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New iPad 3 Facing Smart Cover Problem: Why?

Apple' new iPad is a lot like iPad 2, except when it come to Smart Covers. Smart Covers, unveiled in 2011 along with iPad 2, are one of the coolest features of iPad.


This guide works 100% for Windows 7 and Windows 8 unlike most of the guides out there.

Nokia hits back at Google in latest patent war tussle

HELSINKI | Fri Jun 1, 2012 7:05am EDT
(Reuters) - Nokia struck back at Google on Friday over its accusation that the cellphone maker was colluding with Microsoft to make money out of their patents.

Facebook's website goes down temporarily

Fri Jun 1, 2012 3:24am EDT
(Reuters) - Facebook's website suffered sporadic outages on Thursday, anywhere from half an hour to two hours according to various blogs, tweets and affected users, but the company said the problem has been fixed.

Google accuses Microsoft, Nokia of mobile collusion

Thu May 31, 2012 10:51pm EDT
(Reuters) - Google Inc accused Microsoft Corp and Nokia of conspiring to use their patents against smartphone industry rivals, and said it has filed a formal complaint with the European Commission.

Analysis: Nasdaq plays tough with clients angry over Facebook

By John McCrank
NEW YORK | Fri Jun 1, 2012 12:05am EDT
(Reuters) - It's crisis communications 101 for Corporate America: when a company bungles an event as big as the Facebook IPO, alienates customers, and spawns lawsuits and regulatory inquiries, the CEO apologizes and agrees to provide compensation to make things right. Everyone can then move on.

French court backs Google in TV piracy case

PARIS | Tue May 29, 2012 12:59pm EDT
(Reuters) - A French court ruled that Google is not responsible for filtering content on YouTube, dealing a blow to French broadcaster TF1 which sought damages for copyrighted sports and movies which ended up on the video-sharing website.

Opera seen a Facebook fit but no "For Sale" sign

By Joachim Dagenborg and Balazs Koranyi
OSLO | Tue May 29, 2012 2:01pm EDT
(Reuters) - Facebook is under pressure to make money from the increasing number of users who access the social networking site from mobiles, making Norway's Opera a good fit for it, bankers familiar with the technology industry said.

Samsung Galaxy S3 gets head start on rival iPhone

By Miyoung Kim and Paul Sandle
SEOUL/LONDON | Tue May 29, 2012 3:12pm EDT
(Reuters) - Samsung Electronics launched its top-of-the-range Galaxy S3 smartphone in Europe on Tuesday, aiming to outsell its previous model that helped the South Korean company topple Apple as the world's largest smartphone maker.

HTC says phones pass U.S. customs review

TAIPEI | Tue May 29, 2012 8:56pm EDT
(Reuters) - Smartphone maker HTC (2498.TW) said on Wednesday its latest smartphones have passed a U.S. customs review, clearing the way for it to ramp up sales in the United States as it looks to turn around a decline in what was once its largest market.

Samsung launches Galaxy S3 to cement smartphone supremacy

By Miyoung Kim
SEOUL | Mon May 28, 2012 10:51pm EDT
(Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co launches its latest Galaxy S smartphone in Europe on Tuesday, with the third generation model expected to be even more successful than its predecessor, which helped the South Korean company topple Apple Inc as the world's top smartphone maker.

The S3, which tracks the user's eye movements to keep the screen from dimming or turning off while in use, hits stores in 28 European and Middle East countries, including Germany and Britain, as Samsung aims to widen the gap with Apple months ahead of its rival's new iPhone, expected in the third quarter.

Analysis: Falling prices to kill off half of Chinese LED chipmakers

By Leonora Walet and Twinnie Siu
HONG KONG | Sun May 27, 2012 5:34pm EDT
(Reuters) - In China, surplus capacity and sliding prices are sounding the death knell for half of the companies making light emitting diode (LED) chips used in Samsung television panels and Sharp computer monitors, with only the large, state-backed players likely to pull through.

Sluggish global sales of TVs and computers may further cut LED chip prices by 20 percent this year, and consolidation or closure are the only options for China's smaller LED players, analysts say.

Powerful "Flame" cyber weapon found in Iran

By Jim Finkle
BOSTON | Mon May 28, 2012 6:17pm EDT
(Reuters) - Security experts said on Monday a highly sophisticated computer virus is infecting computers in Iran and other Middle East countries and may have been deployed at least five years ago to engage in state-sponsored cyber espionage.

