Here’s why the government wants to investigate price comparison websites

Here's why the government wants to investigate price comparison websites

A government watchdog has launched an investigation into price comparison websites and apps, in an effort to pin down how well they serve both consumers and businesses, and also to potentially make it clearer how these services earn their cash.

The Competition and Markets Authority (or CMA – the organisation was formed from a merger of the Office of Fair Trading and Competition Commission a few years back) is planning a major review across all industries including the likes of utilities, car and home insurance, broadband, flights and banking.

The idea is to explore what consumers and businesses expect from such comparison services, and how the user experience can be improved, along with considering why some industries have seen more successful efforts in this arena than others.

And the CMA also intends to address thornier issues such as the impact that price comparison sites have on their listed suppliers, and whether arrangements between the sites and suppliers could somehow restrict competition.

Money, money, money...

Furthermore, there are also some concerns over levels of transparency, and the government watchdog intends to mull over whether users should be made more aware of how price comparison services make their money. On a broader level, trust is an issue, as well.

As Andrea Coscelli, CMA Acting Chief Executive, commented: "Digital comparison tools have played a big part in changing markets for the better, bringing new ways of doing things and forcing businesses to up their game … [but] some people have also raised concerns about certain issues, including whether consumers can trust the information that's available, and the study will look at these issues."

The CMA wants to hear views from any interested parties at this stage, with the deadline for submissions being set at October 24. That material will then be considered and the watchdog will subsequently publish a report on its findings inside the next year – which could well come with recommendations for changes to the price comparison industry.

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Don’t Google these celebrities unless you love wrestling with anti-virus software

Don't Google these celebrities unless you love wrestling with anti-virus software

She may be one of the funniest comics on the circuit at the moment, but it's no laughing matter if you Google Amy Schumer at the moment. She's just been singled out by Intel and McAfee as the celebrity whose related search results are most likely to land you with a nasty dose of malware.

As Intel points out, nefarious hackers and web ne'er do-wells love to tap into the public's thirst for salacious celebrity gossip, making honey-trap sites intended to lure in naive web surfers before hitting them with viruses and phishing scams.

Schumer was joined in the top ten most-dangerous celebrity search targets by Justin Bieber, Carson Daly, Will Smith, Rhianna, Miley Cyrus, Chris Hardwick, Danieth Tosh, Selena Gomez and Kesha.

Safe surfing

"With [a] craving for real-time information, many [web users] search and click without considering potential security risks," said Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist at Intel Security.

"Cybercriminals know this and take advantage of this behavior by attempting to lead them to unsafe sites loaded with malware. As a result, consumers need to understand what precautions to take to enable safe online experiences."

To give you a sense of the scale of the threat, a search for "Amy Schumer Torrent" was found to have a 33% chance of returning a malicious website, according to the security experts.

The advice remains simple - think before you click, stick to only trusted websites, use two-factor authentication on your devices if possible, and remember that the peer-to-peer nature of torrents leaves the file format open to abuse.

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Apple’s new partnership shows that it means business

Apple's new partnership shows that it means business

Deloitte is to help Apple show businesses how they can work better if they adopt iOS devices in the workplace, with the creation of an 'Apple practice' boasting a huge staff of advisers, and a new service called Enterprise Next.

The Apple practice will have in excess of 5,000 advisers – iOS specialists including designers, developers and industry experts – who will be on hand to push the benefits of the iPhone and iPad, and to underline exactly how companies can make them work best and use iOS hardware to ramp up their levels of productivity.

There will be dedicated teams of iOS experts across the Americas, EMEA and APAC regions, advising firms on how to improve every aspect of their business from dealing with customers through to recruitment, research and development, managing inventory, supply chains, and running back-office systems.

As for the Enterprise Next service that will be the second major pillar of this Apple and Deloitte partnership, that's designed to ensure customers take full advantage of iOS, via tools and workshops which help organisations spot where custom-built apps could help push their business forwards, and then to swiftly realise those apps through rapid prototyping.

Value maps

Value maps

The overall idea is for iOS specialists to help companies spot opportunities using processes such as 'value maps', and subsequently build "high-quality native apps that integrate seamlessly with existing business platforms", with libraries of pre-integrated solutions on offer to further accelerate the design and deployment of software.

Punit Renjen, CEO of Deloitte Global, commented: "We know that iOS is the best mobile platform for business because we've experienced the benefit ourselves with over 100,000 iOS devices in use by Deloitte's workforce, running 75 custom apps.

"Our dedicated Apple practice will give global businesses the expertise and resources they need to empower their mobile workforce to take advantage of the powerful ecosystem iOS, iPhone and iPad offer, and help them achieve their ambitions, while driving efficiency and productivity."

Continue reading »

Apple’s new partnership shows that it means business

Apple's new partnership shows that it means business

Deloitte is to help Apple show businesses how they can work better if they adopt iOS devices in the workplace, with the creation of an 'Apple practice' boasting a huge staff of advisers, and a new service called Enterprise Next.

The Apple practice will have in excess of 5,000 advisers – iOS specialists including designers, developers and industry experts – who will be on hand to push the benefits of the iPhone and iPad, and to underline exactly how companies can make them work best and use iOS hardware to ramp up their levels of productivity.

There will be dedicated teams of iOS experts across the Americas, EMEA and APAC regions, advising firms on how to improve every aspect of their business from dealing with customers through to recruitment, research and development, managing inventory, supply chains, and running back-office systems.

As for the Enterprise Next service that will be the second major pillar of this Apple and Deloitte partnership, that's designed to ensure customers take full advantage of iOS, via tools and workshops which help organisations spot where custom-built apps could help push their business forwards, and then to swiftly realise those apps through rapid prototyping.

Value maps

Value maps

The overall idea is for iOS specialists to help companies spot opportunities using processes such as 'value maps', and subsequently build "high-quality native apps that integrate seamlessly with existing business platforms", with libraries of pre-integrated solutions on offer to further accelerate the design and deployment of software.

Punit Renjen, CEO of Deloitte Global, commented: "We know that iOS is the best mobile platform for business because we've experienced the benefit ourselves with over 100,000 iOS devices in use by Deloitte's workforce, running 75 custom apps.

"Our dedicated Apple practice will give global businesses the expertise and resources they need to empower their mobile workforce to take advantage of the powerful ecosystem iOS, iPhone and iPad offer, and help them achieve their ambitions, while driving efficiency and productivity."

Continue reading »