and Autonomy's business was independently checked by two different auditors, Deloitte and KPMG, but nobody saw the financial inconsistencies. They've only now come to light because a senior executive at Autonomy blew a whistle and brought it to everyone's attention.
Folks who are hoping to get a great deal on Apple products for themselves or loved ones this holiday season will be happy to hear Apple will be holding their own Black Friday sale once again this year.
Apple's Black Friday sale will be taking place at any Apple Store location, online and even from Apple's iOS application. Many people look to this time to buy Apple products at discounted prices as the company rarely marks down any of its products unless its refurbished.
Verizon selling spare 700MHz spectrum to smaller operators, attempts to be "good steward" of spectrum it owns
Verizon is selling some of its spare 700MHz spectrum to rural, small operators. Panhandle Telecommunication Systems, along with Nortex Communications, are the current companies that have agreed with Verizon to purchase the spare 700MHz spectrum from the telecom giant. Verizon is only selling this spectrum now that it has gotten permission to buy spectrum from cable companies.
The FCC is still required to sign off on these deals, but they don't really have a reason not to. These two deals are just the beginning of Verizon's plan to pass spectrum off to 2o rural operators. The deals come as a result of Verizon's LTE in Rural America leasing program, which sells spectrum to these rural operators so they can bring LTE to their customers.
Commenting on the deal, Verizon says they are committed to "being a good steward of the spectrum it owns." The wireless radio spectrum is a finite resource and everyone needs to work together so that consumers can benefit with faster cellular data and other wireless services.
LG filed a lawsuit against Samsung back in September alleging that Samsung's products infringed upon LG's patents concerning OLED technology, which was featured in televisions by both LG and Samsung back at CES 2012. The new TVs based upon this technology were due out this year, though neither company has released one as of yet.
The technology is used in Samsung devices such as the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Tab 7.7 and LG is looking to get those devices banned. When news of the lawsuit first broke, Samsung had no response, however, they have now responded to the lawsuit and are looking to get LG's patents disavowed.
Samsung is looking for the Seoul court to dismiss seven of LG's patents. Samsung argues that the OLED patents owned by LG don't feature the originality and innovation that a patent in South Korea requires. Both companies are at the forefront of OLED technology, so this is an obvious step to try to slow down the competition.
The patent wars are in full force. Constant lawsuits between Samsung and Apple with others thrown in the mix make for a busy legal system. Back in September, the International Trade Commission ruled that Apple's iOS devices did not infringe on any of the patents that Samsung alleged they did.
The reason behind the ITC reevaluation isn't known, but it will give Samsung another chance to inflict some pain upon rival Apple. The ITC has the ability to prevent iOS devices from being imported, if they rule that the devices infringe on Samsung's intellectual property and patents.
The ruling is expected to come in January. Samsung will be attempting to tip the ITC scales in its favor, but it is not clear whether or not this is something they will be able to do. The original ITC finding was the second attempt by Samsung to block iOS devices. The first was the massive Apple v Samsung lawsuit, which saw a jury finding in favor of Apple to the tune of $1 billion.
Interested in buying an Apple-refurbished product? Well, you can now do just that on eBay. Previously to buy an Apple product that had been factory refurbished, you had to go onto Apple's online store. A store on eBay is now selling these same exact products, at the same exact price, with everything being identical.
The store on eBay has no way to trace it back to Apple--its corporate info is hidden and there is no contact info. However, 9to5mac is reporting that they have learned that this store is, in fact, owned and run by Apple. It's essentially an Apple Store on eBay, but it only sells the refurbished products.
The biggest tell-tale sign is that the prices are exactly the same. That, combined with all of the extras offered with the product, really tell the story. However, 9to5mac says that not a single person at eBay would go on the record confirming that this is a store owned and run by Apple.
Apple's (AAPL) stock has jumped by over 6 percent today, bringing it's value up to $561.45 per share. This increase is in stark contrast to the past few weeks in which Apple stock had been in a near-continual state of decline and shed over 20 percent of its per-share value. The decline started shortly after the iPhone 5 announcement.
