We know that the legal problems between Samsung and Apple are getting more and more serious, with bans imposed on Samsung selling their GALAXY Tab 10.1 in the US, and on Friday the GALAXY Nexus was also denied from sale. The judge in both of these cases is US District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California.
The Korea Times has reported, which Samsung later confirmed, for the first time that they are now getting help from Google in order to better defend themselves over patents. Samsung spokeswoman Lim Yoon-jeong has said that the two companies have been working closely to created a united front. Another undisclosed Samsung insider has been quoted in the article, where they say:
It's too early to comment on our game plan (with Google) in the legal battle; but we will do our best to get more royalties from Apple, which has benefited from our technology. The fight is becoming more dramatic and the possibility of a truce in the form of a cross-licensing deal seems to be becoming likely.
The US wants to extradite Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, but that may be just a little bit harder now thanks to a NZ judge's ruling. Justice Helen Winkelmann said that the warrants used when more than 90 New Zealand officers stormed Dotcom's home and other properties in January were broadly cast, "lacking adequate specificity as to the offence".
She ruled: "the search and seizure was therefore illegal", quite strong words there. She adds it was "clear that the police, in executing the warrants, have exceeded what they could lawfully be authorised to do". Justice Winkelmann has a very strongly worded 56-page judgment, which you can read here.
Kim Dotcom has released a statement, where he says "we are very happy with today's decision. We are digesting and analysing Justice Winkelmann's judgment and considering our next steps". The police, of course, declined to comment. It should get interesting from here on out, I think.
Sales of Samsung's GALAXY Tab 10.1 have been halted in the United States thanks to US Judge, Lucy Koh, granted Apple's request for a preliminary injunction yesterday. Apple have posted a needed $2.6 million bond straight after the preliminary injunction was granted. The money ensures that Samsung can be financially compensated to a degree if the injunction is successfully appealed.
Samsung have replied by filing a motion to stay the injunction, pending an upcoming appeal; alternatively, Samsung may accept a stay pending the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit's decision on the motion to stay.
Samsung argues that the original court "erred by issuing a preliminary injunction based on a stale and incomplete record", and that the injunction is "improper based on the current evidence", especially since Judge Lucy Koh didn't allow Samsung to present evidence.
RIM announces Q1 earnings, is hit with a $518 million loss, 5,000 job cuts and BB10 gets delayed until 2013
Every single time I write something about Research in Motion lately, it is negative. Today is no different, but it's actually a little worse than usual. RIM have released their report on the first quarter of its 2013 fiscal year, and the numbers aren't pretty.
RIM reports $2.8 billion in revenue, down 33-percent from the previous quarter, but the net loss is the biggest number here: $518 million. This number is much worse than what analysts were expecting. RIM have also announced they are cutting an additional 5,000 jobs as part of its ongoing restructuring efforts, and that BlackBerry 10 smartphones won't launch until Q1 of 2013.
The reason behind the delay of BB10 handsets? RIM have attributed the delay to the integration of some key BlackBerry 10 features and the "associated large volume of code" has "proven to be more time consuming than anticipated". Personally, I don't think they're going to have it any better until BB10, and if I have to be critical, even post-BB10 is not looking good for Research in Motion.
Microsoft have lost an appeal against the European Commission over their business practices. Europe's second-highest court, the General Court, denied the appeal of the 2008 fine, where Microsoft looked at a fine of 899 million Euros ($1.35 billion at the time, $1.12 billion now) for violating existing antitrust sanctions.
They're received a discount off of the fine, which has been cut down to 860 million Euros, or $1.07 billion due to Microsoft being permitted by the Commission to apply "restrictions concerning the distribution of 'open source' products" up to September 17, 2007.
Back in May of 2011, Microsoft appealed against the decision, something the company promised to do in 2008, and have expressed disappointment at the verdict. A statement from the company reads: "Although the General Court slightly reduced the fine, we are disappointed with the court's ruling." Microsoft haven't mentioned if they'll appeal this verdict just yet, but if they do, the case will go to the highest court in Europe, the EU Court of Justice.
According to a new study from Boston University reports that non-practicing entities, or "patent trolls", cost the United States $29 billion in 2011 alone. Pushing monetary damages to the side for a minute, the study finds that the increasing number of lawsuits is sidetracking innovation for small- and medium-sized companies.
