Articles about Consumers

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

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

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
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
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

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
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
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

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
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
British Gas smart meter

What a pity: Rollout of hated UK smart meters delayed again

The timescale for the installation of 50m smart meters at a cost of £11bn is up for revision (again), junior minister and member of the House of Lords, Baroness Verma, has admitted. By 2020, the government wants everyone to have a smart meter fitted at a cost of £200 per household. However, the project has been dogged by delays …
Kat Hall, 04 Dec 2014
2001: A Space Odyssey

Can’t be TRUSTe-d? Online privacy firm coughs $200k to settle 'deception' charges

TRUSTe, which issues the privacy seals displayed on thousands of websites, has paid a settlement over charges it deceived consumers through its Privacy Seal Program. As part of an agreed settlement with US consumer watchdogs at the Federal Trade Commission, it also promised it would ensure all certified websites removed a …
John Leyden, 18 Nov 2014

US retail giant Target fails to get banks' MEGABREACH lawsuit slung out of court

Target has failed in is attempt to persuade a judge to reject lawsuit by banks harmed by losses following the US retail giant's megabreach. US District Judge Paul Magnuson ruled that Target played a "key role" in permitting cybercriminals to infiltrate its computer networks. Because of this, a lawsuit by banks seeking to recoup …
John Leyden, 03 Dec 2014

BEST EVER broadband? Oh no you DIDN'T, Sky – ad watchdog

The telecoms giant formerly known as BSkyB has been ordered to remove a "best ever" broadband ad after rival BT claimed it was "misleading". The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the context of Sky's "BEST EVER broadband offer" in July had not been substantiated and was likely to mislead. Last week BSkyB ditched the …
Kat Hall, 21 Nov 2014

Mastercard and Visa to ERADICATE password authentication

Mastercard and Visa are removing the need for users to enter their passwords for identity confirmation as part of a revamp of the existing (oft-criticised) 3-D Secure scheme. The arrival of 3D Secure 2.0 next year will see the credit card giants moving away from the existing system of secondary static passwords to authorise …
John Leyden, 14 Nov 2014
Angry woman on mobile

Bill cram woes piling up for Sprint: Campaigners lob in a sueball

Yet another group has filed suit against Sprint, alleging the US telco unfairly profited from phone bill cramming. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said it wants to extract a pound of flesh from the carrier for allowing murky traders to sneak extra charges onto customers' bills, a portion of which was paid to …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Dec 2014
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 …
Angry woman on mobile

No more lies, T-Mobile US: Download speed caps magically vanished on speed test websites

T-Mobile USA has agreed to stop twiddling with subscribers' mobile broadband speeds to hide the fact they were being capped. The telco was caught switching off download and upload bandwidth limits when people visited internet speed test websites. In other words, if you visited a website that tested your mobile connection's speed …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Nov 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

Red Bull does NOT give you wings, $13.5m lawsuit says so

A website set up by Red Bull to allow its caffeine guzzling consumers to stake a claim to a multi-million dollar award for failing to get the wings its ad slogan promised, crashed under the weight of interest. The Austria-based drinks maker is to settle US lawsuits out of court, brought by a long-time user, Benjamin Careathers, …
Paul Kunert, 11 Oct 2014

Google Glassholes haven't achieved 'social acceptance' - report

Google Glass and other smart specs are proving to be a flop with sceptical consumers, the analysis firm Juniper has claimed. Juniper insists the "lengthy time-to-market and lack of a key consumer use case" is to blame for the lack of interest, which we think means that no company has managed to produce enough silicon specs, and …
Jasper Hamill, 05 Nov 2014
management regulation1

Android gives Google a search monopoly? Not so fast, says judge

A US District Court judge has cast doubt on an antitrust lawsuit filed against Google, describing the damages sought as "speculative." The class-action suit filed earlier this year alleges that Google engages in illegal anti-competitive behavior by requiring makers of Android smartphones to bundle its search app on their devices …
Neil McAllister, 18 Dec 2014
Pigeon crapping on statue

That's all folks! US TV streaming upstart Aereo files for bankrupcy

It's the end of the line for the TV streaming biz Aereo: it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and appointed a chief restructuring officer to extract some remaining value from its assets. "Our engineering team created the first cloud-based, individual antenna and DVR that enabled you to record and watch live …
Iain Thomson, 21 Nov 2014

Beware of merging, telcos. CHEAPER SPECTRUM follows

Worstall on Wednesday What consumers end up paying for mobile phone services isn't the only price we're worried about. Oh aye, thought I, as I scanned El Reg's coverage of mobile operators asking for permission to merge. I can see their game here: or, perhaps, I suspect what they'd rather we didn't think about. That being that what we, as consumers …
Tim Worstall, 17 Dec 2014
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

