BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins steps down

It feels like it wasn’t too long ago that BlackBerry was a major player in the smartphone market and a status icon.

BlackBerry CEO steps down as company secures $1 billion funding from investors

Today was always going to be a momentous day for BlackBerry, with a looming deadline for its proposed takeover deal with Fairfax Financial Holdings. As it turns out, the full takeover deal isn’t taking place, but the company is going to receive an investment of $1 billion from Fairfax and a group of other institutional investors as it seeks to steer a new course. That will involve some major reshuffling at board level, starting with CEO Thorsten Heins, who is stepping down to be replaced by interim CEO John S. Chen.

Should tablet apps cost more?

There are universal apps, and there are also separate apps for the iPhone and iOS. While different businesses will take different approaches, it’s always important to plan for the future when pricing your app. Questions such as “why should screen size determine an app’s value” should be asked.

The clearest example of this concept is OmniFocus, a productivity app that costs $20 on the iPhone, $40 on the iPad, and $80 on the Mac. This pricing policy makes sense at first glance. The increased display sizes of the iPad and the Mac could allow for more features than the comparatively cramped display on the iPhone — since it makes little sense to charge the same amount for a less capable product, the current system appears to be the best choice.

But the iPhone app isn’t less capable than its larger counterparts. It better supports location-based features, was the first to be updated for iOS 7, and is probably used more often than the other apps. (It’s easier to use a task list on a device in your pocket than it is to use one on the computer sitting on your desk at home.) And the iPad app is often considered the best version of the app because of its ease of use and, previously, access to exclusive features. Saying that these apps should have different prices has little to do with the apps’ functionality and everything to do with App Store economics.

badBIOS malware bypasses airgaps designed to prevent it from spreading

Meet “badBIOS,” the mysterious Mac and PC malware that jumps airgaps

Another intriguing characteristic: in addition to jumping “airgaps” designed to isolate infected or sensitive machines from all other networked computers, the malware seems to have self-healing capabilities.

“We had an air-gapped computer that just had its [firmware] BIOS reflashed, a fresh disk drive installed, and zero data on it, installed from a Windows system CD,” Ruiu said. “At one point, we were editing some of the components and our registry editor got disabled. It was like: wait a minute, how can that happen? How can the machine react and attack the software that we’re using to attack it? This is an air-gapped machine and all of a sudden the search function in the registry editor stopped working when we were using it to search for their keys.”

Update 6 Nov 2013: Some researchers are having trouble reproducing the symptoms described in the badBIOS report. Of course, since we’re still in the early stages, it’s hard to confirm or disregard this just yet.

Some insights and history of the iPad

How Steve Jobs Made the iPad Succeed When All Other Tablets Failed

iPad is an incredible opportunity for developers to re-imagine every single category of desktop and web software there is. … The bottom line is, many apps which were cute toys on iPhone can become full-featured power tools on the iPad, making you forget about their desktop/laptop predecessors. We just have to invent them.”

Lucida Grande Retina-optimised in OS X Mavericks

Tim Ahrens analysed the new Lucida Grande.

Mac OS in Javascript

Fancy a Mac OS running on Javascript?

JD Power explains why Samsung beat Apple in its news satisfaction study

Samsung won by a score of 535 vs Apple’s 533.

The power circle chart showed Apple winning handily in four categories, including performance, ease of use, physical design and tablet features. Only one category showed a clear win for Samsung: cost. But most folks were a bit skeptical, considering that the JD Power report only weights cost as 16 percent of the overall score.

Parsons confirmed the percentage, but said that the differential between the price category scores of the iPad and the score of the Samsung tablets that were included in the survey was large enough to “more than offset” the score in the other four categories. Parsons says that the price category contributed to a full two-point difference between Apple and Samsung.

Advertising budgets over the years for a few companies

If you think Apple splurges on marketing, check out this chart.

And before you suggest that Samsung spreads its budget over a wide range of electronics, look at this chart.

Rockstar, patent-holding firm partially owned by Apple and Microsoft, sues Google and Android device makers

John Gruber posted a very good piece on the on-going patent war.

This latest lawsuit filed by Rockstar is an escalation of a patent war against Google and Android, not the start of it. Nobody looks good here — not Apple, not Microsoft, but certainly not Google either. Google started filing lawsuits based on Motorola patents long before Rockstar filed this suit. Given that, I find it hard to believe that had Google won the bidding for the rights to Nortel’s patent trove — and it bid $4.4 billion for them — it wouldn’t have filed lawsuits based on them in the same way it has with Motorola’s.

Apple and Microsoft have been slammed for this, but few articles took Google’s Motorola into consideration.

But Motorola — a wholly-owned Google subsidiary — has filed patent lawsuits against Apple all over the world. Just one month ago Apple finally put an end to an 18-month injunction that prevented iCloud users in Germany from getting push notifications for email — because of a patent lawsuit filed by Google.

Is Carl Icahn good for your company?

Some folks might think that Carl Icahn‘s plans for Apple’s cash pile is good for the company. After successfully taking Dell private, Michael Dell disagrees, though.

“It’s a big poker game to him,” says Dell. “It’s not about the customers. It’s not about the people. It’s not about changing the world. He doesn’t give a crap about any of that. He didn’t know whether we made nuclear power plants or French fries. He didn’t care.”