Tag: report

Microsoft beats Apple in Tablet sales

SurfaceMembers of the Tame Apple Press were grasping their chests and screaming blue murder over the weekend after it was revealed that Apple was being beaten in Tablet sales by Microsoft.

Vole has been making tablets for ages, but no one actually noticed until Apple reintroduced the keyboard-less notepad under its own fruity label in 2010.

Microsoft’s technology was totally eclipsed. The tablet market has been sliding, as owners realised that a keyboard-less netbook was a chocolate teapot of tech, Microsoft’s tablets have come into fashion – thanks mostly to the fact that

Apple resorted to producing the same sort of tablet for a much higher price.
According to a report, “1010data Facts for Ecom Insights, January 2014 – October 2015” by the 1010data Ecom Insights Panel, Microsoft has assumes the mantle of best-selling tablet maker in terms of online sales in October.

What is worrying for Jobs’ Mob in the report, which analyses online hardware sales at the majority of online retailers, is that October was the first month when Apple didn’t lead the market:

Apparently Microsoft has been making steady progress in tablet market share but saw a huge spike in October with the release of the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4.

The Surface Book and Surface Book 4 were both introduced at Microsoft’s October 6 hardware event. This confirms that Windows 10 tablet and hybrid sales are having a significant impact on the market and cleaning Apple’s clock.

Overall online tablet sales have shown some spikes, influenced by a few key product releases including the Surface Pro 3, the iPad Mini 4, and the Surface Pro 4:

Apple maintains a healthy lead in terms of online tablet sales, but Microsoft is in a strong second place position.

What appears that happened was that Jobs’ Mob was aware of this and introduced its Surface clone the iPad Pro in response to Microsoft’s success.

Meanwhile this has caused huge problems for the Tame Apple Press which had written off Microsoft years ago and cast Google and Samsung as the cargo cult’s worst enemies.

NSA can hack your smartphone

The German press has discovered that the NSA has had the power to hack into smartphones, including the so-called super-secure Blackberry.

Top secret NSA documents seen by der Spiegel said iPhones, BlackBerry devices and Google’s Android mobile operating system are all able to be hacked.

Apparently the NSA can take contact lists, SMS traffic, notes and location information about where a user has been.

The NSA has set up working groups to tackle each operating system, to gain secret access to the data held on the phones.

According to der Spiegel, the agency is particularly proud of how much data it can get out of an Apple iPhone and how they can use this to hack the computer they sync with.

The weapons of choice are “scripts” which enable additional access to at least 38 iPhone features.

Blackberrys have been hackable since 2009, where agents could see and read SMS traffic.

Briefly the NSA lost this ability after the Canadian company changed the way it compresses its data. Fortunately for the US, Britain’s GCHQ intelligence agency regained access to BlackBerry data and told them how it did it.

The cache of documents also reveals that the NSA has succeeded in accessing the BlackBerry mail system, which was known to be very secure.

This could mark a huge setback for the company, which has always claimed that its mail system is uncrackable. 

NSA spying is costing big business big money

US politicians are expected to retreat from their obsession with spying on citizens after it was revealed that the biggest losers were actually corporations.

Since the so-called Land of the Free overthrew its lawful king in a French backed terrorist coup, most of the country’s major decisions have been made to prop up businesses and corporate culture.

Snooping on citizens is more of a knee jerk reaction against terrorism which was, in itself, a smoke screen for poor economic performance by the last two presidents.

Now it seems that the snooping is getting in the way of the US’s number one priority of protecting big business from real life.

It turns out that the NSA surveillance programmes are very damaging for the American technology industry.

A report by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation said that companies that provide cloud computing services stand to lose as much as $35 billion over the next three years unless Congress takes action to alleviate the fears of American people that they are being snooped on.

Cloud computing and storage companies are being seen as the saviour for business and the economy. The industry is growing fast and is expected to be a $207 billion business by 2016.

But, to the NSA, putting the material on the cloud is a bit like shoving all the personal information in one place where it can be easily collected. While that makes life easier for the spooks, it makes companies less likely to go with cloud stuff.

