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Apple awarded patent for the design of the MacBook Air, this could spell trouble for Ultrabook makers
Sigh. Apple have been quite active on the patent front this week, and were just now awarded another 19 patents, one of those for the design of the MacBook Air. Apple could, in theory, use this patent on the MBA to try and block manufacturers marketing their Ultrabook, or ultra-thin/light notebooks in the US.
The patent in question, No. D654,072, refers to an "ornamental design for an electronic device" and actually lists Steve Jobs as one of its creators. The term "MacBook Air" isn't used, but there are drawings of a laptop, where you can clearly see it's a MBA. The patent was awarded on Valentines's Day, and could see Apple use it for evil.
If Apple decide to use the patent as a weapon of mass destruction, they could stop most manufacturers from pushing their Ultrabook, or thin/light/portable notebooks. This could mean serious trouble for the entire consumer PC industry. Intel have a considerable amount of time, money and effort poured into Ultrabooks, and having to duke it out in court with Apple would spell more than one headache for most companies.
If I were Samsung, I'd be changing my design, now.
A picture truly is worth a thousand words, and that picture is Apple being patent trolls. Not only have the Cupertino-based company gone after Samsung multiple times, and even recently against their Galaxy Nexus, but they've gone after several other companies and now the bankrupt company Kodak.
Kodak only filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy a few weeks ago now, but now Apple are seeking approval to sue Kodak in a New York court based on an alleged patent infringement. Kodak are now awaiting a decision from a bankruptcy judge who might give Apple permission to file a patent complain over technologies used in printers, digital cameras and digital picture frames.
'Oh snapz!' is something our VGA editor, Shane Baxtor likes to say when something like this happens - so, it felt oh so appropriate to use it in this news. The Pirate Bay have just posted on their blog informing their loyal users that Magnet links are now default when wanting to download something, here's the quote:
Quite some time ago we decided to not host torrent files anymore. In following with that decision, we decided to make Magnet links the default option for the Download buttons!
We've just changed places on the links. Magnet is now default, Download torrent is now where the magnet links used to be. The reason is the same as always: Magnets are now good enough to use, and it's not as easy to block as .torrent files. Also it saves us a huge amount of bandwidth!
So go ahead, magnet away!
Do you know what this means? The current court proceedings against The Pirate Bay just got that much harder. This means that the 'illegal' files that are downloaded, are distributed amongst the downloaders. This makes the target turn away from The Pirate Bay and onto tens of millions of downloaders around the world.
So, unless the MPAA and RIAA want to start arresting millions of people around the world, they're kinda stuck. In shark infested waters, without a life jacket, or a flare gun, while a pirate ship sails around them, laughing manically.
If we look back to the beginning of 2011, Apple were worth in excess of $300 billion. Fast forward to the same time this year, and they posted record first-quarter results, with all-time record iPhone, iPad and Mac sales. Just 24 hours ago, Apple shares closed at $500, with a market capitalization of almost $470 billion.
As big as PayPal are, they can be much bigger. Vice President and General Manager of Retail and Prepaid, Don Kingsborough, has said that he's wanting to move PayPal into physical retail stores, and hopes that this retail push will give them some power against Visa and MasterCard.
PayPal's plan is to reach a public goal of 20 major retailers using the point-of-sales (POS) system by the end of this year. This POS system works when a customer checks out, and the POS card-swiping terminal offers a new orange button saying, "Pay with PayPal". From there, customers can select this option, confirm the total, and type in their cell phone number and a PIN number that was determined before going into the store.
Kingsborough has been quoted:
We are going to do it with the greatest brands in the world -- Home Depot and every other top 100 retailer. There isn't a major brand we haven't talked to.
The eBay-owned company is already testing out their POS system in Home Depot, with Office Depot the next step in this grand new plan. PayPal have refused to comment on the names of other planned retailers.
Talk about cashing in. Sony have officially apologised for hiking up the prices on two of Whitney Houston's albums on Apple's U.K. iTunes store, the day after the singer had died.
On Sunday, Sony had introduced new wholesale price changes that bumped the retail price of Whitney Houston's "The Ultimate Collection" from 4.99 pounds to 7.99. On top of this crazyness, Sony increased the price of "Whitney: The Greatest Hits" from 7.99 pounds up to 9.99.
Sony then moved the prices back to their original price later in the day. Of course, the Internet exploded with criticism, where Sony didn't bother to comment until later this afternoon. Sony's apology statement, as reported by AllThingsD:
Whitney Houston product was mistakenly mispriced on the UK iTunes store on Sunday. When discovered, the mistake was immediately corrected. We apologize for any offense caused.
Team Red have just lost another player, after a few resignations and changes within the company throughout 2011 and even this year, news has hit the Internet that AMD's Corporate Vice President & CTO, Graphics Division, Eric Demers, is leaving the company. He has hung up his Team Red shirt for good.
AnandTech have reported that he isn't leaving for Intel, or Team Green (NVIDIA), but suspect that Eric's talents will continue to be seen within the industry. Considering AMD's current success within the GPU industry, it's hard to see Eric out of work for a long period of time.
Google's $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola has not only been approved by the European Commission, but the United States Department of Justice. Google is now edging closer to the deal being completely approved, but they're still waiting on approval of China, Taiwan and Israel, before the transaction can officially be completed.
The DoJ's Anti-trust Division, who conducted the investigation, said the purchase was "not likely to significantly change existing market dynamics" or "substantially lessen competition". Of course, there are still concerns and they will have eyes on them to make sure they don't abuse patents, like other companies do. Reuters have reported that the DoJ "would not hesitate to take enforcement action", if Google were to manipulate the licensing of standard essential patents to their own advantage.
Google have whipped out their [Google] wallet and are paying more than $120 million for construction projects at their Mountain View HQ, including work on a series of new or previously secret hardware testing labs, that are hinting at Google expanding interest in making consumer objects to combat rivals Apple, Microsoft, and more.
Included in these new secret labs, is a reported new secret consumer product under the brand name "@home", that is said to wireless stream music or data to other household devices. Google are also said to be modifying a lab for their "Project X", which seems to involve precision optical technology and be part of the secret technology projects that Google co-founder, Sergey Brin is heading.
The biggest project in this expansion is said to be a "Google Experience Center", which is at the core of the Googleplex. The 120,000-square-foot center is said to be a kind of private museum for Google's most importan clients and partners, where they plan to "to share visionary ideas, and explore new ways of working" with up to 900 VIPs and other important guests.
I'd love to have a tour through these new facilities, it sounds super exciting. I really just want a pair of those Intersect glasses (Chuck fans, unite!). Well, not Intersect glasses, but Google's augmented reality glasses.
Apple shares closed above the $500 mark today, ending the day at $502.60. Impressive. Being the world's most valuable company must feel good, but being able to boast a market capitalization of almost $470 billion, must feel better.
This means they're up 9 points from yesterday's close, and up more than 80 from the day Apple released their numbers for their super-impressive quarter on January 24th. This $500 mark is said to be a 'psychological milestone', with the market cap the most important. $470 billion may sound like a lot, but during the 1990s boom, Microsoft, Cisco and GE also reached that height.
Considering Apple also hold close to $100 billion in cash, this goes to expand those numbers that little bit more. The question I have is, just like all companies, and empires, they fall. Will Apple continuously expand and hit $1000 per share? Or will they fall? What could do that? A true market crash? It seems nothing can stop this freight train that is Apple.