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What losing the red button means for the BBC

March 28, 2016 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Amazon, Apple, Computers, Customer Service, Personal Security, Search Clinic, search engines, Televisions, Uncategorized, YouTube

The BBC is to explore closing its Red Button services as part of £150m of cuts that include a £35m reduction in sports rights spending.

The BBC is to explore closing its Red Button services as part of £150m of cuts that include a £35m reduction in sports rights spending.

What does this mean for the corporation, and the viewer?

In the UK, 97% of people use the BBC and on average spend 18 hours a week with it in one form or another. The BBC also needs to cut around £700m and something will have to go.

Reconciling those two facts is never going to please everybody.

The announcement that in the first £150m of cuts a “phased exit” from red button services is now being considered makes sense if you think the BBC will increasingly be accessed online via the iPlayer.

The red button, for instance, took on what remains of the old teletext service, Ceefax, and offers extra channels for events such as Wimbledon, the Proms and Glastonbury. It looks a bit old fashioned.

The BBC is rolling out its Red Button+, which gives people a chance to see the iPlayer on the big screen and a number of other internet services. The direction of travel is assumed to be towards an online system.

The problem is sport, weather, headlines, alternative commentaries and repeats of popular programmes on the old red button services are still used by large numbers of people.

They are more likely to be older viewers, but older viewers watch more TV and are a growing part of the population. The BBC knows it has to chase the viewers of tomorrow and deliver programmes in the way they want to watch them, but it can’t afford to alienate the people who are the heaviest users of its services.

The £35m of cuts to sports rights will also pose a problem for the part of the population whose viewing is dominated by sport. The loss of the Open Golf Championship is just the latest in a long line of events that have slipped through the BBC’s fingers.

The sport that it has hung on to, for instance Formula One and the Olympics, now look a little less secure.

Given the audience is becoming more fragmented, there is a marked reluctance to cut the size and scope of the BBC. If the corporation wants to reach 97% of people in the years to come, it will have to respond to a rapidly changing technological environment.

It is worth noting that at the moment the BBC announced its latest cuts, Sky was revealing its new Sky Q box that allows viewers to record four television programmes simultaneously and watch content around the house.

Sky isn’t alone. Amazon, Apple and Netflix are all in their own ways changing the landscape of TV with new services and technology.

YouTube has just announced a new kids service in the UK, while Disney is to launch a digital streaming service at the end of the month.
Future of television: big or tiny?

What is perhaps most interesting is how many of the new developments are aimed squarely at the big screen in the living room. For the people who said TV was dying, the future for the big screen is looking very perky.

Things, then, are changing fast, and huge amounts of money are being spent on creating programmes, especially drama, and devising new technology in order to win the battle for living-room viewing.

The BBC is in the midst of a process in which the government is considering its “size and scope” and also imposing big cuts on its funding. That question of “size and scope” is very clearly set as a question about whether the BBC is too big.

Apple computers now hacked

February 18, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, Computers, Cyber Security, data security, Hackers, internet, Search Clinic, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Apple has announced that its own computers were attacked by the same hackers who targeted Facebook.Apple computers now hackedThe iPhone-maker said a small number of its machines were affected, but added there was “no evidence” of data theft.

Last week Facebook said it had traced a cyber attack back to China which had infiltrated employees’ laptops.

Apple said it would release a software update to protect customers against the malicious software used in the attack.

In a statement, the firm said: “Apple has identified malware which infected a limited number of Mac systems through a vulnerability in the Java plug-in for browsers.”

“The malware was employed in an attack against Apple and other companies, and was spread through a website for software developers.”

“We identified a small number of systems within Apple that were infected and isolated them from our network. There is no evidence that any data left Apple.”

“We are working closely with law enforcement to find the source of the malware.”

Apple said it had taken measures to protect users from vulnerabilities in Java, a widely-used programming language that was found to have serious security flaws.

“Since OS X Lion, Macs have shipped without Java installed, and as an added security measure OS X automatically disables Java if it has been unused for 35 days,” the company said.

“To protect Mac users that have installed Java, today we are releasing an updated Java malware removal tool that will check Mac systems and remove this malware if found.”

