Telecoms regulator Ofcom has ordered BT to legally separate from its Openreach division – which runs the broadband infrastructure. It wants Openreach to become a distinct company with its own board, with non-executives and a chairperson not affiliated with BT. Ofcom also wants Openreach to have control over its branding and budget allocation. It should also have a duty to treat all customers equally.
Ofcom is preparing a formal notification to the European Commission to start the process. It has resisted calls from other telecoms companies to split Openreach off entirely.
Ofcom said BT had not gone far enough to address its concerns about BT’s ability to favour its retail business when making investment decisions in Openreach.
BT has said that they put forward proposals in July which were fair and sustainable in meeting Ofcom’s objectives. They will continue to work with Ofcom to reach a voluntary settlement that is ‘good for customers, shareholders, employees, pensioners and investment in the UK’s digital future.’
www.bbc.co.uk/technews (29th November 2016)
A Chinese firm, Beijing LingLong, has unveiled the country’s first voice-activated smart home speaker – its answer to Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home.
The Ding Dong uses voice interaction to do tasks such as playing music and switching on home appliances. The device is said to understand Mandarin, Cantonese and basic English. A study by Juniper Research suggests that China’s smart home market could be worth £18.3 bn by 2018.
Like Echo and Home, it can be used to control light switches, thermostats and home appliances, as well internet search, traffic and weather information, directions, online shopping, and music streaming,
So far though, it is the name of the product that has garnered more interest than the actual product itself!
www.bbc.co.uk/technews (24th November 2016)
A link to a video, which when watched slows down any iPhone until it crashes, is being used as the latest iPhone crash prank. The video from the Sina Weibo-backed video-sharing app Miaopai plays normally in the iPhone’s video player, but once the video is finished it can take up to a minute for the iPhone to lock up, requiring a forced reboot to recover it. Most people are unaware that anything has happened and continue to use their smartphone until it either won’t turn back on or locks up in an app, the home screen or with a spinning loading logo on a black screen.
The bug appears to involve the media handling functions of iOS, affects versions of the operating system as far back as iOS 5 and devices from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 7. The older the smartphone – the faster the lockup occurs.
The lockup is not permanent, but requires a soft reset or forced reboot to recover the functionality of the iPhone. Once the iPhone reboots, everything appears to function as normal.
www.theguardian.co.uk (22nd November 2016)
Samsung has urged owners of the Galaxy Note 7 to turn off its high-end smartphone while it investigates new reports of the device catching fire. It is also stopping all sales of the phone. Samsung recalled 2.5 million phones in September after complaints of exploding batteries, and later insisted that all replaced devices were safe. But there have since been reports of even those phones catching fire too. The company has announced that customers’ safety remains their number one priority and so will be asking all carrier and retail partners globally to stop sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note 7 while the investigation is taking place.
The problems for Samsung come at a crucial time for the firm. Technology analyst Andrew Milroy, from Frost & Sullivan, said ‘Samsung had been making a comeback against its rivals, but this catastrophic product fault will seriously damage its competitive position in the smart phone market.’ There will also be concern about the knock-on effect on the reputation of the brand, including the trust consumers have in Samsung’s wide range of products.
www.bbc.co.uk/technews (11th October 2016)
HP has backtracked on a software update that blocked some ink cartridges made by third parties, after a campaign calling on HP to reverse the move was launched. The change to the software was made earlier this month and meant that the printers would not work if unofficial (or cheaper) cartridges were used. An optional update that removes the restriction on unofficial cartridges will be available within two weeks.
HP said that they were ‘committed to transparency in all of our communications and when we fall short, we call ourselves out.’ Whilst making the apology, HP defended the controversial change by saying it did so to protect users from counterfeit products. ‘When ink cartridges are cloned or counterfeited, the customer is exposed to quality and potential security risks, compromising the printing experience,’ said Jon Flaxman, the company’s Chief Operating Officer.
Customers argued that the move was less about security and more about protecting the large profit margins HP adds to official ink cartridges.
www.bbc.co.uk/news (29th September 2016)
Following Microsoft’s recent Windows 10 Anniversary update, some Sage customers have reported that they are unable to log in to Sage 50 Accounts after installing the update.
Microsoft is investigating the problem as well as the product team at Sage. There are workarounds they are suggesting to allow you to access your product.
Sage and Microsoft are working together to understand the background to this issue and work towards a resolution
27th September 2016