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J.D. Power and Associates' new study shows that Apple leads the pack when it comes to consumer satisfaction. This is the ninth time in a row that Apple has topped J.D. Power's survey, though not everything remains the same. Second place is in fierce contention by four different manufacturers.
Apple is the only company to be above the study average, coming in with a score of 855. Just one point behind the study average, Nokia comes in at a satisfaction rating of 795. Samsung pulls a close third with a score of 793. Just behind Samsung is Motorola with a score of 792. HTC brings up the rear with a score of 790.
Once you move down the list, the scores drop off. LG received a score of 744 and BlackBerry only scored 732. Interestingly enough, about 17 percent of those surveyed said that they encountered some sort of bug or glitch. Bugs and glitches really detract from the user experience and companies should probably focus heavily in these areas.
Going green is the big push right now and has been for the past several years. Apple releases its "Apple and the Environment" report to show just how Apple's business affects the environment around us. The latest report shows that while Apple is moving towards green energy use, its overall production of CO2 is still increasing.
Apple has started to brag that its data centers are 100 percent powered by renewable energy sources. Even with this change, Apple's overall production has increased by 34 percent. Apple attributes this increase to its overall increase in products sold. It's true that Apple produces less CO2 per dollar revenue.
Since 2008, Apple has reduced its emissions per dollar revenue by 21.5 percent. Apple has also increased renewable energy at its corporate facilities by 114 percent. However, facilities only contribute 2 percent of Apple's emissions. 61 percent, or the large majority, come from the manufacturing of the devices.
The Ninth Circuit of Appeals has ruled that Isohunt's founder, Gary Fung, is liable for copyright infringement committed by the site's users because he possessed "red flag" knowledge that infringement was occurring. In its 59-page ruling, the Ninth Circuit court upheld most of a lower-court's decisions.
The main takeaway from this ruling is that if a site's operator is found to be inducing copyright infringement, they are no longer allowed in the safe harbor. The Court was able to identify that Fung induced copyright infringement through his posts on the Isohunt forums:
[Fung] communicated a clear message by responding affirmatively to requests for help in locating and playing copyrighted materials...posted numerous messages to the isoHunt forum requesting that users upload torrents for specific copyrighted films.
HTC CEO Peter Chou is so committed to the success of the HTC One that he has reportedly said that he will quit his job and leave HTC if the upcoming One smartphone is a flop.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Chou said that in the event that the HTC One is a failure, he will resign his position at the company. At the moment, things are not looking good for Chou as HTC's flagship release has been delayed until the end of this month due to delays.
The delays were first thought to be caused by HTC's new "Ultra Pixel" camera technology, or its aluminum uni-frame body, but we recently discovered that is not the case. In fact, HTC is having issues getting many of its components due to being downgraded from a tier one manufacturer.
Ebay has announced that they are changing its fees in order to become more competitive with Amazon. Some of the fee changes will take place April 16, while others will remain the same until May 1. In the end, most sellers will end up paying lower fees, though this won't be the case for everyone.
Part of the reason Amazon has been so successful is that they don't charge listing fees. "For most of our sellers the complexity of our fees were keeping them from being on eBay and preventing them from having full transparency into their profitability from selling on eBay," Michael Jones, vice president of merchant development, said.
If you only list a few items each year, Ebay is going to offer 50 free listings per month. Ebay will then take 10 percent of the sale price, if the item sells. If you happen to be a higher-volume seller, final value fees will range between 4 percent and 9 percent, depending on the product category.
"There will be some sellers who will pay a little bit more on eBay, but most sellers will be impacted positively by this."
It truly has been the year for shuffles at the top of big companies, with today bringing news that Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch is stepping down. Lynch is taking a job over at Apple, where he'll be titled as the VP of Technology.
Lynch will step down on March 22, with his CTO position not being filled by a successor. Adobe's official statement, below:
Kevin Lynch, Adobe CTO, is leaving the company effective March 22 to take a position at Apple. We will not be replacing the CTO position; responsibility for technology development lies with our business unit heads under the leadership of Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen. Bryan Lamkin, who has recently returned to Adobe, will assume responsibilities for cross company research and technology initiatives as well as Corporate Development. We wish Kevin well in this new chapter of his career.
Andrew Auernheimer might not be a name that rings any bells for you, but in June of 2010, he created a program that would connect to a publicly accessible, unsecured AT&T database of iPad subscribers. At the time, I'm sure he didn't think a few years from then, he'd be locked inside of a prison.
Fast forward two years, into November of 2012, where he was found guilty of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and identity theft. For his last day of freedom before his sentencing, Auernheimer and his supporters rented a 10,000 square foot hall where they partied the night away. Auernheimer told John Koetsier from Venture Beat: "It's a f***ing ludicrous charge. The FBI has tried to frame me for terrorism five times, and by their own admission they've been surveilling me since I was 15 years old."
Auernheimer was lucky to enjoy his last day of freedom, as he was sentenced to 3 years in jail, and $73,000 in fines.
PC shipments aren't looking too good for this quarter, with the IDC's latest report saying it won't get better anytime soon. The IDC pegs the blame on an economic slowdown in China will eventually lead us to a loss in PC sales in the first quarter of 2013.
This is a big problem, as China has accounted for "over 21% of global shipments for 2012," making it the world's largest market for PCs. IDC analyst Loren Loverde has projected that "we could see a drop [in PC shipments] touching double-digits in the first quarter and a mid-single-digit decline in the second quarter before we see any recovery in the second half of the year."
Loverde adds that it will be hard for the PC industry to push into growth in 2013, and that the PC industry will need to release "attractive new PC designs and more competitive pricing relative to tablets and other products."
We're seeing some shifts of power in big companies this year, where earlier today we saw EA's CEO step down, and now we're hearing that ARM's CEO, Warren East, will retire in July. East will be replaced by current ARM president, Simon Segars.
Segars has been with the company since 1991, where East has helped expand ARM's business from one product line when he took over in 2001, to the position of power they find themselves in today. Their technologies are used by over 300 chip customers, which in turn have seen ARM technology baked into 9 billion chips last year alone, according to ARM chairman John Buchanan. An interesting turn for ARM.
Kogan Mobile is in the headlines again, this time for booting a customer off their network for abusing their mobile phone plan. The telco offers an unlimited calls and text pre-paid plan that includes 6GB of data for $29, something they launched in December last year.
Brisbane customer, retail store manager Joel Campbell, was kicked off of the network, with Kogan claiming he was not using his service for "personal use", giving him 90 days to find a new provider. Within section 1.1 of Kogan Mobile's terms of service, they state that their network must be used for "personal use only" - the big problem is that in this seven-page ToS document, it does not state that heavy users would be kicked off of their service.
Campbell said "I have no reason to need a business phone," admitting he was a heavy user, saying that he accessed the Internet on his phone a lot during the day, but didn't think the cancellation of his service to Kogan was "warranted." He adds: "I'm paying for it. At the end of the day if I want more, I'll pay for more. It's not a loss to them."