* Posts by DougS

12862 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

The verdict is in: Samsung to pay Apple $120m chump change, but gets tiny rebate

DougS Silver badge

Re: @DougS they admitted it to a court

That says nothing about cooperating to hit Samsung, only that Apple made sure that the cross licensing deal didn't allow MS to clone the iPhone (which was probably unnecessary, as I doubt they'd consider it even if allowed)

The terms of cross licensing deals are always kept secret. Go see if you can find the terms of the cross licensing agreement for x86 between Intel and AMD if you don't believe me. So the fact that a "secret deal" was revealed during the trial is hardly surprising. The discovery process often requires the parties involved in a suit to reveal the terms of contracts that are normally secret.

DougS Silver badge

Re: @DougS patent cross licence

Where's your proof for "they agreed to cooperate on attacking Android"? Sounds like you're just making an assumption borne out of dislike for both.

Apple and Microsoft's cross licensing agreements predate the iPhone by a couple decades. It has nothing to do with it, other than the agreements cover new patents and just not the ones that existed at the time the deal was signed/renewed.

They don't have any reason/need to "cooperate" against Android, each has their own patents they're concerned with. Microsoft isn't basing their licensing fees on touch UI, but stuff like FAT filesystem patents. Apple's suits on the other hand only have to do with UI features, not filesystem type stuff (there would be no point for a phone to implement the HFS+ filesystem)

DougS Silver badge

@Condiment - Windows Phone UI

Whether any UI - iOS, Android, WP, Blackberry, etc. is "good" or "crap" is obviously a matter of opinion. The fact is, they departed from what iOS does a lot more than Android did, and what's more, they didn't have to - Apple and Microsoft have a patent cross licensing agreement so they could have chosen to copy iOS very closely had they wished. Maybe you don't like the tiles, but at least they tried something different, unlike Android.

There are more things in the Windows Phone UI that I think "hmmm, I think I might like to have that in iOS" than I see in Android. To me, Android is like iOS with the kitchen sink thrown in...something for everyone, and everything can be configured differently. That's nice, but there's no cohesion as to what is "Android". To some extent, that was desirable for Google to help get people to adopt it, as it allowed Samsung and the other OEMs to put their own layer on top for brand differentiation. Sounds like Google is trying to turn back the clock on that though with this whole "Android Silver" business, which is going to upset the people who liked the variety.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Wait a minute...

I think you're assuming Samsung invented the filesystem or something. That patent looks to be even more frivolous than slide to unlock.

SCOTUS asked to overturn patent-troll's charter

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I can't imagine what a shambles the patent situation will be if you can be sued for violating a single claim of a patent. Many patents have dozens or even hundreds of claims, and the ones at the start are so basic they make the ones Apple and Samsung are fighting over look like formulas for cancer cures and FTL travel.

Pretty much look for everyone to sue everyone over every product if Akamai wins. Hmmm, maybe that would be a good thing, the courts would be so clogged up that by the time the cases are heard instead of smartphones we'll have brain implants that give us terabit telepathic access to the superintelligent AI that runs the world.

THREE BILLIONTH person to come online in early 2015

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The September that never ended

Happened 20 years ago, and there were probably only 30 million internet users back then. No wonder it is such a messed up place now with 100x as many!

Stephen Hawking: The creation of true AI could be the 'greatest event in human history'

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Re: @Don Jefe

One of the interesting things to watch is the battle over 450mm wafer fabs. The large remaining players - TSMC, Samsung and (perhaps to a lesser extent) Intel want to see 450mm fabs because getting 2.25x more chips per wafer is attractive to improve throughput and somewhat reduce cost.

The problem is that the tool vendors don't want to build them, because they don't see a return when they really have a handful of customers. They broke even - at best - on 300mm tools, and they may go bankrupt building 450mm tools. They'd have as few as two, maybe four or five customers at the very most. The return for them just isn't there. Intel invested in ASML to try to force the issue but still 450mm keeps getting pushed back.

