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Late Start May Be Tempering China Mobile's iPhone Preorders

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 23:47

Apple’s iPhone won’t officially launch on China Mobile until January 17, but the world’s largest mobile carrier began accepting preorders for them last week. And while early estimates say initial preorder numbers are high, they’re not quite as high as you’d think given the size of China Mobile’s subscriber base.

Wedge Partners figures China Mobile accepted about 100,000 preorders for the iPhone 5s and 5c during the first two days of availability.

Interestingly, that’s fewer than rival carriers managed when the devices first launched a few months back. In September, China Unicom racked up about 120,000 preorders and China Telecom about 150,000 for the 5s and 5c both.

How is it that China Mobile, which currently provides cell service to over 763 million customers, is pulling in fewer iPhone preorders than its smaller rivals? One thing to keep in mind: It’s still early and this is only a single estimate. Another: The 5s and 5c are two months old now, and China Mobile isn’t doing much to differentiate them on its network. According to Wedge, its subsidies are similar to China Telecom’s and slightly higher than China Unicom’s.

“What’s important to remember is these phones launched in September,” Wedge analyst Brian Blair told AllThingsD. “Now here we are several months later and there’s no subsidy being offered that’s so special that the preorders are off the charts. If this had been in September when the phone launched globally, I think the numbers would be a lot higher.”

An interesting observation to be sure — but only until we can answer the bigger question: What will sales look like when the 5s and 5c officially launch on China Mobile? Currently, estimates for 2014 iPhone sales on the carrier range from 17 million at the low end to 38.7 million at the high end.

Twitter's Tanking

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 20:19

After a wild run last week that saw them soar to an all-time high of $74.73, shares of Twitter are crashing brutally back to earth. The company’s stock tumbled more than six percent in early trading Monday, falling to $59.43. The reason? That’s not entirely clear, though perhaps investors are realizing that there’s no fundamental business change with which to rationalize last week’s run.

2013 Was a Good Year for Chromebooks

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 03:42

Chromebooks experienced a surge in popularity in 2013, rising from almost nothing to claim about a fifth of the commercial laptop market.

This according to NPD Group, who said this week that sales of laptops running Google’s Chrome OS accounted for 21 percent of all commercial preconfigured notebook sales through November 2013.

It would seem, then, that Chromebooks have begun to hit their stride. Indeed, Amazon said this week that two out of its three top-selling laptops during the holiday season were Chromebooks designed by Samsung and Acer. No hard numbers there, sure. But certainly anecdotal evidence in support of NPD’s metric.

The year-over-year growth NPD has charted appears, then, to be significant. And evidently it’s coming at Microsoft’s expense, though machines running Windows did account for 34.1 percent of all commercial preconfigured notebook sales during the same period.

Said NPD analyst Stephen Baker, “Tepid Windows PC sales allowed brands with a focus on alternative form factors or operating systems, like Apple and Samsung, to capture significant share of a market traditionally dominated by Windows devices.”

BlackBerry Pulls Latest Twitter for BB10 Update

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 19:28

Another small stumble for BlackBerry. The company has pulled the latest update to its Twitter app for BlackBerry 10 following user complaints.

Released on Dec. 17, Twitter version 10.2.2 for BB10 brought with it several enhancements, among them improved search, BlackBerry Messenger connectivity, and timeline photo previews.

Unfortunately, it arrived with so many bugs that BlackBerry was forced to remove it from its BlackBerry World app store. The update had been available for just 10 days.

BlackBerry says that it is actively investigating the issues behind the update’s instability, and will repost it when they’re resolved. In the meantime, the company is encouraging users who installed Twitter version 10.2.2 to downgrade to 10.2.1.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Made $4.25 Million This Year

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 01:35

Another nugget of data from Apple’s latest shareholder proxy: CEO Tim Cook took home a compensation package valued at $4.25 million this year, little changed from the year prior.

In its annual proxy filing on Friday, Apple said Cook’s pay for fiscal 2013, which ended in September, consisted of $1.4 million in salary and a bonus of $2.8 million. In 2012, Cook’s compensation package was $4.2 million.

So Cook’s pay remained steady over those two years, with one noteworthy exception: He gave up about 7,123 Apple shares tied to the company’s annual performance.

Because of the decline in Apple’s stock this fiscal year the company’s board decided that only 72,877 shares out of a tranche of 80,000 should vest. Cook — who in June explicitly requested vesting terms tied to the company’s performance — forfeited the remainder.

