Google on Monday announced that the company would combine individual privacy policies from a variety of its products into one main policy. Critics of the change were worried that Google was now collecting more data than before, and the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee demanded answers. The Mountain View-based company has now responded to Congress and defended its decision to change the policy. Read on for more. More →
By now, you’ve no doubt seen the news: Google intends to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. What this will do is not only give Google access to Motorola’s vast patent library consisting of nearly 25,000 patents, but it will also give Google an end-to-end hardware and software strategy with smartphones, tablets and even with Google TV. The thing is, Google didn’t need to buy Motorola. Google could have just licensed the patents from Motorola. Google bought Motorola because it felt like control of the Android experience was slipping away. It’s apparent that one Nexus-like device from Google a year won’t be enough — MOTOBLUR has probably given Andy Rubin ulcers — and it’s apparent that a company that’s leading in many areas of the smartphone arena wants to control that entire experience. Open or not, it is Google’s, after all. Smartphones and tablets are also going to be the biggest categories in technology for the foreseeable future, and if you think Google is just going to play around with that, well, you obviously haven’t seen the company’s recent moves. Read on for more. More →
Nearly two and a half months after its networks were breached by the hacker group LulzSec, Sony will finish restoring its PlayStation Network later this week when it reactivates the service in Japan. According to Bloomberg, Sony has been working with the FBI to identify the LulzSec hackers who were responsible for the attack on its San Diego data centers, during which the hackers obtained account information for more than 100 million PlayStation Network users. Reportedly, LulzSec rented and used servers from Amazon.com’s cloud service to facilitate the attack. Sony CEO Howard Stringer apologized after the attacks and offered a year of identity theft protection to those affected by the breach, as well as a free month of access to PSN. More →
Consumers will spend $2.1 trillion on digital information and entertainment products in 2011, Gartner says
According to a new research report from Gartner, consumers are on track to spend a record $2.1 trillion on digital information and entertainment products this year. That figure is expected to hit $2.8 trillion by 2015. $1.2 trillion — 62% — is spent on subscription-based communication services such as mobile, voice, and data services, broadband packages, video services, online gaming, and cable TV subscriptions. $600 billion, 28% of the total $2.1 trillion, is spent on devices themselves, and 10% is spent on content such as computer software, video on-demand, and pay-per-view services. “The three key technology areas that will offer the best opportunity for vendors during the next three years are: wireless broadband, which will enable constant connectivity; location-based services (LBS), which will personalize and take advantage of the constant connected state; and operating systems, which are the foundation for integration applications that can bring it all together,” Mikako Kitagawa, principal research analyst at Gartner, said. Read on for the full release. More →
On Thursday, Groupon — the popular location-based coupon service — filed for an initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The start-up, which alerts 83 million email subscribers in 43 different countries of local deals that range from restaurant discounts to sailing lessons, hopes to raise $750 million in its IPO. “Expect us to make ambitious bets on our future that distract us from our current business,” Andrew Mason, Groupon’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Some bets we’ll get right, and others we’ll get wrong, but we think it’s the only way to continuously build disruptive products,” Mason added. Groupon launched in November, 2007, has more than 7,000 employees, and reported $645 million in revenues during Q1 2011. Hit the break for a letter from Mason that was included with the company’s filing. More →
Apple, a company many said had repeatedly delayed the development and launch of the iPhone for fear that it might cannibalize its iPod business, is now a “mobile devices company” with a smartphone that is undoubtedly its flagship device. Chief Executive Steve Jobs and Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook have both publicly acknowledged this major transition on several occasions, including on stage while unveiling the iPad and on earnings calls while speaking with analysts. Apple is growing at an unheard of pace and stockpiling mountains of cash, all thanks to its mobile business. Personal Computers, Apple’s core business for nearly 30 years, now play second fiddle to the company’s mobile devices in terms of both revenue and mind share. On the other side of the table, old rival Microsoft is doing all it can to regain its footing in the mobile space after letting its Windows Mobile platform grow stale and moldy. Windows Mobile’s replacement, Windows Phone, is still in its infancy but early reports have suggested adoption has been slow at best. So where does Microsoft go from here? More →
