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Tag Archives: South Korea
The Korea Communications Commission has determined that Apple violated South Korea’s information laws when its iPhones collected location data about their users without first obtaining permission from the Commission. So the regulator levied a fine of 3 million won, or $2,829. It has also instructed Apple to change its location tracking practices.
Aussies will have to do without Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 until the South Korean company resolves its latest patent dispute with Apple. The tablet infringes on ten Apple patents, the suit alleges. Samsung has suspended advertisements for its product as the suit pends. Apple has agreed to pay an undisclosed amount in damages should it be found that Samsung’s tablet does not infringe on its patents.
Apple and Samsung Electronics have pushed Nokia from the top of the smartphone sales rankings. According to sales figures released last week, Apple sold a record of 20.3 million iPhones last quarter, and analysts estimate that Samsung sold 19 million. South Korea-based Nokia’s sales slumped at 16.7 million phones.
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, hackers are becoming increasingly brazen and are widening the scope of their targets. While hackers once picked on companies that stored financial data or housed classified government information, they’re increasingly breaking into firms that don’t fit that profile. For instance, over the weekend “hactivists” posted a fake article on the web site for the PBS show “News Hour” in retaliation for a documentary called “WikiSecrets.”
Two decades ago, the A. Zahner Company was a regional metals manufacturer in Kansas City. Today, it’s the go-to manufacturer of impossibly-shaped metallic pieces for the world’s premier architects: Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, and Rem Koolhaas, among others. Bill Zahner, the company’s fourth-generation president, spoke with Inc.com about how the firm innovated its way from the Midwest to projects in South Korea and Qatar.
Credit cards are extremely low tech — they contain simple data to authenticate a transaction. Now, several players, including banks to mobile carriers to financial networks, are looking at a new transaction device: your smartphone. Indeed, financial institutions such as PayPal and MasterCard have issued some customers adhesive chips for their phones. The credit card information is stuck to the phone and can be used at any of the 200,000 contactless readers in stores around the nation. That’s the low-tech version. What’s really a hot topic now, though, is Near Field Communication (NFC), which allows two-way wireless communication between a chip inside a phone and a receiving terminal. This means that soon, if you have a phone that supports NFC, you’ll be able to not only pay for a purchase by waving your phone near a contactless reader, but you can also get instant loyalty points, coupons and rewards. While the idea is intriguing for consumers and merchants alike, the question is whether NFC will work for US merchants — and work well. “Technology is usually only one small component that leads to the success or failure of ventures like this,” said Charles Golvin, principal analyst with Forrester Research, explaining that the technical infrastructure, customer adoption, and low fees must all line up as well. Smarter smartphonesEven though countries like Japan and South Korea have been using mobile phones for payments for a while, paying with a smartphone is off to a slow start here, mostly for financial reasons. “It’s a business model problem,” said Omar Green, the director of strategic mobile initiatives at Intuit, a company highly interested in using NFC with its millions of small business customers, who explained that there is still uncertainty about how merchants will actually be charged to use mobile payments from smartphones. That said, several indicators point to 2011 being the year when mobile payments and NFC reaches a tipping point. First and foremost: Samsung now offers the Nexus S as the first NFC-enabled Android phone. Nokia says its smartphones will support NFC in 2011. Visa’s head of mobile Bill Gajda says the company has been holding pilots with four of its largest issuers. As part of that, all New York City taxis — a whopping 13,000 — now have a contactless readers in the backseat. Chicago and Boston taxis are also being outfitted with about 3,800 readers so far. In fact, transit is a no-brainer for mobile payments. Most people have their phone in hand all the time anyway so waving it past a reader to get through a turnstile seems beautifully efficient. Mobile commerce expert David Eads of Kony Solutions, writing in his blog, says the iPhone 5 is expected to support NFC when it comes out. In the blog post, he points out that, considering the trillions of dollars run through financial networks annually, Apple stands to increase revenue dramatically by getting involved in processing payments for things out in the real world. Conveniently, iTunes already has payment information for its 160 million customers. That’s a match made in Heaven for Apple. Most impressive, though, is an announcement from Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. In November, the companies announced that they’re working together with Discover to build a NFC contactless payment network called Isis for the cell phone companies’ 217 million customers. While holding hands with the competition might raise eyebrows, it’s actually a brilliant idea. According to Jaymee Johnson, the director of strategic development at T-Mobile who is also the Isis spokesperson, the joint venture has worked to provide a single unified platform to consumers, merchants, and banks that will streamline adoption of NFC. They realize that mobile payments using NFC aren’t going to work if the merchant is seeing a different interface for every customer that walks through the door, says Johnson. Intuit’s Green says they’re also trying to figure out how to deal with transaction fees. Once they are low