Weekly Digital News Roundup: Oct 2 – Oct 6
Feds Make AT&T Pay $105 Million For Loading Wireless Bills with Bogus Charges
- According to the Washington Post, on Wednesday, officials said AT&T would pay $105 million to settle accusations that from 2009 to January 2014, the firm charged consumers extra for spammy services they didn’t ask for, such as monthly ringtone subscriptions and horoscope text messages. The action marks the largest in the history of the Federal Communications Commission and also involved officials at the Federal Trade Commission and the attorneys general of all 50 states.
- According to a federal complaint, AT&T placed unauthorized third-party charges on Americans’ wireless bills under a category labeled “AT&T monthly subscriptions,” which, said FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez, led consumers to believe that they were being charged “for services provided by AT&T and not by third parties.”
- Of the $105 million fee, AT&T will pay $80 million to current and former customers who were affected by the unauthorized billing, also known in the industry as “mobile cramming.” State governments will receive $20 million, and AT&T will pay a $5 million penalty to the U.S. Treasury.
Yahoo to Lay Off 400 in India, Invite Some to Work in U.S., Report Says
- According to the LA Times, Yahoo is reportedly cutting about 400 positions at its Bangalore, India offices according to a Bloomberg report that cited an unnamed source. But in an interesting twist, it’s offering more than 40% of the affected workers positions in the U.S.
- Brooks Holtom, associate professor of management at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, said eliminating jobs in India while bringing some of them back to the U.S. could promote greater efficiency and creativity at Yahoo.
- For the three months ended June 30, Yahoo reported revenue of $1.08 billion, down 4% from a year earlier. Profit dropped 19% to $270 million. Yahoo is struggling with display advertising, a core part of its business. Display revenue was $436 million for the second quarter, down 8% from a year earlier. Although the number of ads sold increased about 24%, the price per ad decreased roughly 24%.
Smart Yoga Mat Is Your Own Personal Yogi Master
- According to Mashable, the SmartMat, which is gaining significant attention on crowdfunding site Indiegogo, raising $175,000 in just a few days — uses high-tech sensors to help your perfect alignment and poses. The yoga mat takes your measurements, such as determining arm span by laying on the mat, and then monitors your abilities and limitations.
- As you begin a workout, it corrects your poses along the way, offering suggestions so your hands and feet and the rest of your body are in alignment. It gives you feedback with visual clues, so it doesn’t disrupt anyone else around you, but an audio option lets you avoid spending the yoga session with your eyes glued to a mobile device.
- The mat connects to a corresponding app (iOS or Android) via Bluetooth and can be programmed for users at various skill levels and goals (i.e. weight loss vs. toning). It comes with three modes: for private use in the home, to help assist while attending classes or “zen mode,” which doesn’t offer corrections in real time but records your session and offers analysis and feedback later.