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Andrew Orlowski

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Whoever you vote for, Google gets in

Google's lobbying and influence-courting in Washington DC is more intense and extensive than even Google-watchers thought, a must-read Washington Post investigation has revealed. That's because much of it takes place off the books, where formal spending is not declared, according to the article. The search giant already ranks …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Apr 2014

Look out, bankers! It's Lily Cole and her (Brit taxpayer-funded) WISH-PRINTING ATM

Millionaire model Lily Luahana Cole has been promoting her British taxpayer-supported "wishing well" website on a coast-to-coast tour of the United States. We wouldn't be doing our job if we didn't update you on its progress. So how's it doing? The United Nations and Harvard's New Age think-tank the Berkman Center both rolled …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Apr 2014
Fawlty Towers

TripAdvisor for the disabled: Euan's Guide quietly launches

A social network with a difference launched last week. The website, Euan's Guide, is a kind of TripAdvisor for the disabled and was created by a motor neurone disease sufferer. It fills a gap in the market because information on disabled access is either poorly presented or not available at all, which means family and carers …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Apr 2014

Reg slips claws across Nokia's sexy sixties handsets, fondles flagship too

Nokia launched the most important Windows Phone of 2014 last week - along with an impressive new flagship. But both launches were rather eclipsed by the massive update to the Windows Phone OS itself - an overdue pregnancy if ever there was one - and the historic news Microsoft is scrapping royalties. Phones and smaller tablets …
Andrew Orlowski, 08 Apr 2014

Windows Phone 8.1: Like WinPho 8, but BETTER

The biggest Windows Phone news this week was that it's now royalty free. This means it will cost manufacturers less to make a Windows Phone than an Android phone, all other things being equal. And, of course, it also received the much-anticipated update. Yes, it's taken what seems like an eternity to arrive, but Windows Phone 8. …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Apr 2014
Photo of Stephen Elop at Build 2014

In three hours, Microsoft gave the Windows-verse everything it needed

In a three-hour session at Build 2014, Microsoft pulled itself further clear of the wreckage created by the company's ex-Windows 8 chief Steve Sinofsky. Most keynotes ramble at least a little bit, but the sheer deluge of updates at Microsoft's annual developer conference yesterday seemed to leave the audience battered and …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Apr 2014

Italy has a clumsy new pirate-choker law. But can anyone do better?

New technology means anyone can now create and distribute their creative works, like photos or music, like never before – but, in turn, it also means that anyone can now rip off creators. And yesterday, a range of speakers – from Google to legal experts to enforcement teams – met at the London HQ of law firm Bristows for an …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Apr 2014

BT befriends Google's lonely TV dongle – and saves YouView

BT is to make Premier League football available on Google's Chromecast TV platform, in a huge filip for the platform. Google started selling Chromecast in the UK last month - here's our review. While Chromecast bundles the usual OTTs (Over The Top) services including Netflix and YouTube, the only UK broadcaster support so far …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Apr 2014
Huawei E586

Three daddy Hutch has no interest in O2

Three network owner Hutchison Whampoa has ruled out making a bid for O2 in the UK. Hutchison agreed to take O2 Ireland off Telefonica's hands last year. The €850m deal is currently pending a final session of horse-trading before approval at the EU level. In an interview with the Telegraph, Three UK's CEO Dave Dyson said "We don …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Apr 2014

BT Tower to be replaced by 3D printed BT Tower

Prime Minister David Cameron will announce a futuristic addition to London’s skyline today. The familiar shape of BT Tower, opened in 1965 by Harold Wilson, will give way to a 3D printed tower – believed to be the largest additive polymer construction in the world. The 21st century version is designed to be a replica of the …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Apr 2014

Newsnight goes sour on Tech City miracle

BBC's Newsnight decided to get a reality check on Britain's economic miracle of East London's "Tech City Cluster" on Friday, and asked me if I'd like to contribute. With a hangover and not much sleep the night before? Of course I would. Radio 4's Today and BBC2's Newsnight are invitations you don't turn down if you think you've …
Andrew Orlowski, 31 Mar 2014
Blackberry_bold_9000_all_sides

BlackBerry revenue slips below $1bn as users shun BB10

BlackBerry's revenue slipped below a billion dollars in the fourth fiscal quarter for the first time since 2007, as its smartphone sales continued to slide, but its losses were slightly less than expected. The ailing Canadian firm reported a net loss of nearly $6bn for the year up to the start of March and a loss of $423m for …

No, Minister. You CAN'T de-Kindle your eBooks!