We could name a few patent trolls right now, but for the uninformed a patent troll would be an individual, or a company, that acquires patents and licenses out their use or simply sits on them without any intent to manufacturer an intent with that patent in-hand. The study finds that small- and medium-sized businesses are the most affect by patent trolling.
Small- and medium-sized businesses are required to redirect funds from innovative research and development to purchase sometimes vague and overly broad patents in an attempt to 'cover all bases'. Some have said that Nathan Myhrvoid, founder and CEO of Intellectual Ventures, is a perfect example of a patent troll. Intellectual Ventures' sole mission is to buy and license patents, but Myhrvoid has argued that the big boys, Apple, Google and Samsung are now doing the exact same thing he is.
Chinese smartphone manufacturer, ZTE, has set some hefty goals for the coming years. First up, the company has reaffirmed its sales estimates for 2012, with executives believing ZTE could hit the number-three position among smartphone manufacturers within the next three years.
ZTE's 2012 target is 35 million shipped units, with the company already shipping 19.8 million units in the first quarter of this year alone, though that estimate does include non-smartphone units. In 2011, ZTE shipping 15 million smartphones, thanks to their popularity in Asian markets.
Executives believe by the time 2015 arrives, ZTE should be shipping 100 million smartphones per year, which might be enough to propel the company to the number-three position behind second runner Samsung, and pack leader, Apple. In order to achieve this, ZTE plans to invest heavily into developing markets, with just half of their units going to the US, Europe and Japan.
Yahoo and Spotify have inked a new deal, where the combination of Spotify's popularity as a music streaming and discovery service, mixed with Yahoo's wide reach to deliver music to nearly half of the entire Internet.
The two companies announced the deal yesterday, which has the potential to significantly shape the digital music landscape. The deal will see Spotify integrated throughout Yahoo's Media Network, and Yahoo's original content featured on Spotify's existing platform.
As it stands, Yahoo's Media Network currently reaches an insane 700 million unique users monthly, or, 47-percent of the total global Internet audience. At first, Spotify's on-demand music streaming will be available on Yahoo Music, after which it will be rolled out to the rest of Yahoo, including Yahoo Movies and omg.
One small step for Spotify, one giant leap for music lovers everywhere.
US Judge, Lucy Koh, has moved to enjoin sales of Samsung's GALAXY Tab 10.1, granting Apple's request for a preliminary injunction. This isn't the first time Samsung has faced bans of their devices around the world, the same tablet was banned from sale in Australia last year.
In Europe, a German court banned the device, and forced the company to revise it and release the GALAXY Tab 10.1N. Judge Koh has taken a no-nonsense approach to the tactics of both Apple and Samsung, where at one point late last year, Koh held both the GALAXY Tab 10.1 and iPad over her head and asked both companies' lawyers to tell her which one was which.
The funny thing is that court correspondent Dan Levine said that it "took them a while to do so". More details of this ban as it hits.
Yammer is just four years old, but they've just been scooped up by Microsoft for a tidy $1.2 billion. Yammer has been dubbed "Facebook for the workplace" and is the latest in many steps for Microsoft's bid to shield their Office products from Google's constant challenges.
Yammer claims to have more than 5 million corporate users with companies such as Ford, Shell, Deloitte and eBay. Just twelve months ago Microsoft whipped out their acquisition credit card on Skype and paid $8.5 billion for the video-calling firm, so Microsoft are not shy, nor poor.
Yammer was started back in 2008 by PalPal founder David Sacks, where they raised around $142 million in funding since they began, it was backed by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who also invested in Facebook. Sacks said:
When we started Yammer four years ago, we set out to do something big. We had a vision for how social networking could change the way we work. Joining Microsoft will accelerate that vision and give us access to the technologies, expertise and resources we'll need to scale and innovate.
After a negative report from Morgan Stanley, troubled Research in Motion (RIM) couldn't dodge a 7.7-percent drop in their share prices. Morgan Stanley's analysts have also put forward a bleak forecast for the future of RIM.
RIM have BlackBerry 10 coming this year, their updated mobile OS, but is it enough to pull them out of this black hole? RIM's shares closed at $9.11 on the Nasdaq on Monday, down 75 cents from the open, but up from the $9.01 mark shares hit earlier in the day. RIM's shares peaked in 2008, and since then they have slid considerably, shedding 94-percent of their value.
