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Apple is once again coming under fire from former employees of its retail stores. This time a group of ex-employees have filed suit against the Cupertino giant as a result of TSA style security searches that were performed daily by managers who were searching for stolen merchandise.
According to the employees, they would have to stand in line for 30 minutes a day without pay while their managers searched their bags and persons in an attempt to discourage theft of devices. The employees have filed a class action suit that claims that they were cheated out of $1,500 per year in unpaid wages due to the unlawful searches.
The court documents say that Apple managers were not just looking for Apple devices either; apparently, they were searching for and confiscating other "contraband" without the permission of the employees being searched. Apple's official "personal package and bag search" policy routinely results in staff being forced to stand around for 5-30 minutes each day without pay, each and every time they clock out for a break or meal. How do you feel about this policy? Let me know in the comments.
Today, Gary Kovacs announced that he has been named the new CEO of AVG Technologies. The former CEO of Mozilla said that he wanted to join AVG and help them further their expansion into the mobile space. He will be taking on a company that has over 150 million users globally, which include the consumer and small business markets, and with 25 percent of its users already using the company's mobile solutions, Kovacs should have no problem kicking things into high gear.
"AVG currently has a big footprint on desktop, but it also wants to be leading in mobile," said Kovacs in an interview yesterday with All Things D. "As more and more people access the Internet via these devices, what AVG does in this area will become ever more important." Kovacs comes to AVG after about three years at Mozilla and Adobe before that. AVG says that Kovacs is a good fit because of his strong mobile background and that they also feel he will help them usher in a new open source era at the company.
Last week during a team effort to combat piracy, a company working in conjunction with Microsoft filed a DMCA takedown request with Google which included 6 URLs from Microsoft itself. Yes, that means Microsoft filed a DMC takedown notice against itself on the grounds of copyright infringement. The links were generated by automated software and show how flawed the system truly is.
The software used to automate the process often hurts many more innocent webmasters than it does copyright infringers, and false triggers like this are far less rare than anyone would ever expect. In the past, Microsoft has accidentally filed DMC takedown request that targeted the US Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, TechCrunch, Wikipedia, BBC News, Bing, Google, and so many others that I could write all night and never get to the end of the list.
The takedown requests are becoming so frequent that in the past Google might have received 225,000 DMCA takedown request per week, but just over a year later they are receiving between 3.5 and 4.5 million requests every week. Google can not simply read every request and check for validity and as a result, the first half of 2013 saw Google erase 100 million links from their search engine all because an automated copyright crawler thought they might be infringing on someone's copyright. That number is double the amount of links Google removed in all of 2012 and several times more than in 2011.
It looks like Apple's Senior Vice President, Bob Mansfield, has left his post and is now working on "special projects" where he reports directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Mansfield did semi-retire last year, but returned two months into his retirement. He eventually led a new division within Apple that worked on semiconductor and wireless hardware. What could Mansfield be working no now? The New York Times recently wrote that he was "engrossed" with wearable technologies, so we might see his products in the coming years.
I'm sure that with Google Glass and other wearable tech, Apple doesn't want to be left behind.
It wasn't long ago that we were reporting that US-based e-tailer Amazon reached record highs on their share prices, and not long after that we reported about Amazon tripling their employees to over 97,000 in the last three years.
Now the company has announced they've created 5,000 new full-time jobs in its US fulfillment network in order to meet increased customer demand. Amazon are quite generous, too, with their median pay in their fulfillment centers around 30% higher than employees in traditional retail stores. This isn't even counting the fact that Amazon offer stock grants to full-time staff, which add an average of 9% to base pay each year.
Dave Clark, Vice President of Worldwide Operations and Customer Service at Amazon said: "We're hiring more than 5,000 people to join our team and help us continue to innovate and serve our customers. We're focused on sustained innovation across Amazon and want to help our employees succeed-whether at Amazon or elsewhere-so we offer programs like Career Choice, where we'll pay for up to 95% of eligible employees' tuition regardless of whether the skills they learn are relevant to a career at Amazon."
Harris Interactive have awarded Apple their "Brand of the Year" award for the second consecutive year in three categories. Apple beat their biggest rivals for the award, which included Google, Samsung and Amazon.
Apple took out the award for computers with their MacBook, beating HP, Dell and Sony. The iPad beat Amazon's Kindle Fire range, Google's Nexus tablets and Samsung's Galaxy range of slates. As for smartphones, the iPhone beat out everything HTC, Samsung and LG could throw at them. Even with this award on Apple's desk, they've still jumped the iShark.
Every day that passes, cybercrime effects millions of people, and millions more dollars. This can happen with cyber thieves stealing intellectual property, or going as far as cyber espionage.
According to McAfee's latest report, economic losses from cybercrimes adds up to as much as $500 billion per year. Their report goes as far as stating that cybercrime can destroy a company's image, jeapordize national security and see hundreds of thousands of people out of jobs. Cybercrime is now considered just as bad (if not worse) than physical crime, thanks to the economic domino effect it has.
McAfee's report states that for every $1 billion in loss from exports, approximately 5,080 jobs are lost. So if we're looking at global economic losses per year to reach $500 billion, this would have a detrimental effect on the global job market.
We all know that Microsoft's mobile OS, Windows Phone, isn't doing that well against the current champions found in iOS and Android. But when your strongest partner, Nokia, starts talking smack about your mobile OS, you should stand up and listen.
Nokia's Vice President, Bryan Biniak, spoke with IB Times UK on Friday, where he said that Microsoft haven't done enough to push their mobile OS against iOS and Android. Biniak added: "To give you a reason to switch. I need to make sure the apps that you care about on your device are not only on our phones, but are better. I also need to provide you unique experiences you can't get on other devices".
Biniak finished with: "We are releasing new devices frequently and for every new device, if there is an app that somebody cares about that's not there that's a missed opportunity of a sale. We are trying to evolve the cultural thinking [at Microsoft] to say 'time is of the essence.' Waiting until the end of your fiscal year when you need to close your targets, doesn't do us any good when I have phones to sell today."
Earlier this week, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer admitted that the company had in fact built too many Surface RT tablets and that they were not selling as many as previously expected. The announcement came during an internal town hall event where Ballmer and COO Kevin Turner attended to address concerns over the $900 million write off Microsoft recently had to make on its Surface tablets.
"We built a few more devices than we could sell," admitted Ballmer. "We're not selling as many Windows devices as we want to." In an attempt to shore up losses, Microsoft recently cut the price of all of its Surface RT tablets by 30 percent worldwide, but we will not know if this has had any effect on sales for quite a few months.
With Apple's iOS devices, and all of the many of the companies with Android devices posting record numbers, it is beginning to look like Microsoft's foray into the mobile devices market may have become one of the biggest mistakes in the company's history.
Apple have been caught conspiring to fix eBook prices, something that might cost the iPhone maker $490 million. A lawyer from Hagens Berman, the lead class action firm involved in the case told GigaOM that Apple could pay three times' the publishers' total liabilities.
This is minus the $166 million that the publishers have agreed to pay in separate settlements, but brings the total to be sucked out of Apple's cash piles to be $490 million. Considering they have just spent $16 billion buying their own shares - because, you know, they've been tanking pretty hard lately - this is nothing but a drop in the ocean to them.
Kind of like one of us mere mortals dropping $1 on the street from our wallet filled with $100 notes.