Microsoft and Apple find common purpose as they gang up on Google

Apple versus Google in mobile warsHead on over to the official Google blog and you’ll find a very interesting article posted yesterday (August 4th 2011) entitled “When Patents Attack Android” that went on to spark a very pubic and very bitter argument  between the technology giants.

Chief Legal Officer at Google, David Drummond, used the original post to launch a highly critically attack on Microsoft, Apple & others for buying up mobile technology patents with the direct intention of limiting innovation and forcing up prices for handsets using the Android operating system.  In Drummond’s own words

“Android’s success has yielded…a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents”

This is what seems to have happened.   A group of companies (Rockstar) led by Apple and Microsoft have acquired a number of old patents previously held by Novell & Nortel that cover mobile operating software.  They were purchased for the princely sum of $4.5 billion, 5 times more than the pre-auction estimate.  A hefty investment and one seemingly made to inflict maximum pain on Google’s ambitions for the mobile space.

In doing so they are now able to levy a $15 licensing fee against every handset that uses the Android system.  They’re taking violations of these patents very seriously and have already launched suits against Samsung, HTC and Motorola.

Google have hit back and called upon the US Department of Justice to look into this purchase citing it as anti-competitive.   Google claim that the Rockstar group are both stifling innovation and limiting consumer choice and that rather than competing “by building new features or devices, they are fighting through litigation“.

At this point  Microsoft’s General Counsel Brad Smith disputed Drummond’s version on the Novell patent issue on Twitter.

“Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no,” Smith tweeted in response to the blog.

And so it seems to go on with executives from both sides taking shots at each other over the issue.  But with the mobile market continuing to expand and the prize of dominating the (non-Apple) mobile OS space being granted to the winner of this fight we think it’s going to get much worse for both sides.

To read the original Google blog post go to

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/when-patents-attack-android.html

 

 

 

 

The future looks bright for Google as US kids opt for Android

iphone v. android imageGoogle the guys we love to hate have delivered another set of bad news for the mighty Apple.

New research from Nielsen suggests that the future is looking very good for them as they make even further strides in the battle of the Smartphones.  In the US 18-24 year olds were significantly more likely to purchase a phone with an Android operating system than iOS or Blackberry.  27% of all active phones in the US are still iPhones but it’s the change in taste of the youth market that’s very telling.

This is great news for the publishers who’re  still facing the imposition of the 30% Apple tax and also for the techno-liberals (like us Levellers) who object to the closed wall garden approach taken by Apple and Blackberry.

We think that this is only Round 1 of an epic battle and we’re looking forward to the benefits delivered to the consumer as these mighty Krakens of the technology world go head to head in the mobile wars.

An app to please the music moguls. Welcome to FanTrail.

Fantrail logoSome may argue that the music industry only has itself to blame for it’s current ill health and lack of sustainable revenues. Clinging on to a past of the Sunday night Top 40 and the promise of wealth from the sale of singles to adoring teenage fans did nothing to future proof this industry that is now almost extinct on the high street at least.

Social networking sites have played a huge part in the discovery of new talent and the promotion of signed artists but the majority of labels still feel very uncomfortable about an environment that they can’t control and can’t directly commoditize.  So, when news of the launch of FanTrail (www.fantrail.com) hit our screens we knew that this would make a lot of moguls very happy indeed.

FanTrail is an iPhone app that allows artists / bands and their fans to connect but crucially provides a space their management to track and understand fans behaviour, purchase patterns and demographic profiles.  It’s free for both the artist / band and their fans.

FanTrail’s being launched at US music & entertainment gathering SXSW in Austin Texas next week and is a lovely piece of work.  It allows bands and artists to control and better still, start making money from their social networking space.  There are loads of cute innovations inside the app, but in short bands and their management can start of segment their fans by location, dedication and activism.

So what does this mean?  If an artist is up and running on FanTrail and they have some new material to test out they can send out an invite for a private gig to only their most active fans (the ones that buy the most music say) in a specific location, rewarding these guys with a money can’t buy opportunity.

The app also has the ability to release short sound bites, interview, samples of tracks etc to fans and once again this can be targeted by activism or location.   Fans score points by buying music through the app (& iTunes) and by checking in at gigs and concerts.

We think that there’s a rosy future for FanTrail.  The labels will love it as it has the ability to make them money, the management will love it because it makes their life just a little bit easier and the artists themselves will love it as it’s a lovely little app that allows them creativity.

So all you wannabe rock stars get yourself over to FanTrail and tell us what you think. (www.fantrail.com)

Is Apple’s design Genius about to quit?

Image of jony iveWith today’s news being dominated by the mixed success of The Social Network at the Oscars we’d be forgiven for thinking that there was much else going on in the world of digital technology. But wait, hidden amongst pictures of Justin Timberlake  modelling a divine Tom Ford ensemble there’s rumour and speculation that Jony Ive the Brit responsible for the iconic iPhone design is on the verge of quitting.

Reports say that Ive is desperate for his children to be raised and educated back home in our fair isle but that his bosses at Apple say that a move back to the UK would make his position in the company untenable.  He’s also just cashed in his share options and with it boosted his personal wealth to over $120 million.  Company insiders say that Ive and the Apple board are at loggerheads with neither side willing to back down.

All of this wouldn’t be too much of a problem if there was a clear succession plan in place as it becomes increasingly likely that Steve Jobs won’t return.  With over 1/3 of shareholders voting for a proposal to force the board to disclose their plans, more turmoil at the top of the tree comes at a bad moment for the board and shareholders alike.

What we do know for sure is that for Ive it’s never really been about the money and with Apple becoming the new frenemy is he feeling uncomfortable with an organisation that seems to be shifting away from it’s founding philosophies?

What ever Ive’s decision his work and achievements at Apple will remain legend.