Microsoft sees big increase in activations, but percentage still tiny
A new study by Microsoft Exchange services firm Intermedia has shown that Apple devices being activated on its Microsoft Exchange-based network accounted for 76 percent of all small- and medium-business (SMB) activations across 2013 -- some 190,000 iPhones and iPads in total. This was more than six times the 29,000 activations seen with Samsung Android devices, providing some insight into a continuing trend in business that favors Apple products.
Executive formerly ran USPTO satellite office in Silicon Valley
A former senior attorney once on Google's payroll has been named to run the United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) until a new permanent director is selected. Michelle Lee was the former deputy general counsel and head of patent strategy at Google before her departure to head the Silicon Valley office of the USPTO.
New mobile phone unlocking rules expected soon
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is close to completing a list of rules for cellphone unlocking with US carriers, according to a report. The new rules would govern how a carrier advises a consumer about unlocking and the timing of the unlocking process itself, with the deal between the mobile phone networks and FCC expected to be agreed upon in the near future.
Excessive overtime remains unresolved
A report issued by the advocacy group Fair Labor Association has praised Foxconn for continuing to improve working conditions. An audit reportedly found that three of Foxconn's factories in Longhua, Chengdu and Guanlan, each tasked with assembling iPhones and other Apple devices, have satisfied nearly all of the goals that were outlined last year in a reform plan.
Dropbox for Business to be offered to Dell enterprise customers
Dell has announced a number of new partnerships it has formed with other companies at its Dell World event in Austin today. The computer producer revealed updates to the Dell Cloud Partner Program, an agreement with Red Hat over OpenStack, and that it would start offering Dropbox for Business through its enterprise sales, among other announcements.
Southwest Airlines to allow in-flight iMessages for $2
Southwest Airlines is allowing users of Apple's iOS devices to send iMessages while in flight for just $2. A post on the company's blog revealed that the airline will be rolling out in-flight iMessaging for $2 per day for users with a device running iOS 5 or later. The feature was enabled on Southwest flights on Wednesday, and it joins a number of other digital-oriented features the airline has rolled out of recent.
Same-day fresh produce delivery from Amazon costs $299 per year
Amazon has expanded its five-year-old grocery delivery service to San Francisco. Previously only available in Seattle and Los Angeles, AmazonFresh provides groceries and other fresh produce to customers with either same or next-day delivery, as the online retailer continues to expand its range of services and delivery options.
Messaging technology at core of trial found to be not infringed by Apple
Samsung's tales of woe against Apple in court continue -- this time in its South Korean home. Samsung has lost an attempt to ban assorted iPhone and iPad models in South Korea, as the presiding judge dismissed a lawsuit that had Samsung claiming patent infringement against the Cupertino manufacturer.
Game revenue driven by five publishers
Japan has reportedly taken the lead position in mobile app revenue for both iOS and Android platforms, according to data collected by analyst firm App Annie. The US previously held the top spot, however Japan's four-fold jump in revenue from mobile game sales has helped the country maintain a stronger growth rate over the past year.
Microsoft looking to grow Windows share in mobile
Microsoft is considering releasing both Windows Phone and Windows RT for free in future versions as a way of pushing back against the dominance of Google's Android platform in the mobile segment. This according to The Verge, which cites unnamed sources within the company saying that the move to push the two platforms on a license-free model could happen when the software giant pushes its next revision of the Windows platform, Windows Threshold. The move would mark a considerable change for Microsoft, which has for decades relied on the licensing of its Windows operating system for a large portion of its revenue.
Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, Intel and Qualcomm ranked higher
Workplace-ranking website Glassdoor.com has unveiled its annual "Best Places to Work" looking ahead to 2014, and Apple remains well inside the top 50, but dropped a spot from its 2013 ranking of 34th among companies with 1,000 or more employees. The point score, however, only dropped one-tenth of a point in the "Satisfaction" category, scoring a 3.8 out of five in the new poll. The rating comes from employee's own anonymous ratings of the company over the past 12 months.
