Apple defends against Samsung charges, discloses secret deal
The biggest news in today's Apple vs Samsung patent trial was the previously-reported revelation of a secret deal between Google and Samsung in which the search and advertising giant not only agreed to indemnify Samsung if it lost on two of the patent claims in this trial, but that Google -- not Samsung -- was to "direct and control" litigation and defense on Samsung's behalf. The revelation, which Samsung had previously denied in court, will be used to diminish the Samsung claim that the case is really about Android.
Company mostly untouched by Heartbleed bug, with one exception
On Tuesday, Apple -- which had previously said none of its key software, operating systems, websites or web services had been affected by the Heartbleed OpenSSL security flaw -- issued a patch to its 2013 (only) Airport Extreme and Time Capsule products that support 802.11ac to fix the issue. The 2013 Airport Express is not affected by the bug, and does not require the update. The patch boosts the firmware version on the Extreme and Time Capsule to 7.7.3 and "provides security improvements related to SSL/TLS."
Google's Mobile Application Distribution Agreement spells out defense aid
Google attorney James Mccoun testified today that the search engine giant agreed to defend Samsung at least in part against some of the claims against it in the ongoing Apple versus Samsung trial. Apple played pre-recorded testimony from the attorney who confirmed emails that Google would provide some level of indemnity over four patents held by Apple if Samsung was sued, or would possibly take over defense of the claims.
Hearing will decide fate of Aereo, will also have effects on cloud file streaming
In what is likely to be the final stop between Internet over-the-air television streamer Aereo and essentially the entire broadcast industry allied against it, Aereo seems to be fighting an uphill battle. Today's hearing before the US Supreme Court found judges skeptical about Aereo's business model, calling it "based solely on circumventing legal prohibitions that you don't want to comply with."
Up to 100 candidate cities planned to receive AT&T U-Verse with GigaPower service
AT&T has outlined a plan to roll out and expand its fiber service to 100 candidate cities and municipalities across the United States. The plans, which includes 21 new metropolitan areas, expands upon the company's existing U-Verse with GigaPower build-out taking place in Austin, Texas, which will see subscribers receiving TV services as well as a fiber connection promising speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second.
Samsung rests its defensive case, says it didn't infringe but Apple did
On Monday, Samsung -- which has devoted some 21.5 hours of its 25-hour limit to defending itself against charges that it copied five specific Apple patents -- finally rested its defensive case and began its offensive case late in the day, alleging that Apple is infringing on two patents it owns (but did not create -- they were purchased from others). Several expert witnesses for Samsung had to walk a strange line of saying Samsung had not infringed any of Apple's patents -- but even if it did, they were only worth a total of $38.4 million, not almost $2.2 billion.
Apple stores adding green to 'leaf' in Apple logo for Earth Day
Continuing with the various environmentally-themed disclosures on Monday, Apple has begun decorating its Apple Stores for Earth Day on Tuesday by adding green gels to the "leaf" portion of the Apple logo on some stores. The changeover is happening worldwide, with pictures of the modified logo appearing from China and Australia that also include employees in green-colored work shirts.
Non-functioning units will be recycled, recent working units can be exchanged for gift cards
Continuing its multi-pronged and environmentally-minded publicity push on Monday, Apple has also initiated a new program that will turn all Apple Stores into recycling centers, accepting all used Apple devices either for free (in the case of non-functional and older devices) or in exchange for a gift card (for newer, functional units). The new plan is part of an effort to reduce the company's "footprint" in terms of manufacturing pollution, and keep more of its electronics out of landfills.
Dubbed 'Alpine Ridge,' technology could appear as early as next year
Continuing to keep one step ahead of reported improvements in next-generation USB technology, Intel is said to be working on a third-generation Thunderbolt system that would double throughput to 40 gigabits (Gb) per second and yet reduce power requirements by as much as 50 percent, though the new connector would support up to 100 watts of charging power. The revised plug, which is backward-compatible with an adapter, will be about three millimeters (0.12 inches) in width, down from the current 4.5mm height.
New users will need to pay more, existing Netflix subscribers keep current rates
Netflix is planning to raise the price of its service to new members in the near future, among other changes, the company has revealed as part of its quarterly financial results. Following a limited increase in Ireland, the streaming video service is now looking to increase the subscription fee by one to two dollars, depending on the country.
