Shaun Nichols

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No Sale

Salesforce snubbed Microsoft's $55bn biz gobble offer – report

Microsoft wanted to buy cloud giant Salesforce.com for $55bn, it is reported. CNBC, citing anonymous sources, today claims the Windows goliath offered the 11-figure sum to Salesforce, but boss Marc Benioff wanted $70bn – a whopping price tag that ultimately sunk the deal. Salesforce has a market cap of $48.48bn. The talks …
Shaun Nichols, 22 May 2015

What are cellphone networks blabbing about you to the Feds? A US senator wants to know

US Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) wants America's mobile networks to reveal the types of customer information they share with Uncle Sam. The carriers publish "transparency" reports detailing how many demands for sensitive information they receive from the governments, and how many they comply with – but this is not enough for …
Shaun Nichols, 22 May 2015
Chromebook pixel1

School's in for Chromebooks, Google's the top swot in class

Chromebooks will be shipping to the tune of 7.3 million units this year, thanks mostly to educational sales. Research house Gartner estimates that the 2015 calendar year will bring banner sales for the operating system as more schools and home users seek out Chromebooks. Should Chromebook reach the 7.3 million unit mark, the …
Shaun Nichols, 22 May 2015

Want to be the hottest thing since Melrose Place? Get these Lycos patents

Dial-up era icon Lycos has finally gotten around to selling off its patents. The erstwhile search engine of the Clinton administration has embarked on a campaign to sell off its intellectual property holdings in an attempt to generate some revenue. The company has hired a consulting firm called Propeller(y) to help flog its …
Shaun Nichols, 21 May 2015
Grand Theft Auto Lindsay Lohan lookalike

Grand Theft Auto maker lobs sueball at BBC over biopic

A spat between the creators of Grand Theft Auto and the BBC has spilled over into a legal feud. Take-Two Interactive, parent company of Rockstar Games, has filed suit against the UK broadcasting company over allegations of trademark infringement for its decision to cast a biopic about the games developer's history. According to …
Shaun Nichols, 21 May 2015
Alix Tichelman has plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges

Call girl gets six years for Googler's drug death

A former call girl has plead guilty to felony charges in the death of a senior Google executive from a heroin overdose. Alix Tichelman received a six year sentence for charges of involuntary manslaughter and drugs possession. She is expected to serve around three years behind bars, given her time served in jail already. "Alix …
Shaun Nichols, 21 May 2015
FTC building

Robocalling Americans? That'll cost you $1.7 MEEELLION

A pair of US companies have been fined $1.7m by the FTC for violating federal laws on robocalling. The US trade watchdog said that Universal Processing Services of Wisconsin and HES Merchant Services Company would have to split a $1,734,972 bill for their role in a robocall scheme advertising credit card interest rate reductions …
Shaun Nichols, 20 May 2015
The US White House. Pic: Roman Boed

Google Maps gets hit with racist White House listing

Google is once again scrambling to clean up bad behavior by Maps users after a couple of mortifying pieces of online graffiti were found. An unknown user has tagged the listing for The White House with a racial slur, causing the presidential residence to show up when the phrase "N****** House" is searched. A second remark tagged …
Shaun Nichols, 20 May 2015

Uncle Sam spanks PayPal for credit scheme cockup

Updated PayPal is going to surrender $25m to settle charges it enrolled consumers into its credit platform without their knowledge or consent. The US government's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) alleges the online payment house used its "Bill Me Later" feature to lure consumers into its credit operation illegally. The …
Shaun Nichols, 19 May 2015
China

We caught Chinese technology spies RED-HANDED, claims US government

Six Chinese nationals acting as university professors and graduate students have been arrested on charges of stealing wireless technology from US firms and exporting it to the Middle Kingdom. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged the group with attempting to lift intellectual property from two Silicon Valley companies: …
Shaun Nichols, 19 May 2015
27in iMac

Get another loan, fanbois, the new MacBook Pro and iMac are here

Apple has updated its MacBook Pro and iMac lines with improved hardware specs and sharper displays, and the usual four-figure price tag. "The response to the new MacBook and updated 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display has been amazing, and today we are thrilled to bring the new Force Touch trackpad, faster flash storage, and …
Shaun Nichols, 19 May 2015

Google Google GOOGLE! Cloud cloud CLOUD! These prices are INNNSAAAANE!

