Apple’s Week Centered on Tim Cook and Qualcomm

Story image for Apple from Fortune

In a first in quite some time, Apple suffered from a rather troubled week.

Over the past several days, Apple was forced to deal with some problems. The company has been quietly scrubbing the App Store of what has been called “hundreds of thousands” of apps that are delivering little to no value to users. Additionally, the company’s fight with chipmaker Qualcomm intensified this week. And Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, watched his employee approval rating fall. But in a bit of bittersweet news for Apple, the company’s e-book troubles are being put to rest.

Overall, it wasn’t the best of weeks for Apple (AAPL, +0.45%). But even so, there are no signs of business troubles in Cupertino, so it wasn’t all bad.

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Here’s our look at the biggest Apple news from the past week:

This is Fortune’s weekly roundup of the biggest Apple news this week. To see last week’s roundup, click here.

  1. Apple CEO Tim Cook’s employee ranking is down for 2017. In a new study from Glassdoor, Cook took the 53rd slot in a ranking of the world’s top CEOs by employee opinion. Cook earned a 93% approval rating in the study. That’s down from a 96% approval rating last year, when he took the eighth spot in the study. Glassdoor didn’t say why Cook’s approval rating fell year over year, but he’s still far ahead of most chief executives: the average CEO approval rating is 67%.
  2. Apple opened a new front in its battle against Qualcomm this week, saying the chip-maker shouldn’t get a cut on every iPhone it sells. Qualcomm has argued that it should get a license on each iPhone sold, and has been accused by Apple of withholding $1 billion in rebates. The companies are battling the case in a U.S. federal court.
  3. Good news if you have an Apple e-book credit: you can cash it in. Bad news if you have an Apple e-book credit: you have practically no time to do it. Those who are eligible for a credit received emails this week informing them that they would need to cash in their rebates by Saturday at 11:59 p.m. PT. That means you have just hours to get your credit. The credit is the result of Apple’s protracted battle over alleged e-book price-fixing between 2010 and 2012. Apple was ordered last year to pay $400 million in refunds to those affected by its e-book pricing.
  4. If you’re looking to save a few bucks on Apple Music, it’s now possible. Apple has quietly added an annual Apple Music subscription to the service for $99. That’s a $21 savings on the standard $9.99-a-month option. It’s a bit buried, however, so click here to find out how to access the annual Apple Music subscription.
  5. Apple has been quietly removing “hundreds of thousands” of useless apps from its App Store over the past year, according to TechCrunch. Apple has also updated its App Store guidelines to ban apps that use a “commercialized template or app generation service.” The move could reduce the chances of spam or scam apps making their way into the App Store.

One more thing… An unidentified bidder this week bought an original—and working—Apple I computer for $355,500 at a Christie’s New York

[Source”pcworld”]

Crude oil holds near 7-month lows on global oversupply

Oil prices steadied just above seven-month lows on Tuesday after news of increases in supply, a trend which has undermined the attempts by OPEC and other producers to support the market through reduced output.

Benchmark Brent was up 15 cents at $47.06 by 0820 GMT. On Monday, it fell 46 cents, or 1 per cent, to settle at $46.91 a barrel.

That was its lowest close since November 29, the day before the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers agreed to cut output by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) for six months from January.

US crude oil was 15 cents higher at $44.35 a barrel. It fell 54 cents on Monday to $44.20, its lowest close since November 14.

Both benchmarks are down by around 15 per cent since late May, when OPEC, Russia and other producers extended their limits on production until the end of March 2018.

“Recent data points are not encouraging,” Morgan Stanley analysts said in a research note. “Identifiable oil inventories – both crude and product in the OECD, China and selected other non-OECD countries – increased at a rate of (about) 1 (million bpd) in Q1.”

OPEC supplies jumped in May as output recovered in Libya and Nigeria, two countries exempt from the production reduction agreement.

Libya’s oil production rose more than 50,000 bpd to 885,000 bpd after the state oil company settled a dispute with Germany’s Wintershall, a Libyan source told Reuters.

Nigerian oil supply is also rising, industry figures show. Exports of Nigeria’s benchmark Bonny Light crude oil are set to reach 226,000 bpd in August, up from 164,000 bpd in July, loading programmes show.

