I'm sure most of us know about the lawsuit going on between Motorola and Microsoft, but in case you don't, here's the quick rundown. Motorola is trying to block Microsoft from selling Windows 7 and the Xbox 360 based on a patent claim regarding H.264 video technology. Motorola is demanding way more money than other companies for licensing its patent.
A decision in the case is expected April 17. If Motorola succeeds, the Xbox and Windows 7 could be banned from being sold in Germany, effectively gutting business. This is where Microsoft's move comes in. If Microsoft moves to the Netherlands, it could possibly reduce the vulnerability to legal actions if Motorola wins.
Microsoft ended teamwork with Germany company Arvato for software distribution. This move will cause a loss of about 50 jobs and is retaliatory to Motorola's patent lawsuit. Germany's patent system favors the suing party by allowing bans to be enforced by the winning party and and having court precedent that often finds in the favor of the suing party.
I'm sure that everyone here will agree that those pesky, annoying ads that come on before your favorite cat video starts playing on YouTube are really annoying. But SkipIt, a new service from the video advertising company SpotXchange has your back. If you don't want to watch the ad, you can just pay $0.10 to skip it. That's $0.10 per ad.
Meanwhile, SkipIt claims that web publishers will make more money from people skipping ads than if they had watched the ad in the first place. Additionally, they claim that the rest of the site's ads will be more valuable because people will only be seeing ads they really like. I can't really see any consumer reaching for their credit cards just to skip an ad. I know I wouldn't.
There's a new bill running around in the UK and it is akin the US Patriot Act. This bill, if passed, would give the Government Communication Headquarters, or GCHQ, the ability to access phone calls, text messages, emails, and online activity of any citizen without a warrant. The actual contents of the emails and messages would be off-limits, but this is still a gross violation of privacy.
I know we live in an age where privacy doesn't exactly mean much to anyone anymore, but at least with Facebook, we get to choose what to share with the world. This new bill would share the recipients, time, duration and frequency of conversations, plus a list of websites being visited with the government without the need for a warrant.
A similar bill was tried in 2009, but they made the decision to drop it after the massive public outcry. The public was not to happy about having their privacy violated anymore than it already was. The question is, will it pass? It most likely will have a similar outcry to the 2009 attempt, but Britain might still try to pass it. It's estimated at costing $2 billion, and that was in the 2009 attempt. Hopefully it's cost prohibitive enough so that it doesn't get passed.
We live at a scary time in the world where more and more of our lives are being put online in the form of communications and such. We have to take a stand at every chance to protect our rights and privacy.
It looks like life is starting to get fair for the inventors of the technology that everyone uses daily around the world. Yes, I'm talking about the inventors of the Wireless LAN. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) patented the technology in the 1990s, and has used that patent to sue companies without a license since 2005.
Back in 2009, CSIRO recovered AUD$205 million (US$212 million) after suing and settling with 14 companies. They have continued to sue and settle with an additional 23 companies in which they have just received another AUD$220 million as payment. "It was important that Australia protect its intellectual property, and that those major companies who are selling billions of devices pay for the technology that they were using," Australian Minister for Science and Research Chris Evans said.
"CSIRO's commercial and legal teams on both sides of the Pacific have worked very hard over the past several years to gain a reasonable return and I would like to pay particular tribute to them for their extraordinary efforts," Nigel Poole, a senior executive at CSIRO, said. But, some credit also goes to the inventors. They had to solve the problem of the radio waves bouncing off of indoor surfaces and creating echos. They did just that and beat many of the major communications companies that were trying to do the same.
Apple has, until now, only given developers 60-percent of the revenue from iAd clicks. But, just now, Apple have increased this from 60- to 70-percent. This isn't a big change in the short-term, but in the long-term it means fatter profits for developers who rely on the iAd platform for their income.
Apple notes the change in their updated developer agreement:
(a) Apple Campaigns. Developer shall receive seventy percent (70%) of the Net Advertising Revenue derived from the sale of advertising on the Developer's Mobile Properties ("Developer Revenue Share") net of any applicable taxes as provided in Section 6 of this Agreement. The Developer Revenue Share percentage may be adjusted from time to time at Apple's sole discretion. Notice of material changes to the Revenue Share percentage will be posted on the Company Portal. "Net Advertising Revenue" is defined as gross advertising revenue recognized through the delivery of ads by Apple less: a) any allowances actually made or taken for returns, credits, cash discounts and promotional allowances; and, b) Agency and agent fees, discounts, commissions and referral fees.
U.K. 'to announce' real-time phone, e-mail, and Web traffic monitoring, the Queencould announce it in early-May
The U.K. has always been a strange place in terms of security policy and the amount of CCTV cameras per citizen, but this is just going a step too far. If you aren't already aware, the U.S. and various security agencies (namely the NSA) already monitor online chatter in real-time, but they just don't admit it freely. The U.K. government is at least putting the news out there.
