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Andrew Orlowski

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Govt waves stick at pirate-friendly Google search

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid has threatened to introduce legislation if Google doesn’t stop promoting pirate sites above legitimate sites in its organic search results. “Search engines also have to play their part. They must step up and show willing,” Sajid Javid told the BPI at their AGM yesterday. “That’s why Vince Cable and …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Sep 2014
Photo of a stack of $100 bills

Google has spaffed more cash on lobbying this year than Big Cable

Google has single-handedly outspent Big Cable in terms of lobbying dollars so far in 2014. The ad giant spent $9.3m compared to the $8.15m spent by the NCTA, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, according to the Open Secrets website, which keeps count. The NCTA represents Time Warner and Comcast and is run by …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Sep 2014
android tongue

Too slow with that iPhone refresh, Apple: Android is GOBBLING up US mobile market

Android made further inroads into the US market at the expense of Apple, according to latest market share snapshot from tech analyst Kantar. Meanwhile, Windows Phone has stalled in 2014. Neither finding is at all surprising. Android devices are available at prices Apple won’t compete with, and months of pre-publicity for the all …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Aug 2014
Taxi Driver

Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy

More allegations have emerged of dodgy tactics on the part of car ride app Uber and rival Lyft – this time relating to so-called "brand ambassadors". Glossy gadget blog The Verge obtained and published the handbook Uber contractors allegedly follow to woo Lyft drivers, under something called Operation SLOG. Whether this is legal …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Aug 2014

'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder

A founder of the volunteer technology education group Code Club has resigned, claiming she was warned not to criticise the group’s sponsors – which include Google. User interface designer Linda Sandvik claims she was told to shut up or quit. “On Monday the 25th of August the Code Club board gave me an ultimatum: either I have …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Aug 2014

Will It Blend? Maybe. BlackBerry’s secret comeback weapon

Former smartphone giant BlackBerry has another trick up its sleeve for its comeback, alongside the oddest looking phone in recent years. The Passport is expected to be unveiled next month, along with an intriguing bit of software, the as-yet-unannounced BlackBerry Blend. Part of the forthcoming 10.3 BB10 release, Blend “casts” …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Aug 2014

Cracking copyright law: How a simian selfie stunt could make a monkey out of Wikipedia

That so-called Macaca nigra monkey selfie isn’t in the public domain, no matter what Wikipedia wants you to think. In fact, the encyclopedia's stance on the matter could backfire and hit it in the pocket. A photo sold by British snapper David Slater since 2011 hit the headlines again this month when Wikipedia refused to …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Aug 2014

Wall Street's internet darlings require an endless supply of idiots

The following stories have one thing in common. Can you guess what it is around the dinner table this evening with your friends? Last week Samsung announced the acquisition of a crowd-funded startup called SmartThings for $200m. USA Today wrote that the deal “has also once again validated the power of crowdsourcing platform …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Aug 2014

Jarvis versus Jarvis: Don't DISRUPT the DISRUPTION GURU!

Thin-skinned media “guru” Professor Jeff Jarvis is furious about the acclaimed satirical Twitter account created by an English ex-pat techie in his name, which has built up a cult following. Jarvis claims his satirical alter-ego is damaging his reputation. The real Jarvis, author of the book What Would Google Do? describes …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Aug 2014
Nokia Asha 501

Microsoft ropes in Opera Mini as default Nokia dumbphone browser

Opera will provide the browser for Microsoft's last dumbphones, under a new agreement between the two companies. Nokia's low-cost Asha devices and its feature phones currently use a proxy-based browser, Nokia Xpress, using Nokia's own servers. This will continue to work, but new devices will ship with Opera Mini, which uses …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Aug 2014

Stand clear! Will HTC's One act as a defibrillator for Windows Phone?

HTC gave Microsoft a huge PR coup yesterday during the New York unveiling of the most stylish Windows Phone ever made. Redmond could certainly use some good news right now. Windows Phone shipments fell 9.4 per cent in Q2, as Microsoft's languid timetable, along with a less-than-clockwork rollout of Windows Phone 8.1, finally …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Aug 2014

Class war! Wikipedia's workers revolt again

Wikipedia's workers are in uproar again, this time about the cash-rich Wikimedia Foundation giving itself "superpowers" to override community decisions. As a consequence of the ruckus, the head of engineering at the Foundation has had his community admin account suspended for a month on the German Wikipedia. It's another …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Aug 2014
OnePlus One Android smartphone

Cut price Android on steroids: OnePlus One – should we look gift horse in the gob?