The value of the stock is still not close to the $700+ value it had reached two months ago, but it's better off than it had been. Stock prices have recovered due to strong sales of mobile devices in China, fresh rumors of a new iPhone 5 successor that is scheduled to be released in the summer of 2013, and Apple having the full catalog of AC/DC music on iTunes.
Several analysts still expect Apple stock to continue to increase, with most pegging the price around $760 in the next 12 months. One analyst, Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets, expects Apple to reach $1,111 a share in that same time period. He released a note saying the recent selling of Apple stock was "insanely insane."
Apple is definitely still a company to watch, though stock performance hasn't been as strong as it once was. We'll be sure to keep you up-to-date on all things Apple.
Over Intel's long history of 45 years, they have had just five CEOs. Paul Otellini has led the company for eight years now, but he has been involved in with the company for nearly 40 years, a long time by any measure. He has announced plans to retire in May of 2013, which gives the board of directors 6 months to find a suitable replacement.
"I've been privileged to lead one of the world's greatest companies," Otellini said. "After almost four decades with the company and eight years as CEO, it's time to move on and transfer Intel's helm to a new generation of leadership."
There are many qualified candidates, both inside the company and outside. A new candidate would likely be someone with a focus on mobile as that seems to be where all of the market is heading. Otellini is seen as the driving force behind reinventing the PC market with Intel's current focus on Ultrabooks, but it's not quite a cell phone or tablet.
"The board is grateful for his innumerable contributions to the company and his distinguished tenure as CEO over the last eight years."
The board of directors has also promoted three senior leaders. Renee James, Brian Krzanich, and Stacy Smith will now act as executive vice presidents for Intel. The three come from software, manufacturing, and Corporate Strategy, respectively.
With rumors floating around that cloud-managed network infrastructure company, Meraki, were about to announce their IPO, networking giant Cisco has swooped in and acquired the company for $1.2 billion in cash.
Cisco have said that they plan to use the freshly acquired Meraki's technology to "cloudify" its network management products. Cisco will turn the company into a new Cloud Networking Group. Meraki's CEO, Sanjit Biswas released a memo to employees, announcing the acquisition:
As some of you may have heard through Twitter or Google Alerts, there is a rumor out that Cisco intends to acquire Meraki. Our original plan had been to break the news to everyone tomorrow before it was officially announced, but it looks like social media beat us to it!
Apple and Samsung have been at each others throats for what feels like years now, and if you didn't hear, just recently Apple settled with HTC over patents - and now Samsung want the details of this settlement.
On Friday, the South Korean device maker asked a court to force Apple to provide them with a copy of the HTC deal, where they argued that the deal most likely covers some of the patents covered in their own case against Apple. Samsung wrote in their filing with the court:
As you know, the issue of Apple's willingness to license its patents was briefed in Samsung's opposition to Apple's motion for permanent injunction. This license has direct bearing on the question of irreparable harm and whether monetary remedies are adequate.
US Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal has allowed both Samsung and Apple to add new devices to their ongoing patent dispute. Grewal has allowed the Korean tech giant to include the iPhone 5 in the lawsuit over LTE patents. Meanwhile, Grewal has accepted Apple's amended complaint, which now includes the Galaxy Note 10.1 and Galaxy S III.
Apple has also added Android Jelly Bean in to the suit, even though it has basically nothing to do with Samsung. It will be interesting to see who pays what if a ruling is made against Jelly Bean. This is just the continuation of lawsuits that the two mobile giants have hit each other with over the past years.
Everyone likely remembers that Samsung has been ordered to pay Apple $1 billion in damages, so maybe in this lawsuit, it will be time for Apple to pay some of that money back. This current case, which just received the additional devices, is set to be heard in 2014. We're many new devices away from 2014, so it will likely be updated several more times before being heard.
