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You know what they say, "There's no such thing as bad publicity." But, does this always stand true? Microsoft has been accused of swindling the winner of 'Smoked by Windows Phone' out of his prize. The contest was to "bring up the weather of two different cities." He was required to power cycle his phone in front of the Microsoft employee to prove there were no preloaded apps. Katta had struck gold! He already had two widgets on the home screen displaying the weather in San Jose and Berkley and he had disabled the lock screen. After the countdown, he simply pressed the power button and said "Done!"
The Microsoft employee said he lost because he couldn't have won: Windows Phone "displays the weather right there." A second employee came up and said the weather had to be from two cities in different states, which was never in any rules. Ben Rudolph from Microsoft has since tweeted that he would like to make things right. He has offered Katta the Ultrabook prize, a Windows Phone, and an apology.
A new challenger has appeared. Apple is no longer the only one doing frivolous lawsuits; now, they are at the receiving end of one! Yes, it's true, one of Apple's stores, with its slick and modern design, "caused" an 83 year old woman to break her nose by walking into the glass--guess they use Windex!
As a result of the collision, Grandmother Evelyn Paswall is suing the company for a cool $1 million. Her lawyer explains:
There were no markings on the glass or they were inadequate. My client is an octogenarian. She sees well, but she did not see any glass.
Apple wants to be cool and modern and have the type of architecture that would appeal to the tech crowd, but on the other hand, they have to appreciate the danger that this high-tech modern architecture poses to some people.
This will most likely settle out of court, as most lawsuits of this nature due. It remains to be seen if Apple's warning labels will be adjusted to be more visible. Besides, this isn't the first time this has happened: two other customers suffered minor injuries after colliding with the glass. Apple introduced the warning labels after these events.
Social networking site and the first thing people check when they turn on their mobile devices, Facebook, have reportedly purchased 750 patents from IBM, which they hope will help them battle against potential patent infringement allegations, according to Bloomberg.
The patents that Facebook added to their portfolio reportedly cover mostly networking and software, and is a huge increase in their patent portfolio considering they previously had 53 issued patents and 503 files with U.S. Patent applications. Facebook have now paid millions for the patents, where they say the new intellectual property will help them from incoming IP claims, issuing a document on February 1st saying:
We may introduce new products, including in areas where we currently do not compete, which could increase our exposure to patent and other intellectual property claims.
New iPhone (will that be the new name?) development is of course under way, but a massive part of this is the actual production of the smartphone itself. Foxconn are key partners to Apple, but right now, Foxconn's northern plant in Taiyuan, which is in China's northern Shanxi province, may become both a key hub of the new iPhone, as well as a flashpoint for working condition issues.
The China Times reports that the factory was facing a "huge" shortage of workers, to the tune of 20,000 of them, as it got ready for the new iPhone. It is being reported that they would be in charge of producing as many as 85-percent of total orders, or close to 57 million new iPhones. So, we'd be talking about just under a year of stock for one single model.
The problems with the workers apparently stem from Foxconn allegedly promising to raise pay packets for everyone, but then only delivered their promises to mid- and upper-tier workers, which of course, pissed off some employees, rightfully so, too. The raises supposedly reduce the requirement to work overtime in order to get a decent pay, but the managers have been pushing an all-or-nothing attitude toward overtime. Either you work insane amounts of overtime, or you get offered no overtime at all.
Research in Motion were born in Canada, and have enjoyed Canadian's being loyal to RIM, but this has just begun to stop. In 2011, RIM shipped 2.08 million BlackBerry smartphones, versus the 2.85 million iPhones that Apple sold. Rewind another twelve months into 2010, and we have RIM selling over 500,000 more units than Apple did in Canada.
If we go back a bit further to 2008, RIM sold 500-percent more BlackBerry phones than Apple did iPhones. But, we all know that the iPhone has grown in popularity immensely, and Canadian's just don't want to continue being blindly loyal. Bloomberg notes that Canada-based sales make up roughly 7-percent of RIM's total revenue.
