A settlement between Apple and Samsung may be on the horizon

The long and drawn out battle between Samsung Electronics and Apple over the ownership of various intellectual properties may be coming to a close.

According to The Korea Times Samsung and Apple have resumed discussion of settling their patent disputes. Recent developments such as Apple’s deal with Google show that times may be changing on how these types of disputes are handled. There is a different air surrounding these discussions compared to the countless court battles and negotiations that preceded.

With Apple dropping its disputes with Motorola and Google this new settlement with Samsung is looking like a final settling. Samsung as part of the Google Android Alliance will most likely get a similar deal.

Whether Apple is trying to negate the negative publicity of being a patent troll or saving time and money, the optimistic view is that if negotiations go well this may be the beginning of the end of the patent wars that plague the IT world.

Sources: TalkAndroid, The Korea Times

Leonardo DiCaprio to star in Steve Jobs biopic: Report

Slumdog Millionaire-director Danny Boyle is reportedly in discussions to direct an untitled movie about Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, and interestingly Leonardo DiCaprio could play the title role. The Hollywood Reporter says that Sony Pictures was earlier in talks with David Fincher as director, with rumours that he wanted Christian Bale to star as Jobs. But Fincher is being replaced “due to his aggressive demands for compensation and control.”

The combination of Boyle and DiCaprio is expected to make the Jobs film appeal to a far broader audience compared to the teaming of Fincher and Bale.

The movie is likely to focus on the launches of Apple’s original Macintosh computer, NeXT Cube, and original iPod. Jobs is remembered fondly today for all these products and more. He died on October 5, 2011 after a long battle with a rare form of pancreatic cancer.

“Sources caution that deals are not done. And DiCaprio has committed to star in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s thriller The Revenant for New Regency starting in September,” says The Hollywood Reporter.

It is worth mentioning here that with Fincher falling out of the project, audience would not be able to see the reunion of the team behind Social Network which grossed $225 million worldwide in 2010.

Apple, Google, Samsung announce commitment to anti-theft technology

Anti-theft technology can be a boon for cellphone users. Taking this a step ahead, the wireless industry has announced on Tuesday, their voluntary commitment to include new anti-theft technology on phones from next year.

The list flaunts top five US cellular carriers and key smartphone players like Apple, Google, HTC, Huawei, Motorola, Microsoft, Nokia and Samsung. Having signed the pledge, these companies agree that the devices that go on sale after July 2015 will have the capability to remotely wipe data and turn the device inoperable, if it is reactivated without permission.

Devices that are lost or stolen devices can be later restored if found. Carriers have also agreed that they will offer these services.

There are some players who have already put a mechanism in place like Apple’s iOS 7 update has a feature dubbed Activation Lock prevents a device from being reactivated once lost.

While many state and local lawmakers applauded the agreement, it was panned as inadequate by California state Sen, reported Recode.net. Infact, it was Mark Leno who proposed a mandatory kill-switch law. He said in a statement, “The wireless industry today has taken an incremental yet inadequate step to address the epidemic of smartphone theft. Only weeks ago, they claimed that the approach they are taking today was infeasible and counterproductive. While I am encouraged they are moving off of that position so quickly, today’s ‘opt-in’ proposal misses the mark if the ultimate goal is to combat street crime and violent thefts involving smartphones and tablets.”

Editor’s Note: One concerning issue around this mechanism is that suddenly the government and companies have a kill switch to brick all cell phones. So if there is a revolution like Occupy Wall Street, the government will be able to crush it by bricking all phone of activists or protestors.

Source: Recode.net

Android (Linux) is creating more jobs than iPhone

A new analysis for online jobs done by Freelancer reveals that the number of jobs for Android developers is growing at a faster rate than the number of iPhone developers. According to the report, In Q2 of 2013, the number of Android jobs (7,073 jobs) overtook iPhone (6,989 jobs) for the first time; now in Q1 2014, Android is continuing its reign with a 33.9% increase to 11,141 jobs versus iPhone’s 32.0% to 10,207 jobs. In Q1 2014, over 270,000 jobs were analyzed by Freelancer to provide a snapshot of the global business ecosystem.

