Some good is starting to come out of the Apple vs Samsung legal battle. For instance, this survey that was released in the court documents shows the major reasons that customers chose an Android phone over an iPhone. Curiously enough, the reason given most was that people didn't want to change their carrier.
Looking at the numbers, it appears that AT&T's iPhone exclusivity damaged sales of the phone as people didn't want to jump ship to the carrier. They instead chose to purchase an Android, possibly resulting in a larger uptake of the operating system. The second largest reason, 36%, was that users trusted the Google brand.
43% Wanted to stay with current provider
36% Trusted Google brand
30% Preferred larger screen
27% Preferred Android Market
26% Wanted better Google services intergration
25% Wanted latest and greatest smartphone
25% Wanted turn-by-turn GPS
25% Wanted latest and greatest technology
Interestingly, the features that have come to be known as defining differences, bigger screen, latest and greatest technology, didn't turn up as high as other answers. They rang in at only 30% and 25%, respectively. The survey also indicates that 25% of Android buyers considered an iPhone. This group of people should be the respondents to this survey.
Good ol' Google is trying to become the one-stop shop for everything you could ever need. While Google Maps is great for planning a route, it doesn't tell you what sights to see, where to stay, or where to eat. That's where Google's latest acquisition could come into play. Google has announced that they have acquired Frommer's, a renowned travel guide provider.
No plans or purchase price has been divulged, however, it seems as though it could be to extend the Zagat team that Google owns. "The Frommer's team and the quality and scope of their content will be a great addition to the Zagat team," a Google spokesperson told CNET in an e-mailed statement. "We can't wait to start working with them on our goal to provide a review for every relevant place in the world."
Frommer's mainstay has been printed travel guides. With the Google acquisition, it's not clear whether or not Google will continue printing the travel guides or make them online only. It'll be interesting to see how other players in the travel industry will take this latest Google acquisition. Several companies expressed concerns over previous Google travel company acquisitions.
Google haven't done too much with their Motorola acquisition, but it seems like things are about to change. Considering Motorola has quite the workforce, as well as the capability to manufacture devices on a massive scale, to their own specifications, Google have been sitting on this immense power.
But, it looks like 20% of the acquired company's workforce is being cut, leading to around 4,000 job losses. This is on top of the closure of 94 offices, too. The New York Times has reported that the Mountain View-based company has sliced 40% of Motorola's vice presidents, so it's not just the blue collar workers redoing their resumes.
Google are probably retooling the company after the acquisition, so there was always the fact of job losses.
Demonoid was taken down by a DDoS attack on July 24, with early reports suggesting that the site's downtime was temporary. But, it has gotten a lot worse: Ukranian authorities have announced they ordered ColoCall, the nation's largest datacenter and host of Demonoid, to disable to site and hand over data.
This would've been a coordinated, international effort, but it wasn't clear if Demonoid was being used as a "gift" from the Ukraine to the US. We've seen how the US wants to play dirty against MegaUpload, and founder Kim Dotcom, but this is crazy. London-based international record label consortium, IFPI, and INTERPOL have since revealed they were involved in organizing the strike, which wasn't limited to Ukraine.
The FTC is getting business done this week. Shortly after settling a complaint with Google over privacy concerns, the FTC has settled with Facebook over privacy concerns. Sound like a broken record? Yes, it's true, these big websites are using your information in ways they don't want you to know. But have no fear as the FTC has your back.
The settlement with Facebook doesn't include the massive fine that was levied against Google, but does include penalties if Facebook doesn't comply. The terms of the agreement state that Facebook must give "consumers clear and prominent notice" and obtain "their express consent before sharing their information beyond their privacy settings."
Furthermore, Facebook will be subject to "biennial privacy audits from an independent third party." The settlement was actually announced way back in November of 2011, but was left open for public comment until today's final agreement. Going forward, Facebook will have to comply or be subject to fines amounting up to $16,000 a violation.
"We intend to monitor closely Facebook's compliance with the order, and will not hesitate to seek civil penalties for any violations," the agency's commissioners wrote jointly.
After having a truly hard time with multiple issues, it seems that RIM have finally found some good luck. A US District Court judge has overturned a $147.2 million jury award and finding that the company infringed on a patent from New Jersey-based Mformation Technologies. Judge James Ware didn't stop there (I'm a lyrical genius), he also granted RIM's motion, which grants a new trial if his ruling is overturned, which means the jury award is permanently gone even if Mformation is able to appeal the new ruling.
The patent which was argued over covers remote management for wireless devices. The judge involved in the appeal accepted RIM's argument that the jury in the original trial didn't have sufficient evidence to reach the verdict against RIM. Judge Ware wrote:
The court finds that there was no 'legally sufficient evidentiary basis' on which a reasonable jury could have found for Mformation on the issue of the infringement".
