Tech news is not just about gadgets

There has been a lot of excitement in the tech world again recently, but not because of the latest technological advancement.

JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin

In the case of Apple’s tax arrangements in Ireland, all I can think to say is wow. €13 billion in taxes owed (according to the EU) plus interest on back taxes is a heck of a lot of money. Are the EU singling out yet another US based tech giant? According to a statement released by the EU, they are currently investigating over 1,000 tax rulings in 23 member states. So this latest hullabaloo is just another in a long line of ongoing investigations. It just so happens that Apple is a very high profile case and therefore gets lots of media coverage. Oh and those figures are mind boggling.

Another possible big loss for a tech giant reared its head after Samsung issued a recall for the new Galaxy Note 7 smartphone. It became apparent rather quickly that the batteries used have an alarming tendency to catch fire while charging. Customers in the UK should ring Samsung’s customer service line on 0330 7261000. They will take you through the steps needed to send back your current Note 7 and get a replacement.

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Back in July a woman successfully sued Microsoft for a forced Windows 10 upgrade that destroyed her machine. She won $10,000 in damages and it has been reported that more lawsuits are likely to follow.

On top of that (also back in July) France ordered Microsoft to stop collecting excessive user data for users of Windows 10. In effect Microsoft are in breach of privacy laws in France and certain aspects of the operating system were deemed to be insecure (like using a pin code to enter Windows for instance). Microsoft have been given three months to comply.

And the BBC iPlayer has also been in the news. Due to a legal loophole, people have been able to watch programmes on the BBC via the BBC’s iPlayer software without having a TV licence. All you had to do was watch things after they were aired. It has all changed now as the loophole has been closed.

Whether you are watching live TV or catching up, you will need a valid TV licence. How the BBC are going to police this has been a topic of debate, with some people mentioning ‘sniffing’ WiFi networks.

It is far more likely that the BBC will use other more reliable techniques, like the iPlayer software itself, to determine who is in breach. The BBC are publicly funded and don’t make money through advertising, so the licence fee pays for things like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, Newsnight, TV channels and radio stations, including regional stations like BBC Sussex. Oh and they have a big online presence as well. All of that takes money and you don’t get any advertising getting in the way of the content.

Not like Facebook which recently declared war on the ad blocking industry, but that’s a story for another time.