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Articles about Consumers

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

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
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
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
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
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
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

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

Sprint to buy T-Mobile US? Not so fast, says antitrust official

Rumors persist that US mobile carrier Sprint may be looking to snap up smaller rival T-Mobile US, but a top antitrust enforcer has warned that any such deal would be very unlikely to meet regulatory approval. "It's going to be hard for someone to make a persuasive case that reducing four firms to three is actually going to …
Neil McAllister, 31 Jan 2014

FTC gets judicial thumbs-up to SUE firms over data breaches

In a ruling this week, a US federal judge affirmed the Federal Trade Commission's authority to file lawsuits against companies for failing to take "reasonable and appropriate" data security measures, rejecting a claim that the agency lacks that power. District Judge Esther Salas of the US District Court of New Jersey denied …
Neil McAllister, 12 Apr 2014
padlock

If your telco or mobe provider hikes 'fixed' contract fees you can now ESCAPE - Ofcom

UK consumers who are locked into lengthy landline, broadband and mobile contracts have greater protection from being stung by price hikes starting from today, said communications watchdog Ofcom. If a telco or mobile carrier jacks up its price tag above the monthly subscription agreed when a consumer signed up to the contract, …
Kelly Fiveash, 23 Jan 2014

Go on, buy Bitcoin. But DON'T say we didn't WARN YOU

Buying virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin, presents a number of risks that consumers should be aware of before purchasing such assets, the European Banking Authority (EBA) has warned. The regulator said that because virtual currency is not regulated, consumers risk losing their money by "buying, holding or trading" them. " …
OUT-LAW.COM, 18 Dec 2013

Apple bests Dell for first time as preferred US consumer PC choice

Apple is now the preferred choice of US consumers shopping for desktop PCs, according to a nationwide survey of 2,500 "US broadband households" conducted by the research firm Parks Associates. "Apple topped the list of intended brands for desktop purchases for the first time this year," said Parks Associates' director of …
Rik Myslewski, 05 Dec 2013
money_yen_dollar_pound

Crack Euro banker team to probe whether virtual currencies should be regulated

The European Banking Authority (EBA) will create a taskforce to advise it on whether virtual currencies should be regulated. The watchdog said that the taskforce will be created before July and have the objective of answering the question of whether virtual currencies "can and ought to be regulated". The taskforce will analyse …
OUT-LAW.COM, 04 Mar 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
Video

We're on the same wavelength! TV stars cosy up to flog spare Hz

A pair of TV stations in Los Angeles, California, will squeeze into the same frequency band in a test that clear the way for better wireless broadband. KLCS and KJLA have agreed to share a single over-the-air stream to broadcast standard-definition and HD video, freeing up spectrum space in the process. If that works out, it …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Jan 2014

Chin up, tech world. Gartner says it'll be OK

The good news for anyone selling tech to pay the bills is that market demand is bouncing back, although retailers in particular will need to run faster to stand still as customers opt for cheaper devices. In its latest Worldwide Spending Forecast, crystal ball gazers at Gartner reckon some $3.77 trillion will be splashed by …
Paul Kunert, 02 Apr 2014
The Register breaking news

Apple cops $AU2.5m fine for misleading consumers

The "Apple 4G deception" imbroglio in Australia has concluded with the company slapped with a $AU2.5 million dollar fine for advertising capabilities it couldn’t deliver down under. Australia’s competition regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, brought the Federal Court action against Cupertino for its “ …
gavel_judgment_channel

California takes a shot at mobile 'killswitch' mandate

Lawmakers in California have introduced a bill that would force vendors to equip all mobile phones and tablets in the state with a remote-wipe tool. Senate Bill 962 would mandate that all handsets and tablets sold in California be pre-equipped with a "killswitch" option that would allow an owner or law enforcement to render a …
Shaun Nichols, 07 Feb 2014
Rotten apple

Australia rebukes Apple for 'false or misleading representations'

Australia's Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has slapped Apple and extracted an “enforceable undertaking” from the company that will result in fines – or worse – if the company continues to ignore its own warranty and return polices. At issue are Apple's 12 month warranty and 14 day return policies, which weren't being …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Dec 2013
Wi-Fi 802.11n

Euro cops on free Wi-Fi not-so-hotspots: For pity's sake, don't use them for email

Using free Wi-Fi hotspots poses a data risk to users, the boss of European police agency Europol warns. Troels Oerting, head of Europol's cybercrime centre, told BBC Click that growing number of attacks are being carried out via public Wi-Fi and that people should send personal data only across trusted networks. "We have seen …
John Leyden, 10 Mar 2014
iTunes App Store Hall of Fame

Europe: Apple. Google. Yes, you. Get in here. It's about these in-app bills

The European Commission (EC) has asked Apple and Google to send over some execs for meetings this week on reforming in-app payment systems. The EC wants to shake up the practice of in-game purchases by developers, which have in the past misled users, inflated bills, and circumvented parental controls on applications aimed at …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Feb 2014
Screaming kid

