Finland, Australia, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, South Korea and the U.S. had wireless broadband penetration of more than 100 percent as of December 2013, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Tuesday. That means there was more than one wireless broadband subscription per person, usually because consumers have more than one mobile device that can go online. The U.S. just barely crossed the bar, while Finland led the group with more than 123 percent penetration.
Across all 37 OECD countries, wireless broadband penetration rose to 72.4 percent as total subscriptions grew 14.6 percent. The group spans North America, Australia, New Zealand, and much of Europe, as well as Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Israel, Mexico and Chile. It’s sometimes treated as a barometer of the developed world.
Wired broadband subscriptions also grew in 2013, reaching an average of 27 percent penetration. That means there was just over one wired subscription per four people: Wired broadband services, such as cable and DSL (digital subscriber line), typically are shared. Switzerland led in that category with 44.9 percent penetration, followed by the Netherlands and Denmark. The U.S. had just under 30 wired subscriptions per 100 people, while Turkey came in last with just over 11.
DSL still makes up a majority of wired broadband subscriptions, at 51.5 percent, followed by cable with 31.2 percent. Fiber-optic grew to a 16.7 percent share, gradually replacing DSL services. Fiber more than doubled its share of the market in the U.K. and also gained strongly in Spain, Turkey and France. While those countries still have relatively low fiber penetration, Japan and Korea continued to lead the OECD for that technology. Nearly 70 percent of all wired broadband in Japan goes over fiber, and almost 65 percent in Korea.
The OECD has compiled some of its broadband statistics on a portal page. For all the technologies it tracks, the group uses a generous definition of broadband as a service capable of at least 256K bits per second downstream.
Intel has announced the Drive Pro 2500 series of solid state disk (SSD) drives that are “self encrypting”, which the firm says makes them more secure against data breaches.
Aimed at businesses, the Intel SSD Pro 2500 series will come in a 2.4in 7mm form factor with 120GB, 180GB, 240GB, 360GB and 480GB capacities, M.2 80mm size with 180GB, 240GB and 360GB capacities, and M.2 60mm size with 180GB or 240GB capacities.
Intel promises that each form factor type will provide random input/output operations per second (IOPS) of up to 48K/80K and sequential read/write data transfer speeds of up to 540/490MBps.
“[The] Solid State Drive Pro 2500 series [has] over [six times] higher performance with new advanced low power modes yielding an optimized user experience and longer battery life,” Intel said in a press briefing.
In terms of power, the drives will have an active wattage of 195mW, idle 55mW and devsleep of 5mW. The drives will also ship with Intel vPro-capable remote manageability features.
Intel said that the reason behind the launch of the self encrypting SSDs is due to rise of data breaches affecting businesses having “significant financial consequences”.
Intel said the average cost of data breach incident is in the region of $3.4m (£2m), with malicious attacks being the main cause. The firm also said that lost laptops are a concern and the average cost of a lost unencrypted device is $50,000 (£30,000) including intellectual property loss, data breaches, lost productivity, replacement and legal costs, so the need for businesses to encrypt data is more pressing than ever.
Data breaches are also becoming a bigger concern on a personal level, too, as it has emerged that cyber crooks are increasingly turning to “sextortion” attacks in which they blackmail victims with the threat of exposing explicit photographs or messages.
Security experts warned that cyber criminals might try to befriend victims and trick them into sharing pictures, or may use malware to target victims’ webcams and take pictures themselves in order to acquire blackmail material.
Western Digital has announced an upgrade of its WD Red range, providing a single brand structure across consumer and enterprise.
The WD Red range is aimed primarily at network attached storage (NAS) applications, and is joined by a new WD Red Pro line. Both sub-ranges are controlled by upgraded firmware called NASware 3.0.
At a briefing last week, Western Digital’s UK country manager Jermaine Campbell explained that the new firmware will be able to instruct the drive to work in different ways according to the function it is performing at the time, therefore adapting its performance to best use system and energy resources.
In addition, it increases the number of bays supported from five to eight without performance impact, with the Pro range able to support up to 16 bays and rack mounted configurations.
3D Active Balance combines firmware instruction with a new flexible drive head to provide vibration protection and judder compensation for improved reliability.
The consumer range introduces 5TB and 6TB capacities to the range, joining the existing 1TB, 2TB and 4TB models. The Pro range is available in 2TB and 4TB versions. The five platter 6TB version is, WD claims, a first to market for a NAS specific drive.
