Google has partnered with Boingo to make 4,000 of its hotspots available nationwide for free for people accessing them with Android, OSX, or Windows. Interestingly enough, users of iOS and Windows Phone appear to be excluded from this offering, showing Google is really pushing Android with this latest stunt.
The hotspots are available across the United States in "high-traffic locations," coffee shops, hotels, and other areas. Google and Boingo are even offering this service at some of the major airports, including NY's JFK, O'Hare, and Seattle-Tacoma, along with the Boingo-enabled subway stations around Manhattan.
Dawn Callahan, vice president of consumer marketing for Boingo Wireless:
Google Play is the first to take part in our newly expanded Wi-Fi sponsorship network, which reaches millions of consumers each month with place-based brand engagements. Sponsorships like this give users the free Wi-Fi they crave, advertisers the consumer interaction they need, and venues the revenue to offset the costs associated with providing a high-bandwidth Wi-Fi experience.
Google has sponsored this Wi-Fi through Boingo's Cloud Nine Media program, which allows advertisers to sponsor free Wi-Fi, something most people like. The act of sponsoring should bring good will to the company as well as reach new consumers with their brand. The free Wi-Fi ends with the month of September.
Apple sues Polish online grocery store for using 'A.pl' domain, next stop Adam and Eve for eating the forbidden fruit
Alright, this is the stop for ridiculous - anyone who wants to get out and read this news, step off the train and onto the platform, joining Apple. The company who has more lawsuits going than there are stars in the sky are now suing a Polish online grocery store over the 'A.pl' domain.
The Cupertino-based company has asked the Polish patent office, the UPRP, to cancel a trademark belonging to the store. A meeting reportedly took place in August 29, but ended up being adjourned, and deferred to a later date. Polish site Telepolis, has said that if the dispute isn't settled out of court, it could take two to three years to resolve.
Considering that A.PL have absolutely nothing to do with technology, and are an online grocery vendor, Apple are really clutching at straws here. There's no Apple-like imagery on the website, and it's all in Polish, meaning that it really is only for people who can read the language, and I'm sure it doesn't beat against the door of any Apple-owned patents.
The New York Times are reporting that "over the years", EA have tried to buy Valve. If these talks between the two companies ever reached negotiation, would've valued Valve at "well over $1 billion", the Times reports.
But, that $1 billion figure is a huge understatement, as no one truly knows what Valve are worth. Valve are a private company, controlled by founder Gabe Newell, who doesn't release any financial information. Wedbush Securities analyst, Michael Pachter, has estimated that Valve are worth $2.5 billion today.
Newell have said that Valve's employees would scatter, and that Valve would "disintegrate" before they'd be sold. Newell adds:
It's way more likely we would head in that direction than say, 'Let's find some giant company that wants to cash us out and wait two or three years to have our employment agreements terminate.
HP's global staff numbers are expected to get slashed nearly 10% more than previous reports, where up to 29,000 people will lose their jobs with the company. Previous figures pegged HP at cutting 27,000 jobs from their workforce, according to the company's 10-Q quarterly filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), where they said they will "eliminate approximately 29,000 positions in connection with the 2012 Plan through fiscal year 2014."
Back in May, HP said that they would cut roughly 8% of their global workforce, which would see 27,000 jobs cut, saving around $3-$5 billion which would then be thrown into R&D. The cuts would be done over a two-year period, but overall R&D spending will increase from the 3% of revenue which it stands at now. The filing note also touches on their multi-year restructuring plan, which HP call the "2012 Plan", and is aimed to "simplify business processes, accelerate innovation and deliver better results for customers, employees, and stockholders".
HP also expects charges of around $3.7 billion through the end of the company's fiscal 2014 calendar, with $3.3 billion of this coming from workforce reductions, and $400 million on "other items", including datacenter consolidation. HP have already slashed 3,800 jobs by the end of July 2012, which represents around 7% of the now revised 29,000 figure.
There are some people who think that potential future President of the United States, Republican nominee Mitt Romney is hiding something. There have been various reports, and you can Google (or Bing) it yourself for some more information.
Last week we reported that hackers had gotten their hands on Mitt Romney's previous tax returns, and are asking for $1 million Bitcoin's or they'd release them. Now we have founder and publisher of Hustler magazine, Larry Flynt, hitting the wire that he is offering $1 million as a reward to anyone who can give him Romney's tax information.