I think the reason Intel's investment didn't help is because even Intel realizes deep down that going to 450mm is not economic for them, at least not unless they become a true foundry and take on big customers like Apple, instead of the tiny ones they've had so far. They have four large fabs now, with 450mm they'll only need two. Not to mention they are supposedly only at 60% utilization on the ones they have!

The economies of scale get pretty thin when you only have two fabs, so Intel is probably better off sticking with 300mm fabs. But they daren't let Wall Street know this, or the money men will realize the jig is up as far as Intel's future growth prospects, and that even Intel may be forced to go fabless sometime after 2020. Their stock price would be cut in half once Wall Street realizes the truth.

DougS Silver badge

@Don Jefe

Fabs are super expensive today, but when Moore's Law was formulated and for several decades after, they were quite affordable. That's why so many companies had their own. As they kept becoming more expensive over time fewer and fewer companies could afford them - more and more became "fabless".

There's probably a corollary to Moore's Law that fabs get more expensive. Fortunately that scaling is much less than the scaling of transistors. Maybe cube root or so.

DougS Silver badge

Re: I just wish....

There's still a lot of room for improvement if you were really able to go from 140 atoms wide to 1 atom wide (which you can't, but we can dream) Scaling is in two dimensions, so that would be roughly 14 doublings or 28 more years. Then you can get one more doubling by using a smaller atom - carbon has an atomic radius about 2/3 the size of silicon.

If you start scaling vertically, then you could keep going until almost the year 2100 - assuming you found a way to keep a quadrillion transistor chip cool! But don't laugh, I remember the arguments that a billion transistor chip would never be possible because it would exceed the melting point of silicon, but here we are...

I don't agree that Moore's Law is just marketing. The investment wouldn't be made if it didn't pay off, it isn't like foundries are sucking the blood out of the rest of the economy and returning no value. Moore's observation may have been more of a roadmap, since there's no particular reason you couldn't have invested 20x as much and made a decade of progress in a few years. The stepwise approach made planning a lot easier, due to the lead time for designing the big systems typical of the late 60s/early 70s, and designing the more complex CPUs typical of the late 80s and beyond. His observation was intended for system architects, not Wall Street.

DougS Silver badge

Re: I just wish....

I think you have absolutely no idea what Moore's Law is if you think that. It has nothing to do with frequency, as you appear to be assuming.

Moore's Law says that every 24 months (it was 18 for a while at the start) the number of transistors you can put on a chip doubles. That's still the case, we've still been doubling transistors, even since 2002. That's what we have stupid stuff like quad/octo core phones - it is hard to come up with intelligent ways to use all those extra transistors, so "more cores, more cache" are the fallback positions when chip architects are not smart enough to put them to better use.

Moore's Law may have trouble going much beyond 2020 unless we can make EUV or e-beam work properly. We've been trying since the 90s, and still haven't got it right, so the clock is ticking louder and louder...

DougS Silver badge

Re: I just wish....

Not that I disagree, but I suspect an AI won't be achieved by logic, but by chaos theory / emergent behavior. We'll end up with something intelligent, but it will be error prone just like humans.

If Moore's Law stalls out as looks to be the case, we may end up with an AI that's close to us in intelligence. Maybe a bit smarter, maybe a bit dumber, but prone to the same mistakes and perhaps even something akin to insanity.

Where's that off switch, again?

Symantec: Antivirus is 'DEAD' – no longer 'a moneymaker'

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One good thing Microsoft has embraced and extended

Is AV software. Putting that lot of snake oil salesmen out of business is the best thing they've done in two decades!

Laser deflector shields possible with today's tech – but there's one small problem

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Re: EM Wave Piloting Need Not Require Light

Whatever wavelength you can "see" in, the enemy can send in at a billion times the intensity and melt you. Or, at least, a thousand times the intensity and blind you.

DougS Silver badge

Re: If an ultra-violet camera can see out ...

Actually, rotating the shield frequency is exactly what you'd do. If you use my "swarm of drones" idea from the earlier post to do your seeing, and need one frequency to pass through to communicate with them, you'd have that frequency changing thousands of times per second.

