San Diego, Mar 16 (AP/UNB) — A jury has decided Apple should pay $31 million in damages for infringing on patents for technology owned by mobile chip maker Qualcomm that helps iPhones quickly connect to the internet and extend their battery life.
The verdict Friday in a San Diego federal court follows a two-week trial that pitted two former allies that have become bitter adversaries. The trial is a fragment of a legal battle involving Apple and Qualcomm, which are sparing over who invented some of the technology used for key features in smartphones and other mobile devices.
The stakes will be much larger in another federal trial next month that will determine whether Apple should be required to pay Qualcomm for licensing other technology used in iPhones.
Apple had been paying the licensing fees until it stopped in 2017 and filed a lawsuit alleging that Qualcomm was abusing his dominance of the mobile chip market to gouge smartphone makers for technology that it hadn't even invented. That trial is scheduled to start April 15.
In the trial that just concluded, the jury unanimously agreed with Qualcomm's contention that it should be paid $1.41 per iPhone relying on three of its patents. The damages date back to July 6, 2017, when Qualcomm filed its lawsuit, and covers technology used in the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X.
San Diego-based Qualcomm hailed the verdict as a validation of its technology's importance to iPhones. "The technologies invented by Qualcomm and others are what made it possible for Apple to enter the market and become so successful so quickly," said Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm's general counsel.
Apple expressed disappointment with the decision. "Qualcomm's ongoing campaign of patent infringement claims is nothing more than an attempt to distract from the larger issues they face with investigations into their business practices in US federal court, and around the world," the Cupertino, California, company said.
The dispute between Apple and Qualcomm is also part of an antitrust lawsuit that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission filed in 2017. In that case, the FTC alleges that Qualcomm had been abusing its market power in mobile chips for years. The trial concluded in San Jose, California, earlier this year, but the judge still hasn't ruled.
Dhaka, Mar 14 (UNB)- Uber Eats, the food delivery app by ride-hailing company Uber, is all set to launch in Bangladesh next month, with Dhaka as first city.
Similar to the Uber rides app, Uber Eats is a food delivery app that helps bring food to consumers in a convenient and reliable manner from all the best and latest restaurants in their neighbourhood, says a press release issued on Friday afternoon.
Currently, Uber Eats is operating in more than 350 cities and 36 countries across the world.
In Dhaka, the service will launch with some of the best and most loved restaurants. The service will also open up a flexible and sustainable earning opportunity for anyone who chooses to partner with Uber Eats as a delivery partner.
“We are thrilled to launch Uber Eats in Dhaka. It is very encouraging to see that a number of restaurant owners have expressed interest in partnering with us. After having successfully built our rides business here, we are optimistic about the response for Uber Eats from restaurants, delivery partner community and consumers of Dhaka,” said Bhavik Rathod - Head of Uber Eats India and South Asia.
The Uber rides app has been available in Bangladesh as a convenient and affordable mobility option for more than 2 years. With the launch of the food delivery app, Uber will further strengthen its presence in Bangladesh.
Kazakhstan, Mar 15 (AP/UNB) — A Russian-American crew arrived at the International Space Station on Friday, five months after a botched launch led to an emergency landing for two of the three astronauts.
This time, the Russian Soyuz rocket carrying NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch along with Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin lifted off precisely as planned from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 12:14 a.m. Friday (1914 GMT Thursday).
Six hours later, their capsule docked at the orbiting outpost.
On Oct. 11, a Soyuz carrying Hague and Ovchinin failed two minutes into flight, activating a rescue system that allowed their capsule to land safely. That accident was the first aborted crew launch for the Russian space program since 1983, when two Soviet cosmonauts safely jettisoned after a launch pad explosion.
On Friday, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine congratulated the crew on a successful launch. "So proud of Nick Hague for persevering through last October's launch that didn't go as planned," he tweeted.
Speaking at a pre-launch news conference at Baikonur, the astronauts said they trusted the rocket and fully believed in the success of their mission.
"I'm 100 percent confident in the rocket and the spacecraft," Hague said. "The events from October only helped to solidify that and boost confidence in the vehicle to do its job."
