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Monthly Archives: December 2011
Eighteen months after landing like a bombshell on the desk of HP’s then-CEO, the letter alleging sexual harassment against Mark Hurd has finally seen the light of day. But, for HP’s long-suffering shareholders, this will do little to answer what remains the most important question: Was the company’s board right to force out its highly-regarded CEO? Read more
If 2010 was Apple’s year in personal technology, with the launch of the iPad and major redesigns for the iPhone, MacBook Air and Apple TV, it is harder to call the winners of 2011, with Apple happy with incremental updates and the competition still striving to catch up.
Left to its own devices, Apple might never have come up with the iPod. The now-ubiquitous music player was the brainchild of one Tony Fadell, a former employee of Philips, whose concept failed to raise sufficient funding, prompting him to hawk it around established corporates.
Less game-changing innovations also owe their existence to outsiders. The military came up trumps when a microwave manufacturer wanted to develop methods of heating more evenly – the soldiers’ system had been tried and tested with blood plasma on the battlefields.
Karsten Nohl, the celebrity mobile cryptography expert, has been at it again. Two years ago he caused a stir by showing that the secret code that protects GSM mobile handsets was easy to crack, leaving phone calls open to interception by third parties.
This year, he is due to show that handsets can also be hijacked to make unauthorised calls and send text messages, running up huge bills without their owners’ knowledge. GSM networks, which are vulnerable to this flaw, are used by around 80 per cent of the world’s mobile users. Read more
Samsung’s scatter-gun approach to screen sizes for its smartphones and tablets, with versions ranging from 3in to 10in, suggests a company looking for the right formula as much as one sympathetic to consumers’ varying needs.
With the 5.3in screen of the Galaxy Note, Samsung thinks it has finally found the middle ground; a happy medium for consumers who want to carry just one device, rather than both a smartphone and a tablet and whatever other portable gadget they pick up on their way out. It costs £500 in the UK; a US launch has yet to be announced. Read more
Ten years ago, a typical 17-year old girl in Scott Thompson’s neighbourhood south of San Francisco would have spent Saturdays hanging out at the shopping mall with friends, says the 54-year old father of three. Today, his own daughter of that age “never, ever, ever” sets foot there of her own accord.
“My wife in fact has to drag her to get her to go to the mall this time of year to help her buy stuff for friends and relatives. She just doesn’t want to do it,” Mr Thompson says. Read more
BlackBerry maker Research In Motion has become the centre of bid speculation. The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft and Nokia had, in recent months, considered the idea of making a joint bid for RIM, people familiar with the matter told the newspaper. Meanwhile, Reuters says that online retailer Amazon had hired an investment bank in the summer to review a potential merger, but did not make a formal offer. Read more
When Thierry Breton, chief executive of Atos, said the IT services company would ban use of internal email by 2014, it caused a sensation across the media, with commentators describing the idea as either “brave”, “stupid” or doomed to failure.
But in fact, a number of companies have been quietly moving away from using email as the primary way of communicating within the company. Read more
Video game software sales this holiday season have been driven by hardcore gamers buying the latest sequels such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 or Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, but there are some innovative and family-focused titles out there and new ways of viewing them.
Zynga employees showed up for work in their hundreds at least three hours early on Friday – encouragement perhaps for all its new shareholders on its opening day on the market that the social gaming company is already working hard to provide a return on their investment.
However, the 5am start was more of an excuse to celebrate Zynga’s IPO – the Nasdaq had moved its “opening bell” button for the start of trading to Zynga HQ – the first time it had come to San Francisco for such a ceremony. Read more