Penalties of up to $16,000 could be assessed for each call
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has decided that Dish Network is liable for making 57 million phone calls in flagrant violation of telemarketing laws, including calling members of the "Do Not Call" list established by the US Government. A trial has been set for July in Illinois, with penalties of up to $16,000 possible for each violation. The Department of Justice filed the complaint at the FTC's request in March 2009. The US Department of Justice, on behalf of the FTC, is jointly litigating the case with four state co-plaintiffs -- California, Illinois, Ohio, and North Carolina.
Chipperfield was VP of Digital and Interactive Design, now on 'Special Projects'
Apple has once again lured a top executive from UK fashion retailer Burberry: following the hiring a year ago of former CEO Dame Angela Ahrendts, the company has brought in former Vice President of Digital and Interactive Design Chester Chipperfield from Burberry to work with the "Special Projects" group at Apple, which is likely to involve the forthcoming Apple Watch. The company also recently hired one of Burberry's social media executives, Musa Tariq, as it continues to build a team of expert fashion merchandisers.
Nearly doubles rival Samsung's sales, equals all combined competition
Apple's share of the US mobile phone market has nearly doubled following the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 in October, a new study has revealed. The report, by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, finds that the iPhone went from 28 percent of the market in the July-to-September quarter to just over 50 percent in the final three months of the year, an improvement even over the same time the year before, when the iPhone 5s was released.
Certification process blamed
The first home automation products based on Apple's HomeKit platform probably won't ship until spring, sources say. Reports note, for instance, that specifications weren't issued to chipmakers until October, and that the MFI licensing program for HomeKit only began in November. More recently, chipmaker Broadcom has been working with some customers to develop HomeKit devices using an existing chip design, in lieu of it having fully-certified software ready.
Companies could potentially pull older music to avoid paying
A new lawsuit has targeted Google, Rdio, Sony, and Apple (including Beats Music) over the music royalties associated with pre-1972 recordings, new reports say. Zenbu Magazines, which owns copyrights on many pre-1972 songs, says that the companies have been making money streaming recordings without paying their copyright holders. Within US copyright law, compositions have been protected since 1831, but sound recordings were only added in 1972, meaning that while owners of pre-1972 compositions have been paid for public performances, people holding equally-aged recording rights typically haven't.
Change complies with US sanctions against Russia
Apple has extended its actions against Russia by blocking authorized retailers from selling or shipping products in Crimea in accordance with sanctions, reports say. The measure was first mentioned on Twitter by blogger and consultant Eldar Murtazin, and then picked up by Russian media. The move follows the ">termination of all developer agreements with Apple and software makers located in the region. The measures take effect on February 1.
Full upgrade to Windows 10 not available for Windows RT devices
Owners of the Microsoft Surface will not receive the full upgrade to Windows 10, but will still benefit from some updates, a report claims. While Microsoft will be making the next version of its operating system available to systems running Windows 7, 8, and 8.1, including the Surface Pro range, the Windows RT-based Surface will be missing out.
Initiative will offer cheaper phones to customers with year of bills paid on time
T-Mobile will be making it easier for any of their customers to buy a new smartphone, by helping those with poor credit. A new initiative called Smartphone Equality will allow customers who have successfully paid their bills on time for the previous 12 months to qualify for their device financing deals, regardless of their credit rating.
Videos on Vessel exclusive for 72 hours, offers creators financial incentives
Vessel, a video streaming service set to take on YouTube, has opened itself up to the public in beta. Unlike Google's video site, Vessel aims to offer professional videos from content creators, including web series and TV segments, with users able to pay a subscription price to watch new releases from videographers they follow before anyone else.
Alleged leaked document suggests Samsung considered BlackBerry purchase for months
Samsung is still interested in acquiring BlackBerry, according to rumor. A document allegedly created by investment bank Evercore Partners for Samsung seems to suggest Samsung has been mulling over a purchase of the competing smartphone producer for some time, and according to sources, is still very much interested in the prospect despite denials from both BlackBerry and Samsung.
