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Today's Tech: Huge spectrum price hike could see mobile consumers suffer and UK hacker wins $100k for serious Microsoft bug find

Worldwide PC computer shipments have fallen to their lowest level for the back-to-school period since 2008, a report from market researched Gartner Inc. said. According to the figures, lacklustre demand from students stocking up on back-to-school gadgetry slashed shipments to just 80.3 million units in the third quarter of 2013, working out as an 8.6 per cent decline from the same period last year. Despite the setback, Lenovo hung on to its number one spot in the worldwide market, closely followed by Hewlett-Packard who dominated PC sales in the United States. The overall decline of sales, however, makes it clear that personal computers just don't make the grade for back-to-school students tempted by cheaper tablet technologies.

HTC has suffered yet another blow today, after a French tech site published what it claims are the full specifications of the still-unofficial One Max phablet. NowhereElse was responsible for the leak, which alleges that the new smartphone will pack a 5.9in 1,920 x 1,080 Full HD LCD display, a 4-ultrapixel rear camera and Google's Android 4.3 Jelly Bean operating system. Perhaps surprisingly, the leak also claims that the One Max will hold a 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor – the same as that of the original HTC One – instead of the expected Snapdragon 800 chip. According to the supposed final specs sheet, the giant mobile will weigh "130 grams (with battery TBD)", measuring in at 10.6mm thick. It will also allegedly feature 32GB of internal storage, 2GB of RAM, NFC and 4G connectivity.

Ofcom has today released a consultation, that if agreed, will see mobile network's annual fees for certain spectrum hiked by up to four times, in a move that could see costs passed on to consumers. The consultation deals with 900MHz and 1,800MHz licence fees, for which Ofcom, under direction from the government, argues the current fees paid are out of date, and not in keeping with international norms. Under the plans EE will have the biggest updated bill, with its annual fees increasing from £24.9 million to £107.1 million. This is due to the firm holding the majority of its 4G services on 1800 MHz, after repurposing the spectrum before the 4G auction, which sold off 800MHz and 2.6GHz.

A British hacker has been awarded $100,000 (£62,760) by Microsoft after finding loopholes in the Redmond-based company's operating system that would leave it open to cyber-attacks. Head of vulnerability research at Context Information Security, James Forshaw, is a white-hat; someone who hacks companies' security systems in return for a reward. Working from the London-based consulting firm, Forshaw hacked into Microsoft's operating systems in such a way that, if he were launching a malicious cyber-attack, he would have compromised all software running on Microsoft platforms. The vulnerabilities he discovered are so serious that the multinational corporation refuses to reveal specific details of the hack until all its software has been updated.