MediaFile

Tech wrap: Google reveals Gmail hacking

Google revealed that unknown hackers likely originating from central China tried to hack into the Gmail accounts of hundreds of users, including senior U.S. government officials, Chinese activists and journalists. Google said on its official blog that the hackers, who appeared to originate from Jinan, China, recently tried to crack and monitor email accounts by stealing passwords, but Google detected and “disrupted” the campaign.

More than 80 percent of the companies that advertise on Twitter renew their marketing efforts on the microblogging service, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said. The company counts roughly 600 advertisers, up from 150 advertisers at the end of 2010. And while Twitter has stepped up efforts to build an advertising business, Costolo said Twitter was not under pressure to boost revenue and that the Internet company’s long-term success was not “correlated” to an initial public offering of Twitter’s stock.

Analysts predicted more gloom ahead for Nokia and the struggling phone maker was forced to deny talk it would sell its core business to Microsoft. The company’s stock fell as much as 10 percent but recovered in late trading, sparked by a website report that said its software partner Microsoft would buy out its phones business for $19 billion. Nokia called the report “100 percent baseless.” Microsoft declined to comment.

Microsoft has told chipmakers who want to use the next version of Windows for tablet computers, to work with only one manufacturer to speed up delivery, Bloomberg said, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt told a conference that Facebook had rebuffed its entreaties to team up, while acknowledging he had not pushed hard enough to address the rising threat posed by the social networking site during his tenure as CEO.

Tech wrap: Steve Jobs is back, maybe

Apple’s Chief Executive Steve Jobs, who spent months on medical leave, will open an annual developers’ conference on June 6 showcasing the iPad maker’s latest computer software and a new cloud computing service. But it’s unclear if he’s returning from medical leave or simply kicking off the conference.

Jobs and his team plan to unveil a new cloud-based service called iCloud, which will offer remote computing and data over the Internet, and a slew of software upgrades at the conference including Lion, its Mac OS X computer operating system, and iOS 5, the next version of its mobile operating system.

Nokia abandoned hope of meeting key targets just weeks after setting them, raising questions over whether its new boss can deliver on the turnaround he promised in February.  The news sent its shares tumbling 18 percent to their lowest in 13 years, wiping some $5.5 billion off its market value. Investors are worried the company, once the leading force in its industry, is losing so much market share it may never regain its footing.

Tech wrap: Sony says Anonymous set stage for breach

Sony said that its video game network was breached at the same time it was defending itself against a major denial of service attack by the well-known Internet vigilante group Anonymous. The group attacked the two credit card companies with “denial of service” attacks in December that overwhelmed their servers for blocking payments to WikiLeaks. The company also said it waited two days after discovering data was stolen from its PlayStation game network before contacting law enforcement and didn’t meet with FBI officials until five days later. The theft prompted the Justice Department to open an investigation, officials said on Wednesday.

Intel took the wraps off next-generation technology that crams more transistors onto microchips, hoping it will help the chipmaker catch up in a red-hot tablet and smartphone market. Intel expects to start production of its first PC and server chips using new technology — code named Ivy Bridge — by the end of 2011 and said that it would also make new processors for mobile devices.

Shares of Renren, China’s largest social networking company, surged more than 50 percent in its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in the latest sign investors are eager to snap up stock in social media companies.

Tech wrap: RIM shares dive ahead of BlackBerry World

RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook is seen in a handout photo. REUTERS/RIM/Handout

Research in Motion shares tanked to their lowest level since October after the BlackBerry maker slashed its sales and earnings forecasts Thursday, an unexpected blow that followed an anemic forecast in late March and last week’s troubled launch of its PlayBook tablet. “We’ve heard for too long about RIM’s great product roadmap. Consumers are not listening nor waiting,” National Bank analysts said in a note. “RIM does not even seem to have dual cameras on its upcoming BlackBerry product line-up. The last time we checked, video is the future.” All hope seems to rest on what the Canadian company pulls out of its labs and onto center stage at BlackBerry World, starting Monday, where the company will unveil a new generation of touchscreen BlackBerrys.

Microsoft shares fell their most in almost two years, a day after reporting a dip in Windows sales. Investors were concerned with lower personal computer sales nagging at Windows, Xbox sales bringing down profit margins and losses in Microsoft’s online business.

Strong demand for smartphones gave a further boost to overall cellphone market volumes in January-March and made Apple a rare winner on the market, research firms said. IDC saw January-March market growth of 20 percent, helped also by strong gains by smaller vendors as the three largest phone makers — Nokia, Samsung and LG — lost market share. Apple’s iPhone sales more than doubled from a year ago, buoyed by strong sales on Verizon Wireless and additional carrier deals elsewhere, with market share rising to 5 percent.

Tech wrap: HTC trumps Nokia

An employee holds a HTC Sensation mobile phone during its launch in London April 12, 2011. Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC unveiled on Tuesday a new handset model that offers a library of movies and TV shows via a wide screen that will be available on the Vodafone network. REUTERS/Luke MacGregorHTC launched the HTC Sensation, offering an entire library of movie and TV shows via a wide screen, with a fast 1.2GHz processor. While Nokia, which dumped its once-dominant Symbian software earlier this year after falling behind Apple in the high-end handset market, launched two new models improved with better text input, faster Internet browsing and a refreshed Ovi Maps application, in a bid to stem customer defections while it works on a new offering.

