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From: FUBHO2/29/2012 12:29:52 AM
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Sprint reveals it spent $15.5 billion to fuel its iPhone hunger

By Daniel Cooper posted Feb 28th 2012 at 4:12PM

Sprint's SEC filings have revealed that the carrier has committed to purchasing $15.5 billion worth of iPhones as part of the long-promised $20 billion gamble. If each handset costs around $630 at trade, then we're talking about the network holding nearly 24 million units. Given that the company most recently ate a loss of $1.3 billion, most of which was caused by carrier subsidies for the 4S, there's a genuine fear that the company won't be able to make enough back on each customer to offset the initial outlay. Given the Baller-style purchasing decisions of Dan Hesse of late, we'll be watching how this unfolds with great interest and our fingers very firmly crossed.

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From: sylvester802/29/2012 9:10:58 AM
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Analysis: Apple is Seeking 10,000x FRAND Rates in Patent Lawsuits
Jason Mick (Blog) - February 29, 2012 6:15 AM

Patent reform is crucial or electronics industry will be consumed in self-destructive chaos

It's simple math. And it illustrates how broken the international patent registration and court system is when it comes to intellectual property.

I. The System is Broken

Microsoft Corp. ( MSFT) recently revealed that tentative Google Inc. ( GOOG) acquisition Motorola Mobility wanted $22.50 per devicefor a series of video codec patents. This request was clearly ridiculous -- as Microsoft states, the typical licensing rate for a collection of standards patents under fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms is around $0.02 USD per device.

FRAND is actually a model system in that it is inherently an exemplar in the world of intellectual property. It represents fair compensation to innovators, yet opens key developments to the masses, allowing them to push the envelope.

The issue is that FRAND is on the verge of dying.

The would-be murderer is patent litigation. Keep that $0.02 USD patent licensing figure in mind. Now imagine you patent a trivial user interface gesture, which is essentially some sort of variant on drag and drop. Suddenly you can ban a competitor's device which retails for $200.00 USD.

That's right -- based on recent court decisions, almost trivial non-FRAND patents [ 1][ 2][ 3] are being rewarded with rulings worth 10,000x or more the cost of traditional licensing fees.

This abysmal state of affairs not only encourages patent trolling, it offers a strong financial incentive to stop any FRAND related work. If your competitors go non-FRAND and your company works cooperatively under FRAND guidelines, your firm will almost certainly be dealt a series of crippling court rulings under the current patent atmosphere. Try explaining that to investors.

II. Some Suggestions for Improving the System

User interface patents, firmware patents, and their ilk certainly represent a philosophy of protecting software innovators. That's a noble goal. However, in the future, it would be good for the patent system to consider a couple of points:

1. The potential for alternatives

Apple recently patented sending an interrupt to a processor in order to underclock it. Now, interrupts have been used for decades as the fundamental firmware mechanism to deal with immediate events. And a processor's power circuitry must receive some sort of guidance in order to underclock a chip.

Thus, while Apple's patent may be novel (assuming a lack of prior art), there are few feasible alternatives. The patent system should note this kind of situation and put a higher pressure to reach a fair licensing situation in this kind of case. You can't patent the laws of physics, so to speak, and even if you could, the least the system can do is to force you to license it.

2. The importance of a patent

Thus far Apple has secured short bans on Android products for relatively trivial features -- swipe to unlock, fast scrolling algorithms, and a "bounce" animation when performing drags or pinches.

In terms of the iPhone's net worth these represent maybe 1/500th or less of the total software innovation in the device. Thus it might be fair to charge collectively $1.00 USD per device for them, but seeking a ban or exorbitant fees from competitors who use similar effects/inputs is extremely punitive and unfair.

3. Eliminating repetition

The mobile industry is awash in a deluge of repatents -- companies taking personal computer innovations, putting a mobile spin on them and then filing for a patent. Apple's swipe to unlock is essential a touch screen version of the time immemorial drag-and-drop.

Motorola's forbidden swipe to unlock gesture [Image Source: YouTube]

If such repeats are allowed, the patents should at least be flagged. Again such a flag could be used as a basis to force a licensing settlement and/or reduce the maximum damages a company can seek to collect in a suit.

