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Andrew Orlowski

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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
shutterstock_282226826-Internet-of-things

Busy BlackBerry wheels out BB10 and QNX updates

BlackBerry has updated its mature IoT platform based on real-time OS QNX – which can be found in everything from cars to Cisco routers to nuclear power stations – and announced a new partnership with Intel. The world isn’t exactly short of IoT platforms: a couple come out every week. Huawei’s lightweight open source OS LiteOS, …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Jun 2015
usb_type_c_648

One USB plug to rule them all? That's sensible, but no...

Comment It’s only taken thirty years, but we’ll soon have one plug that, on paper, does it all: power, video and all kinds of peripherals. Cue headlines about “one cable to rule them all”. And it’s reversible! However, “soon” isn’t “now”. It’s going to be a confusing and expensive journey before the promises are fulfilled. The last …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Jun 2015
Microsoft's Joe Belfiore, speaking at Build 2015

Fanbois designing Windows 10 – where's it going to end?

Opinion What happens when your data sample isn’t representative of the public? We already know, for 2015 is turning out to be the year of the dodgy opinion poll. And it isn’t just politicians who are being stung. In Windows 10, Microsoft says it will hide running apps from the task bar, breaking a twenty-year-old convention which …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Jun 2015
Android icon desktop toys

Bank: Without software mojo, Android OEMs are doomed to 'implode'

Analysis You’ve heard that “when Wall Street sneezes, the world catches cold"*, and there are dozens of variations. But perhaps the line needs to be brought up to date. When a large technology platform company dozes off, companies that rely on it for innovation feel the chill – and the chill can be fatal. Ten days ago, investment bank …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Jun 2015
Blade Runner (1982)

More Human: Designing a World Where People Come First

Page File There are two interesting sides to Steve Hilton, the former political advisor once called “Cameron’s Brain”. One is a kind of Holy Fool, who in Government asked questions nobody else dare ask. How come today we need half a million civil servants, when the British Empire was run with just 4,000 from Somerset House? Why do we need …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 May 2015
Parliament in the clouds

GDS to handle Govt payments? What could possibly go wrong?

Be afraid. The previous government’s “elite digital team” which so brilliantly borked most of Whitehall’s websites, and that failed to meet its own targets, may be put in charge of handling real money: your money. New Cabinet Office Minister Matthew Hancock hinted at the opportunity at a gentle public grilling today. Although …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 May 2015

Spotify smashing new media paradigms with something called ‘video’

Streaming music pioneer Spotify wants to broaden its appeal beyond music buffs by incorporating podcasts, video, and Pandora-style personal “radio stations” into its music service. The enhanced Spotify was unveiled yesterday. The BBC is one of several media partners offering video, along with Vice News, Comedy Central and the …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 May 2015
Statue of a girl. Pic: Quinn Dombrowski

Backpage child sex trafficking lawsuit nixed thanks to 'internet freedoms'

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought against a classified ads site used by pimps to facilitate underage prostitution, arguing that the “internet freedom” of website operators trumped the rights of three girls who were trafficked and raped. The girls argued that Backpage, a US classified advertising website jointly owned by …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 May 2015

Policy tsarina Rachel 'baby GIF' Whetstone dumps Google for Uber

Google’s comms and policy chief Rachel Whetstone is leaving the company, just weeks after a bizarre, GIF-laden blog post – and her former team has had its wings clipped. Whetstone has been at Google for a decade and was its US policy chief for seven years. In a sign that Google needs to look more grown up, Whetstone’s team will …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 May 2015
BBC Testcard

Chill, luvvies. The ‘unsustainable’ BBC Telly Tax stays – for now

Analysis The appointment of backbench Tory heavyweight John Whittingdale MP to head the Ministry of Fun will throw the BBC’s senior management into a state of high anxiety, and have the Beeb's opponents grabbing their crotches in excitement. The minister is responsible for the government’s policy on the BBC. Many Tories view the …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 May 2015
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL

Phablet for the biz fleet with easy typing: Microsoft Lumia 640 XL

Review One of my surprising reviews last year was Nokia’s huge, budget phablet, the Lumia 1320. It's fairly similar to the most recent Lumia 640 XL. Microsoft Lumia 640 XL Microsoft's Lumia 640 XL: available in 3G and 4G versions The previous Lumia 1320 was hard to find in the retail catalogues and even Nokia didn’t seem to care for …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 May 2015