Rumors are circling that AMD could be an acquisition target, and these rumors have inflated AMD's share prices by close to 8%, where they hit $4.34 per share. MarketWatch hasn't gone into much length about the rumors themselves, where they've only quoted Evercore Partners analyst Patrick Wang.
Wang has said that Qualcomm and Samsung were both potential buyers with a possible bid on the chipmaker. Wang doesn't believe the rumors have much solidity, where he says "I think it's unlikely they get a take-out offer". But, we've seen what acquisition talks can do to a company's share prices, where rumors of OCZ being scooped up by Seagate saw OCZ's shares blow up by 22%.
EE Times' reporter Syvie Barak wrote a story listing the potential candidates of an AMD acquisition, where she pointed out Qualcomm as the number one suspect. She notes that Qualcomm have already acquired assets from AMD's done-and-dusted handheld business a few years ago. Barak also notes that by acquiring AMD, it would give Qualcomm "increased leverage with manufacturing partners like TSMC and Globalfoundries".
Google: "Don't be evil." However, it would appear that the Federal Trade Commission feels that Google might have overstepped that by a wee bit, okay, a large bit, judging by the size of the fine levied against the company over the Safari tracking incident. The FTC announced today that Google has agreed to pay $22.5 million to settle the claim, the largest fine ever levied by the FTC.
The FTC charges that Google "misrepresented to users of Apple Inc.'s Safari Internet browser that it would not place tracking 'cookies' or serve targeted ads to those users, violating an earlier privacy settlement between the company and the FTC." Jon Leibowitz, Chairman of the FTC:
The record setting penalty in this matter sends a clear message to all companies under an FTC privacy order. No matter how big or small, all companies must abide by FTC orders against them and keep their privacy promises to consumers, or they will end up paying many times what it would have cost to comply in the first place.
Of course, for its part, Google has a differing opinion on the matter:
We set the highest standards of privacy and security for our users. The FTC is focused on a 2009 help center page published more than two years before our consent decree, and a year before Apple changed its cookie-handling policy. We have now changed that page and taken steps to remove the ad cookies, which collected no personal information, from Apple's browsers.
The New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has taken the covers off of a new crime-fighting system developed by Microsoft. Bloomberg also revealed that New York City will take a cut of the profits if the system is sold to other administrators.
The new system will give police the ability to quickly gather and visualize massive amounts of data from multiple sources such as cameras, license plate readers, 911 calls, police databases, and more. Once it collates the data, it then displays the information in real-time, both visually and chronologically, giving investigations a central location to look into crimes as they happen, or as they're reported.
The new system has been dubbed "Domain Awareness System", and was developed by Microsoft engineers who worked with New York police officers. DAS for short, has the ability to host a features, such as being capable of spotting a suspicious looking vehicle, and being able to track its recent movements, or use cameras to track back and see who left a suspicious package. DAS sports live video feeds, massive databases of recent crime patterns and can accept input direct from the field in real-time from sources like 911 calls or police radios. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has said "all the information is presented visually and geographically and in chronological context".
According to a piece on Reuters, Amazon is looking to scoop up a bunch of intellectual property (IP) experts to help them enter the patent acquisition and licensing game, after seeing the patent war between Apple, Google, and more.
Amazon have reportedly hired executive recruiting firm Argos Search in order to help Amazon hire an IP "Acquisition and Investment Leader" that can "identify and evaluate strategic IP acquisition and licensing opportunities" according to a job description that Reuters had fall into their hands. The person Amazon hires will work close with all of Amazon's technology team's and leaders on future product development, according to the document. Amazon said in their job posting:
At Amazon we are rapidly growing in many new and exciting technology areas. To support and protect our expansion we are seeking an executive to work with our business teams to identify and procure intellectual property.
HP looks to be taking a considerable hit for their purchase of EDS, where they're looking at a $8 billion in pre-tax assets as part of an "impairment of goodwill" in relation to the purchase of Electronic Data Systems (EDS). Not only that, but the company is looking to get hit by a pre-charge of around $1.5 billion in Q3 to handle employees that are deciding to take early retirement packages.
John Visentin was head of HP's Enterprise Services Unit, and has decided to leave in order to pursue other interests, with this move promoting Mike Nefkens into Visentin's previous position in the interim. More shifts have taken place, with Jean-Jacques Charhon moving into the position of CEO for the division, where he reports to his new boss, Nefkens.
HP have said that the shuffle is to help service innovation, profits, and I'm sure the most important: customer satisfaction. Third-quarter earnings should be up $1 per share, from the previous estimates of between 94 to 97 cents.
