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Archive for June, 2012

Legal battle between Apple and Samsung continues

June 28, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, Computers, Ecommerce, Mobile Marketing, mobile phones, Samsung, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Twitter, Uncategorized

Following on from yesterday’s post Apple ordered to pay damages to Samsung by Dutch court the roles have been reversed as a US court has banned sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet while it decides on the firm’s patent dispute with Apple.Legal battle between Apple and Samsung continuesApple has claimed that Samsung infringed its design patent and copied the look of its popular device, the iPad.

The Samsung tablet is considered by most analysts as the biggest rival to Apple’s iPad.

The ban does not apply to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 II, the tablet’s new edition. The trial for the case is scheduled to begin in California on 30 July.

Apple will have to post a £1.67 million ($2.6 million) bond to enforce the injunction, which it applied for in May, to compensate Samsung if the ban subsequently proves to have been unnecessary.

The judge had previously denied Apple’s appeal for an injunction on the Galaxy tablet and smartphones, but was asked by a federal appeals court to reconsider Apple’s request on the tablet PC.

Samsung and Apple are tied up in several legal cases, each becoming increasingly bitter as they each try to hinder each other’s chances in the lucrative tablet market.

Surprisingly enough, the feud hasn’t stopped the companies working together – the latest iPad uses several Samsung-made components.

Elsewhere, in a sign of increasing frustration at the tit-for-tat nature of the patent disputes, a US judge threw out a separate case involving Apple, this time against Google-owned Motorola Mobility.

The judge said Apple’s claim that Motorola’s alleged patent infringement had harmed the iPhone’s standing in the smartphone market was “wild conjecture”.

Apple has been filing suits against various manufacturers who use the Google Android operating system in their tablets and smartphones.

Apple and Samsung are involved in a variety of legal cases in various countries across the globe amid claims and counter claims of patent infringement.

While Apple had accused Samsung of “blatant copying” of its design and look, the South Korean firm has alleged that Apple infringed its patents relating to the way phones and tablet PCs connect to the internet.

Apple and Samsung are two of the biggest manufacturers of tablet PCs and smartphones in the world- and each are using every tactic to attempt to hinder each other’s market share growth.

Apple ordered to pay damages to Samsung by Dutch court

June 27, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, Computers, Ecommerce, Samsung, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Apple has been ordered to pay damages to rival Samsung Electronics by a court in the Netherlands.Apple ordered to pay damages to Samsung by Dutch courtThe court said that Apple had infringed a patent held by Samsung relating to the way phones and tablet PCs connect to the internet.

Apple, which recently became the world’s most valuable firm, has been facing various legal issues.

The Dutch court did not specify any amount, but the damages will be calculated based on sales of Apple’s iPhone and iPad in the Netherlands.

Samsung had claimed that Apple had infringed four of its patents. However, the Dutch court said that only one of those had been breached.

Apple and Samsung are two of the biggest manufacturers of smartphones and tablet PCs in the world. However, the two firms have been involved in dozens of patent cases and disputes relating to designs of their respective products.

Analysts said that with so many cases being fought by the two firms in different countries, neither of the parties may emerge as the overall winner.

Last month, a judge in the US ordered the chief executives of both the firms to meet to try to settle their legal differences.

But the talks did not lead to any agreement and Apple has since sought a ban on sales of one of Samsung’s tablet computers and the latest range of its Galaxy smartphones.

Apple had enjoyed an early lead in the smartphone and tablet PC market with the launch of its iPhone and iPad devices. However, Samsung has been steadily increasing its market share in the sector with the introduction of new hardware.

Analysts said that given the increased competition, the two firms had been using the legal battles as a way to stop each other from increasing their market shares.

