Articles about Consumers

Twilight Zone, 'Time Enough At Last'

Belgium to the rescue as UK consumers freeze after BST blunder

British consumers awoke to cold houses this morning as Nest “Learning” Thermostats failed to accommodate the switch to British Summer Time. Nest customers have not only been deprived of an hour's sleep, but also a warm house in which to struggle to wake up. According to complaints raised on the Nest community support forum the …
Acer C720 Chromebook

Consumers start feeling the love as Chromebook sales surge

Chromebooks are set to become the next big thing in personal computing devices after sales skyrocketed by two thirds over the last quarter. Shipments of Chromebooks jumped 67 per cent during the second quarter of 2014, and are projected to double in size year-on-year according to ABI Research. Acer moved the most Google- …
Gavin Clarke, 23 Oct 2014
Slurp

Euro consumers have TOO MUCH choice – telco operators

Three or four market players is plenty, at least according to the GSMA, the association that represents nearly 800 mobile operators. At an event in Brussels this week, GSMA director Anne Bouverot said it was ridiculous that there were nearly 100 players in the EU market while the US does perfectly well with four or five. In …
Jennifer Baker, 12 Dec 2014

UK consumers particularly prone to piss-poor patching

UK consumer patching practices have worsened still further over the last three months, increasing the threat of malware problems, according to a new study by IT security provider Secunia. Secunia estimates 12.6 per cent of UK users are running unpatched operating systems, up from 9.7 per cent the previous quarter. In addition, …
John Leyden, 30 Oct 2014
Fight sticker

Top US privacy bod: EU should STOP appeasing whiny consumers

A top US law enforcement commissioner has claimed European data protection authorities are too worried about helping consumers instead of robustly enforcing privacy laws. Speaking at CPDP2015 in Brussels, Julie Brill, privacy commissioner for the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defended the US approach to protecting privacy …
Jennifer Baker, 23 Jan 2015
GreenPeak senior lifestyle app

Consumers beware! Ofcom's seen a scary new mobe nasty: APPS

Telecoms industry regulator Ofcom has just noticed that there are things called “apps” and has decided that people might like to know about them. “Apps are becoming an increasingly important way to communicate and access the internet through our phones, tablets and TVs”, explains the “Using apps safely and securely on your …
Simon Rockman, 11 Mar 2015

Consumers agree to give up first-born child for free Wi-Fi – survey

Consumers carelessly use public Wi-Fi without regard for their personal privacy, even blithely agreeing to surrender their first born in exchange for the opportunity to check their emails without paying. That's according to an experiment which involved setting up a "poisoned" Wi-Fi hotspot. Unsuspecting users who connected to …
John Leyden, 30 Sep 2014
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
An Android robot blushes from embarrassment

Android users are massive wan … er … smut consumers

Stats from self-pleasuring site Pornhub (link vaguely NSFW - no pics but still contains the word Pornhub) show that mobile viewing has overtaken desktop, and Android is the OS of choice for viewers of its select content. The, ahem, growth is in part down to the site removing its limit on the number of videos a day that can be …
Simon Rockman, 12 Jan 2015

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
top of the bt tower

BT: Consumers and cost cutting save the day

Cost cutting and 88,000 new broadband punters helped BT bank more profits in calendar Q3, although revenues went in the opposite direction as all divisions outside of the consumer wing reported declining fortunes. The former comms state monopoly turned over £4.38bn of sales in the quarter ended September, down two per cent year- …
Paul Kunert, 30 Oct 2014
Bufo marinus (aka Cane Toad) - a regular four-legged version

Apple Watch is like an invasive weed says Gartner

Analyst outfit Gartner has likened the Apple Watch to the invasive Kudzu vine, an Asian plant that has become a pest around the world. Kudzu's survival strategy, says analyst Robert Hetu, relies on its ability to find deep water with carbohydrate-rich roots and a habit of growing vines and leaves in triplicate to give it …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Mar 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
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 …
Map showing track of the flight from the UK to Europe

EC probe into murky cross border e-commerce kicks off

The EU’s executive arm has officially launched its probe into the e-commerce sector to find out why Europeans aren’t buying across national borders much. The eCommerce investigation, which was announced in March, aims to identify and stamp out regulatory barriers to crossborder e-commerce. Over the next few weeks, the Commission …
Jennifer Baker, 06 May 2015
netflix

Give ALL the EU access to Netflix, says Vince Cable

Seemingly frustrated at not being able to stream films in his Belgian hotel room, Business Secretary Vince Cable is calling for an "online single market" to address the weighty issue of making UK Netflix content accessible across the EU. Without unfair discrimination all online streaming services such as Netflix should be …
Kat Hall, 20 Jan 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
Zombie experience

Videogame publishers to fans: Oi, freetard! STOP RESURRECTING our dead titles online

Google-sponsored "digital rights" group the Electronic Frontier Foundation has urged the US Copyright Office to allow players to be exempt from DMCA takedowns when they modify and then upload abandoned games online. However, videogame lobby group the Entertainment Software Association has dismissed the EFF's campaign in a 72- …
Kelly Fiveash, 11 Apr 2015

