Tag: apple

Pigs fly as Apple moves to the Battersea Power Plant

2011-09-26-pink-floyd-pig-at-battersea-power-station-06The fruity tax dodger Apple is going to take up six floors of the iconic Battersea Power Plant  when the restoration work is finished.

Apple will move onto the site in 2021 and relocating 1400 staff from offices around London to create an Apple campus. It is being billed as one of the biggest property deals in London outside the City and Docklands in the last 20 years.

This means that Jobs’ Mob will have 1400 staff working in London and there is room to accommodate 3000 staff.

Of course that is not going to be Apple’s HQ. That will remain in its Irish Tax haven in Cork.

Apple said that the new building is a great opportunity to have our entire team working and collaborating in one location while supporting the renovation of a neighbourhood rich with history.

The Art Deco power station is a 20th century icon. The plant is still the largest brick building in Europe. It stopped generating power in 1983, has been falling to bits ever since. It was bought by a Malaysian group, who have gutted it and are building luxury apartments and high end office space inside it.

Dell gives up on Android tablets

tabletDell has stopped selling Android devices as it moves to Windows 2-in-1 devices.

It has said that it is giving up on its Venue line of Android tablets, and will no longer offer the Android-based Wyse Cloud Connect, a thumb-size computer that can turn a display into a PC.

Dell has long said that the slate tablet market is over-saturated and declining. They appear to be being replaced by  2-in-1s which provide a more spiritual  blend of PC capabilities with tablet mobility.

Dell won’t be offering OS upgrades to Android-based Venue tablets already being used by customers.

Customers who own Android-based Venue products, Dell will continue to support currently active warranty and service contracts until they expire, but will not be pushing out future OS upgrades.

Dell now mostly has laptops and 2-in-1s with Windows on its books with a smattering of Chromebooks, which run Chrome OS. These can run Android apps through access to the Google Play Store but not Android.

If you don’t want Windows, Dell also sells XPS and Precision laptops with Ubuntu to developers, and thin clients with Linux, Windows Embedded and Wyse’s ThinOS operating systems.

Venue is a brand often placed on the chopping block by Dell.  It killed off Venue smartphones in 2012, but reintroduced the brand through the tablets. You can find Venue tablets with Windows but the product has not been upgraded in a while.

HP is also doing something similar. It now offers just a handful of Android tablets, mainly for businesses. Lenovo is offering fewer Android tablets and has expanded its Windows-based, 2-in-1 lineup.  So much for Steve Job’s “game changing” technology which was going to change the world.

Marlow-based reseller Softcat floats

Flying-Cat-8The Marlow-based software reseller Softcat has listed in a deal that valued the business at £472.3 million.

Softcat valued its shares at 240p, and they climbed as high as 270p in early trading. It said the IPO allowed its founders to sell down their stakes and the group would receive no proceeds from the flotation.

Founder Peter Kelly set up the firm in 1993 and has described himself as a “weird and eccentric entrepreneur.” He sold just over a third of his stake, raising an estimated £88m. He retains a holding of around 33 percent, which is worth around £150 million.

Kelly ran the company until 2006 and was its chairman until three years ago, owning around half the equity before the listing.

Martin Hellawell, chief executive, owned 12 percent of the business, valued at £56 million. He sold a third of his holding.

The float also created a number of paper millionaires among its employees. Staff, excluding founders, own some 24 percent of the company.

Kelly hitchhiked around the world before joining Xerox sales in 1981. His past ventures include founding a recruitment firm, and he launched an Apple dealership in 1988 before going on to found Softcat in 1993.

Started as a mail-order software firm, it has grown to become a major reseller to Microsoft and other large providers, as well as providing data centres for small businesses across the UK.

The group’s sales last year rose 18 pe cent to £596m with profits of £40.6 million. Hellawell said in a statement: “We are delighted with the outcome of the IPO process thus far and now look forward to fully focusing on the running and future development of our business.”

Vin Murria joined the board. She is one of the UK’s longest-standing female IT entrepreneurs, she ran Advanced Computer Software until it was taken over by US private equity group Vista Partners last year in a £725 million deal.

