Regulator in France raids office of Apple

Authorities searched the French offices of Apple and some affiliated companies as part of an investigation into retailing practices, a spokesman for the French competition regulator said on Tuesday.

The raids took place last week on “some of Apple’s premises in France, as well as those of some of its wholesalers and distributors,” said André Piérard, a spokesman for the regulator, the Competition Authority.

Piérard said the investigation was carried out by competition officials accompanied by judicial police officers. Authorities seized documents in the raids.

Apple is known for maintaining strict controls over its product image and marketing, extending those efforts to its highly profitable stores. But its leading market position has prompted scrutiny in Europe and elsewhere. European regulators, for example, have been examining Apple’s contracts with the cellphone carriers that sell its iPhone for possible antitrust violations.

The news of the investigation in France was first reported Monday by Les chos, a financial newspaper. The article said the

investigators were interested in Apple’s relations with its distributors.

The article cited the case of eBizcuss, an Apple premium reseller that operated about 15 stores until it collapsed last year. The eBizcuss chief executive, Fran~CHECK~ois Prudent, accused Apple of abusing its market dominance and of unfair competition, contending that the company had opened Apple stores around the country while starving its other authorized retailers of popular products like the newest iPads and iPhones. Prudent filed a complaint with the regulator.

According to Les chos, the competition authorities want to know if Apple ordered its wholesalers, with which the distributors like eBizcuss were in almost daily contact, not to deliver the products on time. Les chos reported that Piérard also said that the competition authorities were investigating Apple and other Internet companies on suspicion of abuse of market dominance with their online app stores.

Piérard declined to comment on the newspaper report. Josh Rosenstock, an Apple spokesman in London, also declined to comment.


There was very good information on the browser

Microsoft’s Home windows eight is currently a far more common running process in comparison to the reviled Home windows Vista, removing a supply of embarrassment as Microsoft’s most current OS slowly proceeds to assemble steam.

In accordance to Net Applications’ NetMarketshare tracker, Home windows eight captured 5.ten per cent of all desktop programs the business tracks for your month of June. Vista’s sector share now stands at four.62 percent. Naturally, equally will need a handful of months (or yrs) ahead of they pass Home windows XP and Windows 7, each of which dipped about 50 percent a proportion point’s truly worth of share to finish the month with 44.37 per cent and 37.17 p.c, respectively.

There was very good information on the browser entrance too: Web Applications also reported that World-wide-web Explorer ten surged four.26 proportion factors to finish with 13.fifty two % with the desktop sector.

That marked the first time that IE10, which transported with Windows 8 (but can also be readily available for Home windows 7), passed Net Explorer 9.0, which fell three.sixty eight details to 11.71 % on the desktop sector.

Both equally figures go on to verify the momentum for Windows 8, which has struggled to lift its head over both equally third-party running units, and its own rivals from the Microsoft nest.

Home windows 8 passed Mac OS X ten.eight in February. If Windows 8 continues to improve its share at its present-day pace of about 0.five proportion factors per month-and if Windows XP proceeds to say no at about the same rate-Microsoft would need approximately 32 months, or until finally about February 2016, for Windows 8 to go Home windows XP.

Analytics firm StatCounter also place Windows 8 above Home windows Vista in its all over the world measurements of browser information. StatCounter stated that Home windows eight captured six.forty four % of all PCs, compared to five.94 per cent on the commencing of June. StatCounter reported, having said that, the variations of Mac OS X merged, at eight.fifty two per cent, were even now larger than Home windows 8.

StatCounter also claimed that Home windows 8 passed Vista in June, when Vista share stood at five.four p.c.

Though the divisions concerning operating units were reasonably clear-cut, assessing wherever the different browsers stand needs a tad more slicing and dicing of your information.

General, Web Purposes places IE in a commanding guide, with fifty six.15 percent of your current market, as opposed to 55.ninety eight p.c in May-thanks to Microsoft bundling IE with PCs, needless to say. Web Purposes places Firefox at 19.15 %, down from twenty.sixty three per cent, and Chrome at 17.seventeen per cent, down from 15.seventy four percent.

Incorporate all Chrome versions, having said that, as StatCounter does, as well as the total share for Chrome climbs to forty two.19 p.c, down from the significant of 42.68 % a month in the past. StatCounter puts all variations of Firefox 5.0 and higher at a blended share of 19.fourteen p.c.

The bottom line? Chrome, IE, and Firefox all keep on being feasible browser platforms, with ongoing advancements to each.

Google Ordered to Delete Collected U.K. Street View Data

Officials in the U.K. have ordered Google to delete all of the data it accidentally collected via its Street View cars.