According to IDC in 2013, Android  the clear leader in the smartphone operating system race with  Samsung as a commanding 39.5% share of shipments for the year, where iOS posted the lowest positive growth for both the quarter (6.7%) and for the year (12.9%), under performing the overall market in both instances.

Even after lowering the cost of iPhone 5C’s it’s been a flop in market, CEO Tim Cook announced that, “Sales of the 5C had been less than anticipated”. Its very clear that Android is giving them a huge (VERY HUGE) fight. Android is growing like wildfire in the developing world.

Freelancer.com Chief Executive Matt Barrie said: “The Freelancer Fast 50 data is the leading forward indicator of trends in online jobs related to industries, technologies, products and companies”.

Other findings include:

  • A rise in 3D printing and design work drove a large increase in 3D jobs — Q1 2014 saw a dramatic leap in all things three-dimensional. 3D rendering leapt by 43.9% to 2,784 jobs, 3D animation increased by 35.7% to 3,183 jobs and 3D modelling saw an increase of 34.5% to 3,230 jobs.
  • Graphic design work rose to 51,389 jobs, illustration jobs were up by 32.7% to 3,308 jobs and animation jobs were up by 21.3% to 2,755.
  • Mobile phone jobs were up by 35.3% to 13,340 positions.

Triple Webby Award winning Freelancer.co.uk is the world’s largest freelancing and crowd-sourcing marketplace by total number of users and projects posted. Over 10.7 million registered users have posted 5.7 million projects and contests to date in over 600 areas as diverse as website development, logo design, marketing, copy-writing, astrophysics, aerospace engineering and manufacturing. Freelancer Limited is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange under the ticker ASX:FLN.

Resource: Recruiter.co.uk

Google never copied Apple’s iPhone, says Android executive

Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google vice president of Android, testified on Friday that the search giant never copied iPhone features for use in Android.

His testimony is part of the ongoing Apple v. Samsung patent-infringement trial, where the Cupertino company contends, and the Korean firm denies, that several Android features in Galaxy range of devices infringe the iPhone maker’s patents.

Lockheimer, who joined Google in 2006, was called by Samsung’s lawyers as a witness to demonstrate how the popular Android operating system was well into development before the first generation iPhone was introduced in 2007.

Re/code reports: Lockheimer testified that he first saw a demo of Android work in January 2006 and was “blown away” and decided to join Google and work on the project that April. At the time, he said, there were only 20 or 30 people working on the software. The first Android phone came out in 2008, with only about 70 people at Google working on the operating system.

Taking the jury through early development of Android, Lockheimer said: “We liked to have our own identity; we liked to have our own ideas. We were very passionate about what we were doing, and it was important that we have our own ideas.”

It is being said that Samsung’s attorneys are planning to call as many as 17 witnesses, including Dianne Hackborn and Cary Clark, by the end of the day Monday in its defense against Apple.

Email reveals Steve Jobs wanted holy war on Google

If Apple co-founder Steve Jobs were still around, the Cupertino-based company would have waged a ‘Holy War’ against Google. A highly confidential email dated 24 October 2010, which the tech visionary sent to his top 100 most senior executives, has revealed Jobs’ strategy for the following year.

For the uninitiated, Steve Jobs had a secret meeting every year or so with the company’s top 100 employees for a three-day strategy session for the coming year.

In the mail, Jobs outlined all the ways in which Apple compete with Google –from cloud services to mobile operating systems. The mail is now public, thanks to an ongoing Apple’s lawsuit against Samsung over smartphone patents.

Apple’s visionary, in particular, focused upon the need “to catch up to Android where we are behind.” He highlighted notifications, tethering and speech as three key areas of focus, while noting that features like Siri would help Apple overtake Google’s popular Android OS.

Signalling the “end of the PC-era”, Jobs revealed strategy to “further lock customers into our ecosystem”, but warned that Apple was “in danger of hanging on to old paradigm too long”.

The email also outlines the future of Apple TV; Jobs mentions a strategy to “stay in the living room game” and create a “must have” accessory for iOS devices.