Apple admits poisoning its channel

apple-disney-dreams-snow-white-Favim.com-142405Fruity cargo cult Apple has admitted that it is burning its resellers and might lose a few more after it beefs up its direct sales unit.

In a 10-K Annual Report Job’s Mob mentioned that it losing resellers was number four on its list of risks which could negatively impact the business.

Apple runs a network of distributors and resellers which are having to operate some incredibly “narrow operating margins”.

The company said that its channel partners have raised some concerns about its go-to-market strategy which they think will conflict with their business interests as distributors and resellers of the company’s products.

“Such a perception could discourage resellers from investing resources in the distribution and sale of the company’s products or lead them to limit or cease distribution of those products.”

Apple said it did not want to kill off its channel and will continue to invest in programmes to boost resellers’ sales.

“These programmes could require a substantial investment while providing no assurance of return or incremental revenue. The financial condition of these resellers could weaken, these resellers could stop distributing the company’s products, or uncertainty regarding demand for some or all of the company’s products could cause resellers to reduce their ordering and marketing of the company’s products.”

Fiorina’s attempts to dig up Jobs fails

carlyfiorinaFormer HP CEO turned US presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina has been targeting the Apple fanboy vote by claiming she was friends with late Apple founder Steve Jobs.

Iit appears that if they ever were friends, that did not stop the self-serving megalomaniac from getting one over on her. Fiorina has forgotten the sad story of the HP/Apple deal which went sour.

Apple wanted HP to stop installing Windows Media Store on its PCs and replace it with iTunes Music store. Jobs basically offered Fiorina the chance to sell iPods branded with HP’s name if she did this.
Fiorina nodded and the deal went through. However Apple upgraded the iPod, making HP’s version outdated and HP was still stuck with iTunes.

It got worse for HP. After it purged Fiorina in 2005, HP ended the iPod deal in July that year, but because of Fiorina’s deal HP was banned from selling its own music player until August 2006.

All’s fair in love and business, but it does seem odd that Fiorina would suggest that she was a “good friend” with a bloke who mugged her and HP’s shareholders for his own evil cunning plan.

Jobs had effectively got his software installed on millions of computers for free, stifled his main competitor, and got a company that prided itself on invention to declare that Apple was superior.

Fiorina seems to think that Jobs was her mate because he rang her to say he was sorry she got canned. Of course, that could have just meant that Jobs was upset because he did not think he would get another deal like that past a different HP CEO.

EU denies it is “anti-American”

euThe EU has denied US corporate claims that it is “anti-American” in its recent wave of litigation against top American tech companies.

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager’s accusations of anti-US bias over her decision to go after Google for abusing its internet search dominance and Apple over an Irish tax deal, saying such talk was a fallacy.

The US media fails to understand why all the cases on Vestager’s agenda all happen to be big companies from the Land of the Free – Google, Apple, Amazon and Starbucks. The feeling is that regulation is for non-American companies and the US should be allowed to do what it likes in its colonies.

Vestager told the Foreign Policy Association in New York that the nationality of companies played no role in her assessment.

“Yes, US companies are often involved when we investigate the digital industry. But you will also see many Japanese firms in our car-part cartel cases,” she said.

The European Commission is now studying Google’s response to antitrust charges of favouring its Google Shopping service over rivals. It is also investigating the company’s popular Android operating system for smartphones.

Amazon is in the EU’s crosshairs for a Luxembourg tax deal and Starbucks for a Dutch tax arrangement.

The EU is also wondering if it should ban cloud connections to the the US while its intelligence agencies insist that they have the right to steal it.

Apple does business market deal with Cisco

Cisco Kid The Fruity Cargo Cult Apple is trying to get businesses to buy its shiny toys and has signed a deal with Cisco to make it happen.

Apple already has a deal with IBM, which was supposed to get its sales teams a foot in the door in a market which traditionally looks for value and function over style.  However that arrangement has not produced the sort of sales that Apple had hoped.

Jobs’ Mob has finally realised that after years of having comedy networking technology, it needs to get something a little better to connect its shiny toys, before businesses will take it seriously.

