Microsoft’s attempt to introduce consumers to the wonders of touch with Windows 8 amounted to a rough shove. The operating system’s poor reception has prompted a rethink and details of an updated version were unveiled on Thursday.
Windows 8.1, available as a preview from June 26, will bring back features familiar to and missed by Windows 7 users, including a Start button – but no Start menu – and the choice of not beginning their bootup experience with the touch-optimised “Modern” tile interface. Read more
As the hardware startups battling for a place in your “smart” home multiply, one area has become a key battlefront: the front door.
Lockitron, Kwikset’s Kevo, Kisi and others are already in various stages of development to create door locks that can be opened with a smartphone.
Now a San Francisco startup called August, led by serial entrepreneur Jason Johnson, is hoping to unlock the market with help from its designer co-founder, Yves Behar of Fuseproject. Read more
Two Silicon Valley companies delivering thousands of entertainment channels over the internet have announced significant funding rounds and milestones for their services.
Roku, whose set-top box delivers more than 700 channels of movies, TV, music, radio and web content, has received $60m in a Series F round, while TuneIn, which gives access to more than 70,000 radio stations, has bagged $25m in Series C funding. Read more
Apple chief executive Tim Cook’s comments overnight about the growing threat from Android will no doubt spark more speculation about a possible change of tack for Apple, such as producing a second iPhone with a larger screen or a lower price-point.
Cook wasn’t going to rule out a change – what level-headed CEO would? But it would also be unfair to say that Apple’s strategy isn’t working. Read more
Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook took the hot seat on Tuesday morning in Washington to answer questions about a tax planning strategy that has enabled it to avoid billions of dollars of taxes.
Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate investigations committee, set the tone with his opening remarks, noting that just in 2012, Apple had exploited tax loopholes allowing it to avoid $9bn in US taxes. Such practices, he said, did “real harm” to the US economy, disadvantaging domestic companies that don’t make use of “tax gimmicks”.
You can watch the hearing here, read Mr Cook’s written testimony here and read the Senate committee’s report on Apple’s tax structure here.
Yahoo bought Tumblr for its rambunctious community. Despite the coat of paint rapidly applied to its email, homepage and various apps since Marissa Mayer arrived as chief executive less than a year ago, Yahoo was still in need of an injection of youth and energy.
But in solving that problem, Tumblr may have created another for Yahoo. Ad execs and Wall Street analysts alike are voicing concerns about – along with gifs and memes – one of Tumblr’s most popular types of content: pornography. Read more
A new mobile service operator called ItsOn aims to shake up the US smartphone business by offering users the ability to tailor their voice, text and data plans precisely, and – perhaps most interestingly – buy data by the app.
The company’s Zact service – a play on the word ‘exact’ – operates as a cloud-based mobile virtual network operator, buying capacity on Sprint Nextel’s 4G/LTE network and reselling it to its own customers via a smartphone app or web page.