The idea behind the OnePlus One is very simple: source the best components you need for a top-spec Android phone, one that’s just as good as a branded Tier One Android flagship, and sell it direct at the fraction of the price. OnePlus One Android smartphone OnePlus One Android smartphone Chuck out the overhead of a multi- …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Aug 2014

Ad biz now has one less excuse to sponsor freetards and filth

Project Sunblock is a technology that might help make the internet less of a cesspit. It tells advertisers where their ads are appearing on the web, which would be unremarkable in any other medium: shouldn’t the ad spenders know exactly where their ads are appearing? But it’s not that simple. Web advertising can entail a …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Aug 2014

Defending your digital rights? Then you're a Nazi, says the Open Rights Group

Are you a dad whose photo of his children is being distributed by paedophiles? Or just a photographer or musician whose work is being shared by scammers for profit without your permission? Well, you’d better think twice about using your statutory rights – you might be called a Nazi. This week Britain’s Open Rights Group …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Aug 2014
BlackBerry Messenger (BBM)

BlackBerry lands feature-light BBM on Windows Phone

The wait for BBM on Windows Phone is over. BlackBerry has brought its pioneering and much-imitated messaging app to Windows, following launches on Android and iOS last year, albeit with the "Beta" label. BBM for Windows looks a lot more like a native app than other BBM ports: it uses Windows Phone pivot views and includes …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Aug 2014

PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users

"Everything points to a boom in the landfill business" – The Register, 2012 Are tablets the new netbooks – a flash in the pan? Or perhaps even the new picture frames - a one-season fad? I don’t think so, but sales are flat, and the numbers look ominous for any global technology company hoping they’ll provide a long-term money …
Andrew Orlowski, 31 Jul 2014

Government's 'Google Review' copyright rules become law

The dog-ends of the “Google Review” of copyright sailed through the Lords yesterday and will become law on 1 October – creating work for the courts and quite possible, legal headaches for the government. Having given itself the power, last year, to make sweeping changes to copyright by the back door – through secondary …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Jul 2014

Indie ISP to Netflix: Give it a rest about 'net neutrality' – and get your checkbook out

A pioneering American community ISP is telling customers that Netflix should spend more time improving its technology, more money on its network – and less energy on lobbying in Washington DC. BSD developer and author Brett Glass founded Lariat.net in Wyoming in 1992, making it one of the first ISPs in the world. He told The …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Jul 2014

Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold

The Ministry of Fun says it isn't going to put the Digital Economy Act's anti-piracy measures into use – and will instead leave it to the creative industry's newer, kinder and gentler awareness campaign, Creative Content UK, to school digital pirates. Creative Content UK (CCUK) works by emailing copyright-infringing downloaders …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Jul 2014
Comparison of BlackBerry Passport with rectangular phones

BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now

BlackBerry has given users another reason to throw out their BlackBerry servers – by putting BES10 into the cloud as a hosted service. It's a long-overdue move, allowing existing BlackBerry sites to set up and manage the first-rate MDM and secure communications services offered BlackBerry via the web, rather than maintaining in- …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Jul 2014

YouTube radio stream boss 'quits Google' amid outcry from indie labels

The manager for Google's controversial and yet-to-launch YouTube music streaming service is leaving, the Wall Street Journal claims. Chris LaRosa is the second boss to quit the streaming subscription project in a year, the paper suggests. Assuming the report is correct, he's joining a startup. YouTube sealed deals with major …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Jul 2014

Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov

The government's fourth IP minister* in less than two years took office at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills last week, but her predecessor has left a few undetonated hand grenades in her in-tray. One of them concerns using other people's copyrighted works for free – whether they like it or not. They're all …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Jul 2014

Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530

Microsoft's ex-Nokia phones unit has produced the successor to the Lumia 520, its best-selling Windows Phone by miles, topping the charts in the UK's Crimbo sales. The Lumia 530 is priced at €85 (£67) before taxes or subsidies, or an initial street price of €100, around £79. It's clearly designed to sit in the £70 sweet spot …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Jul 2014
Microsoft Nokia logo

Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months

When Microsoft swallowed half of Europe's biggest tech company, it was only a matter of time before it spat something out. And so it has, ending Nokia's thirty-year roller-coaster ride. However, the decision will make tens of million of its customers take a look at Android – surely the last thing Microsoft wanted to happen. …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Jul 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