US Appeal Court slaps Apple for trying to shake antitrust monitor

The US Appeals Court has rejected Apple's bid to oust its court-appointed antitrust monitor, after Cupertino failed to convince the panel of three judges that he was doing the company irreparable harm. Apple was trying to have Michael Bromwich taken off the job for the time being while it pursues appeals both against his …

US Senate bill would mandate 'kill switch' on all smartphones

All mobile phones sold in the US will have to include free software that can remotely wipe and disable the device if it is stolen, should a new bill introduced in the Senate becomes law. "Cell phone theft has become a big business for thieves looking to cash in on these devices and any valuable information they contain, costing …
Iain Thomson, 14 Feb 2014
Red telephone boxes near royal opera house

BT demands end to Ofcom wholesale broadband subsidies for BSkyB, TalkTalk

BT is pressuring communications regulator Ofcom to end what it described as a "pricing distortion" in the wholesale broadband market that has protected rivals BSkyB and TalkTalk for nearly 10 years. The former national telco would like the watchdog to end maximum limits set on the prices rivals BSkyB and TalkTalk have to pay for …
Kelly Fiveash, 28 Feb 2014

Google's 1Gbps fiber 'not driving' Time Warner Cable's sudden Austin speed increase

Time Warner Cable (TWC) is to upgrade its network in Austin, Texas over the summer to allow internet speeds of up to 300Mbps, but says this has nothing to do with Google's decision to make the city its third installation of 1Gbps fiber. "It's not driving it, it's more about customer demand," a company spokeswoman told The …
Iain Thomson, 21 Feb 2014
The Register breaking news

One-third of US consumers will buy an iPhone 5

According to a new survey, over one third of US consumers plan to buy an iPhone 5, and a new rumor suggests that they'll only need to wait until the first week of September to assuage their aching desire. "Our survey data confirms the strong following Apple has built around its iPhone, with more than one-third of consumers …
Rik Myslewski, 26 Jul 2011
Dell logo in crosshairs

US court: Dell can't hound debtor with robocalls to her mobile

US mobile phone users can stop companies from contacting them using automated dialling systems, an appeals court said in a ruling against Dell. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals, reversing a lower court decision, sided with Ashley Gager, a Dell customer who complained that the firm hounded her with 40 calls in less than three …

Mobe industry quails as Ofcom floats idea of QUADRUPLING 2G spectrum prices

The GSM Association has castigated Ofcom for wanting to quadruple the price of the mobile phone spectrum mostly used for 2G. The price hike, which will hit the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands, was proposed in an Ofcom document issued in October. John Giusti, head of spectrum at the GSMA, said: “We focused on the relative impact that a …
Simon Rockman, 28 Jan 2014
The Register breaking news

US consumers don't want web-enabled toasters

A survey of previous NPD research has found US consumers not fully embracing the connected future so beloved of tech marketeers. Researchers found that for most US users a PC, with email and web browsing, is enough. Although some are using games consoles and smartphones to get online the vast majority are not. 75 per cent of …
John Oates, 29 Sep 2010
Dom Joly

Save Ofcom! Telcos and consumer groups call for end to legal disputes

Consumer groups and two telcos have written to the government in support of Ofcom's attempts to revamp its appeals process and stop legal challenges from obstructing its rulings. Which?, Consumer Futures, Three and TalkTalk have all signed a letter to culture secretary Maria Miller and business secretary Vince Cable that says …
Apple iPhone 5s: back, front, and side views

Fanbois, prepare to lose your sh*t as BRUSSELS KILLS IPHONE dock

Just spent 50 quid on the latest iPhone dock? You'd better start saving for a new one, because the EU has set a timetable for its plans to force all phone manufacturers to use the same charger. Although the EU is well known for its diversity policies, it has been planning to homogenise phone chargers for some time. Ultimately, …
Jasper Hamill, 20 Dec 2013

Apple prevails in Siri marketing lawsuit

A US judge has absolved Apple of charges that the company misled users with its Siri advertising campaigns. District Court judge Claudia Wilken has issued a final dismissal of a suit claiming that Apple ran ads which exaggerated the capabilities of its mobile device when Siri was first released in 2011. The judge found in favor …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Feb 2014
The Register breaking news

Consumers getting cagier about mobile app privacy

Mobile users are getting a lot smarter about what they are willing to share with application developers, with over half deciding against downloading an app because of the information it sought to harvest. The latest research conducted by the Pew Internet Project surveyed over 2,500 US cell and smartphone users, and found that 43 …
Iain Thomson, 05 Sep 2012
Facebook WhatsApp

FTC: OK Facebook, swallow WhatsApp – but NO selling people's data without permission

Facebook's multi-billion-dollar slurp of WhatsApp has been given the go-ahead by US regulators – with the caveat that the social network sticks to the messaging service's privacy policy. The Federal Trade Commission said in a letter to the two firms that WhatsApp would have to stick to the privacy promises it had already made to …
Sheep