Think of absorption lines in a spectrum. You want a spectrum with a single absorption like, that changes constantly. The drones are synced to the ship's clock, and know how far they are from the ship, so they can change their frequency in a way that's timed to the shield frequency changing.

Ideally, you'd only have a handful of places on the ship where even that one frequency gets through - the antenna sites the drones have their narrow communication beam (laser, probably) pointed at.

DougS Silver badge

All you need is one frequency that can pass through

Then you can have a swarm of drones around it (or in the vicinity, away from all the nasty laser beams) to be your "eyes".

That means the enemy will need its own drones to take our your drones. The stockholders will like this plan: Give the deflector shield option away for free, but charge for the drones. At least, that's what will happen if Gillette expands into starships.

Who's top Microsoft shareholder? Uh oh, it's STEVE BALLMER

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Re: Sweaty Betty Ballmer

You should see him without the antiperspirant a billion dollars will buy. Something like this:


Tablet boom quiets down a bit as growth slows

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Re: Any surprise?

Oh please, tablets are good for what they do. If you're worried about "input methods" and "input and storage restrictions" you need a laptop, not a tablet.

I think part of the problem (if you can call it that) is that tablets aren't seen as outdated as quickly as phones. My girlfriend has an iPad 2 and she's quite happy with it still, and so long as it keeps working what reason does she have to replace it? Sure, newer ones are faster and have better resolution, but there's nothing wrong with what she's got until there's something she wants to do with it that can only be done with a newer one. She doesn't care about limitations with input methods, because she's got a laptop when she has laptop tasks. She uses the tablet for browsing and email, not for text editing.

The high end of the market (both iPad and the high end Android devices like Galaxy Tab) is becoming more saturated, but there's still plenty of first time buyers to be had - the problem is that they're buying at a lower and lower ASP every quarter. Already well below where the cheapest iPad sells. That's good for the white box Chinese vendors, but not so good for Apple and actually not all that good for Samsung. Samsung's volume is increasing, but if you check their latest earnings call their tablet revenue barely increased at all, meaning their ASP dropped like a rock! And that's why Samsung reported declining YoY earnings.

Google Glass teardown puts rock-bottom price on hardware

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Does it matter?

Those who paid $1500 for it are not complaining, so what does it matter whether it cost $10 or $10,000 for Google to build? How is it the business of anyone other than those who have actually purchased one what it costs Google to make?

These tiresome complaints come up each fall about Apple, when the teardown shows that the latest iPhone costs about $200 to build and people whine about how they're selling them for $649. So what? No one is forcing anyone to buy a particular product, and you don't have to buy any product if you think the seller is making "too much" money on it.

Just be careful what you wish for, if all consumers were "educated" about the cost to build stuff and refused to buy anything selling for more than 10% more than it cost to make, we wouldn't have any smartphones and would be lucky to even have desktop computers. The ability of investors to make significant profits is what spurs the type of risky investment that moves technology forward. Sometimes you sell a product for a lot more than it costs to make and you make a billion dollars. Other times they sit on the shelves and you write off a billion dollars (just ask Microsoft how Zune and Surface have done for them)

T-Mobile US added more subscribers in last quarter than top three competitors combined

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I know it is his personal Twitter account

But kind of surprised to see a four letter word from the CEO of a company, given the holier-than-thou attitude among some Americans. This is the kind of thing that gets family values groups up in arms and talking boycott.

eBay cops $3bn tax bill after moving its profits back onshore

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Re: Wot, no comments...

EBay already has over $6 billion debt, if you check the relative DSCR of Ebay vs Apple you'll understand why it was a better deal for them to bring cash in rather borrowing against it. Apple got an interest rate of 0.77% above what the US government borrows at, Ebay couldn't come close to that.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Wot, no comments...

I think the reason people aren't patting them on the back for it is because they're only doing it out of necessity - if they want to buy a US company, the money used to do so must be brought into the country first.

JassMan: Ebay and all US companies do pay taxes in other countries, the "offshore money" you hear about them having has already been taxed overseas and those taxes can be deducted from the taxes due in the US when they bring it in.

