Yelp points to Google search, lawsuit, auditor's results to deny claims
Crowdsourced review service Yelp has come under attack again over reports of business owners complaints that reviews are "too self-centered and not trustworthy" and that the company hides reviews to its own benefit. A blog post by Yelp's Vice President of Communications Vince Sollitto refutes the claims which have been reported to the media, and hopes to clear up the service's reputation.
Fate of LifeProof cases unknown
At an event today at this week's CTIA conference, major casemaker OtterBox announced the acquisition of one of its chief rivals, LifeProof. The former says it will keep LifeProof's San Diego location, and that workers will remain in their current place. "Over the next 30 days, OtterBox will begin incorporating the LifeProof brand into the OtterBox family," an OtterBox statement reads. "More information about product availability and alignment will be determined at the completion of the integration."
Exact details of position still uncertain
Former Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg has been hired onto Apple's marketing staff, Forbes sources say. Exactly which position he's filling is unknown, but he's expected to work under Apple's head of worldwide product marketing, Phil Schiller. Gartenberg is well-known amongst analysts; aside from employment at Gartner, he was once an analyst and partner at the Altimeter Group, and a research director at Jupiter Research.
Testy exchanges between ministers show polarity of issue
Following Apple's testimony before the US Senate, Ireland's finance minister Michael Noonan declared that neither he nor his country would be the "whipping boy" for US tax loopholes. The US-led investigation demonstrated that Apple had paid two percent of $74 billion in international income, assisted by Irish tax law -- in particular, one holding company including Apple's retail effort throughout Europe had paid zero tax in five years.
Apple unrepentant, remains in legal battle against USDOJ, states
Publisher Penguin and parent company Pearson have proposed a settlement with 33 US State Attorneys General and other plaintiffs for $75 million to resolve its lawsuit accusing it of price fixing in conjunction with Apple and the iBookstore. If accepted by the judge, the settlement resolves all antitrust complaints against Penguin related to the suit on the state level.
Carrier partners with Brightstar, Moorehead
Verizon Wireless has announced a partnership with Jennifer Lopez, hoping to woo Latino customers under the new retail brand Viva Movil. The brick-and-mortar stores promise to deliver a unique customer experience, with play areas for children and bilingual sales representatives, though the devices and service plans will reflect Verizon's standard offerings.
Google adds voice search to home page in Chrome update
Google has updated Chrome to enable voice search, among other additions. Chrome version 27 enables conversational search through the Google homepage, providing a clickable microphone to start it off, and then switching to a larger Google Now-style mic logo. The update, spotted by Searchengineland, also provides a new API for Chrome Store developers, 14 security fixes, and a 5-percent speed boost to page loads.
Five patents claimed infringed, two covering Google Now
Apple has filed its amendment to its ongoing courtroom battle with Samsung, adding the Galaxy S4 to its list of infringing devices, just as it told the US District Court in California last week. The filing specifically names five patents said to be infringed by the Galaxy S4 itself, two of which are apparently infringed by Google Now.
Says company must create game-changing products more often
In a article that could have been written by Samsung's advertising department, the Sydney Morning Herald has published an article detailing claims from "social researcher" Michael McQueen, who tracks the ever-shifting tastes of the group he calls "Gen-Y" (meaning people who reached their teenage years after 2001). In it, he says that despite wide evidence to the contrary, Apple is "losing its cool" with youth.
Large tech companies hide funds in Cayman Islands, Switzerland
Large tech firms are coming under scrutiny over their tax avoidance measures, following the testimony of Apple executives to a US Senate Permanent Subcommittee. Google, Yahoo, Cisco, and others have been found to be using an assortment of tax loopholes and off-shoring in order to avoid paying governments in the US and Europe at least $100 billion.
HTC losing executives as it struggles to turn its fortunes around
HTCís woes seem to have cut into its staff morale with a several senior executives said to be leaving the company, reports The Verge. HTCís Chief Product Officer Kouji Kodera left the Taiwanese smartphone maker last week, joining an exodus that has taken place over the past three months. Other senior execs to leave the embattled company include Jason Gordon (VP Global Communications), Rebecca Rowland (Global Retail Marketing Manager), John Starkweather (Director of Digital Marketing) and Eric Lin (Product Strategy Manager).
Samsung becomes third-largest stakeholder in manufacturer
Samsung has bought a 10 percent stake in South Korea-based mobile producer Pantech. The purchase of shares in the country's third-largest smartphone manufacturer, reported to be worth 53 billion won ($47.6 million), will make Samsung the third-largest stake holder, just behind Qualcomm and the state-owned Korea Development Bank.
