While many can tell the difference between Sky TV services and Microsoft's SkyDrive cloud storage, that's not necessarily true for everyone. A British court certainly thinks there's room for confusion: it has ruled that SkyDrive infringes BSkyB's trademarks on the Sky name in both the UK and the European Union. The presiding judge didn't believe that Microsoft's use of the "sky" prefix was absolutely necessary, and she showed evidence that at least some of the general public didn't understand which company made what. Microsoft says it plans to appeal the verdict, although there's no guarantee that it will have to relabel SkyDrive if the appeal falls through. Some past trademark lawsuits have led to fines instead of name changes, and we suspect Microsoft would rather pay out than lose brand recognition across a whole continent.when.eng("eng.perm.init")
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Welcome to The After Math, where we attempt to summarize this week's tech news through numbers, decimal places and percentages.
In recent weeks, we've covered BlackBerry, Google, Nokia, Apple, Sony and (at least gaming-wise) Microsoft, but this week, the Redmond company returned to dominate tech news, showcasing a new version of Windows 8 (and RT) at its annual Build conference. It's tried to fix some of the operating system's early criticisms and make it all a bit more accessible. They even threw in a Start button -- of sorts. Meanwhile, Sony set jacket pockets quivering, announcing its new 6.4-inch smartphone (that's not a tablet), replete with arguably the most powerful mobile processor out there. For a numerical breakdown of the week's news, follow us after the break.Screen size of Sony's Xperia Z Ultra: 6.4 inchesBiggest Android smartphone screen in 2010: 5 inchesScreen size of Sony's Windows-running VAIO P laptop: 8 inchesBlackBerry 10 devices shipped in the last quarter (Q1 2014): 2.7 millionLoss made by BlackBerry in the same quarter: $84 millionNumber of Lumia 820 phones used to create a digital wall at Build 2013: 200Keynote attendees at Build 2013 that cheered at the first mention of Bing: 1Free tablets given to each Build 2013 attendee: 2Number of side-by-side windows possible on a Toshiba Kirabook running Windows 8.1: 4(Mis)uses of the word "literally" by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer during the Build keynote: 2New megapixels of satellite photography recently added to Google Maps: 800,000Meters per pixel within Google's new Maps images: 15Years of data collected by the NSA so far during the Obama administration: 2Air miles NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden could have earned in his escapade (Honolulu to Hong Kong to Moscow): 9,988 when.eng("eng.perm.init")
The Republican Party, which has not been been popular with the kids of late, has a not so innovative strategy for taking the youth vote from Hillary Clinton if and when she decides to run for President in 2016: Remind the public that she is an older woman. Like all of us, Clinton, who is currently 65 years old, will have aged by about four years by the time the next election rolls around, and the GOP is hoping that that will somehow make her look totally decrepit when compared to the Party's serious contenders, most of whom are more than a decade younger than she is. As the New York Times notes, Governor Chris Christie and Senator Rand Paul are both 50, and Governor Bobby Jindal and Senator Marco Rubio are 42. (Plus, Rubio has the youth-intoxicating ability to "[drop] the names of rappers like Pitbull and Jay-Z," while Paul came up with the term "Facebook Generation" and is very into legalizing pot and calling out the surveillance state.)
And, to hear Republican strategists tell it, Clinton's sheer oldness is more than just an opportunity to point out that she has wrinkles — it's a tool for labeling her "a has-been." As Republican Governor Scott Walker said in a reference to Bill Clinton's 1992 Fleetwood Mac campaign song, "If you want to keep thinking about tomorrow, maybe it’s time to put somebody new in." And last year, Senator Mitch McConnell compared the prospect of Joe Biden or Clinton running to "a rerun of The Golden Girls," an idea that might actually be appreciated by both 71-year-olds like himself and legions of 18- to 34-year-olds.
Of course, the "time for a new generation" idea has worked before. President Kennedy used it to beat Nixon in 1960, as did President Obama when he ran against John McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012. And then there were Mr. Clinton's baby-boomer victories against two members of the Greatest Generation, the first President George Bush and Bob Dole. But there are many ways this strategy could backfire when it comes to Clinton, not the least of which would be charges of sexism for focusing on a woman's age, especially when that woman is trying to become the first female president of the United States.