Evidence suggest that the virus, dubbed Flame, may have been built on behalf of the same nation or nations that commissioned the Stuxnet worm that attacked Iran's nuclear program in 2010, according to Kaspersky Lab, the Russian cyber security software maker that took credit for discovering the infections.

Kaspersky researchers said they have yet to determine whether Flame had a specific mission like Stuxnet, and declined to say who they think built it.

Iran has accused the United States and Israel of deploying Stuxnet.

Sony sees return to profit, aims to halve TV losses

(Reuters) - Sony Corp predicted a return to profit this year as it looks to halve the losses in its TV business that pushed the Japanese consumer electronics giant to a record loss of $5.74 billion in the year just ended.
Sony shares, valued at around $15 billion or just 3 percent of rival Apple Inc, this week slipped to a quarter century low, a sign of how the Walkman and PlayStation maker has lost its innovative edge and fallen behind Apple and Samsung Electronics.

Obama gets custom-made New Balance running shoes

President Barack Obama is well known as a basketball fanatic, but he might feel more like going for a jog after receiving a custom-made pair of New Balance running shows, embroidered with the words “President” and “Obama,” on them Friday night in Maine.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, or free sneakers, however. Obama will also get a nudge from a Maine lawmaker to require that the Department of Defense outfit service members with domestically-produced athletic shoes.

Verizon plans wireless video service: WSJ

(Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc is aiming to offer an integrated video service for its wireless customers, its FiOS customers and its cable partners as soon as this holiday season, according to a Wall Street Journal report citing the telephone company's chief executive.

"Technically, I think we could have something out that would be the beginnings of an integrated offering in time for the holidays," said CEO Lowell McAdam, according to the Journal.

Amazon Kindle store buy buttons vanish for hours

(Reuters) - Maybe Lord Voldemort put a spell on Amazon.Com Inc on Tuesday.

On the same day that Amazon started selling Harry Potter e-books in a landmark deal, buy buttons on the company's dominant Kindle e-book store disappeared for several hours.

Angry Birds maker buys Finnish gaming studio

(Reuters) - Angry Birds maker Rovio said on Tuesday it had bought Futuremark Games Studio, the gaming arm of Finnish benchmarking software firm Futuremark, for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition of the studio - known for its space-games Unstoppable Gorg and Shattered Horizon - comes a week after Rovio launched its latest Angry Birds Space game.

Its new game was downloaded more than 10 million times within first three days, topping the sales charts on Apple platforms in 104 countries.

Apple, Sony, 4 others sued by Graphics Properties

(Reuters) - Apple Inc, Sony Corp and four other companies were sued by Graphics Properties Holdings Inc, formerly known as Silicon Graphics Inc, for allegedly infringing a patent through their sale of mobile phones and other electronic devices.

The lawsuits against Apple, Japan-based Sony, Taiwan-based HTC Corp, South Korea-based LG Electronics Inc and Samsung Electronics Co were filed in the U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Delaware.

The patent at issue relates to a computer graphics process that turns text and images into pixels to be displayed on screens.

Most of world interconnected through email, social media

(Reuters) - Most of the world is interconnected thanks to email and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, according to a new poll released on Tuesday.

Eighty five percent of people around the globe who are connected online send and receive emails and 62 percent communicate through social networking sites, particularly in Indonesia, Argentina and Russia, which have the highest percentage of users.

Twitter coverage of court gets struck down

(Reuters) - A lawyer discovered how far the U.S. Supreme Court will go to close itself off from the public when it hears a case, no matter how many people on Twitter may be interested.

Casey Mattox went to the court on Tuesday to see historic arguments over whether to strike down the Obama administration's healthcare law.

His plan was to give live updates and the idea appeared to work as descriptions from the arguments showed up on the Twitter feed of the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative legal group where Mattox is a senior counsel.