Plans described as 'very, very serious'
Apple has been conducting interviews of senior payment industry executives in a bid to build up a mobile payment platform, sources say. The company is allegedly talking to candidates for two positions, one as head of product and another as head of business development. Apple's e-commerce chief, Jennifer Bailey, is indicated to be spearheading payment system efforts and meeting with the candidates in question. "Their [Apple's] ambitions are very, very serious," one of the sources comments.
Acquired Nokia hardware business to be renamed Microsoft Mobile
Nokia is expecting to complete the sale of its Devices and Services business to Microsoft on April 25th, just as it previously advised. While both Microsoft and Nokia have confirmed the imminent closing of the deal, a letter sent to suppliers has leaked, claiming the division will be renamed to "Microsoft Mobile" sometime after its completion, as well as outlining other terms of the $7.2 billion acquisition.
Innovation Museum exhibits include historical inventions, Samsung creations
Samsung has opened a museum in its native South Korea, to showcase its creations throughout the company's history. Located inside a five-story, 10,950 square-meter building in Samsung Digital City in Suwon, the Samsung Innovation Museum exhibits items not only made by Samsung, but also important products and artifacts that were created hundreds of years ago.
Platforms now in more equal competition
Apple and Google are each offering game developers special incentives to prefer their app store over their rival's, according to sources for the Wall Street Journal. The prime example given is EA's Plants vs. Zombies 2, which Apple promised to advertise prominently at the App Store. In return, EA was expected to keep the game an iOS exclusive for two months, which pushed the Android release into October. Another developer, ZeptoLab, agreed to three-month App Store exclusivity for Cut the Rope 2 in order to get better advertising. Asphalt creator Gameloft says it was offered exclusivity, but decided that a simultaneous iOS/Android release made more financial sense.
Experts say conjoint studies flawed, patents worthless as Samsung begs for time
The eighth full day of the Samsung-Apple patent trial went through another raft of witnesses as Samsung struggles to make its case inside its allotted limit of 25 hours -- a problem that hounded the company in the last trial as well. Lead attorney for Samsung John Quinn was forced to read transcripts of declarations to save time, hustle through witnesses and plead with Judge Lucy Koh for more time. An expert that the Galaxy S5 maker paid $1,000 an hour for refuted a colleagues' studies as "kind of biased."
Company to focus on software; surprise move may hint at Apple partnership?
In an unexpected move, Nike has opted to fire as many as 70 members of its Digital Sport division who were focused on hardware development and will not release a now-cancelled new version of the FuelBand fitness tracker that was expected this fall. The company will continue to support the existing FuelBand SE, but is otherwise planning to exit the wearables market just as it is gaining mainstream traction. The company plans to focus on software going forward -- possibly signalling a partnership with a hardware maker.
Jobs' personality a potential controversy
Plaintiffs' attorneys in a class action lawsuit against Apple, Google, and two other companies are asking that evidence related to Apple CEO Steve Jobs be included in the case, Reuters reports. The case revolves around the anti-poaching agreements Apple and Google -- and later, other high-tech businesses -- forged to keep salaries low and talent in place. The accused parties settled a US Department of Justice investigation on the matter in 2010, agreeing to end barriers to competitive hiring.
Google evidence wins over judge
US District Court Judge Claudia Wilken has denied a motion by the Apple-led Rockstar Consortium to transfer a patent invalidation countersuit by Google from California to the Eastern District of Texas, Reuters says. The Eastern District of Texas is infamous for leaning towards patent holders in its court rulings. Wilken ruled, however, that Google was able to provide enough evidence to keep the case in California.
Rogers begins 700MHz LTE rollout in Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver
Rogers is expanding the available spectrum for its LTE service in Canada, by turning on its 700MHz network. Engadget reports that areas of Calgary, Toronto, and Vancouver will see the benefits of 700MHz at first, with subscribers and AT&T customers roaming in the region able to see Rogers LTE in indoor areas where the signal was previously inaccessible. While it does not offer specific timing, Rogers plans to roll out the extra spectrum bands across the country.
Record companies argue that state law protects older recordings
Following a similar lawsuits against Sirius XM radio, a group of record companies has filed suit in a New York court against Pandora, the top streaming subscription music service in the US. While songs made before February 15, 1972 are not subject to federal copyright protections, the labels argue that Pandora, like Sirius, should pay royalties to the tune of tens of millions of dollars because the songs are still protected under state laws.