“The increasing August export programme in Nigeria and the jump in Libyan oil output should pressure oil prices further in the short term,” said Tamas Varga, senior analyst at London brokerage PVM Oil Associates.

“If we get bearish US oil statistics this week, we could see a test of $45 on Brent,” Varga said.

US oil production has been rising quickly this year, feeding the global glut. Data on Friday showed a record 22nd consecutive week of increases in US oil drilling rigs.

But Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said the oil market is heading in the right direction and just needs time to rebalance, the London-based newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported on Monday.

 [Source”timesofindia”]

How eBay Supports Buyers and Sellers on Social Media

eBay, the online marketplace, is in a unique position: It sells billions of dollars of merchandise each year, but none of it is their own. So when customers reach out on social media, they are either buyers or sellers on the platform, and eBay stands in the middle.

“We can’t be too biased on the buyer side and we can’t be too heavy on the seller side,” says Dallen McKee, Global Social Media Customer Care Team Leader at eBay. “We have to create a good experience for both.”

In general, disagreements between buyers and sellers are not specific to eBay – they occur in many other e-commerce transactions, McKee says.

“That’s what happens to e-commerce is buyers might have an expectation of exactly what a product is,  and in e-commerce you don’t have the luxury of seeing it, holding it, trying it on, whatever the case may be,” he says.

The eBay team aims to “set both parties up for success” by “encouraging the two parties to work together,” McKee adds, noting that “the vast majority of our sellers are very willing to correct the situation for a buyer.”

eBay’s goal is “to create experiences that make a difference” while balancing the need for a quick response. It is critical, McKee says, “to not allow social media customer care to turn into just any other channel… to really make it a different voice a different tone and to create an experience that can actually generate a positive brand perception.”

eBay has done that in two big ways:

First, the company takes user feedback seriously and because the Social Media Customer Care team is integrated into the rest of the organization, it can act on that feedback. After a recent mobile app release that wasn’t as well received as the company had hoped, McKee’s team quickly gathered both the negative and positive feedback and helped the product and technical teams make quick adjustments in a future release.

“Once our product team specifically understands that social media is a faster avenue to generate this type of feedback, they are more prone to ask us for assistance,” McKee says.

The product and technical teams now understand that social feedback is more immediate than sifting through phone call records, so they are now proactive about engaging the Social Media Customer Care team right at product launch.

“They come to us to say, ‘Hey we’re launching a product, can you get X amount of headcount positions to search for this feedback as it comes in, get it real-time, and we’ll make changes on the fly,’” McKee says. “And that’s the culture we’ve started to create here within eBay.”

Second, the company has embarked on a new Facebook Messenger bot to simplify the experience of searching for items on the massive site.

“[It’s] a feature with Facebook Messenger where you type in what exactly you’re looking for and it asks additional questions to really hone in on the specifics of what you want,” McKee says.

(Readers can try out the new bot, called eBay ShopBot, here.)

McKee acknowledges that messaging apps are the “wave of the future” and says the company is focused on messaging for both service and the buying experience.

Interestingly, eBay seems to be a victim of its own success in social media. The company is seeing a 20% increase in customer service inquiries year over year in both Facebook and Twitter.

“You generate your own volume,” McKee says. “The more you engage, the more you respond, the more questions that come in, the more customers start to realize that they can come here first and it’s not just a way to complain about not getting what you wanted out of a different channel.”

 

[Source:- Socialmediatoday]

 

Fujitsu Primergy TX1310 M1 – the workhorse Xeon server for SMEs on a budget

Image result for Fujitsu Primergy TX1310 M1 - the workhorse Xeon server for SMEs on a budget

Fujitsu Primergy TX1310 Specs

  • Fujitsu PRIMERGY TX1310 E3-1200 3.3GHz Xeon v3 supporting ECC memory – Up to 32 GB ECC memory (2 DIMMs) – 4 x 3.5 inch storage bays with RAID controller (not hot pluggable)
  • screwless chassis with easy rails
  • bay for backup drive
  • 4 PCIe slots – Dual Gigabit LAN ports
  • 8 x USB (4 x USB 3.0)
  • integrated graphics or optional Fujitsu VGA card

Fujitsu Primergy TX1310 Price

RRP: £499 (£349 on special, inc VAT)

Fujitsu Primergy TX1310 M1 – the workhorse Xeon server for SMEs on a budget

Can any more be said about small business servers these days? Normally we’d say not, but Fujitsu’s Xeon E3-1226-equipped Primergy dumped itself on our testing desk with a startling price tag of only £499 (£349 on promotion at eBuyer inc VAT) piquing our interest.