The country’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said today that Google has just over a month to delete the information or face a more severe punishment.

“Today’s enforcement notice strengthens the action already taken by our office, placing a legal requirement on Google to delete the remaining payload data identified last year within the next 35 days and immediately inform the ICO if any further disks are found,” Stephen Eckersley, ICO Head of Enforcement, said in a statement. “Failure to abide by the notice will be considered as contempt of court, which is a criminal offense.”

Between 2008 and 2010, the equipment attached to Google’s Street View vehicles not only collected 360-degree mapping images, but also data from unencrypted wireless networks within range. That included emails, passwords, photos, and chat logs.

Google has apologized for the data collection, and pledged to work with data protection agencies around the globe on rectifying the situation.

The ICO and Google reached an agreement in 2010 whereby Google would implement more security training for employees and data protection requirements for new features. But after the Federal Communications Commission in the U.S. released an April 2012 report that said several employees and at least one senior manager knew of the data gathering, the ICO decided to take another look and re-opened its case.

The ICO has since determined that “there was insufficient evidence to show that Google intended, on a corporate level, to collect personal data,” the agency said today. As a result, the 2010 agreement remains, provided Google deletes the data from disks it found in the last year.

“The early days of Google Street View should be seen as an example of what can go wrong if technology companies fail to understand how their products are using personal information,” Eckersley said. “The punishment for this breach would have been far worse, if this payload data had not been contained.”

In April, German data protection officials handed down a 145,000 Euro ($189,000) fine against Google for the data collection.

The reception for Home windows 8 has actually been tepid

The Ativ identify may be silly, but Samsung Electronics is betting closely on it as the namesake for something connected to Home windows.

In a very showcase Thursday that highlighted a slew of products and solutions, Samsung’s Ativ line performed a central function. Ativ happens to be the umbrella model that includes laptops, tablets, all-in-ones, and smartphones, and some from the gadgets had been on show.

Samsung is hoping record repeats by itself with Ativ. It earlier poured its assets into acquiring the Galaxy manufacturer for something associated with Android, and its flagship Galaxy S line of smartphones is often a smash hit, while using the Galaxy name extending into many strains of productive phones and tablets.

Microsoft could unquestionably use the jolt. The reception for Home windows 8 has actually been tepid, with people awkward while using the new tile-based consumer interface. In Could, Microsoft boasted of a hundred million Windows eight licenses sold, but critics contend utilization and desire continues to be small.

The organization declared the Ativ Q, a convertible unit that can change among pill and laptop computer forms and operates Home windows and Android.

The device juggles both equally Home windows eight and Android 4.two.two, also known as Jelly Bean. End users can switch in between the working systems immediately, and you may pin Android apps about the Windows get started monitor.

It’s a hinge design that enables it to vary into four diverse types: a flat pill method; a laptop mode; an angled exhibit or floating show for additional snug viewing; along with a display mode reached any time you flip the display screen.

The product runs over a thirteen.3-inch exhibit with the intensely rich three,200×1,800-pixel resolution and 275 pixels for each inch, which the organization offers is definitely the world’s maximum resolution. The qHD exhibit is optimized to be used in shiny sunlight disorders. It also includes a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor to the digital camera and an Intel i5 Haswell processor. It is thirteen.9 millimeters thick and one.29 kilograms. It’s got four gigabytes of memory and a 128GB solid-state drive for storage. It’s two USB ports, an HDMI port, in addition to a slot for your microSD card.

The company offers which the Ativ Tab 3 is definitely the world’s thinnest Home windows eight pill, and mentioned the gadget shares numerous design cues with the Galaxy line of tablets. Similar to the Galaxy Be aware line and Ativ Q, the Ativ Tab 3 includes the S-pen stylus, which functions with Workplace purposes.

The tablet incorporates a ten.1-inch display using a one,366 by 768 resolution, weighs 550 grams, which is eight.2 millimeters thick. The pill utilizes an Intel Atom processor, has 2GB of memory and 64GB of storage.

Lacking from the lineup have been any devices operating on Windows RT, the stripped down variation of Microsoft’s Home windows eight that runs on the diverse processor architecture that is certainly additional very similar to tablets and smartphones, producing for less expensive and even more power-efficient solutions. A single Samsung executive stressed the point the merchandise were not operating on Windows RT, an implicit shot from the ill-received OS.

Samsung also failed to exhibit off any new Ativ smartphones working around the Home windows Cellular phone working method. Despite general public declarations of its aid for numerous working devices, the company’s intellect has largely concentrated on Android, which powers all of its strike smartphones. The organization expanded its line-up of Galaxy S4 phones with 3 new gadgets, the Galaxy S4 Mini, the greater rugged Lively, and optical lens-packing Zoom.