enough, a smartphone will be an ideal transaction device. About those fees, Forrester’s Golvin said, “There is a going rate that is established for transaction fees on payment. I would be extremely surprised to see a merchant fee schedule for these payments that was radically different from what currently exists from the existing acquiring banks and payment networks.” Using a smartphone for transactions makes sense, especially for merchants who can capture new information about a customer, such as buying habits and preferences. According to Jeff Miles, the director of mobile transactions at NXP Semiconductors (www.nxp.com), the company that invented NFC with Sony in 2002, NFC tags in stores are another tool that will benefit merchants and their customers. ”Think of a small hardware store,” says Miles. “I walk in and I’m looking at a new drill and Bosch has a promotion, so they put a smart tag in the store. I tap the tag and it gives me some product information and potentially could give me a coupon.” Consumer concernsThere are concerns with using a phone to pay for goods. For example, some wonder: what if your phone is stolen? “[It would be] probably no worse than someone stealing a credit card and perhaps somewhat better because you can password protect a phone,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst with Enderle Group, adding that the Web service a consumer would be using with a NFC-enabled phone would likely contain financial information and it would not be on the phone itself. Whether people will be eager to adopt NFC is another question. “Consumers are used to using existing methods of payment and as a race we are not very fond of change,” Enderle said. Golvin agrees. “The engrained behavior that people have for paying is pretty deep and it takes a lot to change that,” he said. The coupons and loyalty rewards that would come along with NFC phone payments will help, he said. “Those things do make a big difference. If you can do all of that in the transaction, now you’ve given the customer a real incentive to change their behavior and use this alternate payment method.” Experts aren’t sure at what point the average consumer will be paying for things with a wave of a smartphone. Regardless of when, it stands to chance that while today our phones rule much of our lives, tomorrow they just might control our money as well.
Victoria Parham Virtual Support Services for serving as a mentor to military spouses Victoria Parham knows firsthand how tough it is to be a soldier’s wife. Her husband, Andre, served in the Army until last year. When he was deployed to South Korea in 1995, Parham was forced to move in with her mother and to sell her small resume-writing business. When she later started another company, Virtual Support Services, she designed it to be portable. If Andre received another distant commission, she would go with him. So would VSS, which provides administrative support to businesses through a network of independent contractors. The test came in 2000, when Andre was assigned to Anchorage, Alaska. On the cross-country drive, Victoria ran VSS from the back seat of the family SUV, juggling a cell phone, laptop, and portable printer. Over 22 days, 5 hours, and 30 minutes of travel, VSS never faltered. Today VSS’s revenue is in the six figures. Once Parham, now 36, settled in Alaska, she began volunteering as a mentor at the Service Corps of Retired Executives. She parlayed that into a gig with the Navy, teaching military spouses, by Web seminar, how to design businesses that can move with them from base to base. She has taught 400 people so far. For the armed services, says Ed Roscoe, a program manager for the Navy, “our return on investment is keeping highly qualified soldiers on active duty by stabilizing families.” And that’s just what Parham is doing. Patrick J. Sauer Martha Stewart, Martha Stewart Omnimedia because she took one for the team Richard Branson, Virgin Group because he’s game for anything. In fact, everything. Michael Dell, Dell Computer for being brilliantly straightforward Jim Sinegal, Costco because who knew a big-box chain could have a generous soul? Diane von Furstenberg, Diane von Furstenberg Studio for staging an elegant comeback Julie Azuma, Different Roads to Learning for offering hope and help to the parents of autistic children Fritz Maytag, Anchor Brewing for setting limits Ray Kurzweil, Kurzweil Technologies and other companies because he is Edison’s rightful heir Craig Newmark, Craigslist for putting the free in free markets Jack Mitchell, Mitchells/Richards because his family business makes an art of customer service Frank Robinson, Robinson Helicopter for whipping an entire industry into shape Mark Melton, Melton Franchise Systems for giving immigrants their shot at the American Dream Michelle Cardinal & Tim O’Leary, Cmedia and Respond2 for rewriting the rules for husband-and-wife teams Mike Lazaridis, Research in Motion because someone had to stand up for all those frustrated engineers Trip Hawkins, Electronics Arts and Digital Chocolate for still scrapping Warren Brown, Cake Love and Love Cafe because only in America will someone quit a secure job as a lawyer to start a bakery Muriel Siebert, Muriel Siebert & Co. for being a notable first with a worthy second act Chuck Porter, Crispin, Porter + Bogusky for verging on reckless Katrina Markoff, Vosges Haut for setting a completely unreasonable goal for her business Barry Steinberg & Craig Sumerel, Direct Tire and Auto Service for showing the power of the peer group Victoria Parham, Virtual Support Services for serving as a mentor to military spouses Tom LaTour, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants for staying at fleabag hotels so that we don’t have to Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams, Mitchell Gold for creating a true comfort zone Izzy & Coco Tihanyi, Surf Diva for kicking sand in the face of conventional wisdom Tony Lee, Ring Masters for saving 16 jobs, including his own Rueben Martinez, Libreria Martinez Books and Art Galleries for simultaneously building a business and nurturing Latino culture