Flynt took out a full-page ad in the Sunday's edition of The Washington Post, promising "up to $1 million" for the dirt on Romney's "unreleased tax returns and/or details of his offshore assets, bank accounts and business partnerships." When money is being thrown around like this, someone might step forward. But, if you had this type of information, and it did involve, and prove that Romney has something very sinister to hide, that is completely provable, would you really want to share it?
Alibaba Group is China's largest e-commerce firm, which is looking to have a massive year for 2012. The group expects to sell more merchandise than competitors Amazon and eBay, combined. This is according to Alibaba's chief strategy officer, Zeng Ming.
The group is aiming for around 3 trillion yuan ($473 billion) in annual transaction value from their Taobao e-commerce units in the next 5 to 7 years, says Ming. Jack Ma, Alibaba's founder, said that in 2011, Taobao's transaction value for 2012 would reach 1 trillion yuan. Alibaba have not revealed what percentage of online sales come from Taobao, but it seems to be the number one source of the company's profit engine.
Zeng talks of Amazon and eBay, America's top online retailer and auction site, respectively:
From their annual reports we did a rough calculation and we were similar last year but we are growing faster than them this year, so this year we are probably larger than them. The gap is just going to get bigger and bigger when we grow faster.
On the eve of Intel Developers Forum San Francisco, we received word from a SSD manufacture that Toshiba just slashed the price of Toggle Mode NAND Flash by 20 to 25%.
If you recall, just a few months ago Toshiba announced a 30% reduction in manufacturing. Toshiba expected other NAND flash manufacturers to follow suit to increase the cost of flash. Micron took the opportunity to gain market share and either held flash production or increased output. We've seen Micron gain some market share because of it. Companies are even making special Micron flash versions of existing products, like the new OCZ Vertex 4 512GB M (M for Micron) SSD.
With the massive price drop, we can only assume that Toshiba is backing off their reduced output strategy. This is good news for consumers looking for even lower priced SSDs. How good is this for consumers? Well, this is a quote from one of my inside sources:
"Full on price war started today. I just got news from ******, all [our] SSDs are getting cut by around 25%"
Remember those 1,000,000+ Apple UDIDs that were leaked last week? Well, it turns out that they probably didn't come from an FBI laptop after all. The CEO of Blue Toad, a small, Florida-based publishing company has issued an apology as the data was taken from their servers about two weeks ago.
The data originated from the company's servers, though this doesn't completely rule out that the data made its way to the FBI. It does, however, contradict the story that went along with the leak as the data was taken just two weeks ago, not back in March as claimed. Blue Toad was alerted to the likelihood of it being their data by security researcher David Schuetz.
Schuetz noticed that several of the device names included in the leak made reference, or contained, "Blue Toad." The numerous references seemed to indicate development devices, so he contacted the company. They ran a comparison between the leaked data and their database and found a 98 percent match.
"That's 100 percent confidence level, it's our data," DeHart, CEO of Blue Toad, said. "As soon as we found out we were involved and victimized, we approached the appropriate law enforcement officials, and we began to take steps to come forward, clear the record and take responsibility for this."
When Gottfried Svartholm Warg was arrested two weeks ago, it didn't really come as a surprise to anyone. But, as the time goes on, the plot thickens. Originally, it was thought that the arrest in Cambodia was due to his conviction of copyright charges. Now, sources are reporting that his arrest is in conjunction with an alleged hacking of Logica.
Logica provides IT services to Sweden's tax offices. It seems as though the Logica servers were infiltrated several times between 2010 and 2012. The result of this is that there appears to be a compromise of tax records stored on said servers. Why would Warg want to do something like this?
After all, his copyright charges weren't that big of a deal, but he if is responsible for these hackings, they are a big deal. It's not clear why someone already in legal trouble would want to bring more upon himself. Furthermore, the question must be asked: what did he want with those tax records?
Minecraft developer Mojang has just inked a deal with the United Nations, which will see the indie dev help upgrade urban spaces around the world through the use of Minecraft.
Mojang will work with UN-Habitat where they'll support its Sustainable Development Network with the developers 'Block by Black' programme helping the redevelopment of around 300 spaces around the world by 2016. Block by Block will get young people involved in the planning processes in urban areas, as well as letting them share with planners and decision makers how they would like to see their cities developed.