Yes, iTunes Radio could crush Pandora. But that’s just for starters

iTunes chief Eddy Cue unveiled Apple’s iTunes Radio at the company’s big developer conference in San Francisco this week, and it didn’t take long before a chorus of rivals and pundits dismissed the product as, well, no big deal, especially considering that so many streaming-music services already exist.

The current king of Internet radio, Pandora, made sure the press was aware of how large it was, with 200 million registered users, 70 million of whom are regular listeners, and 5 billion stations created. Even Nokia — that’s right, Nokia — trotted out a VP who suggested Apple was playing catch up, proclaiming, “We launched our streaming radio service in 2011.”

Given Apple’s history of product pyrotechnics, the company’s long-awaited entry into the music-streaming business was a relatively low-key affair. That’s likely because of a lack of preparation time, considering that Apple managed to strike deals with all three of the major music labels only on the Friday before Monday’s keynote.

“Today we’re introducing an amazing way to discover new music, and we call it iTunes Radio,” Cue said as he showed the service, demonstrating how the stations would be curated by a music team — yes, humans — at Apple. He showed how easy it is to scroll around the offerings, and played Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” for the 6,000 Apple developers in the audience. But considering this is a service that Apple had been struggling to cobble together for more than a year — and that this is the company that ignited the current digital-music era with the launch of the iTunes Store a decade ago — Cue was surprisingly restrained. Total demo time: just under four minutes.

Cue didn’t once declare iTunes Radio awesome, or even delightful; nor did he describe it as the best streaming service around. And while other Apple executives participating in the keynote before him took turns slamming Android, Cue didn’t make a single mention of Pandora, the service that most closely resembles Apple’s. iTunes Radio, then, will itself have to create the excitement. Assuming that it works well and that Apple’s strategy plays out, that should happen.

This is a giant opportunity for Apple, which also makes it Apple’s to mess up.

Apple’s ambitions

For all the attention given to streaming music, which now makes up the fastest-growing segment of the recorded-music industry, much of the world is still listening to AM/FM radio. Which is why network radio in the U.S. captured the bulk of the roughly $14.8 billion advertisers spent in 2012. At the same time, though, more and more radio fans are listening online, either by streaming AM/FM stations or by tuning into pure digital radio plays like Pandora.

While the shift to digital radio — whether that’s delivered up by algorithms or, as is the case with Pandora and Apple, by a mix of human selection and machine — is growing fast, it’s still in the early stages. Pandora, with its huge audience, says it has 7.33 percent of the total U.S. radio listening audience. That means plenty of people have yet to migrate to the Pandora camp — and those are people Apple is going after as well.

But here’s Pandora’s big challenge. It’s not a global service. Far from it. It has rights to music in the U.S. and, more recently, Australia and New Zealand. Unlike Apple, which struck deals directly with the labels and publishers, Pandora goes through rights organizations in each country, so adding markets is challenging, time-consuming, and costly.

“It is our sincere hope to someday be able to offer Pandora globally,” says Pandora spokeswoman Amanda Livingood. “Our posture with respect to further international expansion is best described as ‘patiently opportunistic.'”

So while all the talk about how iTunes Radio is so much like Pandora is fair for now, Pandora is also way too U.S.-centric for Apple’s global ambitions. When Apple rolls out iTunes Radio this fall, it will be available only in the U.S., but Cue said Apple will add other countries over time. Those, according to music industry insiders, include the U.K, France, Germany, and Japan, but the service could be big very quickly. The agreements Apple has with the music labels and publishers generally give it rights to the countries where iTunes operates, which is now in 119 territories.

An Apple representative wouldn’t comment on plans beyond the U.S. rollout.

Although the press is comparing iTunes Radio features to Pandora’s features — check out a side-by-side from CNET’s Donald Bell here — huge swaths of the world have nothing resembling either service. And that’s a giant, lucrative void that Apple can try to fill.

“This is the first global radio deal that any service has established,” says Michael Nash, a music industry veteran and former head of digital for Warner Music. “This type of service does not exist in many places. This is not about feature enhancements. Apple is in a position to execute, and no competitor has a business partnership with the music industry or a music operation in place to match them.”

Because iTunes is already global, Nash points out, Apple has data that understands local tastes and genres in a way that others do not. (Remember, iTunes already has 575 million customers). Pandora, which relies on musicologists to log music as part of the 13-year-old Music Genome Project, just can’t compete in this way — even if it were to expand into new markets.