Expected new products and updates, larger screen sizes will boost AAPL
Historically, investment and Wall Street analysts have had a poor track record predicting Apple's fortunes ahead of time. However, as Apple's guidance has gotten more accurate, and as supplier leaks and blatant manipulation of the market grow, predictions are getting more accurate. As it traditionally does, Fortune magazine has rounded up the predictions of various investment houses and independent analysts, which show slow growth in iPhones this quarter, but expectations of boosts ahead.
Savegox website pops up, proposing case to resurrect Mt. Gox
A seemingly grass-roots effort has been launched to save bankrupt Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox. The "savegox" website has cropped up, launched by an unnamed group of investors, with the goal of providing "restitution to customers" and as an added benefit to "restore faith in the digital currency." Approximately 750,000 Bitcoins belonging to customers and 100,000 coins belonging to the exchange, valued at over $450 million dollars as of March 1, were said to be lost in the hack when the Mt. Gox systems were breached unnoticed over the course of several years. Mt. Gox says there was a also $27.4 million discrepancy in its bank accounts as of Monday.
$200 million payment to Global Foundries blocked quarterly profit
Beating analysts projections, AMD today announced revenue for the first quarter of 2014 of $1.40 billion, operating income of $49 million and net loss of $20 million, or $0.03 per share. Had the company not made its last $200 million cash payment to Global Foundries, it would have greatly exceeded its projections for the quarter. For the second quarter of 2014, the graphics and chip maker expects revenue to increase three percent, plus or minus three percent, sequentially.
Smaller carriers favored in auction -- 30MHz reserved
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has confirmed that he plans to limit how much spectrum AT&T and Verizon can buy in the 2015 auction of bandwidth reclaimed from TV broadcasters. The chairman spoke out a day after AT&T threatened to boycott the auction, possibly slashing the reimbursement that the government would get from the auction.
Emails sent to small business gaging interest, assessing needs
Google is picking select Kansas City companies to test Google Fiber prototype offerings for business. The business rollout in Kansas City is the first of its kind for the Gigabit Internet service, with Google saying that it is "in the beginning of figuring out what that product could look like, and that's why we're launching this pilot." Small businesses in the area have been emailed to inquire if there was an interest in testing the service, in exchange for feedback. Applicants must respond by April 25 with staff size, network requirements, and the name of its current Internet provider.
Likely meant to boost Carousel
Cloud storage service Dropbox has bought out Loom, a photo storage and organization service, according to a notice on the latter company's website. Additionally acquired by the file sharing locker is collaborative document service Hackpad which will continue to support its app, unlike Loom.
Transition to Apple may depend on compensation promises
Future Apple retail head Angela Ahrendts may actually remain the CEO of Burberry until June, says The Guardian. Although Ahrendts has finished a mandatory six-month wait and is technically free to switch this month, she has allegedly promised to stay with Burberry until at least June 6th to ease the transition to her replacement, chief creative officer Christopher Bailey. She also has a strong financial incentive, since she could earn a bonus of as much as £8M (about $13.5 million) if she makes it to the 6th.
Launches mobile app to help users design, implement iBeacon-based 'SensorTags'
Veteran embedded chip and automotive systems maker Texas Instruments has announced plans to incorporate Apple's iBeacon technology in many of the company's forthcoming Bluetooth products, saying that "there are many more applications that could benefit from the technology" beyond its presence popular use in retail shops, restaurants and stadiums. TI will be adding iBeacons to its SimpleLink line of automotive micro-controllers, and it WiLink navigation systems.
Cost per click dropping, growth rate slowing for dominant search engine
Google today announced financial results for the quarter that ended in March. The search engine giant reported consolidated revenues of $15.42 billion for the quarter, an increase of 19 percent compared to the first quarter of 2013. Operating income in the first quarter of 2014 was $4.12 billion, or 27 percent of revenues. Earnings per share in the first quarter was $5.04 on 685 million diluted shares outstanding, compared to $4.97 in the first quarter of 2013 on 673 million diluted shares outstanding.
Concern about rebuilding surface, users likely to get near nothing
Bankrupt bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox has apparently abandoned its goal of rebuilding itself, and now is asking a Japanese court to allow complete liquidation. Should the Japanese court approve of the move, it will appoint a trustee which will assume control of all Mt. Gox assets from CEO Mark Karpeles. Additionally, US courts overseeing the Chapter 15 bankruptcy have been informed that regardless of judicial decree, Karpeles will not appear in court to answer questions as ordered by bankruptcy Judge Stacey Jernigan.