The deal will see Apple and Cisco working together to make the mobile gadgets work better on corporate computer networks running on Cisco gear.

Apple hopes that this will encourage businesses, which traditionally have steered toward BlackBerry and Microsoft devices, to spend a fortune buying Apple when they could get something cheaper.

Cisco said that an employee in the office using an iPhone to video-conference a colleague abroad automatically would get a faster internet connection than someone streaming a game on ESPN.com.

Someone who has most of his contacts on an iPhone will be able to access the same phone book from landlines. And several Cisco apps, such as the collaboration tool Spark, will run smoother on Apple devices.

Cisco Chief Executive Chuck Robbins said in a blog post said that what makes this new partnership unique is that our engineering teams are innovating together to build joint solutions that our sales teams and partners will take jointly to our customers.

It is a turnaround from Cisco. Cisco and Apple had fought over the “iPhone” trademark before agreeing to its joint use.

Apple hopes that more businesses will turn to iPads, just as tablet sales are dropping in favour of bigger smartphones.

Apple and Samsung push for carrier agnostic Sims


In what might end up being the end of an era in telecom packages the major smartphone makers Apple and Samsung are moving to force suppliers to telco agnostic Sim cards.

The technology first appeared in the iPad Air 2, which ditched typical carrier-linked SIM cards in favour of an Apple one that let users switch freely and easily between multiple providers.

Now it seems that both Apple and its rival Samsung want to bring that technology to the cut-throat smartphone market.

Apple and Samsung have joined the push to standardise these newer embedded electronic SIM (e-SIM) cards with the GSM Association, which represents many worldwide carriers.

Anne Bouverot, the GSMA’s chief executive, said that involved companies are all working on an agreement for a standard to drive the technology, and make it work across carriers and countries. The report says that carriers expected onboard include Orange, Vodafone, AT&T, Hutchison Whampoa, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, and Telefónica.

This will be good for consumers but not so hot for the carriers and their channel partners who could lock the technology into their own networks, making it difficult for users to escape. Changing suppliers is a headache if you have to swap sim cards and it also means global roaming is easier.

Telcos have also been pretty slow when it comes to providing updates for Android resulting in fragmentation.

In a statement, the GSMA said that the majority of operators were on board. The plan is to finalise the technical architecture that will be used in the development of an end-to-end remote SIM solution for consumer devices, with delivery anticipated by 2016.

It will be a year after that before any products hit the shelves.

MacKeeper might have pay for aggressive distribution

Bank-imageSecurity software maker MacKeeper might have to pay more than $2 million for the crime of exaggerating security problems on Apple macs.

While Apple has marketed itself with the improbable claim that it was super secure, MacKeeper made a killing telling Apple fanboys otherwise.

Released in 2010, MacKeeper has been dogged by accusations that it exaggerates security threats in order to convince customers to buy.

The program was originally created by a company called ZeoBIT in Kiev, Ukraine.

The class-action suit, filed in May 2014 on behalf of Pennsylvania resident Holly Yencha, contends that MacKeeper falsely flagged security and performance problems in order to coax consumers into paying $39.95 for the full version. The suit sought $5 million in damages.

According to IT World the case is close to being settled. Under the settlement terms, ZeoBIT would put $2 million into a fund for those who want a refund, but admit no fault.

In April 2013, ZeoBIT, sold MacKeeper to Kromtech Alliance Corp. Kromtech was closely affiliated with ZeoBIT in Ukraine, and many employees of ZeoBIT transferred to the company, which lists its headquarters as Cologne, Germany.

An effort has been under way by Kromtech to rehabilitate the image of MacKeeper to keep the franchise going. But concerns remain over how MacKeeper diagnoses a computer’s health.

MacKeeper warned in red in several places with exclamation points that the computer’s condition was “serious” due to more than 500 MB of “junk” files.

Some affiliates have wrapped MacKeeper ads into advertising software programs, or adware which makes life worse for users.
Kromtech has taken steps to reign in unethical affiliates, Fowler said. More than 80 percent of ZeoBIT’s affiliate agreements have since been suspended, and the company’s new compliance department closely vets new ones.