Feast your eyes upon the fascinating historical document…

Editor’s Note: So it looks like ‘Samsung steals from Apple’ was just one of the strategies to slow Android’s growth. The real issue never was who stole from whom, the real issue seemed to be that Apple had lost the mobile war and it wanted to get back into the game – by hook or by crook.

iPhone becomes victim of Android’s success, makes Apple worry

Apple, the world’s most valuable technology company, is worried these days and not without reason. Well, Android phones with either larger screens or lower prices than the iPhone are making the tech giant’s blood boil.

Internal Apple documents show that the company’s sales department is anxious about growing competition from Android-powered devices amidst declining iPhone sales, Re/code said in a report.

The document was shared in the ongoing Apple vs. Samsung patent lawsuit on Friday. “Competitors have drastically improved their hardware and in some cases their ecosystems,” noted a member of Apple’s sales team as per the document.

Samsung reportedly presented the document as part of its cross-examination of Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller. Schiller, however, denied that the document represents Apple’s policy and also disagreed with the information contained in the document.

The Cupertino-based company also seems to be concerned over the advertisement push from competitors. Re/code added: “Other concerns noted in the document included the idea that Android rivals were “spending ‘obscene’ amounts of money on advertising and/or carrier channel to gain traction” and that mobile carriers had an interest in limiting iPhone sales because of, among other things, the high subsidies they had to pay on the device.”

During its cross-examination of Schiller, Samsung tried to push the matter while sharing a related email thread between Schiller and Cook.

“We may need to start a search for a new agency,” Schiller mentioned in an email to Cook. “I’ve tried hard to keep this from being the situation, but we are not getting what we need from them and haven’t been for a while.”

Schiller may not have agreed with much of the document in court on Friday but Apple knows it needs to find a solution to keep pace with iPhone’s low-cost rivals.

What do you think? What can keep the thing going for Apple?

Samsung’s Next Big Thing Ad Campaign got Apple’s Phil Schiller obsessed

Samsung and Apple’s war is nothing new. In fact, Samsung’s advertising campaign dubbed Next Big Thing, which made fun of people standing outside Apple stores for launches irked Apple’s marketing chief, Phil Schiller. This claim was made by Samsung, which is in the process of unearthing piles of internal Apple documents for its lawsuit with the company. For the uninitiated, the lawsuit started this week itself in a California court.

John Quinn of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan law firm, who is representing Samsung in the trial told the jury, “We will show you internal Apple documents, documents that haven’t been made public before, and showed how Apple was really concerned about competition from Android, and in particular Samsung. This new, edgy marketing strategy … it drove Apple crazy.”

Quinn presented an internal email from Schiller to his teammates highlighting a Wall Street Journal story titled ‘Has Apple lost its cool to Samsung?’ Schiller’s reply to the email was, “We have a lot of work to do to turn this around.”

Quinn claimed that Schiller got “obsessed” with the campaign, suggesting Tim Cook to look for another ad agency instead of its mainstay TBWA\CHIAT\DAY. The issue was discussed in a board meeting too.

The trial is expected to run the whole month. Apple is reportedly asking for $2 billion in damages and Samsung’s asking for more than $6.9 million.

Source: The Verge

Apple in talks with Comcast for priority services for its set-top box

We recently reported Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings talk about the essence of net neutrality saying that ISPs such as AT&T and Comcast should not restrict, influence, or otherwise meddle with the choices consumers make. If reports are to be believed, Apple is talking to Comcast to get priority services for its set-top box that will bypass any congestion created by internet traffic.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, the cable provider, the US’ largest, would offer Apple’s traffic special treatment over the “last mile” of cabling between an exchange and customers’ homes.

The report, however, says that the two are nowhere close to a settlement yet. To make this reality, Comcast will have to fuel its technology by investing heavily. Moreover, they are still not in sync on who would have the ownership of customer information. Another bone of contention is if Apple will be getting a share of Comcast’s monthly customer subscription fees.

Apple was said to be in talks with Time Warner Cable before it was acquired by Comcast for $45 billion. Now if this deal goes through, Apple will be offering a faster and more stable service than its TV streaming peers, clearly giving it a winning edge.

