Nokia is trying to drum up some interest in its latest smartphone, so what better way to do that then some advertising? Well, that's just what Nokia has done with this new online video that bashes Apple fans in a Samsung-style ad. The video bashes the device for only have two color options, while promoting the Lumia 920 for it's plethora of colors.
It's a pretty comical ad, though I'm not sure how effective it is. It's not quite as direct as Samsung's ads have been in regards to directly calling out Apple, though it's pretty clear who they are making fun of. Take a look at the ad for yourself and give us your thoughts in the comments.
Google have just announced they're looking after Google Apps for Business, Education and Government customers, where those customers can feel safe with the option to call, or e-mail Google with questions about Chrome.
Google haven't been the most friendliest company when it comes to offering support, but wer'e seeing the Mountain View-based company slowly change their ways. Starting today, Google Apps customers can call, or e-mail Google for Support with "Chrome installation, functionality, security, browser policy settings and Google Apps interoperability for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux."
24/7 phone support is a big deal, especially for business customers - these customers don't have the time to fault find themselves, where they can now just pick up a phone and call Google for some answers. Google has promised to respond to "P1 priority support requests" within an hour - this is defined as a "Service Unusable in Production" case. Other requests will be answered within a business day, or less.
Lenovo, who is a Chinese computer-maker, are set to start manufacturing PCs in the US next year. The company will build a production line in Whitsett, North Carolina, that will allow the the company to be more responsive to US corporate clients' demand for flexible supplies and product customization.
With the production of PCs in the US, the cost will be higher, but it will improve the image of Lenovo in the US. At the moment, they're fourth in market share in regards to shipment numbers. Lenovo's North American President, David Schmook, has said:
Us having a [production] facility here in a home country is a differentiator that people will value. Being green is not necessarily the lowest-cost option for a lot of companies, but you do it because your customers and partners value you being green.
Well, things just got interesting for The Pirate Bay and WikiLeaks, with their Swedish web host PeRiQuito AB being raided by police. Forbes reported that Stockholm police raided the company yesterday, which caused technical issues for PQR, shutting down its website and a bunch of torrent sites such as The Pirate Bay.
The police also seized a bunch of servers, but it's not clear which exact servers were taken. PQR have around 2,000 or so customers, with big names such as WikiLeaks, and the North American May-Boy Love Association, which I only found out existed right now, what the? Pedophile.se, the Chechen rebel size Kavkaz Central, and more.
PQR was, funnily enough, founded by Pirate Bay members back in 2004, and has been raised twice before: six years ago in 2006 to gain evidence against The Pirate Bay, and in 2010 during a more general file sharing investigation.
FTC slaps a $160M fine onto Scareware creators who scared users into buying fake anti-virus software
The government may finally have your back when it comes to computer-based scams. The Federal Trade Commission has slapped a massive fine onto advertisers who scared users into believing that their computers were infected with malicious files, viruses, and pornography so that they would spend money on a bogus removal program.
The advertisers responsible for peddling this "scareware" have been fined $163 million for misrepresenting "expressly or by implication, that they had conducted scans of consumers' computers and detected security or privacy issues, including viruses, spyware, system errors, and pornography."
In other words, they have been fined for false advertising as these ads for the scareware didn't actually complete any sort of scan to arrive at the conclusion that users' computers were infected. Of course, users were then redirected to buy removal software that would take care of the non-existent problem.
Kristy Ross, Sam Jain, Daniel Sundin will get to share the large portion of the fine, an amount that is roughly triple what they brought in from 2000 to 2008 ($60M).
Microsoft is putting up some 30+ pop up stores for the holidays, but no one knew when they were going to be opening. However, we now know that the stores will be opening just in time for the Microsoft Surface tablet launch. This means that these stores will be opening on October 26 and users should be able to go hands on with the new tablets.
As it stands right now, Microsoft has some 24 stores open worldwide. Last year, Microsoft stated they were planning on opening 75 additional stores over the next two to three years. Microsoft has reported that they will have an additional 44 retail locations in place by the end of fiscal year 2013, which means at the end of June 2013.
Microsoft is holding the Windows 8 launch party on October 25. Microsoft is bringing these pop-up holiday stores to cities around the country, including Atlanta, Miami, San Francisco, and Vancouver. It's not clear if Microsoft will be bringing pop-up holiday stores to other countries.
Part of the reason Google brought their new Google Fiber service to Kansas City was because of the deal that the city offered them. Basically the city waved any fee that other telecoms would have to pay, be it fees for hanging wire on city-owned poles or fees for digging and laying cable in public right-of-way.
Furthermore, the city offered Google all city "assets and infrastructure -- including fiber, buildings, land, and computer tools" to use for free, in addition to a "dedicated" team of government employees. Now, Time Warner Cable and AT&T are after similar agreements with the city, claiming they want "an even playing field."
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Time Warner Cable has written a "parity" deal with one of the Kansas Cities, but needs to do it with the other. Thankfully, the cities are asking AT&T and Time Warner to improve their service before being granted these parity deals. Seems like a fair trade.