Still, the bad practices of former affiliates caused damage to MacKeeper’s reputation, Fowler said.


Apple staff are inexperienced

iconStaff at the fruity Apple Cargo cult are starting to show their inexperience at flogging wearable fashion items like the iWatch.

A viral YouTube video shows an Apple genius demonstrating how to use the iWatch to buy stuff from Amazon. But he rapidly discovers that the watch is too small an interface to carry out a complex transaction.

He had done all the right things. He had set up the Amazon’s app with the ‘one-click ordering’ to make it look like the purchase only took a couple of presses of the watch face.

The only problem is that it’s a little too easy to ‘click’ when it’s on an inch-wide screen which you’re operating with your thumb.

The demonstrator says, ”Let’s take a look at Amazon ‘It uses dictation. ‘Xbox One’. So, there we go. Xbox One – I could buy it now with one click.’

‘I am just going to add it to my wishlist. OH NO! Wait, wait, how I cancel?”

Still the scale of the potential disaster is not that apparent yet because Apple refused to supply most of its shops with the iWatch.

Angela Ahrendts has told Apple Store staff that the Apple Watch is unlikely to be available for in-store purchases before June – but they should expect the usual ‘blockbuster launches’ in retail stores for future products.

In a memo to retail store staff, Apple’s retail head thanked staff for making the try-ons “unforgettable,” told them customer feedback had been “overwhelmingly positive” and that the online-only ordering period was likely to continue throughout May.

So at least some of them have more time to practice.




Apple launches iWatch with a whimper

Cadburys_Chocolate_Teapot_hi_resWhile the Tame Apple Press and analysts claim that fruity cargo cult Apple is going to make billions from its iWatch, it does not seem that Tim Cook agrees.

Apple’s normal distribution plan is to release a product with a great fanfare, create a shortage and above all encourage fanboys to queue up to give the television cameras a story which makes the product look popular.

This is not happening with the iWatch. The company has not revealed how many orders it has received in the run-up to the April 24 launch, a contrast to previous launches of iPhones and iPads. And Apple stores will not have any watches to sell.

What this means is that the pre-orders were probably not as high as has been claimed and Apple could not guarantee that the watch would create the lines snaking around stores.

What this could mean is that despite the hype, the iWatch is not going to do as well as expected. This would be a surprise to many in the IT press because it would mean that customers had suddenly developed common sense when it came to Apple products. This version of the iWatch is coming with little in the way of functionality and will require a battery change every 12 hours.

Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, who normally praises anything Apple does did his best to put some pro-Apple spin on the news/

“The smaller launch can allow them to see how it goes and it does remove some of the line expectation and risk. If they did it the old way and the lines weren’t good, that’s a bit of a problem.”

Munster still predicts more than 2 million watches will be sold in the quarter ending in June. FBR Capital Markets senior analyst Daniel Ives raised his 2015 estimate to 20 million from 17 million, based in part on online order backlogs.

Ives claims that it was not that the iWatches would sell badly but because Apple faces the question of whether confused consumers will swamp Apple Stores.

Perhaps a greater problem with Apple’s iWatch is that many consumers will release they have bought a nice looking chocolate teapot when they get it home and will vow never to buy something just because it has an Apple logo on it ever again.

Schools demand refund from Apple and its partner

Teachers-apple-on-a-desk-007The Los Angeles Unified School District wants a refund from Apple over a bungled $1.3 billion deal to supply students with iPads.

In 2013, the schools were to equip each of its roughly 650,000 students with an iPad in one of the largest educational technology projects of its kind in the United States.

The entire deal was constructed by John Deasy, a Superintendent at the nation’s second-largest school district. He resigned in October amid criticism that he “favoured” Apple and Pearson for the project over better and cheaper technology.

A KPCC investigation found Deasy and his deputies communicated with Pearson employees over pricing, teacher training and technical support — specifications that later resembled the district’s request for proposals from vendors. Pearson and Apple emerged as the winning bidders and were awarded the now-abandoned contract in June 2013.

