It looks as though Apple aren't having much luck in court rooms outside the United States, as the Court of Appeal of England and Wales has ordered the Cupertino-based company to pay the legal fees of Samsung on an 'indemnity basis' after the company published a "false and misleading" notice in the aftermath of a patent lawsuit over the iPad.
The judgement looks to embarrass Apple, requires the iPad maker to pay for all expenses associated with Samsung's legal defense, with any disputes over the exact amount likely be to resolved in Samsung's favor - ouch.
After losing an appeal in October, Apple were ordered to publish a notice on their front page of their UK website which has been deemed inaccurate. Apple complied with the court's wishes, but were sly and added some statements which according to the court were "calculated to product huge confusion". Included in these statements were a reference to a separate US verdict that saw Apple awarded more than $1 billion in damages.
On one side of the fence, I like patents - it protects important intellectual property - but on the other hand, it can really hold back essential building blocks for our future.
Well, one would think that the space venture from entrepreneur Elon Musk, SpaceX, would hold tonnes of patents. The answer is a flat 'no'. During an interview with Chris Anderson at Wired, Musk was quoted:
We have essentially no patents in SpaceX. Our primary long-term competition is in China. If we published patents, it would be farcical, because the Chinese would just use them as a recipe book.
We might see SpaceX adopt patents in the future, but for now they're just holding their special eleven herbs and spices as trade secrets.
Well, what's going on here you ask? Apple and HTC have come out over the weekend announcing that there's been a settlement agreed to, that resolves all of their existing patent disputes - yes, Apple have settled a patent agreement nicely for once.
The agreement is a "global settlement", dismissing all currently Apple and HTC complaints under a new ten-year license agreement, covering current and future patents held by each company. Both companies have said through a press release that the terms of the settlement are confidential.
HTC rep Jeff Gordon told The Verge that the company "does not expect this license agreement to have any adverse material impact on the financials of the company", this means that it won't cost HTC an arm and a leg. We're seeing HTC have some wins here, as they can now use some features that Samsung can't, such as slide-to-unlock, universal search and other disputed features.
It looks as though Apple have paid $21 million to settle a copyright dispute with SBB over their iconic railway clock, reports Mobile Geeks. At the time of iOS 6's launch, the news started floating out that there was an agreement between SBB and Apple.
This agreement didn't come with a monetary value attached to it, but The Daily News have reported that neither party would disclose whether the payment was above 20 million Swiss francs. Apple would've been stuck between a rock and a hard place with this decision.
On one hand, Apple were very quick to just throw a huge sum at SBB - but there could've been a nasty lawsuit and a ban on any device which sports iOS 6 out of the box - such as the iPhone 5. On the other hand, they could've reworked the design but this would've taken both time and money.
Lenovo has announced today that they are planning on sharing their proprietary battery design technology with the PC industry "in the interests of public safety and improving the level of engineering in notebook personal computer designs worldwide." This is more likely a ploy to get good will, but it will surely be appreciated by end-consumers who should receive better products.
"Battery design is an issue of crucial importance to business and computing," said Peter Hortensius, senior vice president, Lenovo notebook business unit. "As the personal computer business examines standards and design criteria for the best use of lithium ion batteries, Lenovo is contributing its engineering and design leadership. No make of battery is 100 percent immune from failure, but Lenovo strongly believes in safety first. These engineering specifications show our approach to battery management, and we believe they will move the PC industry as a whole toward safer battery standards."
The shared information will include redundant protections, failure detection, thermal conditions and protection, charging methodology, voltage protection, and mechanical design. The information will be shared with industry standards organizations so that other manufacturers may take advantage of advancements that Lenovo has made.
TheNextWeb caught an interesting fact in an otherwise typically boring PR statement today. The quote: "We've welcomed more than 15 million customers and counting so far." This number is in relation to their 30 Microsoft stores around the world. 15 million is no small number, though it's probably quite a bit less than Apple.
Microsoft's stores have clearly paid off as bringing in 15 million is not an easy feat. These stores will become increasingly important with Microsoft releasing its own hardware, along with the release of Windows 8 and its steep learning curve. Microsoft could ease some of the learning pain if they copy Apple's in-store education program.
With more Microsoft stores popping up all the time, and numerous holiday pop-up stores showing up, this 15 million number will likely increase greatly as consumers take to their holiday shopping. The Surface has been selling well and it's likely many people will want to come try it out in the store.
Apple is at the receiving end of another lawsuit. This lawsuit is another brought by VirnetX, who recently won $368 million from Apple after a jury ruled that Apple was infringing on patents owned by the company. The new lawsuit is a very similar lawsuit to the last, in that it is dealing with the same patents.
The new lawsuit is suing over the iPhone 5 and iPad mini, which were not released during the last lawsuit's time period. This means that VirnetX did not get any sort of award for these devices, and they feel they should. "Due to their release dates, these products were not included in the previous lawsuit that concluded with a Jury verdict on November 6, 2012," VirnetX said in a statement.
