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Does Skype Need To Be Rewritten

February 20, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Skype has a significant security flaw that Microsoft can’t fix without a major code rewrite.

The flaw is in Skype’s updater process can allow an attacker to gain system-level privileges to a vulnerable computer. If exploited, can escalate a local unprivileged user to the full “system” level rights — granting them access to every corner of the operating system.

Security researcher Stefan Kanthak found that the Skype update installer could be exploited with a DLL hijacking technique, which allows an attacker to trick an application into drawing malicious code instead of the correct library. An attacker can download a malicious DLL into a user-accessible temporary folder and rename it to an existing DLL that can be modified by an unprivileged user, like UXTheme.dll. The bug works because the malicious DLL is found first when the app searches for the DLL it needs.

Once installed, Skype uses its built-in updater to keep the software up to date. When that updater runs, it uses another executable file to run the update, which is vulnerable to the hijacking.

Kanthak told ZDNet that the attack could be easily weaponized and showed two command line examples, how a script or malware could remotely transfer a malicious DLL into that temporary folder.

“Windows provides multiple ways to do it,” he said. But DLL hijacking isn’t limited to Windows; he said — noting that it can apply to Macs and Linux, too.

Once “system” privileges are gained, an attacker “can do anything,” Kanthak said.

Kanthak informed Microsoft of the bug in September, but the software giant said issuing a fix would require the updater go through “a large code revision.”

The company told him that even though engineers could reproduce the issue,” a fix will land “in a newer version of the product rather than a security update.”

Microsoft said that it was better to put “all resources” on building a new client.

To cause any damage of worth, you need to be an administrator or above — like the “system” user.

Courtesy-Fud

Nokia And Qualcomm 5G Trials Moving In The Right Direction

February 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Nokia and Qualcomm have completed interoperability testing in the 3.5Ghz and 28Ghz spectrum compliant with the global 3GPP 5G NR Release 15 standard using the commercially available Nokia AirScale base station and device prototypes from Qualcomm Technologies.

Focusing on the commercialization of 5G technology, with New Radio as its foundation, Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies testing at Nokia’s 5G center of excellence in Oulu, Finland, will provide the basis for 5G NR field trials with operators in 2018.

Nokia, Qualcomm Technologies and operators* including BT/EE, Deutsche Telekom, Elisa, KT, LGU+, NTT DOCOMO, Optus, SKT, Telia and Vodafone Group are already committed to working together in verifying and trialing 5G NR technology. This will be based on the successful interoperability tests of the flexible 5G NR interface from Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies which will support a wide array of 5G services and various deployment scenarios.

In line with Qualcomm Technologies and Nokia’s announcement in September 2017 to collaborate on 5G NR and with the success of these recent tests, Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies continue working closely in driving the industry, leading to wide-scale 5G deployments in 2019 based on 3GPP standard-compliant 5G infrastructure and devices. This will enable timely commercial network launches in 2019, in particular in the United States, China, Japan, Korea and Europe.

Marc Rouanne, president of mobile networks, Nokia said: “These tests by Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies are important to the progress of 5G. Importantly, they demonstrate how we have quickly applied the 3GPP Release 15 specifications that were set in December and using our AirScale base station – which has been shipped to more than 100 customers – together with a prototype Qualcomm Technologies UE. Now, we can look forward to commencing standards-based, over-the-air 5G NR trials with operators.”

Cristiano Amon, president, Qualcomm Incorporated, said, “The successful completion of an end-to-end interoperable connection based on the global 5G NR standard is a significant step on the path to launching 5G NR commercial networks and devices starting in 2019. We look forward to furthering collaboration on standard-compliant field trials with Nokia and global operators on the path to commercialisation.”

Courtesy-Fud

Google Already Increasing The Price Of YouTube TV

February 15, 2018 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Alphabet Inc’s Google is increasing the price of its YouTube TV online service for new customers as it adds channels from Time Warner Inc’s Turner, National Basketball League, and Major League Baseball, the company said Wednesday.