RBS computer crash- disaster waiting to happen

June 25, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Customer Service, data security, Ecommerce, internet, Personal Security, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

The STILL ongoing computer crash was an attempt by the RBS bank to save money by sacking skilled UK staff and offshoring to fewer, cheaper, unskilled people in India.RBS computer crash- disaster waiting to happenScanning through comments on the Observer- Money- Your questions answered, Dynamic Solutions found this observation and various other comments appear to validate this information:

By  cantankerousblogger posted on 22 June 2012 7:46PM

“NatWest sacked 1,800 highly-trained UK staff, the last having left a few weeks ago.  NatWest now has virtually no staff who understand how its banking systems work in the UK or employed by it.  All the ‘work’ and ‘testing’ is now carried out by 800 ‘contractors’ in India.  The replacements have demonstrated they do not have a clue what they are doing.

Who, out of the senior management who signed this off, who thought ‘IT is not at the heart of what we do, let’s outsource it’, who decided ‘these guys in India know what they are doing’ is going to take responsibility for this fiasco?

If you’re a customer, these are the two questions you need answered next week:

1. Are you going bring the design and maintenance of your IT infrastructure back to the UK and under your control?

2. Has Susan Allen, Director, Change and Business Services, responsible for ‘Transformation Programme across the Retail Division encompassing all channels and functions. Establish Lean capability. Ensure services provided by Business Services (IT, Ops, Property) support delivery of the objectives of the RBS UK Retail, Wealth and Ulster businesses’ resigned yet?

If the answer to either question is no, move your accounts to another bank next week.  If you can, if the systems are working again before the next IT disaster.

PS  The problem was caused by a botched ‘upgrade’ to the CA7 batch scheduling suite and the loss of the schedule.  There is, of course, no RBS employee left in the UK who understands this any longer.”

Piqued by this post I did some more research and was staggered to find this hubris on the ignorant cost saving which is laid bare on the RBS website at:

“I really enjoy the challenge and variety of my current role. Although very different to the Business Leadership roles I have undertaken over recent years, I am excited by the opportunity to use my skills to make a difference and drive change. Helping my team grow and develop, building a sustainable, successful business and finding solutions to tricky problems in a way that delivers for our customers, our team, and the bank are all things I enjoy. I believe my current role is helping to drive the cultural change required in the relationship between Business Services and Retail and has contributed to a shared ambition for the business.”

The phrase “Although very different to the Business Leadership roles I have undertaken over recent years..” is particularly worrying. It suggests not only that this person doesn’t know what she is doing, but that the Dilbert Principle of being promoted above one’s level of incompetence may apply.

I wonder- if you are still a shareholder- how much more money are you prepared to throw down the toilet?

Bank customers still suffering after Wednesday’s computer breakdown

June 22, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Customer Service, data security, Ecommerce, internet, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Up to 12 million Royal Bank of Scotland, Natwest and Ulster bank customers are left unable to withdraw cash, pay bills or move money after a computer glitch froze their bank accounts on Wednesday night.Bank customers still suffering after Wednesday’s computer breakdownThe banks- which Labour nationalised are part of the taxpayer-owned RBS Group, said that “technical issues” with its computers meant that payments in or out of accounts had not been made since Wednesday evening.

The glitch, which also affected online banking services, meant people faced fines for late payment of bills because the computer breakdown left them with insufficient funds to honour direct debit arrangements or direct debits payments were not made- even moving homes where new mortgages are being frozen.

Natwest kept 1,000 branches open until 7pm yesterday to deal with customers’ complaints. The problem also affected over 100,000 customers at Northern Ireland’s Ulster Bank, which is also owned by RBS Group.

The banking group apologised for the “unacceptable inconvenience” it had caused to customers and said it was investigating the causes of the problems.

Sarah Brooks, director of financial services at Consumer Focus, said: “We hope that the problem will be resolved quickly and doesn’t happen again. Natwest and Royal Bank of Scotland should also look at providing appropriate compensation to any customer who loses out because of this failure.”

Problems with the group’s computers meant that people who were relying on money being paid into their accounts, such as wages, were unable to access this cash.

The technical fault did not affect people who had pre-existing sums of money in their accounts yesterday. The banks’ ATM machines are still working and branches remain open.

