The U.S. Federal Trade Commission asked the court in a lawsuit filed against the online retailer on Thursday to refund the money spent without parental authorization and to end the practice of allowing unlimited purchases without requiring a password or other mechanism to give parents control over their accounts. The unauthorized charges are generally associated with children's apps, such as games, which can be free to download but allow players to buy "coins" or other digital products with the credit card associated with the device, the FTC said in its complaint. The FTC said in its complaint that Amazon responded to complaints about unauthorized charges by requiring passwords to be used for large purchases starting in 2012. Apple agreed to refund consumers at least $32.5 million in unauthorized charges made by children and agreed to change its billing practices to require consent from parents before charging for such in-app spending.
By Marina Lopes WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc had a net addition of over 1.4 million postpaid subscribers in the second quarter, its chief executive said on Thursday, a dramatic increase from the first quarter, when customer growth fell short of expectations. The company also saw record growth in its tablet business and very strong growth in its smartphone business, Lowell McAdam, Verizon's chief executive, said in an interview on CNBC on Thursday, two weeks before the release of its second-quarter earnings. Verizon's stock was up 1.3 percent at $49.54 in afternoon trading and was the best performer in the Dow Jones. Verizon, which is expected to announce second-quarter earnings on July 22, posted a 20 percent decline last quarter in net additions of its postpaid customers -- those who subscribe to monthly calling plans -- as it hesitated to offer the aggressive discounts popular with its competitors.
(Reuters) - Microsoft Corp MSFT.O Chief Executive Satya Nadella deferred any comment on widely expected job cuts at the software company on Thursday, after circulating a memo to employees promising to "flatten the organization and develop leaner business processes." Nadella said he would address detailed organizational and financial issues for the company's new financial year, which started at the beginning of this month, when Microsoft reports quarterly earnings on July 22. Since absorbing the handset business of Nokia this spring, Microsoft has 127,000 employees, far more than rivals Apple Inc AAPL.O and Google Inc GOOGL.O. Wall Street is expecting Nadella to make some cuts, which would represent Microsoft's first major layoffs since 2009. "With recent chatter on the Street about potential head count reductions at Microsoft it was important for Nadella to be visible and set an optimistic tone heading into the next few months, especially on the heels of the Nokia integration," said Daniel Ives, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets.
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 15:15:57 -0400
U.S. Senate committee advances bill on cell phone unlocking
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved bringing before the full Senate legislation that would give mobile-phone users the right to "unlock" their devices and use them on competitors' wireless networks, something that is now technically illegal. The bill by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Democrat of Vermont, is similar to legislation passed by the House of Representatives in February and is expected to have bipartisan support when it reaches the Senate floor for a vote. The lawmaking follows a 2012 ruling by the Library of Congress, the minder of U.S. copyright law, that effectively made phone unlocking illegal, even after the consumer completed the contract with its wireless carrier. U.S. wireless carriers often tether, or "lock," smartphones to their networks to encourage consumers to renew mobile contracts.
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 12:27:54 -0400
Symantec in talks with Chinese government after software ban report
By Jim Finkle BOSTON (Reuters) - U.S. security software maker Symantec Corp said it is holding discussions with authorities in Beijing after a state-controlled Chinese newspaper reported that the Ministry of Public Security had banned use of one of its products. The China Daily reported last week that the ministry had issued an order to its branches across the nation telling them to uninstall Symantec's data loss prevention, or DLP, products from their systems and banning their future purchase, saying the software "could pose information risks." (http://bit.ly/1okVF3v)The vaguely worded report did not explain why the ministry believed Symantec's software presented a security threat. Symantec is the latest large U.S. technology company to encounter challenges in China since last year when former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden began leaking details about U.S. surveillance programs.
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 11:43:42 -0400
Users in China were able to access online services for Google Inc on Thursday, after more than a month of severe disruption that almost completely blocked people from using features such as its search, maps and e-mail functions. The Google disruption began in the run-up to the 25th anniversary of the government's bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators around Beijing's Tiananmen Square. China maintains tight control over the Internet, nipping in the bud any signs of dissent or challenges to the ruling Communist Party's leadership. Users told Reuters they could use Google Maps and access the Google.com search engine, which redirects to a Hong Kong version of the website.
