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Amazon refunding $70M of kids’ unauthorized in-app purchases

Cash back for parents whose kids ran amok buying "digital goods" in Amazon games.

Gaming goliath fights back against counterfeiters

ROBLOX protects gaming platform by adopting brand protection strategyNetNames, the online brand protection specialist, has partnered with ROBLOX Corporation, the user-generated online gaming platform, to deliver a brand protection programme to proactively protect ROBLOX products from the threat of counterfeiting on a global scale. ROBLOX ROBLOX has entered a contract with NetNames, which will see NetNames detect fraudulent websites imitating that of the brand and counterfeit listings of ROBLOX products on marketplace sites, whilst enforcing their removal from the internet.

As part of the brand protection programme, NetNames will also monitor for infringements on ROBLOX’s games across social media sites and mobile apps. With over 15 million games created by its users, ROBLOX is the largest gaming site in the world. Powered by a growing community of over 300,000 developers who create a variety of 3D games, it allows users to experience virtual and augmented reality through applications available across iOS, Android and Kindle Fire devices. Having developed its own virtual currency, Robux, the online gaming platform represents a digital economy which offers aspiring game developers the opportunity to monetise their creations.

The partnership will not only safeguard against infringements on the brand’s trademark, which could be damaging to ROBLOX’s reputation, it will also protect the profits of its community of developers. David Baszucki, chief executive of ROBLOX, said:“The partnership with NetNames forms part of a strategic move to protect the ROBLOX brand, and highlights our zero tolerance to counterfeiting. With a growing number of over 4.7 million players globally, we have a responsibility to protect our loyal customer base from the threat of counterfeiting. With NetNames’ technology and expertise behind us, we have the tools required to action against this global problem.” Stuart Fuller, Director of Commercial Operations at NetNames, said:“Digital has infiltrated every aspect of our daily lives from work to play, and ROBLOX represents a highly successful company capitalising on this demand.

Alongside the opportunities however, the surging tide of global online trade carries fraudsters with it.

Counterfeiters are using digital platforms from unpoliced online marketplaces to fraudulent mobile apps to further their reach, profitability and anonymity. “The need for brands to monitor and take action against counterfeiting online to ensure that revenue is filtered into the legitimate channels has never been more important. We are delighted that ROBLOX is one of the latest brands to enlist our services to protect its products and community of gamers as it grows its offering and followers across the world. “ …ends… About NetNamesNetNames is part of Corporation Service Company® (CSC®) - a privately-held company headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, USA.

CSC is the leading and most respected global provider of corporate domain management and online brand protection services.

Through its industry leading brand protection, domain name management, online security, anti-piracy and acquisitions services, the company is responsible for keeping organizations and brands one step ahead of online threats across the globe.

The company has offices across four continents allowing it to deliver global solutions and online brand strategies with localized support and execution. NetNames can be found at www.netnames.com and on Twitter @NetNamesDomains and CSC at www.cscglobal.com and on Twitter @CSCGlobal. Contact detailsKaren ClarkAccount ManagerRostrume: K.clark@rostrum.agencyt: +44 (0)207 440 8675

Oracle CEO: Google’s Android broke Java in two

Safra Catz, co-CEO of Oracle Corp., speaks during the Oracle OpenWorld 2014 conference in San Francisco. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesOracle v.

Google Oracle CEO Safra Catz: “We did not buy Sun to file this lawsuit” Google puts its expert on the stand to combat Oracle, wraps up its case At trial, top Android coder explains Oracle’s questions on “scrubbed” source code Top programmer describes Android’s nuts and bolts in Oracle v.

Google Copyright and consequences: Google’s Andy Rubin defends Android to jury View all… SAN FRANCISCO—Oracle CEO Safra Catz testified in federal court today that Oracle spends "hundreds of millions" of dollars promoting and supporting Java and that the investment was at risk because of Google and Android. It's the seventh day of the Oracle v.

Google trial, a legal dispute that began when Oracle sued Google for copyright infringement in 2010.
In 2012, a judge ruled that APIs can't be copyrighted at all, but an appeals court disagreed. Now Oracle may seek up to $9 billion in damages, while Google is arguing that its use of the 37 APIs constitutes "fair use." "What's the significance of intellectual property protection to Oracle?" attorney Annette Hurst asked Catz. "Our whole business is based on the ideas and work that come out of programmers and employees’ heads and that they type into computer code," said Catz, speaking slowly and turning to look at the jury. "We spend $5.5 billion a year on research and development.
It's very hard to build it, but it's very easy to just make a copy.
Intellectual property rights is what protects those brilliant ideas.
If it wasn't for that, we wouldn't have any way of stopping people from just taking stuff." Then Catz expanded on a line of testimony that she began yesterday, saying that Android has "forked the whole community, meaning, split it into two." It has violated the "write once, run anywhere" promise of Java, she said. "Once you write it on Android, you can’t run it on anything but Android," Catz said. "If you write it in Java, you can’t run it on Android." “Our competition was free” Catz also testified that Oracle's Java licensing business was hurt by Android.

