Technology

Twitter’s Audacious Plan to Infiltrate All Your Apps

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 1:15pm

Twitter's new software development kit, Fabric, is the company's foundation for transforming a business based purely on a single product—Tweets!—into a diversified service aimed at every person and company that makes mobile apps.

The post Twitter’s Audacious Plan to Infiltrate All Your Apps appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Forget Cheetah Blades. This Prosthetic Socket Is a Real Breakthrough

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 1:10pm

Infinite Socket brings modern technology and thoughtful design to bear on a long-ignored pain point.

The post Forget Cheetah Blades. This Prosthetic Socket Is a Real Breakthrough appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Gmail’s New App ‘Inbox’ Is Your Personal Email Assistant

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 1:00pm

Email is awful. It's a mess. It's overwhelming. That's why today, Google's Gmail team is releasing a new email personal assistant app to help you manage it all.

The post Gmail’s New App ‘Inbox’ Is Your Personal Email Assistant appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Raspberry Pi Founder Demos Touchscreen Display For DIY Kits

Slashdot - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 12:34pm
An anonymous reader writes: Over 4 million Raspberry Pis have been sold so far, and now founder Eben Upton has shown off a touchscreen display panel that's designed to work with it. It's a 7" panel, roughly tablet sized, but slightly thicker. "With the incoming touchscreen panel The Pi Foundation is clearly hoping to keep stoking the creative fires that have helped drive sales of the Pi by slotting another piece of DIY hardware into the mix." Upton also discussed the Model A+ Raspberry Pi board — an updated version they'll be announcing soon.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

How the Cloud Can Help Our Government Innovate

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 12:27pm

“It’s all about the cloud.”  We hear or see that phrase in meetings, presentations, email pitches, articles — constantly. Aside from the trend, cloud in the federal government is fueled by three essential trends: Agencies are seeking a Cloud First approach in their new technology investments;  They need to do more with existing or fewer resources; and, Government leaders have a desire […]

The post How the Cloud Can Help Our Government Innovate appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Shooting At Canadian Parliament

Slashdot - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 11:55am
CBC reports that a man pulled up to the War Memorial in downtown Ottawa, got out of his car, and shot a soldier with a rifle. The Memorial is right next to the Canadian Parliament buildings. A shooter (reportedly the same one, but unconfirmed) also approached Parliament and got inside before he was shot and killed. "Scott Walsh, who was working on Parliament Hill, said ... the man hopped over the stone fence that surrounds Parliament Hill, with his gun forcing someone out of their car. He then drove to the front doors of Parliament and fired at least two shots, Walsh said." Canadian government officials were quickly evacuated from the building, while the search continues for further suspects. This comes a day after Canada raised its domestic terrorism threat level. Most details of the situation are still unconfirmed -- CBC has live video coverage here. They have confirmed that there was a second shooting at the Rideau Center, a shopping mall nearby.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Shooting At Canadian Parliament

Slashdot - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 11:55am
CBC reports that a man pulled up to the War Memorial in downtown Ottawa, got out of his car, and shot a soldier with a rifle. The Memorial is right next to the Canadian Parliament buildings. A shooter (reportedly the same one, but unconfirmed) also approached Parliament and got inside before he was shot and killed. "Scott Walsh, who was working on Parliament Hill, said ... the man hopped over the stone fence that surrounds Parliament Hill, with his gun forcing someone out of their car. He then drove to the front doors of Parliament and fired at least two shots, Walsh said." Canadian government officials were quickly evacuated from the building, while the search continues for further suspects. This comes a day after Canada raised its domestic terrorism threat level. Most details of the situation are still unconfirmed -- CBC has live video coverage here. They have confirmed that there was a second shooting at the Rideau Center, a shopping mall nearby.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