A spokesman for RBS Group said: “This is a technical problem affecting a large number of NatWest and Ulster Bank customers, and a small number of RBS customers, including some of our business customers.

“It was caused by a failure of our systems to properly update customers’ balances overnight. The main problem customers are having is that where people have had money go into their accounts overnight, there may be a delay in it showing up on their balance.”

Whilst the bank this morning claims that the updating computer breakdown issue has been fixed, variuos media organisations and Twitter users claim that problems are still occurring.

Indeed Dyenamic Solutions noted that #natwest is currently trending at number 2 on Twitter.

It was the bank’s advertising slogan Helpful Banking which attracted the attention of many customers on Twitter- for example ‏@AngryBritain NatWest – Helpful Banking. No, not really. Did you make a backup first?”

With the weekend approaching, one only hopes that all of the problems will be fixed by Monday- or RBS really be in the mire.

Wayne Rooney’s Nike Twitter ad banned by ASA

June 20, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Customer Service, Ecommerce, Online Marketing, Social Media, Technology Companies, Twitter, Uncategorized

The UK’s Advertising Standards Association (ASA) watchdog has banned a Wayne Rooney Nike Twitter campaign.Wayne Rooney's Nike Twitter ad banned by ASAThe ruling follows tweets by Manchester United footballer Wayne Rooney and his Arsenal rival Jack Wilshere who posted on to Twitter at the request of the sportswear firm.

The Advertising Standards Authority said that the messages did not make clear they were “identifiable as marketing communications”.

It is the first time that the ASA has acted against a Twitter based campaign.

The authority said it had intervened after receiving a single complaint earlier this year about two tweets – one from each of the sportsmen posted to their personal accounts.

Wayne Rooney’s tweet read: “My resolution – to start the year as a champion, and finish it as a champion…#makeitcount”.

Jack Wilshere had posted “In 2012, I will come back for my club – and be ready for my country”.

Rooney has close to 4.8 million followers on his account. The offending tweet was posted on 1 January.

The complainant challenged whether the tweets were “obviously identifiable” as adverts.

Nike responded that the presence of its web address alongside a hashtag with its marketing campaign strapline distinguished the tweets from other personal posts by the players. It added that both sportsmen were well known for having being sponsored by the company.

But the ASA said the elements did not make the tweets “obviously identifiable” as adverts, bearing in mind that many Twitter users scroll through a variety of messages at speed. It added that not all of the social network’s users would have been aware of the “make it count” campaign, or the footballers’ relationship with Nike.

It suggested that in future firms should add #ad or some other clear indication that a message had been paid for.

Whilst this action by the ASA does break new ground, the fact that it has only just been announced- some six months after the event indicates that they don’t currently expect to be upholding many social media complaints.

However it does act as a reminder that people and business much take care and not assume that some sort of online impunity exists.

YouTube withdraws terrorism videos

June 19, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Browser, Computers, Cyber Security, Google, internet, Social Media, Technology Companies, Uncategorized, Video Marketing, YouTube

YouTube’s ownsers Google has revealed that it removed about 640 videos that allegedly promoted terrorism over the second half of 2011 after complaints from the UK’s Association of Chief Police Officers.YouTube withdraws terrorism videosThe news was contained in its latest Transparency Report which discloses requests by international authorities to remove or hand over material.

The firm said it terminated five accounts linked to the suspect videos.

However, the firm said it had rejected many other state’s requests for action.

Canada’s Passport Office was among the organisations rebuffed. It had asked for a video of a Canadian citizen urinating on his passport and then flushing it down the toilet be removed.

Google also refused to delete six YouTube videos that satirised Pakistan’s army and senior politicians. The order had come from the government of Pakistan’s Ministry of Information Technology.

But Google did act in hundreds of cases, including:

  • requests to block more than 100 YouTube videos in Thailand that allegedly insulted its monarchy – a crime in the country;
  • the removal of a YouTube video that contained hate speech that had been posted in Turkey;
  • the termination of four YouTube accounts responsible for videos that allegedly contained threatening and harassing content after complaints by different US law enforcement agencies.

