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Articles about Consumers

Windows 8.1 Update Start Screen

Microsoft blinks, extends Windows 8.1 Update deadline for consumers

In a move that should surprise no one, Microsoft has extended the deadline when consumers must install the Windows 8.1 Update to avoid being cut off from future security patches to June 10, giving them a 30-day reprieve. "While we believe the majority of people have received the update, we recognize that not all have," Microsoft …
Neil McAllister, 12 May 2014

Apple execs: 'Consumers want what we don't have'

The latest patent row between Apple and Samsung is showing the unpleasant details of the ongoing market battle between the two consumer electronics giants. In documents submitted to the San Jose District Court, internal memos from the two firms show that Samsung has become fixated on Apple more than any other competitor in the …
Shaun Nichols, 07 Apr 2014
Malcolm Turnbull

Lower prices are BAD FOR CONSUMERS, says Turnbull

Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull has intervened in an Australian Consumer And Competition Commission (ACCC) inquiry, warning Australia's competition regulator not to cut the wholesale price of fixed line services. The letter, co-signed by finance minister Matthias Cormann, warns the ACCC that varying the price of Telstra …

Consumers shove EMEA PC market down giant hole of DOOM

Businesses that flushed calendar year-end budgets came to the aid of the PC market in late 2013 – but not in the sort of numbers that could have rescued the sector from its consumer-induced coma. According to the bean counters at IDC, 26.7 million traditional portables and desktop were sold into EMEA channels during Q4, some 6.4 …
Paul Kunert, 20 Jan 2014
Asteroid mining

MINING in SPAAAACE! Asteroid-scoopers? Nah - consumers will be the real winners

Given the venal nature of what passes for a heart beating in this chest of mine, what really interests me is who is going to make all the moolah from this rushing off into space and mining 'n' stuff. But this isn't a question that appears to have a simple answer, for there are five groups here and each will have a problem with …
Tim Worstall, 04 Dec 2013
Maplin signage outside store

You thought NFC tags were Not For Consumers? Well, they're in Maplin's

High street retailer Maplin will be stocking NFC tags, surely demonstrating that the technology is mainstream even if no one is quite sure what it's for. The tags, which  come from RapidNFC, are supplied in packs of twelve which retail at £9.99. That's a £1.70 premium on the manufacturers price of £8.29 but the manufacturer …
Bill Ray, 12 Sep 2013
Spam image

Ten years on, TEN PER CENT of retailers aren't obeying CAN-SPAM

One in 10 of the world’s largest online retailers are sill violating the CAN-SPAM Act, a full 10 years after the US anti-spam legislation went into effect. The finding comes from an audit by the Online Trust Alliance (OTA), a non-profit with the mission to enhance online trust. They also found that 70 per cent of 200 online …
John Leyden, 18 Sep 2014
Steam engine

Australia deflates Valve with Steam sueball

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has fired the sueball-gun at Valve, accusing the game-maker of trying to dodge Australian consumer law. The consumer watchdog has announced a filing in the Australian Federal Court, in response to terms and conditions it says violate Australian consumer laws. In its …
British Gas smart meter

Smart meters in UK homes will only save folks a lousy £26 a year

Smart meters are only going to save people around two per cent on their bills, but will cost each home or business £215 over five years to roll out, MPs have warned. The Public Accounts Committee said that the cost of installing 53 million smart meters would be paid for by customers in their energy bills, but they would only be …
australian credit cards fraud contactless

Forget bonking, have ONE OFF THE WRIST with Barclaycard's bPay

Barclaycard is trying to push consumers towards a cashless society with its contactless payment wristband, bPay. The technology is positioned as a competitor to Google Wallet and PayPal and the Apple Pay. These NFC-based smartphone technologies are debuting in the US, whereas bPay will be available much sooner in the UK. …
John Leyden, 18 Sep 2014
The Register breaking news

Blighty's IP framework one of world's worst for consumers

A "panel of IP experts" devised a list of 49 criteria that consumer groups in 30 countries used to assess how best the IP frameworks in those nations serve consumers. Consumers International (CI), which is a global campaign group for consumers with members including Which? and Consumer Focus in the UK, published (8-page / 1.36MB …
OUT-LAW.COM, 01 May 2012

Ditching renewables will punch Aussies in the wallet – Bloomberg

The Australian government's plan to scrap its Renewable Energy Target (RET), pitched as a way to cut power bills down under, will drive up electricity prices. That's according to an analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (NEF). Bloomberg NEF believes that while the short-term (2015 to 2020) cost of the RET to consumers is AU$ …
Puss considers how to respond to PayPal marketing overtures

