The dark satanic rumour mill is churning out a hell on earth yarns claiming that Microsoft is close to buying up a slice of the canadian telecommunications company BlackBerry.
A few other tech companies like Xiaomi, Lenovo and Huawei are also amongst those interested in buying the outfit but Microsoft has been wining and dining a few investment firms to assess their chances of taking over BlackBerry.
Its plan is to upgrade its intensity in the business mobile solution segment and its patent portfolio in the Internet of Vehicles (IoV), as well as mobile platform and communications sectors.
The Chinese smartphone manufacturers are mainly intended to invest in BlackBerry so that they can improve their brand visibility across US and European business sectors.
So far it is all rumour and speculation but BlackBerry has frequently been tipped to be ready for buying out before and it has never happened. However sources in the Redmond lair have admitted that the stuffed head of Blackberry would look nice on its CEO’s wall.
BlackBerry said recently that it will lay off number of employments across the globe and will merge its device software, hardware and applications business. It also indicated that it was “changing assets to profit” by development opportunities and accomplish benefit over all regions of business.
So far that involves scaling down its mobile phone division, which might mean Microsoft will have to move fast if it there is going to be anything left of Blackberry.
Motorola has been told by a US jury that it used an idea in a patent troll’s portfolio without permission.
Intellectual Ventures’ claimed that it invented multimedia text messaging, something that Motorola said it came up with.
The jury, which deliberated for about a day and a half, cleared Motorola on a second patent related to wireless bandwidth, which it said was invalid. Damages are to be determined later.
It was the second time the two companies faced off in court. The first round, in February 2014, ended in a mistrial after jurors could not agree on a verdict.
Another trial between the two, involving a single Intellectual Ventures patent related to detachable computer devices, is scheduled to begin Thursday.
Lenovo bought the Motorola handset division from Google in October.
Intellectual Ventures is one of the largest intellectual property owners in the world, with more than 70,000 patents and patent applications to its name. It only recently began suing companies in addition to its longtime strategy of licensing its wide array of patents.
It sued Motorola in 2011, alleging that several of Motorola’s mobile devices infringed its patents.
Intellectual Ventures insists that unlike some of the firms denounced as “patent trolls” it does not file frivolous lawsuits. Apparently the definition of a troll is now that the cases have to be frivolous, we thought that they had to be made by people who did not invent anything and were filed purely to make a company wealthy.
In February, Intellectual Ventures won a $17 million patent verdict against security software maker Symantec strengthening its track record in court.
A research company believes that Samsung will be the number one smartphone vendor in 2015, taking the lead over Apple.
Digitimes Research (DR) said the top 10 vendors this year will be Samsung, Apple, Lenovo, LG Electronics, Huawei, Xiaomi, Microsoft, TC, Coolpad and Oppo.
HTC, which only a few years ago was top of the smartphone pops, doesn’t appear to get a lookin at all. Last week, Cher Wang, chairman of HTC, took on the CEO duties too, displacing former CEO Peter Chou to head up a new products division at the Taiwanese firm.
DR estimates that Samsung will ship over 330 million units and Apple will manage to ship 230 million.
But Lenovo appears to be edging upwards in the smartphone league. This year it will ship 64 million units, while LG will ship 67 million units, just ahead of Huawei.
DR estimates that Android phones supplied by the top 10 Android smartphone vendors willl represent over 70 percent of the total units shipped this year.
While most people think that the smartwatch thing is doomed in the long term, no one seems to have told the manufacturers.
Lenovo is the latest to leak the design of its upcoming smartwatch indicating that if there is money to be made in the kit, it wants more than anyone else.
Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing posted an image to Weibo, which shows a number of smartwatches in various states of assembly.
The image shows the new Moto 360 appears to adopt a traditional, exposed-lug design, which should make it easier for users to swap out the band that comes with the Moto 360 for a wider variety of third-party gear.
The current Moto 360 has a lug design which integrates into the bottom of the casing. Even though the Moto Maker gives customers a variety of bands to choose from, this seems to mean that Lenovo things that there is cash to be made by individualising the watches. Perhaps even starting a collection fad.
It also appears that the “flat tire” display found on the original Moto 360 will carry over to its successor. The Moto 360 currently houses its ambient light sensor and display driver in the crescent-shaped cutout at the bottom of the display, and it has been perhaps the most criticized design aspect of the smartwatch.
LG G Watch R, LG Watch Urbane, and Huawei Watch have ditched the ambient light sensor and adopting a slightly larger bezel to accommodate the display driver.
What was seen in the snaps are just prototypes and anything could change between now and an official unveil, but it’s at least good to see that Motorola pressing ahead as the best-selling Android Wear OEM on the market.
Software king of the world Microsoft has decided that the best way to stop the Chinese pirating its Windows 10 operating system is to give it to them.
Microsoft has decided to push into the heavily pirated Chinese consumer computing market this summer by offering free upgrades to Windows 10 to all Windows users, regardless of whether they are running genuine copies of the software.