Big business is unhappy with the idea of being spied on as much as your Average Joe.

At the moment it is US companies that dominate the international cloud computing market. Normally that would mean that piles of foreign cash would be rolling into the US from foreign parts.

However, Daniel Castro of ITIF, is now warning that foreign companies are not trusting American cloud computer companies and he thinks that US cloud companies will lose anywhere from 10 percent to 20 percent of the market to international rivals.

This will represent a loss of $22 billion to $35 billion.

Already 10 percent of international companies surveyed have already cancelled a project that used a cloud computing service based in the US and 56 percent of companies surveyed are “less likely” to use a US based cloud computing service.

It also seems that 36 percent of US companies surveyed said they have found it “more difficult” to do business outside of the country because of NSA spying.

When you factor all that in, firms are almost certain to remind their sock puppets that this spying lark is going to have to stop – or at least have it toned down a little. It does not matter if occasionally someone blows something up in the name of their terror campaign, so long as US business is not harmed. 

NSA spied on thousands of Americans

A report published in the Washington Post  released some top secret documents about how the National Security Agency (NSA) illegally collects surveillance on Americans, thousands of times per year.

Most of the May 2012 audit is a catalogue of cock-ups where the NSA collected data by accident due to analyst and programming errors.

But in one case the phone records of more than 3,000 US citizens were stored despite the fact that the NSA had been ordered to shred them by a surveillance court.

All up, the audit reported 2,776 cases where the NSA broke its own privacy rules.

In one situation, the spooks mistook the US area code (202) for Washington, DC and the international dialling code for Egypt. As a result, they snooped on a “large number” of domestic American phone calls.

In another case, the NSA mixed US and foreign emails that it collected from tapping into a fibre-optic cable that passes through the United States. It wanted to keep the emails and told the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) that it couldn’t filter out which emails belonged to Americans.

The court said that the email collection effort must stop and it was “deficient on statutory and constitutional grounds”.

The audit appears to have been provided to the paper a few months ago by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The report was only supposed to be seen by the NSA’s top brass and no politicians ever saw it.

More information is expected to be released soon. Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian reporter who has published the most information based on Snowden’s leaks, is still working on a pile of them and tweeted that he will be releasing them soon. 

Intel calls for increased internet awareness for women in developing countries

Intel is calling for more support to help double the number of women accessing the net in developing countries, in a bid to boost job prospects and drive economies.  

In a report, which was compiled from surveys and interviews with around 2,200 women in Mexico, Egypt, India and Uganda, the chipmaker found that many women in these countries already depend on the internet to find and apply for jobs, so increasing access could help boost the economy.

However, Intel, which carried out the report with the United Nations and the US State Department, found that women in these areas were not using the internet to its full potential, with only a quarter going online compared to men.

This gave rise to a “second digital divide” that needs to be closed, the company said.  

According to Intel, there are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, women themselves did not think it was “appropriate” for them to access the net, as a result of the cost involved in getting connected. Illiteracy among women, as well as lack of awareness of the changes that being connected could make, were also cited as factors.

The report, according to Reuters, said that although 600 million women in developing countries – around 21 percent – were already online, with a further 450 million expected to join them by 2016, more could be done to increase this figure by 150 million.

To do this, the chip maker is calling for change in women’s online behaviour over the next three years. It wants technology companies to get involved, calling on them to make internet access easier, and in some cases free, on mobile phones.

Policymakers are also been called upon to increase digital literacy among women.

Despite 79 percent of people in the US having access to the internet, compared to 11 percent of men and women in India, Intel said there was still a gap when it came to internet access in rural American areas.

Shelly Esque, a vice president for the chipmaker and president of its educational foundation, said that the internet was a key technology and knowing how to use it is vital. Esque cited the Egypt uprising as an area where access to information online can mean a world of difference.

Intel also believes that women having increased access to the internet could add between $50 billion and $70 billion in potential new market opportunities.

Google blasted by RIAA

Search engine Google has been blasted by the RIAA for not doing enough to stop piracy.

A year ago Google said that it would take four specific anti-piracy steps including responding to takedowns quicker, removing piracy-related terms from autocomplete, make it harder for infringing sites to participate in AdSense, and make it easier to find ‘legitimate content’ in search results.