Google is cutting prices on its Cloud hosted computing service. The Mountain View Ad server said it would be offering lower prices on cloud compute instances and virtual machines. Under the new pricing model, cloud compute instances will be cut anywhere from 5 per cent (high CPU instances) to 30 per cent (micro CPU instances) …
Shaun Nichols, 18 May 2015
Cow skull

FTC to scavengers: Radio Shack corpse doesn't include customer data

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued an official warning to the companies taking over the assets of North American electronics retailer Radio Shack — namely, don't touch customer data. "We understand that RadioShack’s customer information constitutes a potentially valuable asset," FTC Consumer Protection boss Jessica …
Shaun Nichols, 18 May 2015

You can't put a price on LOVE, says Apple after court's Samsung payout slash

Apple suffered a big legal setback today when a US court reversed part of its patent case against rival Samsung - losing a third of its $930m settlement against the huge Korean chaebol. The US Appeals Court (PDF) found that most of Apple's original infringement claims can stand, but the claim related to the overall look and feel …
Shaun Nichols, 18 May 2015
hacker

Penn State University network sacked by China malware blitz

Penn State University has had to take networks in its school of engineering offline after falling victim to a malware attack traced partially to China. Acting on an FBI tip, the school found that PCs on the network of its College of Engineering were infected with malware that appeared to be trying to harvest research data and …
Shaun Nichols, 15 May 2015
Sony ICF-7600D radio

Pandora ordered to pay up extra royalties in BMI row

Pandora has lost a legal decision that will see the company fork out more money to performing rights clearing house group BMI to pay for its content. A court in New York found the streaming music giant to be liable for additional royalties, bumping the fees it owes to BMI up from 1.7 per cent to 2.5 per cent of revenues. The …
Shaun Nichols, 15 May 2015
rage meme

Reddit: Gonna SCRUB these TROLLS right outa my hair

Vast forum site Reddit has added new policies that it hopes will help rein in harassment of its users by its other, not-so-nice, users. The meme-trading portal said it would crack down on online harassment of individuals with the goal of ending it, for the good of the site. "The number one reason Redditors do not recommend the …
Shaun Nichols, 15 May 2015
Apple Watch Sport

Stolen an Apple watch? Want to pawn it off? Good news!

Apple's $17,000 watch is shockingly easy to re-use when stolen – so much so that it's sure to be an even more attractive target to thieves than iPhones. Multiple reports show that the Cupertinian arm candy lacks any sort of remote wipe or locking ability. What's more, they can easily be wiped and paired with a new phone without …
Shaun Nichols, 14 May 2015

Dying to make time lapse videos? No? Well, Microsoft is doing it anyway!

Microsoft has released a tool to let users produce timelapse videos, provided they're not Apple fanbois. Redmond posted the Hyperlapse tool for Windows and Android devices to let users shrink long videos down to shorter timelapse version. "Want to show your friends what you saw on that 12-mile hike you took last weekend or let …
Shaun Nichols, 14 May 2015
Nintendo Championships

Nintendo to revive long-dead 'World Championships' contest

Nintendo is planning to hold a new World Championships gaming contest in 2015, marking the first time it has staged such an event in 25 years. Preliminary rounds of the contest will be held around the US on May 30 at various Best Buy retail stores in major cities. Nintendo has not yet posted location or registration info. The …
Shaun Nichols, 14 May 2015
Sign outside the National Security Agency HQ

