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Andrew Orlowski

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Microsoft buries Sinofsky Era... then jumps on the coffin lid

The path to redemption in 2014 lies not through baptism, but blogging. Former Merrill Lynch dotcom analyst Henry "what a POS*" Blodget agreed to a lifetime ban from the finance industry – but bounced back with a blog. And perhaps one-man wrecking crew Steve Sinofsky, former President of the Windows Division at Microsoft, can …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Jan 2014

Google stabs Wikipedia in the front

Anyone who doubts the impact of Google's power - it's currently the subject of an antitrust complaint to the European Commission by vertical search companies - needs to read this. The complaints to the Competition Commission maintain that Google's arbitrary promotion of its own material harms the market. But in this case, the …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Jan 2014
Microsoft Nokia logo

Blasphemy! Finns trample over Windows Phone home screen

Nokia's phone division has released an app that might upset the high priests at the Temple of Windows Phone Design – who will shortly become its new masters. The app allows users to add folders to the Windows Phone Home Screen – thereby desecrating the hallowed ground which by almighty decree, Must Never Change. It's part of a …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Jan 2014
Burning copyright symbol. Photo by: Martin Fisch http://www.flickr.com/photos/marfis75/ on flickr"

UK 'copyright czar' Edmund Quilty quits as Blighty's Director of Copyright Enforcement

Britain's unofficial "copyright czar", Edmund Quilty, is moving on. Probably the most influential civil servant you've never heard of, Quilty has served as the Director of Copyright Enforcement and Policy at the UK patent office for six years, far longer than the typical stint for a career bureaucrat of two years. "We can …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Jan 2014

Rogue Android: We show you how BlackBerry's pain can be your gain

BlackBerry's comeback with a new operating system, BB10, turned into one of the greatest tech flops of all time. Almost one year after the launch, BlackBerry still sells far more of its ancient BB7 devices than it does BB10 devices. But could you turn BlackBerry’s misfortune to your advantage? With a street price of around £140 …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Jan 2014

I've seen the future of car radio - and DAB isn't in it

Last month BMW rolled out the first cars to come with a fully integrated on-demand music-streaming service built in. Just before Xmas I took it through its paces to see how it performed and after an hour I was forced to conclude that things look ominous for digital radio, which is likely to be squeezed harder as on-demand …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Jan 2014
Space Shuttle Endeavor buzzes the Golden Gate Bridge

Blame Silicon Valley for the NSA's data slurp... and what to do about it

Widespread ridicule has greeted the announcement that eight giant technology companies led by Google and including Facebook and LinkedIn were going to save us from the NSA. The ridicule is thoroughly justified, for trusting giant corporations - whose business models rely on selling your identity to advertisers - to safeguard …
Andrew Orlowski, 31 Dec 2013
Original 'Blue Marble' pic taken by Apollo 17 astronauts in 1972

Britain's costliest mistake? Lord Stern defends his climate maths

As the year winds to a close and a new one begins, it's traditional to think about the future and good resolutions we may be keeping. In particular, we thought it would make sense to take a look at the resolution the UK made a few years ago: to cut carbon emissions on a scale unmatched by any other nation. How's that going, and …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Dec 2013
Punk-styled girl with piercing gazes at an apple

Apple loses sauce, BlackBerry squashed and Microsoft, er, WinsPhones (Nokia's)

It was a year where Apple slurped down enormous profits but lost some of its bleeding-edge-tech street cred, while Samsung marched inexorably on. But behind the scenes there was much more going on. Here are the year's trends put through the blender. Apple Apple's strategy is quite simple: instead of making products the …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Dec 2013
Toshiba LTPS touchscreen LCD

Andrew Fentem: Why I went to an arts quango to fund pre-iPhone multitouch

In the late '90s British inventor Andrew Fentem pioneered multitouch techniques, years before Apple brought them to market in the iPhone and later the iPad. He won backing for his technology from Britain's new innovation quango: but its incompetence meant that Apple ultimately looked elsewhere. We told the story of how the UK …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Dec 2013
Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/eddiedangerous/ licensed under creative commons http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ please attribute

Calling all Spare Rib veterans: Sisters, don't lose your rights!