“The new HTC Sensation phone reflects the mountain Nokia needs to climb to close the hardware and software gap with its rivals,” said Ben Wood, research director at CCS Insight. “On the day Nokia unveils the 600Mhz X7 ‘entertainment phone’ it has been trumped by HTC’s Sensation which has a dual-core 1.2Ghz processor”.

Cisco Systems will dump its Flip video camera division, retiring the popular brand rather than selling it in a first step toward reviving a company CEO John Chambers admits has lost its way. The decision to nix Flip, along with a planned folding of its Umi home videoconference business into the more successful TelePresence arm, underscores Chambers’ need to whittle down a money-losing consumer division that also includes Scientific Atlanta set-top boxes and Linksys home routers. Among the steps announced, Cisco plans to combine its lackluster Umi service with its TelePresence system for corporate clients. The company will also change the way it manufactures its Linksys line of networking equipment.

Tech wrap: Android takes over

A T-Mobile G1 Google phone running Android is shown photographed in Encinitas, California January 20, 2010. REUTERS/Mike BlakeGrowing demand for phones running on Google’s Android platform will help the smartphone market grow in 2011, boosting companies like HTC and Samsung who are betting on the platform, analysts said.

The smartphone market will grow 58 percent this year and 35 percent the next, research firm Gartner said. Android, a distant No. 2 to Nokia’s Symbian platform just last year, will increase its market share to 39 percent in 2011, while Symbian’s share will roughly halve to 19 percent following Nokia’s decision to dump the platform. Apple’s iPhone platform will be slightly bigger than Symbian this year, while Research In Motion will control 13 percent of the market and Microsoft Windows Phone 6 percent.

Sales of cameraphones will grow to more than 1 billion handsets this year, helped by fast growth at the high end of the market, Strategy Analytics said.

Tech wrap: OS X daddy waves goodbye

A combination of file photos shows Bertrand Serlet, senior vice president of OSX software at Apple Inc, (L) and Craig Federighi, vice president of Mac OS at Apple Inc (R) speaking at the Apple Inc's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on June 8, 2009. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith/FilesApple said top software engineer Bertrand Serlet will leave the Mac computer maker after more than a decade spent developing its signature operating system, Mac OS X. Craig Federighi, currently the vice president of Mac Software Engineering, will take over from Serlet and report to CEO Steve Jobs, Apple said in a statement.

Yahoo refreshed its Internet search service, showcasing information from movie listings to weather forecasts as queries are entered. The Internet portal said that its Search Direct service will be available in the U.S. today on its main search Web page, and will gradually expand to the other parts of Yahoo, including the home page.

Nokia said it won’t begin talks on deep job cuts until the end of April. Analysts said the relatively long gap before talks kick-off could be because the final deal with Microsoft is yet to be signed, while Nokia might also want to delay any announcement on cuts until after Finland’s general elections on April 17.

Tech wrap: AT&T/T-Mobile a done deal?

Reflections are seen in the window of an AT&T store in New York March 21, 2011. REUTERS/Brendan McDermidAT&T’s planned buy of T-Mobile USA is ultimately expected to get regulatory approval, combining the second and fourth largest wireless operators to create a new leader that will control around 43 percent of the U.S. wireless market. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson suggested he had little choice but to do it as AT&T is in dire need of more wireless airwaves to increase network capacity for mobile Web services.

Google announced that it’s partnering with Sprint to integrate the free calling and texting service Google Voice with the carrier’s feature phones and smartphones. Sprint customers will be able to use their existing Sprint mobile number as their Google Voice number.

Nokia’s strategy for entering the tablet computer market may not include Microsoft, its recently announced partner for smartphones, according to a person with knowledge of the company’s thinking.

Tech wrap: Nokia starts work on Windows phone

A girl tests out the new Nokia N8 mobile phone at the Nokia Flagship store in Helsinki September 10, 2010. REUTERS/Markku Ulander/LehtikuvaWork has begun on the first Nokia smartphones based on Microsoft software following the partnership announced by the companies last month, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop told Reuters.

RIM is battling wireless carriers over control of where key data related to mobile payments will reside in upcoming BlackBerry devices equipped with near field communication (NFC) technology, writes The Wall Street Journal’s Phred Dvorak and Stuart Weinberg.

A letter that had prompted Mark Hurd’s abrupt exit as chief of Hewlett-Packard Co was ordered unsealed by a Delaware judge, potentially revealing more details of his dramatic exit last year.

Nokia and Microsoft? Just maybe

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop (left) and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer address the Senior Leadership Event before they announce plans for a broad strategic partnership to build a new global mobile ecosystem . Nokia and Microsoft plan to form a broad strategic partnership that would use their complementary strengths and expertise to create a new global mobile ecosystem.

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop (left) and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Credit: HO

Before there were smartphones Nokia made smart phones. Sleek. Colorful. Attractive. Sporting a distinctive, trademarked ring that, because there are so many Nokia handsets in the world, may actually be heard 20,000 times a second.

Nokia’s phones never made a huge splash in the United States, but worldwide they are to this day the market leader with some 300 million in use. In Q4 of last year, Nokia’s flagship Symbian mobile phone operating system boasted more than a third of the world’s market share. At nearly 37 percent, that was 10 percent more than the range of devices running Google’s Android, and more than Apple’s iPhone and Rim’s Blackberry combined.

But Nokia is losing, by leaps and bounds. The handwriting is on the wall. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, who joined the company only last September, minced no words last Wednesday when he said the company was standing on a “burning platform.”