USA Freedom Act moves forward as House prepares for vote

Updated The USA Freedom Act is currently being debated by the House of Representatives and could come up for a vote in hours that would move the surveillance bill one step closer to becoming law. The bill, which failed last year but has since picked up a wave of bipartisan support, passed out of committee earlier this month. Supporters …
Shaun Nichols, 13 May 2015
DirecTV

FCC leaning towards approving AT&T/DirecTV gobble – report

The Federal Communications Commission is reportedly ready to approve US telecom giant AT&T's proposed $49bn acquisition of DirecTV, despite concerns voiced by Netflix and other online media outfits. The FCC is nearly finished with its review and will likely sign off on the deal, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing the fabled …
Shaun Nichols, 13 May 2015
smokestack

Amazon, eBay and Oracle in dirty power SHAME

Greenpeace has released a report naming the tech companies who make the best (and worst) use of renewable energy. The 2015 Clicking Green report (PDF) named which companies were relying heavily on renewable resources and which were powering their datacenters with coal and other non-renewable materials. The report grades …
Shaun Nichols, 13 May 2015
Microsoft patch

Enjoying the Spring? Microsoft has 13 ways to fix that

Microsoft has put out 13 bulletins to address a total of 48 CVE-listen vulnerabilities in various products. The May edition of Patch Tuesday includes fixes for Internet Explorer, Office, Windows and Silverlight. Three of the bulletins were rated 'critical', with the rest earning Microsoft's second-highest designation of ' …
Shaun Nichols, 12 May 2015

Sprint and Verizon to pay $158 MILLION over bogus 'cramming' fees

US mobile operators Sprint and Verizon will pay out a combined $158m after the Feds ruled that they allowed advertisers to tack unwanted premium charges onto customers' bills. According to the FCC, the carriers looked the other way when dodgy companies signed customers up for services without warning them that would be billed …
Shaun Nichols, 12 May 2015
Shenzhen downtown

Apple storms to top spot in stagnant Chinese phones market

Apple is now the top smartphone seller in China, topping foreign and domestic competitors alike in the Middle Kingdom, but overall Chinese handset sales fell for the first time in six years. A report from IDC citing sales in the first quarter of 2015 found that the Cupertino idiot tax operation has taken over the top spot on the …
Shaun Nichols, 11 May 2015
Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

With WWDC looming, Apple kicks out third iOS 8.4 beta

Apple has posted a new beta build for the iOS 8.4 mobile platform. The third beta arrives just weeks before Apple is expected to showcase iOS 8.4 for developers at its World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC), due to take place June 8-12 in San Francisco. The Cupertino idiot tax operation has typically used its WWDC keynotes to …
Shaun Nichols, 11 May 2015

FCC: Thanks for the concern, telcos, but we're not delaying Open Internet rules

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says it will implement its net neutrality provisions despite objections from telcos. The FCC issued a ruling on Friday denying a motion from trade groups USTelecom and CTIA, among others, to stay the FCC's Open Internet proceedings pending legal challenges to the FCC order. The …
Shaun Nichols, 11 May 2015
DirecTV

AT&T takes issue with Netflix on DirecTV gobble

AT&T has fired a fresh salvo in its exchange with Netflix over the proposed acquisition of DirecTV. The US telecoms giant issued a filing with the FCC disputing the claims made by Netflix that its would-be merger is an antitrust concern. "Before it began pressing for deal conditions in support of its own business agenda, …
Shaun Nichols, 08 May 2015
MaxiPad

No, really, that 12.9-inch MaxiPad is totally on the way now

Rumors of the much-fabled 12.9-inch iPad have surfaced once again, via a new analyst report. Supply chain specialists IHS now say they believe the Reg-deemed "MaxiPad" is set to enter production in the latter part of 2015. "This product has been in the planning stage for several years but looks to now be solid for a 2015 launch …
Shaun Nichols, 08 May 2015
Throttling

With FTC suit looming, AT&T backs off on throttling 'unlimited' data plans

AT&T has apparently had a rethink regarding its policy of limiting data transfer speeds for heavy users who subscribe to its so-called unlimited data plans. The US telco giant now says it will only throttle mobile data gluttons when they are in areas with heavy traffic. The reworded policy, which AT&T customers first began …
Shaun Nichols, 07 May 2015
Patent for a saluting hat

