Andrew Orlowski

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Don't suit up: Microsoft drops dress code for Android visitors

Windows will run Android binaries "unchanged", according to a Microsoft job posting. "Project Astoria" is one of several ambitious ventures announced at Microsoft's annual developer conference Build 2015, intended to lure iOS, Android, and web developers to Windows 10. All were intended to make porting to Windows easy. New …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Jul 2015
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BlackBerry vows to make even fewer phones

It isn’t just Microsoft that’s going on a drastic phone diet. BlackBerry’s CEO John Chen today indicated that the Canadian enterprise vendor would cut its device portfolio from the four devices previously promised for 2015 to “two or one” a year. “We are reducing jobs, but it is not so much as reducing; we are shifting it, so …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Jul 2015

BlackBerry pecks up crisis squawker AtHoc to add sauce to BBM

BlackBerry shed some light on its latest acquisition target, AtHoc, today. It looks an improbable fit at first: AtHoc does crisis comms for emergency services and campuses, and its big customers include the military, the Department of Homeland Security and the DoD. Speaking at BlackBerry’s annual security summit in New York, …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Jul 2015
Pebble Time

Neat but narky at times: Pebble Time colour e-paper watch

Review I love what Eric Migovsky has done with the Pebble by creating an antidote to modern smartwatches. The two generations of Pebble so far have been useful, durable and practical – qualities which elude the over-specced and costly Apple and Android kit. Pebble Time Pebble Time: Fit for purpose With its early mover advantage, …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Jul 2015

Windows 10 on Mobile under the scope: Flaws, confusion, and going nowhere fast

In Depth After five years, the radical design experiment of Windows Phone is to end; Windows on phones is being subsumed into Windows 10, and alas, this means Windows phones will not only be less distinctive and inherit many of the flaws, but they’ll acquires some flaws no mobile platform today suffers. That’s my conclusion after …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Jul 2015

UK.gov makes total pig's ear of attempt to legalise home CD ripping

The UK's inability to introduce a private copying copyright exception legally and fairly means home taping, ripping CDs and so on will remain technically illegal in the UK. The obstacle to sorting out British law in this regard is the government's insistence that it can fix the quirk without offering any sort of compensation …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Jul 2015
Monty Python TV viewer

Here's why Whittingdale kicked a subscription BBC into the future

Analysis A subscription-access BBC isn’t a new idea, and for its advocates, it’s a natural evolution that ensures the survival of the Corporation in the modern world. Yet Minister for Fun John Whittingdale kicked the idea down the road yesterday. Whittingdale explained that for "conditional access" to work, non-subscribers would have …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Jul 2015

Minister for Fun opens consultation on future of the BBC

The Government has opened up a wide-ranging consultation on the future of the BBC, whose ten-year duration Royal Charter expires in 2017. Inside the BBC Micro From this ... Coincidentally a Government review of the criminalisation of license fee evasion, was also published today, the Perry Review, which has decided to …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Jul 2015
smokestack

Everything I see is Windows 10, says Microsoft's SatNad

Satya Nadella has been hitting the road to undo the damage to perceptions of Microsoft's mobile strategy caused last week by, um… Satya Nadella. When the Great Communicator "clarified" Microsoft's plans last week, he was so effective that many reporters and analysts assumed Microsoft was giving up on its own mobile platforms, …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Jul 2015
Old Bailey Lady Justice

Crims and politicians using RTBF to scrub themselves from Google? Not quite

Ordinary people value their online reputations, and are the main users of the so-called "right to be forgotten" European ruling, Google data has revealed. Google has portrayed its obligation to follow European privacy law, affirmed by the Gonzalez vs Google Spain ruling at the European Court of Justice last year, as a rogue's …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Jul 2015
Nokia 2110

Nokia will indeed be back 'making' phones – and it's far from a foolish move

Analysis Yes, Nokia will probably make Nokia-brand phones again. And other people will make them for Nokia. The company has just re-reaffirmed the strategy it announced at its Capital Markets Day last November - when nobody seemed to be paying close attention. In fact Nokia said so again in April - as we reported here. Quite why it …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Jul 2015
Grant Shapps, Conservative Party chairman. Pic: Sportsfile Web Summit

Shapps launches probe into Wikimedia UK over self-pluggery allegs

Exclusive Former Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps, who lost his Cabinet seat after allegations sourced from Wikimedia UK were widely publicised during the 2015 General Election campaign, has filed a request under the Data Protection Act to find out what the organisation knows and wrote about him. While the BBC has (sort of) …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Jul 2015
Facepalm by Ron Mander

EU squashes bogus copyright scare as red-faced Guardian slaps down Wiki's Wales

The European Parliament's largest grouping of MEPs, the European People's Party group, has snuffed out a bogus copyright crusade. The centre-right EPP, which has 214 MEPs, slammed inaccurate media reports for suggesting that new copyright laws would "break the internet". "There is no such EU law on the table and it is highly …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Jul 2015
Pinocchio CC 2.0 Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/jepoirrier/

Trebles all round: The BBC's won this licence fee showdown

It's been a great week for the BBC. The Corporation has expanded the Telly Tax onto computers and, on top of that, gained a guarantee of annual inflation-rate increases in the television licence fee. These cancel out the new requirement that the BBC funds free TV for the over-75s, which it must do in full from 2020. As a bonus …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Jul 2015

SatNad's purple haze could see Lumia 'killed'. Way to go, chief!