Editor’s note: That’s what would destroy net neutrality in the US. Companies with deep pockets will pay to prioritize their services making other services slower. US government should make ‘Internet’ a utility like water and electricity so that Internet remains as free as it was in the beginning.

Source: The Verge

Apple may bring iTunes to Android, and it makes sense

Apple broke the monopoly of record labels, which forced users to buy entire album even if a user wanted just one song. It made music affordable, which brought down ‘piracy’. Apple actually shook the entire music industry with its iTunes, the way it changed the mobile industry with iPhone.

Till now, or to be precise under the leadership of Steve Jobs, Apple has been busy nuking Android, let alone bringing its services to the platform. Things seem to be changing now. Apple is reportedly considering iTunes for Android.

That could be a game changer.

Online music sales is declining

While there is no doubt hardware is where Apple makes most money, iOS market is declining and so are the services that are sold through the platform. Billboard reported in January this year, “Overall for the full year 2013, digital track sales fell 5.7% from 1.34 billion units to 1.26 billion units while digital album sales fell 0.1% to 117.6 million units from the previous year’s total of 117.7 million, according to Nielsen SoundScan.”

Declining sales of online music can be serious concern for Apple as the industry may start to shift towards that player which dominates the sales and that player is Google/Android. One way for Apple to increase the sales of iTunes music could be by taking the iTunes store to the next most popular platform.

There are Mac-Android users

There is another interesting chemistry going on there. Windows sales is declining thanks to an OS no one can use. More and more users are either moving to Chromebooks or Mac. So while Macs do have advantages over Windows PCs, the case of iPhone is different. iDevices just fail to compete with Android at many levels – whether it be features like multi-tasking or diverse and better hardware. So the obvious choice for power users has become a Mac PC and an Android smartphone.

By offering iTunes to Android users, Apple will turn all those millions of Mac+Android users into Apple users.

Apple is also trying to enter the on-demand music streaming market and Android will offer Apple the market that it needs to drive traffic.

Personally I am quite tired of vendor locks. The movies that I buy on Amazon can’t be played on my Android devices even if Amazon uses Android as the base of its own Kindle. Same is the case with Apple. There is no way for me to play any of the contents that I buy from iTunes on my Android devices so I just don’t buy anything from iTunes any more. There may be a lot of Mac users who are not buying stuff because of this reason.

It’s a win-win situation for Apple.

But what has changed suddenly?

Tim Cook.

Steve Jobs, despite Apple’s own history of borrowing ideas from others, couldn’t tolerate Android and was determined to destroy it. All the battles between Android players and Apple go back to Jobs era. Once Cook took control of Apple, he is being wiser than Jobs and instead of using ’rounded corners’ to beat competitors is rather focusing on refining the products.

Steve Jobs was quite clear about not porting iTunes to Android. He had once said, “We thought about whether we should do a music client for Android. We put iTunes on Windows in order to sell more iPods. But I don’t see an advantage of putting our own music app on Android, except to make Android users happy. And I don’t want to make Android users happy.”

That’s not the case anymore. Google has mastered the art of partnerships and its Play Music is quite rich. It’s not Android users who are missing anything or unhappy with the lack of iTunes, it’s Apple or Mac users who are unhappy and it is affecting sales.

Apple co-founder Steve Woznaik, who is known for being outspoken, is in favour of bringing iTunes to Android, “Let’s look at Apple. Apple’s real rise from the small market-share Macintosh company to the iProducts of today began with iTunes and the iPod. This turned out to be a 2nd huge business which roughly doubled Apple’s ‘size’. If you remember, we ported iTunes to Windows. We now addressed 100% of the world’s market with this integrated system (iPod/iTunes) and it began the era of Apple that we are now in. So why don’t we port iTunes to Android? Did something get closed up? I love Apple products and iTunes and wish it were on my Android products too.”

So what does the current Apple boss think? When asked about bringing iOS apps and services to Android, Cook said: “We have no religious issue with doing that. If we thought it made sense for us to do that, we would do that.”

As an Android user, would you use iTunes and other Apple services? Personally I am in favour of it. I am in favour of using my content on any platform or my choice. I just don’t like vendor locks.