Samsung are now going after Apple's latest and greatest - the iPhone 5, with the South Korean company alleging that the iPhone 5 infringes on patents that they hold. Samsung commented on the news to Reuters, where they said:
We have little choice but to take the steps necessary to protect our innovations and intellectual property rights.
TechCrunch pushed Samsung for a comment for more details, where they responded with:
We have always preferred to compete in the marketplace with our innovative products, rather than in a courtroom. However, Apple continues to take aggressive legal action that will restrict market competition. Under these circumstances, we have little recourse but to take the steps necessary to protect our innovations and intellectual property rights.
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were two completely different people, and it really shows with Wozniak's latest comments on Apple. Wozniak recently did an Ask me Anything (AmA) on Reddit, where he responded to a question regarding Apple's current practices, and he had some colorful words for the company:
Like all of us who appreciate the quality of Apple products, I have mixed feelings. I grew up with core values of openness and sharing of technology. When I ran dial-a-joke it was illegal to own, use or purchase your own telephone or answering machine. You couldn't connect anything to the phone jack except that which you leased from AT&T. You had little choice and there was no room for outside innovators. We techies all said this was a bad thing. You probably see the parallel.
I still remember the old days of HotBot, Yahoo, Alta Vista and so many other search engines. If I wanted to search for something particular, I'd use a specific search engine, then this 'Google' came out and I tried it out - oh how it has grown since, not just in its power, but the value behind it.
Google threw Microsoft to the side today, overtaking them to become the second most valuable tech company in the world. The Mountain View-based company's stock value increased 0.7% to $759.98 giving the company a market capitilization of around $249.2 billion. The now number three company, Microsoft, saw their shares drop 0.3% to $29.67 a piece, giving them a valuation of around $248.7 billion.
We know that the PC hardware space is struggling, and Google don't really have much product in that market. Google have a huge chunk of the mobile OS market with Android, owning roughly 64% of the smartphone OS market. Apple is still way out ahead in terms of value, with their latest valuation pegging the iPhone maker at $632.9 billion.
Google acquiring facial recognition firm Viewdle, possibly to add automatic tagging across its services
Google is getting close to finishing out a deal that would see the search giant buying Viewdle. Viewdle is a Ukrainian maker of facial recognition technology. This technology can be used to automatically tag photos, or suggest tags to users of Google+, Picasa, and other Google services.
The acquisition started more than a year ago with Motorola originally being the company planning to buy Viewdle. Motorola was then acquired by Google, and Google has continued the acquisition. Of course, representatives from Google and Viewdle declined to commment on the story, though an anonymous source has provided more than enough information.
The deal between Google and Viewdle could close as soon as tomorrow. The purchase price is said to be toward the high end of $30 million to $45 million, according to an unnamed CNet source. It will be interesting to see how quickly the technology gets integrated into Google's offerings.
If you work at Apple, you will be happy to find out that Tim Cook does appreciate you. And to show appreciation for all of your hard work this year, Mr. Cook is offering you three additional paid days off. Most people will be getting these days off the week of Thanksgiving, though retail and some others will have to take them at another time.
In addition to giving these extra days of paid vacation, Cook issued an e-mail thanking employees for their hard work and everything they do. This break is similar to the one that was announced by Cook during last year. Just how much this will boost spirits and affect productivity has yet to be seen, but it must have worked well last year for the company to be doing it again.
Political fans of the United States, be prepared for a long month. With election day just around the corner, the campaigns are kicking into overdrive to get their message out. This includes the three debates that they will be having, and one Vice Presidential debate. And now, YouTube will be airing them and allowing them to be viewed live and after the fact.
YouTube has partnered with ABC to gain coverage of these events, as they will be getting the feed from the ABC News YouTube channel. The debates can be found along with political speeches, news and other coverage on YouTube's Elections Hub which debuted in August.
The first Presidential debate will take place Wednesday at 6 p.m. PT. To help with their coverage, YouTube will feature commentary from its eight Election Hub partners. This means you'll get to see analysis and commentary from the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Larry King, Al Jazeera English, and ABC News.
Microsoft opened up four new physical retail store locations in the last few days, with two of them in New York on Friday, and the other two in New Hampshire and Delaware on Saturday.
The retail stores will show off the Redmond-based company's hardware and software offerings running on their Windows platform. These new stores add to Microsoft's retail store tally, pushing them up to having 45 retail stores open.
There were cheering crowds at the Microsoft store openings at all four locations, where the company gave out free prizes including a Samsung Series 9 notebook, Xbox 360 console and other goodies. Microsoft are looking to open up stores in Puerto Rico and Canada in 2013.
If reports from Japanese site Macotakara are to be beleived, Apple and Foxconn have been trying to source unknown parts from a company who deals in carbon fiber materials:
According to my source, some engineer of Apple and Foxconn Technology came on Japanese company, which has carbon production in mid-March, and they requested to develop some sample.
I don't have information which is ordered by Apple, source told the number of parts is too large to be called "sample".
