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Google has been using its Street View cars to snoop WiFi for years and today Germany has said enough is enough. The Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection has just hit the search giant with a fairly large fine of $190,000.
While that fine may seem astronomical to us, Google will treat it as nothing more than a pin-prick in its deep pocketed leather skin. The fine comes three years after an investigation in which Google was found guilty of pulling WiFi data from open networks that were discovered by its Street View cars.
Personal data including emails, passwords and pictures were all recorded, but Google says that all of the data has since been deleted. While I see where this invasion of privacy is a big deal, with more and more people using Gmail, Google+, Google Drive and Android, Google already has all of our private data stored on its servers anyway.
It has been an awesome year so far for Apple if you only look at their sales numbers, but if you take a step back and let the entire picture come into focus you will see that things are not looking so good for the once largest company in the world.
This year we have already seen Apple's stock drop below $400 from a record high of over $700, a difference of 44-percent. While Apple is expected to post its strongest second quarter sales in its history, the company will report its first decline in profits in over ten years.
Analyst are forecasting iPhone sales of around 35 million units during the first quarter of 2013 with iPad sales in the 17 million range. Mac sales are hovering around 4 million units. Apple is expected to report that the gross margin on these products to be around 47.4-percent which is much higher than the expected 37.5-percent the company was hoping for.
It looks as though Facebook are the ones behind the huge data center construction project which is taking place in the town of Altoona, Iowa. This new data center will be the fourth company-owned data center.
The remaining three are in Prineville, Ore., Forest City, N.C., and Lulea, Sweden. The news comes from a report in the Des Moines Register, who says the data center will span 1.4 million square feet. There's no news on whether the social network would see any tax breaks or incentives for building in Iowa.
Facebook are also said to want some tax credits for using wind power, something that will require a vote by the state legislature. State officials have been quiet about the whole ordeal, but there was some large competition between Iowa and Nebraska to win the deal.
Anonymous don't let down on their promises, and with April 22 starting in some parts of the world, the Anonymous-led Web blackout has officially begun. The hacking collective will lead some 200+ sites who will suspend normal operations in protest of the rights-raping Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) that recently passed the US House of Representatives.
Anonymous, along with other groups, have called for the blackout protesters to use the hashtags #CISPAblackout and #StopCISPA. Last year's anti-SOPA blackout had some big support with companies like Google helping out, where the CISPA protest is mainly limited to the hacking and Anonymous circles. Anonymous and Occupy Facebook and Twitter websites have also promised to go silent for the day.
If CISPA passes, there will be a lot of change to users' rights and privacy on the web, we'll make sure to report as much CISPA news as we can.
AMD have just scooped up another Apple employee, who used to work for AMD. Raja Koduri will join the company as AMD's Corporate Vice President of Graphics Business, Visual Computing. Koduri's role at Apple was their Director of Graphics Architecture, something he has done for four years now. Koduri will be reporting to Mark Papermaster, who talked about Koduri joining the AMD ranks once again:
Maintaining AMD's position as a leader in visual computing is the key to our long-term success. As one of the industry's foremost experts in developing leading-edge visual computing solutions, Raja brings exceptional vision and strength to AMD's world-class engineering leadership team. Given his past record of success, Raja will help AMD lead the way in visual and accelerated computing and ensure we continue developing the industry-leading graphics IP that forms the foundation for our future growth.
This is the second person AMD have poached back from Apple, with the first being Jim Keller in August 2012. AMD reacquired Keller, making him their Corporate Vice President and Chief Microprocessor Architect. His position with Apple was as the Director of their Platform Architecture Group.
Microsoft still dominate the console market, the Xbox 360 leads console sales for the 27th consecutive month
The Xbox 360 has enjoyed its position as the best-selling console in the United States for the 27th consecutive month in a row according to new data from NPD Group. Last month, there were 261,000 Xbox 360 units sold in the US, beating both the PS3 and Wii U.
Physical sales were down 10% year-over-year, with $992.5 million in March 2013 compared to $1.1 billion in the same month of 2012. Software sales didn't rise, but they didn't fall much either, dropping just 1% year-over-year. The biggest decline came from hardware sales, dropping 32% to $221.6 million. This should be solved with the upcoming next-generation consoles. Portable consoles are having problems, experiencing a "stronger decline" than traditional ones.
CISPA was passed in the House yesterday, not receiving much mainstream attention because the public eye is glued to the events in Boston and Texas, but Anonymous have your back. The hacking collective are wanting a protest against the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) on April 22.
The protest they want to see is an "Internet Blackout Day" where they want "web developers and website owners to go dark" and to also "display a message as to why you are going dark, and encourage others to do the same".
Just eight years ago IBM sold off its consumer PC business to Lenovo and now the company is looking to offload part of its server business to the Chinese business as well. Both the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg are confirming the reported $2.5 billion to $4.5 billion dollar deal.
The low-end System X server division would go to Lenovo if the deal passes, and the Server X line could see a complete revitalization after several years of low performance.
News of this deal comes shortly after IBM announced less than desirable earnings for Q1 2013, which saw System X earnings drop by more than nine percent. In contrast, IBM's high-end System Z mainframe business rose by seven percent.
Google has a nasty habit of not responding to customer support emails, and has an automated system that points you to the Google help forums, which are usually not that helpful.
Apparently Germany is not very happy about this and has told Google to remedy the situation or face the consequences.
The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZBV) has told Google to sign an undertaking that will revamp their customer service and elicit actual human responses when contacted by users. The VZBV is citing the Germany Telemedia Act, which requires all businesses to have an email in which customers can submit questions to.
Samsung has been quite vocal about its plans to turn the Galaxy S4 into the bestselling smartphone in history. This morning we are learning that the company is expecting to sell over 10 million Galaxy S4 devices in the first month alone.
Citing supply chain sources who are intimately familiar with Samsung's projected sales reports, DigiTimes is reporting that Samsung could ship as many as 30 million Galaxy S4 phones in its first quarter of sales alone, with 10 million of them flying off the shelves in the first month.
The company has lined up launches in 50 countries and more than 300 carriers, which will no doubt boost its initial sales numbers. Unlike HTC's One and Apple's iPhone 5, the Galaxy S4 is not expected to see any delays in shipping because Samsung actually manufacturers most of the components in-house, which is a huge advantage over the competition.