Less than one year after launching YouTube TV, the company is increasing its pricing to $40 per month from $35 per month as it adds Turner’s channels, which include TNT, CNN, and TBS, and soon will be adding MLB Network and NBA TV, the company said.

Google is expanding its offering at a time when a growing number of competing services, such as Dish Network Corp’s Sling TV, AT&T’s DirectTV Now and Hulu, are vying to win over the growing number of viewers who are canceling their cable subscriptions to watch their favorite shows online.

The four largest cable and satellite companies lost 1.5 million pay TV customers in 2017.

DirectTV Now has over 2 million subscribers, according to AT&T. Sling TV, Hulu, and YouTube TV do not disclose how many users they have, but research firm BTIG estimates they respectively had 2.1 million, 500,000 and 350,000 as of the end of 2017.

The costs for these competing offerings range from $20 for Sling TV’s most basic offering of 30 channels to $39.99 for Hulu’s one with more than 50 channels and its library of shows and movies, which costs $7.99 separately.

Google is betting that its strong sports offering will help win over more subscribers, said Heather Moosnick, director of content partnerships, YouTube TV.

“Sports is really one of the key offerings that a millennial would be willing to pay for a live TV service,” she said.

To that end, Google has targeted sports fans with its TV ads this year. Ninety-six percent of YouTube TV’s ads on television so far this year have appeared during sports programming, including the Super Bowl, according to iSpot.tv, which tracks TV ads.

When Google launched YouTube TV last April it was cautious with how much content it was offering so that it could keep the price low enough to entice cord cutters or people considering cutting the cord, Moosnick said.

At launch YouTube TV offered almost 50 channels in five markets. With these additions, YouTube TV will have almost 60 channels, and be in 100 markets, Moosnick said.

The new pricing will take effect for new users who sign up after March 13, the company said.

Will Qualcomm Succumb To Broadcom Higher Bid

February 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

Broadcom plans to unveil a new $120 billion offer for Qualcomm to pressure the US rival to the negotiating table.

The move comes ahead of a Qualcomm shareholder meeting scheduled for March 6, when Broadcom is seeking to replace Qualcomm’s board of directors by nominating its own slate for election.

Broadcom is scheduled to meet with its advisers later to finalize an offer that values Qualcomm between $80 and $82 per share, two of the sources said. Broadcom’s previous $70 per share offer consisted of $60 per share in cash and $10 per share in stock.

Broadcom plans to offer Qualcomm a higher-than-usual breakup fee in the event regulators thwart the deal, according to the sources. Typically, such break-up fees equate to approximately three percent to foue percent of a deal’s size.

All this is off the record and Broadcom Chief Executive Officer Hock Tan may decide to significantly change the terms at the last minute.

Broadcom has said it is very confident a deal can be completed within a year of signing an agreement. Qualcomm has said that the regulatory review processes required around the world would take more than 18 months and be fraught with risks. Already Chinese companies have dropped hints to their politicians that they will be in trouble dealing if such a super company is formed.

Qualcomm has told its shareholders that Broadcom’s hostile bid is aimed at acquiring the company on the cheap.

Qualcomm reported quarterly profit and revenues last week that beat analysts’ expectations as demand surged for its chips used in smartphones and cars.

Qualcomm is also trying to clinch an acquisition of its own, proposing to buy NXP Semiconductors NV for $38 billion. The deal was approved by European Union antitrust regulators last month, and only China has yet to approve it. Qualcomm expects the government’s blessing later this month.
The NXP deal still faces an uncertain future as some of its shareholders, including activist hedge fund Elliott Management, have asked Qualcomm to raise its offer. Qualcomm is expected to decide later this month.

Courtesy-Fud

Facebook Illegally Collecting Personal Data, Says German Court

February 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

A German consumer rights group revealed that a court had found Facebook’s use of personal data to be illegal because the U.S. social media platform did not adequately secure the informed consent of its users.

The verdict, from a Berlin regional court, comes as Big Tech faces increasing scrutiny in Germany over its handling of sensitive personal data that enables it to micro-target online advertising.