Average chump in 'bank' phone scam is STUNG for £10,000 - study

UK consumers have lost more than £21m to "social engineering" scams where fraudsters impersonated bank employees and tech support since the beginning of the year, according to GetSafeOnline. A range of tactics including phishing emails, fraudulent phone calls asking for personal or financial information or phone calls from …
John Leyden, 26 Jun 2014

US spanks phone-jamming vendor with $34.9 MEEELLION fine

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a $34.9 million fine against a Chinese firm it says is selling illegal phone-jamming equipment to US consumers. The FCC said that it is seeking the penalties against Shenzen-based C.T.S. Technology, and has issued a cease-and-desist order halting sales in the US and …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Jun 2014
Slow downloads

Brits STUNG for up to £625 when they try to cancel broadband

Thousands of Brits are being slapped with costly cancellation fees worth hundreds of pounds when they try to switch broadband providers, the Citizens Advice charity has warned. The group found that the average cost of extricating oneself from a rubbish broadband deal was £190, but customers had been handed out fees of up to £625 …
iPhone 4 unlocked

Want to legally unlock your phone from its network? The US Senate says that's A-OK

In a rare display of equanimity (and common sense), the US Senate has unanimously passed a bill allowing cell phone owners to unlock their handsets, should they choose to do so. "I applaud the Senate for so quickly passing the bipartisan Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, which puts consumers first and …
Iain Thomson, 17 Jul 2014

Londoners urged to cut landlines and take up wireless broadband

A wireless broadband provider is punting a landline-free package to Londoners living in the heart of the city. UK Broadband, which is owned by Hong Kong's telco PCCW Group, has grown a new tentacle in Blighty's capital to offer what it described as "fibre-fast speeds without any hassle". The new company, Relish, is able to …
Kelly Fiveash, 05 Jun 2014
Capitol By Matti Mattila licensed under Creative Commons http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

FTC calls for Congress to crack down on consumer data harvesting

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is calling for stricter regulations on companies that gather and sell personal information. The FTC said in a recent report (PDF) that it believes Congress should look to enact a new set of laws that will allow consumers to control when and how their personal information gets used for …
Shaun Nichols, 27 May 2014
The Register breaking news

HP warns consumers: Don't downgrade Win8 PCs to Win7

Windows 8 got you down? Don't worry; even if you buy a new machine with Windows 8 preinstalled, you should be able to downgrade it to Windows 7, if you prefer – that is, unless you bought a new consumer PC or laptop from HP. It's a little-known fact that Windows licenses include the right to downgrade to earlier versions of the …
Neil McAllister, 08 Nov 2012

FCC boss Wheeler: Lack of broadband choice is screwing Americans

US Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler has issued his most damning indictment of America's broadband infrastructure to date – claiming more than half of citizens have only one ISP in their area offering 25Mbps or faster connections, and that competition has been crippled by a telecoms duopoly. "The simple …
Iain Thomson, 04 Sep 2014

FTC to mobile carriers: If you could stop text scammers being jerks that'd be just great

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has urged mobile carriers to crack down on scams that lure people into receiving expensive texts. The commission has published a "cramming" report [PDF] that states that American networks are failing to protect subscribers from unfair or deceptive premium service charges, levied by sleazy …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Jul 2014
A boat full of Fail

EPIC FAIL, FACEBOOK: FTC complaint against creepy mind games filed

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has filed an official complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over an experiment in which Facebook "purposefully messed with people’s minds." "Facebook altered the News Feeds of Facebook users to elicit positive and negative emotional responses," the complaint claims …
Iain Thomson, 03 Jul 2014
Tesla Model S

FTC: State laws blocking Tesla's direct sales are 'protectionist'

Tesla Motors has gained an influential ally in its battle to sell its electric cars direct to consumers: the US Federal Trade Commission. Tesla's business model of selling its cars via its website and company-owned showrooms has come under fire in multiple US states – including Arizona, Texas, and New Jersey – where current laws …
Neil McAllister, 25 Apr 2014
Apple Watch

Apple Watch will CONQUER smartwatch world – analysts

Apple is set to be the biggest player in the smartwatch market, Canalys analysts have predicted. But its reign may be temporary, as competitors will inevitably storm Cupertino's barricades armed with cheaper wristputers to steal away the unfaithful. Canalys predicted that "wearable band" shipments will grow 129 per cent between …
Jasper Hamill, 11 Sep 2014
BBC logo 2012

Heavy VPN users are probably pirates, says BBC

BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC that markets its products around the world, has told Australia's government that heavy users of “IP obfuscation tools” are so suspicious that internet service providers (ISPs) should consider them as likely content pirates. The organisation states that case in a submission (PDF) to …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Sep 2014
Angry woman on mobile