Apple Inc loses it’s most valuable company crown

January 25, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, Customer Service, mobile phones, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Apple Inc has lost its crown as the world’s most valuable publicly traded company after its shares continued to follow the basic law of physics- gravity.Apple Inc loses it's most valuable company crownThe Oil company Exxon Mobil has regained the top slot after Apple shares fell a further 2.4%-  following a 12% drop on Thursday.

Apple, which posted disappointing iPhone sales figures on Wednesday, has seen its shares fall 37% since their record high last September.

Exxon became number one in 2005, traded places with Apple during 2011, and had been number two since early 2012.

At the close on Wall Street, Apple had a market value of £261 billion, against Exxon’s of £264 billion.

The technology company has been hit by fears over its future growth, despite record profits.

Although the firm said on Wednesday that it had sold more iPhones (47.8 million) and iPads (22.9 million) in the final three months of last year than in any previous quarter, investors and analysts had expected yet more.

On Thursday, about £32 billion was wiped off Apple’s value after the biggest daily drop in the firm’s stock in four years.

Apple is also facing fierce competition from rivals like Samsung, which accounted for one in four of all mobile phones shipped worldwide last year, according to Strategy Analytics.

Apple’s share price rose sharply following a revival under Steve Jobs, who died in 2011, which came about first in computers and then the iPod music player, and was then followed by the iPhone and iPad.

Apple’s shares were worth as little as $3.19 in 1997 when it faced the possibility of bankruptcy, and reached a record $702.1 on 19 September 2012.

Apple boss Tim Cook takes massive pay cut

January 03, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, Dr Search, mobile phones, Search Clinic, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies

Tim Cook will take home a salary of just 1% of the £235 million ($378 million) that he received to be Apple’s boss last year.Apple boss Tim Cook takes massive pay cutIn a regulatory filing, the iPhone-maker’s head said he would get a salary of £875,000 with a bonus of £1,750,000 for 2012.

Most of his money from 2011 came from a grant of shares awarded for becoming the chief executive and Apple said he would not get any new shares.

“Mr Cook’s target cash compensation remains significantly below the median for CEOs of peer companies,” it said.

Last year, following the death of co-founder Steve Jobs, Mr Cook received a bonus in the form of stock of more than $370 million, making him reportedly the best paid boss in the USA.

His base salary was $900,000. His predecessor, Steve Jobs, famously had an annual salary of $1.

Mr Cook’s salary was raised to $1.4 million and he received a bonus of 200% of his salary for exceeding Apple’s own targets in a year when its profit grew 61% to $41.7 billion and Apple became for a time the most valuable company in the world.

“Mr Cook did not receive an RSU [restricted stock unit] award in 2012 in light of the RSU award he received in connection with his promotion to CEO in August 2011,” Apple said.

It added: “Following a recommendation by Mr Cook to the Compensation Committee, the company adopted stock ownership guidelines for the CEO and the non-employee directors. Under the guidelines, Mr Cook is expected to own shares of company common stock that have a value equal to ten times his base salary.”

His colleagues received hefty pay packages after a successful year. Bob Mansfield, senior vice president of technologies, will get almost $86 million and chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer will receive $68.6 million.

Cyber thieves target smartphones and mobiles for future profits

November 14, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Android, Apple, Apps, Computers, Customer Service, Cyber Security, data security, Dr Search, Ecommerce, Google, internet, mobile phones, Online Marketing, Search Clinic, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

As more people around the world are using smartphones and downloading apps, bank, and conduct business, there’s more and more of an incentive for criminals to attack phones- as they used to attack PCs in the past.Cyber thieves target smartphones and mobiles for future profitsCrimeware kits, which let novice cyber thieves create their own viruses with a few mouse clicks, have been behind the huge rise in the number of malicious programs that plague PCs.

Now, such kits are starting to be made for mobile malware.

What criminals like about mobiles is their intrinsic connection to a payment plan. This made it far easier to siphon off cash than with PC viruses.

All phones that have access to SMS are able to charge money to their phone bill via premium rate SMS processes.

Almost 70% of the millions of scams try to steal cash by surreptitiously racking up premium-rate charges.

Malicious apps made it hard for people to realise they were being scammed, because they could work surreptitiously while phone owners used a different application.

Alongside the growth in mobile malware is a rise in junk or spam text messages being sent to phones – many involving fake offers in an attempt to sucker the recipient into revealing their credit card number.