On the face of it, a small business is getting a lot for its CAPEX budget with this system, even once the cost of support and a volume OS license is added to the final bill. Within Fujitsu’s extensive line-up of tower servers, the TX100 series is the entry-level system, with the TX1310 occupying the middle of three tiers within that.

The TX1310 system supplied had 8GB of DDR3 1600HMz RAM in a single module (the Fujitsu site specifies 2 x 4GB for some reason), with a single spare slot on the motherboard, the maximum being 32GB. Frankly, this need to be doubled unless it’s being used for a basic tasks such as a print server, although the cost mentioned above includes that spec.

Fixed storage was in the form of 2 x 500GB SATA 6GB drives configured for RAID 1 mirroring and a DVD-RW drive, eight USB sockets, four being USB 3.0, two of which were at the front of the unit. Again, upping this to 2 x 1TB drives would be advisable (also included in the above price), which offers 1TB of capacity with RAID. Other features include the Intel I350-T2 Ethernet LAN card with dual Gigabit ports and on/off switches on the front and rear of the case.

The system ships with Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard pre-installed with Fujitsu ServerView Suite.

 

[Source:- Techworld]

The path to a Surface phone is clearer than ever with Windows 10 on ARM

Why does ARM on Windows 10 matter? What does it mean for a phone running Windows 10? Let’s break down Microsoft’s latest announcement to identify its implications.

Microsoft’s announcement of Windows 10 on ARM is a momentous occasion. Companies like Apple have been rumored since 2012 to be working on bringing macOS to ARM. Even just weeks before the MacBook Pro refresh rumors were swirling that Apple’s new laptops were ARM based. Yet it is Microsoft who is the first to do it for real (and not just for a Touch Bar).

To be clear, Windows 10 on ARM is about PCs and not phones. Nonetheless, the prospect that these two systems will come together is feasible. Here is how a Surface “phone” could happen, but first some background on why ARM even matters.

x86-64 versus ARM

ARM is the architecture used in modern smartphones. Whether it’s Apple’s A10 Fusion chip or Qualcomm’s Snapdragon line, these processors are all based on the ARM architecture. ARM differs significantly from x86 and x64, which is what Intel chips like ATOM, Core M, and Core i are based, as well as AMD’s processors.

Windows 10 Mobile runs on ARM; Windows 10 on x86-64. They share OneCore and UWP, but there’s a yawning gulf between the architectures.

Windows 10 Mobile runs on ARM; Windows 10 for PC runs on x86-64. Both share OneCore and UWP as their center of overlap. The difference is also why you cannot run x86 Win32 apps on your phone. Architecture matters.

Because ARM was made to be efficient for small batteries and reduced thermal loads, it’s ideal for smartphones and slim tablets.

Historically, ARM chips were significantly less powerful than desktop-class x86 processors. That’s been changing in the last few years. Apple’s A10 Fusion chip, found in the iPhone 7, is often compared in performance to the 2013 MacBook Air — which sported a 1.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor.

So, if ARM’s so fantastic, why not just put your desktop OS on it? The task requires a tremendous amount of engineering and work. Microsoft, evidently, has finished it. Apple is likely still working on something.

 

 

 

 

[Source:- Windowscentral]

The SIM-unlocked Alcatel IDOL 4S quietly goes on sale through the Microsoft Store

Image result for The SIM-unlocked Alcatel IDOL 4S quietly goes on sale through the Microsoft Store

Looks like speculation that Alcatel’s Idol 4S running Windows 10 Mobile going carrier-unlocked (GSM) after a T-Mobile exclusivity ended were true. As spotted on MSPU Microsoft has begun to make the rather powerful – and impressive – Windows 10 Mobile phone available for purchase in the US through their store.

Asking price is still the same $470, which includes the VR goggle package and 21MP rear camera.

Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 Specs

CPU Snapdragon 820 | Quad Core CPU @2.15 GHz
Display 5.5-inch FHD AMOLED
Dragontrail 2.5D Glass
Memory 64GB ROM
4GB RAM
microSD
Camera 21 MP rear camera
8 MP front-facing camera
Battery 3,000 mAh
Quick Charge 3.0
420Hrs Standby
15Hrs Talk
Continuum Yes
VR Yes
Windows Hello Yes (Fingerprint)
Audio Dual speakers with Hi-Fi surround sound
Dimensions 153.9 x 75.4 x 6.99 mm
Weight 152g
HD Voice Yes
VoLTE Yes
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Wi-Fi Calling 1.0
Bluetooth BT 4.1
A2DP, OPP, HFP, AVRCP, PBAP

The rest of the specifications and color (‘Halo Gold’) are all the same as well. In fact, it’s likely the same device as our review unit, which was unlocked as well and worked brilliantly on AT&T with no issue.

Microsoft notes that the unlocked version should work on AT&T, T-Mobile, H20, Straight Talk, Cricket Wireless, MetroPCS, and select prepaid carriers.

 

 

[Source:- Windowscentral]

 

FACEBOOK IS PLANNING TO BET BIG ON VR IN THE NEXT DECADE

ANDROIDPIT VR glasses 2

The lawsuit

Oculus is facing a $2 billion lawsuit from ZeniMax over the creation of the technology that went into their VR headset. ZeniMax is a game publisher, and while you may not have heard of them, you may have heard of some of their games, like Fallout or Elder Scrolls. Some parts of this technology may have come from a former employee of the game publisher, and ZeniMax was never compensated for it. Zuckerberg went to the trial yesterday to testify for Oculus, which Facebook had acquired back in March 2014 for $2 billion plus another $1 billion more for milestones and employee retention. Zuckerberg, of course, denied the accusations and issued this sick burn after being asked by a ZeniMax lawyer about his reaction to the suit:

“It is pretty common when you announce a big deal or do something that all kinds of people just kind of come out of the woodwork and claim that they just own some portion of the deal. Like most people in the court, I’ve never even heard of ZeniMax before.”

Zuckerberg’s vision for VR

Zuckerberg gave us some strong hints about his vision for VR during the trial, and it seems to me that his plan for the technology involves three key components:

1. Improve quality of the VR experience

While he doesn’t think that “good virtual reality is fully there yet,” he does seem hopeful for the future, and more importantly, seems like he has a plan. He projected it would take five to 10 more years of development in order to “get to where we all want to go.”

2. Commit to long-term efforts

But, why will it take so long? He said, “These things end up being more complex than you think up front.” So it seems that the company knows it will have to make a larger long-term investment to reach its technical and adoption goals than it had initially planned.

3. Make a large monetary investment

Zuckerberg said during the trial that Facebook will probably have to invest over $3 billion in the next 10 years in order to give hundreds of millions of people a good virtual reality experience, which is the primary goal.

 

[Source:- AP]

 

Nougat-powered LG Aristo arriving at MetroPCS for just $59 on January 23

In this day and age where new phones are still being released with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, it’s great to hear about new, budget-friendly handsets that are running the latest version of Android out of the box. In this case, MetroPCS will be selling such a phone, the LG Aristo, for just $59 starting on Monday, January 23. That price comes after a $70 instant rebate.

The 5-inch phone has a display resolution of 1280 x 720. Inside, the LG Aristo will have a 1.4GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor, along with 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of on-board storage, and a microSD card slot that can increase that storage by up to 32GB. It also has a 13MP rear camera and a 5MP front-facing camera, and a removable 2,410mAh battery. It also sports a rear-mounted fingerprint reader below the camera..

Obviously, the hardware specs on the LG Aristo are on the lower end, but this phone might be good to get for a secondary device, and it does have the latest Android OS version pre-installed, which is definitely a plus.

If you don’t want to mess with buying a phone from MetroPCS, its parent company, T-Mobile, will sell the same device on January 25. It will cost $144 for its full retail price, or you can get it $0 down and just $6 per month for 24 months.