The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzvb) said that Facebook’s default settings and some of its terms of service were in breach of consumer law and that the court had found parts of the consent to data usage to be invalid.

“Facebook hides default settings that are not privacy-friendly in its privacy center and does not provide sufficient information about it when users register,” said Heiko Duenkel, litigation policy officer at the vzvb.

“This does not meet the requirement for informed consent.” The vzvb posted a copy of the ruling on its website. A court spokesperson confirmed that a judgment had been handed down but declined further comment.

Facebook said it would appeal, even though several aspects of the court judgment had been in its favor. In a statement, it said it had already made significant changes to its terms of service and data protection guidelines since the case was first brought in 2015.

“We are working hard to ensure that our guidelines are clear and easy to understand and that the services offered by Facebook are in full accordance with the law,” Facebook said.

Further, Facebook would in the meantime update its data protection guidelines and its terms of service so that they comply with new European Union-wide rules that are due to enter force in June.

Facebook, which counts more than 2 billion users worldwide, already faces scrutiny from Germany’s competition authorities over its handling of its users’ personal data.

ESPN Streaming Service Launching For $4.99 A Month

February 7, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Disney’s first subscription streaming service — a sports video app named ESPN Plus — will cost $4.99 a month and launch in the spring, while a Netflix-like service for Disney movies is slated to arrive in late 2019, company CEO Bob Iger announced.

The services are the vanguard of Disney’s desired transition into a digital-forward giant. Facing down battles with deep-pocketed tech companies like Netflix, Amazon and Apple that are pouring money into original movies and shows, Disney and other traditional entertainment companies are circling wagons around their own media properties and figuring out how to make them available online on their own terms.

Disney’s Netflix competitor, a hub expected next year that will stream movies and other programming, will have “not just one but a few Star Wars series,” Iger said Tuesday, during a call to discuss the company’s earnings in the fiscal first quarter. “The level of talent will be rather significant.”

ESPN Plus will launch as part of a redesign of the ESPN network’s app. The new service is meant to provide thousands of live sports events that aren’t on the main channels, Iger said. That will include Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer and National Hockey League games, as well as rugby, golf, cricket and other contests. The service will also let users stream ESPN films and other exclusive programming.

ESPN Plus will be available on both Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android mobile device systems, as well as on Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast streaming-media device.

For all users, the ESPN app redesign will introduce a different user interface to continue showing off scores, sports highlights and podcasts. For people who subscribe to a traditional cable or satellite package that includes ESPN, the app will stream its networks.

Previously, Disney has said that its Netflix competitor will arrive sometime next year and will be priced substantially below Netflix, where the most popular tier costs about $12 a month. In August, Iger said Disney would end a deal that gave Netflix its most-popular movies, aiming to funnel them to its own streaming video service instead.

Raspberry Pi Team With Darktrace

February 7, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

Raspberry Pi has got pretty serious about protecting its intellectual property and has tasked artificial intelligence (AI) security firm Darktrace to keep hackers at bay.

You wouldn’t expect cybercriminals to go after Raspberry Pi given its friendly nature of supporting the teaching of coding to kids and providing kits to nerds with a hard-on for building all manner of computerized contraptions.

But clearly, the UK company is feeling a little paranoid. And we guess it has a right to, as the IP of Raspberry Pi is now rather valuable given the company, which began life as a quiet Cambridge startup, has shifted 15 million of its low-cost computers and sees no slowing down of appetite for various Pis.

Keeping things firmly in Blighty, Raspberry Pi has signed up to Cambridge-based Darktrace’s Enterprise Immune System.

So while Raspberry Pi keeps adding slices to its microcomputer ecosystem, it will do so under the protection of cybersecurity kit that uses AI-based algorithms to learn the normal pattern of devices on a network so it can spot unusual activity, which would be indicative of a hacker getting up to no good within the network.