Chennai plant seized by tax authority, Nokia offers deposit to release assets
Some confusion exists in India about back taxes owed by Nokia, which is potentially complicating the Microsoft purchase of the embattled cellphone manufacturer. An Indian court has stayed a hearing about a seizure of a factory in Chennai, and is seeking additional information from the cellphone manufacturer on the value of the facility. Additionally, various accounts claim that Nokia owes either 20.8 billion, 78 billion, or 210 billion rupees ($400 million, $1.28 billion, or $3.4 billion respectively) in taxes to the Indian government.
Genius LuxePad A110 microUSB keyboard enhances Android typing
Accessory manufacturer Genius today has revealed the the LuxePad A110, which provides a convenient way to write quickly and comfortably on most Android tablets. Combined together, a tablet and the LuxePad A110 weigh less than 2 pounds. The A110 includes a stand that lets users position their tablet at an angle that suits them best. Ten specific keys on the MicroUSB keyboard are designed for handling media, Internet and settings options. The LuxePad A110 is currently available in North America for the suggested retail price of $20.
New plans range from $75 per year to $250 a year for individuals
SugarSync, a premium service that lets users back up, access, sync and share all files and folders across all their computers and mobile devices announced today that it will transition to a paid-only service model beginning on February 8. Customers can still try the SugarSync service with a 90-day 5GB trial, or a 30-day trial with upwards of 60GB.
Aereo-style service from NimbeTV requires cable service authentication
A startup offering cable TV streaming over the Internet has opened its service to everyone in New York, following a successful test period in the city. In a similar manner to Aereo's service, NimbleTV will offer cable subscribers access to the same channels but over the Internet, along with the ability to record programs via the cloud-based DVR.
Hire hints at further push into streaming audio
Apple has reportedly poached an advertising executive, Michael Pallad, from Cumulus Media, unnamed sources have told Ad Age. After serving as executive VP of sales at the second-largest owner of FM radio stations, Pallad now is said to be tasked with overseeing international ad sales for Apple's iTunes Radio service.
Issues in securing funding by Gigabit Squared puts fiber network at risk
Seattle's plans to have its own gigabit Internet service may be delayed longer than expected, according to the outgoing city mayor. Mike McGinn, the current Seattle mayor being replaced at the end of the year, revealed that current attempts to get the Gigabit Squared fiber network going have allegedly been hampered by issues in securing funding for the project.
Bluetooth LE continues retail push
Less than a week after Apple began deploying its iBeacon technology inside US retail stores, Qualcomm has launched its own alternative. Known as Gimbal, Qualcomm's proximity beacons also take advantage of low-power Bluetooth LE to help retailers optimize their smartphone-enhanced shopping experience as customers move throughout a store.
Platform for interconnected devices based on Qualcomm Toq app software
A group of companies have banded together to help foster the adoption of interconnected devices, also known as the "Internet of Things" or the "Internet of Everything." Announced by the Linux Foundation, members of the AllSeen Alliance hope to work together on building a software platform for all of the devices to connect and communicate across.
Buyers prefer iPhone 5s over 5c by 3-to-1 margin, but both doing well
Confirming widely-held beliefs that the iPhone 5s is outselling the iPhone 5c -- but upending the conventional wisdom that the iPhone 5c isn't doing as well as the iPhone 5 did a year ago -- the latest numbers from mobile analytics company MixPanel show a healthy and growing market for both models, though the iPhone 5s is the more popular -- and, roughly three months after introduction, now accounts for 10 percent of all iPhones.
New chipset allows for inexpensive worldwide 4G handset
Qualcomm today announced the Snapdragon 410 chipset with integrated 4G LTE World Mode. The new Snapdragon 410 chipsets are manufactured using a 28nm process technology and feature processors that are 64-bit capable -- the first since Apple leapfrogged its rivals with the 64-bit A7 -- along with accelerated graphics performance with the Adreno 306 GPU, 1080p video playback, and up to a 13 megapixel camera. Snapdragon 410 chipsets integrate 4G LTE and 3G cellular connectivity for all major modes and frequency bands across the globe and include support for Dual and Triple SIM.