EBay blocks sale of sorbitol after death in Italy

(Reuters) - Online auction company EBay Inc said on Monday it had blocked global sales of sorbitol following the death of a medical patient in Italy who consumed a sample of the sugar substitute which had been bought on the Internet.
Teresa Sunna, 28, took the additive as part of a food intolerance test in a private clinic in the southern Italian town of Barletta. Two other patients who underwent the same test are recovering in hospital.
Italian authorities have launched an investigation and police in the northern town of Padua seized 1,000 tonnes of sorbitol from local businesses over the weekend.
The Italian Health Ministry released a statement on Sunday advising anyone who had purchased sorbitol on eBay to not use it and to contact the police.
EBay said it was "saddened" by Sunna's death in a statement and said it was cooperating with authorities.
Sorbitol is used to sweeten products such as cakes, ice cream and diet foods and is widely available to buy legally online. EBay, which previously carried sorbitol along with many other chemical products, said it was blocking sales as a precautionary measure until the cause of death was clarified.
(This story corrects spelling of "Health Ministry" in fourth paragraph)
(Reporting by Catherine Hornby; Editing by David Holmes)

Windows Phone struggles to break catch-22 as app makers hold off

Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:22am EDT

(Reuters) - Apps, apps, apps! That is the main challenge that Microsoft and Nokia, who are trying to claw back market share from Apple Inc's iPhone and Google's Android in the red hot smartphone market, face now.

And so far the going does not look too good for the challengers and their warhorse Windows Phone platform.

YouTube adds one-click video editing for busy videographers

by Don Reisinger 

YouTube has launched a new feature to help those of us who don't have the time to edit videos before we pop them onto the Web.Upon uploading a video to YouTube, users will find a notification bar that will ask them if they want to allow the video site to auto-correct their clip. If the user chooses to fix the video, YouTube will automatically tweak the video's color and shakiness.

"Sometimes videos suffer from symptoms like 'shaky-camera-itis' or 'augmented darkness levels' that keep viewers from seeing just how awesome your video really is,"YouTube software engineer John Gregg wrote yesterday in a blog post. "We made a big step last year with the YouTube Video Editor, and now we're adding a feature that does the work of curing these symptoms for you."

YouTube last year released a built-in video editor designed to help users touch up clips they upload to the site. The editor is by no means a powerful tool, but it can handle some basic tasks, like fixing color or stabilizing a shaky recording. The tool's big draw is its built-in effects, giving people the chance to turn their clips into black-and-white or modify the video to appear as though it was recorded with an old camera.
YouTube's auto-correction feature is rolling out now. The company says it plans to address more "symptoms" in future updates.

Here's a video from YouTube detailing how the new feature works:

Apple making progress on work hours, but 'can do better'

by Don Reisinger
March 25, 2012

Company says number of employees in supplier factories who work "excessive" hours is dropping.

Apple says it's making progress on working conditions in supplier facilities. The company recently issued its monthly report on "excessive work hours" in supplier factories around the world, saying that 89 percent of workers were in compliance with a 60-hour work week. In January, 84 percent of the employed workers were found to be in compliance. According to Apple, the typical factory worker was on the job for 48 hours each week in February. "That's a substantial improvement over previous results, but we can do better," the company wrote on its Supplier Responsibility page. "We will continue to share our progress by reporting this data on a monthly basis."

Twitter Turns 6: What Next?

March 25, 2012

First Sketch by Jack about new communication tool
Last Wednesday, March 21, Twitter celebrated its sixth anniversary. A company announcement on its blog reports more than 140 million active users who send roughly 340 million tweets each day. Just two months ago, in January, Twitter said 250 million tweets are being sent out every day, which means a whopping increase of 36 percent in such a short time.

"Without you, of course, there wouldn't be a Twitter," reads the company's blog post. "We mark our sixth birthday with you in mind, and celebrate your myriad ways of engaging, enjoying, and emoting on our platform."

Another iThing, Another iTempest

By Paul Hartsock
With the new iPad, Apple has yet another hit product on its hands. However, some owners complain that their devices grow incredibly hot during operation. Does this spell big trouble for Apple's latest iThing, or will it blow over like Antennagate and the iPhone 4S battery blues? Meanwhile, AAPL investors score a win, "Mass Effect 3" gamers call the ending a dud, and Nokia wants to tattoo you.

The debut of the latest iPad was once again an orgy of revenue for Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL). The company claims 3 million were sold in the opening weekend, and that certainly does sound like a lot.

How Real People Will Use Windows 8

Uploaded by lockergnome last March 7, 2012
This video shows how real people will use the new operating system of Microsoft, the Windows 8. What can you say? Please comment.

Facebook, lawmakers warn employers not to demand passwords

SAN FRANCISCO | Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:06pm EDT
(Reuters) - Facebook and lawmakers have warned employers against requesting Facebook passwords while screening job applicants, a controversial practice that underscores the blurring distinction between personal and professional lives the era of social media.
The practice has reportedly grown more commonplace as companies increasingly regard profiles - or embarrassing photos from wild nights out - as windows into a prospective employee's character.

