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Today, Newegg announced that it has won yet another battle in its ongoing fight against the notorious "patent trolls" Soverain Software and TQP Development. Newegg says that on September 4, 2013, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated an additional claim made by Soverian Software LLC on its "Shopping Cart" patent.
Additionally, the court denied Soverain's request for a rehearing of the initial January 22, 2013 decision that invalidated the balance of the asserted claims. As a result of this decision, Newegg says that all patent claims asserted by Soverain have been held invalid for being no more than obvious variations of old patents held by CompuServe technology.
Newegg says that it is looking forward to going to trial later this year against TQP Development LLC, a shell company affiliated with the notorious patent troll Erich Spangenberg. Newegg says that it hopes that Spangenberg will allow the patent to be tested by the court system this time around and feels that it will be the end to the "shopping cart" patent for good.
The Wall Street Journal has recently released a report that indicates that BlackBerry is planning to "run a fast auction process" in an effort to get the company under new ownership before the end of November of this year.
The report goes on to say that BlackBerry has narrowed its list of potential buyers and should begin the sale process "soon." No mention was made of who these buyers could be, nor was any asking price quoted in the article.
I'm actually hoping that either Apple or Samsung will pick up the troubled company. Either one could take the company's enterprise software, port it to their own operating system, and dominate the corporate smartphone market. I have a hunch that one of the buyers is Samsung and that they could be a strong contender to pick up the company after recent reports that BlackBerry Messenger will hit Galaxy Devices before other Android Handsets.
Today, a new report from Bloomberg suggests that Lenovo CEO, Yang Yuanqing, plans on giving away $3.25 million of his bonus to 10,000 of the company's lowest paid workers. Workers in 20 countries will get the payments, including a facility in Mooresville, North Carolina, where Lenovo's US headquarters is located.
The deal works out to about $325 per employee, which may not sound like much to the US crowd, but $325 is just about the equivalent of one month's pay for the company's workers in China where 85 percent of the company's employees are located. Yang says that he is giving away a significant portion of his annual bonus so that all employees understand the impact they have on making Lenovo the largest PC manufacturer in the world.
10,000 workers only work out to about a third of Lenovo's total employees, but Yang has decided to give the payouts to those who earn the least amount, are paid by the hour, or not eligible for commission or other bonuses that would increase their normal rate of pay. The $3.25 million will not affect Mr. Yang, though, as last year he earned 14.6 million and owns roughly 7 percent of the company's stock.
Nothing stirs up the rumor mill quite like a major corporation purchasing another major corporation shortly after the first corporation's CEO announces his retirement. With this morning's announcement that Microsoft is in the process of purchasing Nokia's Devices and Services business, reports are starting to come in that Nokia boss, Stephen Elop, could land in the CEO chair when Microsoft's Steve Ballmer departs from the company sometime in the next 12 months.
During an interview with the Seattle Times, Ballmer said that Elop will be moved from an external list of possible candidates to an internal list that could fast-track him into becoming the CEO of Microsoft. Ballmer did note that the board will continue to consider all appropriate candidates through the process and that Elop is still merely a candidate. So at the moment, it is still up in the air about who will fill Ballmer's seat when he leaves, but I would say the chances are high that Elop will take the helm and guide Microsoft for the years to come.
Microsoft's early morning announcement of its pending acquisition of Nokia has the entire tech world talking this morning, with many speculating about what the future may hold for both companies. Shortly after the official announcement, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer issued a statement to Microsoft employees in the form of a company-wide memo.
The memo mentions that the partnership between Microsoft and Nokia over the last two years has yielded some incredible work and cites the recently released Lumia 1020 41-megapixel Windows Phone as its greatest achievement. Ballmer says that he believes that now is the time for Microsoft to build on this momentum and capitalize on Windows Phone's growing popularity on the Lumia platform.
