Breakfast Briefing: HP attack backfires, Nokia maps maligned, how Windows 8 looked in 2010
Today in tech, stories about HP, Nokia's maps, Windows 8 design, Richard Stallman, Chinese web policing and IBM Lotus
Today's tech round-up includes HP's deepening troubles with Autonomy, how Nokia lost a golden opportunity with its Here mapping service and a glimpse at the pre-dawn of Windows 8.
Has HP shot itself in the foot?
The New York Times' DealBook section brilliantly scopes out the size of the hole HP may have just dug for itself with its allegations of financial impropriety against Autonomy.
The report states how HP may itself face investigation by the US authorities for failing to accurately report its earnings. "If HP included false information from Autonomy in its financial statements, the Securites Exchange Commission can look into whether the company might be liable for a violation of provisions that require it to properly report sales and revenue," the newspaper states.
HP may also face a backlash from its own shareholders. "While such a suit is unlikely to bring a large judgement unless it can be proved that HP was aware of the misstatements, it is likely to result in the company spending millions to defend itself and possibly settle the claim."
Whatever happens, "the matter will probably involve tens of thousands of hours and millions of dollars spent on investigation and litigation" and "none of this is likely to restore the $8.8 billion the company lost", the New York Times concludes.
Here: Nokia's lost mapping opportunity
Local search and mapping expert Mike Blumenthal has delivered a withering assessment of Nokia's Here mapping app for iOS, claiming the company has missed a real opportunity to strike back at Apple. Following the mapping debacle in iOS 6, Apple might have taken some flak, but Blumenthal points out that "Apple can now proudly say that there is a mapping product for the iPhone that sucks more than theirs".
Instead of making the most of an opportunity to dazzle, Nokia's attempt was blasted as "blurry" and having a poor interface. "Don’t waste your time or bandwidth to download the product unless it is for a case study in the decline of Nokia as a force in the mobile world," Blumenthal concluded.
Here’s Windows 8 in 2010
Opinions vary wildly on the Windows 8 UI, but mockups revealed in a presentation by the Windows Design Team show it came close to its final form some time ago. In the screens from 2010, the Start screen looks remarkably like its present-day appearance, but with a few notable differences. The live tiles were wider, and retained an area for logos - which some would argue actually works better and stops them becoming a bit anonymous - and smaller tiles sat three to a block.
As blogger Long Zheng notes, "it’s interesting to see just how little (ex. the lock screen) and how much (ex. charms icons) the early ideas have changed. Even many of the fundamental elements of the Start screen remain unchanged since all the back in 2010. And just to put things in perspective, the first iPad was released in 2010.”"
Stallman back on the patent warpath
Free software fundamentalist Richard Stallman could start a fight in an empty phone box. At a legal conference discussing software patents? They’re lucky the police weren't called.
Ars Technica details how Stallman countered a defence of software patents in his trademark, abrupt manner. "I proposed a way to solve the problem! It's elegant, and it gets right to the point. Your criticisms are completely wrong."
Stallman then stood up to deliver his presentation, but not before insisting that it wasn't streamed over the internet, because "streaming online would require use of [the] Microsoft Silverlight plug-in, which would pressure people to use proprietary software," his host explained.
You certainly can’t accuse the man of betraying of his principles.
China Twitter joker arrested
China has arrested a blogger for making a joke on Twitter that criticised the Communist Party leadership, with police arresting arresting Zhai Xiaobing over "spreading terrorist information". His Twitter account went quiet in the run-up to a major political conference, and worried friends discovered he's been carted off two days after the tweets, The Guardian reports. It's hard not to imagine, given the publicity that Paul Chambers' case received in Britain, that local human rights activists weren't tutting and saying: "this is getting ridiculous, it's just like the UK with all this web policing".
IBM kills off Lotus brand
One for nostalgic older readers - the final death of Lotus as a brand. Tom's IT Pro has highlighted IBM's announcement that the company will be releasing IBM Notes/Domino 8 Social Edition, killing off the Lotus name that was a key tech brand following its launch in 1982. Despite keeping the name for 17 years since buying the company, IBM said the next version would be an IBM product launching on 14 December.