Apple taxpayers swarm to stone-age iPhone 6+ purely for the bigness

Remember “Peak Apple”? Maybe you haven’t heard the phrase so much lately. Punters are paying the Apple Tax and it’s primarily because Apple has done exactly what it did before … only in a bigger package. Kantar’s smartphone market share numbers for Q1 show the Apple iPhone 6 Plus seized 44% of the US phablet market in only its …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 May 2015
The European flag

EU geo-blocking: Ansip's crusade liable to disappear through 'unjustifiable' loophole

Analysis Europe’s digital single market proposals encapsulate many of the EU’s problems in one handy document. The intentions are noble, but the utopian “solutions” are clumsy and inept, leaving Eurocrats attempting to brute-force something that people don’t want onto a diverse and disparate collection of countries. Sound familiar? It …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 May 2015

Bruce Schneier's Data and Goliath – solution or part of the problem?

Page File Special Think of some of the ways the Enlightenment helped advance the human individual. The ability to shape your identity. The ability to own and control your stuff. Economic autonomy. All three help to define the modern world, they’re ways we know that ‘now’ is not like ‘before’. All three are founded on the sanctity of the …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 May 2015

Burger me! Microsoft's chainsaw rampage through sacred cow herd

Analysis Microsoft sent so many sacred cows to the abattoir yesterday that April 29th 2015 may well go down in corporate folklore as “Sacred Cow Day”. Or will it be “Mad Cow Day”? [I see what you did there - ed.] Such is Microsoft’s anxiety to get developers writing for its trailing-in-the-distance mobile platforms, it did an …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Apr 2015
Grant Shapps, Conservative Party chairman. Pic: Sportsfile Web Summit

Is Grant Shapps being naughty on Wikipedia – or did a Lib Dem stitch him up?

The story of Grant Shapps and Wikipedia – which dominated news coverage of the General Election for a whole day last week – shows that new media can make a monkey out of respectable old media – even with a tale that falls far short of old media’s standards of proof. The purpose of what follows is not to defend Shapps, who is …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Apr 2015
Google faces antitrust charges in the European Union

Google officially doubles EU lobbying – but true figure is surely higher

Google doubled its EU lobbying efforts last year – but the real figure is likely to be much higher than it has declared, as it doesn’t include money spent on ongoing disputes. The Californian data slurper and hoarder overtook [paywall] Goldman Sachs as the biggest lobbyist in the US last year and is the biggest Federal lobbying …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Apr 2015
Microsoft Build conference

'Android on Windows': Microsoft tightens noose around neck, climbs on chair

Build 2015 Microsoft’s annual developer conference Build kicks off later today, and rumours are swirling that Redmond has a bold plan to rescue Windows Phone from irrelevance. Aside from a modest 10 to 15 per cent share in some markets, the platform has gone nowhere, despite billions of dollars of support from Nokia and Microsoft. The plan …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Apr 2015
Alan Rusbridger as Judas

FT and Guardian eagerly grab Google's 30 pieces of silver

Money can’t buy you love, they say, but Google hopes it can mollify Europe’s newspaper publishers. Faced with antitrust action in Europe, the Chocolate Factory is pouring €150m directly into the pockets of European newspaper publishers to use on “digital projects”, the FT reports. The cash will fund “joint work on product …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Apr 2015

The Government Digital Service: The Happiest Place on Earth

Special Report Last year, the UK's Cabinet Office asked an external management consultancy to examine staff morale and high turnover at the Government Digital Service. After interviewing more than 100 civil servants, its scathing confidential analysis described an organisation beset by low morale and run by a “cabal” management of old friends …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Apr 2015
BlackBerry Leap

BlackBerry Leap: Touching biz users with a budget(ish) device

Review The Leap is the first full-touch device BlackBerry has released in 18 months, and only the third to be released in developed markets. It’s also the cheapest, with the BlackBerry UK store listing it at £199 including VAT. BlackBerry Leap Fleeting gesture: BlackBerry Leap So at first glance, the Leap promises to be a 2015 …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Apr 2015

Cheer up songwriters, there's shedloads of money rolling in

The UK's performing sights society PRS for Music recorded a slim profit of £1.4m last year on turnover of £73.9m. The society collects and distributes royalties for songwriters and music publishers from radio, physical venues and plays on the internet, as well as the “mechanical” – a small proportion from the sale of a sound …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Apr 2015
Scrooge McDuck