He goes on to say that Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia is a good deal for both companies in that Microsoft is on the receiving end of some incredible talent, technology, and intellectual property. In an article I posted earlier this morning, Ballmer alluded to the fact that he feels that Microsoft can take the Lumia line of smartphones to an entirely new level that was unachievable with Nokia.
Maybe this is one of the driving forces behind Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's Services and Devices division today, in that the Redmond-based company isn't even making $10 per Windows Phone-based Nokia device sold.
Part of it's "rationale for the deal", Microsoft revealed that under its current deal with Nokia, it receives less than $10 per phone in software royalties. This would mean that if Windows Phone were to overnight, somehow, with maybe a wish from a genie, become the number one mobile OS in the world and sell millions of handsets through Nokia, it wouldn't exactly equal huge money for Microsoft.
So while people might be looking at Microsoft taking a big risk acquiring the Services and Devices division from Nokia, in the long run it obviously hopes it'll help them. Microsoft has also said that Nokia's Windows Phones have a gross profit margin in the range of $40 per phone. The Redmond-based software giant is also signing a rather large cheque to Nokia for "platform support", which is kinda like a bribe so that Nokia goes all-in with Windows Phone instead of Android.
I'm sure that most, if not all of Microsoft's Windows Phone partners were calling emergency board meetings today when the Redmond-based giant announced it had acquired Nokia's Devices and Services division, but what does this mean for the future of Windows Phone?
Well, apart from writing an article about it (which you can expect in the coming days, as well as a new surprise addition to the site), Microsoft's EVP of Operating Systems, Terry Myerson, has said that Microsoft won't be cutting ties with other WP partners. He has been quoted as saying: "Acquiring Nokia's Devices group will help make the market for all Windows Phones, from Microsoft or our OEM partners. We collaborate with our Microsoft hardware teams in the same way we partner with our external hardware partners... We look forward to building new products together that will provide valuable business opportunity for the ecosystem and enable OEMs."
Without going into much detail, I don't think we'll see anything big from the acquisition. By then, Google would have put its foot right down to the metal with Android 5.0 "Key Lime Pie", Google Glass, and enjoying its partners pushing out countless devices. Apple is going to be the underdog going into 2015 with the iPhone, and Microsoft, well, they could surprise us, but they haven't so far.
In an unexpected turn of events, Microsoft has announced its intentions to purchase Nokia's Devices and Services divisions for a reported $5 billion dollars. Additionally, the Redmond computing pioneer will also license all related patents from the Finnish telecom giant for an additional $2.2 billion.
The transaction is expected to be under review until 2014 and is expected to finalize sometime during the first quarter. Nokia Executives expected to transfer to Microsoft in the deal include Stephen Elop, Jo Harlow, Juha Putkiranta, Timo Toikkanen, and Chris Weber. Stay tuned to TweakTown for full coverage of the acquisition as news begins flowing in.
Apple is hosting an event on September 10, where we should be introduced to the iPhone 5S. Now there's news popping up that the company is restricting vacation time of AppleCare employees between September 15-28.
This falls right in line with the rumored launch date of the iPhone 5S and 5C smartphones, hitting consumers on September 20. iOS 7 is expected to drop in the same week. The above photo is an internal document leaked to AppleInsider which reportedly shows the amount of time off available to AppleCare employees during September, which drops heavily once September 15 hits.
This is just more confirmation that Apple will unleash the iPhone 5S and 5C smartphones on September 10 with a September 20 release.
Vodafone and Verizon's business relationship might just improve if a report from Reuters is correct, with the company's working on a deal over the weekend. As usual, people "familiar with the matter" say that the firms' respective boards are voting on a $130 billion buyout.
This would see Vodafone's 45% stake in Verizon back in its own hands. Verizon will finance half of the deal with bonds and bank loans, with the other half of the deal seeing suitcases filled with cash being handed over. The Wall Street Journal has chimed in, stating that the deal was finalized behind closed doors, and we should expect an official announcement on Monday morning.