Forecast for Q1 2015 places Netflix subscribers at over 61M
Netflix has grown its total audience by 4.33 million subscribers globally, the streaming service revealed in its financial results. The faster increase in viewers compared to the last quarter is reflected in additional subscribers for both US and international markets, 1.9 million and 2.43 million respectively, with the total Netflix audience hitting 57.4 million members.
Chen sees threat to net neutrality from app developers more than carriers
Blackberry CEO John Chen appears to be turning to the US government for help in broadening the app ecosystem for the struggling Canadian handset, as well as railing against a US-centric view of net neutrality and possible Title II regulation at the same time. In a blog post taken in part from a letter the CEO wrote to members of Congress, Chen defines not only what he sees as an ideal path for net neutrality, but also complaining about a "two-tiered wireless broadband ecosystem" where content providers like Apple and Netflix are free to not develop for all wireless platforms.
Qualcomm chips dropped due to over-heating issues found in testing
A new report citing unnamed sources has claimed that Samsung will discontinue use of the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor in the forthcoming Galaxy S6 due to quality control issues. The Snapdragon 810 reportedly overheated in testing by Samsung, prompting the switch to the company's own Exynos line of processors, which it has used for certain editions of the flagship phone in the past.
Rumors surface of possible deals again, this time with Sprint and T-Mobile
Earlier today, web newsite The Information released statements from several unnamed sources that Google may begin offering wireless services as early as this year by reselling bandwidth from Sprint and T-Mobile. The rumor isn't anything new -- in fact the site posted a similar story last year, indicating Google would be reselling bandwidth from Sprint and Verizon. In spite of the annual speculation, the Wall Street Journal is also reporting on the subject, with additional information from the FCC.
Republicans deny Internet providers have monopoly; Democrats reluctant to strip FCC of power
As reported last week, the US House of Representatives' Energy & Commerce Committee held a hearing titled "Protecting the Internet and Consumers through Congressional Action." The hearing was to discuss the unnamed draft bill introduced by Representative Fred Upton (R-Michigan), head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota), head of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in the Senate, which purports to "draft a new law for this century" and ensure net neutrality, but strips the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of almost all enforcement authority.
Fox unable to use Aereo ruling to shut down Dish Network features
Back in 2012, Fox brought a lawsuit against Dish Network over DVR technology that allows users to view content on a device other than a television connected to a set-top box. Fox's position has been that it did not consent to allow the "rebroadcasting" of its content to mobile devices. On Wednesday, US District Court Judge Dolly Gee ruled that time- and place-shifting of paid-for content does not infringe the copyrights of broadcasters.
Seven-year project integrated into Windows 10, release not imminent
Microsoft pulled the veil off of a project that it claims has been running for years -- Microsoft Hologram. The project, consisting of a new Hololens headset, aims to integrate Microsoft Windows in both a virtual reality and augmented reality system. Additionally, the company announced that every Windows 10 device will support the system in some way, with the API on every device. As expected, details are scant.
Firm's biggest takeover in terms of workforce size
Dropbox has announced the acquisition of CloudOn, a company best known for its online document editing apps, says the Wall Street Journal. The deal could bring new editing functions to Dropbox's core service, which is devoted mostly to online file storage and viewing. As a consequence however, CloudOn's current services will shut down on March 15. In recent times, Dropbox has been buying dozens of companies, largely startups, in part to gain an international toehold. Although CloudOn has specific technology Dropbox wants, it's also based in Israel, and represents Dropbox's biggest takeover in terms of workforce size.
Early-stage talks could see Sky selling O2 lines to customers in quad play package
British carrier O2 has received some considerable interest in recent months, with broadcaster Sky allegedly in discussions with the mobile phone network. Reports claim Sky and O2-owner Telefonica are in early-stage talks, which could lead to a potential "strategic partnership" offering lines to customers rather than a touted acquisition similar to the one said to be under negotiation between O2 and competitor Three.