The government has bungled proposed changes to UK copyright law by claiming the format of eBooks can be legally changed - for example, from the Amazon kindle format to a PDF. The changes were published yesterday as the last debris of the Hargreaves Review to wash up on the statute book. (The rest has either been implemented or …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Mar 2014

Three's money man reveals UK mobe firms' DARK PRICING dealings

Mobile operator Three reckons that networks are giving punters such a crappy experience with hidden charges, it's no surprise they want to bail out at the end of a contract. Networks resort to “dark pricing” tactics to recoup for the subsidies for swanky smartphones, he said. The firm's chief financial officer, Richard Woodward …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Mar 2014
Photo by Thore Siebrands Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Improbable: YOU gave model Lily Cole £200k for her Impossible.com whimsy-site

Why is the UK taxpayer funding a millionaire supermodel and actress to build a website that replicates the "Help Needed" pages of Craigslist and Freecycle? Using information gleaned from Freedom of Information requests, we’ve attempted to find out. The model and actress Lily Luahana Cole, a Cambridge University art history …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Mar 2014
head and body picture of Michael Robertson, wearing navy jacket and blue shirt

Deceased music locker gets final knock

Michael Robertson has lost a long-running copyright infringement case against his unlicensed cloud music service MP3Tunes. The verdict by the Manhattan federal jury on Wednesday is the third headline-grabbing copyright settlement this week. Robertson's cloud-based music streamer first launched in the pre-Cambrian era, 2005, and …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Mar 2014
Sergey Brin Project Glass

Google wearables: A solution looking for a rich nerd

If you've spent any time looking at transport technology - how cars and trains got here - you've got a head start over most VCs and pundits in understanding wearable computing. I'll explain why. Google's Android Wear is the biggest deal in wearable computing since Microsoft's abortive SPOT 12 years ago. And Google hasn't waited …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Mar 2014
European Union Flag

So. Farewell then Steelie Neelie: You were WORSE than USELESS

Neelie Kroes' stint as the EU's “Commissioner for a Digital Agenda” ends when the Barroso II Commission closes up shop in the autumn. Perhaps the post should be abolished with her departure. The Dutch economist could have carved out a distinctly European approach, distinct from the Asian autocracies and American Wild West, but …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Mar 2014

Proper boffins make your company succeed, even if you're not very technical

Good news for British techies. A wide-ranging innovation study recommends that firms should hire more staff who can solve complex technical problems, even if they’re not tech companies or the techies aren’t employed in a narrowly technical function. So says a report on Innovation and Growth prepared for the Department of …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Mar 2014
Child labourers

Is the World Wide Web for luvvies and VCs – or for all of us?

The Web turns 25 years old today, and its inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee has written yet another declaration of rights – a "Magna Carta" – to mark the occasion. These incessant anniversaries are proof that journalists and media luvvies love looking backwards rather than reporting what's in front of them - warts and all. But …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Mar 2014
Homer Simpson

Universal Music mulls 'all you can eat' buffet of song downloads

Universal Music Group (UMG) is developing an online service that offers unlimited music downloads for a monthly subscription. That news comes from The LA Times, which was treated to a PowerPoint presentation by the record giant's execs. The end result of that briefing was this profile of Universal Music's British boss Lucian …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Mar 2014
BBC iPlayer

Netflix needling you? BBC pimps up iPlayer ahead of BBC3 move

The BBC unveiled a much-needed front-end makeover for its sprawling iPlayer service today – while dodging the inevitable questions about subscriptions. The corporation has updated iPlayer to take on commercial subscription rivals like Netflix, with shows available for longer – 30 days, subject to Trust approval. The details of …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Mar 2014
Julie Larson-Green Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Windows Experience

Satisfy my scroll: El Reg gets claws on Windows 8.1 spring update

Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 Update 1 – with pain relief for those suffering from “customer satisfaction issues” – is widely expected to be released in early April. It'll probably coincide with the Build developer conference starting on 2 April. This spring update has already gone to computer manufacturers to install on their new …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Mar 2014

PM Cameron leaps aboard Internet of Thingies

Prime Minister David Cameron thinks he has spotted the "Second Industrial Revolution" – and it’s the Internet of Things. Speaking at the start of the CeBIT show in Hannover, Cameron foresaw British software and services companies working up with German engineering and manufacturing companies to turn IoT from a “slogan to a fact …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Mar 2014

Global Warming IS REAL, argues sceptic mathematician - it just isn't THERMAGEDDON

The "certainty" that underpins European and UK climate policy may be wildly misplaced, as the models that the climate science establishment presents to politicians as evidence run far too hot. That's according to a report released yesterday by UK think-tank the Global Warming Policy Foundation. And this is very good news, says …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Mar 2014

