One of the things that sucks about digital media is the fact that until now, once it was downloaded, that was it. No trade-ins, no selling them to friends or someone over the Internet. But, the Court of Justice of the European Union thinks you should be able to resell those games.
The court thinks consumers should be able to resell any software they buy, no matter if it was physical media, or in a downloadable form. Where did this judgment pop up from? A case involving UsedSoft, who is a company that resells Oracle licenses acquired from previous owners. Oracle tried to stop UsedSoft from selling licenses, but it didn't fare well for Oracle. You can check out the full ruling here, as well as the official press release, a snippet can be seen below:
Under that directive, the first sale in the EU of a copy of a computer program by the copyright holder or with his consent exhausts the right of distribution of that copy in the EU. A rightholder who has marketed a copy in the territory of a Member State of the EU thus loses the right to rely on his monopoly of exploitation in order to oppose the resale of that copy. In the present case, Oracle claims that the principle of exhaustion laid down by the directive does not apply to user licences for computer programs downloaded from the internet.
Samsung are expected to release their financial results for the latest quarter later on in the month, but the company is expecting to post a near-$6 billion profit. This quarterly profit can be attributed to the great sales of their GALAXY S III smartphone.
Executives within Samsung are still anxious about the rumblings in the euro zone, where debt concerns could threaten Samsung's sales successes. Analysts are pegging Samsung's April-June operating profit to surge 77-percent to $5.9 billion from the same quarter a year ago. Comparing this quarter to the January-March quarter, this is a nice 14-percent increase, which previously held the quarterly profit record.
Samsung's mobile division has been the strongest part of this, driving most of the profits. With profits doubling year-over-year on the sale of around 50 million smartphones. Mobile now accounts for more than 70-percent of Samsung's earnings. Samsung do still have to worry about the European debt crisis, as Europe is Samsung's largest consumer electronics market, so the company fears they may have to cut costs and increases prices if the value of the euro drops.
Seagate are looking to expect revenues of $4.5 billion for the quarter, $500 million less than they previous expected. The company has said this is due to a supply quality issue, and a slower-than-expected rate of market share growth.
Seagate just last month said they would acquire LaCie, and have also said their gross margins on a non-GAAP basis would be lower than expected, by nearly a full percentage point. Seagate's shares fell by 64 cents, or a little over 2.5-percent, in after-hours trading to $24.44, after closing at $25.08 during the regular session. Seagate's shares have increased more than 55-percent this year.
The Thailand floods last year definitely caused the hard drive manufacturer some issues, considering Western Digital was hit with the brunt of the supply issues. The HDD industry didn't just die, but it has taken Seagate a little while longer to get where they'd like to be.
Last year, HTC launched a London-based lawsuit as part of an effort to invalidate European patents that Apple had referred to in a German court case. Apple countersued, and here we are today. A judge has ruled that HTC has not infringed on four technologies that Apple claim as their own.
The judge has said that Apple's slide-to-unlock feature was an "obvious" development in the light of a similar function on an earlier Swedish handset. Apple has used this patent in disputes against other companies using Google's mobile operating system, Android. The four patents discussed were:
- Unlocking a device by performing a gesture on an image.
- The use of a multilingual keyboard offering different alphabets on portable devices, including mobile phones.
- A system to determine which elements of a screen were activated by single-finger touches; which were activated multi-finger touches and which ignored touches altogether.
- Letting a user drag an image beyond its limits and then showing it bounce back into place to illustrate that they had reached its furthest edge.
According to analyst Horace Dediu of Asymco, who has used a chart to show the ratio of PCs to Macs sold each year since the early 1980s. The chart shows Apple's temporary victory, as well as teh meteoric rise Microsoft took in the mid-2000s. But, we're seeing Apple's resurgence over the last 8 years or so.
This chart shows that the ratio has fallen back to level not seen since the mid-90s. A very important note, is that this chart only shows PCs vs. Macs, actual full-fledged computers that Apple doesn't really sell that much of. Another fact is that if the chart included iPhones and iPads, which given the constantly blurred lines of "what is a PC", the chart would be much more interesting.
We know PCs thrash Mac sales, but this would be more BYO (build your own) versus off-the-shelf systems from Dell, HP, and co. We know that Apple are definitely on their way back, but I think we have a long time before they'll ever see the numbers that Windows-based systems do.
Californian courts have been busy this week, first we had the Samsung vs. Apple patent infringements, and now we have a Californian jury decreed that Toshiba is guilty of conspiracy involving other Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese LCD manufacturers to keep LCD panel prices artificially high between 1999 and 2006.
