Apple, after losing a $100 million iPod lawsuit, vowed to patent everything - even held monthly patent meetings
There were days when Apple weren't the blood thirsty patent warmongering company, but these days are sadly behind the Cupertino-based company.
After a $100 million lawsuit from Creative Technology in 2006 over Apple's iPod MP3 player, the late Steve Jobs vowed to "patent it all", reports The New York Times. Jobs along with engineers at Apple would reportedly hold monthly "invention disclosure meetings". These meetings would include a lawyer, who would tell the company if the projects could be patented or not.
Even if the idea was said to be unpatentable, Apple would file a patent application anyway. A former Apple lawyer has said:
If nothing else, it prevents another company from trying to patent the idea.
Since 2001, Apple has been awarded more than 4,100 patents, but more surprisingly since last year the company has spent more on patenting ideas than on research and development.
From time to time, software giant Microsoft ask Google to remove links from their search engine for webpages that display or distribute copyrighted material. Most of these copyright holders use automated systems to identify and inform Google and other sites of infringements.
As with most things, these automated tools aren't perfect, and Microsoft's latest filings show this. Back in July of this year Microsoft were trying to stem the distribution of its leaked Windows 8 beta listed 65 "infringing" websites, reports Torrent Freak.
Over half of these sites had nothing to do with the beta release of their OS, with Microsoft's automated software accidentally reporting that CNN, Wikipedia, Buzzfeed, BBC, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, Real Clear Politics, Rotten Tomatoes, AMC Theaters and various websites belonging to the United States government were infringing on Microsoft's copyrights - look at that list!
AllThingsD are reporting that the former general manager of Zynga Poker, Laurence "Lo" Toney, has left the company. Toney's departure has been confirmed through his LinkedIn profile.
AllThingsD confirmed with Toney that he is no longer employed with Zynga, which should remove any doubts of his departure. Whilst Toney was with Zynga, he spent two years as the general manager of Zynga Poker, which is still to this day Zynga's longest-standing franchise. Before he was the GM of Zynga Poker, Toney lead another general manager role, but with Mobile where he worked on its publishing efforts.
Toney confirmed with the site that he doesn't have any plans for what he will move to, stating:
My departure is less about Zynga and more about the vast number of opportunities that currently exist in the Valley. I have been approached by several organization to lead teams and companies that I find exciting and compelling. It is the right time for me in my career to move on.
In case you didn't already realize that all of these patent wars between various companies was hurting not just consumers, and businesses, but it's also hurting innovation. This innovation stops you from getting better, thinner, more exotic products, and now The New York Times has chimed in with a piece on the subject.
The Times' piece covers the fact that big companies usually strong arm small start-ups with an extensive patent portfolio that usually ends up with an acquisition, and if the smaller company isn't acquired they're sued.
The Times' piece also reveals that the smartphone industry spent a whopping $20 billion (or so) on patent litigation in the past two years. Companies such as Apple and Google have spent more money on legal battles than research and development in the past twelve months. Splitting this up, we find Apple spending around $3 billion on R&D last year, with another $4 billion to be spend this year. Those numbers may seem large, but they are far less than most other technology companies.
Samsung have have a great year for 2012, but according to Interbrand's latest data, they're really climbing up the ladder when it comes to the value of their brand.
Interbrand gives the world's top companies a brand value, with multiple points of data used to create this "brand value". As you can see from the chart above, Samsung climbed from 17th place in 2011, to 9th place this year. Apple really ramped up the ladder where last year they were 8th and now they're 2nd.
Coca-cola smashes the list sitting at number one both years in a row. What's surprising is that Samsung have overtaken huge companies such as Pepsi, American Express, HP, Disney, Nokia and more. Facebook sit all the way down that list at 69th place.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has hired Sydney lawyers who will look into a defamation case against Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. The WikiLeaks founder told left-leaning activist group GetUp! that the PM defamed WikiLeaks when she allegedly told a radio station back in 2010 that Assange had broken the law by releasing hundreds of thousands of US diplomatic cables.
Assange told GetUp! "I have hired lawyers in Sydney and they are investigating the different ways in which we can sue Gillard over this statement". Back in late-2010, Gillard talked about the WikiLeaks release, where she said:
I absolutely condemn the placement of this information on the WikiLeaks website. It's a grossly irresponsible thing to do and an illegal thing to do.