 

 

[Source:- Androidauthority]

 

The SIM-unlocked Alcatel IDOL 4S quietly goes on sale through the Microsoft Store

Image result for The SIM-unlocked Alcatel IDOL 4S quietly goes on sale through the Microsoft Store

Looks like speculation that Alcatel’s Idol 4S running Windows 10 Mobile going carrier-unlocked (GSM) after a T-Mobile exclusivity ended were true. As spotted on MSPU Microsoft has begun to make the rather powerful – and impressive – Windows 10 Mobile phone available for purchase in the US through their store.

Asking price is still the same $470, which includes the VR goggle package and 21MP rear camera.

Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 Specs

CPU Snapdragon 820 | Quad Core CPU @2.15 GHz
Display 5.5-inch FHD AMOLED
Dragontrail 2.5D Glass
Memory 64GB ROM
4GB RAM
microSD
Camera 21 MP rear camera
8 MP front-facing camera
Battery 3,000 mAh
Quick Charge 3.0
420Hrs Standby
15Hrs Talk
Continuum Yes
VR Yes
Windows Hello Yes (Fingerprint)
Audio Dual speakers with Hi-Fi surround sound
Dimensions 153.9 x 75.4 x 6.99 mm
Weight 152g
HD Voice Yes
VoLTE Yes
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Wi-Fi Calling 1.0
Bluetooth BT 4.1
A2DP, OPP, HFP, AVRCP, PBAP

The rest of the specifications and color (‘Halo Gold’) are all the same as well. In fact, it’s likely the same device as our review unit, which was unlocked as well and worked brilliantly on AT&T with no issue.

Microsoft notes that the unlocked version should work on AT&T, T-Mobile, H20, Straight Talk, Cricket Wireless, MetroPCS, and select prepaid carriers.

Supporting Continuum, VR, and a handy fingerprint reader the Idol 4S is also one of the slimmest and nicest looking Windows phones we have seen.

In my full review of the Idol 4S, I had nothing but outstanding things to say about the hardware, design, execution, and price. While the Windows 10 Mobile ecosystem and app situation are well known and the Idol 4s’s camera pales to a high-end Lumia, it is still the best option for the Microsoft fan who see little value in going to iOS and Android.

 

[Source:- Windowscentral]

 

How phishing scams thrive on overconfidence

Image result for How phishing scams thrive on overconfidence

A new study by H.R. Rao, AT&T Distinguished Chair in Infrastructure Assurance and Security at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), examines overconfidence in detecting phishing e-mails. According to Rao, most people believe they’re smarter than the criminals behind these schemes, which is why so many fall easily into a trap.

“A big advantage for phishers is self efficacy,” Rao, a UTSA College of Business faculty member, said. “Many times, people think they know more than they actually do, and are smarter than someone trying to pull of a scam via an e-mail.”

However, phishing has continued to evolve with the internet. It’s no longer strangers posing as troubled Nigerian princes looking to cheat the average person out of their credit card information. Instead, phishing e-mails often look like messages from companies ordinary people recognize and trust.

“They’re getting very good at mimicking the logos of popular companies,” Rao said.

The researcher was actually nearly caught up in a phishing scam last year, when an e-mail that appeared to be from UPS informed him that there was a problem with a package he had sent. Even Rao, a highly experienced cybersecurity researcher, nearly fell for the scam, as he happened to have recently mailed a package via UPS.

“In any of these situations, overconfidence is always a killer,” he said.

Rao’s study, which he collaborated on with colleagues from The University of Texas at Arlington and Columbia College, utilized an experimental survey that had subjects choose between the genuine and the sinister e-mails that he and his colleagues had created for the project. Afterward, the subjects explained why they made their choices, which allowed Rao to classify which type of overconfidence was playing a role in their decision-making processes.

“Our study’s focus on different types of over-confidence is unique, and allows us to understand why certain tactics appeal to different people,” Rao said. “It helps us to figure out ways to teach people to guard against these kinds of methods.”

According to Rao, people will continue to be victimized by phishing scams until the public becomes better educated and, subsequently, less overconfident. He suggested citizen workshops or even an online game that would inform people of the newer every day dangers of the internet.

“Thousands of e-mails are sent out every day with the aim of harming someone or gaining access to their financial information,” Rao said. “Avoiding that kind of damage is entirely in our own hands.”

 

[Source:- SD]