Company's growth rate slips
Apple remains in first place on an annual BrandZ ranking of the world's most valuable brands, notes MarketingWeek. Apple's brand is estimated to be worth $185.071 billion, putting it well ahead of next-closest rivals Google ($113.669 billion) and IBM ($112.536 billion). Other companies in the top 10 include McDonald's, Coca-Cola, AT&T, Microsoft, Marlboro, Visa, and China Mobile.
19-year Apple vet takes reins of new division to invigorate Intel mobile
Intel has noted that it has appointed Mike Bell to lead its emergent technology and product trend group, which includes ultra-mobile products. The new division will be "tasked with turning cool technology and business model innovations into products that shape and lead markets," according to Intel.
Several companies starting trials of the platform before end of 2013
Starting this year, IBM's Watson intelligent agent technology will debut as a customer service assistant. Customers of Australia's ANZ Bank, Celcom, The Royal Bank of Canada, and Nielsen can query the system for general questions related to accounts with the companies. IBM claims to have the technology ready for deployment and integrated into consumer apps for computers and smartphones in the second half of 2013.
Ruling expected to impact May 31 Apple versus Samsung ITC ruling
A ruling yesterday in the Northern District of California may have repercussions on the smartphone patent battles raging across the US court landscape. A federal judge granted a user of a standards-essential patent a preliminary injunction against enforcement of a possible US International Trade Commission (ITC) sales injunction. This decision by Senior District Judge Ronald Whyte is the first time a US district court is preventing the ITC's only option to combat patent infringers in conjunction with standards-essential patents.
Chairman believes Apple 'exploiting absurdity' of tax laws
During Tim Cook's appearance on Tuesday before the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (which is presently looking into the tax code), Chairman Carl Levin (D-Michigan) accused Apple of "exploiting an absurdity [in US tax laws] that we have not seen other corporations use," referring to a loophole he believes should be closed. Cook maintained that Apple pays US taxes on its US profits as it should.
Software-defined modem hits 150Mbps speed without hardware changes
Nvidia has updated its latest mobile chipset with support for Category 4 LTE connectivity. Tegra 4i, similar to Tegra 4 but includes an integrated Nvidia i500 LTE modem, managed to upgrade from Category 3 and its 100Mbps connection to LTE-Advanced and a possible 150Mps speed, without performing any changes to the hardware.
Android favored among those who can't afford post-paid, study finds
Sales of prepaid smartphones in the US consumer market have risen dramatically, doubling in the last year and "continuing a string of more than 12 quarters of triple-digit sales increases" according to a new report from market analysts NPD. Prepaid phones -- defined as either premium smartphones such as the iPhone bought outright to avoid a contract or low-end smartphones aimed at lower-income consumers -- increased 11 percent in year-over-year in the first quarter of 2013.
Search engine partners with payment processors to aid transition
Today, Google made it known to its array of merchants that it is discontinuing the Google Checkout functionality, and migrating some existing users to Google Wallet. In a blog post announcing the move, Google called the Wallet product "a platform that enables merchants to meet the demands of a multi-screen world where consumers shop in-stores, at their desks and on their mobile devices." Users have six months to find an alternative solution, if not migrated automatically.
Capacity revealed at NYC presser
Speaking at tonight's Yahoo press event in New York City, Marissa Mayer and Yahoo's Mobile Engineering Senior Vice President and Flickr product manager Adam Cahan revealed the new Flickr and accompanying new Android app, offering users 1TB of photo storage in a "very metro" user interface.
Capacitors supports 10k recharge cycles
An 18-year-old student, Eesha Khare, has reportedly developed a new form of energy storage, referred to as a supercapacitor, that promises to recharge a cellphone in 20 to 30 seconds. The research project landed Khare a $50,000 scholarship and an Intel Foundation Young Scientists Award at the Intel-sponsored International Science and Engineering Fair, along with a $5,000 "best of category" award and another $3,000 prize in the chemistry division.
Some analysts had predicted a slight downturn
A new report from market analysts NPD Group indicates that US Mac sales for the month of April were about even with the same month last year, which some analysts see as a positive sign for Apple. However, NPD's data -- which is normally considered reasonably accurate -- only covers US sales, meaning the higher percentage of Mac sales overseas is making meaningful predictions difficult.
Twice the income of second-place Tiffany
A new study from Asymco analyst Horace Dediu finds that Apple is continuing to outpace the rest of the retail industry in sales per customer, sales per store and sales per square foot -- more than double the income of the second-place finisher Tiffany & Co and three times the third-place entry, Lululemon Athletica. In addition to retaining the crown of retailers, Dediu found revenues had increased from a year ago.
Number of blog transfers to Wordpress spikes after Board approval
Yahoo has confirmed it has bought Tumblr, in a deal noted yesterday to be in the region of $1.1 billion. The search company has already moved its company blog over to the blogging platform, and despite CEO Marissa Mayer saying "We promise not to screw it up," there is reportedly a large jump in the number of users moving from Tumblr to Wordpress.
