Tag: warning

Nokia sales warning hits suppliers

Nokia’s shares have plummeted, following a warning that sales for the quarter are likely to be well short of the €6.6 billion it was predicting, and causing a knock-on effect on the company’s suppliers.

While Nokia’s still the biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world, its market share is falling. And its announcement that it’s to discontinue the Symbian operating system has been seen as a little premature, given that it still has to bring any Windows Phone models to market. It expects to start shipping these in the fourth quarter this year.

In the meantime, the company says, operating margins from April to June will be “substantially below” the six to nine percent it was previously forecasting.

And the announcement is bad news, too, for Nokia’s suppliers. The company’s one of the biggest customers for chipmaker CSR, for example, and is now one of the biggest losers on the FTSE exchange.

According to Reuters, Numis analysts have now slashed their recommendation on the company from “buy” to “add”.

“CSR should benefit from some other customers like Samsung gaining share from Nokia and RIM in smartphones, however this is not likely to completely offset the severe pressure in the feature phone category, where CSR generates the majority of its handset revenues,” it says.

ARM, too, is feeling the pain. Its shares have also dived, and are now hovering at around 557p. This’ll be a big disappointment for the company, one would imagine, as it must have hoped that this week’s sneak preview of  Windows 8 – which will run on ARM’s architecture – would have given things a bit of a boost.

Pope gives his blessing to social media

The Pope has given his blessing to social networking today, allowing the guilt-ridden Twits among us to relax a little now that our previously unholy posting of status updates has been finally given a papal nod of approval.

To celebrate World Communications Day, the Pope delivered an encyclical entitled “Truth, proclamation and authenticity of life in the digital age,” which said that there was a “extraordinary potential” offered in social networking, but showing that he hasn’t lost his knack for criticising the actions of the average person while being unable to control many of the priests under his authority, he also warned of the “risks” that the likes of Facebook and Twitter have to offer.

Social networkers must be wary of a number of new Deadly Digital Sins™, such as one-sidedness, false representation of oneself, excessive digital exposure, and self-indulgence. While not explicitly stating it, we imagine the penalty for such sinful tweeting is eternal damnation in an undisclosed fiery location that prevents communication in less than 141 characters.

He also warned of the danger of having more internet friends than real friends, which, if you look at the average Facebook profile, accounts for the majority of users. Benedict does not have a Facebook page himself, but if he did it’s likely he wouldn’t have to worry about having too many virtual friends.

“It is important always to remember that virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact with people at every level of our lives,” Benedict said. After all, if you spend too much time online you won’t be going to Church.

The Pope, who starred in a number of Star Wars movies before his papacy (not really), said that we must all be “authentic and faithful” in the presentation of ourselves online and “not give in to the illusion of constructing an artificial public profile for oneself.” The Real Steve Jobs probably doesn’t approve of this message.

Benedict previously approved of blogging by Catholics and admitted that there were many benefits to social networking, such as opening up “new horizons” of communication, but the numerous warnings suggest that the Catholic Church remains on guard against the constant criticism levelled at it over recent years for its numerous failings, many of which have been significantly highlighted through the use of social networking itself.

The full papal message can be read here.

FAST furious with judicial review of Digital Economy Act

The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) has heavily criticised ISPs for fighting the Digital Economy Act, suggesting they’re only in it for the money.

BT and TalkTalk succeeded in getting the High Court to grant a judicial review of the Act, which calls for a graduated warning system for those accused of illegal file-sharing. This has angered many organisations working to prevent intellectual property theft, with FAST leading the charge, accusing the ISPs of working towards their own “agendas”.

“The underlying issue here is not that the Act was pushed through Parliament in the so-called ‘wash-up’ period, but that the ISPs are trying to use this as a fig-leaf for their own agendas,” said John Lovelock, Chief Executive of FAST.

It appears a little hypocritical to harp on about ISPs having an agenda while leading an organisation that is about putting an end to software theft. To suggest that FAST does not have an agenda in backing the Digital Economy Act and, in its own words, “lambasting” the ISPs who object to the questionable sections of the Act, raises eyebrows.

Lovelock called the judicial review a “last ditch attempt” by the ISPs to protect their financial interests, but the ISPs say that the Act was rushed and treats larger ISPs unfairly, since only those with over 400,000 customers are subject to the laws. It is likely that illegal file-sharers will simply join the smaller ISPs to continue downloading away, which will hardly bring about the renaissance of genuine file purchases that FAST is expecting.

