Articles about Consumers

Toothless Ofcom: C'mon consumers, show your teeth on broadband speeds

Consumers experiencing consistently shonky broadband speeds will have the power to walk away from their contracts, new Ofcom chief exec Sharon White will announce today. The body will publish a "beefed-up" Code of Practice on broadband speeds, White will announce in her inaugural speech to consumer body Which? White joined …
Kat Hall, 11 Jun 2015
Woman throttling man. Pic: quan ha

Google harms consumers and strangles the open web, says study

Google’s favourable treatment of its own services results in consumer harm and will make the web less diverse, a study into search engine users’ behaviour has claimed. Heavyweight law prof Tim Wu, who coined the phrase “net neutrality”, is one of the authors of the study, which was supported by data from Yelp, a Google rival. “ …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Jun 2015
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
Microsoft Surface 3 Windows 8.1 tablet

Microsoft to Windows 10 consumers: You'll get updates LIKE IT or NOT

Microsoft's licensing on the upcoming Windows 10 OS means that most users will find their systems updating on command from Redmond without any option to stop this. The Licensing Agreement for Windows 10, as found in the latest release candidate build 10240 of Windows 10 Professional, stated: The software periodically checks …
Tim Anderson, 16 Jul 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
Throttling

At last, switching between rubbish broadband providers now easier

From tomorrow it will be easier for consumers to switch from a crap broadband provider to, er, well, another — possibly slightly less crap — broadband provider. The new rules apply to those using the Openreach telecoms network, such as BT, EE, Sky and TalkTalk. Previously, consumers had to obtain a Migration Authorisation Code …
Kat Hall, 19 Jun 2015
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
Apple iBooks

'This ruling does nothing to change the facts' thunders Apple in latest price-fix appeal blow

Apple has lost its appeal of a federal court decision that found it broke antitrust law by colluding with publishers to fix the prices of ebooks. The US Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2013 ruling by the US District Court of the Southern District of New York that found Apple had sought to artificially inflate ebook …
Shaun Nichols, 30 Jun 2015
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
jaws

Samsung, Oppo collared in smartphone bloatware probe

Smartphone makers Samsung and Oppo face legal action in China over handsets apparently stuffed with bloatware. Plenty of folk in the People's Republic have moaned to regulators about pre-installed software on their phones, prompting Shanghai's Consumer Council to act. The country's Consumers' Association said in a statement …
Kelly Fiveash, 05 Jul 2015
BB_PLAYBOOK_RIM_DOWN_TOILET

Blighty tablet sales plunge 31 per cent in saturated market

The free fall descent of the tablet distribution market accelerated for the second quarter of 2015, with channel fondleslab sales plunging by 22 per cent to 2.3 million across Western Europe. Sales in the UK nosedived by 31 per cent to 410,100 units, according to the quarterly research on distribution sales compiled by analyst …
Kat Hall, 28 Jul 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 …
Amazon under a cloud

Commish snaps on rubber gloves, Amazon readies itself for antitrust probe

The European Commish has decided to prod about in Amazon’s contracts with publishers looking for nasty antitrusty behaviour. The Commission is concerned that the contracts, which force publishers to notify Amazon about more favourable terms and conditions with competitors, may make it more difficult for other ebook distributors …
Jennifer Baker, 11 Jun 2015
BT Openreach at work

MILLIONS of broadband punters aren't getting it fast enough – Which?

More than 15 million households may not be getting their advertised broadband speeds, suggesting that providers are telling porky pies about how fast their services are. According to a survey of 2,000 punters from Which?, 74 per cent reckon they are paying for packages with advertised speeds they never receive – amounting to 15. …
Kat Hall, 18 Jun 2015

Phone scamming up 30 percent last year: Report

Retail and finance call centre phone scamming in the US is up 30 percent according to research. The 2014 findings are based on some 86 million scam calls a month picked up by Pindrop Security in which attackers aimed to obtain personal information on potential victims. The phone security company says one in 2200 calls are …
Darren Pauli, 18 Jun 2015
Three Telstra vans restore one line

ACCC clears copper for the NBN

The ACCC has rubber-stamped the agreements needed to let nbnTM absorb Telstra's copper for fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) broadband. The approval of the deal means nbnTM can take ownership of Telstra’s copper and HFC networks for the government's multi-technology model broadband delivery. “Using existing infrastructure means we can …
net_neut_actors_648

Net neutrality? Meh. But don't you dare slow my video streaming

Advisors to the European Commission have found that consumers do grasp the principles of net neutrality and make choices based on it — even when they don’t really know how traffic management, which is key to net neutrality, works. “Attributes of an internet access service offer that relate to traffic management and net …
Jennifer Baker, 10 Jun 2015
Nvidia Shield Tablet