According to Darktrace, as soon as the Raspberry Pi turned on the switch in its security software, the clever components identified several vulnerabilities in Raspberry Pi’s network. The system grassed up the security holes to the network admins who were able to plug the holes.

Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton was clearly impressed: “Darktrace’s AI technology for cyber defense is a game-changer. It provides us with full visibility into our network, including any connected personal devices, and other weak spots.”

We hope the security tech gives Upton and his team the scope to not worry about security and get cracking on with more Raspberry Pi machines, perhaps doing a little more than just soldering on a header to the Raspberry Pi Zero W.

Courtesy-TheInq

Sprint Showing Signs Of Improvement, Beats Earnings Estimate

February 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

Sprint Corp reported quarterly revenue on Friday that beat analyst projections, as the No. 4 U.S. wireless carrier raised its free cash flow outlook for the 2017 fiscal year.

Shares rose 3.7 percent to $5.29 in early trading, a day after sliding 5.7 percent to their lowest in a year and a half.

The company has sought to strengthen its balance sheet by cutting costs and mortgaging a portion of its airwaves and equipment, but industry analysts have raised concerns about how it can adequately fund network improvements after merger talks with rival T-Mobile US Inc ended last year.

Sprint now expects $2.5 billion to $2.7 billion in operating income, up from its previous estimate of $2.1 billion to $2.5 billion. It expects adjusted free cash flow of $500 million to $700 million, compared to previous estimates of breaking even.

“We think recent weakness in shares is reflective of lowered investor expectations, while in-line to slightly better financial results could provide some near-term relief,” said Matthew Niknam, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, in a research note.

On the post-earnings conference call, Sprint Chief Executive Officer Marcelo Claure said Sprint would launch a mobile 5G network in the United States by the first half of 2019.

The company is also looking for ways to reduce the number of executives at the top, he said. Sprint cut costs by about $260 million in the quarter, excluding $100 million of hurricane-related charges.

Claure said “becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of (SoftBank Group Corp) could be a possibility” but that the decision would be up to SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son. Japan’s SoftBank owns a majority of Sprint and has been increasing its stake.

For the quarter, Sprint reported net additions of 184,000 phone subscribers who pay a monthly bill, compared to additions of 368,000 a year earlier.

Net operating revenue in the third quarter ended Dec. 31 was $8.24 billion, down from $8.55 billion a year earlier.

 

YouTube Go App Has Worldwide Ambitions

February 2, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The app is part of YouTube’s rivalry with Facebook, as the two giants race to lure video viewers in regions where mobile internet is more of a luxury.

YouTube’s data-light app YouTube Go, now in 15 countries, will expand to more than 130 nations, the company said in a recent blog post.

Launched first in India last year, the YouTube Go app is designed to work with little to no connectivity, use less data and make recommendations more tailored to where you live.

YouTube Go is also a crucial competitive move against rivals like Facebook. Both Facebook and Google’s YouTube have amassed billions of users across the world. Now they face the challenge of recruiting new members in places where mobile internet can be hard to come by or expensive. As Facebook campaigns to swipe more video viewing away from YouTube, both companies are jockeying to lure in consumers in emerging economies, and those viewers are more likely to shy away from a data-draining format like video.

Facebook, for example, started an initiative called Free Basics, which provided no-cost free access to Facebook and several other approved services. The venture, however, ran into backlash for potentially setting up a two-tier Internet that would divide the rich and the poor.

Since YouTube Go’s launch in India, Google’s service has widened to 14 more countries, including Indonesia, Nigeria and Thailand. “We’re excited to expand YouTube Go to over 130 countries around the globe starting today,” YouTube product manager Jay Akkad said Thursday in YouTube’s blog post.

YouTube also touted some feel-good examples of how YouTube Go has been used. A startup in Indonesia uses it to equip women with financial skills to start and run small businesses, and a primary-school teacher for low-income children in Lagos, Nigeria, says it gives her videos that help teach math and other lessons.

