Is Facebook the New Google+?

Via Mashable

Facebook unveiled today a radical new look for the news feed, but it wasn’t the only social network getting major buzz following the design announcement.

Minutes after Facebook debuted the overhaul, boasting multiple feeds, mobile consistency and a bigger focus on pictures, people took to Twitter to discuss the similarities between the update and the existing look of competitor Google+, which was trending on Twitter in the U.S. for a good portion of Mark Zuckerberg’s presentation.

Facebook’s announcement comes just one day after Google+ launched new features of its own, including a “Local” reviews tab and larger cover photos.

As a part of an effort to de-clutter news feeds, Facebook introduced on Thursday more white space to make reading easier on the eyes. This shift is indeed reflective of Google+’s signature look. Both platforms now have a lot more space in the center of the page.

[Full article here]

96% of Mobile Malware Is on Android, Study Finds

Via CIO Today

Ninety-six percent of all mobile malware is now designed for Android devices. That is one of the key findings in a new quarterly Mobile Threat Report by leading security firm F-Secure, showing that Android’s share has nearly doubled in each of the last three quarters.

As the report notes, Android’s leading position as the main malware target is due to its position as the leading mobile platform. Other reports have also cited Android’s status as an open-source platform, which can be modified by any carrier or manufacturer in ways that could be less than secure , as well as a lack of stringent monitoring in the app marketplace in Google Play, the online store.

Symbian devices account for only 4 percent of malware, and all other platforms — iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and J2ME — are hovering around zero for the quarter.

[Full article here]

Apple Asks Judge to Dismiss Suit Alleging IPhone Monopoly

Via Bloomberg

Apple Inc. (AAPL) urged a federal judge to dismiss a consumer lawsuit alleging the company maintains a monopoly over iPhone applications.

Attorneys who filed the suit in 2011 claim that a monopoly exists because an iPhone user who doesn’t want to pay what developers charge for applications available through Apple’s App Store can’t go anywhere else to buy them. Apple requires iPhone software developers to turn over 30 percent of what they charge for an application, increasing prices and excluding competitors from the iPhone “aftermarket” of applications, they claim.

Apple doesn’t set the price for paid applications, and charging a price for distribution of a product on a new and unique platform doesn’t violate any antitrust laws, said Dan Wall, Apple’s attorney, at yesterday’s court hearing in Oakland, California.

“There’s nothing illegal about creating a system that is closed in a sense,” Wall told U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.

[Full article here]

What matters for BlackBerry is what matters to users

Via Computer World

At this week’s Computerworld Premier 100 conference in Tucson, I asked many of the IT leaders whether their companies will use the coming BlackBerry Z10 smartphone or its qwerty cousin, the Q10. I had done a review of the Z10 and found the underlying BlackBerry 10 OS to be very good. Based on my experience, I thought there might be some genuine interest.

What I found is that nobody, out of about 20 CIOs and senior VP’s of IT, that I spoke to said they would be endorsing or adopting the platform, except for one CIO who pulled out his current BlackBerry and said, “I only use BlackBerry because my boss wants us to.” He suggested his boss might require continuing with BlackBerry 10 and the Z10.

At a luncheon during the P100 event, I also asked a group of eight CIOs at my table if anybody was moving to the new BlackBerry device, and everybody but the current BlackBerry user shook his head “no” and some even grunted, almost in disgust. They indicated that it was the BlackBerry outage in the fall of 2011, and the company’s slow rollout of its latest OS and devices that had been their biggest concerns.

[Full article here]

Microsoft slates IE, Windows, Office updates for next week

Via Computer World

Microsoft today announced it will deliver seven security updates next week, four of them rated “critical,” to patch Internet Explorer (IE), Windows, Office, SharePoint Server and the Silverlight media software.

March’s Patch Tuesday collection will be significantly smaller than last month’s, when Microsoft issued a dozen updates that patched a near-record 57 vulnerabilities.

Microsoft averaged close to eight updates monthly throughout 2012, said Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle Security, and the count thus far this year — 8 in January, 12 in February, 7 in March — is close, with a slightly higher average of 9.

