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Archive for November, 2011

HTC shares plunge after revenue forecast cut

November 30, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, mobile phones, smart phones, Social Networking, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Shares of smartphone maker HTC have fallen by 7%, the maximum allowed in one day, after the company cut its growth forecast.HTC shares plunge after revenue forecast cutTaiwan-based HTC said on Wednesday that it expected revenues for the final three months of 2011 to be little changed from a year earlier.

The firm had earlier forecast growth of 20% to 30%.

HTC, the world’s fourth-biggest smartphone brand, blamed increased competition and weakening demand.

Analysts and the markets were surprised by the statement filed with the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

In October, the company had warned that fourth quarter revenue was slowing, predicting 125bn to 135bn New Taiwan dollars (£2.6 billion- £2.9 billion), compared with T$135.8bn (32.81 billion) in the previous three months.

Although HTC did not give a specific forecast for Wednesday’s further downward revision, it said it predicted no growth compared to the same period last year. HTC’s revenue in the last three months of 2010 was £2.166 billion.

Analysts said the grim outlook could be blamed on lack of new products to compete with an expansion in Apple’s distribution channels in the US.

However, the company said it expected a pick up in revenue in the first half of 2012.

Google kills off seven more products including Wave

November 29, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Google, Social Media, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Google has announced that it is dropping seven more products in an effort to simplify its range of services.Google kills off seven more products including WaveThe out-of-season “spring clean” brings an end to services including Google Wave, Knol and Google Gears.

It is the third time that the US firm has announced a cull of several of its products at the same time after they had failed to take off.

Experts said the strategy might put off users from signing up to new services.

Google announced the move in its official blog.

“We’re in the process of shutting a number of products which haven’t had the impact we’d hoped for, integrating others as features into our broader product efforts, and ending several which have shown us a different path forward,” said Urs Holzle, Google’s vice president of operations.

“Overall, our aim is to build a simpler, more intuitive, truly beautiful Google user experience,” he added.

The seven latest products earmarked for the chop are as follows:

  • Google Wave – an attempt to combine email and instant messaging for real-time collaboration
  • Google Bookmarks List – a service which allowed users to share bookmarks with friends
  • Google Friends Connect – allowed webmasters to add social features to their sites by embedding a snippet of code
  • Google Gears – much-hyped effort to maintain web browser functionality when working offline
  • Google Search Timeline – a graph of historical query results
  • Knol – a Wikipedia-style project, which aimed to improve web content
  • Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal – a project which aimed to find ways to improve solar power

It has now given details about when the switch-offs will occur. For example Wave will be retired in April, and Knol content will be taken offline in October.

Some experts think that Google is streamlining in order to concentrate on its Facebook rival Google+.

The network gained 10 million users within the first 16 days after its private launch, and 40 million within the first 100 days, making it the fastest-growing social network in the history of the web.

Xbox Live users targeted in online phishing scam

November 28, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Gaming, Microsoft, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Xbox Live users are being urged to check their accounts after some were scammed by fake emails.Xbox Live users targeted in online phishing scamThe phishing attack sent users to a fake site where they were asked to input personal details like addresses, emails and credit card details.

Microsoft is investigating and says a small percentage of users are affected.

“We take the security of the Xbox Live service seriously and work to improve it against evolving threats,” a Microsoft spokesman said.

“Very occasionally, though, we are contacted by members regarding alleged unauthorized access to their accounts by outside individuals.”

The spokesman continued: “We can confirm that only a small percentage of Xbox Live customers have been affected here in the UK. We highly recommend all Xbox Live users follow our account security guidance in order to protect their account details.”

“We work closely with impacted members directly to resolve any unauthorized changes to their accounts and, as always, highly recommend all Xbox Live users follow our account security guidance in order to protect their account details.”

Microsoft confirmed there had been no breach in the security of Xbox Live itself.

The company says there is advice on its website about staying safe online but advises that people should never give out passwords or email addresses.

It says users should never type personal information into websites unless they are sure that they are genuine.

Hewlett-Packard fourth quarter profits drop by 91%

November 25, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Customer Service, internet, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Hewlett-Packard has unveiled a 91% fall in fourth quarter profits after announcing a £2.1 billion ($3.3 billion)  charge to close down its WebOS business.Hewlett-Packard fourth quarter profits drop by 91%HP reported a profit of £125 million ($200 million) on total sales of £20. 06 billion ($32.1 billion) for the quarter ending 31 October.

This compares to a profit of £1.56 billion ($2.5 billion)  on revenue of £20.81 billion ($33.3 billion) over the same period last year.

The figures are the first since new chief executive Meg Whitman took over.

Despite the slide in profits, revenue rose 1% – analysts had predicted revenue of £20.03 billion.