Campbell explained that “the market wants high capacity” and confirmed that WD still believes that “platter based drives offer the best combination of performance and price”.
Pricing for the drives ranges from $399 for the 5TB and $440 for the 6TB, backed by a three-year warranty. The Pro range starts at $224 for 2TB up to $299 for 4TB with a five-year warranty.
WD Red drives can also be found in the company’s Mycloud range of consumer NAS devices with personal cloud functionality.
There were 632 million Internet users in China in June, according to the government-linked China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).
Although China has long reigned as the country with the world’s largest Internet population, the services are still struggling to take off in the rural areas, where about 450 million people never go online, said the CNNIC in its bi-annual report.
Total Internet penetration in China is at 46.9 percent. This is far lower than the U.S, which has a penetration rate of 87 percent, according to Internet World Stats.
Many of these non-Internet users in China have low education levels, and have little need to surf the Web, the research group added. To increase adoption, the CNNIC recommended that the country focus on teaching rural elementary students Internet skills.
The slowing growth in Internet usage in China follows a rapid rise in the Internet population there, from just 94 million over a decade ago. Most of the growth has taken place in the country’s urban areas, where the Internet market has begun to mature.
In June, China had 527 million users who went online with mobile phones, which have now overtaken PCs, including both notebooks and desktops, as the most popular way to reach the Internet, the CNNIC said.
Online messaging, search engines, and news are the country’s top Internet services. But social networking sites are facing a decline in popularity, with their user numbers falling by 7.4 percent to 257 million in the last six months. The sites are struggling to innovate, and meet the demands of users, CNNIC said in its report.
Consumer and business shoppers can pay for products directly via bitcoins or through Coinbase, a third-party payment processing company, Dell said.
Buyers can pay for products through Bitcoin wallets or by scanning a QR code with a smartphone.
The volatile Bitcoin has had its share of controversies and exchange shutdowns as the currency matures. Companies like Overstock.com, Newegg, Expedia and some Amazon storefronts accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. But major retailers like Walmart and eBay have not warmed up to the idea. The value of one bitcoin was around $630 as of Friday, according to multiple cryptocurrency website.
There are some advantages to paying via Bitcoin. The form of currency is accepted around the world, and for Dell, the payment-processing cost is less than with credit cards.
But the form of payment has its quirks.
“Due to the nature of the Bitcoin network, once you initiate a Bitcoin transaction you cannot change or cancel it,” Dell said on a terms and conditions page.
Customers could seek refunds in the case of canceled transactions or product returns.
“For a qualifying return of product paid for in Bitcoin, any refund due will be remitted to the purchaser via check in U.S. Dollars for the full amount of the purchase price paid at the time of the original transaction, less any applicable restocking fees,” Dell said.
The announcement, just days before IBM releases its second quarter earnings, comes as the company attempts to shift its focus to software and services as its hardware unit continues to slump, and follows a string of mobile software acquisitions. The company hopes software sales will contribute half of its total profit by 2015.
The company will release more than 100 apps targeting industry specific issues in retail, healthcare, banking, travel, transportation and telecommunications IBM said on Tuesday.
“We wanted to focus on creating an absolutely irresistible workflow and processes and a design of apps that can be used by every user in the organization,” Bridget van Kralingen, IBM’s senior vice president of global business services told Reuters from Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California.
“We wanted to remove some of the existing barriers of mobile in enterprise,” she said adding that chief information officers worry about security, utilizing cloud and installing apps in mobile devices.
The partnership, which was six months in the making, will offer services geared at security, mobile device management and big data and analytics. The company also plans to develop cloud services optimized for Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS. The devices will operate through wireless carriers chosen by the client, she said.
BlackBerry Ltd shares were down 3 percent following the announcement. The Canadian smartphone maker has increasingly targeted its secure software at businesses as part of an effort to turn the company around after losing ground to Apple’s iPhone and Samsung Electronics Co.
Apple and Samsung have steadily expanded their share of the mobile enterprise market in recent years, mostly at Blackberry’s expense, while Microsoft Windows phones have made little headway.
Increasingly, Apple’s expansion has been driven by employees bringing in their own devices and requesting corporate support, the so-called bring-your-own-IT trend.
Hooking up with IBM may help address lingering concerns about smartphone software security and data privacy, in the form of a veteran partner that’s led in enterprise IT for decades.
“This deal is a very targeted attempt by Apple with the help from IBM to focus on the enterprise, corporate market which has really been the main business of Blackberry,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer at Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York.
