Competition Takes Bite Out of Apple in China
Today in international tech news: Apple's slice of China's smartphone market drops. Also: Apple and Samsung are both losers in a South Korean court ruling; South Korea nixes a regulation requiring Internet users to use their names; the world's largest oil company is hacked, with more to come; a German law firm says it will publish the names of people downloading pirated porn.
Apple's slice of the smartphone market in China was cut almost in half in the second quarter, according to Reuters.
The two main culprits of Apple's market share plunge -- it fell to 10 percent -- are buyers waiting for the next iPhone, which is expected to launch in late fall, and buyers switching companies, according to the article.
China is Apple's second-biggest market and will soon eclipse the U.S. as the world's biggest smartphone market.
Samsung remains China's smartphone leader with a 19 percent market share -- although that was down from 21 percent last quarter.
Apple, Samsung Both Losers in South Korean Case
After ruling that Samsung and Apple infringed upon one another's patents, a court in South Korea has fined each company and banned some of the their products, according to The Guardian.
The court ordered Apple to remove the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad 1 and iPad 2 from South Korean stores. Conversely, Samsung's Galaxy S2 was among the Samsung products now prohibited in the country.
The court also ordered Samsung and Apple to swap money, albeit relatively miniscule sums for the two tech giants: Samsung must fork over about US$22,000 to Apple, while Apple must pay Samsung $35,000.
Apple and Samsung have been engaged in legal battles around the globe -- in the U.S., Australia, UK and Germany, among other places. Thus, whatever closure this brings in South Korea, the two companies have a long way to go before their legal tiffs are settled.
South Korea Strikes Down Online ID Law
A South Korean court deemed unconstitutional a law requiring Internet users to verify their identities prior to posting comments on websites, according to The New York Times.
The so-called real-name identification system was introduced in 2007 for 150 websites that boasted traffic north of 100,000 visitors per day. The regulation was prompted by concerns that the Web was devolving into a hotbed for malice and rumors. Internet libel was said to be the cause of multiple South Korean celebrity suicides, according to the Times.
Critics of that law said that it was used to discourage political criticism, which has been an issue lately in South Korea.
The court ruled that restriction of free expression was justifiable when it was in the best interest of the public, but it added that this particular regulation did not necessarily achieve the intended result. There was, according to the court, no drop in the amount of illegal content posted to websites since the law was adopted five years ago.
Hack Attack on World's Largest Oil Company
Hackers claim to have forced Saudi Aramco, a Saudi government-owned entity and the world's largest oil company, to alter its operations to avoid infected PCs, according to a post from the alleged hackers.
A virus was unleashed against Saudi Aramco on Aug. 15, payback for the government's oppression in the Middle East, according to the post.
In a separate post, the group claims to have destroyed 30,000 of Saudi Aramco's computers. The hackers followed that post with yet another, which purports to give IP addresses for the ruined computers.
Saudi Aramco acknowledged computer disturbances on Aug. 15 but said that the impact of the disruptions were negligible, according to The New York Times. To that, the hackers said that they would launch another attack at 5 p.m. on Saturday.
German Firm to Publish Alleged Porn Downloaders' Names
Urmann, a German law firm, announced that it will begin publishing names of people whose computers have been used to download pirated pornography, according to the BBC.
Urmann has reportedly been sending letters to suspected pirates since 2006, offering offenders a chance to pay a one-time fee of 650 euros (about $815) to compensate the copyright holder.
It is legal under German law for solicitors to publish the names of people accused by their clients.