Categories: Open Source, Technology

What It Took For SpaceX To Become a Serious Space Company

Slashdot - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 11:47am
An anonymous reader writes: The Atlantic has a nice profile of SpaceX's rise to prominence — how a private startup managed to successfully compete with industry giants like Boeing in just a decade of existence. "Regardless of its inspirations, the company was forced to adopt a prosaic initial goal: Make a rocket at least 10 times cheaper than is possible today. Until it can do that, neither flowers nor people can go to Mars with any economy. With rocket technology, Musk has said, "you're really left with one key parameter against which technology improvements must be judged, and that's cost." SpaceX currently charges $61.2 million per launch. Its cost-per-kilogram of cargo to low-earth orbit, $4,653, is far less than the $14,000 to $39,000 offered by its chief American competitor, the United Launch Alliance. Other providers often charge $250 to $400 million per launch; NASA pays Russia $70 million per astronaut to hitch a ride on its three-person Soyuz spacecraft. SpaceX's costs are still nowhere near low enough to change the economics of space as Musk and his investors envision, but they have a plan to do so (of which more later)."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Where Is Your Homework Grade Now?

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 11:23am

This app solves math equations just by looking at them. And no, it's probably not going to make us dumber.

The post Where Is Your Homework Grade Now? appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Women In Tech Have Much Better Advice For "Male Allies"

ReadWriteWeb - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 11:15am

If you ask a woman what it's like working in tech, she'll likely tell you a story about a time she felt harassed, frustrated, or simply on the verge of quitting the industry. 

At a panel discussion at Twitter on Tuesday night, these stories were told by successful women from a range of backgrounds—from a teenager who frequents hackathons and founded a startup, to industry veterans with decades of experience fighting for leadership roles in technology companies.

On Wednesday, Twitter will host its first-ever Flight mobile developer conference, and to kick off the event, Twitter hosted #WomenInFlight. Over 100 people converged at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco—the audience was mostly women, though there were a number of men in attendance, including Twitter CEO Dick Costolo. 

See also: White Male "Allies" Have Surprisingly Little To Say About Fixing Sexist Tech Culture

Each story was unique, but the panel of six women, along with the audience, commiserated as each was told. Sometimes there was laughter. Sometimes, audible groans. 

"A lot of my friends who are women in tech or women in engineering have talked about when they’re going to quit," Tracy Chou, a Pinterest software engineer, said on the panel. "The median experience of being a woman in tech or woman in engineering is worse than the median of being a man."

What “Male Allies” Should KnowTwitter Women In Flight

The panel participants were surprisingly cordial, speaking openly about their own experiences with sexism in the workplace, while sporadically interrupted by a fire alarm test in the building.

Conversation meandered from serious to silly—panelists talked about innovating blow dryers to help women get ready faster, and whether or not egg freezing is a perk akin to free lunch.

One point discussed several times was what advice these women would give to men, or "male allies," who want to be supportive of women in the industry and help create a more open and diverse workplace. 

At the Grace Hopper Celebration earlier this month, a botched "male allies," panel attracted criticism for its myopic conversation and advice. The group of white men on stage provided women with the same advice they've heard and followed numerous times, and there were some misunderstandings between what the panelists discussed and what women in the audience had experienced themselves. 

See also: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to Women: Don't Ask For A Raise, Trust Karma

Chou, who attended the Grace Hopper conference, pointed out that the group of men returned the following day to listen to women describe the hardships and harassment they've suffered with the hope of having a better understanding of what it is women in technology go through each day.

Chou said that one of the most important things men can do is educate themselves about different behaviors and biases that prevent women from working in tech.

"I meet a lot of men who aren’t intending to be sexist, but are willfully ignorant about what goes on," she said.

She added that many women end up doing "grunt work," like bug triage and housekeeping, more often than their male counterparts, and decision-makers or company leaders should be cognizant of what tasks they're assigning to the team to prevent women from doing the same ones repeatedly.

Patty McCord, leadership consultant and former chief talent officer at Netflix, suggested that taking steps to learn about the industry from a different point of view can help company leaders make better decisions regarding hiring technical talent or improving company culture.

"Wake up each day and say, 'Today I’m going to learn something about what it’s like from someone else’s perspective,'" she said. "Ask yourself if this is behavior you would want your daughter to experience."

Taking steps to ensure an open culture also includes giving women the opportunity to interview candidates for jobs—not just to make women feel comfortable with the interview, but also to weed out any potential employees that might contribute to a toxic or sexist environment.

