innocent_white_lamb writes "Ford has announced that their in-vehicle technology called Sync will be based on Blackberry's QNX operating system and will no longer use Microsoft Windows. My own 2013 Ford Escape has the Windows-based Sync system. I wonder if they will issue an update to change it to QNX." Anonymous sources inside Ford cited reliability problems with Windows and lower licensing costs for the switch to the classic realtime OS.
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New submitter TheP4st writes "A group of Swedish police officers thought it would be a good idea to use WhatsApp as a work tool for surveillance operations. The officer that set up their chat group mistyped one of the phone numbers to mistakenly include a civilian IT teacher. Once the teacher informed authorities about the mistake, it took more than 24 hours before he stopped receiving sensitive case information, which included criminal records, passport photos, and communications between surveillance teams tailing suspects. When confronted by Computer Sweden (Google translation of Swedish original), the officer responsible for setting up the group said, 'I know this server is not located in Sweden and that one cannot share every kind of information.' The only mobile chat medium approved for sensitive information is BlackBerry, and this initiative by a small group of officers happened because they do not have access to BlackBerry handsets."
snydeq writes "Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has some advice for Apple CEO Tim Cook: consider offering a phone based on the rival Google Android platform. Speaking at the Apps World conference in San Francisco, Wozniak made the suggestion of an Apple Android device when responding to a question about the fate of the faltering BlackBerry platform, saying that BlackBerry should have built an Android phone, and that Apple could do so, too. 'BlackBerry's very sad for me,' Wozniak lamented. 'I think it's probably too late now' for an Android-based BlackBerry phone. Apple, Woz said, has had some lucky victories in the marketplace in the past decade, and BlackBerry's demise may provide a cautionary tale: 'There's nothing to keep Apple out of the Android market as a secondary phone market.'"
judgecorp writes "Typo Products, which makes a physical keyboard for the iPhone 5 and 5S is being sued by BlackBerry. The firm — co-founded by media personality Ryan Seacrest — provides an iPhone case which includes a physical keyboard, whose keys are sculpted very like those of a classic BlackBerry phone. 'From the beginning, BlackBerry has always focused on offering an exceptional typing experience that combines a great design with ergonomic excellence. We are flattered by the desire to graft our keyboard onto other smartphones, but we will not tolerate such activity without fair compensation for using our intellectual property and our technological innovations,' said Steve Zipperstein, BlackBerry’s General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer."
harrymcc writes "Over at TIME.com, I rounded up the year's dumbest moments in technology. Yes, the launch of Healthcare.gov is included, as are Edward Snowden's revelations. But so are a bunch of people embarrassing themselves on Twitter, both BlackBerry and Lenovo hiring celebrities to (supposedly) design products, the release of glitchy products ranging from OS X 10.9 Mavericks to the new Yahoo Mail, and much more." I can't think of anything dumber than the NSA's claims that metadata isn't data.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Some high-profile tech initiatives really crashed-and-burned this year. Did BlackBerry executives really think that BlackBerry 10 would spark a miraculous turnaround, or were they simply going through the motions of promoting it? That's the key question as BlackBerry 10 devices fail to sell. Then there's Facebook's misbegotten attempt at 'skinning' the Android OS with its Home app. Or maybe Healthcare.gov counts as 2013's biggest debacle, with its repeated crashes and glitches and inability to carry out core functions. What do you think was the biggest software or hardware (or both) mishap of the past twelve months?"
An anonymous reader writes "A review of the top UX successes and failures of 2013 covers hot topics ranging from Snapchat to the Nest thermostat to David Pogue's departure from the New York Times. The author begins: 'In terms of UX milestones and missteps, 2013 failed to produce industry-altering innovations like 2007 with the introduction of the first iPhone or 2012 with the demise of Blackberry. Yet on another level, UX design in 2013 gave us a glimpse at the rapidly broadening definition of UX design as a structural concept and its role in the future of new media device design, content creation and even the status of product reviews created by leading tech journalists. In a critical way, I personally find this more interesting than blockbuster introductions that alter the technology landscape.'"
A couple months ago, Rockstar, a patent-holding consortium backed by Apple, Microsoft, Sony, Blackberry, and others launched a barrage of infringement suits against Google and the makers of Android devices. Google has now launched a counteroffensive, seeking protection from Rockstar's patent trolling. The complaint (PDF) says, "Rockstar produces no products and practices no patents. Instead, Rockstar employs a staff of engineers in Ontario, Canada, who examine other companies’ successful products to find anything that Rockstar might use to demand and extract licenses to its patents under threat of litigation." Google's filing also accuses Rockstar of interfering with their business practices by contacting other companies and trying to convince them not to use Android. It asks for a declarative judgment of non-infringement.
iONiUM writes "Today BlackBerry announced a $4.4 billion loss, and a deal with Foxconn to outsource hardware manufacturing. One interesting stat is that 75% of sales were actually older BB7 devices. That said, CEO John Chen says, 'We are very much alive, thank you.' He adds, 'Our "for sale" sign has been taken down and we are here to stay. BlackBerry recently announced it has entered into an agreement to receive a strategic investment from Fairfax Financial and other institutional investors, which represents a vote of confidence in the future of BlackBerry.'"
judgecorp writes "BlackBerry has launched BBM Channels, a rather Twitter-like social network that runs on its BBM messaging system. Meanwhile the company had good news in the developing world: it is the second most popular phone in South Africa. From the article: 'The update is available for BBM users on BlackBerry 10 and some older BlackBerry smartphones, but it is promised that support will be added for iPhone and Android soon, with users of those platforms able to access the web version if they have a confirmed BlackBerry ID email address.'"