Insight: Samsung: "fast executioner" seeks killer design

SEOUL | Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:57am EDT

(Reuters) - When Samsung Electronics rushed its first smartphone to market in a panicky response to the smash-hit debut of the Apple iPhone, some customers burned the product on the streets or hammered it to bits in public displays of disaffection.

Complaints ranged from dropped calls and a clunky touchscreen to frequent auto rebooting and a dearth of applications.

"It was just awful," said Kim Sang-uk, 27, who bought the Omnia in late-2009 just before starting his first job. "I just wanted to throw it away, but couldn't because I was on a 2-year contract. It was the kind of phone where you'd say 'no', even if someone gave it to you for free."

Angry Birds Space review: A fresh new fling

by Rick Broida  

Have you grown bored with the Birds? Me, too. But Angry Birds Space is outta this world, both literally and figuratively.

I'll be honest: I haven't flung a bird at a pig in months.
When Angry Birds first flew on the scene (way back in 2009!), I couldn't get enough. But as with most things, the novelty soon wore off. Even Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio were just variations on the same theme, and I eventually stopped paying attention--even when Rovio pushed out new levels.
So when the developer announced Angry Birds Space last month, I had to wonder: would pigs in space rekindle my love affair with slingshots and ornithology?

With Linux merge, expect Android flowers to bloom

by Stephen Shankland March 22, 2012 8:16 AM PDT

Developers outside Google who want to build on the mobile OS's foundation should be able to stretch out and blossom. That should pay dividends for building a better Android. 

Ordinary folks may not notice much right away from the fact that Google's Android programmers are bringing their work back into the Linux kernel fold.

But it's an entirely different situation for a smaller but important group: the programmers who like to experiment with Google's open-source mobile operating system.
So predicts Tim Bird, the Sony programmer who's centrally involved in the merge of Google's Android Linux work with the "mainline" Linux kernel project. That cooperation took a big step Sunday when Linux leader Linus Torvalds released version 3.3 of the heart of Linux with some fruits of the cooperation.

BlackBerry maker seeks Apple-focused app developer

TORONTO | Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:56pm EDT

(Reuters) - BlackBerry maker Research In Motion wants to hire a software developer with deep experience building applications for Apple's iPhone and iPad, according to a job posting on its LinkedIn page.

The posting suggests the company, struggling to maintain its share of the smartphone market and secure a foothold in tablets, may be interested in adapting some of its proprietary applications for use on Apple's iOS operating system.

Tech aficionados have long speculated that RIM could make its popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) instant messaging service available on rival platforms including Android and Apple. That would create a fresh revenue stream for RIM but would give the BlackBerry faithful one less reason to stay loyal.

Facebook buys 750 patents from IBM: source

By Dan Levine and Alexei Oreskovic
SAN FRANCISCO | Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:18pm EDT

(Reuters) - Facebook has acquired hundreds of patents from International Business Machines Corp as the social networking company attempts to bolster its intellectual property portfolio in the wake of a lawsuit filed by Yahoo.

The 750 patents from IBM cover a broad range of technology, ranging from search to semiconductors, according to a person familiar with the matter. A Facebook spokeswoman said the company had no comment, and an IBM representative could not immediately be reached.

Nokia finalizes 1,000 job cuts in Finland

HELSINKI | Thu Mar 22, 2012 8:10am EDT

(Reuters) - Nokia (NOK1V.HE) finished on Thursday job cut talks with the staff at its plant in Salo, Finland, resulting in planned lay-offs of up to 1,000 people.

The jobs at the last large cellphone manufacturing plant in Western Europe will be cut gradually through 2012, with most cuts happening by the end of June, the company said.

The remaining staff at the plant will focus on tailoring models for European operators.

Nokia is in the midst of a massive revamp of operations under its new Chief executive Stephen Elop, and it has closed plants and cut thousands of jobs globally since last year.