The United Nations first approached the indie developer after its Mina Kvarter project in Sweden, which encouraged people to take part in the reconstruction process of neighborhoods through Minecraft. The programme has actually been recognized internationally as an alternate way of development planning.
Windows Phone 8 is right around the corner, and industry giant Sony aren't ready to commit to the mobile OS just yet. Competitors will launch a slew of Windows Phone 8-powered devices in November.
Nokia and Samsung will pave the way for WP8-based devices, but Sony aren't talking about whether they should begin R&D on their own WP8-based devices, or just wait and see what happens first. Sony Mobile's Pierre Perron says:
Sony's strategy is one of openness. Microsoft is a Sony partner with the likes of our VAIO laptops and it's integrated onto our tablets. As far as Xperia smartphones go, Android remains the preferred partner, although Sony is not a single partner company.
Apple has, for the eight consecutive time, taken the #1 position on J.D. Power smartphone satisfaction survey
J.D. Power and Associates' latest rankings for consumer satisfaction with smartphones has the same winner it has for eight years now, Apple. Apple have continue to pushed back increasing competition from Samsung, HTC, Motorola and Google.
Out of a possible 1,000, Apple scored 849. HTC were behind Apple with 790 in second place, and Samsung and Motorola sat in third and fourth spots with 783, and 783, respectively. Motorola took in 777 points for fifth position, with six and seventh position going to Nokia with 763, and RIM with 742, respectively. Sitting in second to last is RIM with 740, and HP/Palm sit with 707.
The survey takes into consideration of overall satisfaction with features with performance (29%), ease of operation (26 percent), physical design (24 percent), and features (21 percent). For smartphones, the key factors were performance (33 percent), design (23 percent), features (22 percent), and ease of operation (22 percent).
The patent war between Apple, and what seems like every other company on Earth doesn't look to stop any time soon. A Chinese company, GooPhone, has already patented the design of the new iPhone, in China.
The new GooPhone i5, yes that's its name, was patented and released before the new iPhone was even announced (and it hasn't even really been announced yet, not until September 12). This gives the Chinese company a legal advantage over the real iPhone maker.
GooPhone i5 runs Google's Android 4.1 OS, and of course its internal goodies would be far different to that of the new iPhone's. The GooPhone i5 sports a 4-inch screen, smaller dock connector, and relocated headphone jack - all rumored to be changes included with the unreleased iPhone.
Since September of 2007, Google haven't seen their shares bust past $700, until last week. Google saw a 52-week high of $712.25 on Friday, where it floated back down to $706.15 at the end of trading on Friday.
Google's record high was in November 2007, where they hit $747.24. Google have had a great run recently, where they've seen their shares bounce up by around 19% since their last reported earnings, where they showed some strong earnings thanks to their core advertising business.
In the last couple of months, we've seen the stellar Nexus 7 making waves, which is helping Google. We should see some great things from Google in the coming months.
Riding on the wave of success of their super successful Galaxy S III, Samsung are poised to record a record Q3 profit of $6.2 billion. The Yonhap reports that according to analysts, Samsung could see an operating profit of $6.2 billion, up from $5.9 billion in Q2.
It wasn't too long ago that Samsung had announced they sold 20 million Galaxy S III handsets in just 100 days, as well as announcing and releasing the Galaxy Note II and the Galaxy Note 10.1.
Quarterly sales are estimated to have expanded by 24.5% to reach $45.5 billion or so, which sports a 78% year-over-year increase.
Research firm NPD Group are reporting that overall sales in the US video game market as sales of software are down 20% in August, falling to $515.6 million, down from $647.2 million from 2011.
The hardware sector has also felt the drop, seeing a decline of 39% year-over-year, now taking in just $150.6 million. The ageing consoles are hurting the market, as well as the huge surges in gamers going mobile with their smart phones and tablets. Social networking sites such as Facebook are also drying up the video game markets customers.
"Core gamers", who are the ones who purchase games for consoles, typically spend around 35% more than others. The 'average gamer' spent $48 on a physical game, and $16 on a digital title over the past three months. Core gamers spent $65 on physical games, on average.