RIM has enjoyed local support in Canada, which would hurt them considerably seeing Apple overtake them on their home ground. Alfred DuPut from research firm Interbrand says that this is due to RIM not investing enough in promoting their devices once the iPhone shipped. If you ask me, it's because Apple have a totally contained system, with hipsters wanting them, grandmas wanting them, great marketing, they just 'work', and are simple enough that a 5-year-old could use it.
T-Mobile have just announced that they will be cutting 1,900 jobs as well as closing seven of their call centers throughout the US as part of a plan that is said to reduce overhead as well as stockpile cash in order to invest in a restructuring plan after AT&T failed on their planned acquisition.
The call centers that will be closed down are: Allentown, Pennsylvania; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Frisco, Texas; Brownsville, Texas; Lenexa, Kansas; Thornton, Colorado; and Redmond, Oregon. For all of the call centers mentioned, they actually house 3,300 employees, but T-Mobile will be hiring 1,400 more workers at the remaining 17 centers.
Some employees are being offered transfers, and those who are being let go are said to be receiving severance pay and two months of healthcare. The cut of 1,700 employees may sound drastic, but it's just a slither of T-Mobile's total workforce, the 1,700 lost jobs represents 5-percent of the total workforce.
Earlier today, we reported the FaceBook issued a statement regarding employers and the like who asked for FaceBook log in credentials. Well now, a senator in the USA is reportedly drafting a bill to make this illegal. The DOJ has already said they believe breaking FaceBook's ToS, which ban giving your password to someone, is a federal offence, but have sated they will not be prosecuting it.
The senator described the requests as an "unreasonable invasion of privacy for people seeking work," adding that the bill would be ready "in the very near future." The practice is akin to them asking to open your postal mail to see if there is anything interesting in there. With everyone up in arms about the practice, it's no wonder someone thought it to be a good idea to write a law regarding it.
The company responsible for hosting the data of the now shutdown Megaupload filed an emergency motion this week in U.S. federal court in Virginia seeking protection from the expense of hosting the data of up to 66 million users. The cost of hosting the 25 million gigabytes of data across 1,100 servers rings up with a $9,000 a day cost.
Carpathia says someone needs to foot the bill or allow them to delete the data. Using the $9,000 figure, it has cost them more than $500,000 since January. Megaupload contends many of its users are legitimate and storing important files on the site. Carpathia said another reason it can't delete the data is because it would "risk a claim by a party with an interest in the data" such as the MPAA who wants it kept for possible civil actions.
We recently reported a story about how employers were requesting the log-in credentials of prospective employees. We have just learned that FaceBook is considering taking legal action against colleges, employers, and governmental agencies that do this. Finally, it feels as though FaceBook is looking out for my privacy, rather than undermining it.
FaceBook issued a statement regarding the issue. "We'll take action to protect the privacy and security of our users, whether by engaging policymakers or, where appropriate, by initiating legal action" the statement says. There's some major legal risks associated with asking prospective students or employees for their information, the statement also points out. It considers the various legal issues companies and schools could open themselves up to. It seems, at least for the meantime, that FaceBook has your back if someone wants your information. I highly encourage you read the statement if your looking for a job or heading to a college that requires your credentials.
France's President, Mr. Sarkozy, said in a statement, "From now on, any person who habitually consults websites that advocate terrorism or that call for hate and violence will be punished. France will not tolerate ideological indoctrination on its soil." If politicians aren't blaming games for violent behavior, they turn to the internet. It's common political rhetoric, but does this announcement even make any sense?
What caused this? Mohamed Merah, a 23-year-old, killed seven French people - three soldiers, three Jewish children and a rabbi. He claimed Al Qaeda inspired him to do so. Luckily, there is a good distance to travel from this statement issued in the heat of the moment to it being implemented in a law. Sticking to this particular case, is there any evidence that Merah visited any of these "extremist websites?"
Besides, as most people know, these videos can be found pretty much anywhere, including sites like YouTube. Also, how would this law be implemented? This is starting to sound like an assault on France's internet freedom. Besides, how do you tell apart a PhD student from a radical? The simple answer: you can't. Let's just hope today's announcement is just more political rhetoric in an election year.