Apple have been toying with the idea of carbon fiber-based products for a while, with rumors a few years ago we could've seen, or could still see, a carbon fiber-based MacBook Air. With carbon fiber being stronger material, while weighing less, it would make sense for Apple to build a MacBook Air with carbon fiber.
We all know about Kickstarter, but there's another crowdfunding kid on the block - Indiegogo. Indiegogo, along with Matthew "The Oatmeal" Inman, launched an Indiegogo campaign that aimed at buying some land for a Nikola Tesla dedicated museum.
Inman raised $850,000 within a week, which was his funding target, and within less than a day to go, $1.35 million has been raised. Danae Ringelmann, Indiegogo's co-founder, has said that the "Operation Let's Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum" is the largest campaign in Indiegogo's history.
Just how much money is thrown around on these crowdfunding sites? Well, Kickstarter has said that its users have pledged an amazing $350 million since April 28, 2009 - which is around $2 million per week on average. I'm looking forward to seeing the Tesla Museum built, and would eventually like to go and check it out once it has been completed.
The Thailand floods were a tragic event, hitting hard drive manufacturers Seagate and Western Digital pretty hard. At the time, hard drive prices went up quite significantly, and are only returning close to pre-flood levels now. How are things business-wise for HDD manufacturers? Well, in a word - great.
Some new numbers from IHS iSuppli have said that the HDD market for PCs has fully recovered, and is set to hit an all-time high. IHS iSuppli expect internal hard drives to smash through 524 million units shipped this year, beating the previous record by 4.3%.
Where is this increased demand coming from? The firm thinks that the boost in shipment numbers is thanks to the impending release of Windows 8, as well as Ultrabooks. While we're close to pre-flood HDD prices, we're still not there yet but IHS iSuppli have said that HDD prices aren't expected to drop below pre-flood levels until, wait for it, 2014. By 2016, if IHS iSuppli's predictions become reality, we're looking at HDD shipments reaching 575.1 million by 2016.
I'm sure all of our readers know of the patent wars going on between Samsung and Apple. In case you don't, a brief history: Apple sued Samsung saying their patents were being infringed upon by Samsung products. Judge Koh granted a sales ban of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 at the start of the trial. A jury found Samsung guilty to the tune of just over $1 billion. However, they found that the Tab 10.1 didn't infringe on a single patent.
Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is still banned from being sold in the United States. Judge Koh had previously felt that overturning the ban fell out of her jurisdiction as Samsung had appealed to a higher federal court. That court has now ruled that Judge Koh can rule on the sales ban, either reversing it or keeping it in place.
Theoretically, the device should no longer have been banned, or even banned in the first place as the jury found it to not infringe. The sales ban is expected to be lifted as soon as Judge Koh rules on the matter. Samsung was quick to jump onto the court, filing a request to have the ban dissolved:
T-Mobile's parent company Deutsche Telekom (DT) has sold rights to 7,200 of it's US cell towers. The idea here is that the company who is buying the rights to the towers will be able to then lease space on those towers to other companies (think: AT&T, Verizon, and others) to bring in income. For T-Mobile to manage that would be a lot of extra work.
So, it's easier for T-Mobile to sell the rights to these 7,200 towers, which is a small portion of their 51,000 total, to a company that only manages leasing tower space to companies. Part of the $2.4 billion will be used to pay off some of DT's debt and some of it will be used to fund T-Mobile's network upgrades and LTE rollout.
Crown Castle, the company who is buying the rights to these towers, will own and/or manage 30,000 towers in 50 U.S. cities after the deal is complete. Crown Castle will have the option to buy the towers after about 28 years. For now, they can only manage them. T-Mobile will be a tenant at those towers for a minimum of 10 years.
Tim Cook has taken a moment to step down from his high horse and issue a letter to Apple customers saying, "We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better." What??? Apple is apologizing for something they did? I thought everything they did was always perfect.
As Cook suggests, the Maps app will get better as more customers use the app as it will help to crowdsource bugs, locations, and some of the other issues that people have experienced with the new mapping app. In his letter, Cook details an interesting statistic: "In just over a week, iOS users with the new Maps have already searched for nearly half a billion locations."
No doubt half of those searches were people looking for mistakes! If you're interested in reading the full-text of the letter, it is below for your enjoyment:
With everything that Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has gone through, you'd think there'd be an apology thrown at him before now. But, better late than never, right? New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, has apologized to the Megaupload founder over an "unacceptable" stuff up by the NZ government spies leading up to the arrest of Dotcom.
The PM also ordered Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) agents to review their cases going back three years, where they'll have to check whether there were other instances of communications being intercepted unlawfully. Dotcom's apology arrived as a report into the illegal monitoring on the Megaupload founder, which blamed the GCSB agents for not knowing New Zealand immigration laws, and relying on incorrect information from the police. Mr Key told reporters:
I'm pretty appalled by what I've seen. The organisation should be able to get this right. Of course I apologise to Mr Dotcom. I apologise to New Zealand.