So whither Microsoft? If Nadella knows, he is keeping it well hidden

After Microsoft’s mega jobs bloodbath, we’re still not much wiser about what Microsoft will look like in five years' time. Steve Ballmer turned the focus from PCs to devices and services – manufacturing its own devices, and promoting its own services regardless of the platform. Satya Nadella was supposed to bring further clarity …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Jul 2014
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition

Microsoft's Xbox TV studio OBLITERATED

Microsoft's Xbox chief Phil Spencer has confirmed his firm will shutter its ambitious Xbox TV studio, Xbox Entertainment Studios, after only two years. Among the casualties is a remake of the BBC's cardboard-prop classic, Blake's 7. However, two scripted live-action productions based on the Halo game, to be produced by Stephen …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Jul 2014

Move up, Siri and Cortana: BlackBerry's new... 'Assistant' is here

BlackBerry has unveiled a voice-powered assistant due to appear on its BB10 devices later this year. Imaginatively named er, "BlackBerry Assistant", the speech software hooks into web searches, social media and basic phone functions, like Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana, and Google Now. We tried Assistant on a very early leak …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Jul 2014

X marks the chop: Microsoft takes axe to Nokia's Android venture

Microsoft's Android phones are the latest casualty of the company's axe. The X range was only launched in February this year, before the acquisition of Nokia's devices unit had been completed, but the mutant 'droids will soon be phased out, says CEO Satya Nadella. Microsoft is getting rid of up to 18,000 jobs as it digests the …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Jul 2014

OK, EU chiefs, 3 years of copyright wrangling - let's get it sorted. Now this white paper... DOH!

Europe’s copyright reform process has stalled after a dispute between European commissioners – and reportedly some intense pressure from Silicon Valley’s “Third Senator”, European Commissioner Neelie Kroes. The current reform process got going in May 2011 with a “blueprint” for IP rights reform, kicking off a long and cautious …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Jul 2014
glovephone

EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers

Industry sources have confirmed to The Reg that the European Commission is once again prodding Google's Android contracts with phone makers. Preliminary letters, sent out a month ago, merely ask the phone makers if they find anything in Google's contracts restrictive. We understand the Commission is particularly interested in …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Jul 2014
Nokia Lumia 930

PICS: Nokia Lumia 930 – We reveal its ONE unique selling point

The Lumia 930 is the first upmarket phone in eight months from Nokia's former mobile phone division – now owned by Microsoft. The "Microkia" offering is a solid but quite unspectacular upgrade for Windows Phone users. However, there's nothing really new here. If you're looking for a phone with something distinctive, a bit of a …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Jul 2014
Satya Nadella

Mobile, cloud, social? Data? Nadella strings sexy words together

"We're keeping Xbox and we're going to make cuts." There, in under 10 words, is the substance of what Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella took 3,300 words to say in a message to investors, staff and the media last week. If you are a Microsoft salesman keen to answer key questions from customers such as: "What will you be doing …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Jul 2014
Google_skull

What's your game, Google? Giant collared by UK civil lib minister on 'right to be forgotten'

Lib Dem civil liberties minister Simon Hughes told Westminster today the British public had got the misleadingly named "Right to be Forgotten" ruling badly wrong – and queried why a report from the BBC's Robert Peston was "top of the pile" when Google began deleting entries from its search results. Google has since restored the …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Jul 2014
Broken record

Google YouTube U-turn: Indie music doomsday 'postponed'

Google has postponed its plan to block independent music companies who wouldn't agree to the terms of its proposed deal, the FT reports - but it isn’t clear for how long. Small independent companies are refusing to sign new pro forma deals with Google, which has publicly said it will block their music videos from YouTube – an …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Jul 2014

Google de-listing of BBC article 'broke UK and Euro public interest laws' - So WHY do it?

Google's publicity stunt this week, in which it de-linked selected mass media articles and posts from its search results and informed the journalists in question it had done so, appears to have been illegal. The gigantic advertising company now faces the prospect of having to re-link to articles it has de-linked in the UK in …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Jul 2014

When PR backfires: Google 'forgets' BBC TV man's banker blog post

On Wednesday, Google emailed the BBC to say it had removed from its search results a blog post written by TV journalist Robert Peston about Merrill Lynch boss Stan O'Neal. Was this a PR stunt to highlight the "unfairness" of the EU ruling on the right to be forgotten? We don't know – but whether it was or not, it has backfired …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Jul 2014
Kindle Big Brother