December 13 date of device sale, December 18 date of 4G rollout
Potentially dispelling the rumors and false starts, China Mobile is taking preorders for iPhones on Thursday in Shanghai, according to an advertisement that briefly appeared on its website and in a call placed to customer service. Using the slogan "4G is here!" the ad not only announced the opening date of iPhone sales, but also suggests phones from other vendors such as Sony, Samsung, and HTC, that all support the new 4G network that the carrier has been building out for the last two years.
Exec hints at platform expansion
Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus has fueled speculation that the company is preparing to bring its TWC TV app to the Apple TV platform. Speaking at a UBS investor conference in New York, the executive noted that the company is preparing to expand the range of supported platforms for the app, which is currently available on iOS and Android devices, game consoles and smart TVs.
Agents infiltrate World of Warcraft
Eight tech giants, including industry competitors Apple, Google and Microsoft, have joined forces to demand reforms to the US government's surveillance tactics. In an open letter sent to President Barack Obama and members of Congress, the companies argue that current surveillance practices, as detailed in ongoing leaks from former National Security Agency staffer Edward Snowden, have created an imbalance "too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual-rights that are enshrined in our Constitution."
Threat of antitrust investigation by EC if Nokia overreaches with patents
Nokia has been warned by the European Commission (EC) to avoid becoming a "patent troll," once the company completes the sale of its Devices and Services arm to Microsoft. Joaquin Almunia, head of competition and vice president of the EC, reconfirmed the Commission's approval of the purchase, but advised that there is a danger that Nokia could try to "extract higher returns" from its patent portfolio.
BBC adds five free HD channels to high-definition lineup
The BBC will be adding five new channels to its lineup in the United Kingdom tomorrow for Freesat, Freeview, Sky, and Virgin Media users. The broadcaster will be adding HD versions of BBC Three, BBC Four, BBC News, CBBC, and CBeebies to its existing high-definition channel lineup, with the BBC advising that this brings the total subscription-free HD channel range from the corporation to seven. Earlier this year, the BBC revealed it would be shutting down its dedicated 3D channel, due to a lack of viewers.
Older models being traded in hints at strong wave of new-model upgraders
Online trade-in site Gazelle has reported that iPad trade-ins for cash jumped 175 percent over normal on the weekend of Black Friday, a certain indicator that Apple CEO Tim Cook's prediction that it would be an "iPad Christmas" is likely to come true. The Apple tablet, which continues to dominate the category three and a half years after its introduction, has also topped holiday wish list compilations and has seen some constrained supplies of the two latest models, particularly the Retina iPad mini.
Call appointment of personal friend as antitrust monitor 'flatly unconstitutional'
In a new editorial that could have been written by Apple's legal team in a candid moment, the Wall Street Journal rakes Apple e-book trial judge over the coals for both recent and previous missteps, from "essentially [ruling] before hearing the evidence" to appointing a personal friend with no experience in antitrust issues (and requiring an $1,000-per-hour assistant) as an inquisitor who believes his job is to "investigate Apple all over again" in an unconstitutional manner.
FCC chair claims need to prevent Obamacare website-like debacle in auction
Citing a need for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to "get the enabling technology right," new chairman Tom Wheeler has delayed a spectrum auction. The auction pays television broadcasters for unused spectrum left unused after the shift to digital television. The FCC will then auction off the reclaimed spectrum to wireless carriers to expand wireless networks.
Carrier maintains position despite rumors of imminent launch
The world's biggest cellphone carrier, China Mobile, says it is still discussing an iPhone deal with Apple, according to a Reuters report. "We are still negotiating with Apple, but for now we have nothing new to announce," comments Mobile spokeswoman Rainie Lei. Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal claimed that a deal had been signed, supporting rumors that Mobile might start selling iPhones as soon as December 18th.