Apple leaps ahead of LG in latter's home market
Apple has seen significant surges in the Japanese, Chinese, and South Korean smartphone markets since the introduction of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus last September, according to a study by Counterpoint Research. The most significant performance is reportedly in South Korea, where in November Apple leapt from under 15 percent marketshare to 33 percent. That put the company ahead of LG, slotted at just 14 percent, and significantly closer to Samsung, which dropped from 60 to 46 percent. LG and Samsung are both local to Korea, and have traditionally enjoyed a homefield advantage.
Larger-capacity drives do well, 4TB Seagates a good value; 7200rpm drives problematic
In late 2013, cloud service provider Backblaze released information about hard drive failure rates used in their facilities collected over a three-year period. The study was one of the first real-world, comprehensive examinations on server-level claims of hard drive reliability, and drew a great deal of attention. An update with new information from between the end of the last study and December 31, 2014 was posted today.
Takeover reportedly linked to Beats Music relaunch
Apple has bought out a media analytics firm from the UK called Semetric, according to the The Guardian. The acquisition is said to have been discovered through Companies House filings, which show for instance that earlier this month, Semetric changed its address to that of a London lawfirm, Baker & McKenzie; the space is also registered to Apple Europe Limited. An Apple attorney, Gene Levoff, was assigned to a director position at Semetric in October of last year.
Company encouraged by results, expecting lower revenue for FY2015
After eking out a profit in two consecutive quarters, chip manufacturer AMD erased those gains with a massive loss. Despite its GPU processors being used in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and what the company calls a "solid" holiday quarter, AMD announced revenue for the fourth quarter of 2014 of $1.24 billion, with an operating loss of $330 million and net loss of $364 million, or $0.47 per share. This compares to the year-ago quarter, where the company made $1.59 billion in revenue, with a net income of $89 million.
Focus Eduction forced to drop unproven boast to improve childrens' concentration
A posting by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today describes a settlement between it and Texas software developer, Focus Education. The complaint, filed by the FTC, was over statements made by Focus on its website and infomercials regarding the benefits of playing its iFocus System "brain training" games.
New investors get just under 10 percent ownership stake
Today SpaceX released a succinct announcement that $1 billion had been raised in the latest financing round from two new investors -- search and advertising giant Google, and investment bank Fidelity, which now have a combined ownership share of "just under 10 percent" in SpaceX. Up until now, the company had been relying on investments from traditional venture-capital funders, but Google has its own agenda for helping the startup.
Requests spectrum above 24GHz range to be allocated for networking purposes
Google has asked for the Federal Communications Commission FCC to open up spectrum for Internet services from balloons and drones. The search giant sent a letter to the Commission, suggesting that a new spectrum band above the 24GHz range could be "useful for offering broadband access via airborne platforms such as high-altitude balloons or unmanned aerial vehicles.
Test allows Marriott guests to use own Netflix accounts during stay
Travelers may be able to log into their own Netflix accounts from a hotel's television in the future, if tests performed by Marriott are successful. The hotel chain is trying out a new in-room entertainment service which would allow guests to view streaming content from Netflix, Hulu, and Pandora, as well as the usual on-demand TV services.
Google principle target of move to 'level playing field' for content producers
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, EU Commissioner of Digital Economy & Society Gunther Oettinger discussed the possibility of taxing internet companies like Google for displaying material to which they don't own the copyright. Despite two failed attempts in Germany and Spain, content producers believe search and news aggregators like Google profit off the content without licensing.
Letter to Judge Katherine Forrest outlines why government believes questioning is inadmissible
Last Thursday in the trial of United States v. Ross William Ulbricht (also known as the "Silk Road" trial), Ulbricht's attorney, Joshua Dratel, began a line of questioning that suggested his client had been set up by former Mt. Gox CEO, Mark Karpeles, with the latter being the "real" mastermind behind the drugs-and-contraband site, which was shut down in 2013. Today, in a letter the prosecution outlined to Judge Katherine Forrest why it believes the line of questioning is inadmissible.
