recoiledsnake writes: Microsoft Corp. said on Monday that sales of its new Xbox One game console topped three million at the end of last year after launching in November and selling one million consoles in less than a day. The third generation of the Xbox is competing head-to-head with Sony Corp's PlayStation 4, also launched in November. Sony said it had sold 2.1 million PS4s by the first week of December. It will not be clear which company is leading the console battle until Sony updates that figure. However, the Xbox One seems to be selling quite well despite numerous obstacles including being over 25% more expensive than the PS4, the always-on Internet requirement that was controversial and was rolled back, and being sold in only 13 countries compared to the 48 countries that the PS4 is selling in.
recoiledsnake writes: Italy’s Parliament today passed a new measure on web advertising, the so-called “Google tax,” which will require Italian companies to purchase their Internet ads from locally registered companies, instead of from units based in havens such as Ireland, Luxembourg and Bermuda. Google, for example, says that it sells nearly all its advertising in Europe from an Irish unit, leaving little taxable profits in the countries where its customers are based. That unit in turn pays royalties to a second Irish subsidiary, which says its headquarters are in Bermuda. Google last year moved nearly $12 billion to the Bermuda unit, the majority of its worldwide income, cutting more than $2 billion off its global income tax bill. Google’s Italian unit last year reported total income taxes of just 1.8 million euros, corporate filings show.
recoiledsnake writes: Google is beta-testing a program that uses smartphone location data to determine when consumers visit stores, according to agency executives briefed on the program by Google employees. Google then connects these store visits to Google searches conducted on smartphones. If someone conducts a Google mobile search for “screwdrivers,” for instance, a local hardware store could bid to have its store listing served to that user. By pairing that person’s location data with its database of store listings, Google can see if the person who saw that ad subsequently visited the store.It is easiest for Google to conduct this passive location tracking on Android users, since Google has embedded location tracking into the software. Once Android users opt in to location services, Google starts collecting their location data as continuously as technologically possible.
recoiledsnake writes: Windows Phone is continuing to make inroads over the Atlantic, almost doubling its share of new phones sold in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK. According to Kantar Worldpanel, Windows Phone has now hit 9.2 percent share in those key European countries, up from just 5.1 percent share last year. Most interesting of all, perhaps, is Windows Phone’s performance in Germany, where Microsoft’s mobile platform hit 8.8 percent. That’s just one single percentage point below iPhone — a massive achievement. In addition, Windows Phone hit 10.8 percent share in France and 12 percent share in Great Britain, the first time it has ever hit double digits in either of those two countries. Perhaps this will lead Google to stop blocking the Youtube app for Windows Phone?
recoiledsnake writes: A federal jury has ordered Google to pay Microsoft $14.5 million in damages for breach of contract for failing to license at reasonable terms standard essential patents covering WiFi and H.264 used in the Xbox game console and Windows. Motorola had demanded Microsoft pay annual royalties of up to $4 billion for use of patents that are part of the H.264 video and 802.11 wireless standards, which are baked into Windows and the Xbox video game console. Microsoft said it was willing to pay royalties but not at the 2.25 percent of the product price that Motorola sought. We previously covered Motorola's demands.
recoiledsnake writes: A federal jury in Seattle ordered Google to pay Microsoft $14.5 million in damages for breach of contract for failing to license at reasonable terms standard essential patents covering wireless and video technology used in the Xbox game console. Motorola had demanded Microsoft pay annual royalties of up to $4 billion for use of patents that are part of the H.264 video and 802.11 wireless standards, which are baked into Windows and the Xbox video game console. Microsoft said it was willing to pay royalties but not at the 2.25 percent of the product price that Motorola sought. We previously covered Motorola's exorbitant demands.
recoiledsnake writes: German site Horizont Online reports that [translate link] Google paid AdBlock Plus to unblock it's own ads. According to their tests, Google's text ads show up with AdBlock Plus installed, but Bing's and Yahoo's are blocked even though they are similarly less intrusive. This creates a conflict of interest for AdBlock Plus since it encourages companies to pay them to get whitelisted. Note, Adblock Plus is not directly related to Adblock. We previously covered the FTC was making new rules to prevent search results from looking like ads and how 62% of folks didn't even realize there were ads on search result pages because of search engines reducing background contrast to increase ad clicks.
