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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 256

Former Sun CEO says Google didn't need license for Java APIs

Time for another update in the oh so fun battle that is Oracle vs Google. Today former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz took the stand as a witness for the defense and proceeded to dispute Oracle's claim and support Google's. He testified that Google did not need a license to use the Java APIs. Oracle contends that Google violated some of its patents around Java and its APIs when producing Android.

 

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When questioned by the defense about whether Java APIs were considered proprietary code of Sun, he said "No. These are open APIs, and we wanted to bring in more people...we wanted to build the biggest tent and invite as many people as possible." His answers corroborated Eric Schmidt's in that what Google did was and is legal.

 

"My understanding is that what we were doing was permissible because of the sum of my experiences and interactions I had," Schmidt said. He added that he was "very comfortable that what we were doing was both legally correct and consistent" with the policies of Google and Sun.

 

Schwartz continued to reiterate that what Google did didn't violate any of Sun's policies or intellectual property. As long as a company didn't call their implementation Java, it was Schwartz's view that they could ship their version without any sort of licensing from Sun. It seems as though this testimony should deal a massive blow to Oracle's case, but it's hard to say how the jurors will see it.

Apple planning to build off-campus restaurant to stop competitors from overhearing staff conversations

In another attempt to further separate Apple from the rest of the world, Apple has just had a planning request approved to build a new off-campus cafeteria for employees. The idea behind this is to prevent competitors from overhearing those common conversations that often take place during lunch. This way employees can discuss secret projects without the fear of the idea being stolen.

 

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The new facility will be 21,468 square feet and will be a short walk from Apple's headquarters. The cafeteria will provide cafes, meeting rooms, lounge areas and courtyard facilities. Apple's director of real estate spells out why the new building will be beneficial:

 

We like to provide a level of security so that people and employees can feel comfortable talking about their business, their research and whatever project they're engineering without fear of competition sort of overhearing their conversations. That is a real issue today in Cupertino because we've got other companies here in our same business.

 

Additionally, the current cafeteria at Apple's HQ isn't private. Visitors can eat there if they are signed in by an employee. The new restaurant won't have this problem since it will be strictly for Apple employees only. This new building is only a stop-gap measure until Apple gets its new 'Spaceship' HQ approved.

Judge sides with Motorola over Microsoft in Xbox 360 patent dispute

Another partial win comes for Motorola today as a judge sides with Motorola that Microsoft is infringing on 4 of the 5 alleged patents. The preliminary decision from US ITC Judge David Shaw sides with Motorola that 4 of Motorola's patents are being infringed upon by Microsoft's Xbox 360.

 

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Two of the patents involve Wi-Fi, two cover H.264 video, and one describes communication between consoles and accessories (5,319,712, 5,357,571, 6,069,896, 6,980,596 and 7,162,094). Shaw found that one of the Wi-Fi patents isn't being infringed upon, but upheld the claims regarding the others.

 

His ruling will be gone over by a six-person committee similar to the Apple ruling that was reported yesterday. Motorola, here again, is trying to ban the selling of the Xbox 360 in the United States, and unlikely as it may be, it could happen. It is probably, however, just a way for Motorola to gain leverage with Microsoft.

 

"Motorola is demanding that Microsoft take its products off the market, or else remove their standards-based ability to play video and connect wirelessly. The only basis for these actions is that these products implement industry standards, on which Motorola claims patents. Yet when the industry adopted these standards, we all were counting on Motorola and every contributor to live up to their promises," Microsoft wrote at the time.

Continue reading 'Judge sides with Motorola over Microsoft in Xbox 360 patent dispute' (full post)

AMD gains x86 processor market share on Intel in Q1

Good news everyone! Even with a somewhat bleak financial report for Q1 2012, AMD has managed to snag some market share back from rival chip giant Intel. While it may not be much, some more market share is better than nothing and should help the company financially going forward if this trend continues.

 

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AMD's market share went from 18.2% to 19.1% whereas rival Intel's dropped from 81% down to 80.2%, according to Mercury Research. AMD remains strong in the desktop market where it has 43% of the market, which is the same as last year. "When you look on it as a quarterly basis, desktop has had some strength relative to mobile," said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research.

 

AMD's mobile segment saw a boost, however, as users opted for cheaper laptops, many of which contained AMD processors. "One of the things that is clear is that the market is adopting new technology faster than it used to. I would expect Ivy Bridge to ramp aggressively," McCarron said. AMD is behind Intel one generation, so keeping competitive isn't the easiest of tasks.

Intel to acquire Cray Supercomputing network patents for a cool $140 million

If you're sitting in a swish hotel lobby one day soon and a few men in suits walk in with a suitcase with a sticker on the side saying "Money Inside", and they're all wearing Intel Inside shirts or something to that effect, you've just witnessed a deal between Intel and Cray for $140 million.

 

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Cray are handing over technological patents to Intel, where they'll receive $140 million in cash for them. The patents include hardware patents concerning interconnect technology that it used to link up multiple processors together to exchange data at high speed. Cray's shares jumped because of the news, with an increase of 24-percent to $8.75 in pre-trading, and are currently climing past $9.

