Motorola have been stirring up some problems for Apple in Germany, where they won an injunction on iCloud and also enforced a previous ruling where it requires Apple to pull some iPhone mobiles from stores in Germany. The sales ban last just hours, after which Apple managed to win a suspension later in the day.
New details have emerged from the battle between Motorola and Apple, where they've said that Motorola Mobility's legal complaints against Apple, want 2.25-percent of Apple's sales of wireless devices in exchange for a patent license covering Motorola's intellectual property. If Motorola wins this, they could receive $2.1 billion in retroactive fees from iPhone revenues dating back to 2007, which amount to a slither under $93 billion. This is before factoring in 3G iPad sales.
Which patent do Motorola have a grip over Apple on? Its 3G/UMTS patent, has recently been declared essential in implementing open industry standards and because of that, Motorola must license it under FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms to any competitor that requires it.
Apple has denied the fee, and is now filing motions to obtain information from other handset vendors such as Nokia, HTC, LG, and Sony Ericsson to find out what sort of royalty fees they're paying to Motorola. If Apple proves that Motorola are abusing its FRAND patents, then it could throw Motorola into an anti-trust investigation with the European Commission.
BTJunkie was one of top five BitTorrent sites out there, and has after 7 years in operation, decided to voluntarily shut down. This closure is sure to be in relation from the growing pressure from authorities in the U.S. and around the world, with MegaUpload taking the first big blow, as well as The Pirate Bay.
BTJunkie wasn't attacked by the authorities, so this looks like a preemptive move to avoid future legal action, and/or arrests. BTJunkie had boasted 80 million users at one point, and in its farewell message, BTJunkie wrote:
This is the end of the line my friends. The decision does not come easy, but we've decided to voluntarily shut down. We've been fighting for years for your right to communicate, but it's time to move on. It's been an experience of a lifetime, we wish you all the best!
Samsung's anti-Apple Super Bowl TV spot was shown just a few hours ago, dubbed "Next Big Thing". The ad shows off Samsung's 5.3-inch smartphone, the Galaxy Note.
The takes a stab at the religious-like Apple line ups for their new iDevices. The towns of San Francisco, Calif, Boston, Ma. and Denver, Co., burst into non-choreographed flash mobs, when they meet "The Thing Called Love," and by the thing called love, it's Samsung's Galaxy Note.
Considering that the Super Bowl ads were mostly filled with celebrity-laden advertisements for beer and cars, this is somewhat new for Super Bowl of late. Samsung were one of the only tech-based companies pushing their wares. Go, Samsung?
Anonymous have had an eventful 2012 thus far, with news today that they've intercepted and recorded a conference call that took place between the FBI and the British police cybercrime division of Scotland Yard on January 17.
Anonymous have now released an audio recording of the nearly 15 minutes of conversation online. During the call, the two parties discussed something quite important, a hacker plot called "Project Mayhem". What is Project Mayhem you ask? Well, it's only a strategy for bringing down Anonymous, you can now understand why this is of importance for Anonymous.
The two parties specifically talk about back arrests of members known as "Kayla" and "Tee-flow", as well as getting Ryan Cleary's indecent images which were found by the USAF who examined his hard drive and 15-year-old "Tehwongz" who has claimed to of hacked 32,000 Steam user names, logins and credit card details.
Apple don't have a TV on the market, where their biggest competitor in the smartphone market, Samsung, sure do have that market with their fist around it, tightly. The latest coming from Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, has said that the Cupertino-based company has been checking out the TV component supply chain, in preparations of entering the TV market.
Munster wrote in a note to clients today:
In January we spoke with a major TV component supplier who has been contacted by Apple regarding various capabilities of their television display components. We see this as continued evidence that Apple is exploring production of a television. This latest data point follows January 2011 meetings in Asia that led us to believe Apple was investing in manufacturing facilities for LCD displays ranging from 3.5" mobile displays to 50" television displays.
Now I'm beginning to wonder. A consumer walks into a store that sells a bunch of different branded TVs, as well as Apple products. Said customer sees a 50-inch Apple TV for, I'm guessing here, $3999 and sees a 55-inch Samsung OLED TV, which makes the Apple screen look like a 640x480 CRT, and is $3499. Which would the customer buy?
The scary answer? Most like Apple, because of that darn attractive picture of fruit on the front. Go, Apple, go.
Thought MegaUpload was bad? Well, 6 petabytes of illegal content has been discovered at the Ukrainian equivalent of MegaUpload
Well, well. MegaUpload may have taken an arrow to the knee, but now we're seeing the cracks get wider, and the numbers are widening. Ex.ua, the Ukrainian equivalent of MegaUpload has been forced offline in the Ukraine. You've probably never heard of it, but Ex.ua is absolutely huge. Ex.ua accounts for between 16- and 36-percent of Internet traffic in the country at any one time.