'Why don't you buy from foreign sites?' asks Commish, snapping on the gloves

The European Commission is to probe the e-commerce sector to find out why people aren’t buying across borders. According to the Commish, despite half of all EU consumers shopping online, only around 15% of them bought from a seller based in another EU country. Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager suspects that: “It’s …
Jennifer Baker, 27 Mar 2015

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

Carmakers DEFLATED by AIRBAG FLAW as US watchdog recalls TWO MEELLION vehicles

More than 2 million SUVs and cars have been recalled by a US regulator, after manufacturers including Honda and Toyota failed to fix defects found in the airbags of some of their early Noughties' models. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (HTSA) confirmed that Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx had announced …
Team Register, 01 Feb 2015

FCC supremo slams big cable in gridiron Robin Hood metaphor mash-up

Net neutrality Tom Wheeler, the chairman of US broadband regulator the FCC, fresh from no fewer than four Congressional grillings, has given a spirited defense of his radical net neutrality rules. And by spirited defense, we mean, slamming big cable for trying to control the internet. In a keynote at his alma mater, Ohio State University, …
Kieren McCarthy, 27 Mar 2015
Burning copyright symbol. Photo by: Martin Fisch http://www.flickr.com/photos/marfis75/ on flickr"

Let downloads roam free, says ACCC

Australia's consumer regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, is pushing back against calls to ban accessing offshore content with means such as VPNs, in a submission to an inquiry into copyright legislation. The competition regulator reckons parallel importation should be available in every market, …
Containers

ALIBABA Vs AMAZON: Let the Global Tat Bazaar war begin

Chinese Amazon equivalent Alibaba has unveiled plans to become the dominant international tat bazaar, aiming to shift more Chinese wares to the international market while simultaneously encouraging foreign companies to flog more goods to Chinese punters. The company has launched its B2B import biz, 1688.com, aimed at wooing …
Kat Hall, 18 May 2015

Starbucks denies mobile app hack, blames careless customers

Starbucks has rebuffed claims that its mobile app has been hacked, in the wake of reports that scores of its US customers have suffered from credit card fraud. The coffee chain’s US customers have been reporting the theft of hundreds of dollars from their credit cards, in a series of scams seemingly linked to auto top-ups on the …
John Leyden, 15 May 2015

EU anti-trust watchdog ponders TeliaSonera/Telenor merger

The European Commission is worried that a proposed merger between TeliaSonera and Telenor would be bad for consumers, and is now pondering whether to approve the deal. Both companies provide telecoms services in several European countries, but in Denmark the merged entity would face little competition, leaving the public with a …
Jennifer Baker, 09 Apr 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
Intel Penang exterior

Intel buys Canadian ID-wrangler PasswordBox

Chip giant Intel has acquired Canadian identity management company PasswordBox, apparently in a move to address the issue of "password fatigue". The 44-strong company was formed 18 months ago in June 2013 and has 14 million users. This year Intel phased out its McAfee brand, which it bought in August 2010 for $7.6bn, in favour …
Kat Hall, 01 Dec 2014
Angry-looking cat. Pic by  Guyon Morée from Beverwijk, Netherlands. licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

Hated smart meters likely to be 'a costly failure' – MPs

The government's hated smart meter programme – which will slap consumers with a bill of £10.9bn – is in danger of becoming a "costly failure", a government report has said. The report by the Energy and Climate Change Committee said it does "not believe" plans to install 53 million devices in homes and businesses by 2020 will be …
Kat Hall, 09 Mar 2015
Apple iPhone 4s, 5s, 6 and 6 Plus

Apple's 16GB iPhones are a big fat lie, claims iOS 8 storage hog lawsuit

Apple is being sued by fans upset about how much storage space iOS takes up on their iPhones, iPads and iPods. A class-action lawsuit (PDF), filed in California by Paul Orshan and Christopher Endara, alleged the OS uses so much flash memory that the advertised device capacity is misleading. The sueball was lobbed at Cupertino …
Shaun Nichols, 02 Jan 2015

Botched NBN installs leave folks with no internet, or recourse

Australia's Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Simon Cohen says the agency can do little to help subscribers dealing with broken National Broadband Network (NBN) installations. While the agency can flag complaints with NBN Co, the entity building and operating the NBN, it appears unable to do anything to force the utility to …
Darren Pauli, 04 Mar 2015
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
The Day the Earth Stood Still

FCC to crack down on robocall spammers' beloved loophole

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has put forward rules to close a loophole used by robocallers and text-message spammers. The proposed regulations, if approved, will ban robocallers from harassing citizens when they take over a previously used number. Even if the previous owner of the number was OK with the calls, …
Shaun Nichols, 27 May 2015
Rickmote