Companies call for clarity from the court
The US Supreme Court has decided to hear a patent-infringement case that calls into question the validity of patent protection for certain software features. In the legal battle fought between Alice Corporation and CLS Bank International, in which the former alleges violation of a software patent related to financial transactions, lower courts have failed to reach a consensus regarding the technology's patent eligibility.
Companies accused of limiting online sales
European Commission agents have reportedly raided corporate offices of Samsung, Philips and retail giant Media-Saturn, as part of an investigation over improper price manipulation, according to a Reuters report. Regulators believe the companies may have colluded to limit online distribution in an attempt to artificially inflate prices.
Wireless spectrum purchase put to use by Verizon in cities
Even though the carrier is undergoing a restructuring of ownership, Verizon Wireless has managed to improve its LTE network in a number of cities. The carrier has reportedly increased the amount of bandwidth available to customers, with some markets seeing Verizon tripling its LTE capacity, thanks to its earlier $3.9 billion wireless spectrum purchase.
Android, iOS, Windows all gain share at BlackBerry's expense
Apple's share of the smartphone market in the US continues to grow slowly, though chief rival Samsung is growing at a faster rate but still has a long way to go to catch up. Android sales combined continue to dominate, but have seen very slow or flat growth in recent months -- however, in the latest three-month ComScore MobiLens survey, the platform managed twice the growth rate of iOS. Windows Phone also gained share, with all three platforms benefitting from BlackBerry's continuing fall.
Judge agrees to no ex parte meetings, reiterates procedures
In response to complaints from Apple about the court-ordered monitor the company is saddled with as a result of its e-book case, Judge Denise Cote in an order filed on December 2 agreed to change one policy associated with the monitor, and reminded Apple of the procedure for objecting to specific actions or other problems with the monitor. Apple has charged that the monitor is unqualified, overpaid, extortionist, disruptive, exceeding his authority and that the judge had provided for off-the-record, secret meetings with him.
Spotify to bring mobile listening with ads
Internet music service Spotify is reportedly set to roll out free music streaming for mobile devices, expanding on its existing free Internet radio features. A report in The Washington Post claims that the Sweden-based music company has reached licensing deals with the major global music companies to roll out free streaming to mobile devices, allowing mobile users to enjoy a Spotify that only subscribers and desktop users had access to beforehand. The catch: the new streaming feature will be supported by ads.
Bill aims to reduce frivolous litigation
The US House of Representatives has passed a bipartisan bill that aims to reduce negative impact from the practice derisively known as patent trolling. Passing by a wide margin of 323 to 89, Rep. Bob Goodlatte's (R-VA) Innovation Act (PDF) focuses on a range of litigation reforms to help protect businesses against frivolous patent-infringement lawsuits.
Potential for money laundering, tricky regulation causes China Bitcoin setback
The Bitcoin virtual currency has received a setback on its path to widespread use, after China's central bank advised against its use by the country's investors and banks. The People's Bank of China (PBOC) warned financial institutions that they should not trade in Bitcoins due to the potential risks associated with the currency.
Apple devices dominate wish-lists in most other electronics categories -- even routers
If there was one word to summarize what's at the top of US Christmas gift lists when it comes to electronics, the word is "Apple." Retail analyst firm Parks Associates revealed that in its latest survey, the iPhone maker -- long the most popular brand for tablets, smartphones, MP3 players and TV set-top boxes -- is now also the hottest brand in desktop computers. The top spot for desktops was previously held by Dell for the last two years, with Apple coming in second until the 2013 survey.
Report hinges on single, unnamed source, but signs are there
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that a formal agreement between Apple and the world's largest -- and up till recently, the biggest iPhone holdout -- carrier, China Mobile, has been signed. The story is confirmed only by a single, unnamed source -- normally a violation of journalistic standards -- but other evidence to support the contention has appeared, including a pre-order site connected to China Mobile serving a wealthy Shanghai suburb and state media announcements.