The jury found that Toshiba is liable for $87 million in damages, $17 million to businesses, and $70 million to consumers. Under antitrust law, defendants can be assessed damages of three times the jury's ruling, so in this case, $261 million. Toshiba was the only defendant in the suit, and have claimed they've done nothing wrong.
Spokesman Julius Christensen said in an e-mail statement: "Toshiba plans to pursue all available legal avenues to correct that finding." He adds that Toshiba has "consistently maintained that there was no illegal activity on its part in the LCD business in the United States."
But, company lawyers tried to argue that the well-documented hotel meetings of executives from various LCD makers were for 'legitimate reasons'. Toshiba also claimed they never made the specific TFT-LCD that was the subject of the price-fixing meetings at the hotel. Back in December of 2011, Sharp and Samsung Electronics agreed to pay $927 million in settlements, AU Optronics reached a settlement in March said to be worth up to $1 billion, and LG Display followed on May 1 for an undisclosed amount.
Once again proving that users of the Internet are capable of influencing politicians, the European Parliament has done their job by listening to the people and voting against ACTA. ACTA, for those who don't remember, was a treaty that would have been extremely dangerous for users of the Internet. It was deceptive and pushed by special interest groups.
The vote ended up having 478 against, 39 in favor and 165 abstentions. Thanks to SOPA showing the world that Internet users wouldn't allow special interest groups to pressure the government into making laws, the unknown ACTA was brought to the forefront of the Internet users' attention and they rallied again, this time against ACTA.
It truly was the activists that made this happen. Members of the European Parliament have been thanking and praising activists across the EU for bring their attention to just how bad of a treaty this was. However, technically the treaty could still come into force between the United States and several other countries.
Many of those other countries have already rejected ACTA in practice so it would be between the United States and Morocco. Without the EU, though, ACTA just doesn't have the support needed to be of any use to the special interest groups. There will always be more bad bills being pushed by special interest groups as it is their 9-5 job. And we will be there to alert you to them.
From Amazon's latest business move, it would seem like the company behind the Kindle Fire, and one of the biggest e-tailers in the world is getting into the 3D mapping business. Amazon have just acquired the four-person, 3D mapping company 'UpNext'.
Details of the deal aren't available, but one can assume that Amazon is interesting in UpNext's mapping technology, and could be applied to applied to a future Amazon service, or product. But the problem is that none of the current Kindles sport GPS capabilities, which means providing maps on Amazon-branded products doesn't make sense, yet. But with news of a new Kindle Fire on its way, maybe the next-gen Fire will have GPS capabilities, and the first version of the company's newly acquired talent.
Amazon could choose to bake the mapping technology into their various iOS- or Android-based apps, or they could even release their own stand-alone navigation software, Amazon have the power to do it. The future of Amazon just got a lot more mappy.
Google have just filed a very interesting new patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) where it would see the company using the filed patent to use video frames to generate clusters of face representations that are attached to a given person.
The system would then record what a person looks like from various angles, and the company could then attach a name and face whenever that person is shown in a clip, even with bad lighting conditions or angles. This would give YouTube viewers the same abilities as Flickr, where they could tag people in videos, but could also spot people in augmented reality apps and get their details.
Considering Google have Project Glass, this seems like such a natural evolution of the project. Imagine being able to wear the Glasses, and see someone in front of you - the system could eventually be smart enough to pull details of that person from the cloud. You'd never forget their birthday, or important conversation starters - like stats on the person, married, kids, new job, etc. Google are really going to make this work with Glass in my opinion.
With the way the industry is going, a totally-digital approach just doesn't seem as crazy as it did 5, or 10 years ago. EA have been one of the first companies to come out and say it's "inevitable" that they will soon become a 100-percent digital company.
EA already make bundles of cash from the sale of digital content, with the company expecting to make nearly $2 billion from digital content this financial year. EA are already imagining a future where all of their money is made from digital content, and that future is sooner, rather than later. EA Labels boss, Frank Dibeau has told GamesIndustry International:
It's in the near future. It's coming. We have a clear line of sight on it and we're excited about it. Retail is a great channel for us. We have great relationships with our partners there. At the same time, the ultimate relationship is the connection that we have with the gamer. If the gamer wants to get the game through a digital download and that's the best way for them to get it, that's what we're going to do.
