MediaFile

Tech wrap: Microsoft cries foul

Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer addresses a news conference in the northern German town of Hanover March 3, 2008. REUTERS/Christian CharisiusThe hunted became the hunter when Microsoft filed its first-ever complaint to antitrust regulators, claiming that Google thwarts Internet search competition. Thomas Vinje, who led a coalition that won EU fines against Microsoft said the software maker “has learned from its own unpleasant experiences how to cause maximum disruption for its competitors via competition law”. Google controls over 90 percent of the Internet search advertising market in Europe, well ahead of Microsoft’s Bing. And browsers such as Firefox and Google’s Chrome have eaten away at the market lead by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

Google is tightening control over its “open” Android operating system to reduce fragmentation and restrict additional partnerships that it doesn’t understand, Bloomberg’s Ashlee Vance and Peter Burrows writes. Google says its procedures are about quality control, early bug fixes, and building toward a “common denominator” experience, Vance and Burows add.

Small-budget film producers have nearly perfected a slick, courtroom-based business strategy that’s targeted suspected movie downloaders, writes Wired’s David Kravets. One lawsuit alleged 5,865 illegal downloads of the film Nude Nuns With Big Guns, asking a federal judge to order ISPs to dig into customers’ records for names. It was the first step in a process that could lead to each defendant receiving a letter suggesting they settle the case, lest they wind up named in a public lawsuit having downloaded Nude Nuns With Big Guns, Kravets adds. 

James Cicconi, the head of AT&T’s lobbying effort to acquire T-Mobile USA, said government remedies to free up more U.S. airwaves for wireless services are not coming fast enough and were an important driver behind his company’s bid. AT&T estimates it will carry the equivalent of the volume of all the mobile traffic it handled last year in the first six or seven weeks of 2015.

Anti-virus software maker ESET’s Randy Abrams lauded Facebook for making users’ preferences remember if they log in to “grossly insecure apps such as Farmville” from unsecured connections, like those found at coffee shops and airports, and restoring encrypted connections to Facebook once users log back in. Abrams called developers who haven’t fixed their apps to afford you a safe Facebook session “careless”. You can find your connection preferences on Facebook under Account->Account Settings->Account Security. Check the box beside “Browse Facebook on a secure connection (https) whenever possible” to enable the feature.

Tech wrap: Google +1 = happier advertisers

An image detailing Google's new "+1" feature as screen grabbed from www.google.com/experimental.  REUTERS/Google/HandoutGoogle launched “+1″, its version of Facebook’s “like” button, enabling you to publicly share search results that you fancy with friends, the Web and advertisers. Google found that including +1 recommendations on ads boosted the rates at which people click on them. Eventually, Google plans to let third-party websites feature +1 buttons directly on their own pages, the company said. The ability to +1 ads and for that endorsment to appear on ads on websites other than Google’s is key, writes TechCrunch’s MG Siegler, and another volley fired in the war between Google and Facebook.

Google agreed to have independent privacy audits every two years for the next 20 years as part of a settlement with FTC officials investigating privacy problems that cropped up in its botched roll-out of social network Buzz. Buzz initially used its Gmail customers’ email contact lists to create social networks of Buzz contacts that the rest of the world could see, which led to an uproar.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson disputed the commonly held belief that consumer bills would rise if there were fewer competitors in the U.S. wireless market, referring to a government report that showed prices on average fell 50 percent over the last decade despite five wireless mergers over the period.

New Yahoo app to challenge Apple FaceTime on iPhone

yahoovideochatApple has based a great deal of its iPhone 4 marketing blitz around its so-called FaceTime video calling technology.

But Yahoo is about to challenge Apple for the mobile video calling crown, with plans to brings video chat to iPhones and Android-based phones via its popular Yahoo Messenger instant messaging service.

During a briefing with Reuters on Thursday, David Katz, Yahoo’s VP of Mobile for the Americas region, let it slip that the company will soon be offering mobile app versions of Yahoo Messenger with built-in video calling capabilities.

Google exec says Chrome isn’t the end of Android

Google’s vice president of engineering has dismissed the idea that plans to bring out a new computer operating system, Chrome OS, will mean the end of Google’s existing operating system for mobile phones, Android.

As soon as Chrome was announced earlier this week “all the press and speculation started, ‘Oh, the Android is doomed,’” said Andy Rubin at an event with T-Mobile in San Francisco to show off the latest Android iteration, the myTouch 3G phone, manufactured by Taiwan’s HTC.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt said in Sun Valley yesterday that Chrome OS is a separate product from Android, but the two products are closely related and could eventually “merge even closer.”

Analysts question T-Mobile’s choice of myTouch over Hero

 Some analysts worry that T-Mobile USA may have missed a trick by opting for a new Android device, myTouch 3G, which is mostly the same as HTC’s first one, the G, except for its slimmer shape and lack of a physical keyboard.

According to T-Mobile USA Chief Technology Officer Cole Brodman, the No. 4 U.S. carrier currently has no plans to sell Hero, another HTC phone that runs Google’s Android but has an updated user interface that looks similar in some ways to Palm Pre.

From today until July 28, T-Mobile USA customers can order the myTouch online with the potential to have their phones deliverd before its national launch stores on Aug. 5. Brodman says myTouch, with its nifty travel case, personalizable covers and T-Mobile recommendations for hot applictions, will appeal to a broader audience than G1. The idea is that myTouch’s sleek shape and Android’s straightforward user interface will encourage T-Mobile customers who had never bought a smartphone before to now consider this one.

Google’s Android phone: An (updated!) first look

The T-Mobile G1

Here’s Google and T-Mobile’s image of their long-awaited T-Mobile G1 phone. And here are some of our own pictures hot off of the presses.

Executives hold the new G1 phone running Google’s Android software in New York

Google’s Android

The new phone, available late in October, comes in three colors (white, black and brown), features advanced search tools, a full web browser, simple access to Google applications including Google Maps, Gmail, and YouTube, and access to Android Market, where users can get games, music, and also shop.

So, are you itching to pick one up? Would you trade in your iPhone or other mobile handset for a G1?