Based on Apple’s closing stock price of $560.09 on Friday, those shares would have been worth nearly $4 million.

Apple Asks Judge to Keep Patent Pressure on Samsung

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 18:30

Back in November, Apple won a second chance to seek a sales ban against tens of Samsung smartphones and tablets found to violate its patents last year. And late last week, it took that chance.

On Thursday, Apple asked U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh to halt sales of some 20 Samsung devices that a jury last year found to infringe some of its key utility and design patents. In a filing, the company argued that while Samsung has stopped selling the infringing products, the fact that it has done so doesn’t really lessen the harm done to Apple, or the need for punishment.

“Samsung’s claim that it has discontinued selling the particular models found to infringe or design around Apple’s patents in no way diminishes Apple’s need for injunctive relief,” Apple argued in its filing. “Because Samsung frequently brings new products to market, an injunction is important to providing Apple the relief it needs to combat any future infringement by Samsung through products not more than colorably different from those already found to infringe.”

The issue here, then, isn’t so much the discontinued products found to infringe, but the infringement itself, and Apple’s risk that Samsung might continue its infringement with some new products. Indeed, Apple is explicitly seeking an injunction that extends to “any other product not more than colorably different from an Infringing Product as to a feature found to infringe.” As Florian Mueller notes over at Foss Patents, Apple’s focus isn’t the accused products, but the patents asserted.

For Apple, which claims that Samsung’s infringement cost it “incalculable lost market share and lost downstream sales,” the ability to bring those patents to bear on commercially relevant products when and if it needs to is crucial, because while Samsung claims to have a workaround in place for some of the patents at issue in the case, the company hasn’t yet disclosed it.

Apple Explains Why Icahn's Buyback Proposal Should Be Shot Down

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 05:13

Apple’s annual shareholder meeting will be held on Feb. 28, and among 11 proposals to be discussed will be one from Carl Icahn.

Revealed in a proxy statement filed by Apple on Friday afternoon, Icahn’s advisory proposal asks Apple to increase the size of its stock buyback program in 2014 to $50 billion. That’s a move the company’s board of directors recommends that shareholders vote against. Apple already increased the size of its dividend and stock buyback program to $100 billion this year, and it’s not taking kindly to Icahn’s repeated and querulous efforts to force its hand — as cordial as they may or may not be.

“In March 2012, the company announced a quarterly dividend and share repurchase program totaling $45 billion,” Apple explains. “In April 2013, the board authorized a dramatic increase, more than doubling the size of the program to $100 billion, raising the dividend, and increasing the share buyback authorization to $60 billion. As such, the company is one of the largest dividend payers in the world and has the largest share repurchase authorization in history. The company has executed aggressively against the capital return program, spending $23 billion of the $60-billion share repurchase authorization in fiscal 2013 alone.”

The proposal, and Apple’s recommendation against it, below:

Shareholder Proposal of a Non-Binding Advisory Resolution Relating to the Company’s Capital Return Program

The Company has been advised that High River Limited Partnership (“High River”), 767 Fifth Avenue, 46th Floor, New York, New York, 10153, a record holder of 1,000 shares of the Company’s common stock, intends to submit the following proposal at the Annual Meeting on behalf of itself and Icahn Partners LP, Icahn Partners Master Fund LP, Icahn Partners Master Fund II LP, Icahn Partners Master Fund III LP, and other beneficial owners, including Mr. Carl Icahn:

“RESOLVED, that the shareholders hereby approve, on an advisory basis, High River’s proposal that Apple commit to completing not less than $50 billion of share repurchases during Apple’s fiscal year ending September 27, 2014 (and increase the amount authorized for share repurchases under its Capital Return Program accordingly).”

The Company’s Statement in Opposition to Proposal No. 10

The Board recommends a vote AGAINST Proposal No. 10.

The Board and management team are thoughtfully considering options for returning additional cash to shareholders and are currently seeking input from shareholders as part of the Company’s regular review.

The Company’s success stems from the Company’s unique ability to combine world-class skills in hardware, software and services to deliver innovative products that create new markets and delight hundreds of millions of customers. This success has created tremendous value for the Company’s shareholders.

With breakthrough products and services such as the Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad and App Store, the Company has created huge market opportunities, and the Board and management team believe the opportunities that lie ahead are just as exciting. Given such large and global markets, the Company competes with large companies around the world, many with their own significant technical capabilities and significant capital. This dynamic competitive landscape and the Company’s rapid pace of innovation require unprecedented investment, flexibility and access to resources.

