By now, everyone knows that
RadioShack filed bankruptcy a few weeks ago. As part of the bankruptcy, the company is closing bunch of stores and selling others to Sprint. Some of the stores that are being abandoned will transition to new owners, including GameStop.
One of GameStop's lesser-known brands,
Spring Mobile, will be moving in to 163 of RadioShack's dark stores. Those stores do not sell videogames, as you might expect, but instead are AT&T authorized dealers. This 1,500 employee brand will be expanding from around 300 stores to more than 450 with this single transaction, making it a huge expansion for the company.
What is interesting about this transition is in business concept. These stores, which are currently under RadioShack's control, have for the past 10 years sold AT&T phones (and Cingular before them), along with Sprint and Verizon or T-Mobile (depending on the year). Under those circumstances, RadioShack was unable to maintain the cost of the stores, even with additional revenue options available.
This means that GameStop is hoping that, while limiting the product line available in the stores, they will be able to sell more of that product category than their previous tenants. The concept of limiting scope can be successful for retail, as other revenue options may actually be driving profits down. Over the past few years, however, RadioShack's revenue and profits came more and more from wireless sales. Here in the end, some stores reported 40% of their revenue from wireless, meaning that this isn't that big of a change in business model.
Will GameStop be able to make a successful move into stores that couldn't succeed on increasingly wireless sales with only wireless sales? What do you think? Let us know in the comments section.
Beginning tomorrow, YouTube will be making a YouTube app for kids, in order to keep them away from the random clips of twerking, drug experimentation and other content not suitable for children. Dubbed YouTube kids, the app will be available for Android devices at first, with more devices coming in the near future.
The app will revolve around content produced and targeted specifically for children. Shows from DreamWorks TV, Jim Henson TV, Mother Goose Club, Talking Tom and Friends, and Geographic Kids will all be available for their viewing pleasure. Even further, the app will feature a control set for parents to use, to set things like viewing time limits, toggling the search option and more.
With as questionable as YouTube's "Recommended Videos" section is after you select a video, it's understandable that parents were concerned as to what might auto-play after their selection. It's even more troubling when certain videos are purposefully mistagged in order to show up in other categories. You could imagine what problems can arise from that.
ConnectSafely's co-director Larry Magid was excited for the app to make its way onto devices. ConnectSafely is a nonprofit that is partially funded by Google, with the purpose of educating people about the basics of the Internet and best safety, security and privacy matters.
This is good for kids and parents. YouTube has done a good job providing curated content that's suitable for kids and easy for kids and parents to discover. There is no substitute for engaged parenting, but it never hurts to have a little help. As with any media, parents need to be sure their kids are getting a balanced diet, so it's good that Google included a timer to help limit how long a child can use the app.
The number of children who use YouTube as a media consumption platform has blown up in the last year, so it's only appropriate that they receive an app that filters out the garbage that sometimes (almost always) takes over the Internet.
T-Mobile receives a lot of flack from us, and rightfully so given their
track record of line-crossings and deceptions. Based on that, it's only right to point out when the company is doing something right, so here we are.
Many big telecom companies have outright lied about how net neutrality laws would impact their businesses, even claiming huge increases in costs that will be passed down to customers. Some have even said they would have to cutback on their offerings and services. Sprint has already gone on record to say that the FCC's reclassification would
not hurt Sprint as a company. Now, T-Mobile is mirroring that same sentiment.
T-Mobile COO Mike Sievert said in an interview,
There is nothing in there that gives us deep concern about our ability to continue executing our strategy.
This was after T-Mobile's CEO John Legere said that reclassifying would be the wrong approach. However, his comments on Twitter were before the FCC's plan was released, and upon reading it, changed his tune and said that T-Mobile would
not be hindered by the policy.
It's good to see two of the wireless carriers, albeit the smaller two, step up to add both levity and clarity to the whole net neutrality situation from a corporate perspective. The FCC's proposal should pass the Commission's vote this month, and having corporations on its side can only help the cause.
The price of Windows laptops have come down for many reason. With the recent launch of
Windows 8.1 with Bing, manufacturers no longer have to pay a royalty to Microsoft if they meet certain hardware requirements. Combine that with the ever-increasing revenue streams for manufacturers to place a bunch of garbage software and offers on new PCs, and the actual machine becomes inexpensive to users. Well, those exact pieces of software has enraged Lenovo customers and concerned security experts.
Superfish, a piece of software that comes pre-loaded on almost every Lenovo laptop from September 2014 up through January 2015 not including Thinkpads, is essentially adware that displays "relevant shopping advertisements" to consumers, even when they're on secure websites. It basically can be considered a hijacker of sorts, routing traffic through a certificate that allowed Superfish to see your traffic, and then display the ads. On Internet Explorer and Chrome, Superfish would even inject third-party ads into Google search results, without the end-user's permission to do so. As you could imagine, all of this is a potential problem and a huge security risk, especially if a firm leaks a
finds and publishes a password that could let you unlock the certificate and bypass any encryption on your computer. And that's exactly what happened on the heels of Lenovo's forums filled with customer complaints. The password, by the way, was contained in the program's active memory and was no challenge to find and retrieve.
Obviously Lenovo was very concerned upon discovery of this news and took immediate action, right? Not exactly. The company first published a statement saying that they thought users
would love to have this installed on their machines, and that it was "to help customers potentially discover interesting products while shopping." A noble idea in theory, yet clearly terribly implemented. After the company's initial response, Lenovo then posted a follow-up statement.
Superfish was previously included on some consumer notebook products shipped in a short window between September and December to help customers potentially discover interesting products while shopping. However, user feedback was not positive, and we responded quickly and decisively. Superfish has completely disabled server side interactions (since January) on all Lenovo products so that the product is no longer active. This disables Superfish for all products in market. Lenovo stopped preloading the software in January. We will not preload this software in the future.
Lenovo has also issued a
removal tool to fully get rid of the software, as uninstalling won't completely remove it. Those unsure if the removal tool actually works can run a test created by researcher Filippo Valsorda. Lenovo is also working with Microsoft and McAfee, and products by those companies will automatically detect and remove the software in most cases.