Assange fires back with a statement to GetUp!:
The effects of this statement are ongoing and they directly affect the financial viability of Wikileaks. We are considering suing for defamation so I have hired lawyers in Sydney.
You might be waiting an extra week or three for that new iPhone 5 that you ordered. At 1PM October 5 Beijing time, Foxconn workers went on strike over new quality control standards implemented by Apple and Foxconn. It seems that Apple wanted to reduce the number of iPhone 5s coming with scratches from the factory and tightened quality standards.
Unfortunately, they didn't provide any additional training to workers to meet these new standards. Workers were frustrated by the fact that they couldn't meet these new standards and started beating up quality control inspectors. These inspectors, in turn, went to their management where the managers turned their back on the issues.
This led to a strike of about 4,000 workers and quality control managers, bringing the iPhone 5 production to a halt. We'll keep you up-to-date with the latest regarding the strike and any delays in iPhone 5 production due to the strike.
We haven't heard much about Megaupload recently. We last left the saga with Kim Dotcom's extradition hearing being pushed off all the way until March of 2013. Now, a user of the Megaupload service has been granted a hearing by the United States court regarding whether or not he should be able to access his stored data.
Kyle Goodwin originally filed a motion back in May with the Electronic Frontier Foundation supporting his request. In the most general of terms, his motion asked the courts to figure out a way to allow users to get back their data from the shut-down servers, arguing that many users hosted legitimate content using the service.
"The Court stated today that it will hold a hearing to find out the details about Mr. Goodwin's property - where it is, what happened when the government denied him access to it, and whether and how he can get it back," says EFF attorney Julie Samuels.
"We are glad that Mr. Goodwin will finally get to make his case in court and we look forward to helping the judge fashion a procedure to make all of Megaupload's consumers whole again by granting them access to what is legally theirs," Samuels concludes.
This ruling comes after several months of negotiations between the original parties broke down again in September. Of course, Megaupload would like their customers to receive their data back, some of which is personal pictures, homemade music, and other perfectly legal files.
Samsung is a giant when it comes to electronics. Producing a wide array of electronic gadgets, toys, and tools, Samsung has been growing in popularity and quality. The latest smartphones coming out of the company are incredibly brilliant--just ask Anthony Garreffa how much he likes his Galaxy S III!
Due to the smashing success of the Galaxy S III, along with its television division and other smartphone sales, Samsung is estimating record breaking profits of $7.3 billion for the third quarter. The finalized earnings report is due out on October 26, so the real number could be higher or lower than this estimate, though it shouldn't vary by too much.
The estimate places the total consolidated sales at $46.7 billion, which is a huge sum of money. Samsung has to be happy that these figures didn't come out during its trial with Apple as the damages awarded could have come in even higher than the $1 billion that the jury awarded Apple.
In other news, Samsung's brand success is also increasing like its profits. Interbrand's brands report shows that the value of Samsung's brand increased 40 percent in the last year, which puts it just behind Intel and two spots lower than McDonalds, both huge names in the United States.
If it wasn't so crazy, you'd think I was making this up...and I wish I was. But, no, I'm not. The following is a completely true political attack on a Democrat candidate using her playing of the popular game World of Warcraft as the focus. For some reason, the Republican incumbent believes that this makes her unfit for office.
Now, I don't want to start any political debates between Republicans and Democrats. Instead, I would like to take this moment to point out how absolutely ridiculous this claim is. The fact that a candidate plays World of Warcraft almost shows that he/she is more in touch with current life than the opposition.
"I think it's weird that I'm being targeted for playing online games," Lachowicz said. "Apparently I'm in good company since there are 183 million other Americans who also enjoy online games. What's next? Will I be ostracized for playing Angry Birds or Words with Friends? If so, guilty as charged!"
She added, "What's really weird is that the Republicans are going after my hobbies instead of talking about their record while they've been running Augusta for the last two years. Instead of talking about what they're doing for Maine people, they're making fun of me for playing video games. Did you know that more people over the age of 50 play video games than under the age of 18? As a gamer, I'm in good company with folks like Jodie Foster, Vin Diesel, Mike Myers, and Robin Williams. Maybe it's the Republican Party that is out of touch.
