Motorola just seems to have a lot of ups and downs as of late. While their
CES booth was certainly miles ahead of what was presented last year, the disaster of the "CES Best In Show" Xoom still looms. This week, Motorola can chalk another mistake to their "oopsies" column. Motorola sold a batch of Xooms to the one day, one deal site Woot who then resold those units between October and December 2011.
Everything would seem perfect except for the fact that out of 6,200 Xoom tablet that were refurbished, 100 of them "may not have been completely cleared of the original owner's data prior to resale." So a previous user's private data, possibly including credit card numbers and the like may still exist on these tablets, not to mention usernames and passwords to various sites, email accounts and other sensitive information. Like I said, oopsies.
The security mishap affects customers who purchased and then brought back a WiFi version of the Xoom to Amazon.com, Best Buy, BJ's Wholesale, eBay, Office Max, RadioShack, Sam's Club, Staples and a couple select standalone retailers between March and October. To fix this, they are providing these customers with two years of free credit protection service from Experian's ProtectMyID Alert system. Any customer who may be affected should contact 1.866.926.9803 and sign up for the service. Motorola (and common sense) says to change any and all passwords to any service that may have been downloaded to or visited from the tablet. Users who have done a factory or "hard" reset to the device prior to return obviously do not need to worry.
Woot is working with Motorola to find who purchased the units that may not have been completely reset so that they can wipe or replace the tablets. Concerned customers should also contact Motorola Mobility at 1.800.734.5870 or go to
Motorola's Xoom Return page to see if their tablet is on the list of possibly affected devices.
The question is, is this a problem that exists a lot more than we realize and companies cover it up, or is this a one-off sort of thing? How comfortable does it make you feel? We want to know in the comments section below.
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.