Microsoft's CEO has attempted to explain the future of its mobile platform in a latest public statement addressed to staff. But, this being Satya Nadella, such is the verbal haze that it's hard to make out what on Earth's going on. Nadella's language is becoming a real problem for Microsoft, creating uncertainty where clarity …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Jul 2015

HTC in crisis: How did it get to this point? How did it get this bad?

Analysis HTC's financial figures for its second quarter of 2015 look horrific. HTC says it lost 24 cents (or pence) for every dollar (or pound) of revenue it received. After four quarters of slender profits, the business just fell off a cliff. The Taiwanese giant's share price has halved from £146.5 ($224.63) to £68.50 ($105.03). If …
Andrew Orlowski, 08 Jul 2015

BB10 AND Android? How BlackBerry can have its cake and eat it

Analysis New BlackBerry handsets are coming with unrecognized part numbers, which were spotted on an Indian import database. Three weeks ago, Reuters reported that new models from the company would run Android – raising question marks over BlackBerry's own proprietary BlackBerry OS 10 (BB10) platform. In the absence of a rapid …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Jul 2015
SHUT UP!

We tried using Windows 10 for real work and ... oh, the horror

In depth Every time I've looked at Windows 10, it hasn't been long before I've run away screaming. As recently as May the ISO was nowhere near ready for prime time. Testing Windows 10 seemed to me like volunteering to be an unpaid drug trial guinea pig – it would be painful and could potentially give you horrible side effects, and you …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Jul 2015
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BPI fiddles with music consumption figures while revenues burn

The BPI reckons music consumption rose four per cent in the first half of 2015, thanks to a string of best-selling albums. But how do you measure an album's sales when a lot of your audience is streaming, or has YouTube on in the background? The music industry has started to use a new metric it calls Album Equivalent Sale ( …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Jul 2015

Wikipedia: YES! we’ve SAVED the INTERNET again!

Just as we predicted only yesterday, Wikipedia has proclaimed a famous “victory” over something that was never going to happen. The site launched a high-profile campaign to “Save the Freedom of Panorama”, after an amendment was tacked onto a European Parliament report produced by the Parliament’s only Pirate MEP. The amendment …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Jul 2015

UK TV is getting worse as younglings shun the BBC et al, says Ofcom

If you thought that British TV drama was getting cheaper and there was less of it, Ofcom has just confirmed your hunch. Ofcom's first (since 1998) review of Public Service Broadcasters, or PSBs, the regulated terrestrial TV dinosaurs, has found three things you already knew. Namely, that British TV companies now spend less …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Jul 2015
Panic button

Wikipedia jumps aboard the bogus 'freedom of panorama' bandwagon

Wikipedia has launched another anti-copyright campaign – but it's one that experts say is bogus and misleading. Thousands of pages on the site are now plastered with an appeal to "Save the Freedom of Panorama", a crusade minted by copyright activist and Europe's only Pirate Party MEP, Julia Reda. But Wikipedia users should …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Jul 2015
Mississippi River Lock and Dam number 7 with the I-90 Mississippi River bridge downstream. Image: Public Domain

40 states line up with Mississippi in Google Adwords pharma scrap

Attorneys General representing 40 US states have filed an amicus brief backing Mississippi attorney general Jim Hood's investigation into Google. In December, the giant multinational sued the state of Mississippi after it had opened an investigation into Google's business practices (claiming Hood’s complaints did not come under …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Jul 2015
Grant Shapps, Conservative Party chairman. Pic: Sportsfile Web Summit

BBC (sort of) sorry for Grant Shapps Wikipedia smear reportage

The BBC has apologised to MP and former Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps for the way it reported allegations regarding Shapps and Wikipedia, which were based on a single anonymous source. Shapps lost the position of party chairman and left the Cabinet, despite running a successful general election campaign. He is …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Jun 2015
shutterstock_must credit and link

Lobbynomics: The EU’s digital dossier that doesn't add up

Analysis A key pillar of the EU’s “Digital Single Market” strategy has systemic flaws and EU officials should stop using it, say researchers who analysed the dossier. The IP Growth Index of the Lisbon Council think tank was prepared by council fellow Benjamin Gibert. But it is “a showcase of methodological blunder”, according to an …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Jun 2015
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Revive the Nathan Barley Quango – former Downing Street wonk