WORLD+DOG line up to SLAM Google after anti-trust case unveiled

Although EU competition commissioner (and Borgen inspiration) Margrethe Vestager made clear that her decision to slap Google with a statement of objections is about consumers, that hasn't stopped the US firm's Euro detractors queuing up to cheer her decision. Representatives of Fairsearch and ICOMP – both organisations set up to …
Jennifer Baker, 16 Apr 2015

Comcast flees $45bn monster-merger with Time Warner Cable

Comcast has admitted it has given up on its $45bn acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC). Comcast, America's biggest cable giant, announced in the past few hours that it will end the pursuit of its largest rival amid stiff opposition from government watchdogs and other telcos. "Today, we move on," declared Comcast CEO Brian …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Apr 2015

Virgin Media's ad fibs EXPOSED by bitter rival BT

BT successfully convinced Britain's advertising watchdog to admonish rival ISP Virgin Media for "misleading" its customers with unsubstantiated savings claims. The cable company failed to defend itself against three separate complaints filed by BT, which had griped about five national press ads and one posted on Virgin Media's …
Kelly Fiveash, 10 Dec 2014

Microsoft tells big biz: No free Windows 10 for you, crack wallets open

Microsoft has confirmed that, unlike your average Alice and Bob, enterprises won't get a free upgrade to Windows 10 when the new operating system is finally released. "Customers running Windows 7 Pro and Windows 8/8.1 Pro, like small businesses, have an opportunity to upgrade to Windows 10 for free in the first year," said Jim …
Iain Thomson, 31 Jan 2015
VR

Oculus Rift VR bucket will be seen on noggins near you in 2016

Oculus has announced that its Rift VR headset will ship to customers in the first quarter of 2016. A consumer version of the headset, which has slowly crawled towards the market since developer kit was flogged using Kickstarter, has been settled on. Oculus promises it will soon be strapped to noggins everywhere. Today's official …
FCC logo

Let's be clear, everyone: DON'T BLOCK Wi-Fi, DUH – FCC official ruling

US watchdog the FCC has ruled that no one – not even hotels and other commercial outfits – can block or ban personal Wi-Fi hotspots. "The [FCC's] Enforcement Bureau has seen a disturbing trend in which hotels and other commercial establishments block wireless consumers from using their own personal Wi-Fi hot spots on the …
Iain Thomson, 28 Jan 2015
IT Crowd. Source: Channel 4 / 2entertain

US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'

The US Federal Trade Commission has shuttered a New York-based tech support business, after scammers allegedly hoodwinked Facebook and Microsoft users into paying hundreds of dollars for tech advice from Pairsys Inc. According to court documents (PDF) filed by the consumer protection agency, the firm was accused of violating the …
Kelly Fiveash, 26 Oct 2014
Infosec

Lenovo: We SWEAR we're done with bloatware, adware and scumware

Barely a week after the breaking of the Superfish scandal, Lenovo has done a complete reverse ferret on bloatware - promising that by the time Windows 10 comes out its systems will be as pure as they can be. “The events of last week reinforce the principle that customer experience, security and privacy must be our top priorities …
Iain Thomson, 27 Feb 2015
Tim Cook

Tim Cook chills the spines of swingers worldwide

Apple boss Tim Cook has claimed that Cupertino's Watch, which will be wheeled out on 9 March, will replace car keys. Speaking in a puff piece interview with the Telegraph on Saturday, ahead of the company's latest event, Cook said that – among other things – the wrist-wearing gizmo would nag sedentary people once an hour to …
Kelly Fiveash, 28 Feb 2015

UK watchdog grills big biz: So HOW do you use their 'consumer data'?

The UK's main competition regulator is looking to build its knowledge of how consumer data is collected, used and traded by businesses. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has asked businesses, trade bodies and other stakeholders to provide it with information about the commercial use of UK consumer data (10-page/262KB …
OUT-LAW.COM, 30 Jan 2015
The SAMSUNG GALAXY ALPHA lies on a white background, displays Home screen icons.

Samsung buys LoopPay ... to be better at bonking than Apple

Just as rumours that Samsung is about to move into the mobile payments space at next week’s Mobile World Congress were reaching their peak, the South Korean firm announced the acquisition of LoopPay. The LoopPay technology uses Magnetic Secure Transmission technology to turn point-of-sale terminals where you'd normally swipe a …
Simon Rockman, 19 Feb 2015
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

Windows 8 or nowt: Consumer Win 7 fans are OUT OF LUCK

It’s Windows 8.x or nothing for PC shoppers, says Microsoft, which has announced that it's no longer offering Windows 7. Friday 31 October was officially the last day when Microsoft made Windows 7 available for sale through retail outlets, meaning consumers can no longer buy discs of download versions of Windows 7 Home Basic, …
Gavin Clarke, 03 Nov 2014
hand holdin retro telephone

1998 asks to speak to Turnbull about local calls

In its relentless search for regulations that impose unnecessary compliance costs on industry, the federal government is considering scrapping untimed local telephone calls in Australia, again. “Again”, because the last time retail price controls were raised was in 2014, when the Australian Communications and Media Authority ( …
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 …
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