With the first case hardly settled, Apple has not issued a formal response to the latest lawsuit. Apple is widely expected to appeal the former lawsuit, and fight this one tooth and nail. Since the lawsuit is basically the same, at least in terms of patents and how Apple is infringing, one would expect Apple to lose this case as well. But with a new jury, the results could be widely different. It will be an interesting case to watch.
I'm based in Australia and I'm completely against mandatory filtering by my ISP - sure, they probably already do it (I could place bets on this), but the Australian government have stepped up and announced they're dropping their plans of a mandatory ISP filter:
The Federal Government has formally abandoned plans to introduce legislation for mandatory ISP filtering, closing a dark chapter in politics concerning Australia's internet.
But - come on, you knew there'd be a but - they still want Australian Net feeds to be filtered:
Instead, internet service providers will be directed by the Government and the Australian Federal Police to block "child abuse websites" that feature on an INTERPOL block list.
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said in a statement that "Australia's largest ISPs have been issued notices requiring them to block these illegal sites in accordance with their obligations under the Telecommunications Act 1997".
Google offers Free Zone to the Philippines - Google+, Gmail and Google Search all free, and without a data plan
Google are a great company, and to better this, they've just inked a deal with Filipino carrier Globe, to test out free access to their services. Available right now, Google's Free Zone lets any internet-enabled phone to access Google+, Gmail or Google Search, all without the need of a data plan.
This is mainly aimed at feature phones, allowing a user to load up pages from search results without having to pay for anything. There's no usage cap, but if you were to go into a page from the search results, access a Gmail attachment, or open links from within Google+, you'll be prompted to accept the charges, or sign up for a plan before this even happens.
The Philippines is the first market to receive Free Zone, but Google have much broader plans which is "aimed at the next billion users of the Internet, many of whom will be in emerging markets". You'll have some advertising flashed in front of your face, but nothing is truly free now, is it?
It looks as though Samsung have shipped quite a lot of Galaxy S III's this quarter, as they have just dethroned Apple's iPhone 4S as the best-selling smartphone for Q3 2012 according to Strategy Analytics' latest numbers.
Strategy Analytics' latest numbers for Q3 2012 show that there were 18 million Galaxy S III's sold worldwide, compared to 16.2 million for the iPhone 4S and just 6 million for the new iPhone 5.
Of course, there are reasons why people didn't jump on the iPhone 4S, as the iPhone 5 was right around the corner. But, it's great to see that the king is being dethroned in more ways than one, with their stock prices continuing to tank. We might have another Facebook on our hands here.
AT&T's latest plans are a mammoth investment in both its wireless and wireline infrastructure, where over the next three years the company will invest a total of $14 billion into the infrastructure.
$8 billion goes into wireless, with the remaining $6 billion in wireline, in order to improve all aspects of their service. AT&T's 4G LTE network has been expanding nicely, but this huge kick in the rear in terms of funding will see it grow even quicker.
AT&T's new goals are to provide 300 million Americans with 4G LTE coverage by the end of 2014.
DigiTimes is reporting that Foxconn is planning to set up manufacturing plants in the United States. Foxconn is the manufacturer behind popular products such as the iPhone and other electronic devices. Companies contract with them to build the designs that they create, for instance the WiiU from Nintendo.
According to DigiTimes, market watchers say that Foxconn is looking at cities such as Detroit and Los Angeles to build a new factory. The new factory is expected to build LCD TVs, since this task can be highly automated and wouldn't benefit much from the cheap labor available in China. It would also bring some goodwill to the company, which has seen many complaints as of late.
Foxconn is also planning on creating a training program to help US-based engineers learn Chinese and product manufacturing and design. The program would bring US engineers over to China or Taiwan, whereupon they would learn Chinese and take part in the processes of product design and manufacturing.
NVIDIA has reported their financial earnings today and they have posted some impressive numbers. NVIDIA pulled in a whopping $1.2 billion, which is a new record for the company. Net income was $209.1 million, with a non-GAAP income of $245.5 million. Because of these great results, NVIDIA has issued a quarterly dividend of $0.075 per share.
"Investments in our new growth strategies paid off this quarter in record revenues and margins," said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and chief executive officer of NVIDIA. "Kepler GPUs are winning across the special-purpose PC markets we serve, from gaming to design to supercomputing. And Tegra is powering some of the most innovative tablets, phones and cars in the market."
He continued: "We are pleased to start paying our shareholders a quarterly cash dividend. We have confidence in our businesses and our continued ability to grow. Given our strong financial position and ongoing ability to generate cash, we are well positioned to continue investing in our future."
NVIDIA has also announced that it will be extending its share-repurchase program through December 2014. All-in-all, Kepler appears to have contributed to make NVIDIA have a successful Q3 fiscal year 2013.
Qualcomm has struck gold with their Snapdragon S4 processor being baked into many handsets across the world, and their Q4 2012 earnings report mirrors this immensely.
Qualcomm posted earnings for Q4 2012, including a net income of $1.27 billion with revenues of $4.87 billion. From the $1.27 billion, we have a 20% year-over-year increase of profits, and a nice 5% from the previous quarter.
