Archive for the 'Industry News' Category

Sky News uncovers evil computer firms

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Something I saw on Sky News this week shocked me, and angered me at the same time. Sky News did an investigation into what computer technicians do with simple faults.

Computer repair firms entrusted with a ‘faulty’ laptop illegally snooped through a customer’s personal files and one even tried to hack into her bank account. An undercover investigation found technicians stealing passwords, overcharging for basic work and nosing through private pictures of the laptop’s owner in a bikini.

Investigators wired a new laptop with hidden cameras and spy software that operated without the engineers’ knowledge. They loosened a memory stick, and took it to several companies. The laptop had been given an easily identifiable fault: a loose memory chip that stopped the computer from starting.

To get it working, the chip simply needed to be popped back into position.

The investigators from Sky News took the computer to six repair shops in London.

The most serious offender was Laptop Revival in Hammersmith, West London.

Shortly after identifying the real fault, the firm’s engineer called to say the computer needed a new motherboard, costing £130. The surveillance software then recorded a technician browsing through the files on the hard drive, including intimate holiday photos, some showing the Sky researcher in her bikini. As the technician snooped through the files, he was filmed grinning and showing the pictures to another colleague. Later in the same shop, a second technician loaded up the machine to look through the photos  –  stored inside a folder marked ‘private’.

Laughing, the repairman loaded the pictures onto a memory stick he kept round his neck  –  which the software found was also packed with similar photos in a folder labelled ‘Mamma Jammas’  –  street slang for women with large breasts. He also copied a file containing passwords for Facebook, Hotmail, eBay and a NatWest bank account.

Once the technician had discovered this information, he opened a web browser on the laptop and attempted to log into the bank account for five minutes  –  failing because the details were false.

Laptop Revival declined to comment on the investigation.

A technician at Digitech, in Putney, South-West London, also examined the investigator’s holiday pictures  –  after looking over his shoulder. An employee at the shop said: ‘We looked at the pictures to see if the memory was fully functional.’

A PC World repairman in Brentford, West London, told the investigators that the computer ‘needed a new motherboard’, costing £230. When the computer was collected, only the memory chip  –  which was not faulty  –  had been replaced.

PC World spokesman Anina Castle said: ‘We have a £230 charge for looking at any out of warranty faults.’

Haha, nice excuse, DSG, you bunch of hypocrites.

Micro Anvika, in Tottenham Court Road, Central London, fixed the laptop before ringing to say further diagnostic tests were needed. It charged £145 for a full examination of the laptop.

The firm has since apologised and refunded some of the fee.

Technicians at Evnova Computers in Barbican in the City of London also discovered the loose memory chip and fixed it, but not before they, too, said the motherboard needed replacing. When the offer of a new motherboard was declined, it appeared that someone from Evnova soldered the pins of the chip together to recreate the original fault.

The firm later claimed it thought the undercover reporter was from a rival repair company.

Only one shop came out with a clean bill of health: Pix 4 in Shepherd’s Bush, West London. The company popped the chip back into place, and for free. Richard Webb, the Trading Standards Institute’s spokesman on web commerce, said: It’s a big abuse of trust. If you were expert in computers you wouldn’t have to hand in your machine to be repaired. They know that.’

If this is what Kitamura is up against, I’m deeply shocked, and upset. How can evil people like this be able to get away with this? We will never do things like this. We are open, honest and truthful, and won’t make excuses to make money. Ever.
Sky News Investigation – Snooping Technicians

Empire Direct plc goes bang, flaw in company terms stops consumers getting refunds or goods

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Empire Direct plc recently went bust. OK, it’s the credit crunch, it’s happening everywhere. But what annoys me is the fact that their customers won’t be getting the goods they PAID for, or refunds. The reason they won’t get the goods is because their company sales terms state that the “ownership of goods stays with the company until delivery or collection”

What a load of con. The customer becomes the owner of the goods once payment has been made in full.

As for refunds, customers won’t be getting any, because as the administrator KPMG put it, “Customers money was paid into the company’s OVERDRAWN bank account”

These companies make me sick, trapping the consumers so they have no way out, yet the company keeps the goods AND money. People paying by credit card may be able to get money back from the credit card company, but that’s not fair in my opinion, why should the CC company pay for a stupid con company?