The trio will join NASA's Anne McClain, Roscosmos' Oleg Kononenko and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency who are already on the space station. They will conduct work on hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science.
When one of the four strap-on boosters for their Soyuz failed to separate properly two minutes after their launch in October, Hague and Ovchinin were jettisoned from the rocket. Their rescue capsule plunged steeply back to Earth with its lights flashing and alarms screaming, subjecting the crew to seven times the force of gravity.
Hague emphasized Wednesday that they were well-trained for the emergency.
"The nature of our profession is we spend 90-95 percent of our time practicing what to do when things go wrong," he said. "And so we spend all that time training, running through all those scenarios. And because we do train that way, like in October when things like that happened, we were ready to do what we need to do to come out successfully."
The October failure was the first aborted launch for the Russian space program in 35 years and only the third in history. Each time, the rocket's automatic rescue system kept the crew safe.
A Russian investigation attributed October's launch failure to a sensor that was damaged during the rocket's final assembly. The next crew launch to the space station in December went on without a hitch.
Ovchinin recalled that they felt "more annoyed than stressed" when their rescue capsule touched down in the barren steppes of Kazakhstan. "It was disappointing and a bit frustrating that we didn't make it to the International Space Station," he said.
NASA and Roscosmos praised the crew's valor and composure in the aborted launch and promised to quickly give them a second chance into space.
"We don't accept the risk blindly, we have mitigated it as much as we can, and we always plan to be successful," Hague said.
Ovchinin stressed that the aborted launch in October was an "interesting and very useful experience" that "proved the reliability of the emergency rescue system."
Since the 2011 retirement of the U.S. shuttle fleet, Russia's Soyuz spacecraft have been the only vehicles that ferry crews to the space station.
NASA, however, is counting on SpaceX and Boeing to start launching astronauts later this year. The SpaceX ship Dragon returned Friday from a six-day test flight to the space station and could take astronauts there on its next flight as early as this summer.
San Francisco, Mar 15 (AP/UNB) — Facebook is losing its product chief Chris Cox, a top-ranking executive who spent more than a decade at the company, just a week after CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a major new direction for the social network.
The departure, announced Thursday , follows Zuckerberg's announcement that Facebook will shift its emphasis to private messaging over public sharing. The change reflects Facebook's changing audience and continued problems with serving as a conduit for misinformation and vitriol.
Cox, 36, worked closely with Zuckerberg through the company's ups and downs, having joined up about 20 months after Facebook was hatched in 2004 in Zuckerberg's Harvard dorm room.
Cox "is a great guy who is someone who has always tried to do good," said David Kirkpatrick, an author who became well acquainted with Cox and Zuckerberg while writing a book about Facebook. "My guess is there was some sort of disagreement. He would not be leaving at this challenging time if there wasn't something else going on."
Neither Cox nor Zuckerberg specified what led to their split.
"Most all my personal highs and lows of the last decade have been tied up in the journey of this company, with Mark, and with so many of you," Cox wrote in a post. "This place will forever be a part of me."
Zuckerberg said Cox first mentioned he might leave a few years ago, but decided to stay on after 2016 as evidence emerged that Russians had manipulated Facebook's services to provoke discord in the U.S. and influence the election won by President Donald Trump.
"I will always appreciate his deep empathy for the people using our services and the uplifting spirit he brings to everything he does," Zuckerberg said of Cox in his parting note.
Like many other longtime Facebook executives, Cox is unlikely to ever have to work again if he doesn't want to. He pocketed $310 million in gains from exercising Facebook stock options from 2014 through 2017 alone, according to the company's filings with securities regulators.
Zuckerberg also announced another departure — Chris Daniels, who had been overseeing Facebook's encrypted messaging service WhatsApp. Daniels is leaving less than a year after WhatsApp founder Jan Koum resigned in an apparent dispute with Zuckerberg over the future direction of the widely used messaging service.
Facebook isn't hiring another executive to replace Cox. Instead, the leaders of the Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram apps that Cox oversaw will report to Zuckerberg. Longtime Facebook executive Will Cathcart will take over Daniels' job running WhatsApp.