Of course, given all the games they're able to play with Ireland and "Dutch Double Sandwich" sometimes that money hasn't been taxed very much in whatever country you live in, but that's an issue you need to take up with your government. They make the laws, and if companies are avoiding taxes in your country on profits earned in your country, they need to rewrite those laws so that doesn't happen. But they're afraid to in many cases because they believe it'll chase those who can avoid doing business there at all to other countries with more lax tax laws.

Chinese iWatchers: Apple's WRISTPUTERS ALREADY in production

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No way is that a real picture of one

It is obviously an artist's concept, by an artist of has no concept of what one might look like other than "pretty much the same as a Galaxy Gear".

Apple would never make anything that thick, and they know if they did no one would want one.

Facebook UNVEILS VEIL for 'anonymous' logins

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Whenever Facebook "enhances" privacy controls

It obsoletes the old controls and defaults to whatever wide open 'share everything' settings they wish everyone to have. So you have to go in and fix the new controls to match what you had before. In some cases you do get better privacy controls, but they rely on most people to be lazy or uninformed and not know the privacy settings they once had are no longer set. They're a sleazy bunch, and I expect to see history repeat itself while the popular press eats up their bullshit and pats Zuck on the back for being such a good guy.

PARTY TIME! MIT slips $100 to each student ... in Bitcoin

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I don't know about MIT

But if most universities did this, the students would cash it out the instant they could, and the local bars would have a big weekend!

Security guru: You can't blame EDWARD SNOWDEN for making US clouds LOOK leaky

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Re: A Bit Confused...

Well, he has to do it sometime, and the US always has multiple sensitive meetings coming up or ongoing issues at any one time. Exactly when would there have been a "quiet" period in the past half century where someone couldn't potentially be bothered by the timing of the leak.

In addition, the longer he waited the greater the chance he'd be caught and nothing could be leaked. Once he had all the files, the clock was ticking, he couldn't wait forever.

Though maybe Snowden didn't like the hypocrisy of the US constantly badgering China over this when he knew the US was just as bad.

EU antitrust bods: Motorola, Samsung too dominant to take on poor little Apple

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@big_D "Lucky for Apple all their patents are non-FRAND"

Shows how much you know. They hold a lot of FRAND patents for MPEG2/h.264/h.265, for instance, but that is far from the only standards they've been involved with.

They're even in the top 15 LTE patent holders, though they didn't invent the technology themselves like they did with the video stuff, these LTE patents were acquired from Nortel.

DougS Silver badge

Re: But aren't apple

They were totally willing to do so. The dispute was whether they'd pay 2.3% of the price they paid for the Qualcomm chip that uses Motorola's SEP patents (as everyone else does) or pay 2.3% of the price they sell the iPhone for.

It would be like if the local government singled you out to pay property taxes based on the property value of your whole neighborhood, rather than just your house. You'd be unwilling to go along with that, I'd imagine.

FCC seeks $48K fine from mobile phone-jamming driver

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No, it is not.

If you think it is, I take it you'll sign a petition supporting a worldwide speed limit of 10 mph to insure that all automobile crashes are survivable?

Surely the lives saved by zero traffic deaths is worth the inconvenience of a 5 hour average commute in your hopelessly deluded mind.

Firefox, is that you? Version 29 looks rather like a certain shiny rival

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Fix the performance instead of giving us yet another redesigned UI!

It is so bad that on my 8GB quad core 3200 MHz Linux desktop, I have to restart Firefox a couple times a week now because it takes up 3 or 4GB by itself! I've also noticed certain pages (like news.com) can peg one core for nearly a second after it has been running for a while.

Chrome is, amazingly, even worse. It is sad that I find myself wishing that there was a version of IE for Linux I could try to see if it is less of a POS!

Target finally implements chip and PIN card protections

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Use credit cards only

Fraud prevention is the bank's problem, at least with credit cards. That's why I only use credit cards for purchases, and never debit cards. I wouldn't even have a debit card if my stupid bank stopped issuing regular ATM cards about 5-6 years ago and requires my bank card be a debit card. But I never use it as such.