Ex.au's offices were raided by the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, where they seized over 200 servers where they found, get this, over 6 petabytes (6,000 terabytes) of illegal content. There were supposedly 16 people working at the office, and are now looking to face prosecution.
Why did the raids take place? Adobe, Microsoft, and Graphisoft had made complaints in relation to copyright infringement. After which, an investigation was launched and had lasted six months before action had taken place.
Ukrainian ISPs should expect traffic to go down, and make less profits.
Ukrainian resident? Please drop me a line to let me know what's going on in your side of the world.
Crackle has launched an Xbox Live app, gives US, UK, Canadian and Australians access to TV shows, movies, for free
I've never heard of Crackle until now, so I've just pushed that rock up off my back and thrown it to the side for now. Crackle is part of Sony Picture Entertainment's video entertainment network, and now gives UK, US, Canadian, and Australians access to a bunch of TV shows and Hollywood movies, all for free.
For free! Free, as in, nothing? Well, Crackle is ad-supported, but it's not a direct competitor of paid-for video-on-demand services such as Netflix, which is also available on the Xbox Live hub, but instead Crackle offers a range of old movies, TV shows and animated series.
Phil Lynch, VP Digital Networks and Games at Sony Pictures Television says:
Crackle is the single best multi-platform source of free, ad-supported Hollywood films and television series. By our continued emphasis on cross-platform distribution, we are bringing an unparalleled viewing experience directly to Crackle's largest demographic of 18-34 males through their Internet-enabled devices. We are thrilled to be part of Xbox LIVE's entertainment expansion.
System-on-a-chip extraordinaire, Qualcomm, have posted their Q1 2012 financial results, with a very nice $4.68 billion in revenue for Q1, a 40-percent increase year-over-year, and 14-percent higher than just last quarter.
Profits were up, too, at $1.4 billion, a 20-percent increase year-over-year, and a 33-percent increase sequentially. MSM chip shipments were great for Qualcomm, seeing 156 million units shipped, a 23-percent increase from last year. September quarter total reported device sales are quite staggering, with approximately $41.4 billion in sales, up 22-percent year-over-year and 6-percent sequentially.
Qualcomm's cash equivalents and marketable securities now total $22 billion at the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2012.
Qualcomm are going quite well, and I think this year will see a continuation of that effort.
This has been going on for quite a while now, but just a few moments ago, Sweden's Supreme Court handed down its decision to not grant leave to appeal in the long-running Pirate Bay criminal trial. What this means is that their previously determined jail sentences and fines handed out to Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm and Carl Lundström will stand.
During the original 2009 trial, Fredrik Neij, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundström all had their sentences decreased, but ordered to pay increased damages that added up to millions of dollars to be handed over to the entertainment company plaintiffs.
The three men filed for a hearing of their case at the Supreme Court, which happened today, and their request was denied. This means that the previously-given sentences now stand, and are final. Peter Sunde aka Brokep, will face 8 months in prison. Fredrik Neij aka TiAMO, is looking at 10 months. Businessman Carl Lundström has just 4 months behind bars. They are all still required to pay a combined $6.8 million in damages.
Facebook has finally, after all this time, speculation and rumors, finally reached their status of hitting an initial public offering (IPO) with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It raised $5 billion, less than the previously speculated $10 billion.
In their S-1 filing, Facebook also mentioned they would begin selling public stock as soon as possible. On top of the IPO news, they released some statistics on Facebook, which are very mind-blowing: Facebook now receives 845 million active users per month, 100 billion friendships, 2.7 billion likes and comments per day, as well as 250 million photos being uploaded every day.
We also found out that Facebook has been profitable for three years now, with revenue of $777 million on profit of $229 million in 2009 alone. Revenue grew 154-percent to $1.974 billion in 2010, and another 88-percent in 2011 to $3.711 billion. Facebook earned $1 billion last year, and are sitting on cash reserves of $3.908 billion.
What would you say Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg earned? Well, a salary of $483,333 in 2011, with a $220,500 bonus for the first half of the year, and $783,529 in other compensations (with $692,679 spent on chartered airplanes). This pay "reflected the impact of his performance in leading our product development efforts, our success in growing Facebook's global user base and developing strong developer and commercial relationships."
Twitter recently gave itself itself the power to censor particular tweets in particular countries, but this latest move tops them all. Two friends had planned a trip the the United States, as most people would dream of doing, with Leigh Van Bryan posting a tweet just weeks before his trip that he was going to "destroy America."