This is something you don't see or hear everyday, but a few nights ago a Kentucky-based woman was forced to walk into an Apple Store with her kidnapper, who was forcing her to purchase goods on her credit cards. But an alert Apple Store employee came to her rescue, and she is now safe and the kidnapper is in prison.
Police have said that the woman met the man, who called himself "Greg", when he arranged a date with her. When they first met, "Greg" showed up to her house and forced her into his car at gunpoint. While holding a gun to her, he forced her to drive around to a handful of stores to purchase cellphones in her own name, with her own money.
"Greg" and his victim then drove to an Apple Store in Louisville, where they tried to buy some Apple products from one of the in-store Geniuses:
At some point during the visit, the woman found a window of opportunity and was able to discreetely tell the store clerk that she needed help. Police say the clerk then quietly called store security, who then contacted Louisville Metro Police.
The police arrested "Greg", whose real name is Victor A. Salver Jr, who was charged with kidnapping and robbery. I think that Genius deserves a reward! Free Retina MacBook Pro?
Apple knows how to do one thing right: make a profit. Showing that there is in fact an "Apple tax", a research firm found that Apple made 77 percent of mobile device profit while only shipping 6 percent of devices. Incredible. With that 6 percent of the market, they brought in 43 percent of the market revenue.
Sure, Samsung has seen lots of success--they shipped twice as many smartphones in Q2 2012 as Apple did--but Apple made the majority of the profit. So, how do you determine who has been more successful, sales or profit? Clearly Samsung's per-device profit is much smaller than Apple's but most wouldn't have guessed that it was this much of a disparity.
Raymond James Equity Research is responsible for compiling these numbers. Travis McCourt, who works for Raymond James, said: "Ultimately, profits are the feedstock of innovation; and, innovation drives profits. Until Samsung starts generating more profits than Apple, we would not be overly concerned with who has the unit share lead. Remember, HP and Dell still sell a lot more PCs than Apple sells Macs, but does it matter?"
Kim Dotcom is a pretty famous name now, with all of his legal issues and such. Not to mention he doesn't exactly keep a low profile, some music record plans and other things come to mind. Now, a New Zealand News outlet has released footage of his mansion being raided and it shows helicopters and ground crews converging on his house:
The reporter from 3news, who published the above video, notes that the video generally corroborates the story told by both the police and Kim Dotcom himself. The video contains footage of the raid interspersed with trial testimony. For those who don't remember, law enforcement in Auckland, New Zealand raided the founder of Megaupload's mansion while the FBI shut down the datacenter.
Since then, there has been a lot of legal back-and-forth, including the ruling that the search warrant used during the raid was invalid. Now, Dotcom's extradition hearing has been pushed back to March 2013. Kim Dotcom has accused Vice President Joe Biden of ordering the shutdown and causing all of this heartache. We'll keep you updated as the Dotcom saga continues.
Judge William Alsup of the US District Court in San Francisco on Tuesday has ordered Google and Oracle to both disclose whether they paid journalists to cover the high-profile trial that took place earlier on in the year. Judge Alsup wrote:
The Court is concerned that the parties and/or counsel herein may have retained or paid print or internet authors, journalists, commentators or bloggers who have and/or may publish comments on the issues in this case. Although proceedings in this matter are almost over, they are not fully over yet and, in any event, the disclosure required by this order would be of use on appeal or on any remand to make clear whether any treatise, article, commentary or analysis on the issues posed by this case are possibly influenced by financial relationships to the parties or counsel.
Alsup has ordered that both companies "identify all authors journalists, commentators or bloggers" who reported, or commented on the case and received money to do so. Business Insider has noted that payments were made to two journalists, the first one being Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents.
Does this make you look at Google or Oracle any different? How about FOSS Patents?
Samsung accused of copying Apple yet again, but this time its for child labor abuse at a Chinese factory
Samsung have been accused by activist group China Labor Watch of a bunch of infractions, with one of them being quite serious: employing workers as young as 14 years old at its supplier's factory in China. Samsung, in response to the allegations, issued a statement where the company said they've re-inspect the factory in question, but have claimed that it had previously passed all inspections. Samsung said:
Samsung Electronics has conducted two separate on-site inspections on HEG's working conditions this year but found no irregularities on those occasions. Given the report, we will conduct another field survey at the earliest possible time to ensure our previous inspections have been based on full information and to take appropriate measures to correct any problems that may surface. Samsung Electronics is a company held to the highest standards of working conditions and we try to maintain that at our facilities and the facilities of partner companies around the world.