The bank amassed huge quantities of Tibco software while it was still within the terms of a license agreement that expired in February 2013, then used the software for the project when it was out of license, according to the suit.
As of Tuesday, Bank of America hadn’t filed a response to Tibco’s suit, which was filed last month in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. But a spokesman said the bank had done nothing wrong.
“We have a long history of positive relationships with our third party partners,” spokesman Mark Pipitone said via email. “In accordance with that, we have acted in good faith to observe the scope of Tibco’s license at all times, and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves.”
Tibco’s lawsuit provides a detailed narrative of Bank of America’s alleged wrongful deeds.
The bank is a long-time Tibco customer, and an addendum to its 2010 license agreement allowed Bank of America to deploy various Tibco products for a further three years from that date, the suit states.
But the license had “specific restrictions” on how the bank could deploy and make copies of the software, Tibco says. The restrictions aren’t specified in the lawsuit, which says some terms of the companies’ agreement are subject to a confidentiality provision.
About six months after the bank’s license expired, Tibco discovered the bank was “rolling out a large integration initiative called Merrill Lynch One,” the suit states.
It was initially deployed to 400 advisors in September 2013, with another 14,000 set to be migrated during this year, according to the suit.
The bank does “not have licensed copies of the TIBCO Registered Software, and have instead made unauthorized copies and used the same for the Merrill Lynch One Project,” the suit alleges.
The alleged stockpiling of software during the three-year license period resulted in an accumulation of copies worth at least $300 million, it says.
Facing rising commercial demand for the devices, Dell has not been able to keep up with orders.
The Chromebook 11, which shipped in December, is listed as unavailable on Dell’s Chromebook website, and the company is asking potential buyers to call in orders.
“Due to strong demand, the Dell Chromebook 11 is currently not available for order on Dell.com. It continues to be available for our education customers and can be ordered through their sales representative,” said Ellen Murphy, a Dell spokeswoman, in an e-mail.
The laptop will eventually come online again, though the company did not provide a specific date.
With Dell keeping Chromebook purchases open mainly to commercial customers, individual buyers may have to turn to competitive products from Samsung, Toshiba, Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard, which are available online starting at under $200.
The Chromebook is a lightweight, low-cost computer for those who do most of their computing online. It has Google’s Chrome OS, and most applications needs wireless connectivity. However, more offline applications are becoming available.
Dell’s decision comes as Chromebook shipments rise and competitors launch new models. Chromebooks accounted for 35 percent of all U.S. commercial laptop shipments to date in 2014, jumping more than 250 percent compared to the same period last year. Chromebooks accounted for 5 percent to 6 percent of overall consumer laptop sales in the period, and that number will continue to rise, said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD.
More than 20 Chromebook models are expected to be available by the end of the year. Acer last week shipped two C720 Chromebook models with Intel’s Core i3 chips. Dell spokeswoman Murphy said the company is committed to Chromebooks and will launch a new model with the Core i3 processor later this year.
Dell could be choosing commercial customers over individual shipments with Chromebook demand rising during the back-to-school season, Baker said.
“In a period when the product grows, you have to make some decisions,” Baker said.
High profile cases of hackers seizing sensitive customer data from companies, such as U.S. retailer Target Corp or e-commerce company eBay Inc, have executives checking their insurance policies.
Increasingly, corporate risk managers are seeing insurance against cyber crime as necessary budget spending rather than just nice to have.
The insurance broking arm of Marsh & McLennan Companies estimates the U.S cyber insurance market was worth $1 billion last year in gross written premiums and could reach as much as $2 billion this year. The European market is currently a fraction of that, at around $150 million, but is growing by 50 to 100 percent annually, according to Marsh.
Those numbers represent a sliver of the overall insurance market, which is growing at a far more sluggish rate. Premiums are set to grow only 2.8 percent this year in inflation-adjusted terms, according to Munich Re, the world’s biggest reinsurer.
The European cyber coverage market could get a big boost from draft EU data protection rules in the works that would force companies to disclose breaches of customer data to them.
“Companies have become aware that the risk of being hacked is unavoidable,” said Andreas Schlayer, responsible for cyber risk insurance at Munich Re. “People are now more aware that hackers can attack and do great damage to central infrastructure, for example in the energy sector.”
Insurers, which have more experience handling risks like hurricanes and fires, are now rushing to gain expertise in cyber technology.
