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On Halloween, the same day that Google launched its next-gen flagship, the Nexus 5," and Android 4.4 KitKat, several of the company's biggest rivals filed lawsuits against the company and some of its partners. This consortium of foes include Microsoft, Apple, RIM, Ericsson, and Sony.
The filings include at least 15 lawsuits that claim that Google and its handset partners infringe on several patents that cover basic smartphone functionality including email and Wi-Fi hotspot functionality. Some of the patents date all the way back to 2000, and it appears that Google and Samsung have known about the lawsuits since 2012. As past patent wars have shown, there will be no quick resolution to these claims, and the only ones who will win anything will be the lawyers who will spend the next month or years battling this out in conference rooms.
With Twitter just days away from its Initial Public Offering, tech powerhouse IBM has threatened to filed a patent infringement lawsuit against the social networking service. Before heading off to the court system, IBM has offered Twitter a shot at a "business resolution," which most likely equates to an expensive licensing deal.
IMB says that Twitter is infringing on three of its patents including: U.S. Patent No. 6,957,224: Efficient retrieval of uniform resource locators, U.S. Patent No. 7,072,849: Method for presenting advertising in an interactive service and U.S. Patent No. 7,099,862: Programmatic discovery of common contacts. These patents are all very broad in what they actually cover, and represent exactly what is wrong with the US Patent system.
In a statement Twitter had the following to say. "Based upon our preliminary review of these patents, we believe we have meritorious defenses to IBM's allegations, although there can be no assurance that we will be successful in defending against these allegations or reaching a business resolution that is satisfactory to us."
It appears that the long saga of BlackBerry's demise is over and the end result is not a failed company, or a new handset OEM resulting from a buyout. Instead, BlackBerry has taken itself off of the market and has received a $1 billion investment from Fairfax Holdings, the company which failed to raise $4.7 billion to buy BlackBerry earlier this year.
Along with this morning's announcement, BlackBerry said that its CEO, Thorsten Heins, will be stepping down after almost two years at the reigns. Heins will be replaced by Interim CEO, John S. Chen, who previously served as chairman and CEO of Sybase, Inc before it was acquired by another company in 2010. Todays announcements have done little to impress investors though as BlackBerry's stock is trading at $6.55 after a high of $8 last week.
"Today's announcement represents a significant vote of confidence in BlackBerry and its future by this group of preeminent, long-term investors," said Barbara Stymiest, Chair of BlackBerry's Board. "The BlackBerry Board conducted a thorough review of strategic alternatives and pursued the course of action that it concluded is in the best interests of BlackBerry and its constituents, including its shareholders. This financing provides an immediate cash injection on terms favorable to BlackBerry, enhancing our substantial cash position. Some of the most important customers in the world rely on BlackBerry and we are implementing the changes necessary to strengthen the company and ensure we remain a strong and innovative partner for their needs."
If there's one thing Microsoft needs right now, it's the perfect storm of marketing campaigns to push Windows and Surface onto millions of more customers to combat the increased onslaught from rivals Apple, Google and Samsung.
The Redmond-based software giant is looking to spend around $405 million this year on marketing, compared to $241 million last year. Splitting this up, we'll see $131 million or so in offers and incentive-related spending, while $274 million will be spent on marketing and operating expenses. Microsoft wants to see Windows-based slates in stores, and will spend heavily to see its dreams come true.
The company is pushing to have 16 million tablet sales over the holiday season, with the extra marketing push helping to convince customers they want a Windows tablet. It shouldn't be hard, because Microsoft has some great devices out there with its OS on them, but it's not really a fight of devices anymore, but services.
We reported that Nokia's sales in the US were rising, with a nice 8.8 million Lumia-branded smartphones sold in Q3 alone. But, this has catapulted the once struggling Finnish phone maker to the No. 4 spot of US smartphone vendors.
Nokia overtook Motorola into the position, with Nokia's US smartphone market share climbing from 1.4% in Q2 to 4.1% in Q3. Motorola accounted for 3.6% of the US market, but this should jump in the coming months with the slew of Motorola devices coming out. Nokia has a big fight ahead of them to compete with the big boys in Samsung and Apple, but do you think it has what it takes to compete with them?
BlackBerry Ltd. is about to go onto the chopping block and at the last minute it seems that three powerful sources are joining up to make a bid for the struggling Canadian phone maker.
Co-founders of Resarch in Motion, Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fredin are reportedly in talks to make a joint big with Qualcomm and Cerberus Capital Management LP. If this does happen, it could quickly shift the mobile landscape and introduce a strong new competitor for Google and Apple. Qualcomm has loads of cash ready to spend, with $11.5 billion ready, liquid investments and short-term securities as of June 30.
Qualcomm purchasing BlackBerry would be quite the blow to Samsung and Google, who feature Qualcomm-made SoCs in most of their Android-based smartphones and tablets.
Sony has been experiencing a recipe of disaster over the last few years, seeing its TV business all but bow to Samsung, its various movie flops, camera sales drop and its PC business not doing so well.
But... it's smartphone business has seen a 39% increase in sales, thanks to consumers who would usually buy high-end HTC handsets scooping up Xperia handsets instead. Sony is seeing some great sales in its Xperia Z1, which is the only smartphone in Sony's arsenal that can even begin to compete with the mammoth sales of Samsung's Galaxy range of devices.
The next thing Sony has to do is break out into the lucrative US market, which is mainly dominated by Apple and Samsung right now. But, with BlackBerry all but done, HTC continuing to lose its grip, it might be high time that Sony makes its move.
That that Q3 has come and gone, we can look back at smartphone market share and see just how well the current players are doing. Android takes a huge 81.3% of the pie, leaving Apple just 13.4% and the rest of the players a skimp 5.3% to split between themselves.
Comparing this with the same quarter of 2012, Android saw 75% and Apple enjoyed 15.6%. This means that Android has climbed 6.1% while Apple has lost 2.2%, something that should have people wondering what is going on. The numbers are courtesy of Strategy Analytics. Google should continue to claw at that smartphone market share with phones like the Galaxy S4, Note 3 and just-announced Nexus 5.
The IDC has posted up its Q3 tablet market share estimates, where it sees that Apple is sliding once more, with Android-powered slates taking most of its market share away.
Samsung claimed 20.4% of shipments, but ASUS is the surprise jumping from just 4.5% tablet market share last quarter to 7.4% this quarter. Year-over-year gains were also big, but Acer and Lenovo are making strides, too. ASUS were behind the refreshed Nexus 7, which we loved. This time last year Apple was enjoying nearly 40% of the tablet market share, but have slipped to below 30% this quarter.
The next few months should change, with the dominant refreshed and awesomely-priced Nexus 7, but the refreshed iPad, iPad mini, Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 slates, among others, arriving on consumers' doorsteps.
Facebook has just released its third quarter financial report, and even though its growth slowed, the company's revenue increased. Wall Street analyst predicted earlier that the Facebook would report a revenue of $1.91 billion with an estimated earnings of $0.19 per share, but the social network managed to best those estimates.
Facebook has reported that during the third quarter of 2013 it earned a revenue of $2.02 billion with a per share earnings of $0.25, much higher than analyst had predicted. 41-percent of that $2.02 billion was generated from mobile which is up 10-percent over Q2 2013. Daily active users on the site rose to 728 million which is up from the 699 million Facebook reported last quarter. Monthly active users hit the 1.19 billion mark which is also up from the last quarter.
"We've made good progress growing our community, deepening engagement and delivering strong financial results, especially on mobile," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. "The work we've done to make mobile the best Facebook experience is showing good results and provides us with a solid foundation for the future." This quarter that number grew to 49 percent."