The company also noted it has made some design changes to YouTube Go. It’s given viewers more control over the quality that they stream or download and made it easier to share multiple videos at once or share from the home page. The app also introduced a feature to refresh its home screen with new personalized content with a pull-down of the screen.

Apple’s HomePod Going On Sale February 9th

January 25, 2018 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

The HomePod is almost here.

Apple’s first smart speaker will go on sale Feb. 9 in the US, the UK, and Australia, the company said Tuesday. You’ll be able to preorder it on Apple’s website starting Friday — or Saturday in Australia.

The Siri-powered speaker will be available for $349, £319 or AU$499 in white and space gray.

The speaker faces a challenging road ahead. Apple botched its debut by delaying the HomePod’s expected December launch and instead bringing the speaker to market outside of the lucrative holiday shopping season. The HomePod will also have to go up against the Amazon Echo lineup, which first launched in late 2014, and Google Home speakers, which went on sale in late 2016. Both Amazon and Google have used the time that Apple has sat out of the market to add more kinds of speakers to their lineups — priced as low as $50 apiece — and add thousands of apps to their devices.

Apple is limited in both counts, offering just one speaker at one price that doesn’t do nearly as much as its rivals. But, industry watchers warn against writing off a new Apple product before it goes on sale, pointing to Apple fan’s strong loyalty to the company and Apple’s ability to take over markets it comes into late, such as with its Apple Pay mobile payments service.

In Apple’s announcement Tuesday, it said the HomePod will support messaging apps, like WhatsApp, so users can ask Siri to send a message to a friend. Other tools, available through SiriKit, will include reminders, note-taking and to-do list apps like Evernote. Using Apple’s HomeKit, the HomePod can also control smart home gadgets, such as lights and thermostats.

This list, though, may seem underwhelming for customers used to the Echo or Home speakers, which have already partnered with dozens of other companies to enable far more voice controls. For instance, both speakers let you order a pizza through Domino’s, hail an Uber car and buy from a selection of millions of physical goods.

Researchers have found Siri to be a subpar voice assistant, so Apple will also have to strengthen that part of its speaker. Likely to sidestep some of these issues, Apple has been highlighting the HomePod’s audio quality, calling it an “incredible music listening experience.” Unfortunately, the ability to connect two or more HomePods together for multi-room listening isn’t coming until later this year, Apple said Tuesday. The ability to pair two HomePods in the same room for stereo sound is another feature that’s coming later this year.

The HomePod was also noticeably absent at CES earlier this month, while smart speakers essentially dominated the show.

These hurdles aren’t insurmountable. Apple, the highest-valued company in the world, has the resources to improve Siri and the App Store partnerships to built up the HomePod ecosystem. Its plans to repatriate a large chunk of its $252.3 billion from overseas could help it jump-start these efforts. Plus, HomePod customers will benefit from continued improvements to the device’s cloud-based software, which should get smarter and better at answering user queries over time.

Despite lagging Google and Amazon, Apple has the privacy advantage — all conversations are encrypted to a higher degree than Alexa and Google Assistant.

But, with millions of people now used to paying well under $100 for smart speakers, the biggest hurdle for Apple — and customers — may be the $349 price.

Twitter Loses A Key Executive To Startup

January 24, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Twitter’s chief operating officer, Anthony Noto,  has decided to leave to become the CEO of financial startup SoFi.

Noto, one of Twitter’s most vocal executives, joined the social network in 2014.

“Anthony has been an incredible advocate for Twitter and a trusted partner to me and our leadership team,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said in a statement Tuesday.

Noto was instrumental in Twitter’s big push for live video on the platform, including a deal to stream NFL Thursday Night Football games in 2016. His departure, which comes a little more than two weeks before Twitter announces its earnings on Feb. 8, is yet another shake-up in the company’s executive ranks. Noto replaced former chief operating officer Adam Bain, who left in late 2016 after six years with the company.

Noto came to Twitter from Goldman Sachs as the social network was preparing to go public in 2014.