Successfully innovating and executing against these large opportunities also requires careful stewardship by the Board and management team, and the Company’s evaluation of capital return is conducted in the context of supporting the Company’s continued business success and desire to deliver attractive returns to long-term shareholders.

The Board and management team have demonstrated a strong commitment to returning capital to shareholders over the past two years. In March 2012, the Company announced a quarterly dividend and share repurchase program totaling $45 billion. In April 2013, the Board authorized a dramatic increase, more than doubling the size of the program to $100 billion, raising the dividend, and increasing the share buyback authorization to $60 billion. As such, the Company is one of the largest dividend payers in the world and has the largest share repurchase authorization in history. The Company has executed aggressively against the capital return program, spending $23 billion of the $60 billion share repurchase authorization in fiscal 2013 alone. These share repurchases have been funded in part by a $17 billion debt offering, the largest ever as of the time of issuance.

In the first six quarters of the capital return program, dividend payments and share repurchases totaled over $43 billion. Dividends and share repurchases must be funded by domestic cash, and the Company has returned to shareholders or invested all of the domestic cash generated by its business and raised through the issuance of debt since the beginning of the program.

While the Board and management oppose this shareholder proposal, they are fully committed to returning cash to shareholders. The Board and management team believe that capital should be returned to shareholders on an efficient and sustained basis, and that the evaluation of capital return should be performed regularly and carefully with the best long-term interest of the business and shareholders in mind.

The Company is updating perspectives on its capital return program for 2014 and beyond. The Company is collecting input from a very broad base of shareholders, believing that the input of all shareholders is important and should be considered holistically. The evaluation of the capital return program continues to be thoughtful, deliberate, and consistent with a conservative financial policy that supports risk-taking and innovation. Consistent with its pattern for the last two years, the Company is on track to complete its regular review and thorough analysis and to announce any changes to the current program by March or April of 2014.

The Board believes that the Company’s management team and Board are in the best position to determine what is in the best long-term interest of the Company’s business and recommends a vote AGAINST this proposal.

Vote Required

Approval of Proposal No. 10 requires the affirmative vote of (i) a majority of the shares present or represented by proxy and voting at the Annual Meeting and (ii) a majority of the shares required to constitute the quorum.

Recommendation of the Board

The Board recommends a vote AGAINST Proposal No. 10.


Rdio Killed the Vdio Star

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 02:26

Not even a year old, and already Vdio is taking a dirt nap. Rdio said on Friday that it is scrapping the nascent video-streaming platform with which it had hoped to take on Netflix and Hulu. “Despite our efforts, we were not able to deliver the differentiated customer experience we had hoped for, and so Vdio is now closed,” the company said in a message to users of the service. Evidently, Rdio’s bottom line has taken precedence over its dreams of becoming a global entertainment streaming platform.

Nokia Yanks Here Maps From Apple's App Store

Fri, 12/27/2013 - 23:22

Here Maps, the mapping service that Nokia touted as an alternative to Apple’s first ill-starred iOS Maps app, is gone from the App Store today, and evidently iOS 7 is the reason.

“We have made the decision to remove our Here Maps app from the Apple App Store because recent changes to iOS 7 harm the user experience,” Nokia said in a statement. “iPhone users can continue to use the mobile Web version of Here Maps under, offering them core location needs, such as search, routing, orientation, transit information, and more, all completely free of charge.”

It’s not clear how, exactly, iOS 7 harmed the Here Maps experience, though some report that the app became quite buggy with the advent of Apple’s latest mobile OS.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

UPDATE: In an additional statement given to CNET, Nokia clarified that it wasn’t iOS 7 that undermined Here’s user experience, but it’s own failure to optimize for it. “We don’t want to blame Apple or iOS 7 — the app simply was not optimized for iOS 7 so we decided to remove it,” a Nokia spokeswoman told CNET.

U.S. Christmas Day Shoppers Bought More on iOS Than Android

Fri, 12/27/2013 - 19:36

If you purchased something from a mobile device on Christmas Day, chances are that device was an iPhone or an iPad.

So says IBM, whose latest Digital Analytics Benchmark Report found that purchases made from iOS devices accounted for about 23 percent of the online shopping done on Christmas Day in the U.S. According to Big Blue, which tracked millions of transactions from approximately 800 U.S. retail websites, that’s about five times as many purchases as the 4.6 percent that were made from Android devices.