Four of the updates will be ranked critical, Microsoft’s highest threat rating, while the remainder will be labeled “important,” the next step below critical.

[Full article here]

Anonymous re-hacks US Sentencing site into video game Asteroids

Via ZDNet

The U.S. Sentencing Commission website has been hacked again and a code distributed by Anonymous “Operation Last Resort” turns ussc.gov into a playable video game.

Visitors enter the code, and then the website that sets guidelines for sentencing in United States Federal courts becomes “Asteroids.”

Shooting away at the ussc.gov webpage reveals an image of Anonymous.

The trademark Anonymous “Guy Fawkes” face is comprised of white text saying, “We do not forgive. We do not forget.”

[Full article here]

Does Apple have an innovation problem?

Via The Washington Post

Analysts blamed flat profits for the steep slide in Apple’s stock price last week. But what’s ailing the iconic tech company is not a profitability problem. It’s an innovation problem. And, perhaps, an expectations problem.

Nearly three years have passed since Apple last revolutionized the world of consumer electronics, with the release of the iPad. Since then, competition has grown increasingly fierce within the markets that this and previous Apple innovations helped create. And, of course, the company’s animating spirit, Steve Jobs, died in October 2011.

Under his successor, chief executive Tim Cook, the company has done many things right. The iPhone 5 is a wonder. So are the latest iPads, iPods and Macs. Apple is spreading its market footprint with a smaller iPad and, if recent news reports are to be believed, a cheaper iPhone.

[Full article here]

Yahoo earnings: Mayer still has much to prove

Via CNN Money

Former Googler Marissa Mayer shocked the world last summer by taking the CEO spot at Yahoo, a brand marred by tumultuous CEO tenures and waning relevance.

Since then, Yahoo’s stock has been on a tear and analysts are pinning their hopes for a Big Purple Turnaround squarely on Mayer.

Mayer has laid out her plans to usher in a new era at Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500), and she’s generated more excitement about the company than any of the numerous other CEOs Yahoo has had in the past decade. That includes a buzz-worthy appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

But industry watchers are now starting to look for proof that Mayer can deliver on her promises.

To be fair, Mayer has only been on the job for two full quarters. In October, results for the third quarter beat estimates but were hardly fantastic. Mayer’s next test comes via Monday’s fourth-quarter earnings report, and it will be a look into the new Yahoo business strategy — the results of which Mayer began laying out in an all-staff meeting in September.

[Full article here]

Unlocking new smartphone becomes harder Saturday

Via CNN

It’s about to get more difficult to move between smartphone carriers and still keep your existing phone.

Smartphones purchased after Saturday can’t be legally unlocked without permission from the carrier, according to a recent ruling by the Library of Congress.

Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998, making it illegal to access copyrighted content and break digital rights management technologies. The software that locks a smartphone to one carrier is covered by the act, and unlocking a phone is the process of freeing a device so that it can be used with a different wireless carrier.

The Library of Congress has the ability to grant exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which it has done in the past for smartphone users who wished to unlock their phones. That changed with the most recent group of exemptions that went into effect October 28, but the switch included a 90-day grace period that ends Saturday, as TechNewsDaily pointed out.

[Full article here]

RIM to advertise BlackBerry 10 during Super Bowl

Via CNN Money

Research in Motion is staking its future on the long-delayed-but-finally-upcoming BlackBerry 10, and it’s plunking down millions for a 30-second Super Bowl ad hawking the operating system.

It’s RIM’s (RIMM) first-ever Super Bowl commercial, and while the company didn’t say how much it spent, Super Bowl broadcaster CBS (CBS, Fortune 500) previously told CNNMoney that 30-second spots are going for a record high of at least $4 million.

RIM will unveil the BlackBerry 10 platform at events on Wednesday, as well as the first two devices to run on the new platform. It’s been a long time coming: The software had previously been slated for release in early 2012, which was pushed to late 2012, and again to the first quarter of 2013.

While delays in tech do happen, the news was damning for the struggling RIM because BlackBerry 10 is meant t to be the crown jewel of the company’s turnaround plan. Critics wondered if RIM would even survive long enough to launch the OS.

[Full article here]