4. Force Companies to Reach Licensing Settlements

Barring a handful of patents where the IP describes essentially an entire product, there should be strict guidelines forcing companies to settle software IP disputes.

A reasonable place to start would be to charge x10 the going FRAND rate (e.g. $0.20 USD for licensing a portfolio of IP). In FRAND terms, this would not be fair and reasonable. But the approach would bring into line the risk-vs-reward equation of the FRAND-vs-non-FRAND filings, versus the current hyper-inflated value scenario which essentially tilts the value scale in the direction of non-FRAND so far that the balance bar breaks.

III. Don't Want to Fix the System? Prepare for a Dying Industry

As the industry stands right now, FRAND is on the verge of collapse. Google and its partners are fast learning that playing fair does not work. Their FRAND suits illustrate a willingness to play dirty. And that new perspective will likely soon manifest in a cessation of FRAND work.

This is a horrible state of affairs for the industry. By allowing injunctions that exceed FRAND payouts 10,000-fold, the global intellectual property sphere is revelling in the creation of an anti-competitive, anti-technology environment.

This system promises an ugly future in which mobile communications are slow (as it would be uneconomical to participate in FRAND communications standard development), there interfaces will be clunky (a company will be limited to a handful of UI elements for fear of infringement), and product quality will be decreased to offset an inevitable slew of licensing fees.

Prepare for the future of technology if the patent system is not reworked.
[Image Source: Museum of Natural History]

This is a system where nobody wins. And this is the system that will result if drastic action is not taken, right now.

Is Google/Motorola/Samsung playing dirty? Yes.
Is Microsoft milking the licensing system [ 1][ 2]? Yes.
Is Apple acting as an anticompetitive litigation abuser? Yes.

In a macroscopic sense, the problem is not these companies. The problem is the intellectual property system. This argument must not be lost amid our personal prejudices, lest the increasingly hyperlitigious atmosphere destroy the innovative devices we enjoy today, regardless of who makes them.

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From: FUBHO2/29/2012 12:24:44 PM
   of 2969
Mozilla's 'modest' proposal: Dump the smartphone OS

Companies tout 'Boot to Gecko' platform that can fully control the smartphone and its features without the complexity of a conventional OS
By John Cox |

Mozilla has a "modest proposal" about smartphones and it's simply stated. "Dump the operating system. All of them."

But unlike the famous essay by British satirist Jonathan Swift, Mozilla isn't fooling around. And at Mobile World Congress, the non-profit creator of the Firefox browser and its partner, the Spanish telecom giant Telefonica, showed just how serious they are.

The companies unveiled details for a smartphone platform that has the merest sliver of an OS, a small Linux kernel and other low-level elements, which act mainly to support device drivers and to launch the Gecko rendering engine, the heart of Mozilla's Firefox. Coupled with a growing array of new APIs, and a user interface dubbed Gaia, the platform can fully control the phone and its features without the complexity of a conventional OS.


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From: sylvester803/7/2012 9:01:17 AM
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Google Inc. Said Shopping Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc.'s Set-Top Business-DJ
7:03am EST Dow Jones reported that Google Inc. is looking to sell Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc.'s set-top box business ahead of closing on the $12.5 billion acquisition, The New York Post reported. While Google hasn't opened the sales book on the set-top business, they have sought help from Frank Quattrone's investment bank, Qatalyst Partners, and Barclays Capital to shop the asset.

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From: sylvester803/8/2012 7:33:20 AM
1 Recommendation   of 2969
BREAKING..Justice Department preparing Apple iBooks antitrust lawsuit
By Daniel Cooper posted Mar 8th 2012 5:50AM

The Justice Department is reportedly preparing to go after Apple, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Penguin, Macmillan and HarperCollins following its investigation into alleged e-book price-rigging. The case centers around a deal to switch to agency pricing, where the vendor takes a 30 percent cut of each sale, rather than the wholesale model that gives publishers more flexibility to reduce prices or even sell e-books at a loss. Some publishers are now trying to agree on a new policy in an effort to stave off the kind of federal suit that nobody wants to wear.

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From: pcyhuang3/10/2012 11:55:57 PM
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Why the IPAD is Unbeatable

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From: FUBHO3/12/2012 12:29:02 AM
   of 2969
IPhone Failing to Gain Market Share in China as Samsung Lead Triples

By Bloomberg News - Mar 11, 2012

Apple Inc. (AAPL) got a second partner in China to sell the iPhone in the world’s biggest mobile-phone market. The deal may be too late to catch Samsung Electronics Co. (005930), with a market share that’s three times larger and growing.