What’s more, those purchase were generally more costly. iOS users spent an average of $93.94 per order, versus $48.10 for Android — nearly double. Finally, iOS devices accounted for 32.6 percent of the Christmas Day traffic IBM charted, compared to 14.8 percent for Android.

True, this is only U.S. data, but it speaks to an important metric in the iOS versus Android discussion — usage. Android may have a greater share of the mobile devices market, but iOS devices continue to rule in usage measurements. And that’s worth noting. Recall that one of the big numbers Apple rolled out at its fall iPad event was a metric claiming that the iPad has captured an 81 percent share of tablet usage. And according to CEO Tim Cook, that’s the metric that matters most to Apple.

“Does a unit of market share matter if it’s not being used?” Cook asked Bloomberg earlier this year. “For us, it matters that people use our products. We really want to enrich people’s lives, and you can’t enrich somebody’s life if the product is in the drawer.”

BlackBerry Shares Sink on Lazaridis Letdown

Fri, 12/27/2013 - 02:44

Evidently some folks really did believe BlackBerry co-founder Mike Lazaridis was going to swoop in like a deus ex machina and return the dilapidated smartphone pioneer to its former glory. Shares in the sadly diminished company closed down nearly nine percent at $7.05 on the revelation that Lazaridis has abandoned his, let’s face it, largely fantastical bid for the company, and reduced his combined stake with co-founder Doug Fregin to below five percent from eight percent.

Amazon Prime Tops Dozens of Members

Fri, 12/27/2013 - 00:15

Amazon Prime — the retailer’s $79-a-year, free two-day shipping membership business — just charted a record-setting Christmas, ending the holiday season with a larger unspecified number of subscribers than it began it with.

In a self-congratulatory press release broadcast this morning, Amazon excitedly said that more than a million customers signed up for Prime membership during the third week of December, the last week to qualify for guaranteed holiday delivery. That’s a new record, and one that allows Amazon to claim “tens of millions” of Prime members worldwide.

Tens of millions. But what does that mean?

Well, Amazon would clearly prefer that we interpret that metric at the highest end of its range, which could be 40 million or 90 million depending on just how ridiculous you’re willing to get.

But it’s far more likely that “tens of millions” is a euphemism for “just barely enough for us to claim tens of millions.” In other words, roughly 20 million — the bare minimum to make ten plural. Which makes reasonable sense. A December estimate from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners put the total number of Amazon Prime subscribers at over 16 million as of September 30.

But until Amazon release an official number, we’ll never know for sure, leaving silly press releases like today’s open to interpretation*.

*See headline.

Dark Tower: A Mac Pro Review Roundup

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 20:00

The first wave of reviews for Apple’s new built-in-the-U.S.A. Mac Pro workstation landed this week, even as the machine’s ship date slipped inexorably from Dec. 30 to some indeterminate date in February.

And they’re about what you’d expect for a top-of-the-line Mac Apple hyperbolically touts as “epic,” “something radically different from anything before it”: piles of plaudits with some obvious caveats about the machine’s price, its obvious need for more powerful software applications and a few inevitable quips about its cylindrical design and metallic black chassis, which lend themselves to comparisons with Darth Vader and Diaper Genie, both.

It’s worth noting that a few reviewers noted that the Mac Pro was too much machine to fully test in the time allotted, which in itself says quite a bit about what Apple’s managed to pull off here.

Dan Frakes, Macworld: For many years, “pro” meant a big, expandable tower case, lots of internal storage, replaceable graphics cards, and so on. For Apple, it now means “maximum performance when using pro apps.” In that respect, the new Mac Pro reflects multiple trends in computing. It, of course, continues Apple’s ongoing shift across its product lines towards flash storage and external expandability at the expense of capacious hard drives and internal upgrades. But it also illustrates the ways in which Apple and other vendors are responding, at the high end, to the fact that processor speeds simply aren’t increasing at the same rate that they used to: Namely, they are focusing on multi-core and GPU-based processing technology, in both hardware and software.

David Pierce, The Verge: In many ways, the Mac Pro is the fastest and most powerful Mac ever made. But today, as it stands, it’s not a drop-in improvement that will instantly make any and every setup faster — its greatest tricks are enabled when software is specifically tuned to this hardware. Because this Mac Pro is now the de facto professional computer for Apple users, most important apps are virtually certain to be upgraded to support its particulars. There’s clearly plenty of power here for almost any use case, but while we wait for software updates this machine isn’t a particularly notable upgrade from the last-generation Pro, or the latest iMac.