Apple has received a patent today for a visual page turn. Yes, that's right, Apple has patented the animation of a virtual page being turned on an electronic device. The patent is called "Display screen or portion thereof with animated graphical user interface" and has the picture below included in the application:
As you can no doubt see, it is the page-turning effect that is already present in iBooks. Now, one would think this is an obvious thing, and therefore not patentable, but it is just one of many things that are "seemingly obvious" that Apple has gone out and gotten a patent for. It's nice to have a big war chest of patents, especially if you like suing everybody.
However, it's pretty hard to see this patent standing up in court. If Apple sues another company, and the way Apple is going, that's a pretty likely scenario, this patent may be at the center of that lawsuit. Let's just hope it doesn't end up in another $1 billion settlement for the iPhone-making giant.
What are your thoughts on this patent? Obvious, ridiculous, something else? Let us know in the comments!
Apple's Australian branch has taken a bit of a hit today after the country and continent of Australia billed Apple $28.5 million in back taxes. The back taxes relate to Apple and its use of tax havens such as Nevada, Ireland, and Luxembourg to avoid paying taxes on earned income, which saves them a fair amount of money.
Apple Australia pulled in $4.9 billion in revenue over the last year from sales of Macs, iPads, and iPhones. This new tax bill amounts for more than 25 percent of the tax bill now paid by Apple. With the new taxes, Apple's tax bill for the year ending September 24, 2011, amounts to $94.7 million.
Apple isn't the only one getting in trouble for using tax havens. Amazon has recently been hit with $252 million USD in back taxes by France. Amazon uses Luxembourg to avoid paying taxes in the European region. It will be interesting to see if any other countries come after Apple for back taxes...and how Apple's stock responds if any do.
According to Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, Amazon's streaming service that comes with an Amazon Prime membership isn't anywhere near profitable. In fact, he pegs the yearly loss at an amount somewhere between $500 million and $1 billion. That's an incredible price to pay to try and enter a market, but Amazon has the ability to do so.
The way Hastings has determined this estimate is by using the value of content deals that Amazon picked up when Netflix and Amazon were directly competing for them. Netflix is planning on spending over $2 billion on content over the next year, so the fact that Amazon is only losing $1 billion isn't such a big deal.
Both Amazon and Netflix charge the same amount per month for their services, $8, but Amazon also offers free two-day shipping and other benefits for that $8. Amazon spokesman Andrew Herdener, via email to All Things D: "We don't comment on our individual investments but it's correct that Prime Instant Video is an amazing value for customers. Not only do Prime members get unlimited streaming video, but they also get free 2-day shipping and the Kindle Owners' Lending Library as well."
However, Hastings notes that Amazon is a strong competitor: "Amazon is the best competitor we've ever faced."
Microsoft has been hit with a lawsuit in relation to the Surface's advertised storage capacity. LA-based lawyer Andrew Sokolowski claims that the Surface RT tablet comes with less storage space than advertised by Microsoft, so, being a lawyer, he feels he is entitled to some compensation.
Mr. Sokolowski's lawyers are seeking class action status for the lawsuit, claiming false advertising and unfair business practices, which would help get compensation for everyone who purchased a Surface RT tablet. Of course, the lawyers would end up getting a good portion of the money as they always do in a class action suit.
Sokolowski reported that the 32GB tablet he purchased ran out of space after loading some music and Word files. This is when he discovered that only 16GB of the 32GB claimed was available for use. However, I imagine he missed the fine print detailing that space would be used by the operating system, formatting, and other causes.
This lawsuit likely won't go far, but on the off chance it does, we'll be sure to keep you availed to the latest.
The wireless service here in the U.S. is absolutely abysmal as customers and handset manufacturers are caught in a whirlwind of phone exclusivity, price increases and data throttling across the majority of our wireless networks. Something needs to change soon, and hopefully, that change could be a new wireless service between Google and Dish Network if recent reports turn out to be a true.