'Leaked' EU digi wish list: Junkets for Eurocrats, sops to copyright and telcos

The EU will tackle copyright infringement and revisit telecoms regulation in 2016, along with a raft of new bureaucracy and spending. Controversially, it aims to further “harmonise” VAT and contract law across EU member states. The draft appears to have been written before last week’s decision by Commissioner Vestager to file an …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Apr 2015
fmri_brain_v2

Neurobabble makes nonsense brain 'science' more believable

Neuroscientific explanations of human behaviour appeal to people because we’re suckers for simplified, mechanistic brain-centred explanations – even if they’re rubbish or don’t make sense. A droll study by four psychologists tested psychological statements and placed them alongside “irrelevant” information from neuroimaging fMRI …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Apr 2015
Steve Ballmer. Pic:  Aanjhan Ranganathan

Ex-Windows designer: Ballmer was dogmatic, Sinofsky's bonkers, and WinPho needs to change

A former Windows Phone and Office lead designer has shed some valuable insight into Microsoft’s internal processes, design and strategy. Designer Jon Bell* left Microsoft a year ago but his Reddit AMA is still vastly more informative than anything that emerges from the Redmond politburo. Steve Ballmer killed an early version of …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Apr 2015
A fake tattoo on the leg of Canberra Raiders footballer Sandor Earl, sent by Huawei as an April Fool

Huawei P8: Chinese mobes have arrived and the West should tremble

Analysis Networking kit giant Huawei didn’t even make mobile phones four years ago, but its classy new P8 flagship shows what astonishing progress it’s made to come within striking distance of the market leaders. The Shenzen-based, employee-owned company unveiled its P8 at a huge, splashy launch in London’s Old Billingsgate Market. There …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Apr 2015
Broken CD

Give Jay-Z's Tidal tune stream thing a chance, says indie label boss

Interview Jay-Z’s much-mocked Tidal deserves a chance, says veteran British indie boss Martin Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt says the music industry should worry more about free and freemium services and offerings than piracy, and reminded us that digital sales are highly profitable – if you can make one. Goldschmidt started indie label Cooking …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Apr 2015
Meme of a dog "typing" at a computer, with the large font phrase "I have no idea what I'm doing' above him.

Labour policy review tells EU where to stuff its geo-blocking ban

If Europe’s new Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker thought he’d notch up an easy populist win last summer when he targeted copyright reform, he’s had a rude awakening. Instead, he’s walked into a firestorm. Critics argued that sidekick Commission VP Andrus Ansip’s favourite proposals on territoriality would “Americanise” …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Apr 2015
Google UK office logos

WHAT did GOOGLE do SO WRONG to get a slapping from the EU?

Analysis Google made the internet a bit more crappy and considerably less diverse, breaking its own vows along the way. That’s what the EU’s competition division declared earlier today, in a formal Statement of Objections. So what’s their beef? If you’ve a long memory, you’ll find uncanny parallels with Microsoft’s behaviour in the 1990s …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Apr 2015
Microsoft Lumia 640 Windows Phone

Life after Nokia: Microsoft Lumia 640 budget WinPho blower

Review Is the Nokia Microsoft Lumia 640 an Office subscription with a free phone, or a phone with a free Office subscription? Either way, it's likely to be the biggest mobile device for Microsoft since the days of Zune and Kin – and the company is getting more aggressive with its marketing. Microsoft Lumia 640 Windows Phone Office …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Apr 2015
lumia 640

Microsoft Lumia 640, 640XL: They're NOT the same, mmmkay?

Microsoft’s latest mass market Lumia goes on sale today, Friday, for under £100, and its big brother — the 640XL — appears at the end of the month. The 640 is this year’s successor to the popular 630/635 models launched last May, while the impressive 640XL is a solid successor to the phablet-sized Lumia 1320, but with much …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Apr 2015
Samsung Galaxy S6

Steely wonder? It's blind to 4G and needs armour: Samsung Galaxy S6

Review I’ve found life is so much easier if one sticks to three simple rules. Never drive a Volvo car, never buy a Samsung phone, and always grind your own coffee. However, I might have to rethink one of those – and it isn’t the coffee. Samsung Galaxy S6 Samsung's Galaxy S6 flagship handset Samsung can’t do anything without a …
Andrew Orlowski, 08 Apr 2015
a coffee cup topped with cappucino foam with a wi-fi symbol sprinkled on top in powdered chocolate