Here at Kitamura, our policy states that customers become the owner of goods purchased once payment to us is made in full, and if they don’t, any member of staff not adhering to this policy is breaking our company Oath. And if we KNOW we’re getting into financial trouble, we won’t continue trading.

THAT is how it’s supposed to be done. Our Sales Policy can be found in our Policies section on the new website once it is up, it’s a long read, but we clearly tell you your rights and position. We’re good like that.

Fujitsu to acquire Siemens’ Stake in Fujitsu Siemens Computers

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

On Nov 3 2008, shareholders announced that Fujitsu is to acquire Siemens’ 50% share in the joint venture Fujitsu Siemens Computers, effective April 1, 2009.

This means that the future of Fujitsu Siemens Computers is now secured and the company will offer its products and services within the global network of the Fujitsu Group. With the new sole shareholder, they will continue with their strategic development and transform more quickly and efficiently into the leading IT infrastructure provider.

In the course of the negotiations about the change in ownership structure there have also been some changes in the management of Fujitsu Siemens Computers. At a Board of Directors meeting on November 3, Kai Flore was appointed CEO and President of Fujitsu Siemens Computers, taking over the position from Bernd Bischoff.

Warranty support, sales, etc, are not believed to be affected.

Tiscali looks to be taken over by BSkyB – Disaster Meets Tragedy!

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Tiscali has confirmed it has entered discussions with BSkyB to sell its UK business to the British satellite broadcaster. As if Sky wasn’t bad enough, they now want to buy one of the UK’s worst ISP’s! It goes from bad to worse!

The group, which is Italy’s number-three broadband operator by market share, has been trying to sell its British assets for months and BSkyB is understood to be the only bidder left since the withdrawal of Carphone Warehouse. Why is that no surprise?

Tiscali, which has about 1.84m broadband customers in the UK, is believed to be considering selling the business for about £450m. If BSkyB buys the business, it could become the third biggest player in the market behind BT and Virgin Media.

“Tiscali clarifies that it is currently holding talks with the BSkyB in relation to certain UK assets,” said the Italian firm, which has been up for sale since it launched a strategic review in February.

Other competitors understood to have walked away from the auction include Vodafone and BT.

If BSkyB, which is headed by Jeremy Darroch, goes ahead with the acquisition, it is set to become Britain’s third-largest broadband supplier with 3.6m customers, overtaking Carphone Warehouse and coming close to Virgin Media’s 3.8m customers. BSkyB has 1.79m broadband customers, with a large proportion of these on the Sky Broadband Basic 2mbps package.

Sky, don’t do it! They’re a bunch of schoolkids, and haven’t got the slightest idea what they’re doing. Why do you think Kitamura dropped out of our Reseller deal with them, earlier this year?

Battle of the Asian OEMs: Acer buys Gateway, thwarts Lenovo

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007
Taiwan-based PC manufacturer Acer has announced that it will purchase rival firm Gateway for $710 million in an all-cash deal. Combined, the two companies should ship more than 20 million PCs annually with revenues of over $15 billion.Acer’s acquisition of Gateway was made with an eye towards its market share battle with Lenovo. Perhaps best known as the new home of the ThinkPad after purchasing IBM’s PC division in late 2004, Lenovo has 8.3 percent of the worldwide market, although its growth has lagged behind Acer’s in the past year. Acer’s shipments were up 55.4 percent year over year to 7.2 percent, while Lenovo grew just 22.3 percent.

For many years, Gateway’s trademarks were its failed retail chain and cow-motif boxes. Despite the closing of the Gateway Country stores, Gateway has remained a relatively popular brand in the US in part due to its 2004 acquisition of eMachines. Outside of North America, Gateway has failed to attract much attention. Gateway’s second-quarter US market share figure of 5.6 percent put it just ahead of Apple for the number three position in the US, but its 7.1 percent year over year market share slide was indicative of the challenges faced by the company. It also marked the second consecutive quarter that Gateway’s market share had dipped.

