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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Comcast and Skype Unite, Apple Gets Sued, and The US Senate Hacked

Today has seen much tech news but there have certainly been some highlights. Apple has announced that it will be selling unlocked iPhones in the US finally. Comcast has partnered with Skype to bring video calling to cable boxes everywhere. Apple has been sued for their iCloud service as well as losing a lawsuit with Nokia over a long heated patent dispute and the United States Senate website has been hacked by the group LulzSec.

Until recently the iPhone had been sold exclusively by AT&T in the US and has only in the past few months been available on Verizon's network, however now Apple is planning to sell the iPhones to users unlocked and off contract. Users will obviously have to pay a premium for the luxury of having no contract or carrier to hold them down at a price of $649 and $749 for the 16GB and 32GB models respectively. While users will now have free control over what carrier they go to, they will be limited by the hardware the iPhone supports. The unlocked phones will only work on GMS networks such as T-mobile and even then the phones will not be able to access 3G data in most cases instead reverting to a slower EDGE connection used on the original iPhone in 2007.

In other Apple related news, the company has been sued by iCloud Communications for use of the name iCloud in their new service. The iCloud company offers VOIP and other cloud based computing solutions which are similar to those being offered by Apple and claims that the company is willfully blinding themselves to the use of the name. Apple had recently sued various companies such as Amazon for use of the name App Store. It would appear Apple is running their luck thin lately as Nokia just won a long running patent dispute over mobile technologies used in the iPhone. The final decision has not been made but Apple will most likely be forced to pay out over $1billion in a one-time payment as well as close to $12 per iPhone sold in the future. Apple is famous for claiming that other companies should stop stealing there ideas and so it is often unheard of to find them on the losing end of patent related lawsuit.

Comcast recently has teamed up with Skype in order to bring the companies video calling services to Comcast customers TV's. While Skype is already available in some TV's through apps Comcast hopes to widen that range through the use of the companies cable box's. Current customers will either need to buy a new cable box or they will be able to buy an adapter which will enable them to hook-up a camera to their existing setup.  Users will also require a special texting enabled remote to use the service.

Lastly in the news today is the hacking group LulzSec has claimed to have hacked the US Senate website stealing files from the website and posting them online. The group has also claimed responsibility for recently attacking both Sony and Nintendo. The reported reasoning is that the users "don't like the U.s. government much" and that "their sites aren't very secure." Martina Bradford, the deputy Senate sergeant at arms, officially claimed that no private information was accessed and that the group had only penetrated the public servers leaving the firewall protecting more sensitive data untouched.

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