The days of $700-plus Apple Inc. (AAPL) stock seem to be well and truly over, but the iDevice maker has seen their stock getting bashed around for a couple of months now. In the last 24 hours, it has reached a new 10-month low of just $513 per share.
Around six weeks ago we reported that it was dropping big time, and at that stage it had reached $558 - so we're another 10% or so down in the last six weeks alone. On December 14 we reported their stock dropping 4% based on poor iPhone 5 sales in China.
I've expressed my thoughts many times on this, and I don't think we're going to see Apple recover. They've released new devices in all categories, so now all they can do is try and excite the market with something new - but have they burnt bridges in their journey?
Chip maker Marvell has been hit with a huge patent fine, with the company violating two patents that are held by Carnegie Mellon University, which has seen a Pittsburgh federal jury award the University $1,169,140,271 in damages.
The two patents were issued in 2001 and 2002 and are in relation to techniques of using noise signals to more precisely record data sequences. With Marvell wanting to take on Intel in the huge enterprise data market with their ARM-based chips, this is a huge setback having to shell out over a billion dollars.
The jury also ruled that Marvell violated the patents in question internationally, which will allow Carnegie Mellon to ask the judge to triple the already huge $1.17 billion verdict. Of course, Marvell will appeal the ruling, and they'll most likely make a mess of the case as court records have already shown that the company have demanded a mistrial, with the reason behind this unknown.
You can go through the jury verdict right here if you wish.
AMD are already going through tough times, but a 25-year veteran has just jumped ship to Samsung. Michael Goddard's last title with the company was Corporate Vice President for Product Design Engineering and Chief Engineer on Client Products has left the company after a quarter of a century.
He has been with AMD since 1988, and has changed jobs just this month according to his LinkedIn profile, where he has joined electronics giant Samsung as their Vice President and System Architect at their Austin, Texas-based facility.
In the last couple of months, AMD have seen some 26 executives leave the company - from the higher levels of power, all the way down the ranks. AMD sliced 15% of their workforce this fall and are expected to slash even more jobs when the new year arrives.
Samsung is quite the player in the mobile phone market, with an estimated 420 million devices shipped this year. Next year, it's looking to do even better by aiming to move a record 510 million mobile handsets. If Samsung manages this, they will further separate themselves from their bitter rival Apple.
"Of the 510 million handsets it plans to sell, 390 million are slated as smartphones and 120 million, feature and budget phones," according to an executive from one of Samsung's key suppliers.
"There are some possibilities that smartphone demand will slow in general. But we are seeing new demand for devices using Long Term Evolution (LTE)," said Kim Hyun-joon, an executive at Samsung's telecommunications division.
Gartner had previously predicted that Samsung would sell between 250 million and 300 million smartphones next year.
"Samsung's proven ability to quickly produce and replace a wide range of handsets aimed at several different markets contrasts with Nokia's struggles and Apple's difficulties that are mainly related to parts sourcing problems," said Hwang Min-seong, an analyst at Samsung Securities.
Microsoft has detailed the planned locations for the first six stores of 2013. The locations are across the United States, ranging from the east coast to the west. Microsoft says 2012 saw 51 stores opened, though that number includes numerous "popup" stores, which featured limited selection for the holidays.
The next six stores will be located at the following places:
- The Shops at La Cantera, San Antonio, Texas
- Dadeland Mall, Miami, Fla.
- Beachwood Place, Beachwood, Ohio
- Westfield San Francisco Centre, San Francisco
- City Creek Center, Salt Lake City
- St. Louis Galleria, St. Louis
These six new permanent installations will bring Microsoft's store count to 37 across the US and Canada. For comparison, Apple has 250 retail locations in the US, with 140 internationally.
In the seemingly never ending patent wars, Samsung has announced that, last week, it filed a complaint against Ericsson to ban U.S. sales on some of Ericsson's products. This move comes a month after Ericsson sued Samsung in the U.S for patent infringement.