“Apple has the best music consumption data of anybody,” says Nash, who worked on numerous deals with iTunes. “They know not only what’s in your music collection, but what you listen to and how often you listened to it. That’s huge in driving recommendations.”

Taking it to the road

And then there’s the car — where, according to Arbitron, the average American spends 15 hours a week. As Cue talked about at WWDC, Apple is working with more and more automakers to integrate iOS functions right into the car’s LCD. He rattled off a number of partners, including Honda, Mercedes, Nissan, Ferrari, Hyundai, Kia, and Infiniti.

Pandora, too, is working with plenty of automakers. Included in the stat sheet it sent out were these figures: Pandora comes in 175 aftermarket devices and is built into more than 90 different car models.

It’s a natural fit. According to one survey, 84 percent of respondents said they listen to AM/FM radio while driving. More telling, though, is that among the 18- to 24-year-old group, roughly one in five people said they stream music on Pandora via their cell phones while driving. You can see where this is all going: Get it all built into the car and this will be how many people will want their music.

Couple this with the major changes to the voice-activated Siri technology announced at WWDC, and, BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield says, iTunes Radio is a clear threat. Siri, he wrote, is “key to giving iOS an important place in the car and beyond, and making iTunes Radio a true ‘Pandora Killer.'” Especially if iTunes Radio — not Pandora or, say, Spotify — is front and center in the dashboard.

Of course, Apple has plenty of challenges — and new challengers. Spotify, with an Internet radio service in 28 countries, is quickly adding territories. Google, meantime, rolled out a Spotify-like subscription service in May that’s part of Google Play, and it could decide to add a free tier as it tries to compete. It’s also working on a music service connected to YouTube.

But for the past decade, Apple has lured people to its hardware through entertainment content, beginning with music. And music, with iTunes Radio’s 27 million tracks to Pandora’s 1 million, could further that trend for the next decade. Especially if Apple unveils a cheaper iPhone and even a new device — say, a smartwatch — through which it could send a personalized sound track.

Might history repeat? Consider that Apple was not first to market with a digital music player, a smartphone, or a tablet computer. Yet in each instance, the extra time paid off. Draw whatever conclusions you prefer, but this much is beyond debate: Apple has proved that when it comes to technology, the race does not necessarily always go to the swift.

Microsoft owns 68 Microsoft Merchants within just the united states

Microsoft signalled its intentions in early May perhaps, when Microsoft Home windows marketing and advertising chief Tami Reller advised The Wall Street Journal that Microsoft was embarking over a strategy to engage with its prospects when all over again. Two points in that revised stategy involved, according to the Journal, “helping people triumph over road blocks to learning the revamped program, [and] altering the purchasing encounter for consumers.”

windows 7 professional retail version

That is exactly just what the in-store boutiques promise. From a retail point of view, Very best Buy is just pushing a pattern that former Apple retailing main Ron Johnson experimented with at JC Penney: Enable third-party brand names layout their own personal showcases for their products. (JCP fired Johnson in April, immediately after Johnson’s big guess to remove low cost pricing failed miserably.)

Microsoft didn’t say, but it’s pretty much selected that Microsoft is funding the store-within-a-store strategy, propping up the battling Very best Obtain. Microsoft has also created a $2 billion investment right into a key partner, Dell, demonstrating what it can do to maintain its Windows Laptop ecosystem humming alongside.

What is various with regard to the Very best Obtain expertise? Help and workers, on the list of keys to Reller’s turnaround system. An ”interview” with Microsoft chief internet marketing officer Chris Capossela explained the force for a “takeover” of Ideal Invest in.

Perfectly, compared with plenty of store-within-a-store principles, this will likely really become a department-level takeover in just Greatest Invest in shops,” Capossela stated. “And they’re going to be substantial in dimension, up to two,two hundred sq. ft in certain places. The opposite distinctive issue with regards to the Home windows Retail outlet is the men and women. There’ll be an additional one,200 team readily available to offer an awesome buyer experience, no matter if it’s picking out the suitable Personal computer or demonstrating buyers tips on how to stream Xbox music by means of their Area. Eventually, the online experience should really be great. We’ll have got a whole on-line Home windows Keep experience that should mirror the in-store look-and-feel and provide a complete variety of Microsoft products, even individuals from other spots while in the Ideal Buy retail outlet.

Capossela said that consumers could assume an “innovation table” within the front, the ecosystem segment, in addition to a again wall with components together with other units. “It’s something that has got to be noticed to generally be considered,” he said.