A company known as PrivCo has reportedly obtained Spotify's private financial records. PrivCo attempts to obtain private, non-publicly traded companies' financial reports and sell the info. In this case, PrivCo has released the data on its website for all to see, and it paints a somewhat bleak picture.
Even with increasing revenues for 2011 from 2010, Spotify reportedly widened its losses by 60 percent year over year. In 2010, Spotify brought in $97.5 million in revenue and had to pay out $101.4 million in royalty fees, distribution, and other costs. They then had to pay out personnel costs which netted them a $37.5 million loss for the year.
In 2011, Spotify managed to increase revenue by 151 percent up to $244.5 million, and the cost of sales followed right with them coming in at $239 million. Personnel costs increased by a massive 173 percent, which helped produced a massive $59 million loss for 2011. Spotify has yet to comment on these numbers, though if accurate, they might prove Spotify won't be around much longer.
Facebook have lost a big one today, with their Vice President of Global Communications, Joe Lockhart, set to depart the social networking site. His departure is sudden, as he only joined the social network 15 months ago, in July 2011.
Lockhart is most famously known for his work within the White House, where he was the Communications Secretary for President Bill Clinton, during the last half of his second term as President.
Lockhart's departure from Facebook stems from the soon to be ex-VP of Comms not wanting to move to California full-time, and stay on the east coast, where he has continued to live while working with the social network.
The departure of Lockhart couldn't come at a worse time, with their issues post-IPO, and they've only just announced their one billion monthly active user mark, too.
Google is sharpening its job axe in anticipation of slicing more jobs out of the Motorola Mobility division. During the second quarter, Motorola reported an operating loss of $233 million. Google slashed 4,000 jobs (roughly 20 percent) of Motorola's workforce in August as a way to trim down costs, and it looks as though they are trimming some more.
"Motorola has continued to refine its planned restructuring actions and now expects to broaden those actions to include additional geographic regions outside of the U.S.," Google said in a statement.
What this should be read as is "we're cutting more jobs." But cutting jobs is only one part of the restructuring plan. After all, cutting jobs costs money as Google's upping of its estimated severance costs proves. Google upped the estimate 9 percent to $300 million, not exactly cost saving in the short term.
Google has also helped Motorola focus on releasing a smaller number of devices so that they reduce R&D costs. I'm sure you and I have never even heard of half the phones Motorola has produced, so that money is nearly going to waste. You can see this part of the restructuring effort in Motorola's last press conference.
They released just three new devices and focused on three main features: battery life, LTE, and Android. We'll be sure to keep you updated when actual numbers come from Google or Motorola regarding these predicted job cuts.
HP's CEO Meg Whitman has publicly stated that HP will not be releasing a smartphone in 2013. This comes after she commented that HP would eventually need to offer a smartphone so as to avoid falling behind the curve. "We don't have any plans to introduce a smartphone in 2013, but we've got to start thinking about what is our unique play, how do we capture this element of the personal computing market?" she said.
She continues by noting that by not bringing a smartphone to market in the next "five years from now," HP could be "locked out of a huge segment of the population in many countries of the world." This would be a major problem for HP as they would be missing out on a large portion of prospective customers.
HP acquired Palm, so they had the experience and know-how at one point in the past. How much of that staff is still left is not easy to ascertain, however, it is known that 500 jobs were cut from the webOS division in 2011. webOS is now sitting in the open source community, which could bring some unique features to the mobile operating system.
Redbox is venturing into new business territory with the announcement that they will begin to sell seats to live events. Better yet, they are only planning to add a $1 fee to transactions, cheaper than most online sites. They won't be so ubiquitous with ticket sales as TicketMaster, but instead will be focusing on selling tickets that otherwise might not get sold.
This means that Redbox will sell tickets that are to less popular events or seats that are in the nosebleed section. Tickets can be purchased at the physical installations or online on their website. For right now, the new service is being trialed in just one market, Philadelphia, but if successful, will expand to others.
For example, they are selling seats to a Carrie Underwood concert on November 28, though it's not known how many of the 19,500 seats are being sold through the service. Tickets are also only given a row number and range of seats, so you won't know your exact seat until the ticket is purchased.
