Language Barriers Block BlackBerry From Japan Launch
Today in international tech news: BlackBerry's new smartphones won't be debuting in Japan; Microsoft search is overtaken by Russia's Yandex; Warner Bros. makes a curious removal request to Google; HP stiffens labor rules at its Chinese factories; and Amazon's investments in China have yet to yield much of anything.
Unable to justify the operating costs, BlackBerry will not launch its newest handsets, the Z10 and Q10, in Japan -- at least not anytime soon.
The requirement to modify its operating system to accommodate the language influenced BlackBerry's plan to bow out of Japan, Reuters reported.
Another possible factor is that BlackBerry's market share in Japan has dropped from 5 percent to 0.3 percent. Launching the phones would have been a challenge regardless of operating system modifications.
Bing-ing the Blues
The search engine run by Russian Internet company Yandex overtook Microsoft's Bing search engine in international monthly search queries, according to SearchEngineWatch.com.
Last November and December, Microsoft sites processed 4.477 billion queries compared to 4.844 billion for Yandex. SearchEngineWatch cited comScore for its report.
Google garnered nearly 115 billion queries, a commanding first with 65 percent of the world market. China's Baidu was a distant second with 14.5 billion (8.2 percent) and Yahoo came in third with 8.63 billion (4.9 percent).
Making the Yandex/Bing storyline that much bleaker for Microsoft: ComScore included Microsoft's MSN and Windows Live as part of its overall search reach. As SearchEngineWatch put it: "Now that is embarrassing!"
Warner Bros. Asks Google to Remove Mega Links
Warner Bros. sent a Digital Millennium Copyright Act notice to Google requesting that the search engine remove more than a dozen links to Kim Dotcom's new file-sharing site Mega, according to Torrent Freak.
On the surface, that's not too strange: Mega -- recently launched as a successor to Megaupload, which the FBI seized last year on piracy charges -- was bound to rile American rights holders. American authorities, after all, claim that Megaupload robbed U.S. rights holders of some US$500 million.
The request is noteworthy, however, because as Torrent Freak explains, Google can't index Mega content. Dotcom made that decision to protect the privacy of his uploaders. (Sure enough, Mega users created their own Mega-specific search engine.)
Therefore, even if links to Mega-based pirated content were to appear, they wouldn't be indexed by Google.
Other rights holders have made similar requests, sending Google takedown notices for content that Google never indexed, Torrent Freak reported.
Big Investment, Little Return: Amazon in China
Amazon has just a 1 percent share of China's booming e-commerce market, according to a report from Bloomberg.
Amazon has failed to capture a bigger market share than it had four years ago. Bloomberg points out that Amazon is not the first American e-commerce giant to get trounced by China's incumbent e-commerce king, Alibaba. eBay, for instance, made its foray into China in 2002 but closed shop four years later after Alibaba's auction business, Taobao.com, imposed its will.
Another issue has been bureaucratic red tape from Beijing. Regulatory approval for wireless devices in China -- obviously relevant for Amazon and its Kindle -- can be a headache. That means the Kindle is still not available in China -- even though the Kindle Store is.
HP Mounts Campaign to Protect Student Workers in China
Hewlett-Packard is imposing new limits on how much work students and temporary workers can put in at its Chinese factories, according to The New York Times.
The move "reflects a significant shift" in how electronic companies view labor practices in China, according to the Times, which points out that excessive student labor in China is hardly a new phenomenon.
HP is "pushing even harder" than Apple, which last month said it would require suppliers to provide information about student workers. HP, by contrast, says that student and temp workers must be allowed to leave work at any time, given that they provide "reasonable notice." HP also said that students' work must "complement" their main area of study.