Contributors to the iconic feminist magazine Spare Rib, which ran from 1972 to 1993, have been warned not to sign away their rights. Last week the British Library contacted over a thousand former contributors giving them just seven days to give their consent to what it described as a "digitisation project". If authors declined …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Dec 2013

Legal bruiser Reback joins Google battle in Europe

The famous American legal bruiser Gary Reback has once again waded into the battle against Google in Europe again. The search giant is currently thrashing out a behind-closed-doors remedy with the European Commission in order to fend off a full Statement of Objections. But the deal's critics say Google’s proposed remedy merely …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Dec 2013
Aerielle i2i Stream

Analogue radio will CONTINUE in Blighty as Minister of Fun dodges D-Day death sentence

A keynote speech by Culture and Comms Minister Ed Vaizey at the Go Digital conference had been billed for weeks as “D-Day” for UK radio. But in the end, Vaizey kicked the DAB can down the road, setting no new date for a switchover from analogue to digital radio, nor any new threshold for such a switchover. Vaizey thus avoided …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Dec 2013
Apple G4 Cube

El Reg's contraptions confessional no.3: the Apple G4 Cube

If you're lucky, old gear doesn't so much die as get given away or retired. Indeed, some kit is just too quirky to dispose of, even though it gets wheezy whenever you fire up a browser. Forget computing with it though, says Andrew Orlowski, the value can lie elsewhere. Apple Power Mac G4 Cube Why keep an Apple G4 Cube in the …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Dec 2013

You gotta fight for your copyright ... Beastie Boys sue toymaker over TV ad

Hip-hop heroes the Beastie Boys aren't impressed by toymaker GoldieBlox's climbdown in their rather bizarre copyright dispute – which started when the building-block company used the band's music in an ad. The MCs have now filed a countersuit against the venture-capital-bankrolled toy biz, which sued the Beasties after …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Dec 2013

How Britain could have invented the iPhone: And how the Quangocracy cocked it up

This is a disturbing, cautionary tale of quasi-government and its bungling. It describes how Britain could have led the recent advances in touchscreen technology, developing kit capable detecting more than one fingertip at once, years before Apple did – if it weren't for the nation's treacle-footed, self-serving quangocracy. …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Dec 2013

BlackBerry BES: Hey, biz bod, fancy an upgrade on that RIM job... for FREE?

BlackBerry’s Annus horribilis, which has seen the company bombed out of the consumer market has an upside for enterprise users. So keen is the company formerly known as RIM to get its installed BES 5 base onto its new, BYOD-friendly BES 10, it has waived the upgrade fees. Customers who already have a BlackBerry support contract …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Dec 2013

Got a one-of-a-kind N9? Get ready to adopt Meego's baby Sailfish

The only Meego phone Nokia ever released, the now two-year-old N9, has been given a new lease of life today. Owners can now install the new Meego descendent Sailfish alongside the original OS. Sailfish is an open-source operating system developed by startup Jolla, and is a continuation of the work Nokia did on Meego before it …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Dec 2013

UK.gov declares digital success as PR, food shops redefined as 'tech' businesses

Are you in PR? Do you sell holidays or food? Congratulations, you're now an internet business! Global financial index provider the FTSE Group has just announced a "widen[ing of] the definition of what constitutes an internet service business" – which gov.uk has been quick to trumpet as a success growing out of its "Tech City UK …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Dec 2013
Chairman_04

Three offers free US roaming, confirms stealth 4G rollout

Is Hutchison’s Three network playing the canniest game of all with its handling of 4G? The UK operator this week expects to move 1 million customers up to LTE by the end of March next year at no extra cost. The strategy is based on only offering upgrades, thereby avoiding “selling in” new punters to 4G-only tariffs. This means …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Dec 2013

Brit inventors' GRAVITY POWERED LIGHT ships out after just 1 year

The British-designed Deciwatt gravity-powered lamp is now in production and shipping, a year after the project went public. It was conceived by Martin Riddiford and Jim Reeves of industrial design outfit Therefore, which is best known for clever mechanical designs including the Psion computer keyboard. Therefore invited The …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Dec 2013
Synology DS214

Bring Your Own Disks: The Synology DS214 network storage box

The Bring-Your-Own-Disks home server market might not be mainstream but it's pretty lively place, with giants like Cisco mixing with obscure Taiwanese box-shifters. And although these quiet, sub-£400 servers make a useful bit of small office kit, the abundance of media awash in family homes and shared digs give them another role …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Dec 2013

DON'T PANIC: No FM Death Date next month, minister confirms

Culture and Comms Minister Ed Vaizey told Parliament last night he won't announce an expiry date next month for a popular technology that everyone uses and loves: FM radio. Vaizey will, however, make a much-anticipated strategy statement, while the larger radio stations had hoped he'd set a firm date for when broadcasters shift …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Nov 2013

REVEALED: How YOU PAY extra for iPHONES - even if you DON'T HAVE ONE

Apple's secret deals with mobile operators are squeezing smaller companies out of the market and driving up costs even for those who don't use their products, according to Register sources across the industry. "In my opinion Apple are in a grey area," one legal expert with first hand experience of the contracts told us. The …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Nov 2013
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Why a plain packaging U-turn from UK.gov could cost £3bn a year

According to friendly "leaks" passed to newspapers overnight, the government may force cigarette manufacturers to sell their wares in plain packaging after yet another review, despite rejecting the policy earlier this year. But the gambit is unlikely to withstand the scrutiny of the Chancellor. Why? Plain packaging legislation …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Nov 2013
Motorola Moto G