According to the WSJ, Google and Dish Network have been in talks over possibly partnering up to create their own wireless service. As of now, the talks are in their very early stages as Google currently isn't the only company Dish Network is in talks with, but seeing as Google has been moving ahead with its Google Fiber, it would be interesting to see the company also deliver a wireless network to its potential customers.
Google invests $75 million into 50mW wind farm, total renewable energy investment stands at nearly $1 billion
Google have just announced that they're investing $75 million into a 50mW wind farm in Rippey, which is around an hour outside of Des Moines. This latest investment sees the Mountain View-based company's total investment into renewable energy at "more than $990 million", edging close to that magical $1 billion mark.
The Rippey-based project is being done by RPM access, who are estimated to produce enough energy to power over 15,000 Iowa homes thanks to the turbines produced in Nordex USA. Google reiterate that both company's are based in the US, enforcing that Google are also an American company. Google are pushing for renewable energy in Iowa as they have a data center in Council Bluffs, and have been pumping money into the area since they opened the data center five years ago:
In 2007, we announced plans to construct a data center in Council Bluffs. Then in the spring of 2012, we announced that we would be building a second facility. Over time, we've invested over $900 million and have established a long-term commitment to the region and state. We've created over 130 jobs on site so far, and we work hard to support the communities in which our employees live and work.
Apple Inc. (AAPL) isn't doing too well in China it seems, with main competitor, Taiwan-based HTC Corp. (2498) doing surprisingly well in China. This is thanks to the allies found in three companies, China Unicom (Hong Kong) LTD, China Telecom Corp. and China Mobile Ltd.
The news comes from a meeting of the leaders of China's largest state-owned enterprises on Friday at China's 18th Party Congress. Chang Xiaobing, China Unicom Chairman said that there is a rare positive for HTC's shareholders, after so much doom and gloom, continuing with:
Well-known Taiwan brand HTC's smartphones are selling great in China, and their cooperation with China Unicom and with other carriers in China is proceeding smoothly.
He added that China's smartphone demand in 2013 would continue to increase, hoping to "implement stronger cooperation with Taiwan companies in similar industries". The three allies HTC finds themselves partnered with, control much of where the smartphone subsidies and marketing dollars are spent, and could be the heroes that HTC need right now. HTC have also said that the China market is a key part of their future in the mobile industry.
Android continues to dominate, Q3 sees 122 million sold, just 24 million iPhones and if it counts - 4 million Windows Phones
Apple may brag their quarterly results, but you should know how I feel about that - our various editorials and news stories on their fall from grace (which won't stop for quite a while) is happening right before our eyes, and the true king is rising - Android.
Q3 2012 numbers are in from Gartner, showing that mobile phone makers sold more than 122 million Android-based smartphones in the quarter, compared to just 24 million iPhones and just 4 million Windows Phone-based handsets. Windows Phones crappy performance can be attributed to consumers waiting for Windows Phone 8 - but overall, they're not even comparing to Android right now.
GeekWire have been great, compiling Gartner's stats for the past two years into the chart shown above. As you can see, Android has really been smashing it for a homerun in the last six months, shipping some 60 million units, compared to iPhone shipments which have dropped.
Samsung, as most of you would know, have found great success in the form of their Galaxy-branded smart devices, so much so that their mobile division is making quite a sum in profits. This sum has eclipsed Google's entire profits - wow.
This is according to a new study from market analysis firm Asymco, who sees income from Samsung's mobile division completely outstripping Google's operating income over the past three quarters. Their findings are quite amazing, that just two years ago, Samsung's income from smartphone sales edged on near zero.
The most recent quarter saw the South Korean device maker reach record-breaking performance, where they saw $7.4 billion in profits. This was largely thanks to their mobile division, where they reportedly shipped 58 million smartphones in the quarter, with the Galaxy S III making up around 18-20 million of that total. Asymco estimates that Samsung's mobile division income total is sitting at around $5 billion for the past quarter, comparing it to Google's entire business operations recording $3 billion profit for the third quarter.