Customers that used to buy licenses for Java, including Samsung, ZTE, Motorola, and others, don't buy licenses from Oracle any more. "They don't take a license from us any more, because they use Android, which is free," she said. Licensing contracts that used to be $40 million deals are now $1 million deals, Catz said.
She gave the example of Amazon, which was formerly a customer but chose to go with Android for the Kindle Fire. When Amazon came out with its popular mid-range Kindle, the Paperwhite, the e-reader company chose to license Java only after Oracle offered a massive discount. "In order to compete, we ended up giving a 97.5 percent discount for the Paperwhite," she said, "because our competition was free." As for the mobile licensing business, since the launch of Android, it has performed "very, very poorly," Catz said. Catz concluded her testimony with an anecdote about running into Google General Counsel Kent Walker at a social function. "I was at a bat mitzvah," Catz said. "Kent Walker, their [Google's] general counsel, came up to me and said, 'You know Safra, Google is a really special company, and the old rules don't apply to us.' I immediately said—'Thou shalt not steal!' It's an oldie but a goodie." On cross-examination, Google lawyer Christa Anderson had Catz read parts of Sun's SEC statements, noting that the company had licensed out "significant elements" of its IP, including Java technology, as open source, which "could reduce the competitive advantage" derived from it. "Oracle knew that when it acquired Sun, right?" Anderson asked. "Yes," Catz acknowledged. Anderson also showed internal documents indicating that Oracle didn't have the know-how to build its own phone. "That’s correct. We decided that we could not build a physical phone," she said. Catz was off the stand shortly before 9:00am Pacific time. Oracle is continuing to present its case throughout this week.

Google presented its case first; it has the burden of proof since its defense is limited to "fair use." More from the Oracle v.

Google trial: Read the Ars Technica explainer on the trial's significance Jury selection took place on Monday, May 9 Opening statements by Oracle and Google on May 10 Ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt said no license was needed Ex-Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz said he had no problem with Android Android chief Andy Rubin testified on Thursday May 12 Top Android programmer Dan Bornstein testified on May 13 and May 16 Oracle CEO Safra Catz began her testimony on Monday, May 16

Google took our property—and our opportunity, Oracle tells jury

Aurich LawsonOracle v.

Google Google to jury: Android was built with our engineers’ hard work Second Oracle v.

Google trial could lead to huge headaches for developers Ready, set, litigate: Judge sets time limits for Oracle v.

Google rematch Google and Oracle both swear they won’t Google jurors in upcoming trial Oracle will seek a staggering $9.3 billion in 2nd trial against Google View all… SAN FRANCISCO—"I always have to think when I write this out, because I'm not used to writing billions," Oracle lawyer Peter Bicks told a jury here as he wrote out "3,000,000,000" on a large sheet of paper. "Three billion mobile phones have been activated with Oracle's property on them," he said.

There are 100,000 Android phones being activated each hour, he continued. "$42 billion in revenue through all of those activations.

Each with our client's property in them.
Valuable computer code." Bicks' verbal assault was the first volley in the second Oracle v.

Google trial, a month-long legal showdown that could end with one of the largest civil verdicts in history. Oracle is making its case to a jury that Google should be forced to pay massive copyright damages, due to the search company's use of 37 Java APIs in its Android operating system.
It's the second courtroom face-off for the two software giants.