Moto G: Google's KitKat bruiser could knock out, bury Landfill Android

Two weeks ago Motorola launched a cheap-as-chips Android phone that by common consent, isn't actually nasty. Quite rightly, the new Motorola Moto G has shot to the top of the picks of smartphones in the sub-£150 price point. In fact, you can pick one up without contract from Amazon for £135. Android has been this cheap before. …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Nov 2013

Haitian snapper humbles photo giants AFP, Getty Images in $1.2m copyright victory

Photographers have won a landmark victory after a US federal jury awarded $1.2m to freelance photojournalist Daniel Morel after media giants uploaded and credited to themselves some shots he had posted on Twitter. A New York jury decisively backed a Haitian photojournalist Morel in a copyright case against photo agency Getty and …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Nov 2013

Julie Larson-Green: Yes, MICROSOFT is going to KILL WINDOWS

Microsoft's hardware chief has given the strongest indication yet that Microsoft has too many operating systems. "We have the Windows Phone OS. We have Windows RT and we have full Windows. We're not going to have three," Julie Larson-Green told the audience at a UBS investor event. Larson-Green looks after the "Devices and …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Nov 2013

Meet the BlackBerry wizardry that created its 'better Android than Android'

Some remarkable technical wizardry lies behind BlackBerry’s Android coup. When it was launched in January, BlackBerry’s new OS was brand new BlackBerry 10 and largely app-less. But today it can execute Android apps at impressive speed. How did they do it? Thanks to some helpful inside knowledge, The Register will reveal it all. …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Nov 2013
Asus' old Eee girl

Can't wait for 4G? Take heart, 5G is on the way

Mobile data volumes have increased 50 per cent in the year to June, having doubled over the year before that - so the crunch will always be with us. 5G just one of many data applications for spectrum that Ofcom wants you to think about. The regulator today published a spectrum consultation focusing on mobile data. Ofcom thinks …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Nov 2013

Lumia 1520: Our man screams into ENORMO new Nokia phondleslab

So we’re all Dom Joly now - shouting into gigantically oversized phones. Well, not everybody - but large devices have seen amazing sales increase in the 18 months, catapulting them out of the techie niche they’ve quietly inhabited for years. You can say phablet, we prefer “phondleslab”. Whatever they’re called, these pocket- …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Nov 2013
Disney's Beagle Boys

Instagram Act: UK.gov's latest copyright landgrab stymied - for now

Remember the notorious ‘Instagram Act’? If you recall, clauses smuggled into April’s Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act (ERRA) - in the name of allowing reuse of orphan works - paved the way for the Government to grab your photographs and other visual images, in breach of international conventions. The mechanics of the scheme …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Nov 2013

Codd almighty! How IBM cracked System R

Few teams have maintained such a fierce community spirit as the IBM pioneers of System R. In Silicon Valley in the early 1970s, this pioneering team proved that a relational database could actually work. It's a fascinating story, best known today because IBM failed to capitalise on its research. But it's also a timeless one, …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Nov 2013

Nokia's phone division burned us so badly we HAD to flog it, says CEO

Nokia’s smartphone strategy was unaffordable, the company’s chairman said at an extraordinary general meeting today, defending the €5.44bn sale of the phones division to Microsoft. Nokia had called the EGM to seek shareholder approval for the deal. The EGM drew a far larger crowd to the Helsinki Ice Hall than was usual, some 5, …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Nov 2013

The REAL JUICE behind leaked BlackBerry OS: Android apps to slip in without protection

BlackBerry may have “solved” its app problem - but at the expense of the health of its native BB10 app market. Android apps can now be installed without conversion, and run at near-native speed on BlackBerry devices, after the latest leaks of BlackBerry OS 10.2.1. Of course, BlackBerry would prefer developers to write native …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Nov 2013

Google WILL wriggle away from Euro probe... but THEN what?

Google seems on course to win an remarkable victory over competition regulators in Europe. The deal could potentially seal in Google's dominance over the search business for five years, forbidding further prohibitive action against it - and setting a high barrier for potential startup competitors across a range of sectors. Most …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Nov 2013

The ZOD FILES: Climate documents from 2007 'must stay SECRET'

The UK's Met Office has refused to release historic climate discussions dating from before 2007, even though such scientific discussions are required to be “open and transparent”. David Holland, the man whose FoI requests - refused by the Met Office - triggered the Climategate scandal, wants to see what scientists are discuss at …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Nov 2013

We go joyriding in the Google Maps-killer's ROBO-CAR

Nokia's HERE wants to leapfrog Google's Street View with an ambitious street scanning based on 3D and "big data". While Google enjoyed a monopoly on street level images for years, having a first move advantage isn't always a blessing. The latest technology allows for much richer and more interactive maps. HERE is deploying …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Nov 2013

