Monthly Archives: November 2012

Tim Bradshaw

Bob Mansfield, a longserving Apple executive responsible for engineering hardware such as the Macbook Air and iMac, cashed in $20m worth of stock on Wednesday.

A regulatory filing on Thursday revealed that Mr Mansfield sold 35,000 shares at prices ranging between $582.00 and $582.88, totalling $20.4m. Read more

Personal tech giftsThey say good things come in small packages and our annual gift guide shows this certainly applies to gadgets as Christmas presents this year – many of the best innovations of 2012 are small enough to fit in a Christmas stocking. We rate them for coolness and value for money with Kudos and VFM stars out of five.

 Read more

As Silicon Valley has boomed, there has been a flurry of public scrutiny of Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook. But one company has stayed strangely out of the spotlight: Amazon.

In a new Financial Times ebook, on sale globally today, Barney Jopson and other FT writers lift the lid on a company which has grown from online book business into overlord of a corporate eco-system over which it wields extraordinary power. Read more

Wii Console

Nintendo Wii U
Rating: 4/5

Nintendo has launched the next generation of home video consoles with the debut of the Wii U in the US, and European and Japanese launches to follow on November 30 and December 8. The unique GamePad controller is earning plaudits, but network problems and content delays are a concern.

 Read more

Ferguson illustration

Things got quite exciting in London at noon on Tuesday. First Kweku Adoboli, the rogue trader formerly employed by UBS, was sentenced to seven years in prison for fraud. Then Hewlett-Packard accused the former management of Autonomy, the UK software company, of wrongdoing. The moral appeared to be, as a New York journalist wryly tweeted: “Don’t trust the British.”

 Read more

When your company has been built around a deeply ingrained product development and manufacturing process, it is hard to change. And when that process has given you a world-beating edge through any number of product and technology cycles, it is even less easy to see why you should.

Now add in another complication: Wall Street thinks you have traded away your future and you need to learn a whole new way of doing business. But there is a catch. It does not want you to give up the unrepeatable profit margins you make from your old ways.

 Read more

The co-founder of PayPal and Tesla, and founder of SpaceX talks to the FT’s John Gapper and Daniel Garrahan about electric cars for the mass market and putting people on Mars, at the UK launch of his sports car.

Back of Google Nexus 10

Google’s latest addition to its hardware range, the Nexus 10, has landed. This time Google partnered with Samsung to produce an iPad-beating spec sheet and what they tout as the ‘highest resolution display in the world’. Priced at £319 in the UK and $399 in the US, could the Nexus 10 tempt Android holdouts? Read more

Interesting commentary from around the Web on the tech story that made headlines this week.

A mere two weeks after the release of Windows 8, Microsoft surprised many when it announced the departure of Steven Sinofsky, head of Windows. While many tech observers noted a parallel between Sinofsky’s exit and Apple’s recent management shakeup, others pointed out that chief executive Steve Ballmer could be the next target. Read more

Chris Nuttall

In a week of big numbers for a previously slumping video game industry, Activision has come up with the biggest one of all – $500m in sales of Call of Duty: Black Ops II in its first 24 hours.

On Monday, Microsoft announced $220m in first-day sales for Halo 4 and then revealed, on the 10th anniversary of Xbox Live on Thursday, that a record 442m hours were played on it last week. Meanwhile, Sony announced sales of the PlayStation 3 had passed 70m and Nintendo expects the Wii U to sell out when it goes on sale in the US this weekend. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Lytro’s revolutionary light-field camera has received a couple of interesting enhancements to boost its appeal during the holiday season.

The Silicon Valley company announced Perspective Shift – a way of bringing total focus to a picture and moving around in it – and Living Filters – the ability to add Instagram-like effects to shots taken. Read more

How far will Google go to head off the threat of long and damaging antitrust battles on both sides of the Atlantic – and how hard will regulators push to cramp its expansive style?

The answers to those questions should become clearer in the next few weeks, as the European Commission and the US Federal Trade Commission press the company for voluntary changes in its business model to end their antitrust investigations. Rivals want radical action, perhaps even extending to a break-up of Google into separate companies that handle search and other services. The likely outcome, though, is more minimalist.

 Read more

Sony Vaio Tap

Sony Vaio Tap 20
Rating 4/5

Sony’s Tap 20 changes the concept of the home PC by stripping away most of the things we associate with familiar computing appliances.

 Read more

Chris Nuttall

Zynga has announced a management reshuffle following another significant departure from its executive ranks.

The leading social gaming company said Dave Wehner, its chief financial officer, had resigned and was joining Facebook. The company lost John Schappert, its chief operating officer, and Jeff Karp, chief marketing officer, in recent months, among a string of executive departures as Zynga reported disappointing earnings and its share price plummeted. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Jawbone is reintroducing UP almost a year after users’ complaints, about the health-monitoring wristband dying on them, forced it to halt production.

The new UP, costing $30 more than the original, has been rigorously tested and its components improved to prevent a repeat of the public relations and financial fiasco for the company. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

The developers of the Pebble smart watch made Kickstarter history in May when they raised $10.2m, the largest sum received through the fast-growing crowdfunding site. But it is now in danger of attaining an equal notoriety for delays and busted deadlines.

After missing its original September delivery date, the Pebble’s creators warned this weekend that many backers will not receive their device in time for Christmas. Read more

When the biggest beast in the jungle decides not to fight you any more, your survival chances go up a lot. That’s the message from HTC shares on Monday.

After the company and Apple announced a global settlement that includes the dismissal of all current lawsuits and a ten-year license agreement, shares in the Taiwanese phonemaker leapt up 6.86 per cent – its daily limit. But is this the turning point for HTC, which saw profits fall 80 per cent in the third quarter?

 Read more

With many major events these days, record-breaking levels of engagement on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook are customary, and this week’s presidential election was no exception.

After his re-election was announced, a photo of President Barack Obama hugging his wife that was posted on Twitter and Facebook became the most liked and most popular tweet of all time. But others argued big data might have been the real winner of this year’s presidential election. Read more

Sarah Mishkin

When Apple filed suit against HTC for patent violations in 2010, it was the first time the California-based company had turned its legal arsenal on an Android phone-maker.

Two years, and many more lawsuits later, Apple and HTC’s decision to settle those disputes is likewise the first time that Apple has agreed a settlement with an Android-based rival. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Peace has broken out in one corner of the multilateral patent war between smartphone makers, with Apple and HTC signing a global settlement and licensing agreement. Read more