We've been covering Apple's relationship with several of their manufacturing companies, including Foxconn, for quite some time already. From the
harsh working conditions to workers pledging not to kill themselves anymore, we've been reporting on these issues for over a year. Our good friend Avram Piltch of Laptop Magazine discussed more issues at length on our last episode of F5 Live as the media has just picked up on these issues.
Things have gotten a little worse since we last spoke of Foxconn and after Apple's posting of $46.3 billion in profit; I guess people aren't too happy that they're making so much bank while people are suffering. The cash stack is skyrocketing and the work conditions of the employees are getting to the point where even the nanobot infected iSheeple are starting to turn their heads towards the issue - even though some of them may not be able to copy and paste the story to their friends.
Now, a hacking group has decided to get involved and make the outsourcing giant pay for allowing this to happen to their employees. Apple also needs to be concerned here because what happened directly affects them in more than one way. We have the details after the break.
Ever since buying YouTube back in 2006 for $1.6 billion, Google has had a hard time trying to make some money off of the entire project. Last April, Google decided they would work to
reposition the site in hopes that its channel-based orientation would allow more revenue. In October, we learned that $100 million was spent on partnerships to further bring recognition and ad dollars to the platform.
I suppose all of this was just not enough for YouTube as we are learning that the popular video site may do what others are doing to bring in the cash: start charging for subscriptions.
If this all sounds crazy, we have details for you after the break.
This year might end up marking the start of major e-tailers testing the waters with regards to a hybrid infrastructure of online retail outlets and traditional brick n' mortar retail stores. Most notably, Apple has had tremendous success with their 361 physical retail stores and Microsoft has been in the process of
expanding their physical reach with 75 new locations since July 2011. Google is in the process of planning their debut retail store in Dublin Ireland where their European headquarters is located and Amazon has plans to open up a test store in Seattle in the next few months. According to an Amazon spokes person,
The primary goal of the test is to determine if a physical retail presence can accelerate sales of Kindle devices and follow-on consumption of digital content at an attractive return on invested capital.
Seattle makes sense because they are required to pay sales tax in any state where they have a physical presence and given that they are headquartered in Seattle, they are already paying sales tax. The concept of a physical retail store can work for a variety of reasons, they can generate sales revenue, increase brand familiarity and serve as customer service centers. It's often difficult to be successful at all three which does raise concerns about return on investment, something that Amazon will be watching closely. Right now it seems that the Amazon stores will be mostly centered around their Kindle products and be primarily sales focused over customer service driven.
Apparently, even in the Internet Age, brick n' mortar stores still hold a glimmer of prestige even with mega-corp software giants like Microsoft, Apple and maybe Google in the near future. With Google's launch of the
online Chrome Store back in December of 2010 it's only taken Google a little over a year to come up with some plans to pull a Tron and bring the shiniest online store ever into the physical world.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, Google has stated that their plans are only plans and no hard decisions have been made. The decision to pursue this further has come from some testing with the concept that Google has conducted in London. They built some test stores inside of PC World and Currys and attempted to sell laptops, presumably with Chrome OS.
In a planning application filed in Dublin, Google disclosed that the store would be 1,323 square-feet and sell some sort of Google merchandise, presumably Chrome OS laptops as well as t-shirts and the like. The store would be physically located in the Montevetro portion of Barrow Street.
My personal hope is that they do a good job incorporation the whole "chrome" aspect in their store aesthetic very well. Apple needs someone to step up and sell products in a much brighter environment with more reflective properties to be challenged. The plans for the real life Google store also indicates that they are still serious about continuing to pit Chrome OS and Android against one another but that could start to change as the Chrome web browser recently became available for beta on Android 4.0 devices. It will be interesting to see what kind of a showing Android makes in their stores, if any. Should the store become a reality in the near future I would suggest using another form of payment besides
Google Wallet to make purchases since the security still seems to be a little on the unpolished side of things.
For those living under a rock, this is the time where I inform you that the Xbox dashboard
was revamped shortly before Christmas to include more media partners, features and enhancements that further helped them prove that the Xbox really is made to be the center of all your family entertainment.
Unfortunately, when the new dashboard rolled out, we only saw a handful of the new media partners we were promised when Xbox
announced the list back in October. Shortly thereafter, Verizon FiOS, YouTube, msnbc, TMZ, SyFy, Epix and iHeartRadio was added to the LIVE community. However, the problem remained that about ten other partners were still awaiting US debut.
This week, Microsoft brought us one step closer to all of the content we've been waiting to see. What was added? We have the info after the break.
This week, a few new vulnerabilities were discovered in
Google Wallet. The first requires that the device be rooted to allow someone near you to enable the stealing of a Google Wallet PIN. That exploit is about as easy to take advantage of as the last one we discussed, so we won't go into a lot of detail.
For those who do not know, Google Wallet allows for payment through a Citi Mastercard, a gift card or a Google prepaid card. The Google card allows you to tie any other form of payment, credit or debit from any company, as the funding method, allowing for payment through virtually any card. This third payment method, plus Google's tendency to
not think before they act, are what allow a thief access to your money.
To find out how and hear Google's response, hit the break.