Andrew Orlowski

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Here WeGo! Google Maps rival drops Maps branding

Google’s only major consumer mapping rival, HERE, has dropped Maps from its app name in a bold rebranding exercise. After many hours in the Strategy Boutique, the map apps is now named after the ancient British football chant... Here We Go. The rebranding reflects HERE’s greater emphasis on route planning and directions, with …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Jul 2016

Microsoft adds useful feature to PowerPoint. Seriously

Some crazy and terrible things have happened in 2016, but none can be more shocking than Microsoft PowerPoint adding a quite useful new feature for presenters. The ubiquitous slide presentation software has finally made a break with linearity. “Presenter was to create presentations—not simply slides,” wrote PowerPoint’s …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Jul 2016

BlackBerry snips Alcatel label off a midrange biz 'Droid, sells it for $299

BlackBerry today took the wraps off its first phone of the year, the cryptically named DTEK50. As rumoured, BlackBerry has based its second Android phone on a reference design from TCL, which owns Alcatel, and "security hardened" it with BlackBerry's Android. BlackBerry also confirmed that a monoblock QWERTY Android was on the …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Jul 2016

Remix chomps Marshmallow, updates its Android for PCs

An imminent update to Jide’s Remix OS, for Android, is the first to be based on Marshmallow 6.0 and a bunch of UI enhancements. Remix OS brings what the industry euphemistically calls “desktop productivity” to Android: in other words, multitasking, overlapping windows, true keyboard and mouse support, and file management. …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Jul 2016

BlackBerry's new best pals: Microsoft, Google, Samsung

BlackBerry didn't drop any bombshells at its annual Security Summit last week. Unlike previous years, there were no surprise acquisitions or products. But it did conspicuously share the limelight with a number of partners, some of which may make jolly good new owners. On the stage were Samsung, Google and Microsoft. The latter …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Jul 2016

BlackBerry's licensing strategy looks smart – and a lot like Nokia's

Analysis BlackBerry didn’t show a new phone in New York City at its annual Security Summit last week, and CEO John Chen sounded a bit fed up that the assembled press corps kept asking about phones. But there was enough in his comments to glean how BlackBerry’s device strategy has evolved - and it’s following a familiar path taken by once …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Jul 2016
Cookie Monster

BBC will ‘retain your viewing history’

Last week the BBC launched a mobile app, called BBC+, delivering “customisable content collections” to your phone or tablet. It’s a personalised service which requires an email address. Last year, when the corporation announced its plans for personalised services, it made several data protection promises. Specifically, Phil …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Jul 2016
Yodas

Microsoft's 3D Jedi phone explored

A never-released Microsoft phone has surfaced, providing a glimpse of how Redmond's designers proposed to evolve touch-based user interfaces. The "McLaren" phone, which was cancelled just months before its scheduled launch in 2014, responded to 3D "Jedi"-like gestures, which subsequently surfaced in the "Mix View" patent …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Jul 2016

What keeps former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani awake at night?

Sketch So, what, if anything, keeps former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani awake at night? Actually, he told a BlackBerry event today, there is this one thing. “You gotta always worry about a nation with an insane leader,” he told startled attendees. Well, Rudy. It’s funny you should say that. Giuliani had flown overnight from …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Jul 2016

BlackBerry chief: We don't have to make phones to make phones

BlackBerry CEO John Chen said his company has an internal project to bring Android security up to the level of its BlackBerry 10 platform, which should bear fruit after the release of Android N. He also hinted at a future based around brand and technology licensing. "We have a tremendous amount of technology. We can stay in …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Jul 2016
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Cloud giants demand overhaul of America's privacy rules on overseas servers

Technology trade organizations have urged the US Congress to replace the country's antique privacy protection laws – after a New York court stopped American prosectors from seizing emails from servers offshore in Ireland. A Second Circuit Court in the so-called "Irish Warrant" case, brought by Microsoft against the US …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Jul 2016

Ban ISPs from 'speeding up' the internet: Ex-Obama tech guru

Comment ISPs should be banned from “speeding up” internet packets, says a former senior member of Obama’s White House crack tech team, the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Self-facilitating policy wonk Brian Forde (for it is he) earned derision on Twitter after he urged ISPs not to send packets any faster than they already …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Jul 2016
A plate of horderves