Stagnant Internet giant buys popular young property
In the latest step of CEO Marissa Mayer's plan to turn around popular but stagnating Internet giant Yahoo, the company's board has reportedly approved a $1.1 billion acquisition of the social sharing site Tumblr. The board met on Sunday to discuss the acquisition, which appears to have been a foregone conclusion due to the fact that Yahoo had already scheduled a Monday event on Friday. The company is expected to announce the acquisition at that event.
Hardy invasive species pushing out fire ants, other ant colonies
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have discovered that the US fire ant population is being pushed out by "tawny crazy ants," with an affinity to the interior of electronic devices. The ants are capable of nesting in nearly any container, and as they travel, they disrupt other ant populations.
Carrier confirms ISIS support via Twitter
T-Mobile customers wanting to use Google Wallet are out of luck, as the carrier confirmed this week that it's blocking the mobile payment solution. Instead, T-Mobile wants its customers to use ISIS, a carrier-backed standard that is currently only available in two metropolitan areas. The confirmation marks T-Mobile as just the latest of the major carriers to block Google's standard as they prepare to roll out their own.
Withdrawal filed to not burden combined company with pending suit
In a court motion filed earlier today, MetroPCS is dropping its net neutrality opposition lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission. The company filed a motion for voluntary dismissal, leaving Verizon to willingly fight the decree and US government on its own.
Suspected topics Tumblr acquisition, Flickr update
Yahoo is holding a "product-related" event on May 20. The New York City event will see CEO Marissa Mayer speaking on an undisclosed topic for about an hour at 5PM EST, which the company calls in an mass email "something special."
Amazon has cancelled two television pilots, after poor screenings. The television version of Zombieland will not be made into a series by the internet retailer, nor will Bebe Neuwirth's musical comedy Browsers about interns at a Huffington Post-esque website. Amazon has picked up John Goodman's Washington DC satire Alpha House, and Silicon Valley sitcom Betas.
Mobile users spending tree times as much as portable console users
A report by market analysts App Annie and IDC continue to show that mobile devices such as the iPhone or the Nexus 7 control a clear majority of mobile gaming interest and dollars spent on purchases, with portable handhelds fading rapidly. The first quarter of 2013 saw another milestone achieved for the Android platform, with it seeing more downloads and consumer spending on games than iOS for the first time.
BMG said to be among industry holdouts
Apple's mired negotiations with the music industry may prevent it from announcing an "iRadio" service at WWDC on June 10th, industry sources tell The Verge. The people note that Apple is having trouble not just with Sony/ATV, but also BMG. At the same time they suggest there's still a lot of "market momentum" behind iRadio, and that major players such as Universal want to see it launch as soon as possible.
Lower-cost glass could be used for iOS, Android, other mobile devices
The maker of the Gorilla Glass used in iPhones and other mobile devices has unveiled its latest fusion-made, resilient glass for high-resolution displays. Corning, which is also continuing its Gorilla Glass line with a third version this year, officially introduced a "second-generation glass substrate" called Lotus XT Glass. The new variant features many of the properties of some of Corning's other products while being easier and cheaper to manufacture -- a fact that may persuade tech companies to use it in figure products.
Trend predicted by Apple CEOs Jobs, Cook: tablets up 188 percent from Q1 2012
A report from market analysts IDC looking at market conditions in the United Kingdom says that in the first quarter of 2013, tablet shipments outpaced the combined desktop and notebook PC for the first time. A total of 2.8 million tablets were shipped in Q1, outpacing the 2.3 million PC units (which include Macs alongside Windows desktops and laptops) by a half-million units -- a rise of 188 percent year-over-year. While the report is limited to the UK, the results likely foreshadow future trends elsewhere.
Amazon adds 5 NBC shows exclusively to Prime Instant Video catalog
Amazon has signed a deal with NBCUniversal to add the previous seasons of five shows exclusively to its Prime Instant Video Roster. Grimm, Suits, Covert Affairs, Hannibal, and Defiance will be available on the streaming service over the course of this year and 2014. A number of other shows, including Smash, Alphas, and Warehouse 13, will also appear on the service, though under a non-exclusive distribution deal.
Offer for blogging platform claimed could top $1 billion
Yahoo is in discussions to acquire or work with blogging service Tumblr, according to reports. The talks between the two companies are, depending on the report, concerning a possible strategic alliance between the two or an outright purchase of Tumblr, with the search engine said to be offering as much as $1 billion.