In the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave ... you can legally carrier unlock your own phone

Here at Vulture West, we're looking out for porcine aviators: the usually divided US House of Representatives unanimously passed a law allowing people who've bought phones to actually unlock the things from their carriers. It comes just a week after the Senate showed a similarly united stance. "With today's House passage of the …
Iain Thomson, 25 Jul 2014

Senate heavyweights forge bipartisan accord on phone unlocking

Two US senators – the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee – have announced a rare bit of bipartisanism in the fractious US government: they've agreed on a bill to allow consumers to unlock their smartphones once their carrier contracts expire. Democrat Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Republican Chuck Grassley …
Rik Myslewski, 23 Jun 2014
australian credit cards fraud contactless

iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple

Apple's iWallet mobile money app could be the start of a more general trend that sees web giants such as Facebook pushing into the payment industry, according to online payment experts. iWallet would give iPhone-toting consumers the ability to pay for goods with their smartphones. It is predicted to use the firm's Touch ID …
John Leyden, 30 Jul 2014
Consoles & Gadgets Xbox 360 Rapid Fire Controller

Consumers go console crazy for Crimbo

Shoppers are splashing the cash in advance of Christmas and manufacturers of games consoles have been laughing all the way to the bank, with both Nintendo and Microsoft reporting record sales. Americans went console crazy last week on what is known as Black Friday, the first Friday after Thanksgiving when Yanks are encouraged to …
Caleb Cox, 01 Dec 2011

Apple and Samsung UNDER THREAT from local brands – study

A recent study by Netbiscuits has seen growth in locally made devices. While Samsung and Apple dominate globally – LG and HTC get something of a look-in, which is more than Sony, Nokia or Motorola manage – there is an interesting underlying trend of consumers becoming patriotic in their buying habits. The strength of Xiaomi is …
Simon Rockman, 30 Jul 2014
Snapchat logo

That NAKED SELFIE you sent on Snapchat? You may be seeing it again

The developers behind the Snapchat photo-sharing app have agreed to a settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission over allegations of collecting and mishandling user data. The Commission said that it has agreed with Snapchat to a set of measures that will be placed on the company that will include regular monitoring of the …
Shaun Nichols, 08 May 2014
The Register breaking news

Sony and Nokia still a hit with Asian consumers

Nokia and Sony remain two of the most powerful brands in Asia despite high profile problems affecting both companies which have sent their market share, revenues and global reputation plummeting in recent months, according to a new piece of research. Market consultancy Nikkei BP Consulting evaluated 60 global brands in eight …
Phil Muncaster, 23 Apr 2012

BT slapped down by BSkyB over O2 broadband 'switch off' porkies

A BT direct mail advertising campaign spectacularly backfired on the telco after it claimed BSkyB would switch off O2 users' broadband. Sky bought the consumer broadband and fixed-line biz of Telefónica UK-owned O2 in March last year. The telecoms giant had claimed in a shouty flyer posted through Brits' letterboxes that BSkyB …
Kelly Fiveash, 09 Jul 2014

Euro banks warned off Bitcoin as Canada regulates it

The European Banking Authority, which has previously warned consumers that they're unprotected if they get themselves into the crypto-currency game, has followed up with a don't-touch warning to banks. In this announcement, issued on Friday July 4, the EBA says it's identified “more than 70 risks” that apply to users, banks, …

HDMI, thy end is near: Qualcomm's Wilocity gobble will let mobes, tabs beam 4K vid to TVs

Qualcomm has snapped up WiGig pioneer Wilocity so it combine traditional Wi-Fi and super-fast 802.11ad on a single chunk of Snapdragon silicon for mobile gadgets. "WiGig will play an important role in Qualcomm's strategy to address consumers' increasingly sophisticated smartphone, tablet and computing requirements," said Amir …
Iain Thomson, 03 Jul 2014
The Register breaking news

Consumers urged to step up wireless security

Consumers are once again being urged to use the latest (WPA2) encryption technology and apply strong passwords to protect home networks from snooping and other attacks. The call comes in a survey by industry trade body the Wi-Fi Alliance, which warned on Wednesday that "borrowing" access to unprotected Wi-Fi access is still …
John Leyden, 03 Feb 2011

Democrats pitch long-shot bid for FCC ban on prioritization deals

A group of Democrats in Congress have drafted a bill to bar the FCC from allowing "fast lane" prioritization deals. Dubbed the "Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act," the legislation would call on the FCC to ban carriers from making the paid prioritization deals in which content providers pay service providers to receive …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Jun 2014
Puss considers how to respond to PayPal marketing overtures

