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Apple Maps flops; it’s grim at RIM; Salesforce ID; & more - Telco 2.0 News Review

(Ed. Now just 6 weeks to Digital Arabia in Dubai, 6-7 November, and 10 to Digital Asia in Singapore, 3-5 December. The agendas cover the Digital Economy, Digital Commerce and Digital Entertainment in each region.)

So, they queued up for the iPhones…and discovered that the new, post-Google mapping application didn’t work, not to put too fine a point on it. (This Wired piece talks about “giddy dancing” and Apple booking 70 cargo aircraft from China to the US for the launch week - evidently planned before the mapfail.)

The origin of the issue is an attempted power-play by Apple - Google didn’t want to licence their turn-by-turn navigation on the terms Apple offered, so Apple decided to boot Google Maps off the iPhone. Unfortunately, it seems that Apple hugely underestimated how difficult mapping is. Hence the stories - the Apple Store that’s missing from Apple Maps, the aerial imagery that drapes motorways over bridges, the Jubilee Line extension missing from the map of London, it goes on. Of course, you can always open Google Maps or indeed Nokia Maps, or Bing, or the OpenStreetMap in a web browser instead, and won’t Apple be relieved and delighted by that? (Although everyone makes mistakes: here’s Nokia Maps getting it wrong.)

Inevitably, via RevK, there’s a Downfall remix in which Hitler is informed of the issue, and a blog collecting examples of it.

Google may have suspected something, as the new version of Google Maps for Android rolled out on the iPhone launch day.

The Wall Street Journal looks into why Apple chose not to integrate NFC, and finds the same reasons as always - the ecosystem and value chain are unclear, nobody uses it yet, and Apple didn’t want to risk turning into a bank, and as a result, they didn’t think the additional effort of integrating NFC was worthwhile. (However, HTC and China Merchants Bank did.)

At Foxconn, meanwhile, 2,000 workers riot and close down a factory. A lot of media coverage describe the incident as a brawl, but it started when a security guard allegedly assaulted a worker, which makes it sound a lot more like a protest, riot, or as the Chinese Communist Party calls them, “mass-group incident”. This report suggests that a lot of promised improvements at Foxconn haven’t been seen on the shop floor. The Foxconn workers are an increasingly assertive and politicised bunch, so it’s probably safe to expect more of this.

Anand of Anandtech reviews the guts of the iPhone and concludes that the CPUs are something of Apple’s own devising, based on the ARM v7 but substantially different. Which of the Psion founders was it who said that real software companies make their own chips?

Apple leans on Samsung again, demanding more money in the lawsuit. Horace notes that this quarter has been only “moderate”.

Elsewhere, RIM had a major service outage, described as affecting “parts of Europe and Africa” as if that was reassuring, and it looks like thousands of jobs are going in the UK. And you can take control of a BlackBerry Enterprise Server by sending one of its users a crafted PDF attachment.

RIM also lost the Yahoo! account this week. Marissa Mayer has started off her tenure as CEO by dosing the employees with company-funded shiny, and free food as well. You get a choice of two HTC Androids, the Nokia Lumia 920, or of course the iPhone 5, but no BlackBerry.

Motorola’s new Razr is an Intel phone. Reuters reports on how chip makers are trying to become more obvious to end users in mobile, with Intel trying to repeat “Intel Inside” and Qualcomm and NVIDIA hitting back.

HTC, meanwhile, launched the “signature” Windows Phones.

Why not wrap your iPod Touch in an LTE WiFi hotspot, to make a sort-of iPhone?

And ZTE, hitherto an Android vendor, is planning to launch a range of Firefox OS smartphones early next year.

Chart of the Week is this ISOC presentation on IPv6 deployment. Congratulations to Germany for getting the most web sites ready. The UK, well, not so much.

Even after Apple fixes the maps, or eats humble pie and makes up with Google, there still won’t be a sensible LTE spectrum plan. Dave Burstein works through the permutations and concludes that a real “world iPhone” would be about half an inch longer than the iPhone 5, although apparently his prediction that the Verizon iPhones would be carrier-locked hasn’t been borne out by events.

Mexico has decided to adopt the plan used in Asia-Pacific for its forthcoming 700MHz auction, rather than the one used in the US.

T-Mobile USA, meanwhile, has started shuffling its 3G network into the 1900MHz band, having launched HSPA+ into the expensively acquired 1700MHz. Now, though, they need to move the HSPA+ out of the 1700s and up into the 1900s, forklift-upgrading the remaining 2G-only customers in the process in order to clear the 1900s, so they can deploy LTE into the 1700s, thus creating yet another LTE option.