(Reporting by Tarmo Virki)

Apple's new iPhone will use bigger 4.6-inch display: report

SEOUL | Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:57pm EDT
(Reuters) - Apple Inc's new iPhone will have a sharper and bigger 4.6-inch "retina" display and is set to be launched around the second quarter, a South Korean media reported on Thursday.
Sales of the iPhone, first introduced in 2007 with the touch screen template now adopted by its rivals, account for around half Apple's total sales.
Apple has decided on the bigger 4.6-inch display for its next iPhone and started placing orders to its suppliers, the Maeil Business Newspaper said, quoting an unnamed industry source.
Its major display suppliers LG Display and Samsung Electronics Co declined to comment.
Samsung, which is also the biggest challenger to Apple in smartphones, uses 4.6-inch OLED display for its flagship Galaxy S II smartphone, introduced in April last year.
The high-definition "retina" display--containing several times as many pixels within the same area-- is used in the latest iPad released earlier this month.
The latest iPhone 4S was introduced in October last year.
(Reporting by Miyoung Kim; Editing by Michael Perry)

Chrome wins weekend browser battle with IE: report

HELSINKI | Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:21am EDT
(Reuters) - Google Inc's Chrome web browser overtook Microsoft Corp's Internet Explorer (IE) to become market leader globally for the first time last Sunday, web analytics firm StatCounter said on Wednesday.
"While it is only one day, this is a milestone," said Aodhan Cullen, StatCounter's chief executive.
"At weekends, when people are free to choose what browser to use, many of them are selecting Chrome in preference to IE."
On March 18, Chrome was used for 32.7 percent of all browsing, while Explorer had 32.5 percent share. When people returned to their offices on Monday, the IE share rose to 35 percent and Chrome's share slipped to 30 percent.
"Whether Chrome can take the lead in the browser wars in the long term remains to be seen, however the trend towards Chrome usage at weekends is undeniable," Cullen said.
On a monthly basis, Chrome's market share has surged to 31 percent so far in March from 17 percent a year ago, while Explorer has slipped to 35 percent from 45 percent a year earlier.
The market share of Firefox -- which is popular in Europe -- is globally around 25 percent.
Apple Inc's Safari is a distant number four with a 7 percent share of all browsing, with Opera at number five on 2 percent.
StatCounter statistics are based on aggregate data from more than 3 million websites with a sample of more than 15 billion page views per month.
(Editing by David Cowell)

HP to merge printer, PC businesses

Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:31am EDT
MARCH 21 - Hewlett Packard Co said it was merging its printer and PC business in a major reorganization to save costs and boost growth.
The unit will be headed by HP PC chief Todd Bradley, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
Reuters had reported on the plans on Tuesday.
"Ensuring we have the right organizational structure in place is a critical first step in driving improved execution, and increasing effectiveness and efficiency," Chief Executive Meg Whitman said.
"The result will be a faster, more streamlined, performance-driven HP that is customer focused and poised to capitalize on rapidly shifting industry trends," she added.
The company is also planning to unify other functions such as marketing across the business to promote a stronger brand and improve efficiency.
HP, the largest U.S. technology company by revenue, is struggling to keep its core personal computing business in the black as mobile devices from tablets to smartphones eat into sales. The company is trying to reinvent itself as a major enterprise computing provider.
The decades-old corporation, often mentioned in accounts of the founding of Silicon Valley, has been through its share of turmoil in past years.
HP considered for months last year a proposal to sell or spin off its PC arm, known as the personal systems group. That emerged as the company announced it would get out of the business of making tablets with the failure of its TouchPad.
But after Whitman's predecessor and former CEO Leo Apotheker was ousted in September for failing to revive a moribund stock, the company abandoned the idea and deemed personal computers core to its overall strategy.
HP's moves evoked a mixed response from analysts. While they felt Whitman was moving at an impressive speed to fix issues at the company and jumpstart growth, the advantages of the integration were unclear.
"It's too early to tell what this is going to do," Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu said. "The risk I think is that both (divisions) have very different business models."
(Reporting by Nicola Leske and Poornima Gupta; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Mark Porter)

Olympus foreign shareholders renew call for "independent" chairman

TOKYO | Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:35am EDT

(Reuters) - A group of foreign shareholders in scandal-hit Olympus Corp, including Southeastern Asset Management and Indus Capital, on Wednesday blasted the company's choice of chairman and renewed their call for someone more independent.

The statement came after Olympus last month nominated a former banker from Olympus' main lender Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp as chairman, raising ire among foreign shareholders who want a board free from the influence of the company's creditors.