T-Mobile and its chief executive John Legere have given numerous indications that the carrier's sales of Apple devices are much slower than they would like, and we now have another one to toss on the pile: A newly announced special offer will see T-Mobile pay $100 to customers who purchase a new iPhone and iPad at the same time. As noted by John Legere on his Twitter account, T-Mobile is offering to give customers a $100 prepaid Mastercard if they purchase an iPhone and an iPad at the same time and activate them on a qualifying postpaid plan. Purchases must be made online on T-Mobile's website or over the phone in order to qualify, and the deal ends on August 2nd. Here are
Last year, a child born with HIV was revealed to be "functionally cured" thanks to the administration of a liquid antiretroviral almost immediately following her birth. Unfortunately, the National Institutes of Health have just announced that the so-called "Mississippi Baby" is now showing detectable levels of the HIV virus some two years after she was taken off of the drug regimen with no detectible levels of the virus. "Scientifically, this development reminds us that we still have much more to learn about the intricacies of HIV infection and where the virus hides in the body," said Dr. Anthony Fauci from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. During a routine clinical care visit earlier in July, the nearly four-year-old child was tested and the HIV virus was detected - further follow-up tests confirmed the findings.
Historically, Verizon's not often the first carrier in the US to announce availability for a new phone. In the case of LG's latest flagship smartphone, the G3, it's actually the last. But good things come to those who wait -- and are willing to sign two-year contracts: Big Red's version of the G3 will go for $99 when you sign the dotted line.
This is something we've certainly never thought of before: What if Netflix is intentionally make its own streaming services slow for some inexplicable reason? That's what Verizon is telling us in a new blog post that was written in response to a customer who complained about getting poor Netflix performance on his home connection even though it was a 75Mbps FiOS connection. Verizon says that there was absolutely no congestion in its last-mile infrastructure, which only leaves one plausible explanation: Netflix and its transit provider partners were intentionally choosing suboptimal connections through which to send traffic. "Netflix chose to attempt to deliver that traffic to Verizon through a few third-party transit providers with limited capacity over connections specifically to be used
It doesn't matter if you're planning on getting cozy on the couch or watching next week's Major League Baseball All-Star Game while in transit. Thanks to FOX Sports Go, the network that shares the same moniker will stream the game that features the best (or most popular) players from both the American and National Leagues. The app will offer both English and Spanish versions of the event, with the first pitch set for 7:30 PM ET on Tuesday, July 15th.
This sounds like something straight out of "Battle Star Galactica," but I assure you this is actual technology the Marine Corps are testing. Under the umbrella of "shaping tomorrow's Marine Corps today" the proud branch has really been pushing the limits in regards to future military operations.
MILTON, Ga. (AP) - Georgia authorities are re-examining the 2013 heroin death of a bar owner dating the woman charged in the overdose death of a Google executive on a yacht in California, police said Thursday.
If you play guitar, then you'll definitely want to check out an incredible new iOS app that can transcribe chords for just about any song you have in your iTunes library. Per 9to5Mac, music software company SuperMegaUltraGroovy, Inc. has just released its Capo touch app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch that comes with brilliant software that's capable of picking out chords as they're being played in a song. This way, you won't have to use unreliable guitar tabs on the web that are often either written in the incorrect key or that don't correctly transcribe songs that use more complex harmonies than those found in the standard major and minor chord progressions. Using Capo touch is incredibly intuitive as
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has been in the top job for five months, and there's one point he's made more than any other. He's now firmly stamping his mark on the software giant. In a long letter to Microsoft's more than 100,000 employees, Nadella outlines his vision to reshape the core of Microsoft. Here's what it means for Xbox, Surface, and more.
It's been a dim couple of years for Motorola, a company that has had badly misfiring high-end smartphone strategy. Just two months ago, the company decided to shut down its vaunted U.S. manufacturing plant in Texas. Google grew tired of the issues last January, offloading Motorola to Chinese electronics giant Lenovo, and many questioned what Lenovo could possibly gain by buying the old warhorse. We now have an answer. After years of futile high-end focus, Motorola is finally taking the low-end market seriously. and the early payoff is fairly stunning. Indian web retailer Flipkart just announced that it has sold 1 million Motorola phones over the past five months. According to Flipkart's CEO, this puts Motorola among the top five smartphone brands in India. To put
Every June, the game industry descends upon the Los Angeles Convention Center for its blockbuster-focused trade show: the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). And traditionally, just ahead of that show, the big three console makers -- Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo -- hold press briefings focused on the Call of Dutys, Assassin's Creeds and Halos of the world. They're big, blustery affairs aimed mostly at the 18-35 male demographic.