recoiledsnake writes: A campaign that forces sites running the Apache Web server to install highly malicious software on visitor's PCs has compromised more than 40,000 Web addresses in the past nine months, 15,000 of them in the month of May alone. Darkleech, which also goes by the name Linux/Charpoy, is able to tailor exploits to the geographic region of the infected victim as well. esearchers in recent months have uncovered a third piece of malware that causes websites to expose visitors to attacks. Known as Linux/Cdorked, it targets sites running the Apache, nginx, and Lighttpd Web servers and, as of May, had exposed almost 100,000 end-users running Eset software alone to attack.
recoiledsnake writes: Following up on our previous discussion of Microsoft selling discounted SurfaceRT tablets to schools which fueled speculation about the future of Surface RT, Bloomberg is now reporting that Microsoft is fast at work on the next Surface RT which will replace the current Tegra 3 with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chip which has stellar benchmarks against the likes of the upcoming Tegra 4, Apple A6X, and Exynos processors, especially in the GPU and graphics department. Since the SoC comes with 3g/LTE, this might be the first Surface to support integrated cellular data. There are also indications that there could be an 8" version, and that the new versions might be revealed alongside the Windows 8.1 preview bits at the upcoming BUILD conference, starting on June 26.
recoiledsnake writes: A new technology built into Google Glass, dug up by New Scientist, takes Google Glass from interesting to down right creepy. Google Glass can now pick a person out of crowd based on their fashion style. The system, InSight, developed in partnership with Google, will take a nice little moment to assess the clothing in frame, and then point out exactly where your friends are in busy settings like a bar, concert, or sporting event. It could probably point you out in a protest, or shopping mall too. We previously discussed the disorienting effects on the wearer of the device.
recoiledsnake writes: What would be your first guess about what an app store sells? Don't be fooled, Apple warns, the phrase "app store" is not generic and can only be used to describe Cupertino's... um, app store? "Apple denies that, based on their common meaning, the words 'app store' together denote a store for apps," Apple said in a Thursday filing with a California district court. All this notwithstanding that Jobs himself used the phrase generically while referring to Android app stores. Previous coverage here and here.
recoiledsnake writes: Google spent a lot of time yesterday talking up WebGL, but UK security firm Context seems to think users should disable the feature because it poses a serious security threat, and the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) is encouraging people to heed that advice. According to Context, a malicious site could pass code directly to a computer's GPU and trigger a denial of service attack or simply crash the machine. Ne'er-do-wells could also use WebGL and the Canvas element to pull image data from another domain, which could then be used as part of a more elaborate attack. Khronos, the group that organizes the standard, responded by pointing out that there is an extension available to graphics card manufacturers that can detect and protect against DoS attacks, but it did little to satisfy Context — the firm argues that inherent flaws in the design of WebGL make it very difficult to secure.
recoiledsnake writes: Microsoft writes in a blog post that Google knowingly lied to the court while suing the US government over considering only Microsoft implementations. We previously discussed Google winning an injunction against the Department of Interior over this. According to Microsoft, Google "filed a motion for a preliminary injunction telling the court three times in a single document that Google Apps for Government is certified under FISMA.Google has repeated this statement in many other places as well. Indeed, for several months and as recently as this morning, Google’s website states, “Google Apps for Government – now with FISMA certification.” And as if that’s not sufficient, Google goes farther on another webpage and states "Google Apps for Government is certified and accredited under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)." So imagine my surprise on Friday afternoon when, after some delay, some of the court papers were unsealed, at least in part. There for all to see was a statement by the Department of Justice contradicting Google on one of its basic FISMA claims. The DOJ’s brief says “On December 16, 2010, counsel for the Government learned that, notwithstanding Google’s representations to the public at large, its counsel, the GAO and this Court, it appears that Google’s Google Apps for Government does not have FISMA certification. This revelation was apparently as striking to the lawyers at the Department of Justice as it was to me. As a result, the work of engineers and IT professionals was replaced, at least temporarily, by filings by lawyers. This meant significant delay for the Department of the Interior, which was trying to save millions of dollars and upgrade the email services for its 88,000 employees.
recoiledsnake writes: The upcoming release of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Server will remove the formerly bundled open source Samba software and replace it with Apple's own tools for Windows file sharing and network directory services. In both Mac OS X Server and client editions, Samba enables Macs to share files with Windows clients on the network and access Windows file servers. It has also later allowed Mac OS X Server to work as an NT Domain Controller to manage network accounts and make roaming profiles and home directories available to Windows PC users. However, the Samba team has moved active development of the project to the more strict GPLv3 license, which prevents Apple from using the software commercially. Apple is now said to be recommending Active Directory to users who are still dependent upon the older NT Domain Controller network directory services. Apple has previously stopped contributing code to GCC and started looking at other options like LLVM because of GCC's switch to GPLv3.