True fact: Britain is losing its brains

Britain has a brain drain problem: it's one of the two countries whose inventors are keenest to leave home, according to a study for WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organisation. The UK and Germany both have a net loss of inventors - despite benefiting from significant immigration of inventor talent from other countries. …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Nov 2013

Brit ISPs ordered to add more movie-streaming websites to block list

The UK’s biggest ISPs must block customers from accessing another two unlicensed movie-streaming sites, SolarMovie and Tubeplus. High Court Judge Lord Justice Arnold has ruled that the ISPs should add the sites to the ever-growing list of websites which it must prevent customers from accessing. The Big Five ISPs – BT, Sky …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Nov 2013

Oh My GOD! Have the TORIES ERASED THE INTERNET?*

A story that the Conservatives “made the internet disappear” has ignited news channels today. In fact, the story demonstrates yet again how ignorant most journalists are of the basic workings of the internet - and it demonstrates how the thirst for conspiratorial thinking dominates political news. Perhaps not surprisingly, this …

NO! Radio broadcasters snub 'end of FM' DAB radio changeover

Some of the largest and most influential UK radio operators have joined a campaign opposing the upcoming mandatory digital switchover. The change would force major broadcasters to migrate to DAB, abandoning the ever-popular FM band to niche and local radio stations. Culture and comms minister Ed Vaizey is expected to outline the …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Nov 2013

Calling all PSYCHICS and ball-gazers: Can YOU predict a Microsoft strategy?

What skills do you need to plan a Microsoft-based IT strategy these days? Palmistry, clairvoyance and Extra Sensory Perception must now be as valuable as any technical skill you've acquired over the years. Today, trying to second-guess the capabilities of Windows or Office, even six months out, is almost impossible. Mary Jo …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Nov 2013

While the BBC drools over Twitter, look what UK's up to: Hospital superbug breakthrough

The BBC has gone Twitter-crazy this week, with every pre-IPO twitch reported in the top-of-the-hour bulletins. But when you peek beneath the hype, it's not the wonder-fest you might think. Twitter "changed the world, hashtag-by-hashtag" gushes the website. "Could we hatch a British Twitter?" asks Rory Cellan-Jones. Short of Lord …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Nov 2013

How Google paved the way for NSA's intercepts - just as The Register predicted 9 YEARS AGO

Much hilarity has greeted Eric Schmidt’s deeply sincere “outrage” at his “discovery” that the NSA was spying on Google. For example, Vanity Fair pointed Mr Schmidt to some helpful Google searches. But the NSA is merely treading in some well-worn footsteps – some of which were made by Google itself. Let us refresh your memory of …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Nov 2013
Motoroheadphones Motorizer

Deezer unveils tarted-up music-streaming service after $130m injection

Music streamer Deezer sexed up its wares yesterday, the new features the result of a gigantic recent $130m investment. Streaming services notoriously have all the sex appeal of a spreadsheet, and Deezer wants to improve music discovery as well as appeal to music grown ups who have invested a lot of time in managing their own …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Nov 2013
RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800

Prem Watsa takes control of BlackBerry as tech vultures circle firm

It could only happen at BlackBerry. A white knight rides to the company’s rescue, only for the horse to drop dead underneath him. So much for Prem Watsa’s rescue mission. The man dubbed the “Canadian Warren Buffet” has at last gained control of the company, as “lead director”, but at what cost? Five weeks ago BlackBerry’s board …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Nov 2013

'Last EVER REAL Nokia' phone heads for Verizon, leaky pic-spurt reveals

What may be Nokia’s last ever phone – the Lumia 929 – has broken cover, but you won’t be able to buy it here in Blighty. Nokia has a full range of kit ready for 2014, but with the transfer of its phones unit to Microsoft, it’s anyone’s guess as to how the devices will be branded. Which means Nokia’s exclusive-to-Verizon 929 is …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Nov 2013

Google and Samsung bare teeth in battle for LANDFILL ANDROID™

Does anyone else other than Google, Samsung and Apple make popular branded smartphones? Well, if you follow the market you'll know there are many brands and many flavours of Android today competing for customers. Some 32,000 voices at Nokia will strongly disagree with my opening proposition – you've heard of Windows Phone, right …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Nov 2013

Nokia emerges smothered in red ink, manages to flog cheapo Windows Phones

Nokia bagged record sales of Windows Phones sales in the third quarter of 2013, thanks largely to its low-end models: 8.8m Lumia handsets were shifted, up from 7.7m in Q2. The mobile-phone division, for which Nokia has accepted a bid of €5.44bn in cash from Microsoft (pending approval at a shareholders' meeting), recorded …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Oct 2013