The company is now sitting on a tidy $43 billion in assets and $9.4 billion in liabilities, which has them sitting very comfortably when it comes to the struggling competition.
With Samsung and Apple taking up most profits in the mobile sector, it leaves just scraps to the rest of the market, thus most companies are struggling right now. One of these companies is Sharp, and it looks like Apple analyst Horace Dediu may have discovered something quite worthy of a RumorTT post.
The analyst looked into Apple's 2012 capital expenditures and found some spending which was much higher than Apple previously disclosed. Dediu noticed that Apple had spent $2.3 billion more than it had forecast on "product tooling, manufacturing process equipment and infrastructure".
With other companies like THQ having serious issues, competitor and much bigger juggernaut Activision have posted record revenue for Q3. The company has reported $841 million, up from $754 million in the same period last year.
Activision also delivered record earnings per share of 20 cents, compared to the third quarter of 2011. Their results beat the company's outlook, which saw them hoping to achieve around 6 cents per share over a revenue of $740 million. These results also blew away analysts' expectation, which are better to compare against the company's non-GAAP earnings.
These calculations, excluding some results, saw Activision reporting 15 cents per share in profit on revenue of $751 million. This kills analyst expectations which were projecting just 8 cents per share in profit over revenues of $708 million.
Apple aren't doing too well right now, with their stock prices falling quite bad over the last month or so. On top of this, we have DigiTimes' latest report from sources within the Taiwan-based supply chain companies that shipments of Apple's new MacBook notebooks aren't going to ramp up enough to reach the Cupertino-based company's 2012 goals.
Apple set themselves a target of 30% growth in 2012, but actual growth is much lower than this, expected to reach just 7% year-over-year. Market research firm IDC has estimated that Apple shipped 12.824 million MacBook notebooks in 2011.
Pushing a 30% annual growth rate would have to see Apple ship 16.67 million MacBooks, but DigiTimes' sources estimate that 2012 MacBook shipments will only reach 13.783 million units. DigiTimes says that their sources blame the iDevice makers timing of the MacBook release as the issue, as they didn't launch until late October.
Samsung and Apple's relationship, if defined on Facebook, would be somewhat of an "open relationship". Both of them sleep around, but at the end of the day, rely on each other as much as any other strong relationship.
But now, Samsung is beginning to feel the pain as sources of DigiTimes have said that the South Korean company have had to delay construction on a new logic fabrication facility "due to the possibility of losing a portion of orders for Apple's next-generation application chips".
Samsung is having to turn away from Apple as a strong customer, to hopefully ship more LCD panels to its own electronics division, and to competitor Amazon.
It looks like MegaUpload is in trouble yet again, with the new me.ga domain being hit by the Gabonese government. The republic's Minister of Communications Blaise Lourmbe has said that Gabon will not "serve as a platform or screen for committing acts aimed at violating copyrights, nor be used by unscrupulous people".
This isn't the final nail in MegaUpload's triumphant return, but it is definitely a bump in the road as they will have to let go of using the me.ga domain. Kim Dotcom took to Twitter to talk about losing the domain, saying:
The reach of the US & Vivendi: Gabon Minister announced Me.ga domain will be suspended. Calls cloud storage site cyber crime.
Dotcom has said that he was prepared for this, with alternative domains up his sleeve. The problem is that they aren't as in-your-face as 'me.ga' was.
I wrote an editorial regarding Apple a month ago now, and it seems that my words are ringing more and more true every day that passes. Apple's stock prices hit a peak of just over $700, where virtually every news outlet was covering it.
Now that Apple stock prices are tanking, we're not hearing about it. We're not a biased news site, so you won't just get news when tech companies are doing glowingly well, as it's when they're doing bad that we should really stand up and pay attention. Think about it, in the last month, we've seen some of the biggest releases from Apple, and I would dare say the most amount of releases of top-end products from a company, ever.
We've seen the iPhone 5, fourth-generation new new iPad, the iPad mini, new Retina-based iMacs, the 13-inch MacBook Pro, and new iPods. On top of this we've seen the launch of iOS 6, and OS X Mountain Lion. With all of these releases, one would think that Apple would be hitting the high notes and seeing their stock prices climb, considerably.
Many lawsuit rulings have come down today, and a case of Motorola vs Microsoft has also been partially settled today. Motorola, aka Google, had filed an appeal after judges ruled that Motorola could not enforce a German patent injunction against Microsoft. Judges from the Ninth Circuit in the Western District of Washington denied the appeal.
In Germany, Motorola had been granted an injunction against Windows 7 and the Xbox 360 due to them using an H.264 patent. Microsoft received a temporary restraining order against Motorola in the United States since Microsoft had already brought a breach of contract lawsuit against Motorola in the US.
The restraining order prevented Motorola from enforcing the German sales ban, so Microsoft was able to continue selling Windows 7 and the Xbox 360 in Germany. Motorola looked to get Microsoft to pay more than 100 times the normal rate for the H.264 standard, and Microsoft has, of course, refused to pay.
So, if I lost you in all of that background, let me restate the basic gist of the article: Google lost an appeal against Microsoft regarding enforcing a German sales ban.