* Posts by Steve Todd

1944 posts • joined 19 Sep 2007

The STEALTH Plug-in Hybrid: Audi A3 e-tron Sportback

Steve Todd
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EV charging is a good way to soak up unused off-peak capacity and power from renewables. The power packs are also good for stabilising domestic power and providing backup when they reach the end of their useful life in a car. We could switch about 1/3 of the vehicles on the road to electric with no changes to the current infrastructure.

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Microsoft: Hey, don’t forget Visual Basic! Open source and new features coming

Steve Todd
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Re: No need to move away from VB

Have you missed out on the facts that

1) They both compile to MSiL.

2) Microsoft have opensourced both?

I agree with the OP here. Back in the days of VB6 it was the red hair'd stepchild of MS's language family. With VB.NET it's fully as capable as C# and has some advantages (I prefer the HANDLES keyword to adding delegate methods to events in the form initialisation code for example)

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DEAD STEVE JOBS accuses Real Networks of 'hacking' iPods

Steve Todd
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Re: Huh?

@ForthIsNotDead - you're welcome. Often these things aren't as cut and dried as people try to make out. Apple aren't saints, but an understanding of why they've done something often reveals the reason not to be as bad as as being portraid.

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Steve Todd
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Re: Huh?

You've got that the wrong way around. Imagine you are a company selling music players. A competitor finds a security hole in your software's DRM scheme that alows them to sell DRMed music to your customers. They pay you not a bean for this. You have promised the music labels that you will keep the DRM secure. Should you be forced to break your word to the labels and lose profit to your competition, or can you fix the hole?

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Dead Steve Jobs to give iPod MP3 evidence from beyond the grave

Steve Todd
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Re: "Thousands of iPod owners re-bought their existing collections..."

No, they could load unprotected MP3s, AACs, ripped CDs etc onto an iPod without problems. The class action was brought because other companies (RealNetworks in particular) wanted to be able to use FairPlay also, but Apple wouldn't license it.

At the time ALL legal digital download sites used DRM of one type or another, and you couldn't move DRMed downloads between manufacturers (or groups of manufacturers) players. In April 2007 Apple went DRM free with EMI's catalog, and across all publishers in January 2009. People who had bought the DRMed version could get the DRM free version for an upgrade price. At that point they could transfer their purchases to any player that supported AAC (part of the MP4 spec).

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Steve Todd
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More to do with

Preventing competitors from hacking in to Apple's FairPlay DRM system. They could sell un-DRMed music and the iPod could play MP3 and MP4/AAC, as well as WAV format, added to a user's iTunes library without problems.

If they wanted to sell DRM'd music that would play on the iPod they had to resort to tricks and hacks to get that to work, and being blocked from doing that is what they are claiming was uncompetitive.

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Sinclair is back with the Spectrum Vega ... just as rubbish as the ZX

Steve Todd
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Re: Indiegogo Warning

I thought that initially, then I looked at the people running the company and I recognised them from back in the day, so I have a reasonable degree of confidence that they will do what they say they will. It does seem to be a software emulation on a 3 chip ARM board, but it looks practical in both cost and technogy.

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Trousers down for six of the best affordable Androids

Steve Todd
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Re: Small, sturdy phone to fit in my back pocket

As opposed to communism, where you'd have a choice of one phone the size of a brick that didn't work properly?

There are plenty of different phones out there in assorted sizes and shapes. Do some research an pick the one closest to your needs.

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iPhone sales set to PLUMMET: Bleak times ahead for Apple

Steve Todd
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Since they only sold

51 million phones in the Christmas quarter last year, and 43 million in the first quarter of this year, then my guess is that they will be laughing all the way to the bank, and that times will be far from bleak. Does Hammil ever stop trying to predict Apple's doom from any report he can lay his sticky little hands on?

