Regulatory symbols on devices can be removed, shown in software instead
The backs of smartphones will become slightly better looking, after a bill concerning the labeling of electronic devices has been signed into law by President Obama. The E-Label Act, created by Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), will allow manufacturers to leave off a large amount of the logos and other regulatory iconography from the device itself.
Vote pressures European Commission to fix Google search dominance issue
The European Parliament has voted in favor of making Google break apart its search business from the rest of the company. With 384 approving the motion to 174 against with 56 abstentions, the Parliament is indicating to member states and the European Commission it wants something done about Google's power in search, with a separation of search services being the preferred option.
Company achieves revenue growth after breach fallout, full impact still unknown
Home improvement retailer Home Depot is still locked into a battle over the security breach it reported in September that put 56 million credit cards at risk. However, the fight is no longer against cyber criminals, but rather consumers affected by the breach and government agencies. To date, the retailer is involved in "at least 44 civil lawsuits" in the US and Canada.
AT&T claims it will adhere to fiber build, but freezing any new expansion plans
Following the US Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) demand for more information about a "frozen" fiber buildout, AT&T has responded to the call late yesterday. The company claims that the announced expansion of the gigabit network is not actually frozen -- only new, unannounced expansions have been halted in the wake of the FCC's Net Neutrality and Title II regulation discussion.
iPhone's RAM, storage, and batteries could come from one supplier
Apple is turning to Samsung for more parts in future production runs of the iPhone 6, sources tell Business Korea. Beginning this week, new runs will reportedly use batteries manufactured by Samsung SDI. More significantly, though, Apple is said to be considering replacing Toshiba TLC NAND flash storage with a Samsung equivalent. Toshiba NAND is currently believed to be the only kind used in 128GB iPhones, and some reports have linked it to occasional device crashes. Toshiba, SanDisk, and SK Hynix are allegedly producing the storage for 64GB models.
USWW looks to unionize guards at Cupertino campus
With the backing of activist Rev. Jesse Jackson, United Service Workers West is hoping to unionize the security guards working at Apple's Cupertino headquarters, and in the short term is urging the company to use a different security contractor, says the San Jose Mercury News. USWW is ultimately aiming to unionize guards across Silicon Valley, but beginning with Apple in the belief that it could set a standard for other tech companies. While the union would likely stand to benefit from dues, it notes that service workers in the Bay Area are often just scraping by financially, since the cost of living has been inflated by the salaries of high-tech workers.
Restructuring of subsidiaries, share acquisition announced by Samsung
Samsung is preparing to buy back $2 billion in shares, the first scheme of its kind since 2007, the electronics manufacturer has announced. At the same time, reports claim the company has also revealed it will be drastically changing its holdings, selling stakes in its defense and chemical subsidiaries to raise funds for new investments, among other costs.
Company didn't warn about dangers in Apple contract
A Louisiana lawfirm, Smith Segura & Raphael, has filed a class action lawsuit against GT Advanced on behalf of investors. The case alleges that GT "failed to disclose the significant risk" it would incur in its sapphire supply deal with Apple, which it announced on November 4th last year. Apple agreed to pay GT $578 million in four installments, with the expectation the latter would start paying it back in 2015. GT was unable to meet Apple demands though, which resulted in delayed payments, the withholding of the final one, and ultimately GT's bankruptcy on October 6th, followed by the company being delisted from the NASDAQ.
Apple not given what it wanted; Samsung appeals, Apple filing shortly
Judge Lucy Koh, overseeing the myriad Apple versus Samsung smartphone patent trials has partially granted a motion by Apple, allowing the Cupertino manufacturer to collect post-judgement royalties on on-going sales of some Samsung devices -- but less than Apple wanted. The motion, filed for the second Apple versus Samsung trial, covers data detectors and "slide to unlock," and specifically covers 10 products and others not demonstrably different than the accused.