cagraham writes "In a pretty major executive shakeup, BlackBerry's Chief Financial Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, and Chief Operating Officer have all left the company. It's unclear whether the changes were brought about by new interim-CEO John Chen in order to facilitate company change, or represent an abandon-ship style exit after BlackBerry's failed bid to go private. The company announced that the CFO position would be filled by current SVP James Yersch, but gave no word on the other vacancies."
cold fjord writes "Nextgov reports, 'The Defense Department, owner of 470,000 BlackBerrys, is distancing itself from the struggling vendor while moving ahead with construction of a department wide app store and a system for securing all mobile devices, including the latest iPhones, iPads, and Samsung smartphones and tablets. Just two months ago, when BlackBerry announced the company would radically curtail commercial sales, Pentagon officials said their business partnership remained unaffected. ... A 2012 strategy to transition personnel from PCs to smartphones and tablets did not favor any one device maker ... "This multi-vendor, device-agnostic approach minimizes the impact of [a] single vendor to our current operations," Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Damien Pickart said. Implementation of the strategy centers on a "mobile device management" system to track handhelds that touch military networks so that they do not compromise military information or corrupt Defense systems.'"
mattydread23 writes "Earlier this week in London, Box CEO Aaron Levie gave other enterprise software companies a warning: If they continue to ignore what users want and how they work, they could easily end up like BlackBerry. The shift to cloud computing makes easy for companies to abandon you: 'This shift means the onus more than ever is on the vendor. If we don't stay competitive, if we don't build whatever that that next thing is the user wants to do and build it in as simple a way as they expect from the consumer tools they are using, then we will get swapped out.'"
An anonymous reader writes "BlackBerry has abandoned plans to sell the company to Fairfax Holdings after the shareholder could not raise enough money. CEO Thorsten Heins is to leave the company. From the article: 'The company also said that Prem Watsa, chairman and CEO of Fairfax, will be appointed Lead Director and chair of the compensation, nomination and governance committee. Mr. Watsa had resigned from the BlackBerry board earlier this year to explore a bid for the company.'"
mrspoonsi writes "Engadget reports: Smartphone market share for the third quarter...as you'd imagine, the world is still Android's oyster. Strategy Analytics estimates that the OS has crossed the symbolic 80 percent mark, reaching 81.3 percent of smartphone shipments by the end of September. Not that Google was the only company doing well — Nokia's strong US sales helped Windows Phone grow to 4.1 percent of the market, or nearly double what it had a year ago."
sl4shd0rk writes "In what could be an act of desparation of a company in it's death throes, Blackberry has submitted their BBM messaging application to Google Play for download. While this may seem like a logical path for a company on life-support, what wasn't expected is the sheer number of identical 5-star reviews the application has received since being posted. In what appears to be review 'ballot stuffing,' it poses the questions of just how Google is going to handle the subject of manufactured reviews as well as how many other entities have engaged in the same behavior. The same problems have plagued Amazon's review system as well bringing into question the validity of 'crowd based review' and whether it's possible to legitimize this type of system." The linked article points out that the suspicious posts may be the result of ballot stuffing intended to hype one of the unofficial Blackberry apps, rather than RIM's own.
judgecorp writes "Hewlett-Packard wants to cash in a lot of mobile patents, as part of Meg Whitman's restructuring, according to reports. HP acquired the WebOS operating system, as seen on phones and tablets, when it bought Palm, but failed to build a business on it. It's since sold its WebOS business to LG for use in TVs and cars but hung onto the patents which are licensed to LG. Now, Bloomberg reports the patents themselves may be for sale — possibly to whoever fails to buy BlackBerry's tempting bundle of mobile technology."
New submitter Adamsobert sends this excerpt from the NY Times: "In a regulatory filing on Thursday, Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin said that they were considering a bid for the 92 percent of the company that they do not own. ... Their potential bid joins a growing list of expressions of interest in the company, which recently reported a $1 billion quarterly loss caused by the market's rejection of new smartphones that were supposed to revive BlackBerry's prominence. Fairfax Financial Holdings of Toronto has made a conditional, nonbinding offer to buy the 90 percent of BlackBerry shares it does not own for $9 each. That would value the company at about $4.7 billion."
schnell writes "The Globe and Mail is running a fascinating in-depth report on how BlackBerry went from the world leader in smartphones to a company on the brink of collapse. It paints a picture of a company with deep engineering talent but hamstrung by arrogance, indecision, slowness to embrace change, and a lack of internal accountability. From the story: '"The problem wasn't that we stopped listening to customers," said one former RIM insider. "We believed we knew better what customers needed long term than they did."'"
Nerval's Lobster writes "A consortium led by financial-holding company Fairfax Financial has agreed to acquire BlackBerry for $4.7 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, Fairfax Financial will acquire every BlackBerry stock-share it doesn't already own. Further details are pending, including future management structure and whether BlackBerry will continue with its stated intent to lay off thousands of employees over the next few months. 'The Special Committee is seeking the best available outcome for the Company's constituents, including for shareholders,' Barbara Stymiest, chair of BlackBerry's Board of Directors, wrote in a statement. 'Importantly, the go-shop process provides an opportunity to determine if there are alternatives superior to the present proposal from the Fairfax consortium.' A special committee formed by BlackBerry's Board of Directors had spent the past few weeks looking for a potential acquirer. BlackBerry has seen its market-share crumble as businesses and consumers embrace rivals such as Apple's iPhone and Google Android devices."