Andrew Orlowski

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A group of people hold out mobile phones in a circle. Photo by Shutterstock

World goes SIM-free, leaving Sony and HTC trailing behind

One-third of phones worldwide are now sold SIM-free, Gartner reports today in its latest quarterly smartphone market numbers. The move to SIM-free online sales has benefited Chinese upstarts and left former favourites like Sony and HTC in the dust, analyst Anshul Gupta told us. “They haven’t changed at all, while the market …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 May 2016
Nokia 1011

How Nokia is (and isn't) back in the phone business today

Analysis We have a new phone company today, and it’s European. And the badge says Nokia. So is Nokia back in the phone biz? Yes and no. It won’t spend a penny on either making or marketing phones - even at arm’s length. All that is going to be the job of a new entity, HMD Global Oy, run by present and past Nokians. From HMD we can …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 May 2016
Tractor sprays wheat crops under a blue sky. Photo by Shutterstock

SHOCK: GM crops are good for you and the planet, reckon boffins

In a rebuke to the EU, and environmental activists worldwide, the biggest scientific metastudy yet conducted of genetically modified foods concludes they’re good for human health and the environment. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, an advisory body of scientists, finds no evidence of risks over …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 May 2016
Live news illustration with microphones and cameras

Nokia back in phone biz

It’s official: Nokia is returning to the phone business. Sort of. Nokia will license its brand and IP to a new manufacturing entity, HMD Global Oy, as well as Foxconn-owned FIH Mobile Ltd. HMD and FIH will "collaborate" on a global business for Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets. The deal allows Microsoft to shed its …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 May 2016
Music listener rasta

Pandora investor: Sell this company sooner rather than later

A major investor in Pandora wants the company to sell out while it can. Hedge fund Corvex Partners has revealed that it owns 10 per cent of the veteran streaming music company – and that selling out to a larger company is preferable to pursuing a "costly and uncertain business plan." In a US Securities and Exchange Commission …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 May 2016
Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP. Pic: Jennifer Jane Mills

5% of drivers want Nigel Farage to be their in-car robo butler

Five per cent of Britons would choose the voice of Nigel Farage as their in-car virtual assistant. And 3 per cent want to be advised of traffic jams ahead by the Chuckle Brothers. The poll of over 2,000 Britons for voice company Nuance suggests a wide range of celebrity choices, although perhaps thankfully, more would choose a …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 May 2016

Queen’s Speech: Digital Bill to tackle radicalisation, pirates

Exclusive A new Digital Bill due to be announced in the Queen’s Speech tomorrow will contain a new 10-year maximum sentencing guideline for online copyright infringement, The Register has learned. Plans for a portmanteau bill were first revealed here back in January. The Bill gathers together a range of unrelated provisions on spectrum …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 May 2016

Adpocalypse 'will wipe out display ad growth' by 2020

Ad-blocking threatens to snuff out growth in the digital display advertising market, reckons Optimal, a startup with an interest in talking up the Adpocalypse. According to Optimal’s trackers, 11.7 per cent of online display ads were blocked last year, which when married to a prediction on adblock growth, will see $12bn worth …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 May 2016
Google bikes outside Google HQ. Photo by Randy Miramontez/Shutterstock - for editorial use only.

EU mulls €3bn fine for Google

The European Commission may impose its largest ever fine on a company for misbehaving - and for Alphabet's Google, it could just be the start. The Sunday Telegraph reports that the Commission is considering a fine “in the region of €3bn” for Google’s anti-competitive search practices - or around half of Google’s European …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 May 2016

Big Pharma wrote EU anti-vaping diktat, claims Tory ex-MEP

Revolutions have started for flimsier reasons than draconian new laws that assault the population’s health. In the past, a ruling bureaucratic class has had to do something demonstrably stupid to signal to the people that it’s unfit to govern: like dramatically increase the price of staple foods such as bread, or introducing …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 May 2016
Peter Capaldi as Dr Who. Credit: BBC

At the BBC, Agile means 'making it up as we go along'

A £75m “Agile” BBC IT project has evaded scrutiny because managers could make up the benefits as they went along, according to the spending watchdog the National Audit Office. Any likelihood of the project achieving savings is now officially rated as “in doubt” by the BBC’s own project monitoring. Since the costly failure of …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 May 2016

Did Spotify hire Alan Partridge to run its Netflix-style video push?

Competition Spotify’s strange lurch into creating TV shows grows even stranger. Amongst the highlights of original content is a lurid series on how music stars died. “From the PCP-fueled cannibalism of rapper Big Lurch to the murder-for-hire plot hatched by the singer of metal band As I Lay Dying, we’ll get the full story of how some of …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 May 2016
O2 XDA Argon

French maverick sniffs around O2

European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is expected to block Three UK owner CK Hutchison’s takeover of O2 this week, leaving BT as the dominant player in the UK’s mobile market. BT, lest you forgot, is also the monopoly wholesaler of broadband, and the single largest retail provider of broadband too, with a 31 per cent share …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 May 2016
Collage of neon lights, street signs and advertisements at Times Square in New York City on June 23, 2013. Times Square holds the annual New Year's Eve ball drop. Photo by Allen G/Shutterstock for editorial use only

Can ad biz’s LEAN avert ADPOCALYPSE?