Google to push out software update to Nexus 'immediately', Samsung and Google to avoid infringing on Apple patent
Google's Nexus smartphone may have been banned from selling in the U.S., but don't think that Google are going to sit around just googling a solution to this problem. Samsung and Google look to have a software patch that they believe avoids infringing on Apple's patent that led them to the injunction in the first place. This update is said to be pushed out 'immediately', according to Google.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh ruled late last week that the GALAXY Nexus had infringed on four Apple patents, but the injunction was issued based specifically on a patent related to universal search. Google and Samsung will most likely challenge the validity of the patent, where they will seek a re-examination by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
If you have a GALAXY Nexus and see the patch - do let us know by commenting on this story, e-mailing us, or posting on our Facebook wall.
Samsung had endured a ban of sales to their GALAXY Tab 10.1 thanks to Apple and their ongoing patent war with the Korean company, but Samsung requested to lift the ban on the tablet, but were rejected by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh.
There is a planned patent trial this month, but the rejection of Samsung's request to lift the sales ban is yet another bang against Apple's victorious patent trolling drum. Samsung have said in a statement:
Samsung is disappointed with the court's decision that denied our motion to stay. We believe today's ruling will ultimately reduce the availability of superior technological features to consumers in the United States.
The next time the two tablet-making companies head into court is later this month, on July 30. The news from that court room should be quite interesting, and we'll report on that when it happens.
Judge rules public Twitter posts can be used against you in court and accessed without a search warrant
In a ruling sure to have far-reaching consequences for how online speech is treated under the law, Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Sciarrino said that public Tweets do not have the same protection as private speech. In other words, what you say online publicly, i.e. Facebook update, Tweet, or otherwise, can be accessed and used against you in court sans a search warrent.
"The Constitution gives you the right to post, but as numerous people have learned, there are still consequences for your public posts," wrote Sciarrino in his ruling. "What you give to the public belongs to the public. What you keep to yourself belongs only to you."
A little back story: Harris, the person directly affected by this ruling, was arrested during the Occupy Wall Street protests when he, along with many others, walked down the roadway of the Brooklyn Bridge as opposed to the sidewalk. Before this march, he had deleted several Tweets that prosecutors believe contain evidence that directly contradicts one of his defenses.
He asserts that the police led the march and the prosecutors believe the Tweets say otherwise. Just in May, Twitter stepped up and filed a motion to squash the subpoena saying that the users retained ownership of their respective Tweets. This meant it wasn't their data to give up. The judge's ruling, however, grants ownership to the "public" rather than the user, if they are posted publicly.
It has finally been confirmed that music streaming service, MOG, has been acquired by Beats. Details of the acquisition aren't being made available to the public, but GigaOm initially reported that the price could have been hovering around $14 million, but sources close to MOG later said that the number was "significantly higher".
USA Today spoke to MOG founder and CEO David Hyman over e-mail, where he said:
The addition of MOG's music service to the Beats portfolio will provide a truly end-to-end music experience.
It's definitely an interesting move, with big players like Spotify being huge competition, and very established. But Beats' relationship with HTC will help them. Selling smartphones with Beats headphones and MOG trials with discounted subscriptions for example, could very well be the future for HTC.
The latest quarterly data from ComScore is in for the US smartphone market, and Android is still top dog with 50.9-percent of the market, up 0.8-percent. Apple has grown 1.7-percent to take 31.9-percent of the pie, Research in Motion has dropped 2 points to 11.4-percent, Microsoft is up a tenth of a point to 4-percent, and Symbian continues to fade, dropping 0.4-percent to 1.1-percent.
Who's the leading phone maker in the US? Samsung. Samsung take 25.7-percent of the market, gaining 0.1-percent this quarter. LG slipped 0.3 points to 19.1-percent, while iPhone maker Apple takes just 15-percent. Motorola is down 0.8 points to 12-percent, in fifth place sits HTC with 6.1-percent of the market, up 0.2 points this quarter.
With the current legal battles between Apple, Samsung and now Samsung's ally, Google, things should get more interesting with these numbers over the coming months.
Microsoft purchased aQuantive, an online advertising service, back in 2007 for $6.3 billion, and since then, Microsoft's online department has reported $9 billion in losses. Now Microsoft is poised to take a one-time $6.2 billion charge to offset the lack of revenue from aQuantive.
The non-cash charge is most likely going to push Microsoft $1 billion into the red for their fourth fiscal quarter ending in June, assuming that the $5.3 billion in profits pre-charge are correct. We should expect Microsoft's quarterly results on July 19. At the time of the deal, it was the largest Microsoft had ever made, and until the $7 billion Skype acquisition, it still was.