"The proposed Chairman's and certain other proposed board members' close connection with Olympus' main banks gives rise to a potential conflict of interest," the shareholders said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Chris Gallagher; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

Apple's iPad throws off much more heat: tests

By Poornima Gupta and Edwin Chan
SAN FRANCISCO | Tue Mar 20, 2012 4:31pm EDT

(Reuters) - Apple Inc's new iPad throws off a lot more heat than the previous version, lending weight to complaints on Internet forums that the hot-selling tablet computer could get uncomfortably warm after heavy use, an influential consumer watchdog found after running tests.

Consumer Reports, a widely followed group that reviews everything from electronics to cars, found that Apple's new tablet racked up temperatures of 116 degrees Fahrenheit (47 Celsius) after 45 minutes of running an intense action game, up to 13 degrees F hotter than the previous model under similar conditions.

Using a thermal imaging camera, it ascertained that the front and rear of the tablet could run 12 to 13 degrees F hotter than the iPad 2 after running Infinity Blade II, depending on whether it was plugged in, Consumer Reports said.

The group, which can be instrumental in the success or failure of consumer products, has not reached a final decision on whether to recommend the latest model of Apple's tablet. A spokesman urged caution on the part of consumers but added the heat issue in itself did not appear serious enough to void its recommendation.

Consumer Reports plans to release a final review on the new iPad - which has sold more than 3 million units since it hit store shelves in more than 10 countries on Friday - in about five days.

"During our tests, I held the new iPad in my hands. When it was at its hottest, it felt very warm but not especially uncomfortable if held for a brief period," reviewer Donna Tapellini said in the report.

The third iteration of the iPad, which hit markets in 2010, set a record for first-weekend sales when it launched Friday.

Hundreds of comments posted on an Apple support website, here#17879177, centered on how the new iPad -- which sports a larger battery than its predecessor to power a sharper "retina" display screen and other bells and whistles -- could get uncomfortably warm.

"My new iPad ... definitely got significantly warm, almost too warm to hold warm, when running on LTE," rawwave commented on Friday. "Not even doing a lot of downloads (just browsing Twitter) but having the LTE radio on seemed to cause it to get noticeably hot."


An Apple spokeswoman said the iPad was "within our thermal specifications." The company's website lists the normal operating range for the new iPad as between 32 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit, or 0 to 35 degrees Celsius. It is designed to power down should that range be breached.

The company's shares were up 0.8 percent at above $605 in afternoon trade.

The new iPad's battery is 70 percent bigger than the one in the previous version, said Kyle Wiens, chief executive of iFixit, a prominent Apple repair and parts supplier.

"It still has the same battery life," he said. "So it will run hotter."

The iPad 2 had a 25 watt-hour battery while the new iPad's battery has a capacity of 42.5 watt-hours, according to a tear-down analysis by iFixit.

Reviews have generally been good for a gadget that experts say falls short of being revolutionary, focusing on the iPad's ability to take advantage of faster 4G wireless technology as well as a sharper display.

On Friday, before comments about excessive heat began circulating online, Consumer Reports said in its preliminary review that the iPad was "shaping up as the best tablet yet."

(Reporting by Edwin Chan and Poornima Gupta; Editing by Andre Grenon, Gerald E. McCormick and Tim Dobbyn)

Adobe revenue slows ahead of upgrades, shares fall

BOSTON | Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:05pm EDT
(Reuters) - Adobe Systems Inc, maker of Photoshop and Acrobat software, said revenue growth slowed as sales of its widely used Creative Suite software fell, missing its forecasts, ahead of widely anticipated product launches this quarter.

Revenue rose 1.7 percent to $1.045 billion in its fiscal first quarter ended March 2, slightly below the $1.054 billion average forecast of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales at the digital media unit, which produces Adobe's widely used Creative Suite, fell 4 percent from a year earlier to $730 million. Creative Suite includes popular design titles Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Flash and Dreamweaver.

Chief Financial Officer Mark Garrett said on a conference call that Creative Suite revenue lagged the company's expectations because customers are waiting to buy two new versions set to be introduced at the end of the current quarter: Creative Suite 6 and a Web-based version of the suite that will be sold via subscription.

Analysts are increasingly concerned the Web-based subscription service, known as Creative Cloud, will hurt Adobe's financial growth over at least the short term.

"I think there are going to be some surprises along the way. These things tend to take longer and be tougher than managements expect," said JMP Securities Analyst Pat Walravens.