The ways to keep your mobile phone safe are:

  • Stick to official marketplaces and app stores
  • Be suspicious of offers that look too good to be true
  • Check your bill for rogue charges
  • Be wary of sites offering for free apps that cost money elsewhere
  • Be extra wary of Android apps as Google’s vetting is not as strict as Apple’s.

Samsung’s Galaxy S3 outsells Apple’s iPhone 4S

November 07, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, Computers, Customer Service, Ecommerce, mobile phones, Samsung, Search Clinic, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Telecommunications Companies, Uncategorized

Samsung’s Galaxy S3 is outselling Apple’s iPhone 4S for the first time- becoming the world’s best selling smartphone.Samsung's Galaxy S3 outsells Apple's iPhone 4SSamsung sold 18 million models, compared with Apple’s 16.2 million sales, in the third quarter of 2012.

The Galaxy S3 “has proven wildly popular with consumers and operators,” said Strategy Analytics’ Neil Mawston.

However, Apple’s new iPhone 5 is widely expected to reclaim the top sales spot.

Strong Galaxy smartphone sales helped Samsung report record profits in the three months to September. Net profit was 6.5 trillion won (£3.7 billion), up 91% from a year earlier.

But analysts say that one reason Samsung’s phone was able to wrest the top sales spot from Apple’s iPhone 4 was because many customers were waiting for the iPhone 5, which was launched during the third quarter.

The Apple iPhone 5 has already got off to a solid start and “we expect the new iPhone 5 to out-ship Samsung’s Galaxy S3 in the coming fourth quarter”, said Neil Mawston.

“Apple should soon reclaim the title of the world’s most popular smartphone model,” he added.

Samsung and its rival Apple have been locked in a series of ongoing legal battles over patent infringement claims in various countries around the world.

In October, sales bans in the US on Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus phone and its Galaxy 10.1 tablet computer were lifted, in a blow to Apple.

Meanwhile, earlier this year, a US court awarded Apple $1.05 billion (£652 million) in damages, after ruling several of its software and design technologies had been infringed by Samsung.

Samsung has challenged that verdict and called for a retrial.

Analysts say that given the tremendous growth potential of the sector, the two firms’ legal battle is likely to continue.

Nokia shares rise despite reporting losses results

October 26, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, Google, mobile phones, Nokia, Search Clinic, smart phones, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Nokia shares have risen sharply in Helsinki despite reporting another set of company quarterly losses.Nokia shares rise despite reporting losses resultsThe mobile phone company reported a net loss of 969 million euros (£787 million) for the three months to the end of September, compared with a 68 million euro loss in the same quarter last year.

But the shares rose 9% as the results were still better than the money markets had being expected.

The Finnish company’s sales were down 19% from the same period last year.

Nokia was the world’s leading mobile phone maker for more than a decade, but has struggled in the face of competition from Apple and Samsung.

Its third quarter results were boosted by record profits from its telecoms equipment company, Nokia Siemens Networks.

Nokia is releasing new Lumia 820 and 920 phones next month, which will use Microsoft’s latest Windows 8 software.

The forthcoming quarter is going to be tough for its smartphone business due to the release of the new Windows Phone 8 operating system.

It will take a couple of quarters to ramp up Windows Phone 8 volumes due to the competitive landscape- with Apple’s new iPhone and Google’s new Motorola also being launched.

The introduction of Windows smartphones has been the big change under chief executive Stephen Elop, who phased out the Symbian operating system shortly after he took control of the company in 2010.

Amazon claims Kindle Fire HD and Paperwhite sales are profitless

October 15, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Amazon, Apple, Customer Service, EReaders, Google, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Amazon has claimed that it will not make a profit from sales of its latest Kindle tablet and e-reader devices.Amazon claims Kindle Fire HD and Paperwhite sales are profitlessThis is in strong contrast to the strategy of the best selling tablet maker Apple.

The comments as Amazon launches its new Paperwhite e-reader and an associated book lending scheme in the UK, Germany and France.

The latest e-ink powered device features a built in light that will help the firm compete against Barnes & Noble’s Nook Glowlight and Kobo’s Glo, which offer a similar feature.