Cash, credit payments up to $50 going to early buyers during three month period
In a release from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) earlier today, the agency announced that Sony Computer Entertainment America would be paying out settlements to those that were misled by a PlayStation Vita advertising campaign that started before the handheld console released in February 2012. Under the settlement, Sony will pay out $25 in cash or $50 in merchandise credit for select games and services -- but what sort of impact will this cause for Sony? Electronista dives into the numbers to look at the potential $28.7 million the company will need to pay out.
Home appliance, television Co-CEO could take over mobile, Shin might lose CEO role
The sharp decline in smartphone sales appears to be taking its toll on Samsung, as sources say the South Korean company is considering a management shake-up at the very top. A plan under consideration would see current head of the mobile division Jong-Kyun Shin replaced, and possibly losing his co-CEO role within Samsung.
Top pick Apple Watch is curious choice, but shows public anticipation
Time magazine has picked out its top 10 Gadgets list (among other Top 10s such as Video Games and Toys) for holiday season shoppers, and unsurprisingly Apple devices or accessories dominate the selection, taking four out of the 10 slots -- the most of any single company. In a list that seems determined to rank some promising but nascent technology higher than one would expect, the rankings are puzzling for the surprising amount of "vaporware" on it -- including its top choice, the coming-next-year Apple Watch.
Companies look to exploit end of Google contract
Yahoo and Microsoft are courting Apple in hopes of becoming the default search provider for the Safari web browser next year, a report says. Apple renewed a mapping and search partnership with Google in 2010, but that contract is set to expire next year, which could give other companies an entry point. Both Yahoo and Microsoft executives are said to have approached Eddy Cue -- Apple's senior VP for Internet Software and Services -- about a potential deal. So far, though, there's no sign that Apple has made a decision, and indeed it could choose to remain with Google.
Three-year plan involves increasing revenues in Sony PlayStation, device arms
Sony is reducing the number of different products it will be shipping in the future, following poor quarterly financial results. The $1.2 billion loss in November has prompted the company to make a similar change as a recent Samsung announcement, but rather than just cutting down its smartphone range, Sony will also be shrinking its line-up of televisions.
Amazon delivery pick-up locations in the United Kingdom exceeds 16,000
Amazon has made two announcements relating to services provided to its customers, on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. In the United Kingdom, the retailer is increasing the number of delivery pick-up locations in time for the holidays, while customers buying certain products in the United States will be alerted to installation services in the local area.
Buys rights from Sony for reported $30 million; Boyle still to direct
As a follow-up to a story we reported on last week, Universal Studios has officially bought the rights to the Steve Jobs biopic already in pre-production from Sony, which had placed the project in "turnaround" on Thursday. Universal is said to have paid Sony $30 million to transfer the picture to the latter's control, retaining director Danny Boyle and reportedly confirming actor Michael Fassbender to play the lead role. There is still no firm announcement on when shooting will commence.
Points out study did not use built-in car integration, ignored Apple recommendations
Apple has issued a statement criticizing a study conducted by the University of Utah for the American Automobile Association in October that rated Apple's Siri (and other naturalistic voice-command virtual assistants by proxy) as "the most" distracting in-car task compared to just driving, adjusting the car's radio or temperature, or using built-in car navigation or infotainment systems. In its response, Apple points out some serious flaws in the study, including the fact that it deliberately avoided using the driving-specific Siri Eyes Free or CarPlay options.
Software company turns to court over unfulfilled Freedom of Information Act request
Microsoft filed a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Monday, seeking information relating to the agency's probe into the software giant's tax records. The suit, filed with the US District Court for the District of Columbia, accuses the IRS of "unlawfully" withholding information that was requested through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
Data held ransom until unknown demands are met, company calling it an 'IT matter'
Sony Pictures employees were greeted by a message from hackers when they attempted to log in for work this morning, as a group reportedly seized control of all computers in the company. According to the images appearing on the Sony computers, the hacking group referring to itself as #GOP said it would continue until "requests be met."
CMA finds adults are more likely to take action, buy music after streaming exposure
Since Taylor Swift kicked off a debate on the artistic merits of the album and the degradation of art by streaming music, numerous parties in the music industry are chiming in on the topic of sales. The latest is the Country Music Association (CMA), which conducted a study that compared consumer action towards buying a song or album, based on listening to a new song over the radio or through a streaming platform.