Additionally, as the Times points out, "Mrs. Clinton’s maturity could be more of an attribute than a liability. American voters have a tendency to elect presidents with the traits that their predecessors lacked, and if Mr. Obama’s term ends on a sour note, the electorate may look fondly upon a candidate with deep experience." And if the Obama term ends well, then Clinton can point to her contributions as part of the administration, as well as all the other things she's done and will do in between now and 2016. Plus, unlike the Republicans' patron saint and oldest President, Ronald Reagan, Clinton has shown herself to be more than willing to directly engage with young people and to laugh at perceptions of her own stodginess while proving that she's actually pretty fun after all.
Not all partnerships pan out, and Nokia seems ready to call it quits: according to Bloomberg, the company might announce a buy out of the German half of Nokia Siemens Networks later this week. Sources familiar with the matter say that the the Finnish firm is planning to use a bridge loan to finance the $2.6 billion purchase (less than 2 billion euros), taking the entire operation under its own wing. It's not a completely unexpected move on Nokia's part -- the company previously avoided selling off stake in the network back in 2011, opting to lean on its own shareholders instead. Bloomberg reports that Siemens has declined to comment on the issue, but we'll let you know if we hear anything solid.when.eng("eng.perm.init")
Google may have been on pins and needles while the FCC scrutinized its white space wireless database over the spring, but it can relax this summer -- the FCC has given the database the all-clear. The approval lets Google serve as one of ten go-to sources for white space devices needing safe frequencies in the US. It also lets those with interference-prone devices, such as wireless microphone users, register the airwaves they consider off-limits to white space technology. The clearance won't have much immediate effect when very few Americans are using the spectrum, but it's a step forward for rural broadband rollouts and other situations where long-range, unlicensed wireless comes in handy.when.eng("eng.perm.init")
Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week's most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us -- it's the Week in Green.
Summer is finally upon us, and polluting companies are feeling the heat as President Barack Obama announced a groundbreaking climate action plan this week that calls for cutting CO2 emissions and building more resilient communities in the face of climate change. Meanwhile, innovators around the world are continuing to tackle some of our biggest challenges. Rust-Oleum launched NeverWet - an incredible new spray that can completely waterproof any surface or object. IKEA unveiled a new solar-powered flat-pack shelter that could be easily deployed as emergency housing. Cardboard Technologies announced plans to mass-produce a $10 bicycle made almost entirely from recycled cardboard. And in one of the week's most exciting green transportation developments, England's Drayson Racing set a new land speed record for electric cars this week, shattering the previous mark by nearly 30 MPH.
It's only July, but 2013 has already been a banner year for Tesla Motors. Now, rumors are starting to circulate that Google will make a bid for the electric car company. In other green transportation news this week, inventor Chip Yates announced plans to fly an electric airplane nonstop from New York to Paris. A Volkswagen Passat TDI set a new world record by achieving 77.99 MPG in a 48-state drive -- the best fuel economy ever for a non-hybrid car. High Speed 2 released the first images of England's new 225 MPH bullet train, and in New York City, Inhabitat speculated on how parked Citi Bikes could be used to generate energy. Inhabitat also teamed up with Linus Bikes to give one lucky reader a bike worth $645.
In an effort to create a better, longer-lasting bike light, Dutch company Rydon created a new solar-powered bike light that can be permanently mounted to any bike frame. Fashion designer Pauline van Dongen unveiled a prototype for a new coat that features a series of solar-powered flaps that unfurl in the sunlight. A pair of researchers at the University of Maryland Robotics Center developed a robo raven that is able to fly by flapping its wings independently of one another. DJ and turntablist Kid Koala released an album that comes with a working DIY cardboard record player that you can assemble yourself. And Lego builder Jason Alleman built a steampunk Lego ship that can crawl around on spiderlike legs.when.eng("eng.perm.init")