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

Michael Dell and US private equity firm Silver Lake Partners have once again increased their offer for Dell Inc, to $13.75 a share. Shareholder voting for the deal now postponed a week until August 2.

The long drawn-out process has resembled a high-stakes poker game, with shareholders so far succeeding to extract higher offers from Mr Dell and Silver Lake. They, however, call this latest offer their “best and final proposal”.

Need a recap of the bidding war so far? Here’s a summary: Read more

Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke has pulled the music of his latest band Atoms for Peace from Spotify, accusing the streaming service paying musicians too little.

New artists “will no[t] get paid. meanwhile shareholders will shortly being rolling in it,” Yorke told his 400,000-odd Twitter followers.

That’s unwelcome PR for Spotify, the Swedish start-up that seemed to be getting the music industry onside with streaming, rather than downloads, as a viable model for serving up music to fans. Given that the service fails to make a profit even at current royalty rates, is its model in question? Read more

How will they pay for souvenirs?

Imagine the faces of PayPal’s executive team when their boss asked for ideas on how to make payments in space.

Let’s just hope no one laughed, because David Marcus, PayPal’s president, wasn’t joking.

As if international expansion wasn’t hard enough, he has now launched PayPal Galactic – a partnership with the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute – to find ways of taking payments into outer orbit. Read more

One of the world’s greatest computer scientists and prolific authors, Dr James Martin, has died. His body was found in waters off Bermuda on Monday, although the news did not immediately become public. Police say there were no suspicious circumstances.

As well as writing 104 textbooks, Dr Martin stood out for his gifts totaling $150m to the University of Oxford for the study of future challenges. That highlighted his belief that people could anticipate the effect of technology if they put their minds to it in the right way. Read more

… erm, sort of.

The PC-maker is selling Autonomy’s stake in video advertising engine Blinkx, which is traded on London’s AIM market.

And since that stake is worth around 40 per cent more than when the acquisition for Autonomy was agreed in August 2011, HP’s accountants can book a handy profit of around £16m (depending when the actual sale occurs). So no hard feeling about that $8.8bn write-down then, Ms Whitman?

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(and only one is, can we play with it?)

In a letter to Google chief executive Larry Page, the officials – from the EU, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Israel, Switzerland and three Canadian provinces – have formally raised their concerns about Glass.

Here are their questions and our brief commentary: Read more

Less than a week after its founder Iain Dodsworth announced he was leaving, TweetDeck has bared its new web-design to the world. Users of the web version and Chrome app will notice that the top bar is now at the side, it’s easier to add new columns and that the overall look has been tweaked Read more

Yes, says image analyst Neal Krawetz, who believes the photo of grieving in the Gaza Strip may be three images melded together. No, say independent analysts contracted by World Press Photo, including a nifty tech outfit called Fourandsix.

But another start-up argues that there can be no definite answer once the process of image manipulation has started. Instead Scoopshot’s app transfers photos taken by users immediately to its platform, allowing it to guarantee that the photos that editors received are actually what the camera took.

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In a rare event, a crowdfunded start-up has gone on to raise mainstream venture capital.

Digital Spin, which raised £60,000 in August from platform Seedrs, has now received several times that amount from Passion Capital and Balderton, two of London’s most active venture funds. Could this be the start of growing links between amateur and professional early-stage investors? Read more

LinkedIn has long been seen as the ugly duckling of social networks, but now it’s starting to preen its feathers. The site is now allowing users to add photos, presentations and graphics to their profiles, creating a “unique professional story” that is rather more glamorous than just a few lines of text.

“Will the resume be displaced?” is how LinkedIn bills the feature. It is trying to do for the CV what Facebook once did for the college yearbook. There’s no particular reason why someone’s career should appear online as it would on a printed page. Read more

Earlier on Friday, Wired reported that Apple’s voice app Siri, which is perhaps most famous for its comical misinterpretations, keeps users’ data for up to two years.

Now Google has told the FT that it stores queries to its voice search service for the same period. The difference is that Google stores the actual audio samples for up to two years, unlike Siri which deletes the audio after six months and then just retains the queries. So, is two years too long? Read more

Some people avoid buying clothes online because they don’t know the right size; others do buy online but end up returning ill-fitting products.

Now one of the companies aiming to address this problem – – has raised a further £5m in venture capital funding. That follows the news earlier this year that some big names – including Adidas and Hugo Boss – have signed up to its technology. Read more

Nevermind superfast broadband – the British government is lining up “superfast patents”. Inventors could be awarded a patent in just ninety days, under a government consultation published on Tuesday. That’s a fraction of the usual two to five years, and only a little longer than the ticketing process for the 2012 London Olympics.

Observers may see anything that makes patents easier as a bad idea, given the smartphone wars. Hence the UK is proposing an extra fee of £3,500-£4,000 for the fast-track service. The hope is that will strip out less credible claims, while allowing serious investors to get their patent – and then some venture capital. Read more

TransferWise, the money-moving service launched by former Skype director of strategy Taavet Hinrikus, is allowing start-ups to transfer up to $100m between different currencies without paying any fees.

The offer is open to 1,000 businesses that launched in the past two years on a first-come, first-served basis; they can transfer up to $100,000 each over the next year. TransferWise would normally collect around $500,000 in fees on the whole lot – $3m or so less, it estimates, than banks would. Read more

“It’s free and always will be.” That’s what newcomers to Facebook are told when they sign up online. So there is some surprise that the site is now charging some UK users between 71p and £10.68 to send messages to people they don’t know.

The scheme was launched in December in the US, but the UK roll-out is a strong signal that Facebook believes it is actually a runner. Never mind the critics who called the idea “almost too ridiculous to believe”. The site already charges users to “promote” their posts among their friends and followers. Read more