Not to say I don't do what I can to prevent my cards being compromised, but if they do get comprised, other than a small hassle to call them up and tell them which charges I made and have the card deactivated until they can send me a new one, I don't spend any time worrying about whether some place I've made purchases at has been compromised or not.

US Supreme Court to decide if cops can search mobes without a warrant

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Re: Locked Phones

Maybe phones need an option for "if I don't unlock this phone for x hours, wipe". Then you only need to wait out that timeout before providing the code to police. If the timeout is short enough (12 hours would work for most) your lawyer can probably stall things quite nicely. By the time your lawyer's objections are overcome and you provide the code it is too late.

To prevent the "put it in a Faraday cage bag to prevent remote wipes" plan, a second option for "if no radio signal received for x hours, wipe".

Of course, there's always the "alternate unlock code that unlocks the phone and wipes it at the same time".

Just make sure if you keep backups of your phone to avoid losing everything when arrested that you use an offshore cloud provider. China would be a good choice for those of us living in the US/UK.

This may all be for naught though, as in general I suspect the most incriminating info on the phone will be call history and text messages, which the police can get from your telco....

Cuffing darknet-dwelling cyberscum is tricky. We'll 'disrupt' crims instead, warns top cop

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Re: Not our fault!

Probably equal to the zero or near-zero number of actual terrorist plots the NSA dragnet broke up which involved terrorists who had a chance of succeeding (as opposed to those just talking about it and dreaming of virgins in the afterlife)

Faster Macbook Air pops out: What, a NEW Apple thing and ZERO fanfare?

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Re: Wow

NO laptop with a mechanical drive is a stunning value, even if free.

Top mobe panel maker Japan Display slashes profit forecast

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Weren't there rumors Apple was looking to buy/take a controlling interest in them?

The cheaper they get, the more likely the deal takes place. Unless, I suppose, Apple thinks that they can get displays cheaper by bidding it out to whoever is left after JDI goes bankrupt...

Trolls and victims watch Supremes for definition of meaningless patents

DougS Silver badge

Having to specify the separation is indeed ridiculous - if you say "separation of 6.543mm then someone else can build something otherwise identical with a separation of 6.542mm. But you should have to specify in detail how the pulse measurement is taken. There are plenty of ways to monitor pulse, and you shouldn't be able to take out a general patent on the concept of taking a pulse in a workout machine.

To allow that is the whole problem of the 80s "<existing patent> xxx, but with a computer", the 90s "xxx, but on the internet" and 2000s "xxx, but with a mobile device". Before long look for patents of "xxx in an unmanned drone aircraft" and "xxx in a self driving car".

After Comcast, Netflix inks second net traffic deal with Verizon

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Netflix is paying to kill competition

What startup will be able to afford to pay off all the big ISPs like they can? Once they've paid them all off they'll have a protected monopoly, and can raise their prices at will.

Google's self-driving car breakthrough: Stop sign no longer a problem

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Re: But I wonder

Do you really want a future where your kids are chipped like dogs and cats, even if it makes them "safer"? Since when did safety become the most important concern of Americans above liberty and freedom?

I never thought Big Brother would win through people willingly giving up their freedoms, but 9/11 and posts like yours sadly make me think I was wrong to believe that.

DougS Silver badge

But I wonder

How well can it tell the difference between a plastic bag blowing between some parked cars into the path of your car, and a soccer ball? In the latter situation you need to slam on your brakes in case it is followed by a child, but you don't even slow down for the bag. Slamming on your brakes when you're driving isn't a big deal, because you know it is coming, but if you're sitting in your car enjoying a beverage while the car is driving you want to minimize unexpected emergency stops!

Comcast to dump 3.9 MEEELLION subscribers to quell Time Warner merger antitrust fears

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They should be required to divest all their broadcast properties

NBC, Comcast Sports Networks, etc.

Having a cable company with national reach control networks is terrible for competition. They've already tried to leverage that in LA with the Dodgers to steal customers from other providers. Imagine what they'd do if they can exert such a strategy on a national basis?

