Monthly Archives: March 2012

Richard Waters

Make no mistake: Apple will end up eating the higher costs that supplier Foxconn will incur to end excessive overtime and improve working conditions at its plants. But, as we suggested earlier this year, it will be Apple’s rivals that will end up suffering mostRead more

AKG Headphones

Harman’s AKG K495 NC headphones

Noise-cancelling headphones enable consumers to listen to music without the annoyance of background noise such as the drone of traffic on a busy road or the whine of aircraft engines. The three headphones featured here are the latest entrants in an increasingly crowded market for sophisticated noise-cancelling headphones that satisfy audio enthusiasts.

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Maija Palmer

For once it was not shopping and e-commerce that dominated that European VC funding rounds.

In March, financial services were the flavour of the month, with eToro and The Currency Cloud attracting investment. Both of them seek to disrupt the financial services sector by using either social networking or cloud computing to jazz up a staid industry.

Advertising solutions are also finding willing backers, including personalised online ads from MyThings and advertising to wrap around Android apps from StartApp .

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Maija Palmer

London’s Tech City project got a big boost on Thursday when Google officially opened Campus,  its first hub offering start-up technology companies desk space and mentoring.

Opened to great fanfare by George Osborne, chancellor, the seven-storey building will house 100 start-up companies and organisations such as Seedcamp, the technology incubator, and TechHub, the original provider of co-working space in the Shoreditch area. Read more

There are many laws that help us to make sense of the world: the laws of physics; the law of averages, write George Osbourne, the UK finance minister, and Eric Schmidt, Google chairman. However, one of the more significant is Moore’s law, which forecasts that the processing power of the latest computer chips doubles every two years. This prediction has proved to be unerringly accurate over the past 50 years, and means that the pace of technological innovation is accelerating, not slowing nor flatlining.

However, it is not just the pace of technology progress that is accelerating. The role that technology plays in driving job creation and economic growth becomes more important each day.

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Chris Nuttall

While cloud computing promises to simplify our lives by keeping our information in one readily accessible place online, it fails to deliver when clouds are scattered by users relying on too many different apps and services.

You may have photos spread across Picasa, Flickr, Eye-Fi and Facebook and documents held on different services as well. But Box has announced an enterprise-focused solution on Wednesday with its OneCloud, while Quickoffice is tackling the same problem from a different direction with Connect. Read more

I used to think that each new generation of workers was pretty much like the last one, at least in big ways. We all want more money, more praise, more interesting work and colleagues who are pleasant enough to join for a sandwich at lunchtime.

Yet last week I started to wonder if 20-year-olds might be something different altogether. I had a conversation with a young man who, far from sharing sandwiches with his colleagues, has never even met them. He doesn’t talk to them on the phone either. Instead, Jamie Holmes has spent the past two years interacting with his bosses and with the people he recruits and trains entirely by text message and email.

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iPad analysis image
The origins of new internet fashions can usually be traced back to the technology elite of Silicon Valley or the digital media aficionados of New York – not to women in the small towns of the American Midwest.

That makes the sudden rise of Pinterest, a website for collecting and sharing images, an intriguing anomaly. The popularity of the site, which first took off in Iowa – a state better known for its corn than its computer code – has grown rapidly in recent months among mainly female users.

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Spring cleaning was in the air for Apple this week as the company announced its plan to pay a dividend and institute a share buyback programme. The announcement had many tech commentators putting themselves in the shoes of Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, to ask: what else could Apple have done with its cash? Read more

This week’s launch of Angry Birds Space has propelled the mobile game’s Finnish developer, Rovio, into the stratosphere, instantly topping app store download charts around the world.

But whereas the original Angry Birds was a viral hit, notching up hundreds of millions of downloads with minimal marketing, this latest update landed in a marketing blitz more akin to a Disney blockbuster than a 99 cents mobile phone app.

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Chris Nuttall

Tivo has lowered the monthly subscription to its DVR service, a move that may be aimed at stemming subscriber losses.

The company dropped its monthly service fee for its machines from $20, with a one-year commitment, to $15. It also raised the price of its entry-level Premiere digital video recorder from $100 to $150 as it increased its capacity from 45 hours of HD video recording to 75. Read more

Can a company still be lovable when it has $100bn in the bank? For Apple, this is starting to become a serious question. The maker of iPhones and iPads arouses some of the warmest feelings among consumers of any brand in the world, thanks to a string of breakthrough gadgets and classy marketing. Something changes, though, when the underdog comes out on top – and there’s nothing like unrivalled corporate wealth to drive the point home.

Steve Jobs was fond of saying that he wanted to sail with the pirates, not the navy. In any popularity contest between the establishment and the lovable rogues, the latter always win hands down. But what happens when the pirates have made off with all the gold?

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Tim Bradshaw

Although Angry Birds, by Rovio of Finland, is the best-known videogame to come out of Scandinavia, it has a close rival in Sweden’s Minecraft - a game Sean Parker loved so much he flew all its developers to London for a party. Read more

HP Omni 27 AiO pfeatures

Last week I wrote about the new iPad, which Apple sees as the poster child of a post-PC world. Can the PC fight back? New contenders from the leading manufacturers – Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and Dell – are staking their claims.

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Chris Nuttall

Broadcom is set to make indoor navigation easier and our online lives faster with two developments – the networking chipmaker is launching a new location-finding platform and acquiring the Israeli fibre-optics company BroadLink for $195m.

On a visit to San Francisco, Scott McGregor, chief executive (pictured), discussed the new moves and the prospects for a company that claims 99.9 per cent of all internet traffic and 100 per cent of smartphone data goes across at least one Broadcom chip. Highlights after the jump: Read more

Chris Nuttall

Apple must be wondering whether it was worth the improvements, particularly the addition of 4G LTE, to the new version of its iPad.

The extra mobile connectivity has earned the company plenty of criticism, despite it offering the opportunity to enjoy, at least theoretically, 73 megabits-per-second 4G speeds for the same price as the old single-megabit 3G models. Read more

Richard Waters

Is Zynga hopelessly exposed to the hit-driven nature of the games business, or do its scale and business model give it a sustainable competitive edge?

Depending on your point of view, its acquisition on Wednesday of OMGPOP, maker of the red-hot game Draw Something, could be used to support either side of this argument. Read more

Maija Palmer

There is no doubt that Arm Holdings, the UK chip designer, plays in the big league now. The Cambridge-based company’s designs are in most smartphones, and in coveted Apple products such as the iPad.

So it is appropriate that they have a weighty name for their new chairman. Sir John Buchanan, knighted in the recent New Year’s honours list, is chairman of Smith  and Nephew, which makes artificial knees and hips.  Read more

Behind Monday’s headlines of Misys’s board accepting a £1.27bn cash bid from Vista Equity Partners, the perennial takeover target also updated the market on recent trading – and the figures were not exactly glowing.

Third-quarter revenues fell by 12 per cent year-on-year fall to £89m, which the London-based group attributed to customers procrastinating over software licence purchases. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Apple has announced plans to pay a dividend and institute a share buyback  programme as it deals with a cash mountain that has grown to more than $100bn.

The maker of the iPhone and iPad said it would begin with a quarterly dividend of $2.65 a share, sometime in its fiscal fourth quarter, which begins on July 1.  A $10bn share buyback would begin in its next fiscal year, starting September 30 and be executed over three years.

Apple held a conference call to discuss the moves (it also revealed a record weekend of sales for the new iPad). Our live blog on that, and the reaction to it, is after the jump. Read more