What could possibly go wrong? Banks could provide ID assurance for Gov.UK – report

Personal data could be stored by banks and used to verify the identity of individuals that wish to use government digital services, according to a new report. A pilot study undertaken by Lloyds Banking Group found that there is scope for banks to act as identity (ID) assurance providers for online government services (14-page/ …
OUT-LAW.COM, 05 Sep 2014

Carbon tax repeal won't see data centre operators cut prices

Australia last week repealed its carbon tax, a wildly controversial piece of legislation that required the nation's largest polluters to pay up for the privilege of pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. But data centre operators don't think the repeal will see their prices fall. The nation's government has promised that the tax's …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2014

Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015

Apple will reportedly not unleash a wearable device at Cupertino's iPhone 6 event on 9 September. And - when the iWatch does arrive - rumours suggest it could carry a $400 price tag. It apparently means fanbois will have a longer than expected wait for the iWatch, which according to Re/Code - citing secret sources - involves …
Kelly Fiveash, 30 Aug 2014
Facebook WhatsApp

Facebook, WhatsApp wait on cold steel table as Euro Commish ponders painful probe

Competitors of Facebook and WhatsApp have been asked to complete a whopping 88 multiple-choice, multi-part questions that range from the blindingly obvious – “To the best of your knowledge, do users use more than one social networking service?" – to the vague and indefinable – “Please provide any recent examples of consumers …
Jennifer Baker, 02 Sep 2014

Verizon points more fingers at Netflix: It's YOUR pals slowing data

Verizon and Netflix are having another go-round in their ongoing war over network access for streaming video. In a report posted to its Public Policy Blog, Verizon vice-president of federal regulatory affairs David Young said claims that it deliberately throttles Netflix traffic are untrue and that any traffic bottlenecks were …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Jul 2014
Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure

Report: Sprint to bring Sony Xperia into tough US smartphone market

Stateside mobile carrier Sprint is reportedly planning to bring the Sony Xperia handset to the US market for the first time. The rumours come just a few weeks after Sprint's newly-installed boss Marcelo Claure said he planned to make aggressive moves to help the company regain market share. Now, according to separate reports in …
Kelly Fiveash, 31 Aug 2014

PhabletPhace: All the cool kids are doing it in Asia

Large smartphones, aka “phablets” have have captured a big (fondle)slab of the mobile phone market in Asia. That pronouncement comes from analyst outfit IDC's new Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, which identifies folks willing to use a phablet – a tablet with built-in phone and at least a seven-inch screen – as a new …
iOS 8

Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS

Increased developer access to iOS 8 could result in decreased security, a mobile security expert warns. Apple's expected iPhone 6 / iOS 8 announcement later on Tuesday is expected to include adding a number of new features to iOS 8 for developers. This will involve opening up more of the underlying architecture – increasing the …
John Leyden, 09 Sep 2014
Video

US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale

US television broadcasters are suing the FCC over the regulator's planned auction of TV spectrum space to mobile phone networks. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) said it has objections to the framework the watchdog has laid out for an auction in which broadcasters sell off their spectrum space to carriers who will …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Aug 2014
USB Stress Panic Button

US mobile firms cave on kill switch, agree to install anti-theft code

US mobile companies have finally agreed to install free anti-theft software on their products, but not until the middle of next year and they plan to leave it turned it off by default. The CTIA, which dubs itself "the Wireless Association," announced that its members – including Apple, Samsung, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile US, …
Iain Thomson, 16 Apr 2014
Bigpond Logo

Telstra 'issue' hid ADSL availability from rival carriers

The Competitive Carriers Coalition (CCC) has claimed Telstra “discriminate against consumers trying to buy broadband from competitors by incorrectly claiming their telephone lines were unable to provide a service.” The coalition says Telstra applies less stringent tests when its own retail arm seeks access. ““As a result, …
Simon Sharwood, 26 May 2014

Who will kill power companies? TESLA, says Morgan Stanley

With Tesla and Panasonic prepping the giant erection called the GigaFactory, Morgan Stanley has penned an investor note predicting that Elon Musk's big battery footprint will become a major disruptor to power utilities. It's hardly disinterested, since the financiers were underwriters for a Tesla fundraising round in the past, …

Democrats introduce net neutrality legislation in Senate and House

In a coordinated move, Congressional Democrats have introduced legislation in the Senate and House of Representatives to enshrine network neutrality principles in law until the Federal Communications Commission rules on the matter. "This bill ensures that consumers, not their Internet service provider, are in the driver's seat …
Iain Thomson, 04 Feb 2014