Hopefully some sanity prevails, but the regulatory environment in the US is so lax I don't hold out much hope.

Facebook preps ad network to TARGET YOU WHERE YOU LIVE

DougS Silver badge

Why should Google care if their market share for mobile ads is falling?

It isn't because Google is getting less mobile revenue, undoubtedly they're getting more. It is because others like Facebook who didn't monetize mobile in the past are doing so now. The "pie" is getting bigger, and others are growing faster than Google so their share is seen to decline. It is the same phenomenon as Apple's declining share of smartphone (but not mobile) market share.

The real problem is that as everyone throws more and more ads in the faces of mobile users, they may get sick of it since there are generally options with few/no ads. Maybe there isn't an alternative for Facebook beyond quitting it, but if WhatsApp started advertising to people there are plenty of free messaging alternatives, you can pay a few dollars for the "premium" version of many apps to avoid advertising, etc.

Apple patents Wi-Fi access point location lookup

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Google and Microsoft caved to the NSA years before Apple did, why single them out?

DougS Silver badge

I suspect this is designed to work with iBeacon

The locations of the wifi access points are known/fixed, which implies they aren't using Joe Blow's as you drive/walk by as Google wanted to do. This would be used for navigating inside a mall or corporate building, not for finding your way around a neighborhood.

Polymer droplets turn smartmobes into microscopes

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This isn't a killer app

But having a 160x microscope lens on a smartphone would surely open up some interesting new uses.

US judge: Our digital search warrants apply ANYWHERE

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Not just a blow to Microsoft's attempts to assure non-US customers

The ruling is a blow to Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and probably even non-US based companies (though enforcement would be more difficult)

But really it is a blow to US citizens. At least non-citizens can tell the NSA to fuck off and avoid or minimize data collected/stored on them by these US companies. OK, might be kind of hard to buy a smartphone when you can't go with Android, iOS or Windows Phone, not to mention that you'd be forced to use Yandex or Baidu since there aren't any non-US English search engines (to my knowledge) but I guess you gotta pick your battles...

Reg hack hacked off by iPhone 5 repair notice

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Re: The Few

I would guess that the issue showed up after they start shipping them, and if it took many months to appear (as it did with me) they could have 100 million out there with the potential for the issue.

Will Apple's $130bn cash infusion keep investors onboard?

DougS Silver badge

So does Google, Microsoft, Intel, Cisco and many others

You can call it tax "avoidance" if you want, but it is deferral. They are limited in what they can do with that money until it is brought into the US and taxes are paid. Almost every company with significant offshore income is parking is employing the same strategies and parking it offshore just like Apple, hoping for another repatriation holiday like in 2004, or a lowering of the top corporate tax rate.

If you earned more than you spent every year, wouldn't you want to defer taxes on that money to the future? If you live in the US, you already do - it is known as a 401K!

DougS Silver badge

Re: Conflicting information

FASB requires that you book a liability for income that is earned and not yet fully taxed. The line item goes up when more offshore income is earned and not fully taxed, and goes down if money is repatriated and taxed.

Teen student texter busts 20-second tongue-twisty SMS barrier

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Re: Obviously autocomplete

That was always true, since few consider Windows Phone is a "major" smartphone OS.

So far, so SOPA: Web campaigners to protest world's biggest ever free trade deal

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Why is anyone surprised?

When the terms of secret backroom deals like this are made public, they're forced to abandon them, but they always turn up in something else eventually, until it does get through before anyone notices. That's how lawmakers push crap the public don't want, and if they figure they can't do that because someone will read the bill before it is voted on (since not everything can be an emergency like the PATRIOT ACT) they'll do it via treaty negotiation.

Tim Cook: Apple's 'closer than it's ever been' to releasing new product range

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Apple makes a single digit fraction of its profit from iTunes/App Store. Those are enablers, hardware is where they make the real money.

Why do you rag on Apple taking a 30% cut when Google takes exactly the same cut? If what Apple is doing taking 30% is so awful, shouldn't the great Google be showing the world how awful that is by taking less? Or hell, taking nothing, since they make their money by selling you, not by selling you stuff?

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