"I've had a lot of negative experiences being an interviewer and having men treat me as not worth talking to," Chou said. "So that’s a useful screening tactic to make sure the culture is good."

This Is Why Women Quit

Forty one percent of women leave careers in technology after ten years, compared to just 17% of men. Chou said that this speaks to a larger problem with the industry.

“I’ve been an engineer for four and a half years, and I’ve thought about quitting tech many times,” Chou told the audience. “I’m not entirely convinced I’ll make it to the 10-year mark. Sometimes it is just very painful, there is a lot of frustration around being undervalued or not treated the same in different situations, like at tech conferences.”

See also: Gillian Jacobs Discusses Her Upcoming Grace Hopper Documentary

While many people and organizations are focusing on the “pipeline,” or encouraging more young girls to pursue interests in programming or computer science, the attrition rate of women who stay in such roles is low. It's nice to focus on encouraging girls to hack things, but what happens when they become adults who may not be treated equal to male counterparts?

For young girls to have successful careers in technology, Chou said, the culture must change.

Chou is a vocal advocate for improving diversity in the workplace. After the Grace Hopper Celebration in 2013, she asked the industry, “Where are the numbers?” Her call to action inspired a number of companies, both small and large, to release data that shows who tech companies hire. And frequently, those numbers illustrate a white, male workforce.

Starting Young

Successful code education programs create opportunities for young women and people of color, but the discriminatory “brogramming,” culture might be one that’s learned young, too.

Ming Horn, a high school senior, founder of Khode Up, and ambassador for Girls Who Code, described how the behavior of young boys at tech conferences and hackathons can be just as bad as that of their adult counterparts.

See also: How Square’s Coding Program Helps Female Students Become Entrepreneurs

“One thing that’s happened quite often is that there are tons of random polls on [hackathon] Facebook pages,” she said. “These recently have been things like, ‘Who are the hottest girls on the hackathon scene?’ and ‘How can I go and pick up chicks?’”

These are posted by freshman or sophomore students, she said. What's more, whenever girls point out that the polls are inappropriate, guys will tell them it’s just a joke.

Why Does Twitter Care?Women In Flight

Of all employee diversity statistics released in the last few months, Twitter stuck out as one of the companies with the lowest percentage of women in technical roles—just 10% of its tech workforce is female.

Perhaps that's one reason Twitter was so keen on hosting this panel the night before its developer conference. Costolo's attendance suggests both he and the company are taking diversity and inclusion seriously.

"This is a really great time to get a bunch of women together, and kick [Flight] off right," Jana Messerschmidt, vice president of global business development and platform at Twitter, and moderator of the evening's panel, said in an interview. "At Google I/O, they actually tracked the number of female attendees for the first time, that's something that we're looking at as well. We're trying to ensure that we have a very diverse developer community that are able to extract value from the Twitter developer platform."

Undoubtedly developers in attendance found value not only in being in a roomful of people who were not bashful about sharing their experiences, but feeling confident that the tech industry is taking steps to change. And hopefully that open, inclusive environment will extend to Flight itself, too. 

Lead photo courtesy of @Womeng; attendee photo courtesy of Vanessa on Twitter

Categories: Technology

Ebolanoia: The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Ebola Fear Itself

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 11:06am

The Ebola epidemic in Africa looks likely to continue for months more, and it's possible that another traveler might make it to the United States, either covertly or innocently. If so, let's try to keep our Ebolanoia under control.

The post Ebolanoia: The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Ebola Fear Itself appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Software Glitch Caused 911 Outage For 11 Million People

