Apple is in hot water again. And this time, it's actually over real water. Italian regulators have imposed a fine of 10 million euros, or about 12 million US dollars, on the company over the iPhone's water resistance, or lack thereof.
The regulatory agency said that Apple made misleading claims about multiple iPhone models going all the way back to the iPhone 8. It turns out that the water resistance claims Apple was making in its advertising, saying that the phone would resist water up to four meters deep for as long as 30 minutes, were based on tightly controlled lab tests and that real world test water resistance wasn't nearly as impressive.
Apple was also hit, because the company refused to honor warranties when the iPhone sustained water damage. Which would be an obvious problem if someone were relying on the misleading ads, so maybe don't take your expensive toys into the swimming pool in the name of science.
Google is no strangers to accusation of anti-competitive practices given their dominant position in the market. But a new round of lawsuits that the US Department of Justice is reportedly preparing, not only targets Google again, but also, drags Facebook into the fray. This would be the first time that Facebook has faced off with the US federal government in the antitrust arena, although, of course the company has already sparred with lawmakers over issues ranging from moderating misleading information to suppression of certain types of political speech. At issue here though, appears to be whether Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp, Instagram, and other properties, broke antitrust laws and suppressed competition.
Although in-person Black Friday madness was tempered this year, at brick and mortar retailers due to the pandemic, that did not stop Americans from busting out their credit cards and shopping online in record numbers. Around $9 billion were spent online on Friday on American retail sites, smashing last year's record of just shy of seven and a half billion. Part of this was by design, as retailers themselves discouraged in-person turnout by limiting door buster deals, or skipping them entirely. In fact, physical traffic at stores was down over half, compared to last year. Of course, today is Cyber Monday and it's expected that we'll see more records today with Adobe projecting sales well into the 10 figures, or as Jeff Bezos calls it, lunch money.
New patent from Microsoft reveals the company is looking at telling us exactly how useless they are. With sensors that detect facial expressions, body language, room temperatures, and other goings-on to assign a meeting a productivity score. It's unclear if this tech will actually hit the market, but bosses could always just ask their half asleep employees how much attention they're paying.
Speaking of bosses, hundreds of C-level executives at various companies have gotten hit with a data breach, as Russian-speaking hackers are selling Microsoft-based account credentials for between 100 and 1500 bucks. It's unclear whether this is part of an extortion attempt. But remember, for the love of God, use two-factor authentication. It's not hard.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has announced he will be quitting on January 20th, which is when Joe Biden will take over as US president. Pai's legacy of deregulation of the tech and telecom industries, gained him support in some circles, but criticism in others, like the internet, as his widely reported decision to weaken net neutrality regulations set off concerns about what the internet could be like in the future. As for me, I'm hoping the next chairperson won't explain communication policy with videos that go viral for all the wrong reasons. I hope politics just gets boring.
Google has made huge progress in the world of protein folding, of all things, as this AI powered program called Alpha Fold appears to have shortened the time to work out the structure of a protein given certain amino acids sequences, in a few days instead of years of lab experiments. This is a problem that scientists have been trying to solve for at least half a century, and could have big implications for drug and disease research. Although the system won't completely replace current methods, it should be a huge boon for the bio-sciences industry.
And there's been a major cyberattack in the sports world as English Premier League side Manchester United suffered an incursion that's been widely speculated to be a ransomware attack. Although club officials wouldn't confirm this. The attack doesn't appear to have affected match day operation for fans' personal information, though there is concern some of the clubs scouting information may have been exposed. I guess something like this is par for the course though when you consider how bad United's defense has been this season