Starting all the way back in 2016, Qualcomm set its sights on purchasing NXP. Both being huge semiconductor companies operating in overlapping fields, there was some question of consumer benefit and market competition if the deal went through. EU regulators expressed some concern before relenting, and back in June Chinese regulators were said to be ready to grant their own blessings. Turns out, China's enthusiasm may have been overstated, as Qualcomm is set to terminate the NXP acquisition based on the continued absence of regulatory approval from the Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), presumably as a result of the ongoing trade tensions between it and the US. Read More
If you're an AT&T customer and you've ever read your wireless service bill in detail, you may have noticed something called an "Administrative Fee" featured as one of the line items. Up until early this year, that "fee" was typically assessed at $0.76 per postpaid line - not nothing, but over the course of two years of service, it ends up being a little over $18.
AT&T has now very slyly almost tripled the cost in the last six months. Most recently, subscribers getting their statements for June are finding an Admistrative Fee charge of $1.99 per line every month. That brings the two-year cost of this "administrative fee" to almost $50 for each line on your account. Read More
AT&T needs more of your money, so the wireless carrier is bumping up the activation fee it charges customers who sign a two-year contract. The fee, which formerly sat at $36, has risen $4 to reach a round $40 as of June 8th. The minor price hike applies to upgrades as well.
The change comes as a result of consumers increasingly choosing to pass on traditional contracts in favor of the AT&T Next upgrade program. That's right, in response to customers increasingly viewing contracts as less than desirable, the company is choosing to make them look even less so. Part of this is because, well, the carrier wants you to sign up for Next. Read More
Google's Wallet-powered peer-to-peer payment service launched to rival Paypal was announced on May 15th and came with an interesting promotion: waived fees for transfers funded by credit cards. This promotion was recently (possibly today) adjusted quite drastically, and now only payments less than $250 aren't charged fees. Additionally, we now know that the promotional period ends on June 29th.
Left: terms before; Right: current terms
Typically, credit card-funded transfers are charged a fee of 2.9% with a minimum of $0.30, but for a previously undefined "limited time," Google decided to foot the bill in hopes of attracting initial users. Read More
While services like Spotify and Rdio may steal the spotlight most of the time, there are other streaming subscription services out there. Related: we need a better name than "streaming subscription services." Rhapsody, originally founded by Real Networks and since become an independent entity, has a pretty impressive library that users can now download for offline playback. An essential feature for a modern cloud music player. Update: To clarify, it's the ability to download songs on an individual or per-album basis that is new. Users were always able songs by adding them to a playlist first. This simply makes the process simpler. Read More
As most of our readers are surely aware, the Apple vs Samsung case is still boiling, and over the course of nearly two weeks since the trial's beginning, document after document has revealed juicy details from both sides regarding previously unreleased designs, plans, and even sales figures. While so far we've avoided piecemeal coverage of the case's twists and turns, a new development (reported earlier this evening by The Verge) reveals something particularly interesting.
We've known for some time that Apple attempted to sell Samsung on patent licensing back in 2010, but according to a document released today (and the testimony of Apple Exec Boris Teksler), Apple had proposed specific dollar figures per license – up to $30 per Phone and $40 per tablet, to which (according to Apple's slide deck) "Samsung should respond favorably." According to the proposal, Samsung would be responsible for a base rate of $30 per touchscreen phone (including phones running Android, Windows, Symbian, and Bada) and $40 per tablet (which would decrease to just $30 over two years). Read More
In a move that is likely to upset every single AT&T customer to some degree, the nation's number two carrier has decided that its current upgrade fee (a cost tacked on whenever a current customer renews their contract and gets a new phone) isn't covering the rising cost of subsidized smartphones. The current upgrade fee is $18, and will soon be doubled to $36, matching the current fee at Sprint.
At T-Mobile, the current cost is $18. At Verizon, there isn't one. Certainly puts things into perspective. Of course, the one thing to remember about fees is that a little sweet talking to a customer representative can often help you avoid them in the first place. Read More
There's been a lot of talk about AT&T's crusade against rogue tethering lately, and it all comes back to this AT&T text message sent to some poor iPhone customer(s):
AT&T Free Msg: We’ve noticed you’re continuing to enjoy the tethering feature with your smartphone service. Remember, you need a tethering plan ($45/mo, incl. 4GB) to use this feature, so we’re planning to update your line with the required plan soon.
Yes, the carrier everyone loves to hate is cracking down on unauthorized tethering - and they are automatically switching violators onto AT&T's 4GB data plan with tethering access, at a steep $45 a month. Read More
Update: In response to the ZDNet article, it seems like Mueller may well have been incorrect about the "additional instances" of possible infringement he claims to have found. Exhibit J (linked as "6 pages of code") from Oracle's amended complaint is not addressed in the ZDNet article. We make no claims as to the validity of Oracle or Mueller's assertion; we are merely commenting on the situation.
Many people are confused about what it is Mueller is saying about copyrighted code, and it's an understandably complex topic, one I don't claim to fully comprehend. Those who offer evidence that "debunks" Mueller's additional files clearly know a lot more about code than I do. Read More
Looks like Sprint's $10 per month "premium data" fee (I like to call it the "4G tax") is coming back to bite them - a class action lawsuit was recently filed against the carrier.
Customers of the HTC EVO 4G as well as the Samsung Epic 4G may be "interested to know" that they can call the law offices of Scott A. Bursor at 646-504-7781 to confirm that they have indeed been charged the $10/month fee. His plaintiffs' argument is that Sprint's customers are already promised unlimited data within the $69.99 "Simply Everything" package.
Thing is, while the plaintiffs certainly do have the right to sue, I have my doubts about this here lawsuit making it anywhere. Read More