Now, a level-headed person would take that as someone who is excited about going to the U.S. with a friend, and is looking to have a great time. The U.S. didn't see it that way, and did not think it was said in a positive tone, where things escalated, quite a bit. Bryan and his friend, Emily Bunting, arrived at the Los Angeles International Airport, where they were questioned by U.S. special agents who had spotted their tweet.
They were questioned for over five hours, after which they were placed into an illegal immigrants van and were put behind bars, separately, for 12 hours. Bryan was questioned in regards to his tweet, where he jokingly said he would be "digging up Marilyn Monroe." The tweet where the U.S. believed Bryan was a "terrorist" was:
Free this week, for quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America.
Emily on the other hand stated:
Officials told us we were not allowed into the country because of Leigh's tweets. We just wanted to have a good time on holiday. That was all Leigh meant in his tweets.
Sony aren't in a good position right now, with three years of losses behind them, and the potential of a fourth, they're shuffling their CEOs in the near-future. Current CEO, Sir Howard Stringer, will be replaced by Kazuo Hirai, effective April 1.
After the move, Stringer will become chairman of the board after a shareholders meeting in June. Hirai, current PlayStation chief, will try to integrate the unprofitable TV business and computers, with content from Sony's entertainment divisions. Sony have lost a few battles now, with the Walkman losing to Apple's iPod, the Bravia TV's to Samsung, and Nintendo slamming the sales of the PlayStation 3.
Sony reports their third-quarter earnings tomorrow, where they're expected to post a loss. This will be the fourth consecutive year of losses, a first for the company since it was listed back in 1958. Hirai has quite the job ahead of him, I just can't see how he can steer Sony back into profits in the short term.
With Hirai off the PlayStation chief position, what does this mean for the PlayStation 4? Questions need to be answered, Sony.
Hasn't the world, or WikiLeaks, learnt anything? If the U.S. Government wants you, they'll come and get you. No matter what country, no matter if you're not a U.S. citizen, or whether you're on water - they'll find a way. Kim Dotcom would've thought he was safe with MegaUpload, after all. The latest out of WikiLeaks is that they want to move their servers offshore in an attempt to avoid prosecution from the U.S.
Citing "multiple sources within the hacking community," told FoxNews.com that those backing WikiLeaks' founder, Julian Assange, have been working behind the scenes to move the servers to international waters where they would find themselves under maritime law. This means that once they are far enough away from land, then maritime law is what you "report" to.
But moving servers onto the open sea isn't going to solve WikiLeaks problems overnight. Jim Dempsey, Vice President for Public Policy with the Washington, D.C., think tank Center for Democracy and Technology has said that moving the servers offshore wouldn't go any good unless those who are running WikiLeaks also moved offshore, where he's quoted;
Where the data resides isn't what determines jurisdiction. You prosecute real people, you don't prosecute servers. So if the WikiLeaks people want to live on a platform in the North Sea and educate their children there ... for people who have lives, that doesn't make sense.
Electronic Frontier Foundation comes to the rescue for MegaUpload users, will retrieve their non-infringing files
The MegaUpload debacle is in the middle of a complete storm right now, and users who have used the storage provided by MegaUpload are facing the possibility that their files will be completely wiped away and never seen again.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has stepped in, with the help of Carpathia Hosting, where they've announced plans to assess the scope of the issue facing MegaUpload users who are at risk of losing their data. Carpathia has created the website, http://www.MegaRetrieval.com to help users contact EFF. EFF will then take a look at the situation, and if possible, help resolve the issues.
Facebook are now expected to raise $5 billion in a preliminary IPO prospectus on Wednesday morning. This is much less than expected, but could balloon out from here based on investor demand "according to sources close to the deal," reports the International Financing Review.
The smaller deal is reportedly reflecting a decision to start with a conservative base, before deciding whether to increase. Facebook has chosen to hire five bookrunners including Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital and JP Morgan. This list could grow, also.
Facebook are expected to finalise the IPO process by May, if everything goes right with the registration process with the SEC. It has been reported that Facebook have been "unusually guarded" about the process for selecting banks involved in the underwriting syndicate. Obviously because this would be not only a stressful move, but a very strategic move for their future growth.
Apple appeals Chinese court ruling, where it was rejected the ownership of the iPad trademark in China
Apple are having to appeal a Chinese court ruling in December of last year, where they were rejected of iPad trademark ownership in China. This could open up Apple to trademark infringement lawsuits from a local company. Apple filed an appeal on January 5 with the Higher People's Court of Guangdong Province, according to a statement from Proview International.
