Monthly Archives: August 2013

According to media reports this week, HTC is developing an operating system for Chinese mobile phone users. The company has now issued a statement – but it makes for a pretty unconvincing denial.

HTC says it is in conversations with the Chinese government and telephone operators. But the troubled Taiwanese company did so, i) without denying the OS exists, and ii) in a way that suggests it isn’t in charge of its own destiny. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Four billion check-ins later, Foursquare is finding new ways to use all the location data that users have shared with the four-year-old smartphone app.

That includes both new features for users – and new ways to make money from the body of data it’s collected, with third parties. Read more

From the makers of Candy Crush Saga and Farm Heroes Saga… Court Room Saga!

King, one of the UK’s hottest start-ups, is suing rival 6Waves for allegedly copying two of its games, and has provided screenshots (below) to back up the claim.

6Waves denies the allegations and said it did not copy King’s games.

King’s app offering is highly dependent on a few successful hits and, as the company prepares an IPO in New York, it needs to show potential investors that it is prepared to defend its brands. Read more

Facebook has agreed to pay $20m to settle a class action lawsuit, after it included users’ names and photos in paid advertisements.

Some 614,000 users who appeared in a Sponsored Story on the site without giving their consent will now receive $15 each. That’s slightly more than anticipated under an earlier proposal, partly because lawyers and activists will receive less.

For Facebook, whose market cap has just surpassed $100bn, this is hardly an Erin Brockovich moment. But it’s another reminder that there’s a fine line between social advertising – which uses your friends’ buying habits to influence your own – and anti-social advertising, which just annoys everyone. Read more

After thirteen years in the role, the ever-quotable Steve Ballmer will step down as Microsoft chief executive within twelve months. Here are some of his most memorable soundbites:

On the iPhone: “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It’s a $500 subsidized item.” (April 2007)

On Apple: “In every category Apple competes, it’s the low-volume player, except in tablets.” (October 2012) Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Trading may have been halted on Nasdaq-listed stocks but the tweets were still flowing on Twitter.

Step forward Carl Icahn, the activist investor, who picked this moment to update his 67,000 followers on his campaign to persuade Apple to hike its share buybackRead more

Tim Bradshaw

Many thought that Instagram’s addition of 15-second videos to its photo-sharing app would kill Vine, Twitter’s fledgling video app.

Apparently not.

Twitter on Tuesday said that 40m people have signed up to watch and share six-second videos on Vine. Read more

This film image released by Open Road Films shows, from left, Josh Gad as Steve Wozniak, Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs, and Ron Eldard as Rod Holt in a scene from "Jobs." (AP Photo/Open Road Films, Glen Wilson)©AP

Steve Jobs is not short of devotees in Silicon Valley. Almost two years after his death, his influence is arguably felt even more now than it was in his prolific final decade, as entrepreneurs and technologists here attempt to emulate his savviness.

So the audience in a San Francisco cinema was well primed at a preview screening of Jobs, a biopic that opens in the US this week. Read more

Tim Armstrong, chief executive of AOL, has apologized to employees of the internet company for firing an employee last week in front of more than 1,000 coworkers, writes Emily Steel

During a conference call to discuss the future of AOL’s struggling network of local Patch sites, Mr Armstrong told the group’s creative director to immediately put down a camera then declared that he was fired. A recording of the call has been making rounds on the internet and been listened to more than 1,000 times. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Count Larry Ellison among the Apple bears. The Oracle chief executive, who has described himself as one of Steve Jobs’ closest friends, told CBS News that the iPhone and iPad maker’s prospects are dim without its “brilliant” co-founder. Read more

It takes some nerve to sell a company for $850m and then describe it as “the biggest repository of online cock and balls ever recorded”.

Step forward Michael Birch, founder of social network Bebo, who, after repurchasing the site for $1m in July, has now launched a spoof video to promote its impending relaunch. Read more

Sarah Mishkin

Acer, the Taiwanese computer company, has struggled for a while to sell enough computers to stay profitable, but investors still found room for disappointment in its most recent results.

Shares were down nearly 4 per cent in Taipei today after management spoke with analysts and the media to explain its second quarter operating loss of NT$613m and its 19 per cent year on year fall in revenue to NT$89.4bn. Read more

Sales of PCs in western Europe fell by nearly 20 per cent year-on-year in the three months to June, according to research organisation Gartner.

To put that decline in context, in 2009, during the financial crisis, the worst quarterly performance was a 5 per cent fall. Read more

A South Korean website has unearthed trademark and patent filings by Samsung regarding a possible smartwatch. That’s a reminder that – while Samsung and Apple squabble over old intellectual property – they will soon have a whole new set of designs to fight over.

In the drawings, Samsung’s device looks like a smartphone bent round a wrist. Unlike similar products from Sony, LG and Pebble, it has a flexible screen rather than the familiar usual strap. Read more

Robert Cookson

It’s personal, attention-grabbing, and highly effective: email is one of the most important ways that companies market their products to the masses.

So no wonder that email marketers are concerned that Google has redesigned Gmail in a way that filters deals, offers and promotional messages into a less prominent part of the inbox.

How worried should marketers be? To answer the question, FT Tech Blog has rustled up some striking data about how Gmail users are behaving following the changes. Read more

Robert Cookson

German publishers just can’t seem to make their minds up about Google.

Publishers such as Axel Springer pushed hard this year for a new law that only allows Google to include snippets of their articles in Google News if they have explicitly opted in to the service.

That law was introduced today – but nothing has changed. Rather than withholding their content, Germany’s top publishers have given Google News permission to continue as before. Read more

The world of video gaming used to be dominated by the big publishers releasing games on consoles and the PC. But the rise of smartphone and tablet gaming and new digital distribution channels has led to a big increase in successful indie games. Reaching a large audience used to be about having the biggest budget or the most successful franchise. That isn’t the case today, writes Daniel Garrahan. Read more