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Jony Ive: Apple isn't here to make money. And students shouldn't use computers so much

Steve Todd
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Re: Theft

The first GUI and mouse was created by Doug Engelbart at SRI International (go look it up if you like),

The whole "Apple stole the GUI from Xerox" myth is debunked here http://obamapacman.com/2010/03/myth-copyright-theft-apple-stole-gui-from-xerox-parc-alto/

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Steve Todd
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Re: Theft

It's amazing that so much wrongness can fit in one post.

Woz built blue boxes for phone freaking, Apple didn't try to sell them.

Xerox didn't invent the GUI, and Apple licenced what they had done (and then added a shedload of stuff to make it into the modern GUI that you'd be familiar with).

Apple didn't claim to invent the touch screen phone (I remember using HTC units branded as XDAs here in the UK years before the iPhone), what they did was to invent a GUI that worked on a multitouch capacative screen, on a small, compact, easy to use phone. There's a big difference between pre and post iphone smart phones, and even the Android development team admitted that.

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Adobe appoints former Reg man as open-source chief mobile lead

Steve Todd
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Target the platform the paying users are on

That's why Photoshop et al were provided for OS X/MacOS for so long and not just Windows. There were lots of Mac users who were prepared to pay Adobe money for the product.

Winging about Android outnumbering iOS devices ignores the absolute number of users on each platform who may be prepared to spend money on Adobe products. There are demonstrably more PAYING users on the iOS platform (many of the Android devices are cheap throwaway things that either won't run their software or the owners wouldn't consider using it), and it takes less work to develop for so it gets preferential treatment.

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BEHOLD Apple's BENEVOLENCE! iMessage txt BLACK HOLE finally fixed

Steve Todd
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Not quite true. Press and hold on a blue message that hasn't been received and it gives you the option to send as SMS.

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Steve Todd
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Um, no

The text app on an iPhone checks to see if the contact you are sending to is on iMessage and sends via TCP/IP if they are. If not then it goes the SMS route. Nothing is intercepted and you can still chose to override iMessage and send as SMS.

Messages sent via iMessage are shown in blue, SMS in green, so you know how the message was sent BTW.

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Apple on the art of the deal: 'Put on your big boy pants and accept the agreement'

Steve Todd
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Re: Two sides to this

Neither side is dead and they are both holding guns (admittedly GTAs is smaller caliber)

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Steve Todd
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Two sides to this

The Apple documents that were revealed at the same time show GTA repeatedly failing to hit targets that should have caused Apple to withdraw financing earlier. GTA over promised and under delivered, then acted all hurt and surprised when Apple refused to keep funding them.

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Apple strap-on wristjob: You WON'T be able to spend more than $5,000!

Steve Todd
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FAIL

Re: Hmmm choices choices....

It's already been stated, several times here and by Apple, that the case is solid gold, not plated. Unless you're hard of reading then it is obvious that the eBay price will never be £20. Is that clear?

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Steve Todd
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Re: Hmmm choices choices....

Pure gold is currently selling at about £23/gram. If the gold Apple Watch weights in at only 50% heavier than a Moto 360, and only 50% of that weight is the gold, then that's about £650 in gold on today's market. Unless world prices crash there's no way that it will be worth only £20 in scrap.

Put it another way, try shopping for a plain gold ring, then tell me there's no way that something as light as a watch will have a significantly expensive amount of gold in it.

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Apple patents AUTOGRAPHS. Checkmate, eBay

Steve Todd
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He's not dead yet. Suffering a form of dementia yes, dead no.

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DROIDS - everywhere! Is Apple really even in the game any more?

Steve Todd
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The problem with that theory is that devs make more money for less effort on the iOS platform, so it is still most often the first platform that an app is developed for (most devs actually want to make money from their code). Until the stats swing dramatically against that then you're not going to get the VHS/Betamax effect.

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Apple spent just ONE DOLLAR beefing up the latest iPad Air 2

Steve Todd
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FAIL

Re: What about the VAT?

