iBooks and iTunes movies became available in China seven months ago; now both are blocked from sale on orders from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television. Apple Music and Apple Pay are said to still work.
The electronics giant hopes its services will return "as soon as possible." No doubt there given China is Apple's second biggest market. It declined to offer details on the blockade, but it's known that Chinese regulators are motivated in such decisions by a desire to control media and its population in the name of the Communist Party as well as to favor Apple's Chinese competitors.
We reported a couple of days ago that Intel was preparing for major global workforce cuts, with the chipmaker announcing that they will indeed be cutting jobs over the next year.
The employment cut is part of Intel's larger and continued restructuring efforts, as the company is facing a slower PC market, and continued struggles in the mobile market. The job cuts will see 12,000 employees sliced away from the company, or 11% of its global workforce. Intel will begin most of the layoffs in the next 60 days, with the entire process working its way through to 2017.
Patrick Moorhead, President and Principal Analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy reached out to us about the global workforce layoffs at Intel, saying: "In spite of the announced layoffs, Intel had a good quarter and even showed PC growth in a very down PC quarter. In fact, all but one segment showed improvements year on year".
In 2005, the Authors Guild sued Google for scanning book excerpts for its database. 11 years later, the battle is over, and Google has won resoundingly following a judgment from the Supreme Court, which denied the option for appeal.
The Guild claimed the project hurt authors' abilities to make money from their work, while Google claimed everything it was doing was protected under fair use laws. After the ruling, both parties echoed these sentiments.
"We believed then and we believe now that authors should be compensated when their work is copied for commercial purposes," said Authors Guild president Roxana Robinson.
While Intel is shrinking down to 14nm right now, it is reportedly looking to shrink down its job numbers, with a new "significant round of job across across business units this spring", reports Oregon Live.
At the end of 2015, Intel had 107,000 employees worldwide, with its Oregon-based operations including 19,500 employees. The new cutbacks will reportedly reduce employment in some parts of Intel's business by double-digit percentages, which will result in thousands of job cuts by the end of 2016. We could expect the announcement soon after Intel reports its Q1 financial results on Thursday.
Last year, Intel sliced up 1,100 jobs - but these fresh job cuts will reportedly be even more severe. The company is still insanely profitable, with gross profit margins higher than 60%. Even this year, Intel's forecast sales growth is somewhere higher than 5%, but the job cuts are still reportedly on their way.
If there's one thing that Apple has done better than every other smartphone company, is that their iPhone sales have increased year-over-year... forever - until now, that is.
It's expected that 2016 will be the first year that iPhone sales will experience a decline, with Tom Cook even teasing this during Apple's earnings conference call earlier this year. Cook said: "We do think iPhone units will decline in the quarter. We don't think that they will decline to the levels you'll talk about. We aren't going to project beyond the upcoming quarter".
A new report from Nikkei suggests that the iPhone sales slump might hurt sales during the current June quarter, too. Nikkei reported: "Slow sales of the flagship iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, which debuted last autumn, have forced Apple to adjust inventories. It lowered production for the January-March quarter by about 30% from the year-earlier period. With sales still sluggish, the U.S. company has told parts suppliers in Japan and elsewhere that it will maintain the reduced output level in the current quarter".
Earlier today the US House of Representatives passed a bill, the No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act, that would effectively limit the authority that the FCC has to regulate broadband pricing schemes according to the current Net Neutrality laws.
The Net Neutrality rules that passed in February of 2015 reclassified broadband services as regulated telecom services, which would effectively allow the FCC the ability to regulate how these services are priced, setting caps so that its can be more affordable and available to a larger portion of the population, should they wish to. The Chairman of the FCC, Tom Wheeler, said that they don't currently have plans to do so, however. HR 2666, which passed earlier today, 241-173, was introduced as a measure to essentially hold them at their word. The reasoning behind limiting power preemptively is that the price of broadband should be determined by the market, not controlled by any one person or agency.
The bill itself doesn't quite focus purely on limiting pricing power, either. The Electronic Frontier Foundation opposes the new bill, saying that the terms are overly broad and much too general in their scope. This could potentially eliminate any, or all, protections consumers have against unfair pricing models or even when ISP's introduce data cap exceptions that seem to be arbitrarily made. Their definition of what a rate is, even, a bit vague, and could stand to be more specific.
Google's philanthropic offshoot Google.org has donated $20 million across 30 non-profit organizations to further develop technology that will help the disabled. Its generosity follows the results of its Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities, which launched last year with the aim of seeking great technological ideas from different organizations, all seeking to improve the lives of the disabled.
The grant winners -- The Center for Discovery and Perkins School for the Blind among them -- will develop technology that can convert regular wheelchairs into power wheelchairs for increased independence and freedom, assist the blind in finding their way around better with an app, more readily treat children with clubfoot (rotated feet), and help those with difficulty communicating verbally or with text do so better with a specialized keyboard, among other things.
First a Microsoft VP resigned and joined another company and now an Apple designer has done the same. Danny Coster, who joined the company in 1993 and has contributed to many major projects since (likely including the pivotal Bondi Blue Mac pictured here), has left for the position of Vice President at GoPro.
The Apple industrial design group has been tightly knit since its inception with not one shake-up on record, so this move is more than the usual coming and going. Longtime member Richard Howarth will take up Coster's position.
Coster recently expressed a desire to spend more time with family and friends, noting the high pressure that comes with working at Apple, so this is likely the reason for the change.
Microsoft Vice President, OEM Technical Sales Chris Cocks has resigned from his position to take the helm at gaming company Wizards of the Coast, where he now serves as President, replacing Greg Leeds. Cocks previously worked at Procter & Gamble, Xbox, MSN, and Leapfrog.
Wizards is best known for its Magic: The Gathering (MTG) and Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) properties. The former is gaining a particular lot of attention with this move, as Wizards has already confirmed a "new digital platform" for MTG (presumably replacing the current MTG Online client), and has posted job ads for Magic Digital asking for developers with Unity experience, so it looks like the new client will be built with the excellent Unity engine (which powers the ever-popular Hearthstone). In turn, this means it's likely to finally make it to mobile and Mac, as Unity is cross-platform.
There are a lot of people who are still paying $7.99 per month for the standard Netflix offering, but the company will be charging $9.99 per month starting next week.
For $9.99 you'll receive concurrent streaming options as well as HD playback. If you don't care about multiple people using your Netflix connection, you can opt out of the upgrade, and continue forging on with the $7.99 per month plan.
Users that will be hit with the change will be emailed soon, allowing them time to opt out of the change - or allow it to happen. Will you be changing? Or are you happy with the $7.99 pricing?