Adobe's sales typically surge after a Creative Suite upgrade, but analysts have said the revenue upswing might be smaller than in the past because customers who switch to the new service will not buy their software up front. Instead they will enter into subscription agreements to rent the software, making much lower initial payments. They will get extra features such as document storage at Adobe data centers and frequent updates.

Global equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry said it could take several quarters for revenue and profit growth to return to normal after the launch of the new products.

"I think the stock goes sideways for another couple of quarters," he said.

Company executives said during an analyst conference call they intend to promote the subscription service as the superior offering. They said it could take a while to persuade a significant percentage of its corporate customers to move to the new service, but did not specify just how long that might be.

"People are going to want to see the product; understand what we can offer," Garrett said in response to one of several questions about the new service during the analyst call. "It's going to take a little bit of time."

The software maker also reported a first-quarter profit, excluding one-time items, of 57 cents per share, matching the average analyst forecast.

Adobe expects to post second-quarter revenue of $1.090 billion to $1.140 billion, compared with the average analyst forecast of $1.1 billion.

It forecast second-quarter profit, excluding items, of 57 to 61 cents per share, compared with the Street view of 60 cents.

Adobe shares closed at $34.51 on Nasdaq and fell 4.5 percent to $32.96 in extended trading.

(Reporting By Jim Finkle; editing by Richard Chang and Andre Grenon)

Foxconn not off hook after radio retraction, critics say

TAIPEI | Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:18pm EDT

(Reuters) - Foxconn Technology Group, the top maker of Apple Inc's iPhones and iPads, is not off the hook after a U.S. radio show retracted a program critical of working conditions at one of its Chinese factories.

The Hong-Kong based China Labor Bulletin said Foxconn still employed harsh working conditions, while a fund manager with shares in Foxconn's parent said investors were watching how the company treats workers.

"The retraction has somewhat cleared Foxconn's name, but not all the way. The press and stock investors will continue to watch how Foxconn treats its workers going forward," said Simon Liu, fund manager and deputy investment officer at Polaris Financial Group's fund unit in Taipei. The unit owns share's in Foxconn's parent company, Hon Hai Precision.

"Obviously, Apple is starting to take serious step asking Foxconn to properly treats its China workers," Liu said.

The radio program "This American Life" last week retracted the episode, saying it had contained "numerous fabrications".

Foxconn said on Monday it had no plans to take legal action although the program had hurt its reputation.

"Our corporate image has been totally ruined. The point is whatever media that cited the program should not have reported it without confirming (with us)," said Simon Hsing, Foxconn's spokesman.

"We have no plans to take legal action... We hope nothing similar will happen again."

Rights groups have criticized Foxconn for several years for what they describe as harsh working conditions.

Working practices at Foxconn's huge plants in China, which combined employ a million people, came under intense scrutiny in 2010 after a series of suicides among young workers. Last June three workers died in an explosion at a Foxconn plant in Chengdu, western China.

Geoffrey Crothall, a spokesman for workers' rights group China Labour Bulletin, said workers at Foxconn were still subject to a list of poor working conditions, including long working hours, strict management that sometimes borders on abusive practice, and unsafe work practices in some factories.

"All those things are very much in place. I don't think there's been any alleviation (of these problems) in the past few months. I don't think Foxconn's done anything, really," Crothall said.

The retracted episode, broadcast on January 6, was based heavily on a one-man theatrical show by actor Mike Daisey: "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs."

Daisey's play and its attendant publicity, including the radio segment, played a big role in pressuring Apple to allow outside inspectors at its contract manufacturing facilities in China, mostly owned by Foxconn Technology.

The executive producer of "This American Life" said in a broadcast last week that most of the retracted program's content was true and corroborated by independent investigation.

The inaccuracies were linked to the actors' account of his trip to China. For example, Daisey said guards at a Foxconn factory had guns, but the program said only the military and police are permitted to carry guns in China.

Apple, criticized over working conditions at its chain of suppliers in China, said last week that a U.S. non-profit labor group had begun an "unprecedented" inspection of working conditions at its main contract manufacturers.

Last month the New York Times published an investigation into working practices at Apple supplier's plants in China that documented poor health and safety conditions and long working hours.

Hon Hai Precision fell 0.48 percent on Monday, slightly underperforming a 0.14 percent fall in the main Taiwan stock index.

(Additional reporting by Sisi Tang in Hong Kong; Reporting by Faith Hung; Editing by Neil Fullick)