BlackBerry opens pre-orders for Red, White Passport
BlackBerry's previously-revealed limited edition versions of the Passport smartphone are available to pre-order today. The red version with black framing and highlights, along with a white model, can be pre-ordered now from BlackBerry directly ready for shipping on November 28th. The red model is priced at $699, while the white version is being sold at a lower $599.
Report claims BT could reacquire carrier it spun off in 2001
British Telecom (BT) may reacquire O2, a mobile phone network the company originally created, according to reports. BT is said to be in talks with two carriers about a possible acquisition, and while one is the Telefonica-owned O2, the other potential target is EE, the carrier offering services from both Orange and T-Mobile in the United Kingdom alongside its own LTE coverage.
iPhone buyers likely grabbing 'vital' apps
App Store downloads surged to a record 7.8 million per day average for the top 200 free iOS apps in October, says mobile marketing firm Fiksu. That represented a 42 percent increase from September, and a 39 percent jump year-over-year. The firm says it expects the trend to continue into the holiday season. It appears to have been kickstarted by sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which first launched on September 19, but which has been been gradually rolling out to more and more countries.
Unofficial replica faces being blocked from download sites
A number of major watch brands have been sending cease-and-desist notices to websites and individuals claimed to be offering smartwatch copies of trademarked or copyrighted name-brand watch faces without permission, a report says. Some smartwatches -- particularly ones based on Android Wear -- offer the ability to load custom face designs. A few people have been creating ones based on existing watches, however, triggering copyright and trademark complaints.
Proceeds from participating apps being donated to Global Fund
To mark the upcoming World AIDS Day on December 1, Apple has launched a trio of initiatives. On the 1st itself, Apple says it will donate "a portion" of its Black Friday sales at its online and retail stores to the Global Fund, which is mainly dedicated to combating AIDS but also tackles diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis. On November 28, some random product purchases will include a Product (RED) iTunes gift card; any purchases made with the card in future will go to the Fund. From today through December 7, a program called "Apps for (RED)" will donate the sales from 24 iOS apps - and in some cases, special in-app purchases -- to the same cause.
Cooliris and BeamIt continue to work 'for the time being,' no details on acquisition given
Another acquisition by Yahoo was announced late last week, building on a long string of pick-ups under the leadership of CEO Marissa Mayer. The newest company coming into the Yahoo fold is Cooliris, a developer known for its mobile photo-aggregator application Cooliris for Mobile and the recently launched BeamIt Messenger.
Latest move by Samsung mirrors earlier Nvidia action
Samsung has racheted up its legal battles with Nvidia, bringing US regulators into the battle. Yesterday, the Korean manufacturer filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC), attempting to block GPUs manufactured by Nvidia from being imported and sold in the US market. The complaint mirrors one that Nvidia filed against Samsung earlier this year, with Nvidia calling it "a predictable tactic."
Retailer points to third party payment processors as guilty party
Five banks are suing retailer Target over the infamous "Black Friday" data breach in a federal lawsuit. In a hearing yesterday before US District Judge Paul Magnuson, Target claimed that the bank's losses weren't the retailer's fault, as they happened at the point of sale in many stores that the corporation claims it is not responsible for, as opposed to a central failure in corporate data services - therefore, the Minnesota and US Plastic Card Security Act provisions don't apply.
Wheeler believes lawsuits inevitable, regardless of result of discussion
US Federal Communications Commission head Tom Wheeler said that there is a specific reason why the regulatory group is taking its time with the net neutrality discussion. Speaking at a meeting on Friday, the chairman said that caution was prudent, and that the agency needs to "make sure that we understand what is going on here." Referring to Verizon, AT&T, and the other major Internet providers, he added that "the big dogs are going to sue regardless of what comes out."
Many more merchants, banks planning to add support in coming weeks, months
In addition to today's announcement by Square that it will bring support for Apple Pay to its app and systems early next year, a number of other merchants have also unveiled Apple Pay support or are planning to soon. Venues that utilize Tickets.com as their online ticket provider, for example, have now adopted support for Apple's iPhone 6-centric payment method, and some apps will soon be offering an Apple Pay option for online purchases.