Slashdot - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 11:05am
HughPickens.com writes: Brian Fung reports at the Washington Post that earlier this year emergency services went dark for over six hours for more than 11 million people across seven states. "The outage may have gone unnoticed by some, but for the more than 6,000 people trying to reach help, April 9 may well have been the scariest time of their lives." In a 40-page report (PDF), the FCC found that an entirely preventable software error was responsible for causing 911 service to drop. "It could have been prevented. But it was not," the FCC's report reads. "The causes of this outage highlight vulnerabilities of networks as they transition from the long-familiar methods of reaching 911 to [Internet Protocol]-supported technologies." On April 9, the software responsible for assigning the identifying code to each incoming 911 call maxed out at a pre-set limit; the counter literally stopped counting at 40 million calls. As a result, the routing system stopped accepting new calls, leading to a bottleneck and a series of cascading failures elsewhere in the 911 infrastructure. Adm. David Simpson, the FCC's chief of public safety and homeland security, says having a single backup does not provide the kind of reliability that is ideal for 911. "Miami is kind of prone to hurricanes. Had a hurricane come at the same time [as the multi-state outage], we would not have had that failover, perhaps. So I think there needs to be more [distribution of 911 capabilities]."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Gaming Bitcoin: MIT Researchers Double Investment In 50 Days

ReadWriteWeb - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 10:26am

A researcher at MIT may have found the key to predicting the price of Bitcoin, the notoriously unpredictable cryptocurrency, MIT News reports.

Bitcoin is a high-risk investment. The digital currency can fluctuate dramatically depending on outside factors. A federal seizure may cause Bitcoin to plummet, while renewed media attention can make it to skyrocket.

See also: A Year In Bitcoin: Why We'll Still Care About The Cryptocurrency Even If It Fades

Now, MIT researcher Devavrat Shah has developed a machine learning algorithm that stays one step ahead of the currency, allowing him to double his Bitcoin investment in just 50 days.

Working with MIT graduate Kang Zhang, Shah collected price point data from every major Bitcoin exchange for five months. Using a method called “Bayesian regression,” the two taught an algorithm to interpret patterns from the data and trade bitcoins based on those.

The team conducted 2,872 trade in 50 days and experienced an 89 percent return on their investment, effectively gaming the Bitcoin market. Shah and Zhang published a paper on their findings, Bayesian Regression and Bitcoin, earlier this month.

“Can we explain the price variation in terms of factors related to the human world? We have not spent a lot of time doing that,” Shah told MIT News, joking, “But I can show you it works. Give me your money and I’d be happy to invest it for you.”

Photo by fdecomite. 

Categories: Technology

Windows 0-Day Exploited In Ongoing Attacks

Slashdot - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 10:23am
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft is warning users about a new Windows zero-day vulnerability that is being actively exploited in the wild and is primarily a risk to users on servers and workstations that open documents with embedded OLE objects. The vulnerability is currently being exploited via PowerPoint files. These specially crafted files contain a malicious OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) object. This is not the first time a vulnerability in OLE has been exploited by cybercriminals, however most previous OLE vulnerabilities have been limited to specific older versions of the Windows operating system. What makes this vulnerability dangerous is that it affects the latest fully patched versions of Windows.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

DHS Investigates 24 Potentially Lethal IoT Medical Devices

Slashdot - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 9:39am
An anonymous reader writes: In the wake of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's recent recommendations to strengthen security on net-connected medical devices, the Department of Homeland Security is launching an investigation into 24 cases of potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities in hospital equipment and personal medical devices. Independent security researcher Billy Rios submitted proof-of-concept evidence to the FDA indicating that it would be possible for a hacker to force infusion pumps to fatally overdose a patient. Though the complete range of devices under investigation has not been disclosed, it is reported that one of them is an "implantable heart device." William Maisel, chief scientist at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said, "The conventional wisdom in the past was that products only had to be protected from unintentional threats. Now they also have to be protected from intentional threats too."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Re-imagining a Megalopolis

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 9:25am

Untangling a knot of urban problems in the worlds sixth largest city.

The post Re-imagining a Megalopolis appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

OpenStack Gets A $100M Vote Of Confidence—But Amazon Is Waiting

ReadWriteWeb - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 9:23am

Only one open-source company that's so far managed to break $1 billion in annual revenue. But that's not stopping venture capitalists from spreading billions around in the hopes of helping create the next Red Hat.

See also: The Open-Source Cloud Takes A Step Toward Simplicity

Too bad Amazon Web Services (AWS) is out there waiting for them. 

Let The Venture Money Flow!

