Gamers In China Are Not Interested In Game Consoles


A United States University Has Partnered With A Chinese University To Launch A Technology Institute Next YearThe long wait for video game consoles to be available to the public in China is over.

But it appears that the public may not be that overjoyed by the news.

Microsoft and Sony are poised to start selling their popular video game consoles in the country after a ban on them was lifted.

Both companies are estimated to sell over half a million of their Xbox One and Playstation consoles respectively, but those numbers pale when lumped into global sale tallies for Microsoft and Sony.

Part of the issue is that gamers in China are more prone to play games on mobile devices or personal computers as opposed to games on consoles hooked up to television sets.

Another issue that comes into play is that both Sony and Microsoft were required to associate themselves with a Chinese partner to sell their consoles and games.

Sony teamed up with Shanghai Oriental Pearl Group, and Microsoft partnered with BesTV.

But both of those local partners merged late last year.

Game publishers have also seen some obstacles as government regulators are slow to approve a heavy amount of games due to their internal codes regarding offensive content.

At present, 31 titles have been approved by the government with 20 titles pending.

Christopher A. Smith


Appeals Court Upholds Apple Ebook Antitrust Ruling


Court Rules: Bulk Collection Of Phone Records Is IllegalAn antitrust ruling against Apple that was appealed by the technology giant was upheld in a federal appeals court.

The case, U.S. v. Apple Inc., 13-3741, was first heard and ruled on in July 2013 in a lower court.

Apple was accused of entering into a conspiracy with five publishers to fix the prices of electronic books that they offered for purchase in the lawsuit filed by 33 state attorneys general and the Justice Department.

The original judge in the case, Judge Denise Cote, ruled in favor of the government, citing statements by the late Steve Jobs that showed a targeting of Amazon.

The decision to uphold the ruling came as the result of a 2-1 vote.  Circuit Judge Debra Ann Livingston referred to the original ruling notes in her summation of the decision: “By organizing a price-fixing conspiracy, Apple found an easy path to opening its iBookstore, but it did so by ensuring that market-wide e-book prices would rise to a level that it, and the publisher defendants, had jointly agreed on.”

Apple’s response was to deny the charges, but it offered no comment on whether they would pursue another appeal – if they do, that case would then come before the Supreme Court.

Christopher A. Smith


VMware Settles With The Government In Alleged Fraud Case


VMware To Acquire AirWatchSoftware company VMware has agreed to a settlement to pay a federal government agency to bring closure to a lawsuit where it was accused of fraud.

The lawsuit was brought against VMware and a government approved reseller partner, Carahsoft, back in 2010.

In the lawsuit, the General Services Administration claimed that VMware and the reseller practiced “inaccurate pricing, inaccurate disclosures, and incomplete information about sales of VMware products to non-governmental customers” to them, leading them to pay more than private companies.

The specific bone of contention lay in a discount offering that was made by VMware which was said to be lower than ones made to foreign governments.

The total amount of the settlement? $75.5 million, which the law firm prosecuting the case states as “one of the five largest recoveries against a technology company in the history of the False Claims Act.”

VMware issued a statement that denied any fraud and misbehavior on their part, but claimed that they settled to avoid more drawn-out litigation.

Christopher A. Smith


Apple Users In Greece Experience iCloud Issues Due To The Financial Crisis


Apple iWork for iCloud Now Open For EveryoneThe roiling financial crisis that has the nation of Greece under its thumb has now caused some grief to Apple users.

The country’s struggle with staggering debt and lack of control over its currency has led to limitations being put on credit card payments from Greek financial institutions in an attempt to prevent a surge of capital leaving the country.

In the process, subscribers to Apple services like iCloud have seen disruptions to their service and have received warning messages.

At present there is a daily cap on automated teller machine withdrawals in the country at 60 euros in addition to the suppression of credit card payments.

The timing couldn’t be worse, given that Apple Music made its global debut on Tuesday.

The financial issues also extend to those Greek nationals who are traveling and working outside of their homeland — they can’t use their credit and/or debit cards abroad as well.

Apple declined to make any comment.

Christopher A. Smith


Twitter CEO Dick Costolo Says Beware Of Government Regulation


Twitter CEO Dick Costolo Says "We Suck At Dealing With Abuse And Trolls"The outgoing chief executive officer of Twitter, Dick Costolo, had some choice words concerning government regulation.

In a farewell interview conducted by The Guardian on his last day at the head of the social media network, Costolo expressed his feeling that regulation may be threatening to free speech and that Twitter and similar services shouldn’t be regulated like other government institutions.

Costolo went on to say: “I can’t think of an example where regulation didn’t have unintended consequences, and I’m unable to conceive of a regulatory body that will be swift enough to deal with the constantly evolving issues of ethics, communication and technology. I just don’t think it’s possible.”

His stance falls in line with that of Twitter, long regarded as a herald of the right to free speech.

The company’s detractors have argued that the stance has led to their near non-involvement when it comes to the recent rise of online bullying and abuse of others on the platform, as well as the proliferation of highly violent and dangerous extremists.

To that point, Costolo stated that Twitter has taken steps to put a halt to those using abusive language on the social media network in addition to preventing former users who’ve been blocked from regaining access.

