One bad apple

The mainstream press enjoys a good villain ? a reprehensible target posing an uncomplicated but potent threat. Preferably this will be something inherently new, which lends itself nicely to a subtle hint that basically, modern society is going to pot.
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The internet often comes under attack from tabloid zealots, blaming it for all manor of abhorrent behaviour, from terrorism to paedophilia. Attacking the internet as an entity in this sense makes about as much sense as citing an inflammatory propaganda pamphlet as evidence against the use of paper. Video games are also regularly in the spotlight for perceived links between violent titles and real life crimes.

Late last month the wolves came a bit closer to home, when Sky News broadcast an exposé on PC repair shops, secretly filming one store in particular stealing bank information and personal photos. The story spread like wildfire across news networks, with coverage of the report reaching as far afield as Fox News in the US. Headlines like 'Exposed: Repair Shops Hack Your Laptops' give a fairly good indication of the tone of most of them.

For a moment, it looked as though it was going to explode. It had all the ingredients for a really damaging tabloid campaign, which could easily have been picked up by one of the more reactionary papers. As wrong as the behaviour exhibited in the report was, it would be erroneous to draw wider conclusions. If there's one thing the retail sector doesn't need right now, it’s a public whipped into a frenzy against it. However media campaigns have been built on less.

But it didn't happen. One possible reason for this was the quick reaction by a coherent representative mouthpiece – in this case the former PCA. By going on television to respond – insisting that this was an isolated incident and that PC shops aren’t full of crooks – the trade body probably did much to curb further, potentially destructive uproar. This highlights the importance of proper industry representation – which looks to be getting a lot more cohesive with the formation of the TCA, and its aim to work closer with other bodies (see page 10). Most people would agree this can only be a good thing.


All-in-one desktops boost the market

Sales of desktop PCs continue to decline in favour of notebooks ? especially netbooks ? and December was no exception. Retail channel desktop sales were down 27 per cent compared to December 2007.

Room for one more?

Once you get used to the huge size of CES (and learn to use the map) you start to get a feel for the common trends. And the fact there were only really two dominant themes in such a spiralling mass of products, seems almost... limited.


See Apples through Windows

I'm well aware that most of my readers are actually Windows resellers who are considering a venture into the minefield of selling Apple computers, so here's one for all of you.


A letter to Apple UK

Dear Apple, Firstly, I really, really want to say thanks for reading my column, because it was only recently that I had it confirmed. I know not everyone at Apple UK reads me, but some of you do. I wish I?d heard this directly from the source, but ? and I?ll sing this in my best Cliff Richard falsetto voice ? I guess ?we don?t talk anymore...?

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Rules and regulations

Legal requirements for traders are there to protect consumers and with several stories in the press at the moment it is a good time for a quick review of them.

Apple's new direction

We all know the current situation. Mac computers continue to gain market share against Windows PCs, the iPod has no serious rivals in the MP3 market, the iPhone is dominating the smart phone sector and now the iPad is devastating sales of high-end netbooks. So the question keeps being asked what will Apple focus on next?