Over the past two years, the sums pouring into open-source enterprise software companies have been remarkable. Last year MongoDB (full disclosure: my employer) raised $150 million at a reported $1.2 billion valuation, while NoSQL peer DataStax took in another $106 million, valuing the company at $830 million.

Meanwhile in Hadoop Land, investors handed Hortonworks $100 million at a reported $1 billion valuation, after which Cloudera pulled in a monster $900 million round, most of it from Intel, at a nosebleed valuation reported to be around $4.1 billion. 

See also: Red Hat May Be Stacking The Deck Against Its OpenStack Rivals

And we're not done yet. On Tuesday, Mirantis—which offers software and support for OpenStack, a collection of open-source tools companies can use to build their own clouds—raised $100 million from a variety of investors including Intel Capital and Ericsson. Nobody disclosed a valuation.

This kind of Oprah money has fewer companies to flow into these days. Many standalone OpenStack and open-source cloud startups have already been gobbled up by large vendors, mostly for nominal sums. Oracle scooped up Nimbulus last year. HP recently bought Eucalytpus, EMC acquired Cloudscaling and Cisco bought Metacloud.

That leaves Mirantis standing in an industry with some very big players as competitors, in a market that seems to be Amazon's to lose. 

Mirantis, of course, is not the only open source company competing with Amazon. In a world increasingly gone cloud, every software vendor, open source or otherwise, competes with AWS.

Amazon: The New Microsoft?

There must be something in the water around Seattle, as the area keeps breeding hegemons. Microsoft dominated desktop and data center computing for decades. Now it's Amazon's turn.

Amazon Web Services is perhaps the fastest-growing software business in history, ramping to $1 billion and beyond at a torrid pace, as Pacific Crest Securities estimates:

Now that Amazon CTO Werner Vogels has made it clear that Amazon is in the "enterprise pain management" business, and won't be content to merely provide infrastructure services, no area of software is safe from AWS' deflationary grasp. Yet hard as it may be to compete against AWS with a proprietary licensing model, in some ways it's harder with an open source model. 

Just ask MySQL, once a burgeoning developer of the popular open-source database of the same name.

At the time of its $1 billion acquisition by Sun in 2008, MySQL was doing roughly $100 million in sales. That's not bad, but it pales in comparison to how much AWS was making on that same MySQL code, both in terms of RDS and MySQL-related EC2 revenue

While there are no official numbers from AWS on its cloud business, I've heard from inside sources that AWS made several hundred million in revenue at the time of the MySQL acquisition, and I would venture that its RDS + MySQL-related EC2 revenue is now approaching the $1 billion mark.

It's not just MySQL, of course. Amazon is also the world's largest Linux vendor, the largest Hadoop vendor and so on. Importantly, AWS has done what no open source company has ever managed to do: make money off all otherwise free open-source software. By turning open source software into managed services, AWS can turn any open-source code into cash.

A Quixotic Mirantis CounterattackAdrian Ionel

Now Mirantis and its investors hope to stem that tide. The good news is that Amazon has no interest (so far) in selling OpenStack private cloud services. 

That's also the bad news.

When I talked to Mirantis CEO Adrian Ionel about why VCs would pour money into an AWS competitor, he didn't hold back:

We have seen strong customer traction and out-sized business results, and we are working with some of the best brands in the world, including Home Depot, Wells Fargo, and PayPal. Earlier this year, we closed the largest OpenStack deal in history with Ericsson (more than $30 million in software licensing revenues over five years). We are becoming known as a the breakaway independent OpenStack leader, and it’s exciting to see the momentum build.

That may be true, but it's not yet clear that Mirantis and its 450 engineers have much chance against AWS. Ionel is quick to point out that Mirantis can hold its own against other OpenStack contenders like VMware, HP, Oracle, Red Hat and possibly Cisco-via-Metacloud: "We already have the largest OpenStack customer base of any vendor, and dominate Web/SaaS, service provider, and enterprise markets." 

He further notes, "Customers routinely tell us that they chose Mirantis because there was no proprietary agenda, which means so that they can avoid the lock-in of traditional IT." But those same customers are actively embracing AWS, with GE the latest poster child.