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$ …
australia

Australia to block piracy sites if Big Content asks nicely in court

Australia will join the ranks of nations that ask local internet service providers block access to sites suspected of illegally distributing copyrighted material. The nation's attorney-general George Brandis and communications minister Malcolm Turnbull today revealed their intention to “amend the Copyright Act, to enable rights …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Dec 2014

Finland ditches copyright levy on digital kit, pays artists directly

Finland has decided to ditch copyright levies on digital devices... and let the taxpayer foot the bill. Instead a special government fund will be set up to compensate artists for private copying of music and movies. Following the national Parliament vote, Finnish MEP Henna Virkkunen said the new system would be “fairer to …
Jennifer Baker, 12 Dec 2014
The European flag

MEPs want 'unbiased search', whatever that is – they're not sure either

Remember that vote in the European Parliament last week to “break up Google”? Well it’s not just about breaking up the American search giant. A closer reading between the lines of the non-legislative resolution reveals sideswipes at Amazon and eBay as well. The resolution – which was approved by by 458 to 173 last Thursday – …
Jennifer Baker, 02 Dec 2014

Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?

UK telcos need to stop fibbing about the network speeds they offer to subscribers, consumer champion Which? demanded today. It said that British ISPs had a dirty habit of using "up to" jargon in their marketing – even though such a superfast broadband connection promise only applied to 12 per cent of punters. Which? noted that …
Kelly Fiveash, 17 Nov 2014
Angry woman on mobile

AT&T to fork out less than two days' profit in bogus bill charge flap

AT&T has been ordered to cough up $105m by US trade watchdog the FTC after allowing miscreants to whack bogus charges on Americans' cellphone bills. The commission said the telco giant would be on the hook for $80m in refunds to customers, and an additional $25m in fines and penalties to settle claims that it allowed third …
Shaun Nichols, 08 Oct 2014
How to track her indoors

In a mall at the weekend? WORSE STILL, are you LOST?

A new indoor positioning system has been unveiled by Bluetooth grandees Cambridge Silicon Radio. The system consists of Android middleware which gives access to a database of indoor positions. While GPS works pretty well when it has a good view of the sky, indoor positioning is more of a challenge. The new SiRFusion library …
Simon Rockman, 21 Nov 2014
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

FCC puts AT&T and Comcast gobbles back on the table

The FCC has restarted the approval process for a pair of high-profile proposed mergers – Comcast-Time Warner Cable, and AT&T-DirecTV. The US watchdog said it has officially set two deadlines for folks sending in their views on the biz gobbles. In the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable (TWC) tie-up, citizens will have until …
Shaun Nichols, 03 Dec 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
Reckless Getaway

Osborne ponders giving fleeing bank customers an API getaway car

Banks will have to use standardised application programming interfaces (APIs) to make it easier for customers to move their accounts to rival services, the British government has said. In his Autumn Statement last week, Chancellor George Osborne announced that the government would launch a "call for evidence" on "how to deliver …
OUT-LAW.COM, 08 Dec 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 …

Thought your household broadband was pants? Small biz has it worse

Smaller businesses tend to be worse off for broadband connections than average users, particularly in urban areas, according to an official report on the UK's digital infrastructure. Market regulator Ofcom said that its 2014 report underlined the importance of its new programme of work for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), …
OUT-LAW.COM, 11 Dec 2014
Angry woman on mobile

Marriott fined $600k for deliberate JAMMING of guests' Wi-Fi hotspots

The Marriott has been fined $600,000 by the FCC for paralyzing guests' personal Wi-Fi hotspots, forcing them to use the hotel giant's expensive network instead. The US watchdog today said the Marriott Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee, used monitoring equipment to illegally boot hotel and convention center guests off …
Shaun Nichols, 03 Oct 2014
The Register breaking news

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

Updated 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

Author fined $500k in first US spyware conviction

A US man has been handed a US$500,000 fine for selling the StealthGenie malware in the first prosecution of a mobile spyware slinger. Police collared Hammad Akbar, 31, in September after he allegedly sold the malware to an undercover agent in 2012. Akbar a Danish citizen, sold the StealthGenie malware capable of intercepting …
Darren Pauli, 30 Nov 2014

Three UK fined £250,000 for customer complaints COCKUP

Three UK has been fined £250,000 by Ofcom after the mobe carrier was caught giving up on moaning customers' complaints without resolving their problems with the service. The communications watchdog said that Three UK failed to handle some subscriber gripes in a "fair and timely manner". Ofcom added that, during the regulator's …
Kelly Fiveash, 08 Oct 2014
by Jean-Marc Ayrault licensed under CC2.0

French prez mulls mobe, fondleslab tax for telly

Despite his communication minister ruling it out a couple of days ago, French President Hollande has decided he wants to whack a second tax on smartphones, tablets and PCs. Francois Hollande made the U-turn announcement after meeting with CSA (the Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel) which regulates electronic media in France. …
Jennifer Baker, 04 Oct 2014