A year on the RIAA has issued what it calls its report card on what it thinks is Google’s slow progress towards making this happen.

In the report, the RIAA claims that Google’s efforts are “incomplete.” It’s important to understand what the RIAA means by this because it gives a clear indication about what it really wants.

The group moans that if you type in a torrent related phrase,  the autocomplete still gives you answers instead of automatically stunning you, calling the police and ordering an airstrike on your location.

It thinks that Google should prioritise sites which sell RIAA blessed material over “unauthorised sites”. This sounds harmless enough but Google would be justified in pointing out that gives the RIAA power to decide which of its members should be at the top of any search.

It added that Google “needs to be more proactive” about blocking infringing sites from using Google’s AdSense advertising program. At the moment if the RIAA sees a site it does not like, it has to go through all the bother of sending a take down notice to Google. What it would like is for Google to censor its own results by psychically working out what the RIAA doesn’t like and taking it down without it asking. This would save the RIAA all the bad press when it fingers the wrong site such as it did in the recent Megaupload and Hotfile SNAFUs.

But the report moans the most about Google’s promise to respond quickly to takedown requests.

While Google kept its promise to provide faster takedowns in its Blogger and search sections, it does not censor Android Marketplace. The RIAA claims that it does not adequately screen apps before accepting them in its app store. It also complains that apps removed from the Marketplace aren’t automatically blacklisted from AdSense and Google Wallet.

What the RIAA fails to point out is that Google does not have to actually do anything to help it at all, as Ars Technica points out.

The big word that the RIAA keeps using is “proactive”, which seems to mean do what we want without us having to tell you, or go to court.

Big Content does have some success in getting people to do its job for it. Thanks to those nice people in Congress, the FBI has been arresting people the RIAA has fingered as pirates. In some cases perfectly legitimate sites have been offline while the mess gets sorted out.

Even if Google wanted to become the RIAA’s chum it would be tricky. The Report moans that Google “raises alarmist, self-serving criticism to any legislative proposal to deter or thwart rampant copyright infringement.”

Google has probably worked out that the RIAA is never going to be friendly to it. While it touts voluntary codes, the RIAA is dismissive of Google’s own efforts. It is probably better for the search engine to obey the law rather than go down the rather messy road of trying to butter up Big Content.

When reading the report card you can’t help but see the not-so veiled threats against the search engine: “Despite its steps, the simple fact is that Google continues to both (i) receive financial benefits from sites and applications that engage in piracy and (ii) place artificial road blocks in rights holders’ efforts to protect their content online, contrary to the DMCA,” which sounds to us like a court brief where the prosecution outlines the “charges”. 

Apple customer satisfaction under threat

Apple is the leader in customer call satisfaction, according to a tech support report by consumer experience firm Vocalabs, but it has been getting worse at resolving problems and is rating lower on interactive voice response (IVR) satisfaction.

66 percent of Apple customers said they were satisfied with the customer service call they had, ahead of 51 percent for HP and 49 percent for Dell

We imagine none of these “satisfied” customers were victims of the Antennagate scandal, which saw many iPhone 4 users unable to make calls because they were, against all common sense, holding their mobile phones.

Of course, satisfaction might be high because Apple trains its tech support to cover up the problems in its products. The iPhone 4 antenna debacle is a perfect example. A leaked memo to customer support staff showed that Apple knew there was a problem, but told its staff to deny it at all costs and keep any free bumpers under wraps.

Only 60 percent of Apple customers said that their problem was resolved immediately, down 7 points from the previous rating of 67 percent got the first half of 2010.

Over a third of Apple customers, 35 percent, reported problems with the IVR, a big increase in automated response annoyance compared to the figure of 21 percent in the same period of 2009. In comparison, Dell and HP’s IVR satisfaction was up.

Traditionally Apple has been seen by many as top for customer satisfaction score but this is quickly changing. The gap between Apple, Dell and HP is narrowing.