Sony on Tuesday stated that services associated with its PlayStation Network will be fully restored by the end of this week in all regions outside Japan, Hong Kong, and South Korea. Sony also said it would fully restore the Music Unlimited services tied to its Qriocity streaming music offering for the PlayStation 3, PSP and PCs. “We have been conducting additional testing and further security verification of our commerce functions in order to bring the PlayStation Network completely back online so that our fans can again enjoy the first class entertainment experience they have come to love,” said Kazuo Hirai, Sony’s Executive Deputy President, in a statement. “We appreciate the patience and support shown during this time.” Sony recently suffered a series of cyberattacks across various networks that exposed personal data belonging to over 100 million of the company’s customers. Sony is currently working with the FBI to identify the parties responsible for breaching its various digital networks. Hit the break for Sony’s full press release. More →
Sony has announced that it’s starting to bring its services back online after a major security breach leaked the credit card data and personal information of over a hundred million users. The first step for Sony’s PlayStation Network members is a firmware update that’s been issued for the PlayStation 3. After applying the patch, PS3 users will be prompted to change their PSN passwords. “Please note that these services will take a bit of time to be turned on and rolled out to the whole country,” the company said in a blog post Saturday. “The process has begun and some states are being turned on now, so please be patient as we reach your city and state.” More →
French blog Consomac has discovered an interesting bit of intel inside Apple’s latest developer build of Mac OS X Lion. The information insinuates that users of the company’s MobileMe cloud service will be prompted to upgrade to an offering dubbed “Castle” at some point in the future. It is unclear if Castle will be the new name of an expanded cloud-service offering — iCloud? — or rather the name of an update to the current service. The company’s World Wide Developer Conference is set to take place next month, and we’re sure most of the details will be ironed out by then. More →
Earlier today, Apple announced that it will be holding its annual Worldwide Developers Conference from June 6th to June 10th in San Francisco where it said that it will “unveil the future of iOS and Mac OS.” That suggests that Apple may stray from its usual schedule of announcing an updated iPhone during the show each year. “You get caught up in patterns, and it holds true, until it doesn’t,” Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with Gartner, told The Loop. “There is no reason for Apple to follow a predictable yearly pattern, and it keeps their competition off guard a little bit.” We’ll be honest, it would be pretty disappointing to many Apple fans if this deviation was true, but we’re skeptical. It makes perfect sense for Apple to announce the new hardware alongside an updated iOS platform with developers in the room. Why stray from what works? More →
In a statement released at 12:00AM ET this morning, T-Mobile announced that Microsoft’s Danger Services — the service that powers T-Mobile’s Sidekick — will be shutdown on May 31, 2011. The announcement was brief, and noted that T-Mo will be providing offers to Sidekick customers, incentivizing them to transition to a new device before the end of May. A web tool has been created that will allow users to export their personal data from the Danger service — including contacts, photos, calendar, notes, to-do lists, and bookmarks — for importation onto a new device. The full statement from T-Mobile is waiting for you after the break. More →
Apple announces Joint Venture to retail employees; looks to service small businesses at Apple Stores
On schedule and as we exclusively reported, Apple announced its Joint Venture service this weekend to Apple Store employees. The new offering aims to bring small business customers into retail stores, providing more business-centric and personalized services. Users can enroll in Joint Venture for an annual fee of $499. What does that steep fee get you? The fee covers up to five users (additional users can be added for $99 per person per year) and provides priority service at Apple’s Genius Bars (skip the line), phone support from business-focused Geniuses, loaner machines for repairs taking over 24-hours, and access to customized workshops. The new service is set to roll out beginning March 2nd.
It looks like AT&T is aiming to recapitalize on revenues generated from handset sales. Several third-party wireless resellers — including Wirefly — have reported that beginning this March, they will no longer offer AT&T devices or services. In a letter to customers, Wirefly CEO, Andy Zeinfeld, noted that his company is committed to providing great selection and savings along with straightforward pricing; something Mr. Zeinfeld said is no longer possible with AT&T.
“It is with regret that I must inform you that effective March, 2011, we will no longer offer AT&T products and services on Wirefly.com,” writes Mr. Zeinfeld.
Wirefly is not, however, the only one being put on AT&T probation. Online retailer LetsTalk sent out the following note to its affiliates:
Effective March 8th, 2011, LetsTalk as well as other web indirect agents [...], will no longer be able to offer AT&T Wireless as a carrier option to our customers. The primary reasons given for this change in AT&T’s business strategy were centered around AT&T cost savings and retrenchment.
It is still unclear how other independent, third-party retailers — like Amazon Wireless — will be affected; the “business strategy” that AT&T modified causing this third-party exodus is also unknown.
Wirefly declined to further comment on the situation and AT&T did not respond to BGR‘s request for a statement. More →