Breakfast Briefing: McAfee arrested, broadband boost for UK cities, inside the HTC-Apple deal

Today's top stories feature John McAfee, government's broadband boost, Apple's HTC patent deal and more

6 Dec 2012

Today we have another update from the baffling life of John McAfee, how 25 developers take half of all app revenue, a glimpse inside the HTC-Apple deal and a potentially explosive BlackBerry story.

McAfee arrested over illegal entry to Guatemala

The stranger-than-fiction life of anti-virus pioneer John McAfee continues to unravel during life on the run from authorities in Belize, where he is a "person of interest" in a murder case. In theory, he should be giving a press conference later today at an as-yet unnamed location in Guatemala City at 2:00PM local time. However, he may not be able to make it having been arrested by Guatemalan officials for entering the country illegally. According to Reuters, the arrest could lead to McAfee being sent back to Belize to face questioning, something he has said could leave him in danger.

"It's a wild, wild country," McAfee said shortly before his detention.

"Everyone sees one part of Belize," he said. "They think it's a wonderful, peaceful, lovely place, blue waters, so McAfee has got to be crazy. Maybe I am crazy. If I were, I wouldn't know."

Broadband funding for 12 more cities

Residents in another wave of cities are set for a broadband boost with the Chancellor announcing £50m in funding to make them "superfast cities". In news that will further anger rural residents still practically relying on pigeons and ponies for data delivery, 12 more cities will be funded in a bid to push speeds up to 100Mbits/sec for residents and businesses. Brighton and Hove, Cambridge, Coventry, Derby, Oxford, Portsmouth, Salford, York, Newport, Aberdeen, Perth and Londonderry are all set for an overhaul, the BBC.

Inside HTC's Apple deal

All Things Digital has details of the agreement between Apple and HTC which ended the companies' patent battle with HTC agreeing to pay a license for some of Apple's technology. The deal was initially secret, but another legal spat – this one involving Samsung – saw the details revealed. Well, a few nuggets of information that weren't redacted.

"Both sides are getting a non-exclusive, non-transferrable and non-sublicensable license to certain of the other’s patents. Apple also agrees not to sue HTC over certain covered products, though the specific products are redacted," the report says. "The agreement also appears to exclude any of Apple’s design patents and nine specified HTC patents as well as coverage for any products that are defined as cloning an Apple product."

Half of all app revenue goes to 25 developers

The Register reports on research that shows the top 25 app developers taking half of the $120 million in app revenue during the first 20 days of November. In a world where people like to believe a bedroom coder can make it big with a good app, that seems an astonishing figure for just 25 developers to swallow up - but if you look closer it’s not actually that startling.

That’s because those 25 developers include some gargantuan companies with huge app lineups. Electronic Arts and its subsidiaries, for example, publish nearly a thousand iOS apps, so it’s little wonder its revenues are so high. The good news to take away is that the app business is booming, with iOS store revenues up 12.9% from January to October.

Microsoft opens doors to Socl network

The BBC reports that Microsoft has opened the doors to its Pinterest-like service for sharing information and photos. Socl – pronounced social, but abbreviated for those that can't string six letters together – had previously been a limited access beta targeting students. Now anyone with a Facebook or Microsoft account can sign up to the service, which is powered by the company's Bing search engine.

Should Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg be worried? Not according to Microsoft, which says the service isn't competing with other social networks.

"Does Socl compete with social networking and search sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Bing, or Google?" Microsoft states on the site. "No, Socl is an experimental research project with a minimal set of features that combine social networking and search for the purpose of enabling people to express and share ideas through rich visual collages, organised by interests." Sounds completely different.

No smoke without burning BlackBerry?

RIM needs a BlackBerry safety scare about as much as George Osborne needs a run on the pound, but according to The Guardian, the firm is investigating reports of "exploding" handsets.

11-year-old Kian McCreath reportedly suffered burns to his legs after his Curve 9320 "exploded", also setting fire to the poor lad’s bed. The Coventry Telegraph has suitably morose photos of Kian holding the charred remains of his combustible BlackBerry.

RIM says it’s waiting for the boy’s family to hand over the handset so it can embark on an investigation, which has apparently, and somewhat mysteriously, disappeared. "At this point in time the family has not provided RIM with the battery or charger for analysis and have said they are unable to locate the device itself," a RIM spokesman told The Guardian. "We have a team on standby to conduct this investigation as a priority as soon as the family makes these products available to us."

You can’t leave anything lying around in Coventry, it seems. Even the smouldering remains of smartphones...

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