Fighting The AWS Beast

In fact, as I've argued before, OpenStack's best chance at relevance is likely Red Hat, which has the broad open source portfolio to make it a potential contender against Amazon's array of services. Ionel disagrees, saying that "The 'benevolent dictator' model may be past its prime," and that "Other models can be more powerful, like an open, market-driven meritocracy combined with deep user engagement in R&D."

This still doesn't answer the AWS threat. To that Ionel retorted, 

OpenStack lets them fine-tune their cloud to their needs. By contrast, AWS is a much simpler "one-size-fits-all" platform which standardizes everything to the lowest possible denominator for its customers. Although this makes sense for some enterprises and workloads, it cannot make sense for all of them.

Maybe, maybe not. But I seriously doubt most enterprises today are concerned with the "one-size-fits-all" epithet and instead view it as a convenient way to get to the cloud fast. Until OpenStack can deliver a deep cloud experience as easily as AWS does, $100 million isn't nearly enough.

Lead photo by kayugee

Categories: Technology

Startup Aims to Remake Computer Security for the Cloud Age

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 9:00am

Steve Herrod was there for the rise of Nicira, the Silicon Valley startup that reinvented the way we build computer networks and then sold itself to tech giant VMware for $1.26 billion. He was VMware’s chief technology officer at the time, one of the driving forces behind this massive deal, and after leaving VMware for […]

The post Startup Aims to Remake Computer Security for the Cloud Age appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Hungary To Tax Internet Traffic

Slashdot - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 8:57am
An anonymous reader writes: The Hungarian government has announced a new tax on internet traffic: 150 HUF ($0.62 USD) per gigabyte. In Hungary, a monthly internet subscription costs around 4,000-10,000 HUF ($17-$41), so it could really put a constraint on different service providers, especially for streaming media. This kind of tax could set back the country's technological development by some 20 years — to the pre-internet age. As a side note, the Hungarian government's budget is running at a serious deficit. The internet tax is officially expected to bring in about 20 billion HUF in income, though a quick look at the BIX (Budapest Internet Exchange) and a bit of math suggests a better estimate of the income would probably be an order of magnitude higher.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Goodbye, Nokia Lumia—Hello, Microsoft Lumia

ReadWriteWeb - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 8:00am
Two future Microsoft Lumia users

Nokia's outposts around the world are letting the cell-phone brand's fans know that they're saying goodbye: Microsoft is changing the name of Nokia's smartphone business, which it bought last year, to Microsoft Lumia.

Nokia France and Nokia UK will be among the first to usher in the new name, according to posts on the business's country-specific Facebook pages, followed by other countries over the coming weeks. (The Verge was the first to report on the coming changes.) 

Cutting Off The Roots

With this, Microsoft officially sheds one of the last few vestiges of the old business from its acquired line of smartphones. It seems sudden: The Nokia name was emblazoned right on the front of the Nokia Lumia 730 and 830, unveiled just last month. But the writing has long been on the wall. 

The Redmond, Wash.-based corporation, which bought the Finnish company’s devices and services division last spring for $7.2 billion, renamed it Microsoft Mobile and laid off more than 12,000 employees. Nokia’s mobile site also started redirecting visitors over to Microsoft Mobile’s new site last month, right around the time when a leaked internal document indicated that Microsoft was preparing to drop the Nokia name.

Nokia still exists—the remaining business, which consists of a digital mapping unit, telecom infrastructure, and intellectual-property licensing, will keep the Nokia name after Microsoft finishes excising it from the devices business.

Microsoft didn't have to dump "Nokia" this quickly. The original acquisition deal allowed the company to continue using both the "Nokia" and "Lumia" brand names for several years.

But the company likely wants to clean up its smartphone branding. With Nokia continuing to operate as a separate company, removing the name from Microsoft’s phone business heads off confusion.

It may seem brutal, considering how Nokia was practically synonymous with cell phones for decades. But the changes come during the run-up to the holiday shopping season. 

That’s a key time period for any gadget company—particularly one trying to push Windows up from a distant No. 3 position in smartphone operating systems.

Photo courtesy of Nokia UK

Categories: Technology