Monthly Archives: April 2012

Three months after the defeat of SOPA, a new bill in Congress had internet users, privacy advocates and civil rights groups up in arms this week.  On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), a bill that the authors claim will allow the government and private companies to work together in order to fight against cyber terrorism. Read more

Google drive

Apple has accumulated 125m users of its iCloud service just six months after the launch. But while it does a great job of saving and moving photos and music between different Apple devices, it is less agile with documents, video and non-Apple products – a weakness that three updated services are exploiting.

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Needle has been making its point about mobile and social, taking its office-on-wheels around the San Francisco Bay area this week to meet customers, hire staff and hold parties.

Its Airstream motorhome, which I visited as it was parked on Union Square (pictured), has served as a headquarters, recruitment office and promotional vehicle for the Salt Lake City start-up. Read more

A month ago, we marveled at how Facebook had stitched together a defence against Yahoo’s patent attack with what might best be called an “old, new, borrowed and blue” legal strategy.

It turns out Yahoo’s lawyers were thinking the same thing: in a new complaint, they take direct aim at Facebook’s rush to build a patent war chest (which most recently involved a $550m purchase from Microsoft.)      Read more

The titan of electronic communications received some hand-delivered mail on Tuesday: a petition signed by 53,000 people demanding that Facebook add a woman to its board of directors before its much-anticipated public offering.

About two dozen protestors gathered outside Facebook’s New York headquarters on Madison Avenue to submit the petition. When no staff person came to accept it, and security guards ushered the protestors out of the lobby, they left the box of papers on the sidewalk. Read more

The complexity – one is tempted to say complete muddle – of the European patent system was highlighted on Wednesday when Nokia and HTC won a key victory in their intellectual property battle with IPCom.

IPCom, which is based in Germany,  has waged a battle for several years to get mobile handset companies to pay it royalties for some technology it owns related to how mobile phones connect to 3G networks. Some handset makers have bought licences from IPCom, but Nokia and HTC strongly denied the validity of the patents and refused to pay up. Read more

Apple has announced another stunning quarter, with revenues of $39.2bn earning net profits of $11.6bn or $12.30 per share. That compares with analyst expectations of $36.5bn in sales and $9.94 a share in profits.

The company sold 35.1m iPhones -up 88 per cent on the year-earlier quarter – but is expected to sell fewer in the current quarter, with revenues declining 13 per cent sequentially.  Tim Cook, chief executive,  and Peter Oppenheimer, chief financial officer, spoke to analysts after the announcement – our live blog is after the jump. Read more

For Google, missing the online storage and syncing market would be as damaging as missing social networking: much of the personal information that is most important to its users would sit on some other company’s servers, beyond the reach of its search crawlers.

That makes Google Drive its most important new service since Google+. Read more

Intel told its “Ivy Bridge” launch event in San Francisco on Monday it had  more than 670 PC systems lined up to use this third-generation Core processor family.

That’s an unprecedented number of design wins for the world’s biggest chipmaker. It signifies that either this is one hot processor, or lengthy delays to it have created pent-up demand, or maybe the PC industry is gearing up for a big year, with Windows 8 launching. It could be all three, or something else, but Intel stuck to the silicon’s merits in its presentation. Read more

Amidst the rising anticipation ahead of its IPO,  Facebook’s latest quarterly numbers are like a splash of cold water in the face. The growth in user numbers continues unabated, but revenues and profit margins are not what some investors were expecting. Here are a few things to note: Read more

Fourteen months ago, to some fanfare, Google launched One Pass – its way to help publishers charge for digital content on the web, mobile and tablets.

Coming just a day after Apple announced plans for a 30 per cent tax on all app subscriptions, Google’s gambit caused quite a stir. With a more generous 10 per cent split and promises to share more subscriber data with publishers, at a time when many were spitting feathers about Apple’s diktat, One Pass was seen as a bold challenge and a tempting proposition from a company many publishers still felt was a parasite.

Yet last week, on a sunny Friday afternoon, Google quietly snuffed One Pass, whose homepage now returns only a 404 error. Read more


Today’s hottest internet services all involve pictures. Draw Something attracted 15m users in its first six weeks before the game was bought for $200m by Zynga, Pinterest has rapidly become the third-most popular US social network and Facebook is paying $1bn for Instagram. This week, snapshots of three picture-taking services.

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What kind of West Coast innovation show worth its salt would miss the opportunity to unveil a new electric-powered skateboard?

Certainly not Demo Spring 2012 in Silicon Valley. No less than three new commuter skateboards were launched for street surfer dudes on Thursday, along with products from 80 other companies over two days, during six-minute presentations. Some top picks after the jump. Read more

As UK companies scramble to comply with new laws requiring them to disclose and get permission for all the cookies they use, a new study has found that more than two thirds of all the bits of tracker code on websites are from third parties. Which means they are essentially for delivering targeted advertising or analysing behaviour across the website.

It helps explain why compliance with the new cookie laws has been so slow and difficult for many companies. It is very likely they don’t want to broadcast to the world just how many different organisations are grabbing data about their customers.  Read more

Berlin tech start-up Madvertise has bought Turkish mobile advertising rival Mobilike in what the German company sees as an important step to becoming the European market leader, writes Gerrit Wiesmann in Berlin.

The four-year-old German company, which allows advertisers to pinpoint and address potential customers via their mobile phones, is one of the more mature start-ups on the Berlin scene.

To fund European growth, Madvertise secured $10m in series B venture-capital funding late last year, and counts Silicon Valley-based Blumberg Capital as a shareholder. Read more

Path closed a $30m round of Series B funding on Monday, giving the mobile social network a $250m valuation.

The current round was led by Redpoint Ventures, with several other investors participating, including Sir Richard Branson, head of the Virgin empire, who said he is betting as much on Path’s chief executive, Dave Morin, as his product. Read more

How does the company that says it wants to be “deserving of great love” justify tapping into home WiFi networks and grabbing snippets of personal information by the truckload?

Simple: listening in to unsecured WiFi networks, according to Google’s lawyers, is perfectly legal. And regrettable as that may sound, US regulators have accepted the defence – though they still feel Google “deliberately impeded” their investigation and “willfully and repeatedly violated” orders to produce information. Read more

Fresh off its release on Android, Instagram, the photo sharing app, was snatched up by Facebook for a reported $1bn in cash and stock on Monday. The blogosphere was buzzing with part shock, part disgust. But above all, the deal was seen as an indicator of how concerned Mark Zuckerberg is about Facebook’s weakness in moving into the mobile world. Read more

Sony smart watch

It will take a lot to knock the iPhone off its perch as the best-selling smartphone. So, competitors are circling around its success and uniform design with different features, screen sizes and the odd gimmick. This week, a look at new pairings and partnerships that offer consumers more flexibility.

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Facebook won’t be the only new internet stock that will soon be turning heads on Wall Street. Google has just come up with a new twist of its own: a new “C” class of non-voting shares that will trade in their own right.

One intriguing question this raises: what kind ofdiscount should investors put on the new, non-voting flavour of GOOG? Read more