Twitter is also facing many other challenges, not just on its executive front. The company faces increasing scrutiny from Congress over the way the social network was used by Russian propagandists during the divisive 2016 US presidential election. Twitter said last week that Russian meddling was more widespread than it initially estimated and that it plans to notify more than 600,000 of its users in the US who liked or retweeted messages from Russian-linked accounts.

Noto is slated to become SoFi CEO on March 1, when interim CEO Tom Hutton will become a non-executive chairman of the board.

It will be hard for the company to replace Noto, who basically ran Twitter’s day-to-day operations, said Gartner analyst Brian Blau. The company still has to overcome stagnant user growth —  it’s been hovering around 330 million users — as other social networks, like Facebook with its 2 billion users, continue to flourish.

“You have a public company that has a known, popular brand in the mainstream that’s used heavily by a certain president and monitored by the media, but they still haven’t been able to truly capitalize on it,” Blau said. “It’s going to be interesting to see who wants to take [Noto’s] position.”

Twitter said Noto’s responsibilities within its business and revenue operations will be assumed by other members of the leadership team.

Shares of Twitter were down as much 3 percent Tuesday in early market trading.

Noto said in a statement he appreciated his time at Twitter.

Netflix Subscriber Base Surges, Beats Expectations

January 24, 2018 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Shares in Netflix Inc rose to a record high in after the video streaming service beat Wall Street targets for new subscribers in the fourth quarter.

At least eight brokerages raised their price targets for the company’s shares by as much as $50. Analysts at RBC Capital Markets and KeyBanc were most bullish, setting targets of $300 compared to the $248 it traded at on Tuesday.

In a statement after markets closed on Monday, Netflix said it added 6.36 million subscribers in international markets in the fourth quarter, beating analysts’ expectations of 5.1 million, according to FactSet.

It now has 117.58 million streaming subscribers globally.

“Overall, this was a ‘home run quarter’ for Netflix and should put any lingering worries to rest around sub(scriber) growth, international ramp, and the ‘negative’ possible effects from the (subscription) price increase,” GBH Insights analyst Daniel Ives said.

The company, which showcased popular returning series “Stranger Things”, “The Crown” and “Black Mirror” in the quarter, in October hiked its monthly fees for U.S. customers for the first time in two years.

“The subscriber growth validates management’s ongoing content investment, and should contribute to comfort with 2018’s increased $7.5-8.0B content spend and associated marketing to support the content slate and ever-growing library,” Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Graham said.

Netflix and its peers Hulu and Amazon.com Inc’s Prime Video are steadily increasing budgets for producing original shows as they gain market share from traditional cable TV providers.

Netflix spent $90 million on Will Smith action movie “Bright” last year, its largest investment in an original film to date, and is already planning a sequel and additional investment in original films.

“Netflix continues to prove out the thesis that Internet TV is replacing linear TV on a global basis,” Evercore ISI analyst Vijay Jayant said.

Out of the 44 analysts that cover Netflix’s stock, 28 now rate it at “buy” or higher, 14 at “hold” and two at “sell” or lower. The median price target for the stock was $250, only marginally above its trading price after Tuesday’s gains.

Hulu ended 2017 with 17 million subscribers while analysts estimate Amazon’s Prime service, which includes a free video subscription, has around 90 million customers.

AT&T Plans To Launch 5G Wireless Service Later This Year

January 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

The next generation of cellular technology will deliver a massive boost in speed, more ubiquitous coverage and a responsiveness quick enough to handle remote surgery or autonomous vehicles. It’s supposed to the fuel that drives all other innovations at CES 2018. Despite the numerous company announcements and field trials from the wireless industry, we don’t seem to be that much closer to 5G, which is widely expected to roll out in a big way by 2019.

AT&T is hoping to speed up the timetable. The company said on Thursday that it plans to launch its mobile 5G network in a dozen markets in late 2018, along with a single device able to tap into that network. This is different from Verizon’s plan to offer 5G service as a replacement for home broadband service this year — AT&T’s 5G will look more like the typical cellular service you enjoy now.

