Netflix lost US subscribers in Q2 over price hikes; how can it win them back?


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Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

Enlarge / Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. (credit: re:publica)

If you’ve been grumbling about the rising cost of your Netflix account, it seems you’re not alone. Netflix shared its second-quarter financial results and the company indicated that higher prices may have led to dips in the platform’s subscriber counts.

Revenue for the video streaming service totaled $4.92 billion in the second quarter, up 26% year-over-year. Net income was $271 million, with $0.60 earnings per share. Both those figures were down from Q2 in 2018 and from Q1 of 2019.

Netflix added 2.7 million paid members during the period, a big cut from the 5 million it expected to see and from the 5.5 million recorded in the year-ago quarter. “Our missed forecast was across all regions, but slightly more so in regions with price increases,” the shareholder letter read. The company insisted that competition from

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Microsoft closes fiscal 2019 with revenue spikes driven by cloud services


This post is by Anna Washenko from Ars Technica


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Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, speaks at the Microsoft Annual Shareholders Meeting in Bellevue, Washington, on November 30, 2016.

Microsoft has reported its financial results for the final quarter of the 2019 fiscal year. The tech giant saw notable gains in sales for Azure in its Intelligent Cloud division and for Surface in the More Personal Computing unit.

Revenue for the the company reached $33.7 billion, an increase of 12% from the last quarter of 2018. Microsoft’s operating income rose 20% to $12.4 billion while net income jumped 49% to $13.2 billion, with earnings of $1.71 per share.

Each of Microsoft’s three reporting segments saw its revenue grow compared with the fourth quarter of the previous year. The Intelligent Cloud group saw the biggest jump, rising 19% to $11.4 billion.

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Apple is planning to buy up original podcasts with exclusivity in mind


This post is by Anna Washenko from Ars Technica


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A man onstage gives a presentation in front of giant video screens.

Enlarge / Apple will replace iTunes with Music, Podcasts, and TV on Mac. (credit: Ron Amadeo)

Podcast fans will want to keep their ears to the ground with the latest Apple news. Bloomberg reported that Apple may be looking for deals to bring exclusive original shows to its podcast-listening platform. Unnamed sources said the company is reaching out to media companies to secure rights for podcast exclusivity.

This development would mark a shift in how Apple runs its podcast platform. Shows that list on Apple Podcasts can also make their episodes available elsewhere. Exclusive arrangements in the future could come with different restrictions. This might mean that Apple’s app is the only place where you can hear an entire show, or this could be a windowing deal where new episodes first appear on Apple before the podcaster can send them to other platforms.

Apple’s app for podcast listening has

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OurPact returns to App Store, reviving debates about Apple’s impartiality


This post is by Anna Washenko from Ars Technica


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Tim Cook on stage during an Apple event in September 2018.

Tim Cook on stage during an Apple event in September 2018. (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Software may come and go from the App Store, but this week marks a return that could have some real significance for Apple. OurPact, an app that lets parents monitor and limit their children’s use of technology, has returned to the App Store after being removed this spring. Its creators posted a social message to followers informing them of the app’s return to iOS earlier this week.

“A major thank you to our community for the outpouring of support throughout these removals,” the OurPact announcement reads. “Every tweet, share, and mention helped spread the word and restore the future of iOS digital parenting. We look forward to developing family screen time solutions for years to come!”

OurPact was one of 11 apps providing parental control over kids’ smartphone usage to be restricted or completely

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Microsoft Teams is now officially bigger than Slack


This post is by Anna Washenko from Ars Technica


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A Microsoft office (not to be confused with Microsoft Office).

Enlarge / A Microsoft office (not to be confused with Microsoft Office). (credit: Julien GONG Min / Flickr)

Microsoft Teams may have only been around for two years, but the group-chat platform is already larger than one of its main competitors. Microsoft announced that Teams has more than 13 million daily active users. The amount rises to 19 million when looking at weekly active users. That means the service is now officially bigger than Slack, an independent platform for online chatting and collaboration.

This is the most specific Microsoft has gotten yet with information about its group-chatting platform. The only other update the company gave was back in March, when it revealed that 500,000 organizations were using the service.

In addition to the audience news, Microsoft shared some upcoming features for Teams. Today, it is rolling out what it’s calling “announcements,” which allows important news to be highlighted in

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Dropbox Transfer tests direct sharing of files up to 100GB


This post is by Anna Washenko from Ars Technica


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Screenshot of Dropbox Transfer

Dropbox is adding a new option for how its users can share files. Dropbox Transfer introduces a way to send files between people rather than simply sharing access for collaboration.

Files can be dragged and dropped directly from your computer or from within Dropbox storage. When you’re ready to send, Dropbox will create a link that can be shared with anyone so that they can have their own copy. The original file will remain in your possession. Transfer lets you send files of up to 100GB, a big leap over the file cap for sharing on most email services.

If you’re using Dropbox Transfer in a professional capacity, you can customize the download page to show your own uploaded image or just to set a different stock background color or artwork.

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Microsoft releases Windows 1.11 throwback app as a Stranger Things tie-in


This post is by Anna Washenko from Ars Technica


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Eleven and the gang face down weird dangers yet again in the third season trailer.

Enlarge / Eleven and the gang face down weird dangers yet again in the third season trailer. (credit: YouTube/Netflix)

If you were one of the many people confused and curious about Microsoft’s apparent time-traveling social media blitz last week, wonder no more. As several astute fans guessed, the retro throwback was part of a collaboration with Netflix in support of Stranger Things, which just released its third season. The show is set in the year 1985, the same year that Microsoft released Windows 1.0.