The US Federal Trade Commission sued Amazon Thursday for charging parents for what their children spent on online games without parental authorization. The FTC said Amazon let kids playing online games spend real money from their parents' accounts on virtual items -- coins, stars and other items used in the game -- without getting the consent of the parents. It alleged that Amazon, which sold the apps for accessing the games, did not make clear to parents permitting the downloads that the users would be able to continue spending via "in-app charges" without controls. The FTC suit cites Amazon internal documents from 2011 and 2012 showing the giant online vendor knew of the potential problem but took no action to stop it.
Google is launching a fund devoted to nurturing promising tech startups in Europe. The Silicon Valley-based Internet titan said Thursday that it is setting up a Google Ventures office with a mission of backing European entrepreneurs and putting $100 million into its account as a start. "Our goal is simple: we want to invest in the best ideas from the best European entrepreneurs, and help them bring those ideas to life," Google Ventures managing partner Bill Maris said in a blog post. Google Ventures launched five years ago in the United States and blends cash backing with access to the tech titan's talents when it comes to engineering, design, marketing and other aspects of building winning companies.
When the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One launched last November, everyone expected it to be a close race. If anything, Microsoft had a slight advantage coming off of an enormously successful near-decade with the Xbox 360, but eight months later, Sony is so far out in front that the lead seems insurmountable. So how did the PS4 become an international smash hit, doubling the sales of the Xbox One month after month? Abigail Elise at the International Business Times has explored the issue in depth, quoting industry analysts and executives to help put the console war into context and explain Sony's unexpected success. "Hats off to Sony, they've had a great start; they have been in more countries and - to date,
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 13:46:39 -0400
FTC sues Amazon over kids' app charges
NEW YORK (AP) - The Federal Trade Commission is suing Amazon over charges that the company has not done enough to prevent children from making unauthorized in-app purchases, according to a complaint filed Thursday in federal court.
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 13:43:38 -0400
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on Thursday said it is investigating an allegation that a supplier in southern China used child labor. U.S. activist group China Labor Watch on Thursday released a report alleging that Dongguan Shinyang Electronic Co Ltd, a supplier of mobile phone covers and parts, hired child labor for its assembly lines. "We are urgently looking into the latest allegations and will take appropriate measures in accordance with our policies to prevent any cases of child labor in our suppliers," Samsung said an emailed statement. The claim from the New York-based watchdog comes after Samsung said in an annual sustainability report on June 30 that a third-party audit of 100 suppliers in China found no instances of child labor.
Earlier this summer, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned Amazon that if it didn't adopt a more Apple-like policy about in-app purchases, it might wind up in court. Now, it has. Today the FTC announced that it's seeking a court order requiring the online retailer to issue refunds to parents whose children ran wild with in-app purchases -- unauthorized charges, the FTC says, that racks up into the millions.
Microsoft chief Satya Nadella on Thursday called on workers to rise to the challenges of a fast-changing technology world and ready themselves for changes at the company. In a lengthy email sent to workers less than two weeks ahead of Microsoft releasing its quarterly earnings report, Nadella mixed encouraging words with a vow to shake-up the company and its culture. He again stressed a vision of adapting Microsoft to a "mobile-first, cloud-first world" and said that "nothing was off the table" when it came to achieving that goal. "If you want to thrive at Microsoft and make a world impact, you and your team must add numerous more changes to this list that you will be enthusiastic about driving," Nadella said in the email.
Apple's iTunes Extras feature has always been extremely limited, but that's just changed. Before, only iTunes on the desktop users could view extras that came with movies that were purchased from Apple; Now, as part of iTunes 11.3 -which went out today - along with a push to Apple TV users running the 6.2 version of the software (which was released last week), iTunes Extras will show up alongside any purchased HD films. Apple is also opening it up for movie studios to add additional content at any time, and for free.
Both Gartner and IDC appear to have some good news for the PC industry -- the seemingly never-ending death spiral may have come to an end. While the two research groups don't agree completely on the numbers, it does appear that after two years of stead and sizable declines, the PC industry is seeing shipments flatten out. In total, according to Gartner, 75.8 million computers were shipped in the second quarter of 2014, a negligible 0.1 percent drop from the same quarter a year ago.