The big idea is to get legitimate versions of VoleWare onto machines of the hundreds of millions of Windows users in China. Recent studies show that three-quarters of all PC software is not properly licensed there.
Terry Myerson, who runs Microsoft’s operating systems unit, announced the plan at the WinHEC technology conference in Shenzhen, China.
Microsoft will upgrade all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10. The plan is to “re-engage” with the hundreds of millions of users of Windows in China, he said, without elaboration.
Windows 10 would be released globally sometime “this summer”. That is the first time Microsoft has put a time frame on the release, although it has been expected in autumn.
Microsoft said in January it would offer free upgrades to Windows 10 for users of Windows 7 or later in an attempt to hold onto users and make up for lost revenue by selling services such as Office over the Internet.
Microsoft is working with Lenovo to roll out Windows 10 in China to current Windows users, Myerson said.
It also is offering Windows 10 through security company Qihoo 360 Technology and Tencent Holdings, China’s biggest social networking company, which will build a Windows 10 app that will work on smartphones and PCs for its popular QQ gaming and messaging service. QQ has more than 800 million users.
Lenovo said in a statement that it will make phones running Windows software, available through China Mobile, sometime later this year.
A report said there were large falls in shipments of notebooks in January and February.
Digitise Research said that shipments for the five multinational brands and the top three manufacturers – original design manufacturers – fell by 13 percent and 18 percent in February.
One major reason, the analysts say is because there are high levels of stocks of models intended for home use left over from last year. Fluctuations in exchange rates also caused a decline in sale.
However, it appears that Hewlett Packard managed to buck the trend and in February its notebook shipments rose by 30 percent. It had managed to make adjustments to its overstock and also made significant sales of units for the educational market to India.
Lenovo fell behind HP in the top five, but it was Acer and Asustek which really took a hit, with falls in shipments of as much as 40 percent, Digitimes Research said.
The ODMs, who make notebooks to be rebranded by others, also saw their shipments fall during the period.
Lenovo is still peddling notebooks pre-installed with dangerous, HTTPS-breaking adware, despite saying it had abandoned the practice.
Initially, Lenovo said the Superfish ad-injector posed no threat, a position it quickly reversed and then said the company stopped bundling the software in December.
Executives promised to release a removal tool that would delete all code and data associated with the adware.
However it looks like Lenovo might not have have told the full truth.
Ars Technica found that a new $550 Lenovo G510 notebook which was ordered in early February more than four weeks after Lenovo said it stopped bundling Superfish, still had the software.
It was not as if it was old stock stuck in the channel either, the onboard Windows had a December build date.
The next promise was about the official Superfish removal tool, which the PC maker states will “ensure complete removal of Superfish and certificates for all major browsers.”
While the tool removed the dangerous certificate—and as a result closed the serious man-in-the-middle vulnerability it posed—Lenovo’s software didn’t remove all Superfish-related data.
A Lenovo spokesman wrote in an e-mail to Ars: “If an individual customer has a specific question about their experience with the removal tool, they should contact the Lenovo Service line directly.”
Figures supplied by market analyst company Gartner showed that the worldwide server market grew 4.8 percent in shipments for the fourth quarter of 2014.
And revenues grew 2.2 percent in that quarter, compared to the fourth quarter of 2013.
Jeffrey Hewitt a VP at Gartner, described server market for the whole of 2014 as showing strong growth. Growth for the whole year was 2.2 percent.
“Hyper scale data centre deployments as well as service provider installations drove the X86 market upwards,” he said. “Enterprises had less unit growth impact because of the ongoing presence of physical server consolidation through X86 server virtualisation. This overall market growth developed despite declines in both mainframe and Unix platforms.”
HP was the leader server vendor in the quarter in terms of revenues, but only grew 1.5 percent in the whole year. Its market share is 27.9 percent worldwide. IBM showed a decline of 50.6 percent, and Lenovo had extraordinary growth of 743.4 percent. This is because IBM sold its X86 server business to Lenovo in the fourth quarter.
Dell is the second biggest vendor with 17.3 percent in terms of revenues, IBM third, Lenovo fourth and Cisco fifth. “Others” had a market share of 28.6 percent.
HP also led the pack in terms of shipments, pushing out 642,007 units in the fourth quarter.
In 2014, sales of smartphones to individuals reached 1.2 billion units worldwide, a rise of 28.4 percent compared to 2013.
Worldwide sales of smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2014 saw an increase of 29.9 percent compared to the same quarter in 2013, totalling 367.5 million units, according to Gartner.
And in the fourth quarter, Samsung lost its number one spot to Apple – as a result of product introductions in Apple’s case, and erosion of sales in Samsung’s case.
Samsung lost 10 percent in market share, according to Anshul Gupta, a Gartner analyst. “Samsung continues to struggle to control its falling smartphone share, which was at its highest in the third quarter of 2013. This downward trend shows that Samsung’s share of profitable premium smartphone users has come under significant pressure,” said Gupta.