The company said in a statement that "we have sought to negotiate with Ericsson in good faith. However, Ericsson has proven unwilling to continue such negotiations by making unreasonable claims, which it is now trying to enforce in court."
These recent developments come after 2 years of failed negotiations, and licensing agreements. Twenty-four patent's are involved in the litigation. Ericsson said "the dispute concerns both Ericsson's patented technology that is essential to several telecommunications and networking standards used by Samsung's products as well as other of Ericsson's patented inventions that are frequently implemented in wireless and consumer electronics products."
It looks like one Sprint salesperson isn't going to be around for much longer, as a customer has asked a Sprint rep for the older iPhone 4 which was part of his free upgrade, where the rep has called the device "a piece of sh**".
The Sprint representative stated that the device breaks too easily, and is too small for most users. The rep instead recommended the Samsung Galaxy S III, to which the customer refused. Once he refused the S III, the rep went a few steps too far and told the man that his fingers were too fat to use on the iPhone, and that he would need a larger screen to use a smartphone properly.
Say what! The customer was pissed off enough to walk out of the store, where if it were me I'd be walking right up to the manager and demanding something far more serious than just walking out of the store.
PayPal has attacked the ISP setup by Pirate Bay founders, PRQ, where they've banned them from using the payment service and have seized all funds active in their accounts.
This isn't the first time either, where they were initially slapped with an account freeze that would stay in place for up to 180 days. At this time, PayPal recommended that PRQ set up a second account while the dispute was active for the first, and that after the dispute was finalized, the second account would be merged with the original.
After PRQ had done this, PayPal slapped a freeze order on their second account. PRQ have taken to a statement to say:
First they froze our primary account without any prior notice - we can't even receive funds to it. After we contacted their 'support' they stated that the support could not help us, BUT the person who was responsible for our account should contact us within a couple of days.
An outage to Netflix happened 24 hours ago, but the company have confirmed that they've restored their video streaming services a day after the outage happened, which was because of technical issues with their Web service provider, Amazon.
Amazon engineers worked the entire night to get the services up and running again for Netflix, with Netflix saying that the outage began at around 3:30pm Eastern Time on Monday. This outage stopped all video streaming on a bunch of devices with a Netflix spokesman saying "we are investigating the cause and will do what we can to prevent reoccurrence".
Amazon's outages to certain services caused other companies like Heroku Inc. and social media app Score to experience problems, too. Everything appears to be back to normal now, thankfully as Netflix is the host to over 25.1 million streaming Americans.
A ruling from a High Court judge in England may have wide-reaching implications. The ruling invalidates one of Motorola's patents, a key that Motorola used to get an injunction against Apple's iCloud in Germany. With this invalidation, the groundwork is laid for a repeal of the injunction gained in Germany.
The patent in question is one that deals with syncing messages across multiple mobile devices. Originally granted in the 1990s, the patent uses old technology, with Apple's implementation using new modern tech. The injunction was granted, with the judge ruling that the patent applies to modern technology.
If the decision is not overturned on appeal, the German iCloud ban should be overturned, as well as Motorola and Google will be in a weaker position for future litigation. The judge specifically noted in his ruling that if the patent was upheld, Microsoft's Live Messenger and Exchange e-mail services could be shutdown for violation of the patent.
San Diego-based law firm Finkelstein & Krinsk have filed a complaint in San Francisco federal court on behalf of Instagam user Lucy Funes. The lawsuit alleges that the change in terms of service breach contract and California business law. Take a look at a quote from the complaint, embedded below:
If customers do not agree with Defendant's scheme, they can cancel their profile with Instagram. However, upon canceling, customers forfeit all right to retrieve the Property that was previously entrusted to Instagram, which retains rights thereto in perpetuity. In short, Instagram declares that 'possession is nine-tenths of the law and if you don't like it, you can't stop us.'