I don't see how RIM can get themselves out of this mess, they really need an 'iPhone moment', or else I can't see the company staying glued together for much longer. BB10 better come out and drag millions of customers in, and even then, it's just one piece of the mobile pie. What are your thoughts on RIM?
Founder of Megaupload, Kim Dotcom, has just announced through his new Twitter account "Megabox". Megabox is destined to become a new music discovery and sharing service, and is being worked on all while he's still under arrest.
Dotcom has said that Megabox would compete with platforms such as Spotify, and would let artists keep almost 90-percent of the profits made from their music. It's a pretty big change, going from Megaupload, being put under house arrest, and announcing a Spotify-like music service.
Just before the Megabox tweet, Dotcom uploaded a photo of himself and Apple founder Steve Wozniak, who visited Dotcom in New Zealand. Wozniak is a supporter of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), who are suing the Federal Bureau of Investigation over the files on Megaupload's servers, where the EFF argues that the site's users have a right to access.
The enterprise market is a massive market that could do with a company gently stroking it with products, and it looks as though Samsung wants to step up to that plate in the very near future.
Samsung want to take advantage of the growing Bring Your Own Device trend, with Samsung executives speaking with The Financial Times saying that improved security standards for their handsets, features the company hope will help business IT professionals get over any concerns of integrating Android handsets into their operations.
According to recent research, 80-percent of American employees now use a personally-owned device for work-related functions. Within that figure, 38-percent use a smartphone for work, with 15-percent using a tablet. The OS on these devices (if they're not running iOS) usually lack corporate-level security features, and Samsung wants to address this concern.
Chinese government, along with Huawei and ZTE are being investigated, could pose a national security threat
The US House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee is looking into the relationship between the Chinese government and Huawei, as well as ZTE, both Chinese telecom manufacturers. Mike Rogers, Committee chairman has said that he believes its necessary to look into whether or not the two manufacturers are receiving unfair subsidies from the Chinese government, and whether hardware from the two companies could represent a national security threat.
Later this summer the committee is expected to release a report where there'll be two versions: a classified version and an unclassified version. The report is expected to address both trade practices and security concerns in regards to Huawei and ZTE.
The report might sway US companies from buying the Huawei or ZTE goods, considering the national security aspect of things. The Intelligence Committee has been running an investigation looking into the two manufacturers and their Chinese government ties. Critics allege that the two companies receive cheap loans, land and other subsidies from the Chinese government which allow the companies to make wares cheap, and dump them on foreign markets at prices below their competitors can afford.
A bunch of websites who hosted the reported Xbox 720 design documents have received takedown notices from Microsoft. Polygon reported than a Czech website received a letter requesting that the content be removed. The letter came from Alan Radford, on behalf of Microsoft, which said:
Microsoft has received information that the domain listed above, which appears to be on servers under your control, is offering unlicensed copies of, or is engaged in other unauthorised activities relating to copyrighted works published by Microsoft.
The letter has been sent to other websites, and states that the "IEB Roadmap" was an infringement of Microsoft's copyright. It seems that they just didn't want the information out there, but once it's on the Internet, it's pretty much permanent.
Estonia-based company, GameFounders, has just opened their wallets and hearts to European Game Startups. GameFounders says that they are the first European accelerator to focus solely on game developers. They're offering an investment of 15,000 euros in exchange for 9-percent of the company.
You don't need to have an already-formed company, as long as your team is willing to incorporate after it joins GameFounders. The accelerator program is open to any form of game, as long as it has already launched, even if the game is in its beta stage. The website does note that "it is more likely at the moment for mobile games to get investments".
The best thing about it? It's not limited to Estonian companies:
For a start, Estonia is probably the easiest place to start a business. You count the time time you need to establish a limited company in minutes, the time you need to open a bank account in hours and the time you need to get all the other paperwork (VAT numbers and such) in days. And when you have spent those few days to get the business up and running, there is an abundance of funds, both local and EU, available for you to boost your business.
Are you an Apple employee or thinking about starting work there? Well, now may be a good time as Apple is getting more generous with their employee discount offerings as well as their pay. Back in January, Tim Cook announced employees would be getting a new major discount program for Macs and iPads starting in June.
