Apple sold fewer than 500,000 iPhones in China last month amid the ongoing curbs on travel and transport, according to government data shared on Monday (via Reuters).
Shipments of Apple devices slumped to 494,000, from 1.27 million in February 2019. In January, their shipments had held steady at just over 2 million.
That amounts to an almost 60 percent slump in iPhone sales – worse than IDC’s forecasted drop in overall smartphone sales of roughly 40 percent in the first quarter due to the impact of coronavirus.
China’s restrictions on public movement were enforced in late January just ahead of the Lunar New Year Festival and remained in place throughout most of February, which appears to have crippled demand for smartphones.
According to data from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, mobile phone brands shipped a total of 6.34 million devices in February, down 55 percent from 14 million sold in February 2019.
Android brands like Huawei and Xiaomi suffered the worst, with shipments collectively declining from 12.72 million units in February 2019 to 5.85 million.
Apple closed all 42 of its retail stores in China at the beginning of February as the outbreak in China worsened, but most of the stores have re-opened, albeit operating with shortened hours. New infections and deaths reported in China have been declining in recent weeks, according to government data, suggesting the virus may have peaked there.
Apple in mid-February announced that its financial guidance for the March quarter would fall short due to the COVID-19 outbreak. During the January earnings call, Apple said it expected to see revenue of $63 to $67 billion in the March quarter, but that is no longer a goal the company will be able to meet.
Apple cited lower customer demand in China and constrained iPhone supplies worldwide as the factors leading to lower than expected revenue.
Google sued for secretly amassing vast trove of user data – Financial Post
Google surreptitiously amasses billions of bits of information — every day — about internet users even if they opt out of sharing their information, three consumers alleged in a proposed class action lawsuit.
“Google tracks and collects consumer browsing history and other web activity data no matter what safeguards consumers undertake to protect their data privacy,” according to the complaint filed Tuesday in federal court in San Jose, California.
The lawsuit argues that while Google lets users turn off data collection when using its Chrome web browser, other Google tools used by websites themselves scoop up their data anyways. The suit includes claims for invasion of privacy and violations of federal wiretapping law.
Google is up front with consumers that whenever they opt for private browsing, other websites may still collect information, spokesman Jose Castaneda said.
“We strongly dispute these claims and we will defend ourselves vigorously against them,” Castaneda said in an email.
The case was filed by Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, a high-profile litigation firm that previously defended Uber Technologies Inc. when the ride-hailing firm was accused three years ago by Alphabet Inc.’s self-driving unit of stealing trade secrets.
According to the suit, the company collects information, including IP addresses and browsing histories, whenever users visit web pages or use an app tied to common Google services, such as Google Analytics and Google Ad Manager. This has helped Google amass a nearly unending trove of data that could be stolen or hacked by governments and criminals, the consumers allege.
A consumer suit accusing Google of illegally tracking and storing geolocation data with its mobile apps and operating system was thrown out by a California federal judge in December. Arizona’s attorney general filed a similar complaint last month. Google disputed the claim and said it’s looking forward to setting the record straight.
Tuesday’s case is Brown v. Google LLC, 20-3664, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).
$5 Billion Lawsuit Accuses Google of Tracking Chrome Users in Incognito Mode – MacRumors
A proposed class action lawsuit in the U.S. has accused Google of violating federal wiretap laws by tracking the online activities of users when in Incognito mode.
According to Reuters, the class action argues that by surreptitiously collecting information about what people view online and where they browse when they use Chrome’s private browsing mode, Google has been intentionally deceiving customers into believing that they have control over the information they share with the company.
According to the complaint filed in the federal court in San Jose, California, Google gathers data through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager and other applications and website plug-ins, including smartphone apps, regardless of whether users click on Google-supported ads.
This helps Google learn about users’ friends, hobbies, favorite foods, shopping habits, and even the “most intimate and potentially embarrassing things” they search for online, the complaint said.
Google “cannot continue to engage in the covert and unauthorized data collection from virtually every American with a computer or phone,” the complaint said.
Google has said it will defend itself “vigorously’ against the claims.
“Incognito mode in Chrome gives you the choice to browse the internet without your activity being saved to your browser or device,” said Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda. “As we clearly state each time you open a new incognito tab, websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity.”
The three plaintiffs argue that the lawsuit likely covers “millions” of Google users who since June 1, 2016 browsed the internet using Incognito mode. The proposed class action therefore seeks $5,000 in damages per user for violations of federal wiretapping and California privacy laws, amounting to at least $5 billion.
Google pulls popular app that helped remove Chinese apps from phones – The Verge
Google has removed a popular Indian-developed app from its Play Store that promised to find and remove Chinese apps from smartphones. The search giant confirmed to Gadgets 360 that the app, which was called “Remove Chinese Apps,” was removed for violating its Deceptive Behavior Policy, which prohibits software from encouraging or misleading users into “removing or disabling third-party apps.”
The app’s removal comes at a time when a Himalayan border dispute is driving anti-Chinese sentiment in India. TechCrunch notes that the situation has lead to some Indian celebrities calling for their fans to delete Chinese-developed apps like TikTok from their phones, in a move which appears to have the backing of some within India’s ruling BJP party.
Before its ejection from the store, Remove Chinese Apps had grown popular in India. Reuters reports that it had amassed over five million downloads since late May, and was the top trending free app in the country. The app worked by scanning phones for Chinese apps like ByteDance’s TikTok and Alibaba’s UC Browser, before giving the option to keep or remove. If no Chinese-made apps were found on a phone, a pop-up message read “You are awesome, no China app found.”
In light of the Indian-Chinese tensions, Indian users have directed their anger at the ByteDance app TikTok, leading to the release of an Indian-developed alternative called Mitron. However, Mitron has also been removed from the Play Store for violating Google’s policies, CNBCTV18 reports.
The developer of Remove Chinese Apps, OneTouch AppLabs, confirmed the removal on its website, but claimed that the app is meant only for educational purposes, and does not “promote or force people to uninstall any of the application(s).”
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