Under new U.K. legislation, Internet service and broadband providers will be obligated to pass personal browsing, e-mail and call data to the intelligence services for real-time processing. Shocking, isn't it? These new "Internet firms" could also include things outside the basic three options listed above, such as social networks and search engines. This would mean everything you type into Google, Facebook, Twitter and more would be accessed, in real-time.
Access to ISP logs will be opened up to the government on-demand. Scared yet? Currently, the 'third' U.K. intelligence service, GCHQ, which is a signals and electronics station based in Cheltenham, process call, web and e-mail data, but not the contents of the data itself. ISPs, on the other hand, do process this data within their facilities and datacenters. The new legislation would force ISPs to 'mirror' all traffic through GCHQ allowing for more detailed inspection on a law enforcement level to quickly process information as it happens.
A recent security breach within Global Payments is getting bad, with up to 1.5 million VISA and Mastercard accounts being compromised. While credit card numbers may have been compromised, no customer names, addresses or Social Security numbers were accessed, according to a statement from Global Payments. The company believes the breach was isolated to just North America.
At the moment, the company doesn't know whether there have been any fraudulent charges made on the stolen card details. The company process payments from credit, debit, and gift cards between merchants and banks. Global Payments believe that the incident may have been contained, but are still working with third parties to investigate the incident, and to hopefully minimize the impact to customers.
CEO Paul Garcia said:
We are making rapid progress toward bringing this issue to a close.
Both VISA and Mastercard have sent out notices to their affected customers, and as a result of the breach, VISA removed Global Payments from their list of approved service providers.
We only reported a few weeks ago that GAME had gone into administration, with share prices tanking and job losses on the chopping board. But, in a reverse April Fools Day joke, OpCapita scooped up 333 GAME stores across the UK.
This new agreement secures nearly 3,200 jobs, which is a great thing in this shaky economy. There were also a few employees from head office who were made redundant, that may be re-employed. OpCapita is a private investment firm specializing in retail, they have set up a company called Baker Acquisitions to buy the GAME stores.
Financial terms of the deal haven't been disclosed, but it's being reported that OpCapita will not have to pay much up-front for the business, but will have to absorb a considerable amount of their debt. BBS business editor Robert Peston said on Saturday that the deal had been approved by six banks, led by the Royal Bank of Scotland, who are owed £85m between them.
Managing partner of OpCapita, Henry Jackson, has said:
We strongly believe there is a place on the high street for a video gaming specialist and Game is the leading brand in a £2.8bn market in the UK. We have assembled a strong team of experienced industry operators to implement the programme of operational change that is needed.
Apple vs. Motorola, is has been going on in the U.S. for a while now, but Judge Richard Posner has upheld the majority of a patent central to the case this week. Judge Posner mostly agreed with Apple's interpretation of its touchscreen heuristics patent, limiting complaints mostly to the lack of specificity for certain gestures.
Motorola countered with arguments to invalidate the patent, but were unpersuasive, including an odd insistence that a patent construction claim was only valid at a 27-degree angle of touch that had only been used as an example. Judge Posner wrote:
I reject Motorola's argument (this is the third time they've made it and the third time I reject it) that the structure must be limited to the 27-degree angle used as an example by the specification.
This decision will most likely see Motorola violating the patent. Motorola will most likely be found infringing and face the threats of damages and product bans for some of its Android-based devices. Apple hold the patent until 2028, which could mean more problems down the road for other touchscreen-based smart devices.
Remember the speculation that we posted saying that the Samsung Galaxy SIII would be launching today due to that cryptic message? Turns out, we were wrong. But that's OK because Samsung launched something else that is pretty cool. Samsung has teamed up with the UK's Phone 4U to provide a store-within-a-store dedicated retail location for all things Samsung Mobile.
There are several tables that are dedicated to the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Galaxy Note and Galaxy S II. They are devoid of carrier and pricing information to offer just a pure Samsung experience. The rest of the family is distributed around the perimeter of the room. Samsung claimed that entire top floor for their display and they say that the shop is training dedicated Samsung employees to answer questions.
I would have rather seen the Galaxy SIII launch today...I'm in need of a new phone!
Apple and Foxconn are making changes after one of the largest investigations ever conducted of a U.S. company's operations outside of America turned up some major labor law violations. Apple was almost forced into allowing the Fair Labor Association in to conduct a probe by the mounting complaints of Americans who wanted to see better working conditions.
