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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 263

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)

Apple's insane growth: 125 million iCloud users, iTunes offers over 28 million songs and 45,000 movies

Apple only just released their quarterly earnings report, which showed some stellar numbers and growth for the Cupertino-based company. Apple saw an insane 35 million iPhones sold, $39.2 billion in revenue with $11.6 billion of that in pure profit. Apple also saw 11.8 million iPads sold, 4 million Macs, and 7.7 million iPods. I'd call this a very successful quarter.

 

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On top of these numbers, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer announced that the company now has over 125 million iCloud users, which is a massive growth of 25 million users in a little over two months. How many iOS devices would you say Apple sold? Well, if you said 365 million, you'd be right. More than 50 million in the last quarter alone. The App Store has hit 600,000 apps in total with more than 200,000 of those available for the iPad.

 

Let's talk iTunes: there are now more than 28 million songs and 45,000 movies to choose from, which goes to show just how much muscle Apple have to flex in the media department. If we consider this growth now, where could Apple be in 3, 6 or even 12 months time? Another stellar release like an iPhone 5 or proper next-gen iPad would just be insane. The sales numbers and user stats would swell, considerably.

Continue reading 'Apple's insane growth: 125 million iCloud users, iTunes offers over 28 million songs and 45,000 movies' (full post)

Facebook purchases $550 million worth of patents from Microsoft, who obtained them from AOL just two weeks ago

Ahead of their planned public offering which is poised to take form next month, social networking giant Facebook have just inked a deal to purchase a slew of patents from Microsoft.

 

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Facebook have reportedly handed over $550 million in cash for a selection of patents that Microsoft only obtained from AOL two weeks ago in a deal valued at $1 billion. The original $1 billion deal saw AOL shares jump 37-percent, while retaining perpetual licensing to the IP sold.

 

Microsoft were then able to grab back over half of what they paid AOL for the patents, with Microsoft executive vice president and general counsel Brad Smith telling All Things D that Redmond never felt it was necessary or important to own all of the patents.

Adreessen Horowitz's $250k investment in Instagram turned into $78 million

Andreessen Horowitz had a seed investment of $250,000 in Instagram, but when Facebook acquired them for $1 billion, he made a very, very nice amount of money that weekend. Horowitz was one of Instagram's earliest investors, and general partner Ben Horowitz took to a blog to post the following:

 

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Ordinarily, when someone criticizes me for only making 312 times my money, I let the logic of their statement speak for itself. However, in this case, the narrative that some critics put forth has the nasty side effect of casting two outstanding entrepreneurs-Kevin and Dalton Caldwell-in an unfair light and glosses over an important ethical issue that we faced.

 

The company didn't follow-up on its investment, as they had a conflict of interest with another company it funded, Picplz. Picplz being another photo-sharing concept that didn't have the same oomph as Instagram. Then last week The New York Times ran a story saying that Andreessen Horowitz had basically screwed up its investment in the company. The decision to fund Picplz "was a calculated bet against Instagram and it left Mr. Systrom livid" reported The Times.

 

So what? The company made an investment, it turned into $78 million. I'm just jealous.

Apple the victim of patent troll

The tech industry is filled with patent trolls. The first was Apple and it has finally come full circle. Apple is the defendant in a new lawsuit filed in San Francisco federal court over claims that all of its products that use touch infringe on the patent. The patent in question is US Patent #6,920,619 named "User interface for removing an object from a display."

 

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FlatWorld alleges that the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, sixth-gen iPod nano, MacBook Pros with trackpads, and any other Mac using a Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad infringe on its patent. Also, because Apple was informed of the patent in 2007, they are claiming that Apple willfully infringed on the patent.

 

Curiously enough, this seems to be the company's only activity since 2009. Additionally, the patent only covers a very narrow set of gestures, so it's apparent how any of Apple's products infringes on the patent. Even more interesting is the fact that some of Apple's iPhone patents cite the patent that they are being sued over.

Inside the Oracle vs. Google lawsuit: technical details and a file cabinet

Most of us know about the current lawsuit that is going on between Oracle and Google. Oracle has accused Google of using the Java language and API without the proper licensing and is seeking damages. The actual trial started last week and already has featured a large array of witnesses, though none have seemingly dealt a knockout blow to either side.

 

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Part of the issue could be trying to explain these complex technical terms and processes to the panel of jurors. They probably have the technical ability of your parents, yet the two sides are trying to explain something that people have to go to college to study for four or more years. The result is a lot of furrowed brows and over simplification.

 

Oracle's technical experts aren't really enjoying the fact that the nuances in play are getting lost in the courtroom. Google's Joshua Bloch seems to have been the best in explaining in ways a regular human could understand. Because of the complex detail, one of Google's counsel rolled in a file cabinet to explain Java packages.

 

No side has a clear upper hand as of yet, but it would appear that Google's team is doing a better job of keeping the jurors entertained and engaged. It will be interesting to see just how much that helps and if Google's filing cabinet makes another appearance.

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