Ms Whitman took over the firm after her predecessor Leo Apotheker was fired in September.

He had embarked on a series of widely criticised moves to increase HP’s focus on commercial computing hardware and software.

These included cancelling HP’s plans to compete in the tablet and smartphone market with gadgets based on WebOS software that HP acquired when it bought Palm last year – resulting in the £2.06 billion loss which was the biggest contributor to its steep profits fall.

He was also criticised for plans to spin off the firm’s PC division – a decision Ms Whitman reversed on her arrival.

Mr Apotheker also bid £7.8 billion for Autonomy, a software firm based in Cambridge, which analysts felt overvalued the firm by as much as £6 billion.

However, Ms Whitman confirmed the deal would go ahead.

Computer maker Dell warns Thai floods will hurt revenues

November 24, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Customer Service, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Dell has warned its revenues could be hit by a worldwide shortage of hard drives caused by the flooding in Thailand.
Computer maker Dell warns Thai floods will hurt revenuesThailand is a production hub for many global firms like Apple and Toyota, and severe flooding has hurt a wide range of industries.

Dell is the world’s third largest personal computer maker.

The earnings warning came as Dell announced revenues of £9.7 billion ($15.4 billion) and net profits of £564 million ($893 million)  for the third quarter of 2011.

Shares in Dell fell by 2% in after hours trading in New York, after the warning and after analysts said revenues had slightly missed expectations.

Brian Gladden, Dell’s chief financial officer, told Reuters that the Thai floods may mean the company has to give priority to “higher-end customers and products”.

He also warned that the company may have to raise computer prices after the flooding forced the closure of factories and pushed up the global cost of hard drives.

In recent years Dell has focused more on corporate needs and less on the home consumer, which is reflected in its latest results.

Its earnings from large corporations rose by 4% to £2.81 billion compared to the same period last year, and revenue from consumers dropped by 6% to £1.75 billion.

Broadband speeds research shows peak and off peak surfing rates

November 23, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Broadband, Computers, Customer Service, internet, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

UK broadband speeds drop by an average of 35% from their off peak highs when most people are online in the evening, according to a report.Broadband speeds research shows peak and off peak surfing ratesThe research, conducted by the comparison site uSwitch, was based on two million broadband speed tests.

The peak surfing times between 7pm and 9pm were the slowest to be online, the report said.

There were also huge regional variations between evening and early morning surfing times.

The report suggested the best time to be online was between 2am and 3am.

Users in Evesham, Worcestershire, fared worst, according to the survey, with a massive 69% drop-off between off-peak morning and evening surfing.

Those living in Weston-super-Mare did little better with speeds falling from an off-peak average of 9.5Mbps (megabits per second) to 3.4Mbps in the evening – a 64% drop.

The difference was often most noticeable in rural areas where even peak speeds were relatively slow. In Wadebridge, in Cornwall, speeds nearly halved from 4.1Mbps at off-peak times to 2.1Mbps at peak times.

“It really is surprising just how much broadband speeds fluctuate at different times of the day, with drop-offs of almost 70% in some areas of the UK,” said uSwitch’s technology expert Ernest Doku.

“Not many internet users enjoy the maximum headline broadband speeds offered by providers, and certainly not during the working week,” he added.

Broadband speed is becoming more important as bandwidth-hungry services such as on-demand TV become more popular.

Telecoms regulator Ofcom recently revealed that British households download an average of 17 gigabytes of data every month over their home broadband connections.

That monthly data diet is equivalent to streaming 11 movies or 12 hours of BBC programmes via iPlayer.

Critics say consumers are being misled by internet service providers who continue to advertise their maximum broadband speeds, even though many users do not get them.

New rules from the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) say that from April next year providers will no longer be able to advertise maximum speeds for net packages unless 10% of customers receive them. They must also make it clear if a significant proportion of users wll not be able to get the headline speed.

Almost half of broadband users are now on packages with advertised speeds above 10Mbps but the average broadband speed is 6.8Mbps according to Ofcom.

The broadband speed test results can be viewed here.

Over half a million Facebook accounts hacked every day

November 22, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Customer Service, Cyber Security, data security, Dr Search, Facebook, internet, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Last month Facebook admitted that hackers are breaking into hundreds of thousands of Facebook accounts every day.Over half a million Facebook accounts hacked every dayOut of more than a billion logins to the website every 24 hours, 600,000 are impostors attempting to access users’ messages, photos and other personal information Facebook said.

The figure is the first time that the social network has revealed how it is bombarded by hackers on a daily basis.

Security experts said the figure is a “big concern” and that people need to be more careful when choosing their passwords across the web.

Facebook is just one of the main target sites for hackers.