Dan Ackerman, CNET: Is the Mac Pro a killer performance machine? For $8,000 it had better be. In our benchmark testing, the system turned in excellent scores, ripping through video encoding and other tasks. … The Mac Pro, as configured, was in most cases well faster than even the most high-end Windows desktop we’ve tested this year.

Molly Wood, The New York Times: The Mac Pro is extremely, ridiculously fast and powerful. The specifications are nearly mythical. … The Pro took just over an hour to convert 32 gigabytes of high-definition video into another video format — a job that took over three hours on my quad-core Mac Mini. And although the task noticeably heated up the Mac Pro, its fan stayed quiet, and it didn’t seem perturbed. It’s clearly capable of much more than a mere multimedia professional can throw at it.

Brian Westover, The Mac Pro isn’t quite perfect. It’s expensive, even given the usual premium for Apple products, and the one-year warranty and 90-day tech support is short and lackluster. Whether or not the lack of internal expansion is a detriment is yet to be seen, but at the very least it’s a drastic change, that will force many professionals to change how they approach their work. At the very least, it’s safe to say that the Apple Mac Pro (2013) offers some of the most exciting updates to desktop design we’ve seen, and backs it up with powerful professional-grade performance. The Apple Mac Pro (2013) is our new Editors’ Choice for single-processor workstations, and one of the best high-end desktops we’ve seen in years.

Dana Wollman, Engadget: It’s hard to say if the Mac Pro is pricey, per se, given that there’s nothing else quite like it. There are plenty of Windows-based workstations, certainly, but none are quite this small or quite this portable (many aren’t quite this quiet, either). And if you’re a creative professional already hooked into Mac-only apps like Final Cut Pro, this is really your only choice: The new Mac Pro is a serious improvement over the old model in every way, and is likely worth the upgrade. So, while $2,999 (let alone $10,000) is indeed a big investment, it’s well worth it for people who live and die by their workstation, and for whom (rendering) time is money.

iPhones Dominate Sales at All Four Major U.S. Carriers

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 16:35

Apple’s latest iPhones are topping the charts at U.S. carriers.

That’s the latest from Canaccord Genuity analyst T. Michael Walkley, who says that the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c have been among the top three sellers at all four major U.S. carriers during the past three months.

“Our surveys indicated continued strong sales of the iPhone 5s, as it was by far the top selling smartphone at all four tier-1 U.S. carriers and at most channels where the smartphone launched globally,” Walkley explained in a note to clients. “Our surveys also indicated steady iPhone 5c sales with the smartphone’s color options and more affordable price point proving popular with its intended audience.”

Prior to the launch of the iPhone 5s and 5c, the iPhone 5 was Apple’s sole Top 3 entrant at the big four carriers, and it held the top spot at AT&T alone; it was the second-most-popular handset at Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, where Samsung’s Galaxy S4 led the pack.

But no longer. With the debut of the iPhone 5s and 5c, Apple has reclaimed the top spot and, in most cases, the third-place spot, as well. And it has held them for three months.

An impressive showing, and one that Walkley says bodes well for Apple’s quarterly iPhone shipments. Given strong sales and improved supplies of the 5s, the analyst raised his first-quarter 2014 iPhone shipment estimate to 54 million units from 52 million.

Former Google Exec Appointed Deputy Director of the USPTO

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 19:56

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has a new deputy director: Former Google exec Michelle Lee. Lee, who previously served as head of patents and patent strategy at Google, had been heading up the Silicon Valley branch of the USPTO. Her promotion to deputy director of the federal agency, which she will oversee until its vacant director’s slot is filled, should bring to the office a unique Silicon Valley perspective on intellectual property issues.

Apple TV Adds Bloomberg, Crackle, KOR-TV and Watch ABC Channels

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 00:03

Apple continues to flesh out its Apple TV set-top-box offering, quietly adding handful after handful of new channels to the service. On Wednesday, the company added to its Apple TV “hobby” Bloomberg TV, Crackle and KOR-TV, alongside cable subscriber access to local ABC affiliates via a “Watch ABC” channel. Today’s additions join a number of new entertainment options that have appeared on Apple TV in recent months, including PBS, HBO, The Disney Channel and ESPN.

Cisco Loses Microsoft-Skype Challenge in EU

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 20:55

Despite Cisco’s best efforts to undo it, the European Union’s approval of Microsoft’s 2011 acquisition of Skype will stand.

