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Mobile phone insurance complaints hit record numbers

March 12, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Mobile Marketing, mobile phones, Search Clinic, smart phones, Technology Companies, Telecommunications Companies, Uncategorized

A record number of complaints are being made about mobile phone insurance.Mobile phone insurance complaints hit record numbersThe Financial Ombudsman Service says it dealt with around 600 between April 2011 and 2012 and upheld 69%.

But it is expecting a 25% increase on that figure when the numbers for the current financial year are gathered at the end of this month.

However, it says those complaints are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to people unhappy with their insurance provider.

Martyn James form the Financial Ombudsman Service said: “We uphold more complaints about mobile phone insurance than virtually any other product we look at.”

“It’s round about three-quarters of all the cases we see.”

The Association of British Insurers says the complaints only represent a tiny percentage of people who have mobile phone insurance and that it’s working hard to bring that number down.

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.

Pearson invests in Barnes and Noble’s Nook ereader

January 07, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apps, Computers, Ecommerce, EReaders, Search Clinic, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

The publisher Pearson has said it will invest in the Nook series of ereaders and tablets.Pearson invests in Barnes and Noble's Nook ereaderPearson said it would pay £55.5 million for a 5% stake in Nook Media, which includes the digital bookstore and 674 stores serving US colleges.

The maker of Nook-  US book chain Barnes & Noble (B&N), sells the devices online in the UK and in its stores as well in the US.

Microsoft is another big investor in the Nook.

After the deal, B&N will hold 78.2% of the Nook business and Microsoft will have about 16.8% , Pearson said.

It added that, subject to certain conditions, Pearson will have the option to buy another 5% stake in Nook Media.

“Pearson and Barnes & Noble have been valued partners for decades, and in recent years both have invested heavily and imaginatively to provide engaging and effective digital reading and learning experiences,” said Will Ethridge, chief executive of Pearson North America.

“This new agreement extends our partnership and deepens our commitment to provide better, easier experiences for our customers.”

B&N offers its own curated magazine, newspaper, book and app stores – and plans to add a video service offering movies and television shows by early 2013.

Its devices compete with tablets and ereaders from Apple, Amazon, Sony and products using Google’s Android software.

B&N does not operate its own stores in the UK, but as well as online, it sells its products through Sainsbury’s and the bookstore Blackwell’s.

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.

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.

eBay thirdquarter sales and profits increase

October 22, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apps, Customer Service, eBay, Ecommerce, internet, Mobile Marketing, mobile phones, Pay Per Click, Pay Per Click Advertising, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

The auction site eBay has reported a rise in third quarter sales and profits- as more consumers used the website.eBay thirdquarter sales and profits increaseNet profit for the three months to the end of September rose 14% from a year earlier, to £445 million ($718 million), eBay said.  Net revenues rose 15% to £2.125 billion.

The company has also been looking to take advantage of the increasing number of people who use mobile smartphones to shop and pay for things.

“We had a great third quarter across our company, with Marketplaces and PayPal accelerating customer growth,” chief executive John Donahoe said in a statement.

“Mobile continues to be a game changer for us, and we continue to be a clear leader in mobile commerce and payments.”

The group forecast sales of between £2.46 billion and £2.5 billion in the fourth quarter.

Whilst the results were impressive, EBay shares fell nearly 1% in extended trading in New York after its results came out as analyists had been hoping for even better results.

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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.

Smartphone patent wars continue with Samsung suing iPhone 5

September 21, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, Customer Service, Samsung, smart phones, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

The smartphone patents war has taken a new twist as Samsung has launched a new legal battle against Apple’s iPhone 5.Smartphone patent wars continue with Samsung suing iPhone 5Apple faces becoming embroiled in a further US patent clash after Samsung said it intended to sue the firm over technology in the new iPhone 5.

Meanwhile, efforts continue to resolve Apple’s earlier victory over Samsung as Apple is expected to ask the judge to treble a jury’s $1.05 billion damages award.

A jury in California drew up the figure last month after ruling that the South Korean firm had infringed several of its rival’s software and design patents.

Apple now has the right to request that damages are increased since the jury said Samsung’s actions had been “wilful”.

As the South Korean firm has indicated that it intends to appeal, both Apple and Samsung are due to file paperwork in the case on 21 September.

A hearing had also been scheduled to consider Samsung’s request that a US sales ban on some of its tablet computers should be dropped.

The judge indicated she would have granted the request, but said that since Samsung had taken its appeal against the ban to a higher court it was no longer in her power to do so.

Samsung has filed paperwork with a California court saying it intends to extend complaints made against existing Apple handsets to include the new device. It indicated that it believed at least eight of its US patents had been infringed.

A statement from Samsung said: “We have always preferred to compete in the marketplace with our innovative products, rather than in courtrooms.”

“However, Apple continues to take aggressive legal measures that will limit market competition. Under these circumstances, we have little choice but to take the steps necessary to protect our innovations and intellectual property rights.”

The amount of litigation that the firms are now involved in is a concern.

From Apple’s perspective you reap what you sow.  It started this by filing lawsuits about patents relating to unique software features, and it now faces allegations that hardware parts of its devices infringe others’ technologies – they would be much harder to change if it loses.

Fighting litigation is always a drain on resources. Apple has a large amount of cash, but you have to ask whether the money would be better spent on R&D than lawyers.

Mobile phone companies’ digital wallet approved by EU red tape

September 03, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Customer Service, data security, Ecommerce, internet, mobile phones, smart phones, Uncategorized

The UK’s leading mobile phone companies have been given permission to team up together on a digital wallet scheme called Project Oscar .Mobile phone companies' digital wallet approved by EU red tape The go ahead from EU red tape gulators means Everything Everywhere, O2 and Vodafone will jointly develop the product. 3 is not involved.

The firms said they now aimed to release a unified smartphone based service offering an alternative to cash, credit cards and loyalty cards.

Barclaycard, Visa, Paypal and Google are among those comapnies who are building rival schemes.

The mobile operators said in a statement: “It will give consumers a simple and secure shopping experience, allowing them to purchase goods and services using their handsets in physical locations such as shops, using contactless technology, as well as online.”

The three participating operators said the plan would make it easier for retailers and others to offer discounts and other incentives without the need to issue paper coupons or plastic account cards.

The firms had originally hoped to have the service running in time for the London Olympics, but the EU had wanted to check it would not hinder competition.

Vodafone, O2 and Everything Everywhere have now said they intended to create a new company and begin hiring staff “as quickly as possible”, but did not issue a target date by which they hoped to launch a product.

The importance of the winning smart phone payment system battle will be huge to the winners as finance companies and retailers all want a slice of a very profitable pie.

Mobile phone charges dropped in eu

July 02, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, BlackBerry, mobile phones, Samsung, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

New eu mobile phone call and data charges start this month.Mobile phone charges dropped in euThe new charges rule will prevent “bill shocks” when using mobile data in Europe have come into force.

Data will now no longer cost more than 56p (70 cents) per megabyte – which is far less than previous rates.

In addition call charges will be capped at 23p (29c) per minute, plus VAT, under the new rules.

The EU said the regulations were aimed at stopping people building up huge bills after making calls and using data applications, such as maps, while away.

However,  there is no such cap for those travelling outside Europe and networks may not alert users if they clock up huge bills.

From 2014, consumers will also be able to choose a different operator abroad in the EU from the one they use at home, under the EU rules.

It is hoped this “split network” approach will encourage greater competition- and hence price reductions.