Agency preps developers for changes to important act
The US Federal Trade Commission has started sending out two letters to app developers, preparing them for changes to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act taking effect July 1st, according to an announcement. The letters warn developers that restrictions on the collection of personal data from kids under 13 have been expanded, and now cover things like audio or video bearing a child's likeness. Previously, rules only covered the gathering of names, addresses, and phone numbers.
Will feature day-after airing of new episodes
A CW app should soon appear on the Apple TV, Deadline reports. CW CEO Mark Pedowitz announced a deal with Apple during the network's annual upfront presentation in New York. A version of CW TV Now is already available for two Apple platforms -- the iPhone and the iPad -- but Apple TV support should put the app in a more viewing-friendly spot, as with the Xbox 360 and Windows 8 apps.
Trial centers on failure of Yellow Pages service
The Superior Court of Mexico has overturned a lower court ruling that found Yahoo liable for $2.75 billion in damages. Plaintiffs Ideas Interactivas and holding company Worldwide Directories sued Yahoo over breach of contract and lost profits on a yellow pages service.
Foxconn staff still overworked
Apple's biggest supplier, Hon Hai -- better known as Foxconn -- is continuing to break Chinese labor laws, according to a newly-published audit by the Fair Labor Association. The latest evaluation was conducted in January, and did find that Foxconn is complying with 98.3 percent of the 360 points of action the FLA and Apple initially agreed to. 70 out of 76 items that were pending in mid-2012 have been complied with.
Panels boast highest pixel density of any display Sharp has made
According to Sharp, the company will begin production of three types of IGZO LCD panels that boast pixel densities among the highest in the industry. The panels, scheduled to begin production in June 2013 are intended for use in notebook PCs and will come in three sizes: 11.6 inches, 14 inches, and 15.6 inches. A 13.3 inch panel is already being produced by the company.
Services, software driving company, hardware and consumer show heavy losses
Dell today announced fiscal 2014 first quarter results, with revenue of $14.1 billion, as the company grew revenue from Enterprise Solutions, Services and Software 12 percent year over year to $5.5 billion, or 8 percent growth, excluding the recent acquisition of Quest Software. The company earned $0.21 per share, not quite meeting Wall Street estimates.
Associated contest winner, 50 billionth app name announced
[Updated with the winner's name, the winning app and other details] The App Store has officially surpassed 50 billion downloads, Apple has announced. The company has now announced the winner of the associated contest. Brandon Ashmore of Mentor Ohio, who downloaded the 50 billionth app, will get a $10,000 App Store gift card; meanwhile, 50 runner-ups will each get a $500 card.
Shipments for iOS rises for the quarter, market share drops
Shipments of Windows Phone devices have overtaken those of BlackBerry phones for the first time, according to a report. Numbers from IDC places the Microsoft mobile operating system in third place, still a considerable away behind iOS and Android shipments, which are said to make up 92.3-percent of all shipments when combined.
All makers and platforms enjoyed growth in ad impressions in Q1
A new study by mobile advertising analysts Millennial Media finds that Apple's iOS is again the dominant platform for ad impressions, a measure of the effectiveness and engagement with in-app advertising. The report found growth in ad impressions across platforms and manufacturers, apart from BlackBerry which continued to shed users. Apple again swept the hardware results, taking the top manufacturer, top smartphone, and top tablet. Google's Android platform, however, continues to make great strides in growth.
Indicates Apple was pushing for prices higher than Amazon
US Department of Justice filings in the e-book price-fixing case against Apple reveal an exchange between former Apple CEO Steve Jobs and News Corporation/HarperCollins' James Murdoch, notes AllThingsD. In the course of a Jobs-penned email, which dates back to January 2010, the CEO explains why Apple is proposing to tie e-book prices to hardcover ones. "We simply donít think the e-book market can be successful with pricing higher than $12.99 or $14.99," Jobs writes.
Apple, other companies accused of trying to avoid tax share
Apple will be the focus of a US Senate hearing next Tuesday, Politico says it has learned. The company's CEO, Tim Cook, is expected to testify in front of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation regarding offshore tax practices. Other witnesses are also expected to speak, such as representatives from the Treasury Department and the IRS.
Google I/O sways market in Google's favor
Apple and Google both passed important financial milestones during Wednesday trading, notes The Next Web. While Apple's market value has fallen under $400 billion, Google's value has climbed over $300 billion. The surge in the latter company's worth is being linked to today's Google I/O keynote, where the company showcased several new products, services, and features, such as unified messaging and a Galaxy S4 with stock Android.
Cellphone allegedly sends aircraft off course
An iPhone has been blamed for a navigation error during a commercial airline flight in 2011, fueling the ongoing debate surrounding in-flight device usage. According to a Bloomberg report, an unnamed regional airliner experienced compass malfunctions when climbing past 9,000 feet, sending the aircraft off course until a flight attendant asked a passenger to turn off an iPhone.