Needless to say, Microsoft by now includes a community of retail destinations: the Microsoft Stores. Now, Microsoft owns 68 Microsoft Merchants within just the united states, every single performing a lot the identical perform because the Very best Purchase showcases. A Microsoft spokeswoman claimed which the two retail experiences will coexist.

In the meantime, Microsoft is quietly repositioning itself as an ecosystem provider, somewhat than an being a purely software-and-services creator. Which has been on screen inside of a completely new series of ads that Microsoft has released, like a Area advertisement that showcases how people is usually more successful making use of Microsoft Business office, which will come bundled on the more affordable Surface area RT.

One of the most the latest ad debuted very last evening. Despite the fact that the advert concentrates on the Windows 8 interface, Microsoft ties it for the Windows Pc, the Home windows Cell phone, as well as Surface area. The tagline? “One working experience. On every single device. For everything in the everyday living.” A different, noticed under, can take a more Office-centric truly feel.

Kodak Instamatic camera turns 50

Eastman Kodak Co.’s revolutionary Instamatic camera, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this month, is defined by its name: easy to use, simply and smartly designed and ready for the fleeting moment.

Because of it, picture-taking was made more instantly possible than ever before.

The name surely worked, as did the camera. Within two years of its March 1963 launch, more than 7.5 million Instamatics had been sold worldwide starting at $16 — a little more than $120 in today’s dollars — said Todd Gustavson, curator of technology at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film.

Today, the Instamatic, when compared to modern technology, seems a relic. But its relevance is all around. It is one of the precursors of 21st-century products and ideas, from the iPad to Twitter, that grab the public’s attention from the first day.

“One of my colleagues when I worked at Kodak said that the Instamatic was the smartest thing the company ever did,” said Rochester resident Ron Andrews, a former senior design engineer at Kodak.

All of Kodak’s cameras since the $1 Brownie was introduced in February 1900 strove to achieve George Eastman’s ideal of making photography universally accessible and affordable.

For a time at least, the Instamatic reached that promised land.

As with most things at Kodak, what looked simple and inviting on the outside was the product of hard work and ingenuity in the Kodak labs.

The mostly anonymous engineers and designers who worked at Kodak and lived in and around here outdid themselves with the Instamatic.

It hit the retail market with the force of transformation.

“The trade press saw how revolutionary the Instamatic was right away. The reviews reflected that,” said Gustavson, who is the curator of a special exhibit of the Instamatic, on display in its bright-yellow gift box complete with flash and batteries, just inside the entrance to the museum.

Gustavson said two things elevated the Instamatic above other cameras then on the market. It had a self-contained flash and it had a unique film canister or cartridge that, by dint of its design, solved the long-time problem of erratic film-loading. It was called the 126 cartridge or Kodapack.

It made the entire industry sit up and pay attention. And others began to work on similar versions.

“The cartridge was easy to load and remove,” Gustavson said. “It was essentially foolproof. I worked in a camera store and people used to come in to ask if I could load their camera for them. They weren’t sure that they were doing it right. The film cartridge took that fear away for many. Anybody could use this camera and load it in daylight.”

And did.

Between 1963 and 1970, more than 50 million Instamatics were sold. The engineer who came up with the 126 cartridge was Hubert Nerwin. His name is on the patent. But he’s not as celebrated as his work merits.

“Soon after the Instamatic was released, my mother bought me one, making me so happy,” Albert Mach said in a post on the museum website. “No more hassling with film in the dark.”

Jess Beckerman was visiting the Eastman museum along with her sons, Justin and Cole. She, and they, use digital cameras now. But she remembers her mother buying an Instamatic.

“We couldn’t get her to stop taking pictures,” Beckerman said. Hers was a house where cameras and film were a pursuit of delight and discovery. “My dad was taking movies back in the 1960s and 1970s.”

Sam Swayze of Fairport, N.Y., the retired manager of industrial design at Kodak, said he came to the company in 1968, five years after the Instamatic’s launch. He worked on the pocket Instamatic, an even smaller, more self-contained version of the camera. He met and labored with the engineers who designed the original. It was a heady time to be in the business.

“I remember being in awe of these people when I came to the company as a young man,” he said. “What they were, and what we all were, were crazy problem-solvers. We wanted to find solutions to the problem of making cameras as easy to use as possible.”


Another attribute the engineers and designers had in common was curiosity, Swayze said.

George Eastman was long gone by the time the Instamatic came out. But it was a validation of all he had done with the company.

The founder made it a point early on to create and staff laboratories that examined the science of film and cameras to an unprecedented degree, Gustavson said.

“This year is the 50th anniversary of the Instamatic,” he said. “But it’s also the 100th anniversary of the Kodak lab.”