Samsung recalled 2.5 million phones last week after reports emerged of the device exploding during or after charging. Owners of the Galaxy Note 7 have been encouraged to stop using or exchange the devices, and airline passengers were warned by US authorities not to switch on or charge the phones while on board. Aviation authorities in the United Arab Emirates have banned use of the devices on the Emirates and Etihad airlines. Similar bans have been put in place by Singapore Airlines, Qantas and Virgin Australia. The US Federal Aviation Administration also advised against packing the phones into any checked-in luggage.
A statement by Samsung, the world’s biggest mobile phone maker, said that customer safety was the priority and that they would replace all devices that were handed in from 19th September. Samsung has said that battery problems were behind the phones catching fire, but that it was difficult to work out which phones were affected among those sold.
The phone was launched last week and has been otherwise generally well-received by consumers and critics.
www.bbc.co.uk (10th September 2016)
Apple has been ordered to pay £11bn in unpaid taxes to the Irish Government after the European Commission ruled that it had received illegal state aid. The company has been under investigation for two years by the EU, in the latest effort to clamp down on alleged tax avoidance by US multinationals.
The commission said a ‘sweetheart’ deal between Apple and Ireland was anti-competitive, allowing the company to pay a tax rate as low as 0.005% on its European profits for more than a decade. Apple records much of its worldwide sales in Ireland, and has built up a colossal cash pile it is yet to bring back to the US. The total amount Apple may have to pay will depend on how the ruling is actually enforced.
The ruling, which both Apple and the Irish state are likely to appeal, will also raise anger in Washington, which believes Brussels has unfairly targeted American companies.
www.telegraph.co.uk (30th August 2016)
BBC iPlayer users in the UK will need a valid licence to use the service from the 1st September, even if they don’t have a TV and watch only online via a laptop or mobile. The changes were introduced in the BBC’s white paper in May.
While non-TV owning viewers now need to have a licence to watch streaming or downloaded shows, the licensing changes have left some loopholes – mainly you don’t need a licence to watch other on-demand services like Netflix or other terrestrial broadcasters’ digital platforms, like ITV Player. There is also the potential of extenuating circumstances for students that don’t want to shell out on a licence – as long as the device you’re watching on is powered by internal batteries and not plugged into the mains when using iPlayer, you don’t need a separate licence – the one at your parents will cover you.
The BBC has also suggested that the licence fee could become more portable, allowing people who have to watch content while abroad on holiday.
www.wired.co.uk (2nd August 2016)
The UK’s biggest internet provider is experiencing problems for a second day in a row. The first day of problems was caused by a power failure at a partner company’s site which left users struggling to access the internet.
Today’s problems were caused by a circuit that tripped in a building in London, owned by Telehouse, which hosts a data centre used by BT. Both sites are situated in London Docklands, but owned by different companies. According to DownDetector, most reports of outages were in London. other reports were in Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham, Milton Keynes, Leeds, Sheffield, Bristol, Liverpool, and Glasgow.
A spokesman from Telehouse said, ‘The problem has been investigated and the solution identified. Our engineers are working with our customers on the resolution right now.’ Telehouse is a major carrier-neutral colocation, ICT solutions and managed services provider.
www.dailymail.co.uk (21st July 2016)
BT has been told by MPs it must ‘invest significantly’ in the business responsible for most of the country’s broadband roll-out – or split it off. They said that the quality of service offered by BT’s Openreach subsidiary ‘remains poor’. The MPs added that the ‘shortfall in investment’ could run into hundreds of millions of pounds a year. The report by MPs on the Culture Media and Sport Committee accuses BT of making decisions that favoured its own ‘priorities and interests’. The Committee is ‘demanding’ that BT pump significantly more money into Openreach. If BT does not comply, then they supporting the idea of splitting Openreach from BT.
BT rejected the allegation that it had under-invested, but agreed that customer service needed to be improved. BT is keen to prove that it is working on these issues and has announced improvements in the time it takes customers to get an appointment for an Openreach engineer to repair or install broadband.
Rival companies have long called for a split between BT and its Openreach operation, which runs its cables, fibre and network infrastructure. Companies such as Sky, Vodafone and TalkTalk, who pay to use the network, have claimed in the past that BT underinvested in Openreach, leading to a poor service with interruptions and slow speeds.
www.bbc.co.uk/technews (19th July 2016)