Overall, the firm said it had received 461 court orders covering a total of 6,989 items between July and December 2011. It said it had complied with 68% of the orders.

It added that it had received a further 546 informal requests covering 4,925 items, of which it had agreed to 43% of the cases.

Google’s senior policy analyst, Dorothy Chou, said the company was concerned by the amount of requests that had been linked to political speech.

“It’s alarming not only because free expression is at risk, but because some of these requests come from countries you might not suspect – Western democracies not typically associated with censorship,” she said.

“For example, in the second half of last year, Spanish regulators asked us to remove 270 search results that linked to blogs and articles in newspapers referencing individuals and public figures, including mayors and public prosecutors.

“In Poland, we received a request from the Agency for Enterprise Development to remove links to a site that criticised it.

“We didn’t comply with either of these requests.”

The real suprise is that Google have reacted at all.

A few years ago they tried to argue that as they were the recipients of so many videos they could not possibly police and delete videos. Now as they are becoming more corporate they are slowly realising that yes they too have to accept governmental requests.

Sainsbury’s buys ebook retailer Anobii

June 18, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Ecommerce, Online Marketing, Social Media, Social Networking, Uncategorized

Sainsbury’s is entering the digital ebooks marketplace with the announcement that it is buying HMV’s stake in Anobii, an online retailer of ebooks- for just £1.Sainsbury's buys ebook retailer AnobiiSainsbury’s said it would end up with a 64% stake in Anobii.

Anobii has more than 600,000 users worldwide and offers more than 60,000 books.

Sainsbury’s said it was committed to becoming “a key player in the digital entertainment market”.

In addition to selling ebooks, Anobii offers users the chance to interact akin to other social media websites where people rate, review, share and discuss their choices with other members of the service.

Mike Bennett, Sainsbury’s head of digital entertainment, said such interaction on Anobii was “a clear differentiator” from its e-book retail rivals.

He added: “It further demonstrates how we are constantly looking to innovate and seize opportunities that will support the future growth of our business.”

Given that the global- let alone the UK market for ebooks is pretty intense- and getting worse we initially wondered about the logic of this purchase.

However the customer interactivity may give Sainsbury the opportunity to use this knowledge and customer reach to improve it’s existing business profiles.

UK snoopers’ charter faces severe criticism

June 15, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Browser, Cyber Security, data security, Email, Gaming, internet, search engines, Skype, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Civil liberty groups have voiced severe criticism over the newly published Data Communications bill aka snoopers’ charter. UK snoopers’ charter faces severe criticism   The controversial bill extends the type of data that Internet Service Providers must keep to include your emails, web browsing history and social media posts- including Skype.

The government claims that the legislation is need in the fight against criminals and terrorists.

However activists have dubbed it a snooper’s charter.

“This is all about giving the police unsupervised access to data. It is shocking for a government that opposed Labour’s plans on this to propose virtually the same thing,” said Jim Killock, director of the Open Rights Group.

“It will cost billions of pounds and will end up only catching the stupid or the innocent. Terrorists will circumvent it.”

Dyenamic Solutions also points out the non UK organisations may not be compelled to store your data- thus not only driving a coach and horses through the intended effectiveness, but also forcing many UK ecommerce business abroad.

Publishing the bill, Home Secretary Theresa May said: “Communications data saves lives. It is a vital tool for the police to catch criminals and to protect children.”

But Mr Killock argues that knowing where a citizen has been online is equally intrusive.

Drawing a parallel he said: “If I’m having an affair then who I’m talking to is just as revealing as what I say,” he said.

The bill – an update to the controversial RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) legislation – lays out new duties for the UK communications companies.

The new proposals would require ISPs to keep details of a much wider range of data including use of social network sites, webmail, voice calls over the internet, and gaming. Websites you visit will also be recorded.

The Internet Service Providers’ Association said that it would be lobbying MPs in the coming months.