Even Uncle Sam admits: US patent law is whack

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is calling on the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to overhaul its rules on licensing intellectual property. In an open letter [PDF] to the PTO, the FTC called on its fellow organization to simplify patent law. "Clearer patent notice can encourage market participants to collaborate, …
Shaun Nichols, 07 May 2015
BlackBerry Classic QWERTY key smartphone

T-Mobile prods at corpse of BlackBerry, says 'me too!'

T-Mobile has taken up the cause of BlackBerry, agreeing to offer the fading firm's products in its mobile lineup, nearly two years after it dropped the Canadian's hardware from retail stores. John Legere, head of T-Mobile US, stayed true to his 'uncarrier' credo by caving to isolated user demand for new models from the Canadian …
Shaun Nichols, 07 May 2015
Phablets

Bought a phone last quarter? There's a one in five chance it was a phablet

Sales of phablets went through the roof during the first quarter of 2015, say researchers with Kantar Worldpanel. The analyst outfit estimated that over the three months ending in March, 21 per cent of all US smartphones sold had screens with diagonals larger than five inches. During the same period in 2014, phablets accounted …
Shaun Nichols, 07 May 2015
Google PageSpeed Service is worm food

Running Google PageSpeed Service? Come August 3rd your site is knackered

Google has announced the impending retirement of its PageSpeed Service web optimization tool, and potentially causing headaches for sites that don't account for the move. The Mountain View advertising firm said that effective August 3rd, PageSpeed Service will be given the axe, though plugins and third-party implementations will …
Shaun Nichols, 06 May 2015
DNA Helix

Would you trust your DNA with APPLE? HealthKit lined up as genome data trafficker

Apple is set to enable DNA handling in iOS apps, allowing the applications to feed data from DNA labs to genetic researchers via iPhones or iPads. A report from the MIT Technology Review claims two US hospitals are running trial programs to collect DNA from people, and then transmit details of their genetic blueprints to their …
Shaun Nichols, 06 May 2015

Netflix wipes blood of Comcast/TWC from its blade, charges toward AT&T/DirecTV

Netflix is lobbying US watchdog the FCC to reject the proposed merger between AT&T and DirecTV. The over-the-top vid streamer said that should AT&T be allowed to scoop DirecTV for $49bn, the resulting broadcast behemoth would be able to throw its weight around and extract premium fees from streaming upstarts like Netflix. To …
Shaun Nichols, 05 May 2015

Now Smartflash wants $1.6bn for its iTunes patents. Apple: You'll get nothing and like it!

Not content with a $533m payday, patent troll Smartflash is asking a US federal court to triple the infringement verdict it won against Apple and iTunes earlier this year. In a 49-page filing [PDF] with the Texas Eastern District court, Smartflash argued that February's jury award was insufficient and should be tripled to nearly …
Shaun Nichols, 05 May 2015
Fiorina

HP wag has last laugh at US prez wannabe with carlyfiorina.org snatch

Carly Fiorina, once the boss of HP and today a US Presidential candidate, just learned the hard way that you can never be too thorough when it comes to hoarding domains, particularly when you're planning to run for public office. An unknown wag was able to snap up the carlyfiorina.org domain and use it to host a rather …
Shaun Nichols, 05 May 2015
Sad Android

Android tool catches apps silently pumping hundreds of ad, tracking servers red-handed

Security researchers have developed an Android application that's capable of alerting when other apps on a phone or tablet are covertly tracking users and connecting to ad networks. The team at France's Eurecom and Technicolor Research – explained in a paper published in the Cornell University Library archive that their …
Shaun Nichols, 05 May 2015
Reliance free internet from Internet.org