Sticking with that announcement, Apple has launched the new program which should give large discounts to Apple employees. Employees will now be able to purchase Macs with a $500 discount (excluding Mac mini) and iPads with a $250 discount. Better yet, these discounts are on top of the existing 25% discount offered by Apple.
Employees must be with the company for at least three months and can only take advantage of the discount once every three years. In other news, Apple has moved up its scheduled raises from September to now. Some are reporting increases of up to 30% but the average seems to be about $2-4. The increase depends on the performance of the store and employee both.
LG haven't been doing so well in the tablet market which is mainly dominated by Apple, Samsung and Amazon, but instead of making a constant loss, or barely breaking even, they're completely diving out of the market and concentrating solely on the smartphone side of things.
LG is focused on the smartphones big time, with company spokesman Ken Hong speaking to AllThingsD and being quoted here:
We decided early this year to focus exclusively on building up our smartphone portfolio, which includes the category of large five-inch display and over devices, such as Optimus Vu, which we feel addresses many of the content consumption issues with traditional mobile phones.
Considering the tablet market is pretty much sewn up from the aforementioned companies, unless you have a make-it-or-break-it tablet, why bother, right? On top of this, Microsoft's Surface tablet is sure to shake up the market, and why try to compete with someone like Microsoft? You know what? Personally, I think it's refreshing to see LG Electronics do this. Instead of seeing a company just pour unlimited funds into a market they might not see huge profits from, pull out of a market they aren't strong in, is actually refreshing.
LG, I salute you. I wouldn't mind seeing what you have in the future, but what of the Microsoft Surface tablet? Hong has said "Microsoft's announcement doesn't change anything here at LG". Good. Life is good at LG.
NVIDIA has issued a statement regarding Linus Torvalds harsh words. A little recap: Linus Torvalds said during a conference that NVIDIA is the worst company ever and then said "NVIDIA: F*** you!" He said this because he was a little upset with the Linux support and willingness to work with the open source community.
NVIDIA's PR machine has been at work crafting a statement to respond to his comments and finally issued a statement last night. The short version is that they are committed to Linux support using their own proprietary driver that is common among platforms. This allows for same-day Linux support of GPUs.
They also highlight their work with Tegra in the Linux community. Below is the NVIDIA response:
Supporting Linux is important to NVIDIA, and we understand that there are people who are as passionate about Linux as an open source platform as we are passionate about delivering an awesome GPU experience.
Recently, there have been some questions raised about our lack of support for our Optimus notebook technology. When we launched our Optimus notebook technology, it was with support for Windows 7 only. The open source community rallied to work around this with support from the Bumblebee Open Source Project http://bumblebee-project.org/. And as a result, we've recently made Installer and readme changes in our R295 drivers that were designed to make interaction with Bumblebee easier.
Google doesn't appear to be happy with a website that is converting YouTube videos into MP3s and allowing visitors to convert YouTube videos into MP3 files for download. It turns out that they are so unhappy with the website, which pulls in 1.3m visitors a day, that they have sent a letter threatening legal action.
Apparently, this service that the site is providing is against YouTube's Terms of Service and, as such, YouTube has blocked the websites servers from accessing YouTube. Google has only provided the site with 7 days to comply with Google's request or they could face possible legal action for break the Terms of Service.
"We would estimate that there are roughly 200 million people across the world that make use of services like ours and Google doesn't just ignore all those people, they are about to criminalize them. With the way they are interpreting and creating their ToS every one of those 200 million users is threatened to be sued by Google," the converter spokesman said.
It's pretty clear why YouTube can't have people going around ripping MP3s of pop songs posted on YouTube. If they were, record labels would no longer want to put music videos on the site and Google/YouTube would miss out on a large amount of hits and money. But, if Google wants to end all YouTube to MP3 converters, they have a large task in front of them.
After years of being in limbo and being an arguing point to why Australia is crap for 'mature' gaming, the Australian House and Senate have both passed a bill that would see the creation of an R18+ ratings category for video games.
An R18+ classification for games has been a long-standing fight, as the classification is valid for both movies and other media. The lack of an R18+ rating meant that any games deemed more mature than the MA15+ classification, were banned and unable to be sold in Australia.
Games such as Left 4 Dead 2, Mortal Kombat, Syndicate, and the Grand Theft Auto series have either been met with bans, or were edited to get lowered to the MA15+ classification. But not anymore! The R18+ rating goes into affect on the first day of 2013.