Instagram's current terms of service do not contain a class action liability shield, but the new terms of service do. This is the reasoning behind the lawsuit being filed now, instead of after mid-January when the new terms take effect. Of course, Facebook disagrees: "We believe this complaint is without merit and we will fight it vigorously."
Google have slapped Universal, Sony and other music labels on the wrist by stripping them of around 2 billion fake views form their YouTube channels. The groups hit include Universal Music Group, Sony/BMG, RCA records and a few others.
The hit has been called a 'black hat', as the companies were using programs or paying a third-party that would manipulate view counts on their respective YouTube videos, which are pretty much just robotic views of their videos. The purpose? To make their songs look much, much more popular than they really were, in order to entice real clicks and views onto their videos.
This ended with over two billion views combined being removed from the companies' videos. Universal was hit the most, seeing more than one billion in views stripped away from them, from a former seven billion views taken down to six billion. Sony/BMG placed second with a loss of 850 million views, bringing their total down to just 2.3 million.
In Australia, we don't have many options when it comes to movie streaming services, but it looks like that set of options will expand by at least one large company next year with Hoyts set to launch their own movie streaming service early next year.
Hoyts' movie streaming service will begin "from 2013" and will have new releases arrive on a pay-per-view basis, but there are also rumbles of an all-you-can-eat (or watch) subscription model that would be coming in "later 2013". Hoyts will also rebrand their own Oovie DVD Kiosk business as Hoyts Kiosk.
Now the question is how will it arrive - on devices, or through a site or app, and in what quality? Are we talking DVD quality, or are they going to finally step up and offer 1080p in some form. Hopefully they work with local ISPs and get some servers into their datacenters so we can have quota-free movie-streaming goodness.
The European Commission has sent a "statement of objections" to Samsung saying that they don't believe the company is acting fairly. "Intellectual property rights are an important cornerstone of the single market. However, such rights should not be misused when they are essential to implement industry standards, which bring huge benefits to businesses and consumers alike," Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in statement.
Samsung can now respond to the statement with objections or with a request for a hearing. Samsung faces a fine up to 10 percent of its annual turnover if the commission rules that they have violated the rules. The issue at hand is standard-essential patents for the EU's 3G UMTS standard.
Samsung agreed to fairly license the needed patents to competitors when the EU adopted the standard. Samsung denies the claims: "Samsung is confident that, in due course, the Commission will conclude that we have acted in compliance with European Union competition laws."
The commission opened the investigation after Samsung attempted to gain sales bans in 2011 across member EU states against its fierce competitor, Apple.
David Cameron is fighting for the children, or at least he claims to be. ISPs will now be required to implement a compulsory survey when setting up an internet connection. During the survey, they will be required to say whether there are kids in the house, and if the answer is 'yes,' they will be required to set up filters.
Starting February 2013, ISPs will be required to show the government their plans for implementation. Cameron says that "a silent attack on innocence is underway in our country today, and I am determined that we fight it with all we've got." Others argue that it is the parent's responsibility to keep the children safe, an argument that seems to be stronger in the United States.
What are your thoughts on this? Think every country should require it from their ISPs?
Google has pulled away one of Samsung's top people. Motorola has just hired Samsung's marketing executive for the same job at Motorola. Brian Wallace has been behind some of Samsung's marketing ploys that have paid off handsomely for the company. Take, for example, the advertisement embedded below:
Visible Measures says that the ad above was the most popular tech ad of the year. Motorola and Google are likely hoping he will do the same thing for the company, marketing Google's Nexus line of devices and their upcoming X Phone. Before joining Samsung a year ago, he worked at RIM for more than a decade.
Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, has introduced a bill that would regulate data caps imposed by ISPs and would only allow data caps to be instituted to alleviate network congestion. It would prevent ISPs from arbitrarily applying a data cap just because they can.