Some of the issues included extreme overtime and unpaid overtime. Foxconn is cutting the maximum working hours from 60 to 49 a week and hiring thousands of new employees to cover the demand. "If Foxconn's labor cost goes up ... that will be an industry-wide phenomenon and then we have to decide how much do we pass on to our customers versus how much cost do we absorb," HP Chief Executive Meg Whitman told Reuters in February.
The cutting of the hours without any sort of pay increase is not something that the workers themselves want, because they need the hours in order to subsist on the low wages. "Until Apple shares a larger proportion of its profits with its supplier factories, workers will receive the same pittance for a salary while working around the clock," Li Qiang, the director of China Labor Watch, said in an emailed statement.
Dell has formally quit pushing smartphones in the United States, a move that is just temporary for the company. Dell confirmed in a statement that they have quit the smartphone market in the US, with Android-based Venue and Windows Phone-based Venue Pro had "run their course".
Dell will have more mobile devices in late-2012, but they would most likely be tablets, and rock Windows 8. Dell still pushes their Venue line in other countries, and also unveiled the Streak Pro 101DL for Japan, Dell's first real high-end smartphone. This isn't the first time Dell have tried, and pulled out of the market.
The company tried to combat Apple's iPod with its DJ line of MP3 players, the Streak 5 was developed to concurrently with Apple's iPad, and the short-lived Streak 7 was intended as a full tablet, and found strong competition with ASUS, Samsung and other Android-based tablets. Dell are hoping Windows 8 can let them unleash a product onto the market, and I have confidence Dell will have a better shot with Windows 8 than they did with Android.
Dick Smith holding $7 million gaming clearance on April 2, offering some unbelievably cheap games and accessories!
Dick Smith is having a gigantic $7 million gaming clearance on April 2, where they have an unbelievable amount of games, consoles, and accessories for various gaming hardware, consoles and more. Some of the highlights include:
- Nintendo DSi Hardware Pink, Blue $20 Black, White $40 (The Fu..)
- Nintendo Wii Console $129
- Professor Layton and Pandora's Box $5
- Nintendogs+Cats (all versions) $10
- Super smash Bros Brawl $15
- Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver $10
- Metroid Other M $5
- Wii Classic Controller $5
There's also cheap Xbox 360's ($100), PSP's ($40) and many many more bargains.
This was thought to be some form of a joke, or not real, but Dick Smith have come out on their Facebook page to 100-percent confirm the sale, which begins next Monday.
Facebook is currently stuck in a lawsuit with Paul Ceglia regarding whether or not he is entitled to half of the company. Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg has released a cache of personal emails which refute those claims. Many of these date back to his years back at Harvard where the social network was first created.
Facebook and Zuckerberg are hoping that the emails will be enough to refute Ceglia's claim to Facebook and have the case dismissed. The emails paint Zuckerberg in somewhat of an unflattering light, but should refute any claims to the company. Ceglia has previously released his own emails. Well, at least the content portion of the email.
This is an important point. Ceglia didn't have the entire email to release, but instead released Word documents in which he had copied and pasted into. Forensic investigators have since proven the documents to be forgeries. Ceglia's legal team hasn't quite given up yet:
We have made a preliminary review of Facebook's Motion, which attempts to have this matter ended before Facebook has to provide any discovery and before going to a jury. The Federal Rules of Evidence say a jury should weigh the evidence in this case, including experts' declarations in Mr. Ceglia's favor about the authenticity of his contract with Mr. Zuckerberg. Mr. Ceglia deserves his day in court, where the jury will resolve this dispute over the ownership of Facebook.
I think I'm getting screwed. I have an Epic 4G which I think uses WiMax for its 4G technology. Now, Sprint's senior networks VP Bob Azzi has said in a presentation that WiMax is coming to an end on the Sprint network. Sprint will no longer be launching any WiMax devices but instead will be rolling the effort in to the LTE rollout.
"The technology works and delivers more benefits than we expected," he said. Some of these benefits would most likely involve lower cost. The project is consolidating the voice, 3G, and 4G access sites into a single site. This is expected to cut prices in half for voice and data. The switch in device types should occur quickly. 15 are expected by the end of the year, with the first about next week in the form of the HTC Evo One.
We've all seen those ads that focus on Apple's personal assistant Siri. But does it really perform that seamlessly? Well according to a lawsuit filed on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, it doesn't. This isn't the first time that someone has accused Apple of falsely advertising Siri either.
"Through its nationwide multimedia marketing campaign, Apple disseminates false and deceptive representations regarding the functionality of the Siri feature," Jones charges, according to the LA Times, which obtained a copy of the suit. "For example, in many of Apple's television commercials, consumers are shown using Siri to make appointments, find restaurants, and even to learn the guitar chords to classic rock songs. In its advertisements, Apple depicts these tasks as easily accomplished 'just by asking' Siri."