Judge Denise Cote approves 'unusual' settlement offer
[Updated with additional background information, details on "escape clause"] Federal court Judge Denise Cote has approved Apple's $450 million e-book suit settlement offer with US states. The agreement, proposed in June, will settle allegations made in 33 states and territories, with $400 million potentially reaching customers affected by the "price fixing conspiracy." The agreements only settles the states' complaints, with the publishers' settlements remaining discrete. However, Apple may have an ace up its sleeve on the deal -- in the form of a "vindication" clause.
Rumor claims free Prime Instant Video-style service launching early next year
Amazon customers wanting to experience Prime Instant Video may soon be able to view some content without subscribing to the Prime delivery service. The retailer will reportedly be launching an advertising-supported video streaming to its online services roster early next year, allowing viewers to watch a selection of movies and TV shows for free.
Cloud-based DVR service appoints Chief Restructuring Officer shortly after layoffs
Aereo has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, following the high-profile shutdown of the service via a ruling from a New York court. The cloud-based TV rebroadcasting and DVR service made the filing just under two weeks after it was forced to lay off a large number of employees at its Boston New York offices, with little chance of resurrection.
Report claims Amazon in talks with hotels to offer online bookings from early 2015
Amazon is said to be close to expanding its retail ambitions, into the travel market. A report claims the online retailer is preparing to open a travel department, and has apparently been working with independent hotels and resorts close to major cities in order to launch the service in the near future, possibly as soon as New Year's Day.
Excavator, Puma+ cores, Radeon-class GPU featured in Carrizo APUs, succeeds Kaveri units
Confirming previous leaks, AMD announced that the next generation of of chips in its APU lineup are coming in the first half of 2015. During the Future of Compute event in Singapore, the graphics card and processor manufacturer detailed the new Carrizo system-on-chips (SOC), adding that the two models share a single, scalable infrastructure in a FP4 BGA packaging.
Open-source scanning tool for Windows searches for surveillance spyware
For those concerned that their computer activities are under the watch of the government, a new free scanning tool is now available to search Windows-based PCs for surveillance spyware. Amnesty International, in a partnership with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Digitale Gesellschaft and Privacy International, launched Detekt today, a free open-source scanning tool used to detect some of the known spyware that government agencies use to monitor activists and journalists.
Agreement reached November 12, set to end year-long legal battle by end of 2014
Google's legal battle with the Rockstar Consortium over claims that the search company infringes upon seven patents with the Android operating system appears to be coming to an end. According to a filing submitted to the US District Court of the Eastern District of Texas on November 17, both parties have agreed to settle their dispute.
Privacy team formation follows reports of executives tracking Uber customers
Uber is forming a privacy team by bringing onboard a number of experts, as it attempts to secure its customer's data. The hiring of a team, including former IBM Chief Privacy Officer Harriet Pearson, comes shortly after reports claimed one of the app-based cab company's executives had tracked a ride of a journalist without their permission.
Imgur, The Onion among initial partners
Google has launched a new service called Contributor, allowing people to pay to remove ads from participating websites. At the service's portal, visitors can pick which sites they want to contribute to, and whether to donate $1, $2, or $3 per month. Once a subscription is active, visiting those sites will display thank-you messages and/or pixel patterns in place of the ads.
Latest generation of Gorilla Glass claimed twice as durable compared to competitors
Corning has introduced the fourth generation of its hard-wearing glass, used by a large proportion of smartphone and mobile devices. Gorilla Glass 4 is said to be twice as resistant to damage compared to its competitors, and with initial shipments of the new glass already being sent to manufacturers, could make an appearance in new smartphones from early next year.
Number of supporting financial institutions nearing 20
Another bank, America First Credit Union, has announced support for Apple Pay. Beginning today, customers will be able to register AFCU's Visa card, and use it to make mobile payments. Apple Pay requires an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus at retail; for app-based payments, people can also use an iPad Air 2 or an iPad mini 3. Early next year, the Apple Watch will become another retail option.