Sick burn, LOSER! Nvidia recalls Shield gaming slabs over BLAZE RISK

Nvidia has today urged gamers to stop using its eight-inch Shield tablets, and send them back to base, because they are a fire risk. Nearly 90,000 units in America and Canada have been recalled over fears they will burn players. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission said in a recall notice that there have been four …
Iain Thomson, 31 Jul 2015
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
The monopoly box

BT issues formal whinge to Ofcom over Sky dominance in pay telly

Former state-owned telecoms giant BT has formally whinged to Ofcom that archrival Sky should be subject to regulatory intervention over its dominance in the paid-TV market. BT has asked Ofcom to change the scope of its review into digital communications, citing "high prices and poor outcomes for consumers arising from a lack …
Kat Hall, 10 Jul 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
BT Openreach van

Wholesale price cap: Take THAT, BT, says (now toothy) Ofcom

UK regulator Ofcom further turned up the heat on BT today, unveiling plans to cap wholesale prices the one-time national telco charges for leased telecoms lines. The regulator said the move should lead to "significant savings" for businesses, part of its overall plan to promote greater competition in the £2bn market for leased …
Kat Hall, 12 Jun 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
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs restored on Blu-ray

Antitrust this! EU Commish goes after HOLLYWOOD’s big guns

After an 18-month investigation, the European Commission on Thursday decided to file antitrust charges against US movie studios 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Sony Pictures, Paramount, NBCUniversal, and Sky TV. Competition head honcho, Margrethe Vestager, has sent a so-called Statement of Objections to Sky and Co, usually …
Jennifer Baker, 24 Jul 2015
Uber - living the dream

Spanish judge dodges the ultimate question – is Uber a taxi company?

Uber will continue to ferry food around Barcelona but not people, as yet another court case involving the ride-sharing pseudo-taxi service is sent to the European Court of Justice. Last year, Spain banned the company following complaints from traditional taxi drivers. However, now a Barcelona judge has decided to let Europe’s …
Jennifer Baker, 22 Jul 2015
Genus_Mustela

Hey WD. Are you killing off Arkeia? 'Solutions... contracts... burble'

Is WD killing off its Arkeia backup product? After writing about some WD community forum members who have been told the product is effectively going end-of-life, we were sent a "clear statement from WD." Here it is; see what you think. WD has been developing a full portfolio of network storage solutions for a number of years …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jul 2015
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

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

Dyre times ahead: Zeus-style trojan slurps your banking login creds

UK users of Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Lloyds Bank and Santander are being targeted by cybercrooks slinging the Dyre banking trojan. Around 19,000 malicious emails have been sent in three days from spam servers worldwide, inviting users to download an archive containing a malicious .exe file posing as personal …
John Leyden, 08 Jul 2015
BT Openreach van

BT circles wagons round Openreach as Ofcom mulls forced split-up

BT has launched an offensive against moves to have its Openreach division completely hived off, with its view being that maintaining a near monopoly is the best thing for the country. Ofcom’s 2005 strategic review resulted in Openreach being repositioned to become a separate part of BT, but rivals have long been pushing for …
Simon Rockman, 16 Jul 2015
Ofcom has great power over mobiles

Ofcom wants to ease the pain of switching mobile networks. Good luck

UK regulator Ofcom has started a consultation aimed at consumers to find out how hard it is to switch mobile phone networks, and eventually put in place processes which reduce the pain of switching, while also eliminating “slamming” where a company fraudulently migrates a customer. The consultation is a follow-up to previous …
Simon Rockman, 29 Jul 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

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
You can't shut me up, Jennifer Moo, Flickr, CC 2.0

Optus tells Department of Comms to sit down and shut up

The relationship between the Australian government and the telco sector continues to deteriorate, with more carriers pushing back against Canberra's micro-management of their operations, with both industry regulation and security reforms as ongoing battlegrounds. Optus is the latest to raise its voice against the Department of …
Samsung S6 active

Screw you, Apple! We're still making phones no one wants – Samsung

Sales of Samsung's smartphones have slipped of late in comparison to the iPhone, but the chaebol is trying to steal some of the thunder from Apple's WWDC announcements by announcing a new device of its own. The new handset, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active, isn't much in the way of an evolution. Basically it's a S6 that's been …
Iain Thomson, 08 Jun 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
germany

Euro Commish OKs €3bn German broadband aid scheme

Germany has got the green light from the European Commission to push ahead with a publicly funded scheme to roll out next generation access (NGA) broadband networks. The €3bn project is to provide high speed internet access throughout the country, including in rural areas. “This aid scheme will make faster broadband services …
Jennifer Baker, 16 Jun 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, …

In your face, US citizens! Govt can’t save you from corporate eyes

Alvaro Bedoya, the founding executive director of the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law, has claimed that industry lobbying is shutting down Washington’s ability to protect privacy in the face of the commercial exploitation of consumers' data. In an article in Slate, Bedoya, a former chief counsel to the Senate …
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