China Labor Watch didn't just find underage employees, but the factory's management would reportedly abuse workers, and also failed to treat, or compensate those who experienced work-related injuries. It doesn't stop there, with more accusations that the factory forced excessive overtime, sometimes to as much as 11 hours per day with just a single meal break, in 'extremely dangerous conditions'. Also, those who reported product defect were fined severely, rather than rewarded.
Wikipedia is a source that gets used millions of times per day, but the site itself is quite bland, and really needs some inspiration. Creative agency 'New!' has taken it for a spin, and asked themselves "what if?", and have offered up a look at a redesign.
The team at New! have used a site called Wikipedia Redefined, where the final result looks beautiful. I'm in love with it, as shown above. The redesigned page took the team a few months to complete, and the team themselves use Wikipedia quite often:
That's why we decided to spend two spring months on this project, looking for the ways how to make it better, reader or editor friendlier, clearer and aesthetically satisfying.
After checking out the site, I don't see why Wikipedia wouldn't use this design, and if not this design, they should really mix it up after this piece gets the rounds across the Internet. It definitely has a Google feel about it, and as a huge Google user (Gmail, Reader, Drive, Chrome), I'm definitely not complaining. Even if it fails, this is the perfect advertisement for the agency. Don Draper, where are you with my scotch?
Need to upgrade your phone? Samsung are offering up to $300 for old phones through a new upgrade program
Just when you thought the fight between smart device giants Samsung and Apple couldn't get any bigger, Samsung have come through like a knight in shining armor to offer an upgrade offer for new phones. It is known officially as Samsung Upgrade, and the company is offering up to $300 per device as long as you purchase a new Galaxy S II, Galaxy S III or Galaxy Note.
Samsung's promotion takes place entirely on Facebook, where you're asked for some basic information about your old phone: brand, model, if there is any liquid damage or if the screen is cracked. After you've filled this information in, click "submit" and you'll instantly receive a refund quote, it can't be any easier.
The refunds, aren't that beneficial, but they're better than nothing. For example, a 16GB iPhone 4 on AT&T in 'good condition' was only offered $165, whilst a Galaxy S II trade-in is offered $140. If you want the full $300 trade-in, a 64GB iPhone 4S in good condition will do it. The trade-ins aren't the best value for money, but they're better than nothing, that's for sure.
Things look more and more promising daily for the upcoming $99 Ouya console. XBMC has announced that their team will be working with the Ouya team to ensure that the XBMC app works smoothly on the console. To do this, early prototype versions of the Ouya console will be provided to XBMC by the Ouya team.
The two companies claim to share a natural affinity due to them both utilizing Google's open-source operating system and that "many of Team Ouya support XBMC, and nearly a third of Team XBMC members are Ouya backers." This console is shaping up to be a competitor with the best!
Ouya has raised $6.8 million and still has just under 2 days left on its Kickstarter campaign. They may undergo additional funding requests as production continues. Ouya is designed to be a hackable console and every sale will come with a development kit.
As if the joke hadn't been run into the ground enough by 4chan users and the Internet in general, Apple thought they would give the classic video one last showing. That's right, Apple has joined the elusive club of people who have Rickrolled someone on the Internet and it's a step in the right direction for the company.
Apple wouldn't generally stoop so low as to rickroll people, so it's a good sign that they might just be getting a sense of humor like Google has. Hidden in the changelog for iOS 6 beta 4 was a mention about a change to YouTube links in that embedded URLs in apps will no longer work in iOS 6. Apple just happened to offer up a link as an example.
That link led to the time-tested, age-old Rick Astley video of "Never Gonna Give You Up." This leaves us two options: either Apple is trying to revive the Rickroll or their sense of humor is quite a bit behind the times since it gets used to infrequently. Let's hope for the latter since Rickrolling really needs to remain in the past.
HTC announced their revenue for July which dropped 45% year-over-year with sales of the company's One series continuing to not impress. HTC's profit has dropped close to 60% in Q2 of this year, with the company warning that it will continue to struggle in Q3 as Samsung's Galaxy S III continues to shine as the king of Android phones.
HTC have said that their July 2012 figures have come in with revenues of NT$25 billion, or approximately $834 million. This is down from NT$45.11 billion in July last year. For the first seven months of this year, HTC's revenues came to a total of NT$183.9 billion, but when compared with the same time in 2011 with figures of NT$273.7 billion, we can see there are some serious problems there.
The only issue here is that HTC's problems are only going to get worse, with competition between Samsung and Apple set to explode with the current patent court case, and the impending release of Apple's next-gen iPhone. Samsung will also have the Galaxy Note II arriving soon, as well as more products in the near future. HTC, you need to do something, and do it fast.