The FBI is investigating the project, and agents in December seized 20 boxes of documents relating to the program’s purchasing process from the district’s headquarters.

The problem was that the technology was not up to the job and the built-in curriculum was often incomplete.

The Los Angeles Times said the LAUSD’s Board of Education in a closed-door meeting on Tuesday authorized its attorneys to consider potential legal action against Apple and its channel partner Pearson.

“As you are aware, LAUSD is extremely dissatisfied with the work of Pearson,” the district’s general counsel, David Holmquist, said in a letter to Apple on Monday. “While Apple and Pearson promised a state-of-the-art technological solutio… they have yet to deliver it.”

Holmquist added that the district was severing ties with both companies for future services on the project, according to the Los Angeles Times.

However Pearson said that it was proud of its long history working with LAUSD and our significant investment in this ground-breaking initiative.

IBM deepens Apple partnership

1930s-couple-620x400IBM suits are deepening their partnership with Apple to make use of health information gathered by millions of Apple devices,

Biggish Blue, is creating a unit dedicated to providing data analytics to the healthcare sector and think that the millions of Apple watches which people bought by mistake will provide them with the data.

Of course the only problem is that Apple’s watch’s are not collecting any health data because after two years of delays Jobs’ Mob could not get them to work. Instead it seems that they will run on data collected from iPhones.

This of course means that only people using Apple gear will be providing the sort of data that IBM can use.  This might mean that Android users will just die — only this seems to be a data gathering exercise more than anything.

Nevertheless IBM plans to use its new Watson Health unit plans to aggregate health information from a large number of devices and providers in the cloud and offer insights to health companies such as Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic, which can then integrate results into services they sell to healthcare companies.

IBM said it will create headquarters for the unit in Boston with 2,000 employees, including about 75 medical practitioners. IBM also said it bought two health technology firms, Explorys and Phytel, for an undisclosed amount, to add to its skills in health data analytics.

IBM already has an arrangement to work with Apple on numerous enterprise applications, but is extending its co-operation in the area of health.

Watson Health is named for IBM’s artificial intelligence supercomputer which now write’s cookbooks for Amazon. It will bring cloud services and analytics to Apple’s latest forays into the health business, HealthKit and ResearchKit, IBM said.

Apple wants to reduce noise

simonOne of the noisiest outfits in the world has decided to invest in a bloke who knows a lot about the sounds of silence.

Apple has recruited Dolby executive VP Mike Rockwell and the word on the street is that he will be working out ways to make the overpriced toys sound and look a little better.

Rockwell has been involved in Dolby Vision which has been described as “state-of-the-art color display technology” is rather interesting and like we said, could end up helping Apple to improve upon its display technology in its product lineup.

Despite what the Tame Apple Press is claiming, he can’t take that technology over to Apple when he changes offices.  Instead he will have to help the Apple genii come up with something themselves.

Apple has been hiring sound experts, including THX’s pioneer Tomlinson Holman along with some notable audio engineers it poached from Sony.

Apple is saying nothing of course, to admit it is hiring people from outside to help boost its sound quality is an admission that things are far from perfect. At the moment audio-nuts think that Sony is still running the best mobile sound and has been the leader since the Walkman.

Google buys Samsung 3D NAND

edefectoSearch engine Google is rumoured to be signing up for Samsung’s 3D NAND in its data centres in a move which is similar to its rival’s Amazon. 

Samsung’s 3D NAND is currently used in Kaminario K2 all-flash arrays and is being tipped for MacBooks.

Neither Google nor Samsung have commented but if it pans out then it means that stacking 32 layers of planar 2D NAND built using 39-30nm-class cell geometry in a die, is the way forward. It also means that Samsung must have a better price and performance advantage over other flash fabricators.

Samsung’s 3D NAND is generally available while its rivals are still at the sampling stage with GA late this year or in 2016. SanDisk is sampling a 48-layer chip, but Samsung is expected to match that soon.

Since it has signed big supply deals with Amazon, Apple and Google, Samsung clearly has its foot in the door. It also means that these big data centre operators will be buying less planar NAND than otherwise from the other flash suppliers.