Do you trust the ad industry to clean up its act? It certain has an incentive to do so, with adblocking on the rise. Six months ago the ad biz trade association the IAB launched the LEAN initiative to define a basemark “acceptable ad”. The IAB's LEAN principles are “Light, Encrypted, AdChoices-supporting, and Non-invasive”. …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 May 2016

Google-backed Yieldify has acquired IP from ‘world’s biggest patent troll’

Yieldify, the Google Ventures-backed startup accused of stealing code from British adtech company Bounce Exchange, has been making some unusual friends. Yieldify has acquired an ancient web patent from III Holdings which was first filed in 2007. III Holdings is better known as Inside Intellectual Ventures, co-founded by Nathan …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 May 2016
News room with blur motion effect

Opera unleashes ad blocker

Opera has released a new version of Opera Mini browser with a built-in ad-blocker. The blocker uses EasyList but is turned off by default, deputy CTO Bruce Lawson told us, because Opera didn’t want to skew consumer demand. The ad blocker will speed up page downloads by 40 per cent and use 14 per cent less traffic, on average, …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 May 2016
A partially-eaten langos

MS to kill GWX nagware

Microsoft has promised to kill its aggressive Get Windows 10 nagware promotion in July, when the year-long free upgrade scheme ends. “On July 29th, the Get Windows 10 app that facilitates the easy upgrade to Windows 10 will be disabled and eventually removed from PCs worldwide,” the company said. The GWX popup uses aggressive …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 May 2016

Android One's not dead

Google has confirmed it has repositioned its “Google One” platform aimed at taking control of the anarchic first-time-smartphone-buyer market in emerging economies. Volume shipments in markets such as Bangladesh are Android, they’re just not Google’s Android, and feature OEM or rogue app stores. That means a lot of personal …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 May 2016

Hey, YouTube: Pay your 'workers' properly and get with the times

Analysis The latest record industry middleman takes more than ever from the mouths of musicians, at least compared with the old record industry middleman. Head of the recording industry trade group BPI Geoff Taylor says that video music consumption doubled, but revenue only rose by 0.5 per cent. Taylor contrasted this with a 70 per …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 May 2016
Burning copyright symbol. Photo by: Martin Fisch http://www.flickr.com/photos/marfis75/ on flickr"

Clixta: A copyright-friendly way to share your family photos

“Imagine if a Facebook rival emerged that didn’t require users to surrender their rights, and that rewarded them for their creativity with real dosh. Who’d want to stick around with the old Facebook that doesn’t do either?” we mused last year. Well, although it isn’t pretending to be a Facebook rival, or pay you, something …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 May 2016
Slices of madeira cake

EU rejects vaping

UK firm loses legal challenge to the EU Tobacco Products Directive. E-cig merchant Totally Wicked argued that the latest revision of the TPD, which regulates liquids and e-cigarettes, is unlawful under EU law because it violates one of the EU’s “four pillars”: freedom of cross-border trade. TPD2 does ban distance selling of e …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 May 2016
Julia Reda MEP, Pirate Party. Pic: Joachim S. Müller

The Lonely Pirate MEP's Holocaust copyright stunt backfires

Comment A tasteless attempt to recruit Holocaust victim Anne Frank to the case of weakening European copyright protection has backfired on the EU's only Pirate Party MP, Julia Reda. On WIPO’s World IP Day last week, copyfighter Reda tweeted that she was “trying to read Anne Frank’s Diary” but couldn’t because of copyright terms. …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 May 2016

Intel has driven a dagger through Microsoft's mobile strategy

Analysis Intel’s retreat from mobile chips is one of the biggest disruptions to the Wintel relationship in Microsoft’s 35-year business relationship with the chip giant – if not the biggest of all. There have been tiffs before, but not like this – and it raises serious questions about Microsoft’s mobile investments. Don’t expect rebel …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 May 2016

The EU wants you to log into YouTube using your state-issued ID card

Analysis The EU’s enquiry into online plantations platforms will recommend a hands-off approach that will delight Silicon Valley. A draft of the enquiry was leaked this week. The study, part of the EU's Digital Single Market wheeze, also sneaks in one of the EU bureaucrats' top favourite obsessions: national ID cards. You shouldn't be …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Apr 2016
DETAIL ON ORDNANCE SURVEY MAP APP - SUPPLIED BY ORDNANCE SURVEY

At last: Ordnance Survey's map wizardry goes live

After a long beta programme, the Ordnance Survey has officially launched its “slippy”-style smartphone app and website - just in time for shivering in a parka on a Bank Holiday Monday, as you wonder who nicked your bike. It marries the Ordnance Survey’s traditional map into a modern, scrollable UI, and was built from the …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Apr 2016