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By | Billy MacInnes 19th July 2007 12:41

Mobile phones are in the toilet, but no one's complaining

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It's fair to say that it's been an interesting week for mobile phones. To start with, two separate surveys demonstrated the impact mobile phones and smartphones were having on people's working and personal lives.

Among the disturbing statistics, a quarter of people in the UK admitted to answering their mobile while on the toilet and a fifth took calls in the bath.

Smartphone users were twice as likely to take a call on the toilet than regular phone users and senior managers were much more likely than their staff to participate in a conference call wearing pyjamas or a bath robe. A word of advice: you might want to think twice before you borrow someone's smartphone.

Text appeal keeps rising

As if all that toilet-talk wasn't enough of a boon for mobile phone operators, Informa reported global mobile data revenues had reached $34.3bn in the first three months of the year and that services other than SMS (short message services, or text messaging) had exceeded $10bn for the first time.

Informa's World Cellular Data Metrics (WCDM), which tracks 70 operators, revealed non-SMS revenues had risen nearly 40 per cent to $11.3bn. SMS traffic was up 50 per cent to 620 billion messages. There were no details for texts sent from or to the toilet.

Wired or not?

We don't know whether Broadcom co-founder Henry Nicholas conducted conference calls in his bathrobe as that's not one of the charges directed against him in a lawsuit by former aide Kenji Kato. But if he did, Kato didn't think it worth mentioning among the welter of accusations of being forced to keep a large supply of drugs on hand at all times, "to look the other way" when Nicholas spiked clients' drinks with drugs, and to bring prostitutes around for clients' entertainment. You can understand why a small detail like whether Nicholas answered the phone on the toilet might not make the cut.

Fear and loathing with an iPhone

No prizes for guessing the phone story which attracted the most response from Reg readers - the decision by Cade Metz to return his iPhone primarily because of his embarrassment at having "bought the thing in the first place".

"If you carry an iPhone, what happens to your self-worth?" he asked. "I can assure you, it plummets. Carry an iPhone, and you're just one of the lemmings." At last count, there were well over 100 comments, many of them from Apple haters who had never used an iPhone or a Mac. Apple fans outraged at Cade's flippant dismissal of the much-hyped iPod phone also made their feelings felt - we hope his self worth is holding up.

No signal as man sends a message

Still, however hurt Apple might be feeling at Cade's rejection, we don't think it will cause as much pain as that administered by John Patterson to mobile phone operators in Sydney. A former employee at Australia's biggest telecoms firm, Telstra, Patterson used a 15 tonne armoured personnel carrier (complete with replica cannon) to flatten seven mobile phone towers in Sydney. He was only stopped when the APC stalled at 4am as he was trying to knock down his seventh target.

European take outs on the up

Away from mobile phones, there's been a huge increase in outsourcing in Europe in the first half of the year with a 78 per cent jump in new contracts worth €40m or more, representing €12.3bn of new business.

According to the latest Quarterly Index from labour sourcing adviser TPI, Europe accounts for over half (54 per cent) of new outsourcing contracts signed globally this year, compared to 32 per cent last year and a five-year average of 38 per cent.

Intel profits and sales rise

While we're on the subject of things going up, big rises in server processor shipments and mobile processor revenues helped increase Intel's second quarter sales by eight per cent to $8.7bn.

Net income was up 44 per cent at $1.3bn, partly from a decimation of its workforce over the last year - and yes, in this case we're using the word correctly to refer to a reduction by a tenth.

CEO Paul Otellini said demand for desktop processors was higher than in past years, but Intel's revenue dropped due to a lower average selling price of its products.

Details also emerged during the week of four mobile processors based on Intel's forthcoming 45nm Penryn architecture, expected to ship in the first quarter of 2008. The Core 2 Duos will feature a 800MHz frontside bus and clock speeds of 2.1GHz, 2.4GHz, 2.5GHz and 2.6GHz.

Logica CMG revenues fall

Let's briefly turn to things going down - Logica CMG's first half revenues. The computer services firm revealed UK revenues were down nine per cent and pinned the blame for half of the drop on the loss of one contract. The Anglo-Dutch firm said it expected "sequential revenue growth in the second half", but full year UK revenue would still be "slightly lower than 2006". Revenue grew ten per cent in Germany and France. Logica CMG also confirmed CEO Martin Read would step down on 21 September.

Out with a bang?

The European Court of First Instance will deliver its judgement on Microsoft's appeal the day before the court's co-chairman Bo Vesterdorf retires.

Microsoft is appealing against a 2004 judgement that found the software giant guilty of abusing its dominant position and fined it €497m. The case hinged on Microsoft's refusal to hand interoperability information for workgroup servers to competitors and its bundling of its Media Player product with Windows operating systems. The verdict is expected at 9.30am on 17 September in the Grande Salle of the Court of Justice.

New president is replaced by old president

A week after Microsoft admitted it would have to set aside $1bn to extend the warranty on its Xbox 360 from one year to three, it emerged that Peter Moore, the head of the Xbox division was jumping ship to become president of the Electronic Arts Sports label. The former vice president of Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices division will be replaced by Don Mattrick, a former president at EA.

Japanese fun and games consoles

Still on the subject of the Xbox 360, the Microsoft console is getting its butt kicked in Japan where it has been outsold more than 2:1 by Sony's PS3, despite earlier claims by Moore that the PS3 wasn't doing too well in Japan. The Wii is walloping them both, outselling the PS3 almost 3:1 and the Xbox by more than 7:1.

Things we didn't have space for

US storage specialist Wiebe Tech has created what it claims are the world's largest capacity portable external hard drives. The 200Gb and 250Gb ToughTech Mini and ToughTech XE Mini drives are distributed in the UK by AM Micro.

Vodafone denied rumours that it was considering a $160bn bid for US giant Verizon. The chief financial officer at Verisign resigned as the digital certificate firm revealed it would take a $160m hit to cover mishandled stock option grants.

Reporters from Associated Press found they were able to download large amounts of secret US military data from un-indexed FTP servers. Among the documents were plans for a new military prison camp in Iraq and a fuel dump in Afghanistan - both likely to be targets for insurgents.

A couple of things we had to mention

We couldn't go without wishing a very unhappy birthday to the PC virus. The first virus aimed at personal computers was unleashed 25 years ago.

Elk Cloner spread between Apple II computers via infected floppy disks and is thought to be the work of Rich Skrenta, a 15-year-old high school student from Pittsburgh, who released it in July 1982. Unlike it descendants, Elk Cloner did not turn compromised PCs into clients on zombie networks, but only delivered a verse or two of poetry.

And a special mention in dispatches to the 51-year-old German man in Hanover who threw his PC out the window of his apartment because he'd "got annoyed" with his machine. The police officer who attended the scene opted not to take any action other than making him clear up the debris. "Who hasn't felt like doing that?" asked one police officer.

And finally...

Reuters reports scientists in the US have discovered one of the staple ingredients in curry, turmeric, contains a compound that may combat Alzheimer's disease.

The bad news is they're not sure whether it's possible to eat enough to kick off a positive reaction, so it's quite possible people opting to beat Alzheimer's by eating curry will end up fielding a lot of mobile phone calls in the toilet! ®

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