For the whole year, Samsung remained the leader, shipping 307,597 units worldwide, while Apple shipped 191,426 phones.
The top five vendors in the fourth quarter were Apple, Samsung, Lenovo, Huawei and Xiaomi, according to Gartner. These last three vendors are all Chinese companies.
Announcements from the Mobile World Congress (MWC) are as thick as blankets of snow this week, and Lenovo has joined in the chase for more business by announcing a range of three tablets.
Lenovo, according to market watchers, has been doing comparatively well in the tablet market.
Today it announced the A Series Android tablets, the Tab 2 A7 and A10-70 and a Windows tablet too.
The A10-70 has a 10.1-inch FHD screen, and Dolby Atmos. The machine runs Android 4.4, uses a MediaTek quad core processor, weighs 500 grams and is 8.9 millimetres thick. It will cost £180 and ships in April.
The Tab 2 A8 weighs in at 360 grams and comes with a dual SIM card slot, and costs £130 for the wi-fi model. It will ship in June.
The Windows Ideated MIIX 300, uses Windows 8.1, has an Intel Atom chip inside, and a media card reader. It will ship in July and will cost around £150.
A cyberattack by a hacking group called Lizard Squad brought down Lenovo’s web site yesterday.
That’s following the revelation that Lenovo shipped adware called Superfish on some of its notebook devices.
Lizard Squad claimed responsibility for downing the Sony site at the end of last year.
Lenovo managed to get its site up and running after people that went to its site were redirected to other web sites.
Lenovo has stopped including Superfish shipping on its machine and offered people that had encountered it a software fix to remove it.
Lizard Squad managed to use a vulnerability to Lenovo’s name registrar to divert people away from the Lenovo web site.
Only 221.4 million tablets will ship worldwide this year – a drop of 11.9 percent compared to 2014.
That’s according to Digitimes Research (DR), which predicts that Apple will continue to take the lead, managing to ship over 54 million units this year. While this sounds healthy, that’s a predicted decline of 16/6 percent.
The so-called “white box” market will see the biggest decline, with a drop of 20 percent. Margins on these products are super slim.
DR gives estimates for the different vendors’ shares of the market – with Apple accounting for 24.5 percent, Samsung 16.3 percent, Lenovo 5.3 percent, Asustek 4.2 percent, Google 1.7 percent, Acer 1.7 percent, and Amazon only 1.6 percent.
Meanwhile, a report in Chinese language Economic Daily News said that Amazon has cut orders of tablets, sourced by Compal and Quanta by as much as 30 percent.
Compaq has the lion’s share of Amazon tablet business, churning out 80 percent of them compared to Quanta’s 20 percent, the Economic Daily News said.
The company that is behind the technology that powers Superfish has suffered a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.
That’s according to Forbes, which said the technology is called Komodio and the site is down, with the company saying the DDoS attack has happened because of media interest.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that Lenovo distributed malware with some of its machines, although because of the Chinese New Year, it doesn’t appear able to comment on the debacle.
Forbes talked to the founder of Komodia, a man who formerly worked for Israeli cyber intelligence. He said that he couldn’t comment on the Lenovo debacle because he’s under contract to the Chinese company.
But the Komodia software is included on many other software programs and is pretty easy to hack.
Software include some parental control software and in other web filter programs available worldwide.
A security firm made the alarming assertion that Lenovo had pre-installed software on notebooks it sells that makes them more likely to be hacked.
The program called Superfish, which Lenovo installed on computers intended for home use was software that auto-displays adverts.
And according to Reuters, Errata Security, an American company, said Superfish opens up encrypted connections, so letting hackers take over PCs.
Lenovo officials are on holiday for the Chinese New Year and so far have not responded to the allegations.
However, Ken Westin, a senior security analyst at Tripwire had plenty to say on the matter.
“With increasingly security and privacy conscious buyers, laptop and mobile phone manufacturers may well be doing themselves a disservice by seeking outdated advertising based monetisation strategies,” he said.
“If the findings are true and Lenovo is installing their own self-signed certificates, they have not only betrayed their customers’ trust, but also put them at increased risk,” he added.
While there’s some uncertainty about the future of PCs in the enterprise, there’s one area which continues to do well, and that’s desktop workstations.
IDC released a report saying that the global workstation market grew in the fourth quarter of 2014 by 8.8 percent – amounting to shipments of 946,089 units. For the whole year, shipments amounted to 3.7 million units, representing an 8.9 percent growth compared to 2013.
The USA and Western Europe have the lions share in the desktop workstation market. Both account for 63.6 percent of worldwide shipments.
But emerging markets are growing faster than developmed markets, with Latin America showing double digit growth for the fourth calendar quarter in a row.
HP is the leading vendor with 44.6 percent of market share, while Dell had 35.8 percent market share.
The number three vendor is Lenovo, which took share from both Dell and HP anc achieved 33.1 percent yearly growth. Fujitsu and NEC occupied the fourth and fifth positions respectively.