Exclusive client believed to be Apple
Foxconn's display unit, Innolux, will be spending about NT$80 billion ($2.6 billion US) during the next two years on a new Taiwanese factory meant to supply an exclusive but unnamed client, says Innolux PR representative Sophia Cheng. The statement was in reference to comments made by Innolux President Wang Jyh-chau at a press conference earlier today. Although Cheng says she isn't aware if such a deal has been signed, the client is elsewhere believed to be Apple, one of Foxconn's biggest contracts and possibly one of the few that could justify such an expenditure or demand such secrecy.
New entities handling submissions of bulk location data
Apple has added 10 new companies to the list of those providing it with data for iOS and OS X Maps, reports say. The parties are mentioned in a new email to businesses, asking about submitting bulk location information. The added firms include DAC Group, Location3 Media, Marquette Group, Placeable, PositionTech, SIM Partners, SinglePlatform, UBL, Yext, and Yodle. Apple asks for bulk content to be submitted to one of the entities on its partner list, rather than directly.
Settlement should cover other companies such as Time Warner, Suddenlink
Cisco is said to be preparing to pay a $188 million pre-tax charge to settle a lawsuit brought against it by Rockstar, the Apple-led patent holding firm born out of the remains of Nortel Networks. The company recent mentioned a $188 million payout in an earnings call. The connection to the settlement can be made, as Cisco has asked the judge in the lawsuit to stay litigation because it has signed a "term sheet" with Rockstar.
Project has seen original director, star, now studio drop out in pre-production
The Sony-backed Steve Jobs biographical movie, based in part on Walter Issacson's biography of the Apple co-founder, has proven to be nearly as mercurial as the reputation of its subject. In recent weeks, not one but two rumored stars of the project have dropped out, the original director was replaced with an Oscar-winning substitute, and now -- according to trade magazine Deadline -- Sony has put the film in "turnaround," offering it to sale to other studios, with Universal said to be making a play for it.
Cooler company denies bankruptcy claims, customers not affected by changes
After years of corporate fraud carried out by high-level executives in its parent company Moneual, there was concern that computer cooler manufacturer Zalman Tech could go under. However, it appears that the company will undergo several changes in order to live on, as indicated by statement released from the company today.
Woz re-united with colleagues from Fusion-io, working on data virtualization
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has joined Primary Data, a data virtualization company made up of several colleagues from Fusion-io, as Chief Scientist -- the same title he held at Fusion-io. In his new position, Wozniak will be both advise the company on tecnology trends, vision and architecture as well as serve as the firm's ambassador. Chief Marketing Officer Rick White, who worked with Woz at Fusion-io, noted that "with Woz on the team along with [CEO] Lance [Smith] and David [Flynn], we now have the band back together."
Lack of production experience, ineffective leadership to blame for bust-up, Apple says
More details on the collapse of the GT Advanced Technologies deal with Apple were made available today, as sources have reported that a letter sent by Apple to other creditors in the GT Advanced bankruptcy case reveals more details on why the partnership collapsed. Included in the letter were pictures of defective sapphire boules produced by GT Advanced, pointed to by Apple as the main reason the company went under -- it contracted to produce high-quality boules of the material, but simply couldn't produce enough usable product.
Five-year partnership ends decade long deal that made Google the default Firefox search
Mozilla made a major announcement today, letting the world know that its 10-year default search relationship with Google is coming to an end. However, that doesn't mean Mozilla is ending the idea of a default search provider for its free browser. In Google's place, Mozilla struck a new partnership with Yahoo to make its Bing-powered search the default in US copies of Firefox.
Outsourcing firm handled Apple tech support
A Bangalore, India-based company -- InfoSys -- is losing two key executives due to a scandal involving overbilling Apple, reports say. InfoSys is known to provide outsourced tech support services for Apple. The Economic Times of India says that InfoSys has fired the CFO of its business process outsourcing unit, Abraham Mathews, for violating the company's code of conduct. CEO Gautam Thakkar has reportedly resigned on "moral grounds," and will depart on November 30.