If one VAT registered company, within the same country, sells to another, then they can reclaim the input VAT (i.e. the VAT they paid for it), meaning that the company personally only pays VAT on their markup rather than double or tripple charging the tax. Ordinary members of the public pay the full amount.

Between two EU states companies EXPORTING goods don't charge VAT (and can reclaim any VAT paid), while the IMPORTING company pays local rate VAT on the goods when they arrive. Whichever way you look at it, the local government gets its full VAT amount paid on the final retail price, but that amount may have been paid by several companies in the sales chain.

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Steve Todd
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Re: What about the VAT?

Just who is it who has no idea how VAT works?

VAT is pan-european. All EU states charge it, it's part of how the EU is funded. It is charged at the local rate for the seller, the seller being Apple UK in this case, on the full cost price of the item in question (clever tax tricks on transfer pricing have no effect on the end user price).

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PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY

Steve Todd
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FAIL

Still refusing to admit

That its a 1GB download, not 5GB I see Jasper.

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SHOW ME THE MONEY! Ballmer on Amazon: 'They're not a real biz, they make NO cash'

Steve Todd
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Re: Anyone care to explain Ballmer's math? look at GE...pt.2

Your problem would appear to be in believing Forbes, who don't seem to be able to read a balance sheet. Last year they only paid $600+m in income tax as they took a write-off on operations they closed down. The year before it was $2.5bn.

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Steve Todd
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Re: Anyone care to explain Ballmer's math? look at GE...

I don't know what you think you know about GE, but they reported a profit last quarter of $3.6bn (up 6% year on year) and are running with a PE of a little less than 20. They may pull accounting tricks to minimise taxation, but they need profits to pay dividends, and all of the Dow Jones members pay a dividend (GE giving the third highest yield in the index).

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Netflix and other OTT giants use 'net neutrality' rules to clobber EU rivals

Steve Todd
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This is all part of the myth that ISPs are trying to spin

The likes of Netflix, Amazon etc pay for their internet connections and content delivery. They want to peer at public exchanges, and certainly in the case of Netflix, provide free caching hardware to reduce the amount of public trafic. They pay to deliver the data to the public exchange, the ISP pays to take it from there to their private network (which is what their customers pay them to do). Netflix is open and upfront about this. It says on their web site, in black and white, that they will only engage in private peering in limited circumstances.

Net neutrality is nothing to do with this. ISPs are allowed to manage data on their network. What they are not allowed to do is unfairly prioritise data based on payment by the content provider.

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iPad Air 2: Vulture chews on new Apple tablet

Steve Todd
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FAIL

Re: Brighter screen, smaller battery?

Bigger battery = bigger charger or longer charge time.

The charger is already at the limit of what USB is designed to deliver (2.4 amps @ 5V), so longer charge time. The iPad Air already takes the thick end of 4 hours to charge off of this higher power unit. Most PCs don't deliver the power to charge them in under 8 hours.

Bigger batteries aren't always the best solution.

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Forget the $2499 5K iMac – today we reveal Apple's most expensive computer to date

Steve Todd
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Re: any single computer ever really had the impact of the Model T

The IBM PC was a terrible hack. Expensive (£1700 for a basic 1 floppy machine with 64K of RAM and a mono monitor), slow (being bested by a 2MHz 6502) and hard to program (16 bit segment registers anyone?). Only the IBM name and the open design saved it. Modern machines are more closely descended from workstations of the time, every part of the original ISA has been replaced with something to fix the original hacks (often several times).

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Steve Todd
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Re: This may be true in America

The closest thing to the Apple I in the UK would be the NASCOM I from 1978, two years later. Sinclair also produced the MK14 in 1977, but that had a hex keypad and a calculator display.

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Steve Todd
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That's like saying that Henry Ford wasn't important because Karl Benz invented the first automobile. Wozniak was the first to create a single board design that incorporated all the key elements (keyboard controller, CPU, RAM, ROM and video controller) onto one board. This lead to the microcomputer boom of the 80s.

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Steve Todd
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Re: Does it still work?

