The iPhone is staging a major comeback in China… and that’s before Apple has sold even one smartphone through the country’s largest wireless carrier. New data from Counterpoint Research show that Apple’s iPhone has seen a major resurgence in China over the past couple of months as its market share in the country has jumped from under 5% in September 2013 to around 12% in October 2013. This surge in iPhone sales, which unsurprisingly coincided with the launch of the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c, vaulted Apple from sixth place all the way up to third place in just the span of a month. More →
Earlier this week we brought you the harrowing tale of a man who tried to get his burnt Galaxy S4 replaced but was told by Samsung that he needed to keep quiet about it before they’d send him a new device. wp-Hub points out that Nokia has now graciously/opportunistically offered to fill the hole left by the man’s scorched Galaxy S4 smartphone by offering him a free Lumia device with no strings attached, which is probably the strategy that Samsung should have used instead of sending him a letter asking him to take down his YouTube video of the burnt Galaxy S4. Nokia says it wants to send the man a Lumia so he can “experience how customer service should really work.”
The Start menu really does look like it’ll be making a comeback in the next version of Windows. ZDNet confirms a report from Paul Thurrott earlier this week that Microsoft plans to bring back the Start menu to a future version of Windows 8. ZDNet doesn’t yet know whether the Start menu will come in a Windows 8.1-style update or whether it will be part of the larger “Threshold” update that’s on track to release in early 2015. All the same, ZDNet says that the Start menu is definitely on Microsoft’s radar especially because it doesn’t want Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 users to hold off on upgrading their PCs to Windows 8 because they’re worried about the new platform’s learning curve. More →
Under constant pressure and foot-stamping from copyright holders, Google has implemented a new system within YouTube that automatically flags videos that may contain copyrighted material. The trouble, as Computer and Video Games reports, is that the new system is flagging a lot of gamers’ “Let’s Play” videos where they give multipart walkthroughs of popular video games overlapped with their own commentary. While such videos may technically violate gaming companies’ intellectual property rights, game publishers have long tolerated and even encouraged them since they’re great ways to promote games online.
If nothing else, Google Fiber has helped create a more competitive broadband landscape in the limited markets where it’s launched. AT&T on Wednesday announced that it’s now offering U-Verse subscribers in Austin, Texas a new service called GigaPower that can deliver peak speeds of 300Mbps. AT&T also says that it will bump up speeds to a full 1Gbps sometime next year and that it won’t charge users any more per month when it implements this dramatic speed boost. More →
Apple faces some major obstacles in its ambitions to conquer China — it’s had to deal with both Samsung spamming out gadgets left and right and also upstart Chinese vendors such as Xiaomi that have been pumping out smartphones with strong specs at dirt-cheap prices. And now it looks like Xiaomi is planning on cutting into Apple’s tablet business as well because Nowhereelse.fr has spotted leaked pictures posted on Chinese social networking website Weibo that purportedly show the Xiaomi MiPad, a new tablet that the Chinese vendor will probably sell for the same stunningly low prices that it’s used to make its smartphones such a success in its homeland. More →
Whatever else you might think about Steve Ballmer’s reign at Microsoft, there’s no doubt that he’s helped the company maintain its position as an absolute cash cow with a thriving enterprise software and services business. In an interview with Fortune, the outgoing Microsoft chief distills his philosophy as CEO into five simple words repeated three times: “How do you make money? How do you make money? How do you make money?” More →
It’s been a few months since we’ve had an Apple-related labor rights controversy but the death of a teenage Pegatron worker seems to have done the trick. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that iPhone 5c manufacturer Pegatron has come under fire after one of its workers, 15-year-old Shi Zhaokun, died of pneumonia this past October. Pegatron claimed that its workplace environment wasn’t responsible for the young worker’s death even as it acknowledged that “several other young workers at the factory had also died in the past few months,” The Sydney Morning Herald says. Activist group China Labor Watch isn’t buying into Pegatron’s explanation, however, and says that “considering the sudden deaths of five people and the similar reason of the deaths, we believe there should be some relations between the tragedy and the working conditions in the factory.”
There are no losers (except Nintendo) in the epic Microsoft-Sony console war so far. Microsoft’s Xbox Live programming director Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb announced on Wednesday that Microsoft has now sold 2 million Xbox One consoles in the two-and-a-half weeks since its November 22nd launch. In hitting the 2 million sales mark, Microsoft has kept pace with Sony, which announced last week that it has sold roughly 2.1 million PlayStation 4 consoles so far. Given that Sony had a one-week head start over Microsoft because it launched the PlayStation 4 on November 15th, it’s fair to say that neither company has emerged as a clear winner in the early stages of the next-generation console wars.
It’s taken a while but 2014 looks like the year when Windows tablets will finally break through. Barron’s points us to a new survey of American and European CIOs conducted by Bernstein Research showing that “81% of CIOs issue/plan to issue Windows tablets, up dramatically from 56% six months ago, and nearly in line with iPads.” This is particularly important for Microsoft because the rise in corporate interest for Windows tablets has coincided with a collapse in corporate interest for Android tablets: According to Bernstein, only 15% of CIOs surveyed said that they’ve issued or plan to issue Android tablets. An upswing in demand in Windows tablets would dovetail nicely with the growth Microsoft has seen in Windows Phone sales this year, which has helped the company firmly establish Windows Phone as the world’s No. 3 mobile platform provider.
We learned earlier this week that Microsoft will reportedly bring back its dearly departed Start menu to Windows 8.2, a change that will come as welcome news for many desktop users who feel isolated by some of the changes the company has made to its signature operating system. And now Paul Thurrott at Windows IT Pro has written in greater detail about how Microsoft’s vision for Windows 8.2 is all about making desktop fans happy again… and it goes way beyond bringing back the Start menu. More →
Although Microsoft is a much larger company than Nokia with a bigger workforce and more resources, it seems that the one-time Finnish dynamo has managed to completely trump Microsoft when it comes to building a top-notch tablet display. DisplayMate president Raymond Soneira, whom we last saw trashing the Retina iPad mini’s display, writes that the display on the Nokia Lumia 2520 is superior to the display of Microsoft’s Surface 2 tablet in just about every way in terms of brightness, contrast and overall color gamut. More →
Bing may not be making any money for Microsoft but it seems to be doing wonders for Yahoo. Bloomberg reports that Microsoft’s payouts to Yahoo in exchange for using Bing as its search engine accounted for 31% of its revenue last quarter, a surprisingly high number given that Yahoo before would only say that the Bing payouts accounted for more than 10% of its revenue. The 31% of revenue figure is also surprising because of a report we read in The Wall Street Journal earlier this year that claimed Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was itching to back out of the Bing deal because “Yahoo’s revenue per search has been worse under the Microsoft deal than when it operated its own Web-search technology and advertising system.”