Meanwhile, a US congressional committee blamed the FCC for the LightSquared fiasco, although:

they freely admitted lacking any sort of technical expertise regarding GPS, cellular networks, or use of spectrum

At Verizon, it looks like the company is moving everyone who comes in with a grandfathered unlimited-data plan looking for the new iPhone onto a limited plan, while the Net Neutrality wars are cranking up again.

A gaggle of NN campaigns are petitioning the FCC to stop AT&T charging extra for Apple FaceTime calls, or rather, from counting them as voice calls and therefore upselling voice plans. On the other hand, TeliaSonera has decided not to bother with their plan to charge for VoIP, but rather to nudge their data prices up across the board.

DTAG is going to deploy Alcatel-Lucent’s magic vectored-DSL solution on 20 million lines. This is meant to mean much higher speeds on the copper section of their VDSL network, although it’s probably a good guess that like most super-DSL options, it will work well if you’re near the exchange and worse if you’re in the sticks. The immediate question, though, is that DTAG is spinning the move to government as being sort-of-like-fibre in the hope that they get to keep the (very generous) regulatory settlement they got in exchange for deploying more fibre. Will they get to keep the reggy goodness and get out of all that trenching?

The Voice of Broadband reports that net-adds have been very slow worldwide in Q2, and interestingly argues that at the moment, the best mobile broadband networks are quite a bit faster than most DSL or even some cable.

Paul Budde vigorously states the case for ignoring vectoring and getting the fibre out there, in the context of the Australian NBN, and incidentally rips the UK’s plans.

Speaking of which, some money has been shared out among 10 British cities. Will all of it end up with BT, like the last lot? And the Country Land & Business Association is furious about rural broadband.

Telefonica has launched a new round of quad-play tariffs. €89.90 a month buys you 100Mbps FTTH, unlimited national landline minutes, 500 minutes of mobile voice, 1GB of mobile data, unlimited SMS, and TV including the football.

Salesforce announced the latest version of its CRM application, including an HTML5 mobile app, a single identity provider, extensions to Force.com, and support for geographical queries in the database, among quite a bit of other stuff.

Specialised cloud - BMW is building a data centre in Iceland for the high performance computing clusters it uses to run design simulations. They’re benefiting from cheap power there. Meanwhile, will the Internet of Things be a big driver of demand for cloud services?

The OpenStack Foundation is a thing, with $10 million in funding.

Data Center Knowledge tackles a New York Times piece on data centre energy use. Microsoft, for their part, are getting rid of backup generators.

The principles of designing for scale. Getting value from Amazon EC2’s spot market - how Vimeo does it.

Are smart meters actually not very much good?

MetroPCS says it’s going to have VoLTE fully deployed in six months. Perhaps they’ll change the name of the company as well….

Dan York comes out banging the drum for WebRTC.

A French Skype user wasn’t satisfied with the free calls, and was trying to guess the geographical versions of premium-rate numbers, and accidentally hacked the French central bank’s PBX. Specifically, he dialled the wrong number, the PBX automatically picked up and waited for a number, he randomly entered 123456 - and that turned out to be the password. (654321 would have worked as well.) Two years later, policemen descended on him. Now, a court has cleared him on the basis of a lack of criminal intent.

Horrible security fail at WhatsApp.

AllThingsD is starting a series on Marissa Mayer at Yahoo! To begin with, they cover the status of the Microsoft-Yahoo search-for-advertising deal, which has been disappointing for years. In the next instalment, it looks like there’s going to be a huge all-hands meeting this week to reveal the big story.

On the agenda is a redesign of Yahoo! Mail (outsourced e-mail is a huge part of the business), a redesign of the homepage, and a renewed focus on 10 key products. Fortunately, Flickr is one of them. Also, the ad load on the front page is going to be cut back in the interests of a cleaner user experience.

Facebook, meanwhile, has turned off its face-recogniser to comply with EU privacy rules. They’ve also launched a plugin to let you reduce how much third-party web sites tell Facebook about you and settled the Beacon lawsuit for $9.5m. And they’re no longer so keen on “passive sharing”.

SingTel buys a photo startup. Is less copyright good for the economy? Opera Software has a really interesting report on mobile ads - note that taking a photo, watching video, or adding an event to the calendar are interactions that are dramatically more likely to be completed than hitting a Facebook button.

Comedian tries to physically spam Groupon. And will Kim Dotcom end up vindicated?

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