Monthly Archives: February 2012

Maija Palmer

Skolkovo FoundationA delegation from Russia’s proposed ‘Silicon Valley’ development, Skolkovo, came to the UK this week in an effort to persuade UK businesses to invest in the high-tech hub being built on the outskirts of Moscow.

They faced awkward questions, however, about the political landscape that companies might face if they transferred operations to Russia. Denis MacShane, Labour MP for Rotherham, wrote to Lord Green, the trade minister, criticising the UK’s Department of Trade and Industry for hosting the conference, and pointing to the difficulties that many UK companies had faced in Russia. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Anticipation is building that Apple will unveil a new iPad within the next month with significant upgrades, including faster 4G wireless networking and a high-resolution Retina display.

A string of rumours and reports have helped to push Apple’s stock above the $500 mark for the first time – making each Apple share more expensive than the iPad itself. Read more

A list of hacked private data belonging to 537 customers, posted anonymously on the internet on Friday led Dutch telecoms company KPN to shut down email access for two million clients for two days while it reinforced security, writes Matt Steinglass in Amsterdam.
But it soon turned out that the hacked data didn’t come from KPN at all; it came from an online baby-products store called Baby-Dump (baby-dump.nl).

 Read more

Richard Waters

It’s the weekend. What better time to pour a glass of wine, put your feet up and settle back with… a 9,000-word blog post about the future of Windows?

Not this post (which comes in at a mere 300 words) – this one, from Steven Sinofsky, which lays out Microsoft’s plans for bringing Windows to ARM-based mobile devices. But don’t worry: there’s no reason to read the whole thing to see why it’s got Microsoft-watchers buzzing. Read more

This week, Path, the social networking app, faced criticism for storing users’ information after Arun Thampi, a developer, discovered his iPhone’s address book was uploaded to Path’s servers without his permission.

While Dave Morin, CEO of Path, apologised in a post and vowed to delete the contacts from Path’s servers, tech commentators debated how iOS developers and Apple should deal with access to user data. Read more

At the exact same time Facebook filed for its IPO last week, Burning Man, the iconic counter-culture art festival held annually in the Nevada desert, began announcing the results of its first-ever, ill-fated ticket lottery system.

Designed to overcome the computer glitches and server crashes that beleaguered the 2011 ticket sale, the 2012 random lottery system succeeded mainly in infuriating long-time Burning Man participants, about 70 per cent of whom did not get tickets. Read more

It is a measure of how far streaming digital music services have come that Daniel Ek, co-founder of Spotify, could be feted by a room full of music industry lawyers during Grammy Awards week.

Ek, the keynote speaker at the Entertainment Law Initiative event at the Beverly Hills Hotel, hinted at the industry’s initial resistance when he pointed out that he had started Spotify in 2006 and it had taken him two years to launch in Europe and a full five years before it hit the US market last July. Read more

Chris Nuttall

For anyone seeking holes in Activision’s seemingly bulletproof Call of Duty franchise, there was a chink in the armour exposed in NPD US January sales figures released late on Thursday.

Sales fell nearly 50 per cent year-on-year for the world’s best-selling video game in 2011 – that’s comparing the performance of the latest in the franchise – Modern Warfare 3 – with its predecessor, Black Ops.

 Read more

Maija Palmer

The small detail in a planning application has led to speculation that Google might be opening its first retail store, at its European headquarters in Dublin.

Google is revamping the Montevetro office block on Dublin’s Barrow Street, and the plans submitted to Dublin City Council include a provision f0r some retail space in a snazzy new, attention-grabbing mezzanine development. Could this be an experiment by Google to see if a physical store – where they could demonstrate the workings of Chromebooks, or display Android phones – would work for them? Read more

Audio technica

It used to be difficult and costly to convert music on vinyl records, cassette tape recordings or photographic prints and transparencies into digital files, but several new products aimed at non-professionals make the task much easier and deliver high-quality results.

Audio Technica’s AT-LP120 USB turntable 5/5 (pictured, above)

 Read more

Tim Bradshaw

The legacy of Steve Jobs will ensure strong results for Apple for up to two more years, according to Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the Saudi billionaire and major investor in the Cupertino firm.

Prince Alwaleed, whose foundation has also invested in Twitter and News Corp, appeared on the high-class chat show Charlie Rose hosts for PBS and Bloomberg on Tuesday night, where he discussed issues ranging from the Syrian crisis and Iran’s nuclear programme to Citigroup (Vikram Pandit has been “an excellent CEO”, he said).

For other technology and media investors, though, his supportive comments for Rupert and James Murdoch, Twitter’s business model and Apple’s outlook are of most interest. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Listen carefully in the City of London and, very faintly, you may be able to hear the bell ringing for round two of Facebook’s simmering battle with Apple over mobile apps.

Bango, a small mobile payments firm, quietly announced to the stock market on Wednesday that it has “signed an agreement to provide payment services to Facebook”. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Cheaper, brighter, leaner are the qualities driving light-emitting diode advances and no less than three companies have announced breakthroughs on Tuesday that further advance LEDs as our bright, lighting future.

Soraa, a Silicon Valley start-up, has emerged from stealth mode with a halogen-replacement product (pictured), North Carolina-based Cree says its new product delivers twice the lumens per dollar of previous-generation LEDs, while Britain’s Plessey says it has a new process that cuts costs by 80 per cent. Read more

In what the Twittering classes have universally seen as a retrograde step,  Sky News introduced a new social media policy on Tuesday, which includes an effective ban on its journalists retweeting non-Sky sources, writes Ben Fenton.

I haven’t seen the email myself, but I am confident from several sources that the offending sentence runs like this:  “Do not re-tweet information posted by other journalists or people on Twitter”. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Ever looked at the iPhone App Store’s list of most popular apps and thought, how did that get so popular?

Apple has been asking the same question – and it has found that not all are quite as popular as they seem. This week it posted a stern warning to developers to stop using shady marketing firms that can artificially drive their apps to the top of the charts. Read more

by Dan Thomas, Telecoms Correspondent

Google is taking Chrome mobile for the first time with the introduction of its web browser across the Android phone platform.

The company promises to make surfing the web a seamless experience from desktop to phone by allowing users to sync opened web pages, bookmarks and preferences across devices. Read more

Acer and its former chief executive Gianfranco Lanci may have parted ways for almost a year now, but it is apparently not quite water under the bridge between the two sides.

The Taiwanese company said on Tuesday that it has initiated legal action in Mr Lanci’s home country of Italy, alleging that Mr Lanci violated non-compete clauses in the contract he signed with Acer upon leaving in Febuary 2011 – Mr Lanci joined Lenovo as a consultant in September, and the Chinese company last month announced Mr Lanci would head its Europe, Middle East and Africa operations, effective April. Read more

Maija Palmer

Kaspersky Labs is one of a group of European IT security companies that has been talking about floating since at least 2007. But Eugene Kaspersky, the company’s founder and majority shareholder, has now announced the company is planning to stay private after all.

He is buying back the 20 per cent stake General Atlantic bought in the company a year ago, and preserving all the freedom and flexibility that unlisted status affords. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Tech news from around the web, Super Bowl edition:

Although automotive companies were the most prolific advertisers during Sunday’s Super Bowl, many of the $7m-a-minute spots also involved tech companies – large and small. Read more

Richard Waters

There will be business school case studies written about the different ways that HP has paid its recent CEOs (and plenty more on why it has had so many, but that’s a different story.)

It seems finally to have got the formula right. With Meg Whitman’ s pay deal, HP’s board has taken a stand against the general meritless escalation in CEO pay in America – and not just because of the $1 a year base salary it will give her. Read more