Amazon is seeking to distinguish its line-up by offering a subscription package that includes access to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

The service offers users the ability to borrow up to one book a month from a selection of titles including well known authors – such as JK Rowling – and writers who have published their works through Amazon’s own publishing system.

The UK service will include more than 200,000 ebooks at launch.

While other e-readers lack a matching facility, if they support the ePub format their owners can still borrow ebooks from their local library if it supports the OverDrive system.

Deliveries of Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite will begin in Europe on 25 October, coinciding with the release of its 7 inch Kindle Fire HD tablets.

Android tablet makers also rely on hardware sales. While Google provides their system software for free, the search company keeps a cut of app and digital media sales made via its Google Play marketplace.

Amazon is also attempting to use its hardware to stimulate sales of other physical products sold via its store.

Access to its Lending Library facility will be tied to a £49 annual subscription to its Amazon Prime service.  The offer includes rapid delivery, at no additional cost, of products from its warehouses.

Although this adds to the firm’s shipping costs, evidence from the US suggests that subscribers end up spending more on its site and are less likely to compare prices with rival retailers.

Apple’s manufacturer stops production after China riots

September 26, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, Computers, internet, mobile phones, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Foxconn Technology- a major supplier for Apple products has halted production at a plant in northern China after a fight broke out among workers.Apple's manufacturer stops production after China riotsFoxconn confirmed that a “personal dispute” escalated into an incident involving about 2,000 workers, injuring 40 of them.

Police later dealt with the situation near the facility in Taiyuan, which employs about 79,000 workers.

Foxconn has previously been accused of having poor conditions for its workers- with 20 workers committing suicide in the past few years.

Foxconn said the incident started on Sunday at about 23:00 local time (15:00 GMT) in a dormitory near the Taiyuan manufacturing facility in Shanxi province.

Internet users in China posted pictures on microblog sites which they said had been taken at the scene showing windows of nearby shops smashed and police vehicles overturned.

Some photos showed police and paramilitary officers in riot gear being deployed to the scene.

About 40 people were taken to hospital and a number of individuals have been arrested, the company said.

A senior government official from Taiyuan City was quoted by the official Xinhua news agency as saying that three of the injured people were in a serious condition.

The Xinhua agency reported that the dispute had been brought under control by 5,000 policemen by 09:00 local time on Monday.

Unverified messages on the Twitter-like social network Weibo suggested that violence from security guards may have sparked the unrest.

One said that four or five security guards had beaten a worker almost to death, while another said that rioting workers had been targeting security guards who had earlier beaten some of their colleagues.

Earlier in the year a fight broke out in a restaurant at a Foxconn plant involving about 100 workers.

Apple is voted coolest brand in UK

September 24, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, Computers, Google, internet, Technology Companies, Twitter, Uncategorized, YouTube

The world’s most valuable company- Apple Inc has clocked up another accolade- it has been voted the “coolest brand” in the UK.Apple is voted coolest brand in UK It beat Aston Martin, which has taken the top spot in six of the previous seven annual CoolBrands surveys.

Online and technology brands performed well, with YouTube pushing Aston Martin into third place. Twitter came fourth, followed by Google and the BBC’s iPlayer.

The results are decided by responses from 3,000 consumers and a panel of 39 experts.

Twitter, Skype and Nikon were in the top 20 for the first time in the 11 years of the survey.

Some of the luxury brands have dropped out of the top 20, including Maserati, Ferrari, Chanel, Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen, which all featured last year.

A quarter of the top 20 brands are free to consumers.

“It is interesting that in this age of austerity our perception of cool has increasingly shifted from aspirational, luxury brands to free or more affordable brands that provide us with pleasure,” said Stephen Cheliotis, chairman of the CoolBrands expert council.

YouTube was among the biggest risers, having come in tenth place last year.

CoolBrands top 20

  1. Apple
  2. YouTube
  3. Aston Martin
  4. Twitter
  5. Google
  6. BBC iPlayer
  7. Glastonbury
  8. Virgin Atlantic
  9. Bang & Olufsen
  10. Liberty
  11. Sony
  12. Bose
  13. Haagen-Dazs
  14. Selfridges
  15. Ben & Jerry’s
  16. Mercedes-Benz
  17. Vogue
  18. Skype
  19. Nike
  20. Nikon