The EU’s General Court ruled Wednesday that Microsoft’s $8.5 billion takeover of the communication service is not anticompetitive, as Cisco had argued.

In a challenge mounted last year, Cisco said that the European Commission should have imposed restrictions on Microsoft’s purchase of Skype to prevent the company from ever seeking to control the future of video communications. Instead, it approved the merger with no such precautions.

“Imagine how difficult it would be if you were limited to calling people who only use the same carrier or if your phone could only call certain brands and not others,” Marthin De Beer, SVP of Cisco’s video and collaboration group, wrote in February of 2012. “Cisco wants to avoid this future.”

As does the EU. But evidently the agency feels that there’s no risk that it will come to pass from Microsoft’s Skype deal. Certainly it believes that Cisco failed to show that it would harm competition.

“Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype is compatible with the internal market,” the General Court said in its ruling. “The merger does not restrict competition either on the consumer video communications market or on the business video communications market.”

In a statement, Cisco said: “Cisco is disappointed that the Court did not require the EU to revisit interoperability requirements for the Microsoft/Skype merger; however we remain committed to interoperability and will continue to work to make video calling as easy as making a phone call or sending an email. We are hopeful that in the interest of customers and consumers, Microsoft and others in the industry will join us and continue to rally around this ideal and work together to achieve an open, interoperable video community.”

Fruit Loop: Construction on Apple Campus 2 Begins

Fri, 12/06/2013 - 22:25

After receiving final approval from the Cupertino City Council to build its massive new headquarters in the Northern California city, Apple wasted no time in moving ahead with the project. Earlier this week, the company began demolition of the existing site, which formerly belonged to Hewlett-Packard. Once that phase of the project is completed, construction can begin on the 176-acre campus and the vast, spaceship-shaped building that will be its centerpiece.

iOS 7 Adoption Already at 74 Percent

Fri, 12/06/2013 - 18:15

It has been nearly three months since iOS 7 shipped, and already the operating system has seen significant adoption among iPhone and iPad users.

According to the latest measurements from Apple’s App Store, 74 percent of iOS devices are running iOS 7. That’s a 10-point improvement over October, when Apple last reported iOS adoption metrics.

Meanwhile, just 22 percent of iOS devices continue to run iOS 6, and the remainder use some earlier version of the software. In other words, 96 percent of all iOS devices are running one of Apple’s two most recent mobile operating systems.

Impressive, considering that iOS’s chief competitor, Android, isn’t seeing nearly the same torrid uptake of its latest few iterations.

According to Google’s own metrics, the most recent version of Android — Android 4.4, a.k.a. KitKat — is now running on just 1.1 percent of Android devices. Meanwhile, 54.5 percent of them are running one of three variants of JellyBean, 18.6 percent are running Ice Cream Sandwich, and 24.1 percent are running Gingerbread, an OS that first shipped in February of 2011.

Look at the two adoption charts side by side and the difference is clear: Android is fragmented, iOS is not. For Apple, that’s an important message to relay to developers.

As I’ve written before: “Build your apps for iOS, and with one API you can hit the majority of the operating system’s addressable market. Develop for Android, and there are at least three different APIs you’ll need to deal with to reach the majority of its users. To Apple, this is a significant competitive advantage, one that the company is clearly interested in raising awareness around.”

J.P. Morgan Warns of UCard Data Breach

Fri, 12/06/2013 - 04:29

A July attack on J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.’s network has put the personal information of nearly a half million of the bank’s customers at risk.

J.P. Morgan said Wednesday that 465,000 users of its UCard prepaid cash cards may have had some personal information pilfered by hackers that breached its network. Speaking to Reuters, the bank said it believes only “a small amount” of noncritical data was taken. But it doesn’t seem to have definitively ruled out the theft of social security numbers, birth dates, etc. As of yet, there is no evidence any crimes have been committed using the data.

J.P. Morgan began apprising some of its government clients of the breach earlier this week, and those that have been warned aren’t happy. Indeed, some are wondering what took so long.

“I am dismayed that J.P. Morgan Chase delayed informing my Office of this security breach for two and a half months — from mid-September, when they first learned of it, until this week,” Connecticut state Treasurer Denise Nappier said in a statement. “They should have picked up the phone immediately and called us. That the company failed to communicate this security breach in a timely manner raises concerns over its culture of compliance and broader governance issues.”

The FBI is currently investigating the matter. Meanwhile, J.P. Morgan is offering affected card holders a year of free credit-monitoring services.