Christopher A. Smith


PayPal Modifies Their Controversial New Robocall Policy


PayPal Fined $25 Million For Bogus Credit SignupsThe upcoming robocall policy addition to the terms and services of PayPal that has many up in arms as reported here earlier, will get some modifications.

The mobile payments company received a huge backlash when it announced changes to the user agreement that would allow users to be bombarded with pre-recorded phone calls and text messages by PayPal.

The move concern that PayPal would use these changes to pester customers with unwanted ad solicitations, and it drew some notice from the FCC.

The company is now making some modifications to the language of the policy to give more clarity to what it is they’re trying to do with these automated phone calls to customers.

PayPal now states that the calls are essentially tools to help prevent fraud, make users aware of their account activity in full and to collect on outstanding balances.

In a statement addressing the situation, FCC spokesman Travis LeBlanc said: “These changes, along with PayPal’s commitments to improve its disclosures and make it easier for consumers to express their calling preferences, are significant and welcome improvements.”

PayPal also stated that they are continuing to work closely with regulators in the interest of consumer protection.

The new policy is set to take effect on July 1st, and users can still opt out of receiving the calls.

Christopher A. Smith


U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Google In Oracle Java Case


Court Rules: Bulk Collection Of Phone Records Is IllegalThe Supreme Court of The United States has shut down Google in a case heard before them today involving Oracle and Java.

The case, Google v. Oracle, 14-140, was brought by Oracle Corp. was seeking $1 billion in damages over allegations that Google used their Java programming code to hurriedly create their iconic Android operating software for smartphones and tablets without paying them for it.

The situation focuses on how there is a split between companies that create these API’s, or application programming interfaces, and those companies who uses those codes to develop software without having to devote a great deal of time and finances.

A federal court in Washington State found in favor of Oracle being the creator of the code.

Google then made its appeal to the highest court in the land, claiming that the lower court’s decision would stifle future innovation in programming technology.

The justices came back and ruled in favor of the decision of the lower court.

Oracle had gotten support from Microsoft and other API developers when it first brought the allegations against Google, and the Obama administration had made a recommendation against reversing the decision to the Supreme Court.

The case will now return to the appeals court so that Google can argue their claim of fair usage.

Christopher A. Smith


Alibaba Launches Lending Division


Alibaba Exploring Facial Recognition To Replace PasswordsThe Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is staking their claim to a piece of the growing lending market.

The company’s finance affiliate has launched MYbank, a new online lender.

Lucy Peng, CEO of Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group, said in a statement on Thursday that MYbank “has a goal of servicing 10 million small and medium enterprises and hundreds of millions of consumers in five years.”

Peng went on to say that instead of using technology from Oracle and other companies like other lenders do, they will work solely the native cloud computing systems of Alibaba.

MYbank will make loans totalling 5 million yuan, or $805,000 to these borrowers.

It puts them in direct competition with WeBank, an online lender firm launched in April by Tencent Holdings Ltd.

MyBank plans to offer these loans at lower rates than WeBank as well as look into working with China Postal Savings Bank and China Construction Bank, both run by the state as it waits for regulatory approval by government financial officials.

Christopher A. Smith


FBI Personnel Files Breached In Recent OPM Hack


The FBI Is Offering A $3 Million Reward For Information Leading To The Arrest Or Conviction Of This Russian Hacking SuspectThe recent cyberattack that compromised the servers containing information on federal employees may have also hit the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The attacks, which were first reported here and have led to the Office Of Personnel Management admitting that Social Security numbers of employees were exposed as well as other sensitive information in data packets on their servers, appear to have also affected agents with the F.B.I.

According to a source in the agency, the breach was the second such attack to affect them personally, with the first being via Anthem Blue Cross which took place last February.

The source says that they were notified by OPM last month that their information was compromised.

When pressed further, they did state that they weren’t sure that it was an agency-wide problem.

A wider breach of F.B.I. files would be a catastrophic danger to national security.

Speculation as to is behind these cyberattacks has fallen squarely on China’s doorstep.

While the White House has not officially stated that China was behind them, members of Congress have aired their suspicions.

Observers have their doubts of the breach as well as the veracity of the source.

Christopher A. Smith


Courtney Love Caught Up In Paris Uber Protest


Life_Ball_2014_Courtney_Love_CropOn Thursday, the city of Paris, France was caught in the throes of a vigorous and violent protest by the city’s taxicab drivers over Uber’s growing presence in the country.

One witness to the unrest?

American rock singer Courtney Love.

Love took to Twitter to give her account of fleeing Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport atop a motorcycle; she had to escape her chauffeured car after protesters attacked the vehicle by throwing rocks and slashing the tires in addition to damaging it with bats.

In the fashion that some of Courtney Love’s fans know her best for, she lit into French President Francois Hollande on the social media platform, stating: “This is France?? I’m safer in Baghdad.”

The taxi drivers took to the streets as part of a strike that no one can foresee an end to.

Drivers are incensed that Uber drivers aren’t required to get a license that costs other drivers 100,000 Euros to obtain.

The protests saw drivers blocking railway stations, burning tires and flipping over cars across the nation as well as obstructing the entrance to airports.

Uber has claimed that they have a million registered users including those signed up with their UberPop on-demand service in the country.

The French government has filed a complaint against the company via the Office of the Interior Minister along with the police, who have created a special task force assigned to issue fines to their drivers.

Christopher A. Smith