In today’s mobile news roundup: Impending layoffs amid T-Mobile-MetroPCS merger; Path update includes private messaging; Samsung increases spending on lobbying; Original Angry Birds now free for download; and Samsung SII and SIII plagued with security bypass bug.
Impending layoffs amid T-Mobile-MetroPCS merger
The US Department of Justice recently approved of the T-Mobile-MetroPCS merger. The waiting period included in the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 has expired, which means that the fate of the merger lies in the hands of the Federal Communications Commission, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), and MetroPCS shareholders, who are all set to meet and approve the merger by April 12, 2013.
Though consumer groups have no qualms about the merger, with high expectations that such a deal will result in better service for consumers, workers aren’t as confident, as some T-Mobile employees have already expressed concerns of a massive layoff when the merger finalizes.
Mergers usually trim down their workforce, as some tasks or offices are fused. Right now, “more than 100 people in marketing and other groups,” are in danger of losing their jobs after the merger.
Because of the impending layoff brought about by the merger, 62 Democrats have written a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski stating that they will not support “another consolidation of two companies that leads to the reduction of American jobs.” The democrats are demanding that the FCC force T-Mobile to commit to “preserving U.S. jobs” to receive approval.
Path update includes private messaging
“Today we are excited to introduce Path 3. We have added private messaging – the Path take on it – that we hope will help you feel like talking in person, with a hand on your arm, seeing a friend’s scrunched nose, wide smile. That it might make you laugh out loud,” Path announced on its site.
Private Messaging isn’t a revolutionary feature for mobile apps, but what Path aims to do with this new feature is to make people feel more close to the person they are communicating with. You can send text, voice, location, stickers, songs, books, movies, photos, and videos. If running late, a person can send his location to the other to assure that they are on their way. If you want to express emotions, you can use Stickers to do so. Path 3 comes with two free sticker packs designed in-house and users can buy more Stickers packs designed by artists such as David Lanham, Hugh MacLeod, and Richard Perez at the Shop.
Samsung increases spending on lobbying
Samsung has increased its spending on lobbying from $150,000 in 2011 to $900,000 this year in order to protect future innovations, especially in the mobile sector.
Lobbying “is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies.”
Samsung’s toughest rival in court is Apple, and the two companies have lawsuits filed against one another in various continents. Compared to Apple, Samsung’s lobbying expenditure is minute. Apple spent $2 million in lobbying in just last year. Google and Facebook spent much more at $18.2 million and $4 million respectively.
“It’s just an increasingly important part of their business,” said Mark Lemley, who teaches patent law at Stanford Law School in California. “What happens in Washington can significantly affect the lives of technology companies, and they can’t ignore it.”
Original Angry Birds now free for download
If you haven’t gotten over your love for the original Angry Birds, then you’re in luck. Aside from Rovio adding 15 new levels to the original version, the app is now free for download on iOS devices. Since launch, the app was priced at $0.99 until now. Unlike the Android version, which was free from the beginning, the iOS free version isn’t laced with ads. So get those birds a-flying and knockout the bad piggies while trying to get three stars on all levels.
Samsung SII and SIII plagued with security bypass bug
After news of the security flaw on the iOS 6.1 update wherein users can bypass the security code and access some data in devices upgraded to the version, news surfaced that the Samsung Galaxy SII had a similar bug that allows a locked screen to be briefly bypasses.
The latest news in this area is that the Galaxy SIII is threatened by the similar bug. By simply pressing on the Emergency Call button on the code entry screen, followed by pressing the Emergency Contacts, then pressing the Home button once quickly followed by pressing the power button, if successful, pressing the power button again will take you to the SIII’s home screen, allowing the intruder complete access to all the information on the device.
Samsung has been contacted by Terence Eden, the original discoverer of the bug, as well as other media sources, but has yet to comment on the issue.