Acer plans to keep the Gateway brand around and will use it primarily to strengthen its US presence. The Taiwanese company has made US expansion a priority and managed to ship 888,000 PCs in the US during the second quarter, an amazing 163.8 percent increase from the same quarter in 2006. With Gateway on board, Acer should easily slip into the number three slot in the US—and possibly worldwide.

“The acquisition of Gateway and its strong brand immediately completes Acer’s global footprint, by strengthening our US presence,” said Acer chairman J.T. Wang in a statement. “This will be an excellent addition to Acer’s already strong positions in Europe and Asia. Upon acquiring Gateway, we will further solidify our position as number three PC vendor globally.”

The deal is a double dose of bad news for Lenovo. Not only does it strengthen its chief Asian competitor, but Acer’s move may also thwart Lenovo’s plans for Packard Bell. Earlier this month, Lenovo confirmed that it was interested in snapping up Packard Bell in an attempt to establish a larger beachhead in the European market. Gateway says that it plans to exercise its right of first refusal to buy Packard Bell, which is owned by John Hui, who sold eMachines to Gateway. That would prevent Lenovo from getting its hands on Packard Bell.

Disgruntled investors aim to derail Acer-Gateway deal

Monday, August 27th, 2007
Some investors aren’t so excited about Acer’s acquisition of Gateway, as evidenced by a pair of lawsuits filed since the deal was announced late last month. Both of the lawsuits seek to keep the merger from going forward, saying that Gateway could have been sold for more than the $710 million Acer will be paying.Both lawsuits have been filed in state court: one in California, where Gateway is headquartered, and one in Delaware, where it is incorporated. The lawsuits were revealed in a pair of SEC filings made late last week by the company. In both lawsuits, Gateway is accused of breaching its fiduciary duties to stockholders by selling to Acer. “The lawsuit alleges, among other things, that the Company’s directors breached their fiduciary duties to stockholders by approving the Merger Agreement and the transactions contemplated thereby, including but not limited to the Offer, and claims that these transactions are both unfair and coercive to the public stockholders in a sale of the Company,” according to one of the filings.Acer is buying Gateway in order to gain a greater foothold in the US market. Although Gateway has struggled for the past several years, giving up on its retail stores, it’s still the number three PC maker in the US in terms of market share. Its 2004 acquisition of budget PC manufacturer eMachines has also helped Gateway stay afloat in the sea of commodity boxes.Gateway also has first dibs on buying privately-held Packard Bell. Although some Americans who owned Packard Bells in the late 1990s are probably still in therapy over the experience, the company has evolved into a relatively well-respected brand in Europe. Lenovo had previously indicated its interest in snapping up Packard Bell in order to build its presence on the continent, a desire that will apparently go unfulfilled.

Gateway may have been able to hold out for a slightly higher price, but with its market share already under pressure from the likes of Apple, Toshiba, and Lenovo, being acquired by another player such as Acer may prove to offer its best chance not only to survive, but also to thrive.

Tiscali to acquire Pipex broadband and voice division!

Friday, July 20th, 2007

Tiscali and Pipex Communications Plc (“Pipex”) have entered into an agreement for the acquisition of the broadband and voice division (“the Division”) of Pipex by Tiscali UK Holdings Limited (“Tiscali UK”).

The Division has in the region of one million active customers, 650,000 voice customers and 570,000 broadband customers, following the acquisition, Tiscali UK will have 1.9 million broadband customers.

Mary Turner, CEO of Tiscali UK, said: “The acquisition of Pipex’s broadband and voice division further cements Tiscali’s position as a fully integrated telecom and media operator in the top league of the UK market and underlines our reputation as a major investor and innovator in the full range of broadband services.

Peter Dubens, Executive Chairman of Pipex, said: “The Board of Pipex is pleased to agree to the sale of the voice and broadband division, which we feel recognises the strong market position we have built over the last three years. Tiscali’s commitment to investment in LLU, along with the new TV services it is introducing will offer our existing customers value and choice in the future.”

This is a good step forward, as Kitamura can now offer our Pipex services alongside our new Tiscali Reseller benefits. See below for details.