Considering that at the time, in order to counter Microsoft's acquisition of aQuantive, Google scooped up aQuantive's competitor, DoubleClick the year after. DoubleClick earned Google $9.7 billion in the last twelve months on $38 billion in revenue, mostly from advertisements. Microsoft have said in a statement:
The aQuantive acquisition continues to provide tools for Microsofts online advertising efforts, the acquisition did not accelerate growth to the degree anticipated, contributing to the write down.
Bankrupt Japanese chipset maker, Elpida Memory Inc., is set to be acquired by Micron Technology Inc. for an estimated 200 billion yen ($2.5 billion), according to the Nikkei newspaper. Out of this $2.5 billion, Micron will use $1.76 billion of it to pay Elpida's debts, leaving as much as 70-percent of Elpida's liabilities unpaid.
The Nikkei wouldn't disclose where they got the information from, unfortunately. Micron will then invest 100 billion yen in Elpida facilities including their plant in Hiroshima, Japan, in order to boost output of DRAM chips. After acquiring Elpida, it should double Micron's share of the global DRAM market, up to around 24-percent. Considering Micron are an Apple supplier, this should only be good news for both Micron, and Apple.
It will help the company compete with currently industry leader Samsung, as well as give them greater control over supply gaps that have caused the company to endure four straight quarterly losses, even though DRAM prices have fallen. Micron shares jumped 4.4-percent, the most since March 13, to close at $5.97 yesterday.
Google's Vice President of Americas Sales, Margo Georgiadis, took to the company's blog to say that the Internet is where business is done and jobs are created. How do you back up such as claim? Well, if you're Google, you can provide $80 billion of economic activity directly to advertisers, website publishers and nonprofit organizations across the US in 2011.
The post highlight that 97-percent of Americans use Internet search to find local goods and services, on both smart devices and computers. Some believe that technology is driving people to shop online versus locally, this isn't always the case.
Boston Consulting Group shows that US citizens who have researched products online throughout 2011 actually went in-store to purchase these goods, and spent around $2,000, rather than online. Google says that's nearly $500 billion in revenue that was spent on local retail. Georgiadis cites a bunch of examples of just how Google and the Internet are helping businesses expand. Citing New England baking company King Arthur Flour, who recently jumped online and has since become an internationally-renowned business.
Google's freshly-announced Nexus 7 tablet was only announced last week, but Nokia have already claimed that the 7-inch tablet infringes on some of their patents in regards to Wi-Fi technology. The Inquirer believes that these patents have to do with the IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi standard.
A Nokia spokesperson has said to The Inquirer that they have more than 40 licensees under their standards essential patent portfolio which includes most of the mobile phone device makers. But, Google, nor ASUS are licensed under this patent portfolio. The Nokia spokesperson said that the two companies who have not licensed up should simply approach them and sign up for licensing rights.
We will most likely see Nokia going after Google and ASUS for licensing, instead of trying to push legal injunctions against them. You know, like other companies do when they're the biggest competitor to their precious iProducts.
Samsung's spun-out LED business Samsung Displays has completed its merger between the three-month old entity, and its Samsung Mobile Display and S-LCD corporations. The deal has created the world's largest display manufacturer, which happened back in April, but the latest news moves push the business to have 39,000 employees with seven production facilities across the world.
Oh-hyun Kwon, vice chairman and CEO of Samsung Electronics, spoke at an investor meeting about the revised company, where he talked of the combined efforts will help the company develop its business:
Samsung Display is destined to attain virtually unlimited growth, through continuous efforts to combine our proven know-how in the display field with an overwhelming creative spirit. Our combined strengths will guide Samsung's display business through the next decade and longer, in turning the many synergistic benefits of the company into far-reaching, tangible results.
Late last year, a Chinese court rejected Apple's iPad trademark infringement case toward Proview, after which Apple appealed in February, and now they've settled with the company who owned the iPad trademark in China, Proview.
Apple settled with Proview for the tidy sum of $60 million, reports the Associated Press. Apple ending up coughing the dough up to Proview for the rights to the "iPad" trademark in China.
The original talks earlier this year had Apple offering Proview $16 million to settle the case, but Proview were holding out for a $400 million settlement, as the company were looking to plug the holes in their business' looming bankruptcy problems. Proview can't complain, a settlement of $60 million is not bad at all.