Other examples of tickets that Redbox is selling in Philadelphia include tickets for Villanova University football games and NASCAR race tickets at Pocono.
Apple have just signed off on a deal with Australian-based Microlatch, where they'll work on fingerprint recognition technology. Ex-Commonwealth Bank head, and now major Microlatch investor, David Murray, claims that the help Apple are after, is related to mobile payments using near-field communications (NFC) technology.
Microlatch has patented fingerprint technology that is said to meet banking security standards, all without the need for central processing - something Murray calls a "self-registering" system. The iPhone 5 may not have NFC technology, but with this latest deal it looks like Apple are one step closer to an NFC filled future.
We already have Passbook in iOS 6, with this possibly the start of Apple's NFC journey. Apple's iPhone 5S might sport NFC tech, but would they be too late to the game? Or will they do it in a way that really beats their competitors' NFC-based smartphones?
Quite the surprise today, with news that Cliff "CliffyB" Bleszinski has decided to leave game developer, Epic Games. Epic Games are the development team behind huge titles such as the Unreal series, and Gears of War series of games.
Bleszinski has been with Epic for over 20 years, and had influence on some of those most memorable games of our time such as Jazz Jackrabbit, Unreal, Gears of War, and more. Tim Sweeney, Epic's founder, CEO and technical director, had the following to say:
In 20 wonderful years with Epic, Cliff Bleszinski has grown into a true design luminary, and his contributions to the 'Unreal' and 'Gears' series have helped shape the game industry into what it is today. Cliff leaves Epic with our gratitude for his many contributions, and our wishes for continued success in the next chapter of his life!
Nokia is trying to drum up some interest in its latest smartphone, so what better way to do that then some advertising? Well, that's just what Nokia has done with this new online video that bashes Apple fans in a Samsung-style ad. The video bashes the device for only have two color options, while promoting the Lumia 920 for it's plethora of colors.
It's a pretty comical ad, though I'm not sure how effective it is. It's not quite as direct as Samsung's ads have been in regards to directly calling out Apple, though it's pretty clear who they are making fun of. Take a look at the ad for yourself and give us your thoughts in the comments.
Google have just announced they're looking after Google Apps for Business, Education and Government customers, where those customers can feel safe with the option to call, or e-mail Google with questions about Chrome.
Google haven't been the most friendliest company when it comes to offering support, but wer'e seeing the Mountain View-based company slowly change their ways. Starting today, Google Apps customers can call, or e-mail Google for Support with "Chrome installation, functionality, security, browser policy settings and Google Apps interoperability for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux."
24/7 phone support is a big deal, especially for business customers - these customers don't have the time to fault find themselves, where they can now just pick up a phone and call Google for some answers. Google has promised to respond to "P1 priority support requests" within an hour - this is defined as a "Service Unusable in Production" case. Other requests will be answered within a business day, or less.
Lenovo, who is a Chinese computer-maker, are set to start manufacturing PCs in the US next year. The company will build a production line in Whitsett, North Carolina, that will allow the the company to be more responsive to US corporate clients' demand for flexible supplies and product customization.
With the production of PCs in the US, the cost will be higher, but it will improve the image of Lenovo in the US. At the moment, they're fourth in market share in regards to shipment numbers. Lenovo's North American President, David Schmook, has said:
Us having a [production] facility here in a home country is a differentiator that people will value. Being green is not necessarily the lowest-cost option for a lot of companies, but you do it because your customers and partners value you being green.
Well, things just got interesting for The Pirate Bay and WikiLeaks, with their Swedish web host PeRiQuito AB being raided by police. Forbes reported that Stockholm police raided the company yesterday, which caused technical issues for PQR, shutting down its website and a bunch of torrent sites such as The Pirate Bay.
The police also seized a bunch of servers, but it's not clear which exact servers were taken. PQR have around 2,000 or so customers, with big names such as WikiLeaks, and the North American May-Boy Love Association, which I only found out existed right now, what the? Pedophile.se, the Chechen rebel size Kavkaz Central, and more.
PQR was, funnily enough, founded by Pirate Bay members back in 2004, and has been raised twice before: six years ago in 2006 to gain evidence against The Pirate Bay, and in 2010 during a more general file sharing investigation.