China Telecom Corp. (728) began selling the iPhone last week as Apple tries to build on its 7.5 percent share of the country’s smartphone sales. Samsung controlled 24.3 percent of the market for phones that can play videos and games, according to Gartner Inc., using a strategy of allying with all three of the nation’s third-generation networks since such services started in 2009.

Succeeding in China is important for Apple as shipments of smartphones in the country are projected to jump 52 percent this year to 137 million units, overtaking the U.S. for the first time as the world’s biggest market. Unlike Samsung’s strategy of partnering with all carriers, Apple has limited its own success by not making a device compatible with the nation’s biggest operator, China Mobile Ltd. (941)

“I don’t expect Apple to replace Samsung any time soon,” Gartner analyst Sandy Shen said in an interview. “China Telecom is the nation’s smallest carrier, so the extent to which they can help Apple is quite limited.”

The 16.8 percentage-point gap in China between Cupertino, California-based Apple and Samsung almost doubled from the third quarter. While Samsung is No. 1 and Apple No. 5 in China, the global story is different: Worldwide, Apple passed its Suwon, South Korea-based competitor to become the biggest smartphone vendor in the fourth quarter, according to Gartner.
China Mobile

Apple’s partnerships with China’s second- and third-largest carriers give it access to about 34 percent of the nation’s 988 million mobile users, while Samsung targeted the whole market. iPhones aren’t sold to China Mobile’s 655 million subscribers, a number almost equal to the combined population of the U.S., Brazil and Mexico.

“Having access to more subscribers gives vendors like Samsung an advantage,” said Teck Zhung Wong, a Beijing-based analyst with IDC China, who forecast the 52 percent jump in smartphone sales this year. “If Apple is going to continue to grow in the Chinese market, it has to consider very seriously a handset with China Mobile.”

China Telecom had a total of 129.3 million wireless users at the end of January, including 38.7 million 3G subscribers.

Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007 in the U.S. exclusively with AT&T Inc. (T) and added a second carrier partner last year in Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ)
Pelting Eggs

Apple chose not to make a phone with China Mobile because the operator had a unique 3G standard called TD-SCDMA, even after the Chinese company’s Chairman Wang Jianzhou met with the then Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs in early 2010. Wang told the company’s annual meeting in May that he didn’t expect Apple to introduce an iPhone until the carrier rolled out the fourth- generation TD-LTE network by end of this year.

China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd. (762) was the nation’s first carrier to offer the iPhone with a service contract in October 2009.

Even though Apple trailed Samsung, Nokia Oyj (NOK1V), Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp (000063) in China’s smartphone market, people still crave an iPhone.

Apple’s oldest store in China was pelted with eggs from a crowd of customers on Jan. 13 when the shop, in Beijing’s Sanlitun district, failed to open on the first day of sales for the iPhone 4S. After police sealed off the area to remove more than 500 people, Apple said it would suspend sales of iPhones at all its stores.
‘Didn’t Bet High Enough’

The maker of iMac computers and iPad tablets underestimated the “staggering” demand for the iPhone 4S when it started sales in China in January, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said. “We thought we were betting bold,” Cook said Jan. 24. “We didn’t bet high enough.”

The iPhone 4S has been “an incredible hit” with customers around the world, Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu said in an e-mail. Apple “can’t wait to get it into the hands of even more customers in China,” Wu said, declining to comment further on the company’s handset strategy in China.

Samsung’s approach to China is “the same” as other markets, Juha Park, senior vice president of product strategy, said in an interview in Barcelona.

“We make product innovation and make our brand very desired in the market,” Park said. “That’s what we do to become a major player. We have been doing quite strong growth in the China market.”
Unlocked IPhone

Even without an agreement with Apple or a device that’s compatible with its high-speed 3G network, China Mobile still has 15 million iPhone users, spokeswoman Rainie Lei said. Those China Mobile users buy unlocked devices and surf the web at slower 2G speeds, or else connect to Wi-Fi hotspots for a faster connection.