The compulsory TV tax could be divvied up and given to Shoreditch digital types to create “compelling digital content”, says Shoreditch property developer and former No 10 special advisor Rohan Silva. Writing in the Sunday Times, Silva called for “a new media fund that invests in private companies producing innovative digital …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Jun 2015
Woman throttling man. Pic: quan ha

Google harms consumers and strangles the open web, says study

Google’s favourable treatment of its own services results in consumer harm and will make the web less diverse, a study into search engine users’ behaviour has claimed. Heavyweight law prof Tim Wu, who coined the phrase “net neutrality”, is one of the authors of the study, which was supported by data from Yelp, a Google rival. “ …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Jun 2015
Huawei P8

China's best phone yet: Huawei P8 5.2-inch money-saving Android smartie

Review Huawei’s P8 has finally rolled into UK shops, the latest wave of China’s assault on Tier One Android flagships. Huawei P8 Huawei's P8: set to give South Korean phone makers sleepless nights If you don’t know the Huawei proposition, here it is. You won’t get all the bells and whistles from a phone that arrives on a £40-£50 …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Jun 2015
Google HQ logo. Pic: Bob Dormon

Google helps Brit crims polish their image – but what about the innocent

Comment Google appears to be "complying" with the so-called European "right to be forgotten" ruling in a way which has helped convicted criminals to give their reputations an unexpected boost. We know this from media organisations which have helpfully listed the stories Google won’t return in its search results. The Telegraph does so …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Jun 2015

GCHQ's cyberspooks had Nudge Unit envy – leak

As 10 Downing Street was establishing a Behavioural Insights Team, or "Nudge" unit, based on pop psychology, so too were the spooks at GCHQ. Clearly not wishing to be left out of the behavioural craze sweeping the chattering classes and the thinkfluencers in the ad world, spooks thought they should be brought up to speed on the …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Jun 2015
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Pirate MEP pranks Telegraph with holiday snap scaremongering

Teenaged* German MEP Julia Reda, who believes that “your life is illegal” because of copyright laws, has successfully conned a gullible newspaper into reporting that sharing your own photos will soon be illegal too. The Telegraph’s skiing expert ran a story suggesting that British holidaymakers “may face legal action” for …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Jun 2015

BlackBerry boss vows to keep making phones

BlackBerry CEO John Chen told shareholders at his company's AGM today that he’ll stay in the handset business as he reckons he has a good chance at making money from it. Chen didn’t say how: whether he’d stick doggedly to BlackBerry’s own BB10, flirt with Android, or bring them both into a hypervisor-enabled cohabitation …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Jun 2015
RingRing Remember these? What's special about the rear left one?

Give us your software BlackBerry, we love it. The phones? Meh

Rising software revenue helped make up for continuing falls in phone hardware income at BlackBerry in the past quarter, with the waning giant booking revenue of $658m for first quarter of full year 2016, and reported a non-GAAP operating loss of $7m. Forty per cent of all income was phone sales, of around 1.1 million devices. …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Jun 2015

Even Apple doesn’t mess with Taylor Swift

Analysis Tech oligarchs aren’t supposed to say sorry. And no, Apple hasn’t formally apologized to the music community for demanding that it works for Apple for free, Apple still comes out of it with plenty of credit. Ten days ago, the contracts for Apple’s new Spotify-ish streaming service leaked out, and they contained an unprecedented …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Jun 2015
Stephen Witt, How Music Got Free book cover

How Music Got Free and Creatocracy

Page File Twenty years ago we thought the music industry would disappear and something fairer would take its place, as sure as eggs was eggs. We were right about the first part – but I doubt anyone predicted the new Man would be worse than the old Man. How did we get a system that's actually less ethical than an industry that was founded …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Jun 2015

UK.gov loses crucial battle in home-taping war with musicians

The British music industry has dealt a significant legal blow to the UK government – after the law was tweaked to allow Brits to copy audio CDs without another penny going to musicians and labels. Blighty's record industry, unhappy with these changes, today successfully applied [PDF] for a judicial review, meaning a judge will …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Jun 2015
Julia Reda MEP, Pirate Party. Pic: Joachim S. Müller

California über alles? Is MEP Reda flushing Euro copyright tradition down the pan?