Getty offers 35 MILLION images for free – if you jump (em)bed with it

Photo giant Getty Images has announced it will allow 35 million of its images to be embedded on non-commercial sites such as blogs, message boards and social networks. It's via a new Embed tool, similar to Twitter or YouTube's iframe HTML, which allows the image to be pasted onto a web page, and allows Getty to track usage. …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Mar 2014

MWC: The good, the bad ... and the Galaxy S5

Well, we're back from Barcelona - in various states of disrepair. Here's my highlights of MWC 2014 ahead of our web chat later this week. 1. Innovation is alive and well. You only have to look beyond the shiny Youtube Video It's a shame that some pundits who declared MWC a low-"innovation" event couldn't see past the phones. …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Mar 2014
BlackBerry Messenger (BBM)

WhatsApp no threat to BBM: Blackberry bod says pretender's buyout will HELP ailing firm

You could forgive BlackBerry for being grumpy after Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $16bn. After all, WhatsApp is a very obvious knock-off of BlackBerry's BBM. But for years BlackBerry kept BBM locked inside BlackBerry phones - and only last year opened it up as a real cross platform OTT messaging app. Did BlackBerry kick itself …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Feb 2014

Nokia to Devs: PLEASE DON'T make Nokiadroid apps look like WinPho

Nokia is telling developers not to make their Nokia Android apps look like Windows Phone apps. Nokia has been explaining how much work is needed to port Android apps to its new Nokia X range, which uses the AOSP Android open source base. The Finns reckons 75 per cent of apps need no modification at all, but 25 per cent will …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Feb 2014
BlackBerry logo

BlackBerry brings back call, end keys, touchpad to Q20 keyboard cutie

BlackBerry has admitted that its made its some of its traditional users who stayed loyal to the company very fed up when it dropped some of its best-loved features. At Mobile World Congress today, the company formerly known as RIM said it would bring back the classic trackpad as well as Call ("Send"), End and Menu keys to a …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Feb 2014

Say WHAT? Qualcomm, MediaTek scrap over who has best 'marketing gimmick' octocore

Qualcomm launched its first 8-core processors at Mobile World Congress this week, after last year describing octocore chips as "a marketing gimmick". “You can’t take eight lawnmower engines, put them together and now claim you have an eight-cylinder Ferrari," Qualcomm's senior VP Anand Chandrasekher said last year. "We don’t do …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Feb 2014

Samsung and Apple BEWARE: Huawei is coming to eat your lunch

Richard Yu, Huawei's consumer boss, was one of the highlights of the presentations at Mobile World Congress. This is not because he's easy to understand; like a French president travelling overseas, he makes no concessions to his pronunciation advisors. It's because he thinks everyone else is rubbish. Huawei's new range …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Feb 2014
Microsoft Nokia logo

Nokia launches Euro ANDROID invasion, quips: 'Microsoft knew what they were buying'

Microsoft was aware of Nokia's plans to release a range of Android phones, the man in charge of the new range told us today. And the new Nokiadroids - of which there are more than anyone predicted - will be coming to the UK - possibly sooner than anyone realises. Timo Toikkanen, Executive Vice President of Nokia Mobile Phones …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Feb 2014

Nokia launches Android range: X marks the growing low-cost spot

Three years after it announced a switch to Windows Phone, Nokia launched a family of Android-based phones today at Mobile World Congress 2014. Nokia's new X family of mobes... The first three devices revealed today at Mobile World Congress adopt the same strategy Amazon has with Android: use the open-source base and develop …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Feb 2014
Nokia Lumia Windows Phone Update

Microsoft courts mobe-makers, tweaks Windows 8 for WIMPs

In a pre-show presentation in Barcelona, where Mobile World Congress starts this week, Microsoft has confirmed some new features coming in Windows Phone 8.1 and the Windows 8.1 update coming this (northern) spring and assured phone makers it won't hang them out to dry. Redmond has let it be know that Windows desktop/tablet and …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Feb 2014

Years of AWOL Windows Phone features finally show up in video leaks

The first major update to Windows Phone since November 2012 is expected to be revealed in April, but details have already started to emerge. Sleuths combing through the new SDK for Windows Phone which developers released privately a week ago have published long lists of new features – and there's a purported video of the long- …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Feb 2014

TV scraper Aereo pulled off air in six US states after tellyco court injunction victory

TV retransmitter Aereo, which created its business hoping to weasel around a loophole in the law, has been banned in six US states after a judge granted a preliminary injunction that bans it from operating in them. Aereo provided each subscriber with access to a tiny antenna in the cloud, deploying thousands of these antennas to …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Feb 2014
Mobile phone stolen by pickpocket

Facebook pays $19bn for WhatsApp. Yep. $45 for YOUR phone book

Putting a man on the Moon cost less than what Facebook paid for WhatsApp, a generic chat app. So why is Facebook paying $45 per user to gain functionality it already has? The silly numbers look even sillier when you consider Facebook's own Messenger only lags narrowly behind WhatsApp in terms of usage. Facebook Messenger …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Feb 2014

