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Today's Tech: Smartphones finally outstrip feature phones, Nokia drives Windows OS growth, GCHQ launches cyber-security scheme

Microsoft has been hit with a class-action suit that accuses Redmond of hiding poor Surface RT sales, which resulted in huge losses for company shareholders. Microsoft issued "materially false and misleading financial statements and financial disclosures for the quarter ended March 31, 2013," according to the suit, which was filed in Massachusetts district court. "These false and misleading statements materially misrepresented the true financial effect that Surface RT was then having on the company's operations." Gail Fialkov, a Microsoft stockholder, is listed as the sole plaintiff at this point, but the law firm of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd is encouraging others to join the case in the next 58 days. "Microsoft's foray into the tablet market was an unmitigated disaster, which left it with a large accumulation of excess, over-valued Surface RT inventory," the suit says. But Redmond delayed "Surface RT's day of reckoning" until June, which "eviscerated about $34 billion of the company's market value," according to the suit. The lawsuit seeks to "recover damages on behalf of all purchasers of Microsoft common stock during the Class Period" between 18 April and 18 July.

GCHQ has launched two cyber incident response schemes to help UK organisations and businesses deal with cyber attacks. The initiative has been designed by the security arm of GCHQ along with the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), and the Council of Registered Ethical Security Testers (CREST). The schemes will enable any organisation that may fall victim to cyber attack, from SMEs to multinational corporations, plus government and the wider public sector, to source an accredited incident response service through CREST. The most challenging attacks will be dealt with by GCHQ and CPNI. Following a successful pilot launched in November 2012, it was determined that the wider operation should be split into two arms. The CREST led segment will enable service providers to establish a track record and go on to apply for certification to deal with the most sophisticated cyber-attacks. It is hoped that the CREST standard will act as a foundation to establish a strong UK cyber incident response industry able to tackle the vast majority of cyber-attacks.

Nokia's new Lumia 625 budget 4G smartphone will be available to UK consumers by the end of the month, with a number of networks to offer the affordable handset. Vodafone, O2, EE as well as Carphone Warehouse and Phones4u will all offer the device from 28 August – a date that is just a day before both Vodafone and O2 commence their 4G networks and earlier than the September date touted at the launch. Pricing starts at £21 per month and the phone can be picked up for as little as £179 on pay as you go tariffs. EE, one of the networks to launch the new device, has high hopes that it will extend the company's 4G user-base. "With the new Lumia 625, Nokia is helping to bring even more affordable, quality 4G devices to the market which will ensure 4G experiences are available to a broader audience," Nicola Shenton, head of devices at EE, said.

Smartphone sales sped past feature phones for the first time as they grew by 46.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2013, with Microsoft overtaking BlackBerry to become the number three smartphone OS. Research firm Gartner report that smartphone sales exceeded feature phones for the first time ever, as sales hit 225 million units, with feature phones declining by 21 per cent to 210 million units. Meanwhile, worldwide sales of all mobile phones grew by 3.6 per cent to 435 million units. "Smartphones accounted for 51.8 percent of mobile phone sales in the second quarter of 2013, resulting in smartphone sales surpassing feature phone sales for the first time," said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. The OS that benefitted the most from the increase was Google's Android OS, as its market share grew to 79 per cent in Q2 2013 from 64.2 per cent this time last year. Microsoft celebrated becoming the third largest OS in terms of sales, as its market share increased to 3.3 per cent, leaving BlackBerry with just 2.7 per cent. Apple's iOS, in second place, slipped from having 18.8 per cent of the market in Q2 2012 to 14.2 per cent this time round.