That was part of the reason it fetched such a high bid. It works and has been recently tested. It's very clean and still has all its original components. Whether or not the museum will risk running it is a different question.

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Really... an iKeyfob? Apple continues war on fanbois' pockets

Steve Todd
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Re: It's an Apple car patent

Who said that they have no intention of using it themselves? They may or may not decide to make a product using it, depending on how well development of the idea progresses and market demand. They may decide to licence the technology, make it part of a standard or keep it for themselves. Whatever they do, they have a patent for a particular method, not all possible methods of doing something. Existing keyless entry systems don't invalidate the patent IF they work in a different way, and this patent doesn't prevent anyone from creating a different way of doing the same thing.

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Steve Todd
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Re: It's an Apple car patent

I don't think you understand the definition of a patent troll. A patent troll is a non practicing entity (ie. they don't make anything) that makes money purely by asserting patents, normally that have been purchased rather than developing them themselves, and only when they have been incorporated into a successful product.

Apple, Microsoft, Google, IBM and pretty much any tech company you care to mention are continually generating patent, many of which will never make it into actual products. Some of them (Microsoft and IBM for example) make considerable money from licensing, but this doesn't make them patent trolls.

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iPhone 6 shunned by fanbois in Apple's GREAT FAIL of CHINA

Steve Todd
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The scalpers aren't in the queue

Having been burned with foreign imports. Many of the fanboys have pre-ordered (more than 2 million of them IIRC). A queue of 100 isn't bad at this stage.

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Apple's iPhone bonk to 'Pay' app launches on Monday

Steve Todd
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Re: If I understand the technology correctly @AC

You seem to have confused iTunes with Pay. iTunes needs either a registered credit card or a gift card to make purchases through the store. "Pay" OCRs one or more cards and sends the details to the issuer in order to request a token. Once the phone has a token then it needs not hold the OCRed data and can throw it away. The two sets of cards need not overlap.

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Steve Todd
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If I understand the technology correctly

Apple don't know or need to know any of the users credit card details. They get a token from the card operator which they store on a user's phone and send, with other cryptographic details, to the vendor on request. The vendor attaches a price and forwards the combination to the credit card company, who look up the token to find the account details and subtracts the amount. No need for the phone to know the card number, expiry date or what have you. They don't even need to send a new token if a card expires, just update the details against the existing token. If a token is comprised in some way they can invalidate it and issue a new one without changing the card.

It sounds like a pretty clever and secure solution to the problem.

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Jony Ive: Flattered by rivals' designs? Nah, its 'theft'

Steve Todd
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FAIL

Re: To quote Saint Jobs himself:

Understand that Jobs himself was quoting, and what was meant. See http://www.creativethinkinghub.com/creative-thinking-and-stealing-like-an-artist/

If Samsung had taken Apple's ideas and spun them into something uniquely different then I don't think that Ive would have been annoyed. It's that spinning that takes time and effort (tablet machines had existed for years before the iPad, but it was significantly different too them). Samsung went the Good Artist route.

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No one wants iOS 8 because it's for NERDS - dev

Steve Todd
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6GB download?

It's a little over a gig, the decompression and install phases need 6GB of free space, unless you upgrade with iTunes (no, it doesn't have to reorganise your media folders etc.)

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Official: Turing's Bombe BETTER than a Concorde plane

Steve Todd
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Yes and no

The Poles came up with the original Bombe, but Turing et al came up with a different attack on the cipher and a revised Bombe to use it. Also Colosus was developed to break the Lorenz cypher, a teleprinter rotor cipher that was far more complicated than Enigma, requiring Colosus to run its input loop at 5000 characters per second to break it. This was the first use of valves in a (semi) programable machine.

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Hot DRAM! Samsung splurges $15 BILLION on Korean chip fab

Steve Todd
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How long before its up to speed and cranking out commercial volumes though?

I can guarantee that it won't be the middle of 2017, it can take years to get a fab tuned properly.