Live in the middle of nowhere? CONGRATS. Some of you can pay EE for 4G

The denizens of 12 farflung towns across the United Kingdoms received a bit of good news today after EE continued its rollout of 4G. A total of 187 towns across the UK are now covered by EE's 4G, with the latest well-connected places including world-class conurbations like Macclesfield, Burnley and Bridgend. Olaf Swantee, chief …
Jasper Hamill, 28 Mar 2014
The Register breaking news

Campaign launched to teach consumers about ad-stalking

An organisation representing US marketing bodies has launched a new advertising campaign to raise consumer awareness of online behavioural advertising (OBA). The Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) campaign, called 'Your AdChoices', consists of banner advertising designed to drive users towards "educational videos" and controls …
OUT-LAW.COM, 24 Jan 2012
balaclava_thief_burglar

Boss at 'Microsoft' scam support biz told to cough £000s in comp

A fraudster who conned consumers, particularly silver surfers, into parting with cash to fix phantom PC bugs was handed a suspended sentence on Friday and ordered to pay thousands of pounds in costs and compensation. The national e-crime squad based in Yorkshire, together with ActionFraud, brought the case against Mohammed …
Paul Kunert, 31 Mar 2014
sandisk

Sandisk breaks 128GB barrier with new $199 MICROSD card

Ten years ago SanDisk showed off its first microSD card with what was then an impressive 128MB storage. Now the company has unveiled a 128GB model, specially designed for use in Android smartphones. "The new SanDisk Ultra microSDXC card again demonstrates how SanDisk continues to expand the possibilities of storage so that …
Iain Thomson, 25 Feb 2014
LIghtning

Wireless power groups join forces: One spec to rule them all

Two competing wireless power organizations have signed a pact to play nicely with each other in an attempt to defeat their bigger rival. On Tuesday the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) and Power Matters Alliance (PMA) signed a deal for interoperability between their two very different standards for charging devices without a …
Iain Thomson, 12 Feb 2014
Windows 8 new start screen

I KNOW how to SAVE Microsoft. Give Windows 8 away for FREE – analyst

With the PC market sputtering and users still sour on Windows 8, Microsoft should consider giving its latest OS out for free, say analysts. According to IHS analyst Clifford Leimbach, a free update from Microsoft would help to win back the hearts and minds of consumers at a time when Microsoft finds itself in need of some …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Dec 2013
A Dyson vacuum cleaner

Brit inventor Dyson challenges EU ruling on his hoover's energy efficiency ratings

Brit inventor James Dyson is challenging the EU's labelling policy for hoovers in court, claiming that it doesn't do his vacuum cleaners justice. Dyson said that the EU's energy efficiency rating system was based on dust-free lab conditions that were completely different to the way that hoovers performed in the home. The firm is …
O2 logo

O2 calls for consumers to lease iPhones

O2 claims to have become the first UK network operating to offer a leasing programme for smartphones. Customers will be able to rent iPhones for a year, eliminating the need for long-term commitment and large upfront costs. For £55 a month, O2 Lease offers folk an insured 16GB iPhone 4S, with 750 minutes' call time, unlimited …
Caleb Cox, 12 Dec 2011
Photo of Apple iPhone 5C in a range of colors

iPhone slips in Europe as Windows Phone claims OVER 10% market share

Apple's iPhones are losing ground in Europe as consumers increasingly opt for Android and Windows Phone handsets, according to researchers. Analysts with Kantar Worldpanel ComTech found that over the third quarter of this year, Apple saw its share of the market in Germany, France, and the UK decline over the same period in 2012 …
Shaun Nichols, 02 Dec 2013

AT&T and Netflix get into very public spat over net neutrality

Friday is the deadline for public comment on US comms watchdog the FCC's forthcoming net neutrality regulations. And, as the deadline approaches, two of the major protagonists have got into a (sometimes bitchy) online spat. On Thursday Netflix CEO Reed Hastings published a pugnacious blog post saying that the FCC needs to …
Iain Thomson, 22 Mar 2014
channel

Digital player maker 'incited consumers to break the law', says ASA

A company must change the way it advertises its digital music player because the ads encourage people to copy music in a way that breached copyright law, the advertising industry regulator has said. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has told 3GA Ltd to find a new way to advertise the Brennan JB7 machine, which is a CD …
OUT-LAW.COM, 31 Mar 2011

Apple coughs up 7 hours of profit to refund kids' $32.5m app spend spree

American parents whose children ran up huge bills from in-app purchases on Apple devices will be refunded $32.5m by the Cupertino titan. The settlement was brokered by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after youngsters were able to buy heaps of useless stuff in software – such as power-ups in games – without their guardians …
Shaun Nichols, 15 Jan 2014

Google coughs up $17m to end Safari STALKER COOKIE brouhaha

Google has settled its US legal woes over allowing third-party tracking of Safari users without their knowledge and consent for the relatively paltry amount of $17m, to be shared among 37 states and the District of Columbia – aka Washington DC. The settlement [PDF] states that between June 1, 2011, and February 15, 2012 Google …
Iain Thomson, 19 Nov 2013