FAST cited research that suggested as much as 70 percent of file-sharers would stop sharing files if they received a warning letter, leaving only “the serious, serial infringers to deal with”. 

In other words, they are attacking people who might download one or two songs illegally and ignoring the people who make money from the illegal sharing of files or actively leak them in the first place.

FAST also did not state where this research came from until TechEye got in touch, when it was revealed that media law firm Wiggins conducted the report, which suggests 80 percent of filesharers would cease their activities if they received a letter. 

The thing is – of course the majority of people sharing files illegally are going to stop when they receive a threatening letter. If a person is made aware that they are being watched they are going to try to be on their best behaviour, and if an organisation brandishes legal threats most people will buckle without question.

“It was always our hope that the graduated response provisions of this Act will be proportionate and drive traffic towards legitimate downloads. What can be wrong with that?” said Lovelock.

“FAST has consistently called for behaviour change. We know that when people are challenged, they change their behaviour. An inevitable part of the legislative framework must discourage people from taking the illicit route.”

The problem is that the Digital Economy Act seeks to harry and punish suspected file-sharers, which pushes the affair into greyer territory. With weak provisions for appeals in place most people will be unwilling to contest that they are being wrongly accused, allowing authorities to effectively bully all and sundry into compliance, whether or not there was any need to comply in the first place.

FAST did not take kindly to us questioning the morally grey points that the Act brings up. It said that the judicial review that the ISPs have sought is simply “to halt the legal requirements placed on them to report misuse,” as opposed to there being a problem with the Act iself.

FAST also hailed the ACTA framework, which is currently being drafted and covers intellectual property theft, including illegal file-sharing, on a global scale. Countries must sign up to ACTA on a voluntary basis, but many of the world’s powers, including the US and European Union are members of the consortium.

While negotiations on ACTA are still ongoing, several potential breaches of privacy have appeared already, including suggestions that MP3 players and PCs should be checked at borders, which has not going down well with Bitkom or the Free Software Foundation.

FAST told us that ACTA could “help rights holders in the UK and other member states.” It is probably hoping that ACTA fills the void that may be created if the Digital Economy Act is found to not up to scratch in the judicial review.

Woman gets knocked down and sues Google

A woman is suing Google because she was knocked down while following directions given by Google Maps.

Lauren Rosenberg, of Park City, Utah, has filed a case against the search giant in the US District Court’s Central Division, as well as against the driver, Patrick Harwood, who actually hit her. Harwood and Google are being lumped together in the same case as co-conspirators, and Rosenberg wants at least $100,000 for blindly leaping where Google bade her go.

The accident happened on January 19, 2009 when Rosenberg used Google Maps on her Blackberry smartphone to get directions for walking from 96 Daly Street to 1710 Prospector Avenue, both in Park City. The problem is that part of the route, in particular Deer Valley Drive, lacks a footpath, making it dangerous for pedestrians.

So, clearly it’s Google’s fault for providing that route. The way we see it, Google could have a) provided a longer route that made sure of footpaths, if such a thing exists, b) not given any route at all in case it might kill people, or c) built some footpaths for the venerable Rosenberg.

The prosecution said that “as a direct and proximate cause of Defendant Google’s careless, reckless, and negligent providing of unsafe directions, Plaintiff Laren Rosenberg was led onto a dangerous highway, and was thereby stricken by a motor vehicle.”

However, Google Maps does provide a warning at the top of its directions, which reads:

“Walking directions are in beta.
Use caution – This route may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths.”

Let’s face it, though. Rosenberg is an adult. If there was no footpath to walk on, she should have had the common sense not to walk in the middle of the road. Even if Google Maps provides inaccurate directions that may lead to a more dangerous route, it’s up the person themselves to actually walk it. If someone was to ask a passerby how to get from A to B and then got knocked down following those directions, would that helpful person be prosecuted? Google didn’t exactly lead her into quicksand.

Google’s working on some cool technology, but it seems ‘eyes’ aren’t quite outdated just yet.

Google Maps used to advise people who wanted to get from America to the UK to “Swim across the Atlantic Ocean”. It should be thanking its lucky stars Rosenberg didn’t ready herself at the British coast with a set of armbands.