TSR on tech: your weekly news summary
|July 31, 2011||Posted by Elliot Davies under TSR on tech|
It’s been a slower week for technology after Apple’s dominating announcement last week of their new operating system, OS X Lion. Still, that doesn’t mean we haven’t found some good tidbits to bring to you, with interesting news on both the business and hacking fronts.
In light of disappointing Q1 sales and earnings, Research In Motion (RIM), the parent company of BlackBerry, announced that it would be laying off 2000 employees around the world. Although termed a “prudent and necessary step” after an “extended period of rapid growth” by executives at the company, in reality RIM is now too large to support itself after lower than expected sales of the new BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.
By contrast, Amazon did well in its second quarter, reporting earnings of 41 cents a share on revenue of $9.91bn up from the anticipated 35 cents a share on revenue of $9.38bn. Although the company as usual didn’t release any numbers on its Kindle e-reader sales, it did reveal that the Kindle 3G with special offers (the cheaper, advertisement-supported model) is now its best-selling Kindle model.
Apple stole the show this week however, first reporting a 34-year high on share prices as stock reached $402.49 on Tuesday. This comes after Apple last week reported record revenue of $28.6bn on a record quarterly profit of $7.31bn.
Later in the week, it was also reported that Apple had ousted Nokia as the world’s largest smartphone vendor, with an 18.5% share of the global smartphone market as opposed to Nokia’s 15.2%. Additionally, Apple is now the world’s fourth largest manufacturer of mobile phones in general, after Nokia, Samsung and LG. In the US, surveyor Nielsen revealed that Apple is now the leading smartphone manufacturer although Google’s Android still has a larger market share than Apple’s iOS, with 39% to 28%.
Finally, Borders announced that its negotiations with Books-A-Million have collapsed, meaning all Borders stores will close for good by October.
Hacking & Security
This week has seen a spate of attacks by Anonymous against the US government and its associates, launched as part of the ongoing #Antisec campaign designed to oppose the computer security industry.
Anonymous most recently hit ManTech, a cyber-security contractor which works with several US agencies, including the FBI, who Anonymous seem to have a particular grudge against. Most of the 400MB worth of information stolen by the Anons pertains to ManTech’s involvement with projects related to NATO, but none of it was particularly sensitive; nevertheless, this is still embarrassing for the company. Previously targeted companies include InfraGard, Unveillance and Booz Allen Hamilton.
Anonymous also this week released emails stolen from the Department of Homeland Security, who accidentally made the files available on their website.
Following the arrests last week of several suspected Anonymous members, UK police this week claim to have arrested a prominent member of the other hacker group to have made headlines recently, LulzSec. Scotland Yard announced that it had arrested the man, who is 18-years-old and goes by the name of “Topiary”, in the Shetland Islands and was flying him to London for questioning.
Topiary was the public spokesperson for the LulzSec group and his arrest will be a blow – if indeed the police have actually caught him. There has been much speculation by other hackers, both those allied with LulzSec and those not, that the police might have the wrong person. The reason for this is that rival hacker groups like to “dox” each other – that is, to find out and reveal personal information about one another – and if the doxing was correct, then “Topiary” is actually a 23-year-old Swedish male. At the moment however, the truth remains unclear and we’ll have to wait and see.
Nintendo’s 3DS, launched only four months ago, hasn’t sold as well as hoped. The company has therefore decided to cut the price from $250 to $170 from August 12th; early adopters who have already bought the system will be placated with a selection of free games. It will probably take at least another four months to see whether the $80 price drop improves sales, but it doesn’t look good for a company that usually releases instantly successful products.