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Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’

Steve Todd
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Firstly

£4M is a tiny amount when it comes to public spending. If it's done in the name of starting new companies and creating jobs then I'm in favour of it.

Secondly modern electronic coms can only take you so far, and often chance meetings with other folks nearby can spark ideas, so there is still plenty of need for physical startup offices.

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How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?

Steve Todd
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What happened to MP4 AAC?

That's the default lossy CODEC in iTunes, and is WAY better than MP3. It doesn't have the 16K cut-off for example.

You do need a decent quality system before the CODEC fidelity becomes obvious, but you don't need to spend vast amounts of money constructing one.

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ARM gives Internet of Things a piece of its mind – the Cortex-M7

Steve Todd
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Re: Coincidence or by Design?

No, it isn't. The A7/A8 are based on Apple developed cores code named Cyclone, which was derived from the work on the A6 Swift core. They are rather more power efficient than the A57.

Like Qualcomm Apple have an architectural licence with ARM that allows them to design their own silicon providing it meets the ISA specs that ARM provide.

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Phones 4u demise: 1,700 employees laid off with redundo package

Steve Todd
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1) They DID start a MVNO, called LIFE, that was probably part of the problem. They were competing with their own suppliers.

2) Neither Voda nor EE renaged on their deals, they just anounced that they wouldn't be renewing them. They did this because P4U wouldn't or most likely couldn't offer them the terms they wanted. P4U was saddled with a shed load of debt, so likely couldn't afford to do this. The shops that Voda and EE were interested in were ones that didn't clash with their own store networks, and are thus unlikely to be the most valuable.

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Microsoft vs the long arm of US law: Straight outta Dublin

Steve Todd
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Re: Will the German government be sensible?

@Ross, you seem to have confused commercial law in the form of the EULA with criminal law in the form of the EU Data Protection Directive as implemented in Irish law. The EULA CANNOT remove rights and legal obligations under criminal law. You could write into the EULA that Microsoft have the right to kill you (no one reads it anyway), but criminal law renders that null and void.

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Apple iPhone 6: Looking good, slim. AW... your battery died

Steve Todd
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The Nokia phones are doing almost nothing

While they are in standby. A smart phone is, at the very least, fetching emails and running other background tasks. It's the fact that you are using the phone continually throughout the day that kills the battery, as would spending the day talking on the Nokia.

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EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass

Steve Todd
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Re: Smash and grab

EE would have been competing with its self. If P4U were selling contracts for the other 3 networks also then you would have had competition and it was about the best deal you could get. CPW still do that. When P4U lost O2 then the choice between Voda and EE limited that competition and made them less valuable. When Voda dropped their contract it would have made P4U an EE only outfit, your choice being buy from EE or P4U (with little or no discount). The cost of doing business with P4U became more than the business was worth.

As it is the 4 networks still compete among themselves, and MVNO's fight for a slice. There are many phone stores available and CPW still offers the full choice of networks in one place. P4U has been the victim of its own management greed in that they left it little room to manoeuvre on prices, and that's what killed it.

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Steve Todd
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Re: Smash and grab

What was the point of a company that had little margin for discounting and only sold phones on two of the four networks? Phones4U was well and truly shafted by its own management when they loaded the company down with debt.

Why would EE continue selling them phones and airtime at a discount when they could sell the same package through their own store and make more money? P4U only made sense if they provided phones for all, or most of the networks and you could shop around.

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Yahoo! Made! $8bn! In! One! Day! And! You'll! Easily! Guess! How!

Steve Todd
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The funny thing is

that if you subtract the value of Alibarba shares and cash from Yahoo's market cap then you end up with a negative number. El reg seems to have missed this one.

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Pop open this iPhone 6 and see where the magic oozes from ... oh hello again, Qualcomm

Steve Todd
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Re: Which major chipperies missing?

No, ARM didn't design it, Apple have an architectural licence like Qualcomm that lets them take the paper spec that ARM create and design their own silicon.

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