Interview + update The European Parliament this week made one of its strangest ever decisions, endorsing the replacement of the European cultural tradition with American ideas. Author and academic Robert Levine thinks Pirate MEP Julia Reda’s copyright reform* proposals are the policy equivalent of photo-bombing, and MEPs haven’t really twigged …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Jun 2015
obama_oompa_loompas_648

Client-attorney privilege up for grabs in Google fishing trip

A judge will decide whether a fishing expedition by Google to uncover, and then request, documents protected by client-attorney privilege is legitimate, in the latest twist of the Mississippi Saga. Mississippi is one of several states wanting to find out whether Google has complied with a 2011 legal agreement with federal …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Jun 2015
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Farewell then, Mr Elop: It wasn't actually your fault

Comment The leadership of Nokia phones shuffled out of Microsoft yesterday, with phones VP Jo Harlow joining former CEO and Microsoft devices VP Stephen Elop in the taxi queue. The traffic wasn’t all one way: Meego UX guy Peter Skillman has joined Microsoft from Nokia’s HERE division. The moves are a result of a corporate reshuffle …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Jun 2015

Pirate Party founder: I wanna turn news into a series of three-line viral gobbets

Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge* has declared war on “oldmedia”, which he spells as one word. His Falconwing News service will pump out three-sentence “stories” scraped from real news sources and posted as images. Advertisers will be able to inject their ads into this stream. He vows that he’ll pay writers “better” than “ …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Jun 2015

Apple no-pay-for-plays streaming risks indie boycott

The independent music sector may opt-out of Apple Music – at least for its launch – because of the decision by the $731bn-valued giant to pay musicians and composers the big fat round sum of $0 for music streamed during the three-month trial period. Allied to anxieties about cash flow, it means Apple Music could roll out on June …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Jun 2015
Google faces antitrust charges in the European Union

Google on Google: The carefully collated anti-trust truth

Google doesn’t always take the threat of anti-trust charges too seriously. After the Wall Street Journal implied that the FTC opted for less aggressive action against Google because of political pressure, Google responded with references to a laughing baby, and by personally attacking the newspaper’s owner. After all, when you’ …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Jun 2015
Ashlee Vance, Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is shaping our Future

'It’s irrelevant whether Elon Musk is a dick or not. At least he’s trying to make things'

Interview Ex-Reg man Ashlee Vance has written a warts-and-all bio of Elon Musk. We quizzed him on how he did it – and why. Reg: This book has an interesting genesis – Musk wouldn’t co-operate, so you decided to do it anyway. Then he agreed to interviews... Vance: I probably benefited from Elon turning me down, because it totally pissed …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Jun 2015

BlackBerry on Android? It makes perfect sense

Analysis Four months ago, BlackBerry announced it was porting key features of its BlackBerry OS software to Android and iOS – stuff like its onscreen keyboard, Universal Search, and the notification Hub. It was only a matter of time before word emerged of somebody actually grabbing this idea and running with it. The only surprise is that …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Jun 2015
Use google.com button

Google – you DO control your search results, thunders Canadian court

A Canadian court has rejected Google's claim that it can't control its own search engine, and concluded that the web giant can in fact rein in its vast army of machines. The case – Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Google Inc., 2015 BCCA 265 – was brought by network equipment manufacturer Equustek. It revolves around the de-listing of …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Jun 2015
Sharks by https://www.flickr.com/photos/enriquecespedes/ CC 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

UK's richest man backs music minnow merger to annoy Ticketzilla

Two former MySpace featurettes which became companies — Songkick, which alerts you to acts playing near you, and CrowdSurge which handles merchandise and ticket sales — have agreed to merge. They will "do business under the globally recognized Songkick brand, bringing together over 500 of the world’s biggest artists with a …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Jun 2015
Hieronymus_Bosch_magician

A pause in global warming? Pah, FOOLS. There was NO PAUSE

Scientists have made the inconvenient “pause” in global warming disappear with a wave of their statistical wand. A new paper published in Science by NOAA estimates that global temperature during period 1998 to 2012 increased twice as fast as all other estimates had calculated. However, the paper has immediately run into a wall …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Jun 2015
Ashlee Vance, Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is shaping our Future

Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future

Page File Elon Musk might be one of the most personally obnoxious tycoons to emerge from a culture that isn’t bereft of complete shits. Think Larry Ellison, or Steve Jobs. According to one former employee of his, Musk has “a complete lack of loyalty or human connection”. Yet he’s also by far the most interesting, and his achievements …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Jun 2015
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Microsoft spunks $500m to reinvent the wheel. Why?

Comment As strange shopping expeditions go, this has to rank alongside London Bridge being bought, dismantled, and then rebuilt in Arizona. The world’s biggest software company, Microsoft, has now spent half a billion dollars on mobile apps that are poor cousins of its own Exchange and Outlook software. Apps that, in some cases, don’t …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Jun 2015
LG G4 Android smartphone

LG G4: Be careful while fingering this leather-clad smartie pants

Review Despite some lovely work, LG has been a perennial bridesmaid at the smartphone wedding. LG’s rival giant Samsung has walked off with the only profits being made in the Android business. But this year LG senses a chance to be the bride. LG G4 Android smartphone LG's G4 flagship smartie For 2015, Samsung has made its best phone …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Jun 2015