Ad viewability worsens

Ad viewability worsened in the UK according to the adtech industry's own trade body, the IAB. Viewability of display ads fell to 47 per cent in Q2 2016, the lowest for six quarters, and lower than the international average of 56 per cent, and European rivals. An ad must be viewable for a full second, according to IAB metrics …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Jul 2016
Lily Cole, Impossible.com

Lily Cole: Profit still looks almost Impossible.com

Impossible.com, the world-changing “sharing economy” website founded by millionaire supermodel and polymath Lily Cole lost even more money last year. Year end P&L accounts filed with Companies House revealed that I Am Possible Ltd - with Cole as director - was £257,889 in the red for year ended October 2015. That’s worse than …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Jul 2016

Google quietly takes gag off Mississippi AG after wrecking ads probe

Google has, without fanfare, dropped its legal action that muzzled an investigation into the ad giant's conduct by the State of Mississippi. The state's elected attorney general, Democrat Jim Hood, has taken on Wall Street, the tobacco industry and the KKK, but even he must have been surprised by Google's 44-page restraining …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Jul 2016

Microsoft wins landmark Irish data slurp warrant case against the US

Updated Microsoft has won a landmark legal action against the US government over protecting the privacy of non-US citizens on non-US servers. The appeals court decision invalidates a key legal tool the US government uses to apply extraterritorially. The software company voluntarily put itself in contempt of court by challenging Uncle …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Jul 2016

EU eyes flaw in Google’s cash machine

Analysis The European Commission has opened an aggressive new front in its battle with Google, one that Google thought it had secured years ago. And this is one that starts to gnaw away at Google’s core cash generation business. As well as advancing its prosecution of Google over vertical search, the new third area where the Commission …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Jul 2016
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Shocker: Computer science graduate wins a top UK political job

David Davis MP today becomes the highest-achieving computer science graduate in British politics. Strictly speaking, Davis graduate with a BSc in “Molecular Science/Computer Science” in 1971 from the University of Warwick. He is now the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU (or “SSEE-U”), a freshly-minted post. Davis later …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Jul 2016

Google on piracy: We really, really care

Comment Google has returned some punches in the PR war over YouTube, claiming it has handed over $3bn in royalties from artists using its Content ID system, or $1bn since 2014. But Content ID is actually one of musicians’ biggest beefs. Google’s implementation of Content ID, which "identifies user-uploaded [YouTube] videos to help …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Jul 2016
Street musician busks for coins. Photo by Shutterstock

Spotify, YouTube pay musicians with ever-shrinking buttons

Digital music is a loss leader for tech giants, driving traffic to other parts of the plantation as they harvest personal data. But it’s creators who are carrying the loss. “Leaked” Spotify numbers suggest its maintaining an audience lead over Apple in the digital streaming business - but only by giving the music away for …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Jul 2016

Github licence checker

Libraries.io founder Andrew Nesbitt has launched a handy service to check code dependencies and licence compliance every time code is pushed into Github, lessening the pain of an annual review. Dependency CI will offer “much lower cost and faster than traditional CI systems, as it does a lot more work up front in the form of …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Jul 2016
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£1m for music royalty chief

The chief of the monopoly music royalties society PRS for Music earned almost £1m last year. Company house filings show that CEO Robert Ashcroft took home a salary of £989,000, up from £765,000. The remuneration package includes a deferred bonus of £257,000, according to Companies House filings. That means the chief has almost …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Jul 2016

LG’s modular gambit stalls

LG’s bold design move to include an expansion slot for bespoke removable modules in its flagship phone isn’t paying off. The company has reshuffled management and admitted that the "latest flagship G5 smartphone failed to generate sales”, but didn’t say by how much. Korean source Aju Business Daily suggests LG will lower its …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Jul 2016
Man with a vaper apparatus - face obscured by smoke/vapour. Photo by Shutterstock

Use Brexit to save smokers' lives and plug vaping, say peers

The government should take advantage of Brexit to save lives, the House of Lords heard last week. Conservative peer Baron (Martin) Callanan, who tabled the motion being debated to withdraw the EU’s latest vaping regulations, said smoking policy should no longer be driven by the interests of Big Pharma, and called on the …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Jul 2016

Kotkin on who made Trump and Brexit: Look in the mirror, it's you

Interview Two American writers have attempted to grapple with the rise of “populism” exemplified by Donald Trump and Brexit, with both starting (if not finishing) from the Left. Both Death of the Liberal Class by Chris Hedges and The New Class Conflict by Joel Kotkin both make uncomfortable reading for the complacent chatterati. Both …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Jul 2016