“Ispa has concerns about the new powers to require network operators to capture and retain third party communications data,” said a spokesman.

“These concerns include the scope and proportionality, privacy and data protection implications and the technical feasibility.

“Whilst we appreciate that technological developments mean that government is looking again at its communications data capabilities, it is important that powers are clear and contain sufficient safeguards,” it added.

Please join the Snoopers Charter Petition– it takes just 2 minutes and could have a huge effect against this red tape- which the Financial Times estimates will cost us £2.8 billion over the next 10 years.

Apple drops Google Maps software in new iOS

June 13, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, Apps, Computers, Customer Service, internet, smart phones, Smart TV, Tablets, Technology Companies, Televisions, Uncategorized

Apple has unveiled its latest mobile operating system, iOS6, which runs on its iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices- but will no longer include Google Maps software.Apple drops Google Maps software in new iOSApple will instead run its own mapping app, which has a high-quality 3D mode on the platform.

Google announced its own 3D mapping software last week on its competing mobile platform, Android.

Both companies have used fleets of planes to capture the imagery, drawing concerns from some privacy campaigners.

Apple’s updated iOS software will be available for general consumers by the autumn, chief executive Tim Cook said.

It will be a free update for owners of  the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4 or iPhone 3GS – as well as users of the latest iPad, the iPad 2 and fourth generation iPod touch.

Additional features include “eyes free”, a feature on which Apple said it had worked with car manufacturers to integrate a “Siri button” to activate the iPhone’s voice-operated assistant.

For the first time on Apple’s devices, video calls will be able to be made over a cellular connection, rather than relying on wi-fi.

The company also announced revamped models in its Macbook Pro and Macbook Air ranges.

It’s new Macbook Pro is 0.71 inches thick, with a high-resolution Retina display. It utilises Intel’s Ivy Bridge processor.

Its slimline Macbook Air range has also been upgraded with enhanced graphics and processing capabilities.

Both will offer a free upgrade to OS X Mountain Lion, the latest version of the Mac operating system which is set for release in July.

Among its features is enhanced synchronisation between desktop, laptop and mobile, thanks to iCloud, the company’s cloud-based storage service.

Once again, overhyped predictions that Apple was set to announce a long rumoured television were wrong. September is a more likely date.

Cyber bullies lose right to anonymity

June 11, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Cyber Security, data security, Facebook, internet, Social Media, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Websites including Facebook are being forced to identify cyber bullies and trolls under new measures.Cyber bullies lose right to anonymityLast week, a British woman won a court order forcing Facebook to identify users who had harassed her.

Nicola Brookes had been falsely branded a paedophile and drug dealer by users – known as trolls – on Facebook.

Facebook, which did not contest the order, will now reveal the IP addresses of the people who had abused her so she can prosecute them.

All websites will soon be forced to identify people who have posted defamatory messages online.

New government proposals say victims have a right to know who is behind malicious messages without the need for costly legal battles.

The powers will be balanced by measures to prevent false claims in order to get material removed.

The new powers, to be added to the Defamation Bill, would make this process far less time-consuming and costly, the government said.

Complying with requests would afford websites greater protection from being sued in the event of a defamation claim.

The new rules would apply to all websites – regardless of where they are hosted – but the claimant would need to be able to show that the UK was the right place to bring the action.

“Website operators are in principle liable as publishers for everything that appears on their sites, even though the content is often determined by users,” said Justice Secretary Ken Clarke.

“But most operators are not in a position to know whether the material posted is defamatory or not and very often – faced with a complaint – they will immediately remove material.”

Mr Clarke said the measures would mean an end to “scurrilous rumour and allegation” being posted online without fear of adequate punishment.

“The government wants a libel regime for the internet that makes it possible for people to protect their reputations effectively but also ensures that information online can’t be easily censored by casual threats of litigation against website operators.”

“It will be very important to ensure that these measures do not inadvertently expose genuine whistleblowers, and we are committed to getting the detail right to minimise this risk.”