Worker morale highest by far at iPhone maker; HP and IBM below average
Financial analyst UBS and its research offshoot UBS Evidence Lab has polled workers at a number of major tech firms, and found Apple and its enterprise partner IBM at opposite ends of queries about the management, values, culture and business outlook for the companies. In the report, Apple was -- by a significant margin -- the leader in all categories, while IBM came in last in all categories among the seven firms surveyed, said analyst Steven Milunovich.
Plans to bring movies to Prime Instant Video within weeks of premiere
Amazon is expanding its media empire once again, by moving into the movie business. Not content with producing its own programs, Amazon Studios plans to produce and acquire original movies for release in cinemas, though unlike typical theatrical releases, the retailer is aiming to add the films to Prime Instant Video shortly after the premiere.
New Samsung design lead former co-president of design consultancy Tangerine
Samsung has named its new vice president and global design chief as Lee Don-tae. The new lead is notably the former co-president of Tangerine, a London-based design consultancy which once employed Jonathan Ive before leaving for Apple, with the appointment said to indicate an overall design shift at the South Korean electronics producer.
Hutchison Whampoa said to be in talks with Telefonica over O2 acquisition
British carrier O2 may be the latest target for acquisition by another telecommunications company. Hutchison Whampoa, the company behind competitor Three, is apparently said to be in early-stage talks to take over O2 from current owner Telefonica, with a report claiming it could change hands for as much as £9 billion ($13.6 billion) if the discussions are fruitful.
European regulatory support requested by Uber to promote job creation
Uber is aiming to create another 50,000 jobs across Europe as well as provide other benefits to the economy, if local regulators decide to work directly with the company, the ride-hailing service has announced. The positive potential jobs news arrives after another week of trouble for Uber, which has seen its service halted in yet another market in the United States.
Public statements first on the matter from the US President
President Obama has, for the first time, publicly acknowledged that encryption is a problem for law enforcement. With UK Prime Minister David Cameron alongside, the President said that there must be both ways to keep citizens' information private, but that there has to be a way to allow law enforcement to surveil both in real-time, as well as decrypt after-the-fact forensically, when a court deems it necessary. "Because this is a whole new world, as David [Cameron] says, the laws that might've been designed for the traditional wiretap have to be updated. How we do that needs to be debated both here in the United States and in the UK," said the President.
Possible buyers include Google. PayPal
Softcard, a mobile payments system that preceded but competes against systems such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet, was created as a joint venture with investments by mobile carriers AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. In the midst of Apple implementing near-field communications (NFC) for Apple Pay, along with internal struggles at Softcard, reports are surfacing that the mobile payment company is being sized up for purchase, potentially by one of its rivals.
$500 million fund with 1:1 matching will push program over $1 billion; reflects FCC mandate
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration on Friday announced plans to create the New NY Broadband Program as part of the 2015 State of Opportunity Agenda. The program would offer 1:1 matching to incentivize the expansion of high speed broadband into under- or un-served areas. The state will pony up half the money, with broadband providers tasked with matching the funding on at least a 1:1 basis.
Looks to drop copper in favor of wireless and fiber while expanding south of the Rio Grande
AT&T released a statement about its Q4 numbers today, revealing some serious financial hits. However, a deal to acquire Mexican provider Iusacell from Gurpo Salinas for $2.5 billion has also finalized, representing opportunities for growth and turning the company into a North American, rather than US-only, carrier.
Unnamed measure prohibits paid prioritization but also strips FCC of 706 authority
A draft bill intended to resolve the current threats to net neutrality was announced today in the US Congress, with plans to begin hearings on it as early as next Wednesday by the US Energy & Commerce Committees. The bill purports to ensure net neutrality by prohibiting blocking, throttling, paid prioritization, and a number of other desirable perks, but also specifically strips the FCC of its existing authority to protect consumers and encourage competition.
Carrier in home port, no hostilities underway against Chinese
Unknown hackers breached the Twitter accounts of United Press International (UPI) and the New York Post on Fridy. Nearly simultaneously, the Twitter feeds of both accounts reported that the carrier USS George Washington had come under fire by the Chinese Navy, and that Pope Francis had announced the start of World War III.