Often times, according to Jones, Siri misunderstood what he was asking or when Siri did understand what he was asking, she returned the wrong answer. In Apple's defense, they have publicly said that Siri is in beta and acknowledged that it is a work in progress. Whether or not this will help if the case gets to trial, only time will tell.
It would appear, if the figures released as part of a settlement offer with Oracle are to be believed, that Android is not very profitable for the search giant Google. Additionally, the figures show that the iPhone is four times greater for revenue than Google's own Android. The figure suggests that Android handsets only make Google around $10.
Part of the reason the iPhone is so much more profitable is because of its use of Google Maps, YouTube, and other Google services. PC advertising makes up the majority of the massive $38bn total revenue from 2011. This equates to around $30 per PC, but not all PCs are connected to the internet, so this figure is a bit higher.
Google has never released any sort of numbers regarding the revenue from Android. It provides Android free to handset makers, and only profits off of adverts and App sales. Once again, these numbers are calculated off of court documents, so their accuracy is likely to vary depending on who calculates them.
Apple grabbing more patents, Siri-like system for controlling cameras, PMPs through a computer or smartphone
Everyone and their uncle loves messing around with Siri by trying to get her to swear, both successfully and unsuccessfully, but it really is a cool piece of technology. The art of voice recognition is a pretty tough field, yet Siri works surprisingly well. It would appear that Apple is patenting a Siri-esque system that would be used to control cameras or portable music players through a computer or smartphone.
"Siri, turn on the flash and take two pictures with my camera after waiting three seconds." This is a representative of what could be possible with this new patent. Apple filed the patent way back in 2010, but it was just now posted online. An excerpt reads:
One embodiment may include a first electronic device communicatively coupled to a server and to a second electronic device. The second electronic device may be a portable electronic device, such as a digital media player, that includes a voice user interface. The second electronic device may be capable of accurate speech recognition, but may not include additional computation hardware and/or software for training the speech recognition engine. As such, the bulk, weigh, and cost for manufacturing the second electronic device may be reduced, resulting in a more portable and affordable product.
EVGA are set to update their warranty policy with a new global-based policy, which will be announced in a week or so. EVGA's "New and Improved Global Warranty" will soon be publicly announced through their website, but between now and then we can look at the basic overview of the biggest changes to their system:
- Warranties are now transferable - they follow the product, and not the owner.
- All products purchased on or after July 1st, 2011 have a minimum of a 3-Year warranty, regardless of registration. (except Recertified 90-day, and 1-Year Warranty products)
- Incentives and bonuses are given out to those who do register within 30 days of purchase - such as eligibility towards EVGA's Step-Up Program and Extended Warranty options.
- Registration is no longer required for RMAs.
- If a customer moves to another region, and their product fails, they can now send it to a local warranty center regardless of product origin.
On top of this, EVGA will offer a Standard Cross-Shipping RMA service, free of charge. EVGA will cross-ship a replacement product to the customer, as long as the customer provides a valid credit card as collateral, and the customer will pay for the return shipping of their malfunctioning part. At the moment, the Advanced RMA Program covers shipping both ways.
We can feel it now: a massive undercurrent shift of the way we use technology. 10 years ago, if you wanted to use the Internet, you required a desktop, and failing that, a notebook. Notebooks were just too thick, and large, and their battery lives were crap. Desktops were the only route, really.
Now, you can use the Internet on your TV, fridge, smartphone, tablet, iPod, and countless other Internet-connected devices. The IDC has put out a long-term estimate, where they've put mobile and desktop platforms in a single smart device category, where they've estimated that Windows will slip from 35.9-percent market share in 2011, to just 25.1-percent in 2016.
Android would move from 29.4-percent to 31.1-percent in the same 2011-2016 time frame. iOS is the smaller puppy here, with just 14.6-percent from 2011, and with an estimated 2016 market share of just 17.3-percent. The total number of smart devices? This goes from a 1.1 billion predicted for this year, to 1.8 billion in 2016.
MegaUpload would like to gain access to its seized servers in order to collect evidence to prove the innocence of the accused MegaUpload employees. However, officials will not release the $1 million dollars required to do so, hence the claim that the feds are impeding the defense of MegaUpload. "It's hard to reconcile the chain of events in this matter with any other conclusion," Rothken said. "MegaUpload is frustrated and wants to preserve the data for litigation and to defend itself and ultimately -- with the approval of the court -- to provide consumers access to their data."
According to MegaUpload's lawyers, there is no criminal copyright infringement statute in the United States, so if the US get the extradition they are requesting, MegaUpload will be successful in its defense. MegaUpload's lawyers are trying to prepare for the extradition defense, but are unable to because they don't have access to the e-mails, documents, and files on the servers which they claim will refute the charges.