These numbers should see a nice jump when new consoles hit us, which should also reinvigorate the PC market, too.
Mobile ad revenue is a huge business, and it is expanding quicker than some can keep up with. Billions of dollars per year are generated, but who is at the top of the list? Google, that's who.
Online market research firm, eMarketer, have put estimates out which show that Google would make $1.42 billion this year. Another interesting fact is that the two social networking juggernauts, Twitter and Facebook, are making some big figures, too. Twitter are estimated to make more money from ad revenue this year, looking at raking in $129.7 million, with Facebook sitting back with $72.7 million.
Next year is a different question, where the tables are reversed, considerably. Twitter are estimated to make $272.6 million, whilst Facebook zooms ahead with $387 million. Google's estimated 2013 numbers? A whopping $2.38 billion. We do have some other players, Pandora, Millennial Media and Apple's iAd's, making $226.4 million, $84.1 million and $75.1 million, respectively.
Apple, seemingly trying to strike a blow to its favorite legal adversary, has lowered its memory chip order to Samsung for the next iPhone. Samsung has long provided many components for Apple's products, even though Apple and Samsung are constantly involved in legal battles around the world.
Apple has continually been trying to diversify its suppliers and reduce the business it sends towards Samsung, a company Apple continually accuses of copying. "Samsung is still on the list of initial memory chip suppliers (for new iPhones). But Apple orders have been trending down and Samsung is making up for the reduced order from others, notably Samsung's handset business," the Reuters source said.
The reduction in orders is not expected to hurt Samsung by very much. Analysts figure that Apple's purchases of DRAM and NAND chips only make up about 2.5 percent of Samsung's business, so that is the most it could hurt Samsung if they were to completely end their business relationship.
Reuter's source notes that the speculation that Apple is cutting orders to Samsung over the legal dispute is not the case. However, one has to wonder if it doesn't play at least a minor role. Apple is more interested, according to the source, in diversification of supply so that shortages when new products are released are minimized.
Google has acquired the online virus scanner VirusTotal for an undisclosed amount of money. The deal appears to be a straightforward one, with VirusTotal continuing to operate independently. VirusTotal will gain access to Google's resources and infrastructure, which should help VirusTotal to continue improving their service.
Our goal is simple: to help keep you safe on the web. And we've worked hard to ensure that the services we offer continually improve. But as a small, resource-constrained company, that can sometimes be challenging. So we're delighted that Google, a long-time partner, has acquired VirusTotal. This is great news for you, and bad news for malware generators, because:
- The quality and power of our malware research tools will keep improving, most likely faster; and
- Google's infrastructure will ensure that our tools are always ready, right when you need them.
VirusTotal will continue to operate independently, maintaining our partnerships with other antivirus companies and security experts. This is an exciting step forward. Google has a long track record working to keep people safe online and we look forward to fighting the good fight together with them.
Intel has decided that it won't see the revenue that it had previously predicted for the third quarter and has lowered their forecast accordingly. The drop is relatively large going from from between $13.8 billion and $14.8 billion to between $12.9 billion and $13.5 billion, over a billion dollar difference between the top numbers.
The decreased perspective is due to a "challenging macroeconomic environement," according to Intel. They say the supply chain has decreased the inventory that it keeps, instead of historically growing during the third quarter. Intel also blamed slow demand in emerging markets and a weak enterprise market.
Of course, they qualified this change saying that the final figures could vary depending on a large array of different factors. At the time of writing, Intel Corp (INTC) was down $0.90, nearly 3.6 percent, bringing the share value down to $24.19.
The UK government proposed their controversial Communications Data Bill earlier this year, which would see British ISPs made to keep records of every website that their customers visit for 12 months. Of course, you can see where civil rights groups, and others, would have problems with this.
Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, has stepped up to the debate and joined the opposition to the proposed bill, saying:
If we find that UK ISPs are mandated to keep track of every single webpage that you read at Wikipedia, I am almost certain we would immediately move to a default of encrypting all communication to the UK, so that the local ISP would only be able to see that you are speaking to Wikipedia, not what you are reading.
Wales has threatened to encrypt Wikipedia for UK-based users in order to protect their privacy. Wales adds that the data retention bill is:
Not the sort of thing I'd expect from a western democracy. It is the kind of thing I would expect from the Iranians or the Chinese.