EE springs Wi-Fi phone calls on not-spot sufferers, Tube riders

EE today said it will be the first UK mobile network to roll out full-blooded next-generation Wi-Fi calling. Subscribers will not need to install any special apps: their phones should be able to seamlessly and automatically send and receive text messages, and make and receive calls, via wireless networks when there is no …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Apr 2015

US Senate to probe the Obama-Google love-in

The US Senate’s subcommittee on antitrust and competition will investigate why President Obama’s political appointees at the top of the FTC closed an investigation into Google. The American watchdog's own staff found sufficient evidence of wrongdoing to merit a prosecution – specifically, evidence of Google abusing its dominance …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Apr 2015
Sydney harbour bridge poking out of the clouds

'Modernise' safe harbour laws for the tech oligarch era – IP czar

The Prime Minister’s outgoing IP advisor has said the shift in the balance of power to now-dominant tech multinationals means “Safe Harbour” provisions devised in the 1990s should be modernised and made fit for purpose. Safe Harbour is a blanket term for limitations of liabilities for internet operators against obscenity, …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Apr 2015
Rihanna in Battleship

Tidal music launch: Pop plutocrats pour FLAC on rival Spotify

Pop mega-stars including potty-mouthed rapper Jay-Z, professional non-smiler Kanye West and someone called Madonna have “launched” a music-streaming service owned by the artists. It includes a “lossless” FLAC audio quality $19.99-per-month tier, and there’s no ad-supported version. Jay-Z spent $56m this year on Aspiro, which …
Andrew Orlowski, 31 Mar 2015

Europe could be drowned in 'worthless pop culture' thanks to EU copyright plans

Comment Expect more bland Europop and formulaic Hollywood blockbusters in your future if a proposal by European Commissioner Andrus Ansip are implemented, cultural industries in smaller European states say. Groups predict that European culture will look a lot less diverse if the robotic single market Kommissar succeeds in forcing pan- …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Mar 2015

ZTE's stealthy Nubia: China-made Google-free Android mobe

Hands On A stealth project being shown discreetly at Mobile World Congress this month shows how far Chinese phone manufacturers have come – and how far they have to go. It’s under the umbrella of ZTE, the state-owned telecoms giant, and was officially unveiled this week. The Chinese are coming, but we’ve barely had a taster of it yet …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Mar 2015
HTC One M9 Android smartphone

HTC One M9 Android smartphone: Like a M8 with a squinty eye

Review In a world of generic smartphones where even Apple and Samsung seem to be converging on the same design, HTC has designed phones that are pretty distinctive – the HTC One is one of the very few brands you can recognise from across a room. HTC One M9 Android smartphone Standing out from the crowd, HTC's One M9 HTC has also …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Mar 2015
Google HQ logo. Pic: Bob Dormon

US states vow to fight Google after the FTC meekly rolls over

The USA may have backed down before the Chocolate Factory, but Mississippi’s Attorney General Jim Hood says that an anti-trust investigation into Google is in the pipeline. Hood, who is also the president of the US National Association of Attorneys General, told legal and policy newsletter MLex: I think that anti-trust, that …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Mar 2015
The Pirate Bay logo

Storm gathers around CDN Cloudflare after doxxing allegations, Pirate Bay deal

UK ISPs have recently blocked access to The Pirate Bay yet again after a deal with controversial security and hosting company CloudFlare briefly opened them up. CloudFlare is, among other things, a popular choice for operators of pirate sites which profit from using copyrighted material without permission or payment to the …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Mar 2015
Houses of Parliament at night-time

Millions of voters are missing: It’s another #GovtDigiShambles

Millions of people may be unable to vote in May's general election because the Cabinet Office refused to heed warnings from its own pilot programmes two years ago. Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) at local authorities who have spoken to us on condition of anonymity say the Cabinet Office – the secretive Whitehall …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Mar 2015
Obama and Silicon Valley dinner, Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Google and Obama: You’re too close for comfort

+Comment It’s five years since I compared Google to Halliburton, the defence contractor that received large contracts from the Bush Administration, and whose former boss was George W Bush's righthand-man Dick Cheney. Today that comparison looks horribly unfair – unfair to Halliburton. The Wall Street Journal has revealed America's …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Mar 2015

Attack of the Digital People: The BBC goes fully Bong

Comment Imagine this. At vast expense, the BBC launches a chain of launderettes - digital launderettes, that we shall call "BeebWash". Each BeebWash "space" (they love the word "space") would show BBC programmes and no doubt, "facilitate community engagement". So expansive and vague is the BBC's current Royal Charter, that BeebWash …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Mar 2015