Proview International is a small Chinese display monitor company that claims control over the iPad trademark in mainland China, and the same company that is stirring up a storm over at Apple. Apple had originally filed a lawsuit against Proview to take control of the trademark, but back in December of last year, the Shenzhen Municipal Intermediate People's Court rejected Apple's claim.
Within the lawsuit, Apple claimed that a Proview subsidiary in Taiwan had actually sold the iPad trademark rights to a U.K.-based company called "IP Applications." From there, the trademark rights were then sold to Apple in 2010. The Shenzhen court ruled the transfer of trademark rights were only made through Proview's Taiwan subsidiary. Proview's Shenzhen-based company did not actually attend trademark negotiations, and did not formally transfer any trademark rights, according to the court.
Rovio Mobile, the guys and gals behind the crazy successful Angry Birds, has enjoyed much success with their bird-slinging game. Right up to the point where chief executive, Mikael Hed told the Midem conference in Cannes this morning:
We have some issues with piracy, not only in apps, but also especially in the consumer products. There is tons and tons of merchandise out there, especially in Asia, which is not officially licensed products. We could learn a lot from the music industry, and the rather terrible ways the music industry has tried to combat piracy.
Hed explained that Rovio sees it as "futile" to go after pirates through the courts, apart from when it feels the products they are selling are harmful to the Angry Birds brand, or ripping off its fans. Rovio see piracy as a way to attract more fans, even if its not making money from it. This is where Hed is quoted with:
Piracy may not be a bad thing: it can get us more business at the end of the day.
Apple products are thrown into such secrecy that the Cupertino-based company sometimes puts new engineers on fake products, until those new employees can be trusted.
In his book "Inside Apple," author Adam Lashinsky, reported the following tidbit in his new book, and was backed up by a former Apple employee who confirmed it when Lashinsky spoke at LinkedIn the other day. This is what the engineer had to say:
A friend of mine who's a senior engineer at Apple, he works on --or did work on -- fake products I'm sure for the first part of his career, and interviewed for 9 months. It's intense.
The same employee also says that Tim Cook has the charisma to be President. Not President of Apple, but he could replace Obama as the President of the United States. If this happened, maybe all U.S. citizens could expect an iPhone to help stimulate the people?
Micron Technology, an Idaho-based company, is looking to slap down $500 million to purchase a stake in it's Japan-based rival, Elpida.
Previous reports from Taiwanese Nanya Technology and Inotera Memories have both stated that DRAM makers should consider combining forces to help the industry's sustainable development.
This could mean we will see increases of DRAM prices during this year, as 2011 has been an absolutely amazing year for memory pricing. Will we see an increase in pricing of DRAM, as companies get rid of their over-stocked warehouses, and begin to start the process again.
TweakTownTip: Buy your DRAM now if you want to get it cheap, I see it rising in the next few months and even if it doesn't (by a fair margin), it can't get much lower than it is now.
Elpida have refused to comment on this latest move.
Most of us have heard about the MegaUpload debacle, where founder Kim Dotcom was arrested and is now facing some very serious charges. Since MegaUpload was blocked by U.S. authorities, users have not had access to their precious data.
The data of roughly 50 million MegaUpload users stored on servers from third-party storage providers could actually be wiped, even though MegaUpload's lawyers claim it would compromise their ability to defend themselves in court. MegaUpload's lawyers have argued that losing user data would reduce their ability to defend themselves against the charges, as well as affect millions of users who have data on the servers, who are 100-percent innocent.
Ira Rothken, an attorney for MegaUpload says:
We're cautiously optimistic at this point that because the United States, as well as Megaupload, should have a common desire to protect consumers, that this type of agreement will get done
Reuters is reporting that NEC Corp is set to slash an insane 10,000 jobs, which for NEC is nearly one-in-ten of its workers. The slashing of employees is in a move to cut costs as competition from foreign rivals such as Apple are hurting, very badly.
NEC have blamed their poor performance on weak demand for its smartphones (they had smartphones?) against the can't-be-stopped iPhone in Japan, as well as other foreign rivals who are competing against NEC in the domestic IT infrastructure business and difficulty in NEC expanding overseas.
NEC did have a forecast of a 15 billion yen profit from eight analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, but are now warning of posting a 100 billion yen ($1.3 billion) net loss for the year to March 31. As you can see, this is quite the difference, 15 billion to 100 billion.
Most of the employee cuts will be from their mobile phone business, as NEC have cut their annual mobile phone sales projection by close to 25-percent, bring them down to 5 million phones projected to be sold.