Company owes existence to Title II implementation in 1992
Bucking the trend of monolithic Internet providers, Sprint Chief Technology Officer Stephen Bye has written to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and said that the company isn't opposed to possible Title II oversight of the wireless industry. Additionally, Bye claims that the legislation, applied properly, won't alter Sprint's wireless buildout plan at all.
European Commission investigation finds issues with Amazon tax affairs
The European Commission believes Amazon's tax arrangement with Luxembourg can be classed as "state aid." A document published today suggests that Amazon benefited from an agreement with Luxembourg over taxes payable in Europe, one which allowed the retailer to pay proportionately less than other companies had to over the last decade.
Pre-installing app in iOS and Yosemite triggered wave of growth, says company
At the Digital Book World conference in New York City on Thursday, Apple's iBooks chief Keith Moerer revealed that since the release of iOS 8 and Yosemite -- both of which came with the iBooks app pre-installed -- the user base is growing by about one million customers to the iBookstore per week. Moerer added that the introduction of larger-screen iPhones may also have played a role in the growth, and he spoke about the way Apple runs its iBooks business.
Likely a third will go to legal fees; plaintiffs may see $4,000 each
More specifics have been revealed in the second proposed settlement offer from Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe in a lawsuit stemming from the companies' informal "no poaching" agreement. The new proposal has the four companies willing to pay a combined $415 million, up from the previous settlement's $324.5 million, to end the anti-trust lawsuit. US Federal District Court Judge Lucy Koh will need to approve the proposal before it can be finalized.
Increasing focus on FCC in ongoing struggle to codify access to broadband
February might not shape up to be such a great month if you're a large national Internet provider in the US. Not only will the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) be voting on the adoption of net neutrality rules FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, all but confirmed would be Title II-based in an interview at CES last week, but it's also possible the commission will be voting on petitions supported by President Obama to overturn laws in several states that are purported to block the build-out of broadband Internet access on the municipal level.
Entered into 'definitive agreements to provide additional near-term liquidity'
Venerable tech retailer RadioShack released its fiscal Q3 numbers to the US Securities and Exchange Commission this month. The report includes information about what RadioShack describes as a "prolonged downturn in our business" and predictions about its liquidity if efforts to restructure its debt don't go through by February 2, the last day of Q4 for RadioShack's current fiscal year.
'Remarkable' rise nearly 10 times normal, approaches top 20
Apple's Swift language, introduced just last June at its Worldwide Developer's Conference, as risen from 68th place to 22nd in the last six months on a ranking of the most widely-used programming languages. Enterprise developer liason firm RedMonk said it had never seen a growth rate so "meteoric" in the history of its rankings, which first appeared in 2010. When "ties" are discounted, the streamlined language has entered the top 20 just seven months after its debut.
Company increasing research budget, pushing Internet of Things
Chip manufacturer Intel posted quarterly and annual financial results earlier today. For the fourth-quarter, Intel posted revenue of $14.7 billion, operating income of $4.5 billion, net income of $3.7 billion and earnings per share of $0.74. On the year, the company reported full-year revenue of $55.9 billion, operating income of $15.3 billion, and a net income of $11.7 billion. The company generated approximately $20.4 billion in cash from operations, paid dividends of $4.4 billion, and used $10.8 billion to repurchase 332 million shares of stock.
Partnership between GoPro, Vislink creates transmitter for live TV broadcast use
GoPro will soon be providing broadcasters a way to use its camera line during live television broadcasts, while consumers will gain some extra features on their own devices in a future firmware update. A partnership with Vislink has produced a compact transmitter that can be connected to GoPro cameras, providing a live HD video feed from the action cameras.
Hotel chain states they will 'continue to look to the FCC' for guidance
Back in October, Marriott International settled with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to the tune of $600,000 for a complaint dating back to March that involved the blocking personal Wi-Fi hotspots at a Marriott resort in Nashville. It later, along with other hotels, petitioned the FCC to allow it the right to kick off hotspots. Today, the hotel chain released a statement that seems to indicate it will be backing down from the policy.