A week after Amazon rejected a settlement over in-app purchases, the FTC has filed suit against Amazon for allegedly letting children run up bills without parental approval. In a complaint, it asks a court to make Amazon refund users who were billed a total of "millions of dollars" in unauthorized charges, and for the company to be banned from billing parents or other account holders without more explicit consent. "Amazon's in-app system allowed children to incur unlimited charges on their parents' accounts without permission," says FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. "Even Amazon's own employees recognized the serious problem its process created."
As we've noticed in the past, EA is a widely disliked company among many gamers not just because they make mistakes but that its executives can never own up to their mistakes in a remotely honest manner. Case in point: In an interview with Games Industry International, EA mobile boss Frank Gibeau admits that EA botched the launch of Dungeon Keeper for mobile phones and tablets but he offers the single most ridiculous explanation for why it failed. For those of you who need a refresher, Dungeon Keeper is a nominally "free-to-play" game that involves assigning a group of worker imps to dig out a given area to create a dungeon that is populated with monsters. However, while the game was indeed free
The US Justice Department has decided against pursuing a criminal investigation of the CIA over accusations that it spied on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Earlier this year, Senator Dianne Feinstein sharply criticized the CIA for monitoring computers used by the committee as lawmakers worked to complete a classified report on the agency's interrogation program under President George W. Bush.
In a weird way, Detroit has changed modern pizza more than New York or Chicago. Not the style - the thin crust versus deep dish debate will roll on for ages more - but the delivery. It turns out the founders of both Domino's and Little Caesars are from the same slice of Michigan, although, as Bloomberg Businessweek reports, the paths they took after that diverged wildly. Both went on to found pizza empires: Domino's is the second largest in the country, and Little Caesars is the third, both behind Pizza Hut. ...
Motorola is apparently working on a few new Android handsets including phablet-sized devices, a couple of new videos posted on TK Tech News reveal. The publication has supposedly gotten in touch with a person who's actually using such a device, which doesn't have a commercial name yet, but which appears to be running Android L or some sort of Android L-like launcher on top of stock Android. What's interesting about the handset is that it has a display that's bigger than the Nexus 5's 5-inch screen, suggesting this may be the phablet Motorola has been rumored to work on. Furthermore, the display has Full HD resolution, with TK Tech News speculating it may be an AMOLED screen. It's not clear whether
Misfit tackled activity tracking with its Shine offering that looks more like a fashion accessory than a sensor. Now, the data gathering outfit is looking to wrangle sleep cycles with the Beddit sleep monitor. Claiming to be the "world's thinnest sleep sensor," the unit resides on your mattress as opposed to being tucked in between the sheets.
Tensions between the US and Germany escalated further this week when Germany gave the top CIA official stationed in the country the boot. The decision followed allegations that two Germans had been recruited to covertly feed information to American intelligence services. Last week, German officials arrested a 31-year-old German intelligence officer for sharing secrets with the CIA, and just yesterday a German man's Berlin-area apartment was raided as part of a second spying investigation. President Barack Obama was apparently kept in the dark about the CIA operations. The allegations come after a bombshell report from German newspaper Der Spiegel last year showing the National Security Agency had spied on Chancellor Angela Merkel's private phone since 2002.
One of the keys to the early success of the PlayStation 4 was its release date. When Sony took the stage in February last year to reveal the PS4, everyone was a bit taken aback, Sony included. Speaking at the Develop Conference in Brighton, SCEI President Andrew House admitted that although Sony wasn't prepared to show off the new console at the time, the company knew that it wanted to be the first on the scene. "I think we were probably earlier in the announce than we have been previously, and that was very deliberate," said House. "I wanted to be out there first with the first announcement for this generation so you've got an opportunity to stake the ground and hopefully take something of a
While small "drones" have raised controversy in the US, they've made a lasting contribution to the world of photography. Last year, Dronestagram launched as a place for both amateurs and professionals to upload their work. The winners, picked with the help of users and National Geographic, represent the spectrum of drone photography, from high-flying nature shots to athletic spectacles to people who are just wondering what's up there looking at them. "Looking at this picture, I realized how happy my drone makes these people." And the winning photographer, who deserves every bit of that accolade, has actually managed to make a drone fly with the eagles.
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) - As a Google executive lay dying on his yacht, an upscale prostitute casually walks over him, picks up her clothes and heroin and swallows the last of a glass of wine before lowering the boat's blinds and walking back on the dock to shore, police say surveillance footage shows.