Google argued that APIs shouldn't be copyrighted at all, but lost on appeal. Now Google's only hope is that the jury finds that its use of the APIs was a "fair use." In Bicks' telling, Google's own e-mails told the story that the company deliberately chose to make an illegal "shortcut" by using Java in Android. "Google, one of the largest and most sophisticated companies in the world, made a deliberate business decision not to take a license and to copy and use oracle’s valuable software illegally," Bicks said. "Why? Huge profits." Bicks' presentation overlapped in some ways with the company's 2012 case, but it was a less technical, more focused, and more morality-laden presentation. He painted the picture of a company that stood alone in its decision to break the rules. He emphasized the importance of the API code, showing a "software map" that portrayed the connections between the accused APIs with bright lines.
It was like a "complex blueprint to a magnificent building," he said. "You see the red on the screen? They took the heart of these packages. "You may hear today that 11,000 lines is not a lot," said Bicks. "'We left a lot behind,' is what you'll hear. 'We took your property, but we didn't take all of it.' 11,000 lines is a lot of computer code." The screens flanking both sides of the courtroom showed an Oracle slide of the Apollo moon lander. "It took 10,000 lines to power this Apollo computer module, when lives were at stake," Bicks said. In case the jury missed the point, it popped up on the screen in all-caps: "OVER ONE THOUSAND FEWER THAN WHAT GOOGLE COPIED." "We copied over 11,000 lines, and now it's fair use," Bicks said, channeling Google for the jury. "I call this case the fair use excuse." Consequences Bicks went on to show some of the "greatest hits" of Google's internal e-mails from 2012, including an e-mail from engineer Tim Lindholm to Google's Android chief, Andy Rubin, saying that alternatives to using Java "all suck." "Don't get locked out!" Bicks read to the jury, quoting a Google document emphasizing the need to get into the mobile market quickly. "Their words, not mine," he said, a mantra he repeated several times during his opening statement. "I told you earlier that Google broke a basic rule: you don't take people's property without permission," Bicks continued. "When you get caught, you make excuses." The use of Java had consequences. He told a brief history of the smartphone industry—Google was getting rich, while Oracle struggled. He quoted Oracle SEC statements saying that Android has "severely damaged" Java phone sales. "Android undermined Oracle's Java business," Bicks said. "Oracle was seeing money go out the door," and it was going to Google. As an example, he noted that Amazon had moved away from doing a deal with Oracle for its Kindle Fire product, deciding instead to go with Android—a product he views as being built with Oracle's property. Oracle was stuck "competing against themselves," Bicks said. "Even worse than that, Google was giving away Oracle's property and making $42 billion in revenue." Bicks didn't ask the jury for a specific amount in damages, but court documents made public earlier suggest that Oracle may ask for up to $9 billion.
If he's successful in holding Google liable for copyright infringement, there will be a separate damages phase of the trial.

Amazon lets kids run amok with in-app purchases, says FTC suit

FTC thinks your kid has bought one too many Candy Crush moves through Amazon.

CIO interview: Thierry Bedos, CTO, Hotels.com

With 85 global websites scouring 190,000 hotels across the world, 25 million downloads of its mobile app and 11 million user-generated reviews, Hotels.com packs a real digital punch. But, as part of the Expedia brand and without the tie of physical travel agents, the company is still striving for the perfect omni-channel experience that traditional retailers are so desperate to achieve. Chief technology officer Thierry Bedos says that although his web, mobile and tablet channels are joined up, he is keen to continue this momentum to achieve an omni-channel experience. “Omni-channel is the experience on one device, which then continues when you move onto another,” he says. “But how do we make that a seamless journey?” Bedos says Hotels.com realised this was necessary at an early stage and enabled its customers to create a list of hotels on their profile online, so that if they then log in using another device, their choices will appear. The company also has a loyalty programme that encourages customers to return again and again, but Bedos says customers expect a seamless experience when they visit on multiple occasions. With customers able to create lists of preferences, Hotels.com was able to begin experimenting with big data. “The whole idea is to try to understand what customers like – not tracking what they do,” says Bedos. “Then we can tailor choice to their needs.” For example, from the thousands of hotels that appear from a search of Paris, Hotels.com wants to show those that are most relevant to the customer, he says. “We can understand what they’ve bought in the past, and infer their preferences to give a choice closely aligned to what they are interested in.” The whole idea is to try to understand what customers like – not tracking what they do Bedos, who has been with Hotels.com since 2010 and as CTO since April this year, says the company is doing a lot of work around big data, and is also trying out social proofing. Social proofing reaffirms customers’ choices when searching for hotels by providing information about how other customers are looking at the same hotel. This shows that the hotel may be better because other people are looking at it. Mobile offering The company has actually been around for 25 years. It started as a call-centre business, then slowly evolved a web presence. It merged with Expedia at the turn of the century, growing significantly and investing in mobile over recent years. In terms of technology, Hotels.com works closely with the rest of the Expedia team to handle similar functions, including the many websites, applications and mobile apps. Bedos says mobile is key for the company, with a suite of apps for smartphones and tablets, including iOS, Android, Windows and Kindle Fire. It has also launched device-specific applications for the Samsung Galaxy Note series to make use of its dedicated S-pen. In fact, mobile now accounts for a quarter of Hotel.com’s transactions, with the apps collectively running up more than 25 million downloads since the launch of iPhone and Android apps in 2011.   Bedos says the future of the business will depend on the convergence of three trends – mobile, big data and machine learning – and Hadoop and Cassandra will be core open-source technologies used by Hotels.com. “It is about how you can adapt the experience of the user across multiple devices, understand what they are trying to do and help them recognise products,” he says. Security worry But it is security that worries Bedos the most, and he points to the issues surrounding eBay and Heartbleed. Using 100% outsource leaves us vulnerable, and 100% insource is not saving on costs. It needs to be a balance “All these security breaches are really concerning,” he says, adding that Hotels.com has a dedicated group looking at potential security breaches, as more and more hackers go after big brands to try to steal customer information. “It’s worrying to hear eBay was hacked into and a large number of user credentials were stolen – eBay is not a small startup, it’s a large business,” he says. Developing technology Hotels.com uses a mixture of outsource and insource, and recruits internal developers, because Bedos does not believe in only one option. “Using 100% outsource leaves us vulnerable, and 100% insource is not saving on costs,” he says. “It needs to be a balance across costs, control and ownerships.” Bedos says Hotels.com is a technology company, so has a lot of skills and management in-house. In July 2012, the firm brought its offshore development team in-house to cut software product cycles from 26 weeks to two weeks. But the company still outsources some projects. Bedos says it tends to stick to startups and suppliers with a specific niche. “We are not looking at large organisations,” he says. “You’d outsource pretty much all of the IT to them. IBM and Microsoft, they would be interested in taking the whole IT away from you. “What we need is an organisation to help develop on the side with a particular skillset.” To find such organisations, Bedos says he goes to events and conferences, while Hotels.com’s in-house developers go to tech meet-ups and talk to engineers to find the “hidden gems”. “But these guys will usually find you,” he says. “It’s just choosing the right one with the interesting proposition. We also love the open-source community.”  Hotels.com contributes to the open-source community by providing code for projects, or building something for the company in open source which it will then contribute back as long as the intellectual property is kept within the organisation. 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Dell Releases SonicWall Mobile Access Platform