"Data caps create challenges for consumers and run the risk of undermining innovation in the digital economy if they are imposed bluntly and not designed to truly manage network congestion," Wyden said in an e-mail statement.
Not only does he want to regulate data caps, he wants to provide more accurate and granular information to consumers. His bill authorizes the FCC to regulate ISPs' methods of measuring bandwidth usage so that they will be as accurate as possible.
Finally, the bill provides for net neutrality. If a data cap is enabled on a network, the provider can not "provide preferential treatment of data that is based on the source or content of the data."
"Future innovation will undoubtedly require consumers to use more and more data-data caps should not impede this innovation and the jobs it creates," Wyden said. "This bill is intended to help consumers manage their data more effectively and ensure that data caps are used only to serve the legitimate purpose of addressing congestion."
Apple has been fined 200,000 euros or about $246,000 by Italian Regulators over the company's handling of AppleCare warranties. The Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato is reporting that Apple has since fixed its warranty policies, but between March 28 and November 10th, Apple was still pushing a 2 year Apple Care plan on Italian consumers even though Italian law guarantee that as a minimum.
This fine comes on top of an initial 900,000 euro fine back in March when the Italian government first began cracking down on AppleCare. The 200,000 euros fine actually breaks down into six smaller fines. Apple Sales International was tagged for 120,000 euros; Apple Italia owes 40,000, and Apple Retail Italia is due for another 40,000.
With this final fine, the AGCM has closed the case on the isse and Apple has made 14 changes to its stores, terms, and website. Furthermore Apple has removed AppleCare from its retail stores, leaving it available only online to Italian consumers.
Research in Motion posted their Q3 2013 earnings, which ended on December 1 and they're not as bad as analysts expected. Some analysts expected RIM to make money before the BlackBerry 10 launch, with others just waiting for the world to come crashing down around RIM before BB10.
Wall Street had RIM pegged to post a loss of $0.35 per share on $2.65 billion in revenue, but RIM actually recorded a net loss of $114 million, or $0.22 per share over $2.7 billion in sales.
RIM shipped 6.9 million BlackBerry smartphones in the quarter, and just 250,000 BlackBerry Playbook tablets. Just how much have BB shipments dropped in the past year? 51% year-over-year from Q3 2011. RIM's subscriber base dropped by 1 million users in the three-month period, where the down-but-not-out company now has 79 million total subscribers.
A New Zealand court decided on Thursday to reschedule the extradition hearing for Kim Dotcom. The US want him back, and now the hearing has been pushed back until August 2013, it's second delay.
Dotcom was originally set to appear in court in August, but the extradition hearing was pushed back to March 2013 due to issues concerning the disclosure of evidence. The New Zealand High Court at the time ruled that the FBI had to provide Dotcom's lawyers with more of the evidence they had against him before he could stand trial for extradition.
One of Kim Dotcom's lawyers' spokeswoman confirmed the change, but wouldn't elaborate on why the delay was put into action.
Your kids are bit safer online now thanks to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. His office has removed more than 2,100 registered sex offenders from popular online games, including those from Gaia Online, NCSoft, and THQ. The removal comes as part of Operation: Game Over, a fitting title for his project.
"The Internet is the crime scene of the 21st century, and we must ensure that online video game platforms do not become a digital playground for dangerous predators," Schneiderman said today in a statement. "That means doing everything possible to block sex offenders from using gaming systems as a vehicle to prey on underage victims."
Registered sex offenders in the state of New York are required by law to hang over all electronic identities to the state. New York authorities review the list and contact game developers asking them to remove accounts that are on the lists turned in by registered offenders.
"Operation: Game Over coincides with recent incidents of sexual predators using voice and text chat functions in online gaming services to lure underage victims across the country," the attorney general's office said today in a statement.
"I applaud the online gaming companies that have purged registered sex offenders from their networks in time for the holiday season," Schneiderman said today. "Together, we are making the online community a safer place for the children of New York."