“It is a difficult risk to price by traditional insurance methods as there currently is not statistically significant actuarial data available,” said Robert Parisi, head of cyber products at insurance brokers Marsh.
Andrew Braunbergon, research director at U.S. cybersecurity advisory company NSS Labs, said that some energy companies have trouble persuading insurers to provide them with cyber coverage as the industry is vulnerable to hacking attacks that could trigger disasters like an explosion in a worst-case scenario.
Pricing on policies for retailers has climbed in the wake of recent high-profile breaches at Target, Neiman Marcus, and other merchants, he added.
The IdeaPad Y50 UHD laptop starts at $1,299.99 and is targeted at gamers. The 4K screen can display images at 3840 x 2160 pixels, which is the highest resolution available in laptops today.
The Y50 is cheaper than Toshiba’s Satellite P50T, which starts at $1,499.99. The P50T started shipping in April, but was temporarily pulled from Toshiba’s website, and is now available again.
Laptop screens have so far topped out at 3200 x 1800 pixels in Samsung’s Ativ Book 9 Plus, Lenovo’s Yoga 2 Pro and Razer’s Blade gaming laptop. TVs, monitors and cameras with support for 4K are already available.
Lenovo in January announced two 4K laptops — the Y50 and the 14-inch Y40 — but the initial units that shipped in May were missing 4K screens and instead came with HD screens. The Y40 model is not yet available with a 4K screen. Lenovo was having issues acquiring 4K displays, which delayed some laptops and monitors.
The Y50 has some of the latest PC technologies, pushing it into the class of a true gaming laptop. The $1,299.99 model has a Core i7 i7-4710HQ processor, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M graphics chip with 2GB of video memory, 8GB of DRAM and 1TB of hard-drive storage. The $1,599.99 model has the same Core i7 CPU, the GeForce GTX 860M with 4GB of video memory, 16GB of DRAM and 512GB solid-state drive storage.
The laptops have Windows 8, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, an HDMI connector and two USB 3.0 ports.
IBM announced the general release for its cloud development platform as a service (PaaS) offering Bluemix.
The Cloud Foundry suite, which has been in open beta since February, now boasts more than 50 services and has been adopted at a rate which, the company claims, makes it one of “the largest Cloud Foundry deployments in the world”.
IBM launched Bluemix as part of a $1bn investment in cloud computing, and it’s a framework that allows users to create cloud based applications, slotting in open source services from the IBM Cloud Marketplace.
New services added to the list include Gameification, to add incentives to apps, MQ Light, a messaging service, Redis Cloud, allowing Redis users to run datasets easily and Sonian Email Archive which allows mining of big data from emails and their attachments.
“Organizations are rapidly moving new, innovative apps to Cloud Foundry’s scalable, user-friendly model,” said James Watters, vice president of Cloud Foundry Product and Ecosystem at Pivotal.
“IBM Bluemix furthers the Cloud Foundry vision for rapid app development, as well as the ability for developers to work easily between platforms and tools from multiple providers.”
The investment in Bluemix stretches far beyond the technology infrastructure with over 80,000 consultants trained to advise developers on how to use it, and the first of a series of so-called Bluemix Garages opening in San Francisco as a place where developers from different companies can get advice both from IBM itself and through cross-pollenation of ideas from other companies.
The news coincides with the announcement of a new IBM data centre in London.
After a test period, Twitter said that it was globally deploying its “mobile app installs” program, which allows companies to promote their mobile apps in users’ feeds.
Twitter began testing the program with a limited number of advertisers in the U.S. in April — tests that the company says went well. Participants in that program included mobile ride-hailing service Lyft and games publisher Electronic Arts.
The program lets companies publish links to download mobile apps. These ads are meant to appear like regular posts in users’ feeds.
Mobile app ads have become very successful for Facebook, helping to drive the download of roughly 60 percent of the top-grossing apps in Apple’s App Store, according to Facebook.
Twitter, for its part, is looking to better monetize its service amid sagging user growth. The company has yet to turn a profit.
Twitter already lets advertisers target their ads by users’ interests, keywords, favorite TV programs, language and other criteria.
Advertisers promoting their mobile apps will be able to leverage those capabilities too, Twitter said.
IT research firm Gartner has adjuste downwards its forecast for global IT spending by about one-third for this year, blaming a tougher competitive environment as well as pressure on vendors to lower prices.
Spending will rise 2.1% to $3.7 trillion in 2014, down from the 3.2% growth rate Gartner had predicted for 2014.