China Telecom projects that the iPhone will “significantly enhance its long term sustainable growth and value creation despite the short term pressure on its profitability,” spokeswoman Lisa Lai said in an e-mail.

“For China Telecom, its 4S launch comes late and the low- hanging fruit may already be exhausted,” said Lisa Soh, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Macquarie Group Ltd.

The egg pelting also resulted in Apple losing one advantage it had over Samsung -- its own retail stores stopped selling iPhones. Apple said at the time the move was “for the time being.” Apple’s Wu said the phones remain available through Apple’s online store in China, and declined to provide an update on when the shops would resume sales of the devices.

That leaves Samsung free to further widen its gap.

“It’s just one country, but it’s such a big market and its portion in the global market is huge, so Samsung is trying to act fast to capture the market,” said Kim Young Chan, a Seoul- based analyst at Shinhan Investment Corp. “Dealing with different network standards will give them a pretty valuable competitive edge.”

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From: FUBHO3/12/2012 10:11:14 PM
   of 2969
Intel Developing Web-Based TV Service

Intel Corp. is developing an Internet-based TV service that it hopes to sell to U.S. consumers, a strategic shift for the chip maker that makes it the latest technology company to look at a foray in the pay-TV business.

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To: FUBHO who wrote (822)3/13/2012 2:29:57 AM
   of 2969
European politicians are on the hunt for new sources of revenue as the continent’s fiscal situation worsens. The level of desperation is clear in the latest move from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government to tap into the cash reserves of Internet search engine giant Google to bolster that country’s ailing publishing industry.

The second item on the coalition’s list of priorities released last week was a proposal to slap online news aggregators with a tax. “Online commercial vendors, such as search engines and news aggregators, should in the future pay a fee to publishers for the distribution of press products (such as news articles) on the Internet,” the document explains. Any business that links to a news article with a brief excerpt is subject to the scheme.

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From: FUBHO3/13/2012 5:20:45 AM
   of 2969
China unknowns may be next smartphone stars
Rick Merritt
3/12/2012 12:24 PM EDT

BARCELONA – Ching-Jiang Hsieh has been forging tight links with China’s handset makers. The president of Mediatek believes they will be the source of the next big wave of smartphones.

“We will sell 50 million handset chip sets this year, up from 10 million last year,” said Hsieh in an interview with EE Times at the Mobile World Congress in late February. “This year feature phones will decline for the first time—they were almost flat last year—because smartphones are growing,” he said.

Market watchers agree. As many as 600 million smartphones will ship in 2014, and as many as half of them will be low cost models replacing feature phones, according to Linley Gwennap, principal of the Linley Group (Mountain View, Calif.). Chips that integrate apps processors and basebands will power 70 percent of those handsets, up from 40 percent in 2010, Gwennap predicts.

Likewise, Strategy Analytics said China overtook the US as the world’s biggest smartphone market in the third quarter of 2011. The shift was largely thanks to China’s cellular carriers who bought lots of models that cost less than US$160, making it the fastest growing segment.

Whether Mediatek can lead this new wave is an open question. The Taiwan company is battling with one of China’s fastest rising fabless companies, Spreadtrum Communications Inc., that also has its eyes on this market.

Like Mediatek, Spreadtrum recently released GHz-class ARM Cortex A9 applications processors to serve the market for smartphones that hit a $100-$160 price point. Smartphone chip giant Qualcomm also is focusing increasingly on integrated chips.

Hsieh said part of Mediatek’s edge is its relationships with and understanding of the China handset makers who he thinks will drive the shift. Four of China’s top handset makers--Huawei, Lenovo, TCL and ZTE—make up 40 percent of Mediatek’s handset business, and a diverse set of 100 other companies make up the rest, he said.

The big four are not only well known in China but have growing export businesses. Mediatek helps these OEMs quickly fill out the middle and low-end tiers of product lines.

Huawei’s HiSilicon group has been making its own applications processors for some time. The Shanghai based team announced a quad-core chip at Mobile World Congress with souped up graphics it claimed beat Nvidia’s Tegra 3.

A lot of attention gets paid to such image products by the gadget-crazed media. But that segment of the market will grow at a rate a little less than two percent over the next few years while the overall smartphone pie expands by as much as 45 percent, Hsieh said.

Next: China's second and third tiers
1 of 2

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