Web users need to make sure that their passwords across email, banking and other digital services more complicated in order to avoid their personal information being compromised.

Top tips for choosing an internet password:

– Vary different types of characters in your passwords; include numbers, letters and special characters when possible.
– Choose passwords of eight characters or more. Separate short words with spaces or underscores.
– Don’t use the same password and username combination for multiple websites. Use an online password manager to keep track of your different accounts.

Here are a list of the 25 ‘worst’ internet passwords- if you use ANY of these you should seriously change them NOW:
1. password
2. 123456
3.12345678
4. qwerty
5. abc123
6. monkey
7. 1234567
8. letmein
9. trustno1
10. dragon
11. baseball
12. 111111
13. iloveyou
14. master
15. sunshine
16. ashley
17. bailey
18. passw0rd
19. shadow
20. 123123
21. 654321
22. superman
23. qazwsx
24. michael
25. football

Mobile phone companies warned over data tariff charges by watchdog

November 21, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Broadband, Customer Service, internet, Mobile Marketing, mobile phones, smart phones, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Mobile phone operators must do more to help people avoid getting unexpectedly large bills after downloading data warns the Communications Ombudsman.Mobile phone companies warned over data tariff charges by watchdogThe complaints watchdog says the so called “data download bill shock” is a serious and growing problem.

Chief Ombudsman Lewis Shand Smith says that is because it is becoming more common for people to download big files, like videos, onto mobiles.

He says that has led to a rise in the number of customers being affected.

As technology improves it is becoming more common for people to download bigger files.  Those include songs, videos and emails with large attachments.

Communications Ombudsman Lewis Shand Smith thinks phone companies could do more to warn people but says they are doing nothing wrong under the current regulations.

He said: “Most mobile operators are playing by the rules, so that then begs the question are the rules what they ought to be? Customer satisfaction is always a priority and there are several ways people can keep track of exactly how much data they use.”

He’s calling on mobile phone operators to do three things:

  • First of all, be very clear about what they mean by unlimited in the advertisements;
  • Secondly, give advice to consumers so they know when they’re reaching their limit;.
  • Thirdly, give advice on the amount of data that’s being downloading.

In a series of statements the big five mobile phone operators said: “There are a variety of different tariffs and deals that let customers manage their bills effectively.

“Customer satisfaction is always a priority and there are several ways people can keep track of exactly how much data they use.”

Depending on your download connection the amount of data you use for one song is roughly 3 megabytes, for a three-minute video it’s 15 megabytes and for a half hour TV show it’s around 350 megabytes.

Apple cleans up green image in China

November 18, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, Computers, Customer Service, Ecommerce, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Apple has met environmental groups in China in a bid to improve concerns about pollution caused by it’s Chinese manufacturers.Apple cleans up green image in China Apple has identified China as one of the key markets for its future expansion and growth plans

The move comes after a report in August alleged that some Apple manufacturers were discharging harmful pollutants into the environment.

The Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE) said the technology giant had shared its plans to address the issues during the talks.

The IPE said Apple did not disclose the identity of its suppliers, but it was confident that the US company will work to ensure that its partners comply with environmental regulations.

Although Apple refused to comment on specific talks, its Beijing-based spokeswoman, Carolyn Wu, told the BBC that the company conducts regular audits of its suppliers.

According to its Supplier Responsibility report, Apple conducted such checks at 127 different facilities last year.

The company also said that it required its suppliers to resolve any violation within 90 days.

“Apple is committed to driving the highest standards of social responsibility throughout our supply chain,” Ms Wu said.

“We require that our suppliers provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes wherever Apple products are made.”

Dell’s results flooded in Thailand

November 17, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Customer Service, Ecommerce, internet, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Dell has warned its revenues could be hit by a worldwide shortage of hard drives caused by the flooding in Thailand.Dell's results flooded in ThailandThailand is a production hub for many global firms like Apple and Honda- and severe flooding has slowed down a wide range of industries.

Dell is the world’s third largest personal computer maker.

The earnings warning came as Dell announced revenues of £9.7 billion ($15.4 billion) and net profits of £564 million ($893 million) for the third quarter of 2011.

Shares in Dell fell by 2% in after hours trading in New York, after the warning and after analysts said revenues had slightly missed expectations.

Brian Gladden, Dell’s chief financial officer said that the Thai floods may mean the company has to give priority to “higher-end customers and products”.

He also warned that the company may have to raise computer prices after the flooding forced the closure of factories and pushed up the global cost of hard drives.

In recent years Dell has focused more on corporate needs and less on the home consumer, which is reflected in its latest results.

Its earnings from large corporations rose by 4% to £2.81 billion compared to the same period last year, and revenue from consumers dropped by 6% to £1.75 billion.