Google buys shagadelic playlist biz Songza

Google has acquired music streaming biz Songza for its data-harvesting capabilities. The Pandora-like website creates "mood music" playlists for specific contexts, so it will suggest a playlist of songs for when you're about to, say, have a shower - or have sex. Songza's CEO rather gave the game away when he told CNET: There …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Jul 2014

Keith McMahon, tech analyst, dies at 50

We're very shocked to hear of the death of one of the telcomms industry's wisest and best-loved experts, Keith McMahon, aged just 50. Born in Salford, Keith was widely known as a witty and shrewd analyst of the media and telecomms industries for STL Partners, where his presentations were the highlight of its Telco 2.0 …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Jul 2014

Amazon offers Blighty's publishing industry 'assisted suicide'

Amazon wants to dictate book prices, and even print copies of publishers' books itself, a report in trade mag Bookseller suggests. UK publishers are, we're told, none too happy. Over in the US, Amazon is already locked in battle with Hachette, the first publisher whose terms with Amazon are coming up for renegotiation: Amazon …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Jun 2014

Indie labels: 5 reasons why we're hauling YouTube before Euro antitrust watchdog

Independent music association Impala has disclosed to The Register a little more detail about its complaint to the EU competition authorities on YouTube's new music contracts. The trade group outlined five areas where it believes Google, which owns YouTube, breaches Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Jun 2014
Frodo and the One Ring

BBC: Bumpkins, hobbits need fairer coverage

The strange Hobbit-like creatures rumoured to populate the barren wasteland between Islington and the Cotswolds must be reported better by the BBC, a report for the BBC Trust has concluded. The report recommends the restoration of the post of a Rural Affairs Editor to find and interview the creatures, to discover how on earth …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Jun 2014
LG G3 Android smartphone

LG drops G3 quad HD Android mobe with FRIGGIN' LASER camera

LG is releasing its new G3 smartphone today. It’s a large device made slim and comfortable by clever design, and is distinguished by a mind-boggling screen, and a superb camera. It’s let down only by hardware buttons, which can be a challenge to locate with accuracy, and the software execution, which hasn’t really tamed Android …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Jun 2014

Aereo has to pay TV show creators? Yes. This isn't rocket science

As widely expected, the US Supreme Court has ruled that TV show creators should be paid by video streaming biz Aereo for the distribution of their work. The TV rebroadcaster, backed by media mogul Barry Diller, was found to have exploited a loophole in American law's definition of "performance" by six of nine justices in an …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Jun 2014

BlackBerry's Passport will be the WEIRDEST mobe of 2014

BlackBerry teased one the year's most whacky smartphone designs at its shareholder AGM yesterday, but it still isn't ready to disclose any more details. The firm then posted - and deleted - a statement about the BlackBerry Passport. BlackBerry's Passport is striking for a couple of reasons. It has a physical QWERTY keyboard that …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Jun 2014

Unexpected Termination Error at Year of Code: Chief dumps venture for other UK.gov riches

The head of the government-backed Year of Code caper has quit, just four months into her new job. Chief executive Lottie Dexter will become a special advisor to Matthew Hancock, a Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Business Department responsible for education and training. That's also a taxpayer-funded job, sharp-eyed readers …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Jun 2014

REVEALED: Google's proposed indie music-killing contract terms

A leaked version of one of YouTube's controversial secret contracts with independent record labels has been published for the first time - and it appears to be stuffed with clauses that could land Google in trouble. Google wants to launch a new Spotify-style streaming service under its YouTube brand, and so requires music labels …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Jun 2014
European Union Flag

EU copyright chief: We could SMASH these infinite copyright contracts... just wait

Europe's competition authority could open up an examination of unfair copyright contracts, according to the region's copyright chief. Speaking at a Westminster Forum seminar, Maria Martin-Prat, EC Head of the Copyright Unit for the Internal Market Directorate General (DG MARKT), said the Commission should look at whether …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Jun 2014

David Cameron wants mobe network roaming INSIDE the UK

Silly Season has started early. The Times reports that the Prime Minister is backing a plan to force operators to UK customers to roam between networks in the UK. This means that network subscribers who lose their signal while in the boondocks could piggyback onto the signal of another network. Supposing there is one. The …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Jun 2014
BlackBerry logo

BlackBerry bottoms out: Vows to wow with new Berries

BlackBerry is staying in the handset market by the skin of its teeth by confirming two new models will arrive this year. The two new devices will be called BlackBerry Passport, a full touch device, and BlackBerry Classic, a QWERTY model designed to alleviate the awkwardness of BB10. The Passport and Classic will be released in …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Jun 2014