$130 million in cash and stock shares to exchange hands
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved Verizon's $130 billion buyout of Vodaphone's share of Verizon Wireless. The ruling paves the way for Verizon's complete ownership of the wireless business when all aspects of the transaction are concluded in the first half of 2014.
Samsung's next flagship may have appeared in benchmarks
The newest version of Samsung's Galaxy S line of flagship devices may well have appeared in online benchmark tests. Fone Arena on Wednesday pointed to new results from GFXBench, showing an as-yet-unannounced Samsung device with the model number SM-G900S. If the device shown off were to prove to be Samsung's next flagship handset, it would signal a huge push on the part of the manufacturer to differentiate its gadgets, as the handset in the benchmarks appears to sport a 2K resolution screen.
Skitch iOS update restores PDF reading, markup support, web capture
The iOS version of screen capture and markup app Skitch (free) has been updated, mostly restoring features that were previously removed. Users can now once again open and read PDFs in the program, as well as markup and re-save a PDF (the latter feature requires an Evernote Premium account, however). Crop mode has been removed and various bugs fixed, and web capture has been added back in. Evernote, which bought Skitch two years ago, has dealt with continuing criticism over the company's changes to the program, which was originally created to quickly capture, annotate and share screenshots. Evernote Premium accounts cost $5 per month or $45 per year.
Beats Music streaming service to launch next month
Beats Music, the streaming music site spun out from the maker of the popular premium headphones, will make its debut in January of next year, it was revealed on Wednesday. The site for the service has gone live, and users can now register a user name for when it goes live next year. The particulars of Beats' new music offering are as yet unknown, but the company will likely reveal them in the weeks leading up to its unveiling.
Court appears skeptical of Judge William Alsup ruling
The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC, appears to be siding with Oracle in the company's lawsuit against Google over Android APIs. A formal ruling has yet to be handed down, however Reuters' Dan Levine and The Recorder's Scott K. Graham, both in attendance at today's hearing, published Twitter posts suggesting that the appeals court is likely to reverse Google's earlier win.
First-gen iPad mini, iPhone 5c also see surges
iPad Air activations grew some 51 percent over the previous weekend during the course of Black Friday and the rest of the Thanksgiving weekend, according to new Localytics data. The figure is based on the number of new devices that appeared in Localytics tracking for some 20,000 apps. The iPhone 5c and first-generation iPad mini also did well, each growing by 26 percent.
Supplement to USB 3.1 specification could lessen USB cable frustration
Future USB cables will be able to be plugged in upside down, according to details about a future connector's specification. The redesigned Type-C connector will form part of the USB 3.0 Promoter Group's "supplement to the USB 3.1 specification," something which will potentially help lessen current frustrations by users plugging USB devices into hubs and computers.
Repeated reports may be an 'echo chamber' effect, or mirror actual trials
Rumors and other unconfirmed reports about Apple products -- particularly those that are only in an experimental prototype or testing phase -- are difficult to sort out. Readers who see similar reports on multiple sites or in various print and online outlets have a tendency to believe them after a while, even if the reports are just echoing each other. New reports have emerged recently from different sources claiming that Apple is at least probing the idea of larger iPad and iPhone models, but a healthy dose of skepticism is often required.
Revenue shared based on stream popularity
Following criticism from musicians, Spotify has defended its business model by providing an in-depth look at its royalty payment framework. In a lengthy blog post, the company claims to have paid out more than $1 billion USD in royalties to-date, including $500 million from this year alone, with 70 percent of overall revenue being shared with the artists.
PC market to bottom at 25M units per month
The traditional PC market will likely have fallen by 2013 by the time 2013 ends, slightly more than the 9.7 percent that had been previously forecast. This according to new figures from industry tracking service IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. The new numbers point to a bottoming out for the struggling PC industry, not a continual withering as some have presumed. PC shipments will not, according to IDC, continue to dwindle, but will hit a bottom in the coming year and show near flat growth thereafter.