Official: British music punter still loves plastic

The UK recorded music industry grew 1.9 per cent last year according to the BPI, despite falls in revenue from sales of CDs and music videos. Amazingly, CD revenue fell only 6.4 per cent in 2013 year on year - and still forms the backbone of the industry. A full £365.4m out of the total of £716.8m comes from CDs and videos. …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Feb 2014
Saul Klein, venture capitalist

A Year of Code timeline: History of a HYPEGASM

The government's "Year of Code" scheme, chaired by former Tory advisor Rohan Silva, has generated more comments from you than anything else this week. Here's a bite-sized timeline to put the whole story in context. February 2007: Saul Klein joins London VC firm Index Ventures. In May, he sets up Seedcamp in Europe. It's a pick …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Feb 2014
Doctor Who and Sarah

SCRAP the TELLY TAX? Ancient BBC Time Lords mull Beeb's future

It was as good as anything on the telly. Four past BBC chiefs were giving MPs their opinions at Westminster. The Commons media select committee is running an enquiry into the future of the BBC, looking at how it should be governed, and as technology and habits change, whether should there even be a per-household fee levied on …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Feb 2014

Google's SECRET contracts: Android lock-in REVEALED!

Details of secret contracts that Google signs with phone manufacturers have become public for the first time, revealing the extent of the restrictions Google puts on Android smartphones. In an email in 2011, a Google Android program manager injudiciously described the OS as a "club" to make phone makers "do what we want". But …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Feb 2014

Object to #YearOfCode? You're a misogynist and a snob, says the BBC

Critics of the Government's "Year of Code" scheme are misogynists or snobs, according to the BBC's tech correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones. Rory's frustration is that while billions of pounds are splurged on IT, children are passively taught PowerPoint procedures. That's the limit of the state's ambitions for children. This a …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Feb 2014
Humax YouView DTR-T1000 IPTV Freeview DVR

BBC, ITV gang up on YouView with 'FreeView Connect'

The BBC and ITV look set to cut YouView adrift, backing a new TV distribution platform they've developed called FreeView Connect. This has long been rumoured in the UK industry, and now Digital UK – which is backed by the two channels together with Channel 4 and Arqiva – has confirmed they're looking at it. According to …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Feb 2014

'No, I CAN'T write code myself,' admits woman in charge of teaching our kids to code

The government's "Year Of Code" scheme to bring computer programming into schools for children as young as five has degenerated into a political bunfight. "The word 'coding' has been hijacked and abused by politicians and media who don't understand stuff,” the Raspberry Pi foundation’s director of educational development and a …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Feb 2014

MEP: Google's SECRET deal will cause crisis of trust for Europe

Google's secret backroom deal with the EU's competition chief can only worsen the crisis of trust in the European institutions, one MEP tells us. This week the Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia said he would advise the Commission to reject complaints made about Google's business practices, thus allowing the search giant …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Feb 2014
Opera CEO Jon Von Tetzchner

Opera founder von Tetzchner: It's all gone to crap since I quit

"It's really sad, it's lost now," says Opera co-founder Jon von Tetzchner, reflecting on the fate of the company he left in 2011. Opera had made serious inroads in the Noughties embedding a browser into consumer products, where it was a pioneer, and had a sizeable following on both desktop and mobile. Its high performance …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Feb 2014
Vodafone on Piccadilly

Vodafone's Euro revenues slump by nearly TEN PER CENT

Vodafone's latest results make grim reading for the company's investors, with revenues in established markets falling and subscribers drifting away despite the firm's 4G investments. The British mobe operator's service revenues fell in Europe by 9.6 per cent and was only partially offset by gains in India and Turkey. The group …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Feb 2014
Jean Michel Jarre performs (green lasers in background). Photo by Daniele Dalledonne

Jean Michel Jarre: Je voudrais un MUSIC TAX sur VOTRE MOBE

Smartphone owners should pay hundreds of dollars to the music industry, wrinkly French synth twiddler Jean Michel Jarre has said. Without the ability to play music, Jarre argued, the gadget wouldn't be worth as much as it currently is. “We should never forget that in the smartphone, the smart part is us creators,” Jarre told …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Feb 2014

Nudge Unit flies into Nesta's arms: Is the hype justified?

No 10's controversial "nudge unit" has been spun out into a company - but it hasn't fallen far from the nest. The 16-strong Behavioural Insights Team (as it's known) will become a private entity and will be able to tap into cash originally set aside for fledgling inventors. It will then sell its services back to the government …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Feb 2014