The downgraded forecast isn’t necessarily a cause for concern, said Gartner managing vice president Richard Gordon in an interview.
“In the context of an improving global economic situation, to have IT spending be anemic, in the low single digits, might be a surprise on the face of it,” he said. But customers aren’t necessarily cutting back on spending, Gordon said. “They’re getting better deals for their money and spending their money carefully.”
Data center system spending will be the slowest growing category in 2014, rising only 0.4% to $140 billion due to factors such as lower-cost storage options in the cloud and a move away from high-end server systems.
Devices spending will rise just 1.2% to $685 billion due to price cuts on mobile phones and tablets, Gartner said.
IT services revenue is expected to jump 3.8% this year to $967 billion after “weak vendor performance” in 2013, according to Gartner. Within this category, however, spending on IT outsourcing has been slowed by the ongoing price war between cloud storage vendors. Implementation services revenue is being constrained by customers choosing to conduct smaller projects.
Meanwhile, enterprise software revenue will rise 6.9% in 2014 to $321 billion, buoyed by stronger growth in infrastructure software sales but tempered by a slower rise in spending on applications, Gartner said.
The increase in connected devices in the so-called Internet of Things will help push software sales higher in coming years, Gordon said. “With IoT and digital business in general, you’ve got a lot more data out there that needs to be collected, stored and analyzed.”
Google is working on bridging the gap Chromebook laptops and Android mobile devices, making app and data exchange seamless, said Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Android, Chrome and Apps, during a speech at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco.
Users will be able to run Android applications such as Vine, Evernote and Flipboard on mobile devices or Chromebooks, Pichai said. In an on-stage demonstration, the applications were transferred from a smartphone to Chromebook.
“We’ve been working on this project for a while,” Pichai said. “We want this to be intuitive for users.”
Other demonstrations highlighted how the Chromebook was linked to Android smartphones. A Chromebook showed notifications about an incoming call and text message on a smartphone, and also showed an alert that the smartphone battery was low. This is similar to how smartwatches display notifications and music playlists from Android smartphones.
Chromebooks are primarily aimed at users who do most of their computing on the Web. A handful of smartphone-like features such as Google Now have been added to the Chromebook, whose users are also able to download movies from Google Play to watch offline.
Chromebooks have larger screens than Android mobile devices and one challenge is to port touchscreen mobile applications to Chromebooks for use with mice and keyboards, Pichai said.
Developers may have to modify code to work on different screen sizes and input mechanisms. Google hopes to make it easier for developers to change code so the applications can be adapted for Android and Chrome interfaces, Pichai said.
The feature updates will be delivered to Chromebooks later this year, Pichai said.
The Android and Chrome OSes are based on Linux, but are built as different operating systems. Google will continue to make adjustments to the OSes so mobile devices and PCs can connect and work seamlessly, Pichai said.
“We are investing a lot more in this area,” Pichai said.
The expansion of the free tier, and other changes to OneDrive, will go into effect in July.
Microsoft’s moves come as all the major players are scrambling to offer customers more for less. Earlier this month, Apple said it would cut prices by up to 70% for paid iCloud plans. And last week Amazon said that users of its Fire phone would have an unlimited amount of storage for photos taken with the device’s camera.
Along with the doubling of the free allotment, Microsoft also said that it would hand subscribers of Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal — the two consumer-grade rent-not-own plans — 1TB (terabyte) per user, up from a comparatively paltry amount of just 27GB. Students who have subscribed to Office 365 University, an $80 four-year program, also will receive 1TB free of charge.
The bump to 1TB per user on the consumer side matched the move Microsoft made in April on Office 365 commercial accounts.
Microsoft will also slash prices for additional storage for those consumers and students who need more than the standard 15GB or 1TB. An extra 100GB will cost $1.99 per month — or $23.88 per year — 52% less than the current $50 annually; the price of 200GB will also drop by 52%, from $100 per year to $3.99 per month ($47.88).
The cuts appear deeper when compared to the monthly payment plan Microsoft offers as an option: Then, the new prices will be 65% to 73% less than the current ones.
On a per-megabyte-per-year basis, the new OneDrive paid-plan prices of about 24 cents will be competitive with Google Drive’s 100GB bump-up (also 24 cents) and Apple’s 200GB offer (24 cents), but will remain twice that of Google’s 1TB deal (12 cents).
Apple has said it will offer a 1TB iCloud plan, but has not revealed what it will charge for that amount.