Zuck'ed up: Facebook opens up free internet in India – but bans HTTPS

Facebook's Internet.org has loosened the stranglehold on its free internet service in India and other countries. Now potentially any website can be accessed for free via the service as long as the site ditches HTTPS, JavaScript, and other things. The social network offers free mobile internet access to people in India, Tanzania …
Shaun Nichols, 04 May 2015

Intellectual property laws in China, India are flawed, claims US govt without irony

The US government is looking to shame China and India for their lax attitudes toward intellectual property law enforcement. The office of US Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman said in its annual Special 301 report [PDF] that the two Asian nations were among the worst at snuffing out counterfeit goods. The two …
Shaun Nichols, 02 May 2015
The Valley - code

Ex-Goldman Sachs programmer found guilty of code theft … again

An ex-Goldman Sachs programmer has for the second time been found guilty of stealing code from the vampiric financial giant. A New York jury found Sergey Aleynikov guilty on one count of data theft. He faces as much as four years behind bars. Aleynikov was arrested in 2009 after leaving Goldman for another company with a copy …
Shaun Nichols, 02 May 2015
Redditor guinne55fan's arm tattoo

Apple in rinky-dink ink stink wristjob admission: Watch IS affected by TATTOOS

Apple has confirmed that, yes indeed, its Watch gizmo does not work well on tattooed skin. The Cupertino goliath published a support page acknowledging that dark ink can prevent the pulse reader and other sensors on the watch from gathering data. This knackers health and fitness apps, and can cause the expensive wristslab to …
Shaun Nichols, 01 May 2015
U2 on your iStuffs

Not pro-Bono: Russian MP wants Apple to face stiff action for cramming 'gay' U2 into iCrevices

Russian prosecutors have been asked to probe Apple to see if the American giant broke Russia's "gay propaganda" laws by forcibly thrusting ludicrous boy band U2's album Songs of Innocence into iThings. Alexander Starovoytov, a member of the Russian parliament, was quoted this week in broadsheet Izvestia demanding an …
Shaun Nichols, 01 May 2015
Apple Watch Sport

What is Apple's idiot tax on Watch these days? 'About $265 or 80%'

A teardown of the Apple Watch has found that Sir Jony's arm candy costs a grand total of $83.70 to build, apparently. Research house IHS estimates that the total bill of materials for each California wristjob is about a fifth of the $399 starting retail price: the team found that the hardware in the latest iThing carries a cost …
Shaun Nichols, 30 Apr 2015
Woman on phone. Pic: Carolyn Coles

AT&T fined for gouging Uncle Sam on phone plans for poor folk

AT&T has been fined $10.9m by US regulator the FCC for overcharging the government on phone plans for poor people. The watchdog said the telco over-billed the US government between 2012 and 2013 while providing the Lifeline service to hard-up citizens. Lifeline works like this: the cell networks offer discounted or free phone …
Shaun Nichols, 30 Apr 2015
Newspapers

Whither the PC? Mobes, slabs drive majority of traffic for top news sites

Most of the top news websites get more traffic from handheld gadgets than desktop computers – a not-so-shocking result that serves to underline the soaring sales of phones, and possibly the emergence of today's clickbaity 30-second-attention-span media. The figures come from Pew Research and ComScore, and apparently show that …
Shaun Nichols, 30 Apr 2015
Marc Benioff of Salesforce. Pic: Techcrunch

Someone is trying to buy Salesforce – but who could it be?

Salesforce.com is being eyed up for an acquisition – and has hired financial experts to guide it through the biz gobble, it's claimed. "Salesforce does not comment on rumors or speculation," the San Francisco-headquartered cloud giant told The Register this afternoon in response to whispers. There has been no formal offer for …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Apr 2015
LG G4

LG glances at red-stained bank account, crosses fingers for G4

South Korean electronics giant LG is putting on its best face after its bottom line plunged by two thirds. LG said that the drop in currencies was the main reason its net income for the first quarter of 2015, ended March 31 [PDF], stood at 38bn Korean Won (US$35m) compared to 98bn (US$91.5m) from the year-ago period – a 61 per …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Apr 2015