 

Part of the deal includes around 80 of the 800 employees Cray has will be joining Intel. Cray CEO Peter Ungaro has said:

 

This agreement also dramatically strengthens our balance sheet and increases our options for further growth, profitability and creating shareholder value.

Google thought they'd have 1/3 of the tablet market in 2011, missed it

Google had huge expectations for their Android-based tablets back in 2010, where according to a quarterly Android review presented back in 2010 and uncovered by none other than The Verge, Google expected to sell 10 million Android-based tablets in 2011 which woud equate to a 33-percent stake in the tablet market.

 

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Google expected another 10 million sold in 2012 with a 22-percent market share in 2012. At the time, most would've thought that was reasonable of the company to expect, but Apple have been working quite hard at their tablets and the arse kicking of the market.

 

How far off the 10 million mark were the Mountain View-based company? Well, they did sell just over 6 million according to Andy Rubin when he spoke at the AsiaD conference in October of last year. Definitely short of their 10 million expectation. Smartphone-wise, Google are triumphantly kicking ass. Tablets, not so much.

Intel set to challenge EU antitrust fine on July 3

Way way back, at least for computers, Intel was slammed with a massive $1.45 billion fine for atni-competitive practices. This fine was levied by the EU back in May of 2009, so a long time ago at the rate technology changes. It appears that Intel will finally get a long awaited chance to appeal the fine this July 3-6.

 

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The case is set to be heard by an EU General Court between July 3 - July 6. The details on just how Intel may challenge the fine are not known, but it could rely on an ombudsman finding that the European Commission hadn't conducted the investigation properly and, apparently, missed a meeting with Dell.

 

Back when the fine was first levied, EU officials found that Intel was being anti-competitive through its practices in order to dissuade PC makers from using AMD's offerings. Some of these practices accused were pricing the chips so low that it could hurt Intel's finances, but were below were AMD could compete. Intel was also accused of threatening companies that put a lot of effort into selling and marketing AMD-based offerings. More as it comes.

Patent wars continue: Motorola wins hearing in case to ban Apple devices

In the David vs. Goliath case that is Motorola vs. Apple, Motorola has gotten won a partial U.S. International Trade Commission judge's ruling in its attempts to block the import of Apple's iPhone and iPad. The judge has found that Apple has indeed violated one of the four patents that Motorola has accused Apple of violating.

 

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The patent that the judge feels Apple has violated is one that relates to 3G technology. Bloomberg notes that "Pender's findings are subject to review by the six-member commission, which can block imports that infringe U.S. patents." However, in Germany, the same case was heard by another judge and the judge said that Apple hasn't done anything wrong.

 

"These are long wars, and it's one more battle in the war," said Carl Howe, an analyst with Yankee Group. "It's about accumulating as much intellectual property as possible. It's not good for innovation if you do that, but that seems to be where we're heading."

 

The six-member commission should complete its finding by August 23. Should it decide to ban imports of Apple's devices, it would have to go before President Obama and an appeals court that specializes in patent law. "A court in Germany has already ruled that Apple did not infringe on this patent, so we believe we will have a very strong case on appeal," Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman, said.

Continue reading 'Patent wars continue: Motorola wins hearing in case to ban Apple devices' (full post)

Judge rules police can subpoena tweets, even deleted ones without a warrant

In the aftermath of the Occupy protests, about 2000 protesters are being charged with various crimes in a special courtroom set up to oversee these trials. The judge in charge of overseeing this court has just made an important ruling which could affect all of us, but probably not. Criminal Court Judge Matthew Sciarrino Jr. ruled that Tweets could be subpoenaed without a warrant.

 

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He drew a parallel to bank records and how they weren't property of the defendant. "Twitter's license to use the defendant's Tweets means that the Tweets the defendant posted were not his," the judge wrote in a decision filed Friday. Since I think FaceBook has similar language, I wonder just how this will affect them as well.

 

The judge went on to say that even though the defendant lacked standing to quash the subpoena, the prosecutors had met the low legal threshold to issue a subpoena because the prosecutors were able to show relevance to the case. The defendant's attorney plans to appeal. "I think the judge is incorrect in his understanding of the law," he said.

 

So like I said, this could affect all of us...if we ever end up in court.

Facebook IPO could be delayed, is said to be due to recent acquisitions and distractions

We were staring down the barrel of Facebook's initial public offering (IPO) which is two weeks from now, but according to people "familiar with the matter", the social networking companies recent acquisitions and other business distractions are threatening to delay the IPO, reports CNBC.

 

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Management at Facebook have been looking at a May offering, with a roadshow launch somewhere around May 7, and the start of trading late the week of the 14th, people with knowledge of the deal said. But recently, founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has been focusing more on running the business and acquiring other companies such as Instagram, than preparing for the share sale.

 

This is according to the same people leaking this information, which is reportedly making it hard for him and other managers to focus 100-percent on the IPO preparations. Facebook is now looking to delay their roadshow a week from May 7 to May 14, or possibly the very end of May. This would delay initial trading until mid-June.

Continue reading 'Facebook IPO could be delayed, is said to be due to recent acquisitions and distractions' (full post)

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