Google I/O was this week and the keynote had a bunch of new products and services including Google Home, an Amazon Echo killer that has amongst it's many features the ability to make unlimited phone calls anywhere for FREE. Should you then get rid of your home phone? Leo says no because if the power or internet goes out, you have no phone for emergencies.
A hacker by the name of "The Dark Overlord" broke into Netflix' servers and released the new season of "Orange is the New Black," after demanding payment not to. According to TDA, he also has shows from ABC, IFC, and other channels. Leo says that is a childish act that probably was perpetrated by an ambitious teenager and Netflix did the right thing by refusing to pay up.
Quarterly earnings came out this week and Microsoft, Google, and Amazon all posted record earnings in cloud services. Leo says that sadly, hardware earnings fell short for Microsoft whose tablets and laptops fell short. Leo says that's unfortunate because they make some nice hardware these days.
Leo also says that Google made a lot of money, up 49%, on their Pixel Android phone and their Google Home devices. Google's advertising revenue was also up 29% with nearly $2 billion a month in profit.
Facebook and Oculus had their big confab this week and they're focusing on Augmented Reality, which will bring virtual elements into the real world through a headset that shows you the real world, with virtual elements overlaid on it. Leo says that Facebook is looking to that because they are aware that everyone is getting into VR and they are worried about losing their edge in the genre. So look for Facebook to add AR to Oculus VR. Facebook is also going to add vanishing messages to Instagram in an effort to bury Snapchat since they couldn't buy them.
With most of its money stashed in Irish banks, Apple's $246 Billion is tucked safely away from the US Tax Code. So much so, that they've created a separate Irish subsidiary which then licenses Apple's own intellectual property back to Cupertino. It's all the same corporation, mind you, but it enables them to avoid taxes in the US. And it's completely legal. They have more money in the bank than the GDP in Sri Lanka, and the 13th largest country in the world, if it were a country.
T-Mobile may be #4 in the cellular game, but they walked away a big winner in the recent FCC Spectrum 600MHz auction, paying nearly 8 billion dollars for the nationwide rights to that band. Although phones don't operate in the spectrum yet, they will be rolled out by year's end. Then T-Mobile will offer 4G LTE services in that market. Comcast also bought some, signaling they are planning to get into the mobile business. The rest were split between AT&T and US Cellular.
An article at MacRumors says that "constant negativity" from pros over the TouchBar on the MacBook Pro, as well as complaints on the Mac Pro tower prompted Apple to rethink the design of the pro Mac platform. But let's be real here. They're not planning to release it until at least 2019.
Leo says that while Tim Cook has turned Apple into the most valuable company in the world, the one thing he has yet to provide is a successful original product launch. Leo says that's why Cook talking up augmented reality is so key. Could Apple be planning to launch AR with the next generation iPhone? Time will tell.
The Turkish Crime Family is threatening to release hundreds of millions of iCloud account names and passwords if Apple doesn't pay them a ransom of millions of dollars. To prove it, they gave ZDNet 54 samples to confirm it. Apple, however, says they have never been hacked. But Leo says it's important for iCloud users to change their passwords just in case. While you're at it, if you haven't turned on two factor authentication, it would be a good idea to do that as well.
With the entire computing industry moving away from Flash, Fedex is jonesin' to get users to continue to use it. The problem is, Apple, Chrome, Firefox and Microsoft Edge don't support it anymore. You can still install and activate it, but by default, it either doesn't come with the browser or it's turned off.
Fedex's problem is that their website really doesn't work without it. So Fedex is offering to pay you $5 to turn it on. Leo says that Flash is a huge source of security issues, malware, and phishing scams. So he advises not to take the bait and leave it off.