If it meets its deadline, AT&T would be the first carrier in the US to launch a mobile 5G service, which has the ability to eventually transform our world through broader, faster and more reliable coverage. The promised speeds are far faster than what most people can get at home (download a season’s worth of “Stranger Things” in seconds), but 5G will also better power the growing family of connected devices in our lives. The launch of 4G gave us Uber, Snapchat and live-streaming video — 5G potentially opens the door even wider to new innovations.

That promise has the carriers engaged in a war of words over 5G. Verizon struck first in 2015 by saying it would the first to launch field trials of 5G, and is on track to deliver a type of fixed 5G service later this year. T-Mobile has mocked both Verizon and AT&T has fueling the hype and potentially disappointing customers. Now AT&T is looking up the timeline again.

AT&T, however, is light on details. Gordon Mansfield, vice president of radio access network and device design for AT&T, said that while there would be a single type of device able to tap into the 5G network, he wouldn’t comment on what the gadget would look like. Whatever the form, the device is expected to use 4G for most of its normal connection, and switch to 5G when the extra speed is appropriate — think a download, live-streaming video or another bandwidth-intensive app.

He also declined to say which markets would get 5G coverage. The company has rolled out the confusingly named “5G Evolution” markets over the past year — cities with the infrastructure for higher wireless speeds, but isn’t actually 5G. The company calls 5G Evolution the foundation for 5G, although Mansfield wouldn’t say if one of the 23 metro areas would be in the dozen 5G markets.

Here’s a list of the “5G Evolution” markets: Atlanta; Austin; Boston; Bridgeport, Connecticut; Buffalo, New York; Chicago; Fresno, California; Greenville, South Carolina; Hartford, Connecticut; Houston; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Louisville; Memphis; Nashville; New Orleans; Oklahoma City; Pittsburgh; San Antonio; San Diego; San Francisco; Tulsa and Sacramento, California.

Amazon Ships Crosses 5B Packages Shipped In 2017

January 4, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Online retailer Amazon.com Inc announced that it has shipped over 5 billion items worldwide via its subscription-based Prime service in 2017 while adding more new members than ever before.

The e-commerce giant, which revealed its Prime shipment numbers for the first time, did not give comparable full-year shipment number for 2016.

Amazon claimed that its Fire TV Stick and voice-controlled smart device Echo Dot were the best-selling products among U.S. Prime members from any manufacturer in any category across all of its product offerings.

Amazon Prime, which offers its users services like free two-day shipping for certain purchases, unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Prime Video, has been attracting more subscribers every year.

The company said it shipped over 1 billion items worldwide via Prime during the holiday season in 2016.

Amazon Prime, which entered countries including Mexico, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Singapore last year, now is present in 16 countries around the world.

Shares of the Seattle, Washington based company were up 1.5 percent at $1,187 in afternoon trading.

 

Spotify Being Sued for Nearly $2B Over Copyright Infringement

January 4, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Music streaming company Spotify is bing sued by Wixen Music Publishing Inc. Allegations include using thousands of songs, including those of Tom Petty, Neil Young and the Doors, without a license and compensation to the music publisher.

Wixen, an exclusive licensee of songs such as “Free Fallin” by Tom Petty, “Light My Fire” by the Doors, “(Girl We Got a) Good Thing” by Weezer and works of singers such as Stevie Nicks, is seeking damages worth at least $1.6 billion along with injunctive relief.

Spotify failed to get a direct or a compulsory license from Wixen that would allow it to reproduce and distribute the songs, Wixen said in the lawsuit, filed in a California federal court.

Wixen also alleged that Spotify outsourced its work to a third party, licensing and royalty services provider the Harry Fox Agency, which was “ill-equipped to obtain all the necessary mechanical licenses”.

Spotify declined to comment.

In May, the Stockholm, Sweden-based company agreed to pay more than $43 million to settle a proposed class action alleging it failed to pay royalties for some of the songs it makes available to users.

Spotify, which is planning a stock market listing this year, has grown around 20 percent in value to at least $19 billion in the past few months.

 

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