The partnership has three elements. The first follows up on the many tweets from Microsoft’s social media crew that the original iteration of the Windows software would be launching. Microsoft has launched a PC app called Windows 1.11, which uses some of the original programs to give a rough overview of some of the new season’s plot points. Uncover clues in

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FaceTime feature in iOS 13 feigns eye contact during video calls


This post is by Anna Washenko from Ars Technica


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Front of an iPhone XS Max

Enlarge / The cameras on iPhones are getting (selectively) smarter. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Apple introduced several of the headlining features of its upcoming iOS 13 during WWDC, but people playing with the closed beta version have uncovered some additional tools. One newly found addition is FaceTime Attention Correction, which adjusts the image during a FaceTime video call to make it look like a person is looking into the camera rather than at their device’s screen.

In practice, that means that while both you and your contact are looking at each other’s faces, you’ll both appear to be making direct eye contact. Mike Rundle and Will Sigmon were the first to tweet about the find, and they describe it as uncanny, “next-century shit.” Another beta tester, Dave Schukin, posited that the feature relies on ARKit to make a map of a person’s face and use that to inform

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Microsoft is teasing Windows 1.0 and other 1980s software


This post is by Anna Washenko from Ars Technica


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Windows got the '80s treatment, but we're not sure what's actually being promoted.

Enlarge / Windows got the ’80s treatment, but we’re not sure what’s actually being promoted. (credit: Aurich Lawson)

Either Microsoft is gearing up for a very odd promotional effort or somebody on the Windows team has hijacked a functioning time machine.

Yesterday, the company posted a video boasting an “all-new Windows 1.0” to its social channels. It even went so far as to completely wipe all its previous posts from the Windows Instagram account, so all you’ll find is the clip of its logos over the years. The video scrolls from the simplicity of Windows 10 through the pixellated rainbow flag of Windows XP and Windows 95.

Whatever the situation is, the stunt is giving Windows’ social media managers a chance to load their replies to confused tweets with throwbacks, from Back to the Future

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PlayStation Vue applies a $5-a-month increase to all live TV plans


This post is by Anna Washenko from Ars Technica


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Sony announced that it is increasing the subscription cost for its live TV streaming service. PlayStation Vue customers will see all multi-channel plans increase their monthly rates by $5. The change will take effect today for new customers. Existing subscribers will see the prices go up with their first billing period after July 31.

The cheapest package for PlayStation Vue, the Access plan, will now offer a collection of live channels and DVR tools for $49.99 a month. The Core package, which adds several sports channels, will cost $54.99. The Elite level adds movie channels for $64.99 a month while Premium also adds HBO and Showtime for $84.99 a month.

The most common reason prices increase for media subscriptions, both with live video like PlayStation Vue and on-demand viewing like Hulu or Netflix, is the cost of

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Apple bolsters its chip team by hiring architect who worked at ARM, Intel, AMD


This post is by Anna Washenko from Ars Technica


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Apple-branded device sitting on a wooden surface.

Enlarge / Apple’s iPad Pro had a new, Apple-designed chip called the A12X that rivaled many high-end laptop CPUs in performance. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Apple has hired an experienced CPU designer to join its team. Mike Filippo joined Apple last month with the title Architect, according to his LinkedIn profile. The move ends a decade spent at ARM, where he was lead architect on several chip products. Filippo also spent time working on CPUs at Intel and Advanced Micro Devices.

The hire is a big get for Apple. ARM is responsible for technology that powers the A series chips Apple has been using in its mobile devices. For instance, the A12X in the iPad Pro springboards off the big.LITTLE architecture from ARM.

“Mike was a long-time valuable member of the ARM community,” a representative from ARM told Bloomberg. “We appreciate all of his efforts and wish him well

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Microsoft OneDrive gets a more secure Personal Vault, plus additional storage options


This post is by Anna Washenko from Ars Technica


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The Microsoft logo displayed at Microsoft's booth at a trade show.

Enlarge / Microsoft at a trade show. (credit: Getty Images | Justin Sullivan)

Microsoft is launching a new layer of security for users of its OneDrive cloud storage service. OneDrive Personal Vault is a new section of your storage that’s accessed through two-step verification, or a “strong authentication method,” although Microsoft didn’t define the latter term.

Microsoft notes that fingerprinting, face scans, PINs, and one-time codes by email, SMS, or an authenticator app are among the acceptable two-step verification methods. And you’ll automatically get de-authenticated after a period of inactivity—that’s the key to Microsoft’s special security argument here. Two-factor authentication using text or email is less secure than other options. Using the more heavy-duty face or fingerprint verification will require the appropriate hardware, such as a device with Windows Hello.

It also has options for transferring physical documents to the OneDrive mobile app. You can scan documents or take

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Amazon takes on TCL’s Roku TV with low-cost HDR Fire TV television


This post is by Anna Washenko from Ars Technica


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TV with sample illustration of standard and HDR visual

Enlarge / Seeing is believing when it comes to HDR, and this mock-up comparison of the display tech hints at what awaits for Toshiba buyers. (Note: The TV pictured above is NOT the one we’re writing about today.) (credit: Ars Technica)

Things are looking a lot brighter for Amazon’s collection of Fire TV Edition sets. The company is introducing three new smart televisions made by Toshiba that bring HDR support to the product line for the first time. The displays are also going up for sale at an appealing price point.

The Toshiba 4K UHD Smart TV HDR is an LCD panel that promises a typical contrast ratio of 4,000:1, plus HDR in the Dolby Vision standard. The Amazon product listing doesn’t give any specifics on the maximum brightness for this hardware. As the product name implies, it has a 4K resolution as well as a 60Hz refresh

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