The platform enables administrators to configure and enforce security policies that provide context-aware authentication. Technology giant Dell announced the newest release of the company's SonicWall-branded secure mobile access solution for managed and unmanaged bring-your-own-device environments, which combines the SonicWall Mobile Connect 3.0 application and SonicWall secure remote access series appliance 7.5. The platform enables administrators to configure and enforce security policies that provide context-aware authentication. Mobile devices are interrogated for essential security information such as jailbreak or root status, device ID, certificate status and OS versions prior to granting access. Devices that don’t meet policy requirements are not allowed network access and the user is notified of non-compliance, greatly reducing the chances of malware entering the network from non-IT managed devices. "In today’s mobile workplace, it is vitally important to enable remote and mobile employees to maintain their productivity without compromising network security," Patrick Sweeney, executive director of product management for Dell Security Products, said in a statement. "The co-mingling of business and personal applications and data on mobile devices presents an even greater challenge to IT when it comes to providing users with mobile access to everything they need to do their jobs, but still protecting corporate data from the multitude of threats posed by mobile devices." In addition, the secure remote access series management console consolidates network access control of all Web resources, file shares and client-server resources into a single location, with central administration and a single rule set for all resources and access methods. The solution also enables organizations to deliver policy-enforced single socket layer (SSL) virtual private network (VPN) access to allowed applications and resources from a multitude of device platforms including iOS, Mac OSX, Android, Kindle Fire, and Windows. The Mobile Connect app is available for free download from the Apple Store, Google Play, the Kindle Store and embedded with Windows 8.1 tablets and laptops. Mobile Connect for Mac OSX will be available in the spring, while Dell SRA series appliances are available through the channel and Dell sales. "The Dell SonicWall secure mobile access solution provides best-in-class, context-aware authentication for both personal and company-owned devices to protect corporate networks and data from mobile threats," Sweeney said. "Our converged secure access gateway establishes and enforces granular access control policies for network resources, and further, provides mobile application management policies for our Mobile Connect app to enable secure intranet file browse and caching that protects the data." Dell and NetSuite also announced an expanded relationship that combines the end-to-end cloud capabilities of Dell with NetSuite’s unified cloud-based business management software to deliver a holistic cloud solution to customers worldwide. The combination is designed to provide a foundation of technology and expertise for global CIOs and CFOs to unify, grow or replace their enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems across their organization. Additionally, Dell and NetSuite provide advanced solutions for business problems through the existing Dell Boomi relationship that includes Boomi AtomSphere, a SuiteApp offering an extensive library of prebuilt connectors for NetSuite-to-SaaS and NetSuite-to-on-premise integrations.

Microsoft updating Skype for new Kindle Fire tablets, iOS 7 devices

Microsoft is rolling out new Skype updates for Android tablets, including the new Kindle Fires, as well as for iOS 7 devices.

Windows 8.1 tablets vs. Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD: Enterprise face-off

With its new Kindle Fire HD and HDX, Amazon is making a pitch for enterprise users. How do Windows 8.1 tablets stack up?