Zuckerberg wants to evolve Facebook's messaging apps into private forums where people can communicate without worrying about what they are sharing being seen and shared by others.
That effort will include introducing WhatsApp encryption technology to Facebook's Messenger app and Instagram's messaging option. Zuckerberg is also promising to make photos and posts automatically disappear from public view.
Facebook's social network and Instagram photo app won't change, and will remain available for sharing places, adventures and minutiae with a broader audience.
Forrester analyst Jessica Liu said it sounded like Cox was "subtly disagreeing" with Zuckerberg's privacy memo, based on Cox's farewell post. "Facebook Inc. is a massive and evolving company, so it's only natural that in a company that large, not everyone will agree with every strategic change," she said.
Geneva, Mar 13 (AP/UNB) — At the ripe old age of 30 and with half the globe using it, the World Wide Web is facing growing pains with issues like hate speech, privacy concerns and state-sponsored hacking, its creator says, trumpeting a call to make it better for humanity.
Tim Berners-Lee on Tuesday joined a celebration of the Web and reminisced about his invention at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, starting with a proposal published on March 12, 1989. It opened the way to a technological revolution that has transformed the way people buy goods, share ideas, get information and much more.
It's also become a place where tech titans scoop up personal data, rival governments spy and seek to scuttle elections, and hate speech and vitriol have thrived — taking the Web far from its roots as a space for progress-oriented minds to collaborate.
As of late 2018, half of the world was online, with the other half often struggling to secure access.
Speaking at a "Web@30" conference at CERN, Berners-Lee acknowledged that a sense among many who are already on the Web has become: "Whoops! The web is not the web we wanted in every respect."
His World Wide Web Foundation wants to enlist governments, companies, and citizens to take a greater role in shaping the web for good under principles laid out in its "Contract for the Web."
Under the contract, governments are called upon to make sure everyone can connect to the internet, to keep it available and to respect privacy. Companies are to make the internet affordable, respect privacy and develop technology that will put people — and the "public good" — first. Citizens are to create and to cooperate and respect "civil discourse," among other things.
"The Contract for the Web is about sitting down in working groups with other people who signed up, and to say, 'Ok, let's work out what this really means,'" Berners-Lee said. It was unclear, however, how such rules would be enforced.
Berners-Lee cautioned it was important to strike a balance between oversight and freedom but difficult to agree what it should be.
"Where is the balance between leaving the tech companies to do the right thing and regulating them? Where is the balance between freedom of speech and hate speech?" he said.
The conference, which brought together internet and tech experts, also gave CERN the chance to showcase its reputation as an open-source incubator of ideas. Berners-Lee worked there in the late 1980s, and had been determined to help bridge a communications and documentation gap among different computer platforms.
As a young English software engineer at CERN, Berners-Lee, who is now 63, came up with the idea for hypertext transfer protocol — the "http" that adorns web addresses — and other building blocks for the web.
The "http" system allowed text and small images to be retrieved through a piece of software — the first browser — which Berners-Lee released in 1990 and is considered the start of the web. In practice, the access to a browser on a home computer made the internet easily accessible to consumers for the first time.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Berners-Lee recalled how his research was helped by his former boss at CERN, Mike Sendall, who wanted a pretext to buy a then-new Next computer by Steve Jobs' Apple needed for his research.
Berners-Lee said Sendall told him to "'pick a random program to develop on it ... Why don't you do that hypertext thing?'"
Berners-Lee has since become a sort of father figure for the internet community, been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and named as one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century by Time magazine.
While he now wants to get the debate going, other panelists expressed concerns like the increasing concentration of control of the internet by big corporate players, and fretted about a possible splintering of cyberspace among rival countries.
"The challenges come from the same things that make it (the Web) wonderful, and that's the difficulty," said conference panelist Zeynep Tufekci, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina's School of Information and Library Science.
"The openness is wonderful, the connectivity is wonderful, the fact that it was created as a network for academics who are kind of into trusting each other..." she said.
Now with the Web, "there's an enormous amount of centralization going on, with a few big players becoming gatekeepers. Those few big players have built, basically, surveillance machines," she said. "It's based on surveillance profiling us and then targeting us for ads — which wasn't the original idea at all."