Developers flocking to Android tablets – report

Developers are flocking to Android tablets in droves, closing the gap with Apple’s leading iPad, according to a report by Appcelerator and market research firm IDC.

The Mobile Developer Report surveyed 2,235 Appcelerator Titanium developers in January on changing priorities and development plans for the mobile industry in 2011.

The report found that Google is nigh on neck and neck with Apple in the smartphone market thanks to a highly successful year in 2010 and that it is making major moves to repeat its success in the tablet market as well.

Developer interest in Android smartphones was up 5 percent to 87 percent, just 5 points short of the iPhone’s 92 percent developer mindshare. Many iPhone developers revealed that they were torn between choosing Android or the iPad, suggesting that there is no clear loyalty to iOS.

Windows Phone 7 also saw some growth from 28 percent to 36 percent developer interest.

In the last report in September 2010 84 percent of developers asked said they were interested in developing applications for the iPad. This month that figure has grown to 87 percent.

In September 62 percent of developers wanted to write apps for Android tablets, but that figure is now 74 percent, a substantially bigger increase than that seen by the iPad, mirroring similar fast growth for Android in the smartphone sector. Part of the reason for this huge rise is likely to be Google’s revelations about Android 3.0, Honeycomb, which caters more for tablets than previous versions.

RIM’s PlayBook also saw some increased attention, up from 16 percent to 28 percent, suggesting that the BlackBerry OS could be onto a minor comeback in the tablet arena. WebOS tablets were also on the radar for some 16 percent of developers.

The leading factor that affects developers decisions to work on Android tablets is cost, with 57 percent picking that option. 49 percent wanted less fragmentation, while 33 percent were impressed with Android 3.0’s capabilities.

Developers wanted several new features to be added to the iPad 2, such as cameras, a USB connector and a better retina display.

82 percent of developers wanted to distribute their apps through the Android Market, but 37 percent were interested in using Amazon’s Android Appstore.

One area that Google and Apple both lost in was the smart TV market, with developer interest falling 11 points to 33 percent for Google TV and 10 points to 30 percent for Apple TV. Clearly both companies need to make major efforts in this area if it is to take off like smartphones and tablets.

Unified communications market to double by 2014

The unified communications market in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) is forecast to more than double over the next four years, according to the latest report by the International Data Corporation (IDC).

The market for unified communications in EMEA was worth $8 billion in 2010, but this figure will jump to $16.6 billion by 2014.

Isabel Montero, senior research analyst of unified communications and collaboration at IDC, said that companies are continuing to be cautious with IT spending due to the economic downturn and that budgets will continue to be monitored, restricted or delayed until there’s more confidence in the market. Despite this, the unified communications market will see moderate growth over the next few years.

Growth is expected to speed up closer to 2014, led by small and medium sized businesses. It is expected that these will opt for outsourcing their unified communications and that there will be a rise in cloud-based services in this area to cater for demand. Managed services are also likely to increase.

A significant rise in mergers and acquisitions is also on the cards, according to IDC, due to strong competition between legacy vendors looking to come up with approaches to unified communications that better suit an “open source ecosystem”.

Snow saps online buys over Yuletide

Consumer confidence in the online market in the UK dropped over the Christmas period thanks to economic fears and gifts that did not arrive due to severe snow, according to a report by consumer research firm Intersperience.

£245 million ($382 million) less was spent over the holiday period in 2010 compared to 2009, with 40 percent of shoppers revealing that the weak economy has forced them to be more cautious with their spending.

Heavy snow brought many shoppers online, with a 35 percent increase in internet sales, but the majority of people encountered big problems with buying online that may make them think twice about it for Christmas 2011.

A whopping 68 percent of people experienced problems with purchasing things online, while one in six of the gifts people ordered online never arrived in time. A further 11 percent received the wrong items, further aggravating their online experience.

“The majority of those that went online looking for a bargain or to beat the snow had a problem of some kind,” said Paul Hudson, CEO of Intersperience. “Overall, online retailing failed to live up to people’s expectations and the problems they faced receiving orders put them off further internet purchases.”

The result of this was a massive confidence drop, with 25 percent of people deciding to spend less online, which could have a big impact on sales next Christmas.