New York Google Fiber job not a sign of future expansion
A Google Fiber job listing located in New York was thought to be a possible sign the search company is looking to open the service in the market, though Google has denied the possibility. The listings for a Google Fiber Regional Sales Manager in the city is said by a company spokesperson to be a job role that has existed for some time, and not to "read into the job listing."
Public assumed to be worried about Apple's prospects
Samsung decided to launch its "Next Big Thing" campaign -- parodying Apple -- in the wake of the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, according to an email trail exposed during the ongoing Apple v. Samsung patent trial. Samsung America's VP of US sales, Mike Pennington, described Jobs' death as "the best opportunity" to run a campaign targeting Apple, since people would be worried about whether Apple could continue to come up with great ideas minus Jobs' influence. "Sorry to continue to push this issue, but I have seen this far too long and I know this is our best opportunity to attack iPhone," Pennington is quoted as saying.
String of Samsung witnesses find that Apple's patents are all invalid
Not only did Samsung not infringe on Apple's patents, a parade of witnesses for Samsung told the jury today in the Apple-Samsung trial, those patents aren't valid even if Samsung did copy them. With some help from Apple's very light cross-examination, Samsung again flew through a lengthy list of experts who testified on the relative worthlessness of Apple's patents for "data detectors" (also referred to as "quick links"), universal search, autocorrection and the "slide to unlock" concept.
Sighting adds to rumors that Apple plans multi-country but slow rollout
Fueling speculation that Apple may be planning to expand iTunes Radio to selected countries in the near future, tweets on Twitter have revealed that Apple's director of iAd services, Paul Wright, has been making the rounds of London media marketing and ad agencies where he is based. This follows claims by online radio service Bloom, which would be a competitor to iTunes Radio in the UK, that it was rebuffed from advertising on iAd, and a report of iTunes Radio briefly functioning in Ecuador.
Judge ignores Apple argument that states have suffered no harm
For observers in Apple's battle against the US Department of Justice over alleged e-book "price fixing," it will come as no shock whatsoever that Judge Denise Cote has ruled against the company on a connected legal matter -- but the fact that she actually cited a reasoning based in law this time may surprise some. The US District Court judge has refuted Apple's filing for a dismissal in the lawsuits brought by 33 states and territories based on the DOJ case ruling.
Industry-led group will work on standards for phone security across platforms
Apple, Samsung, Google and Microsoft, among others, have joined with the top five US wireless carriers to create an industry group dedicated to fighting smartphone theft and implementing multi-platform technology to aid that cause by next summer. HTC, Huawei, Motorola and Nokia are also part of the group, which is aiming to create a "baseline anti-theft tool" similar to the steps Apple has already taken in its own iPhone security software, particularly with regards to preventing reactivation.
Earnings mark 26 percent drop from fourth quarter
Intel Corporation today reported first-quarter revenue of $12.8 billion, operating income of $2.5 billion, net income of $1.9 billion and earnings per share of 38 cents. This is a dramatic drop from the company's fourth quarter results, with a drop of 26 percent in net income, with a drop of eight percent of the company's revenue.
Results see increased migration to mobile, decreasing price per ad
Yahoo has released its first quarter earnings report, with mixed successes. The company posted revenue of $1.13 billion for the first quarter of 2014, a one percent decrease from the first quarter of 2013. Net earnings for the first quarter of 2014 was $312 million, a 20 percent decrease compared to $390 million in the first quarter of 2013. However, search revenue climbed to $445 million from $425 million in the year-ago quarter. Paid clicks increased six percent, with an eight percent increase in price per click.
Samsung offers Google engineers, but Samsung marketers in day of witnesses
Over the weekend, Judge Lucy Koh turned down Samsung's request for a summary judgement in the Samsung-Apple second patent trial, claiming that Apple had failed to prove its case during its presentation. Judge Koh rebuffed the claims and thus the trial continued on Monday, with Samsung still presenting its defense. Continuing its strategy of saying the case is about a dispute between Apple and Google rather than Samsung, the Galaxy smartphone maker put on a stunning seven witnesses -- most of them from the search and advertising giant.
Following deal with Appeals Court, all parties restart with fresh attitudes
Michael Bromwich, the court-appointed monitor for Apple's anti-trust compliance policies, demonstrated a marked change in attitude towards the company in his latest report, the first since a Court of Appeals and the DOJ significantly scaled back his powers of investigation and range of allowable duties following Apple complaints in February. A change of "point of contact" with the company has resulted in Apple being "more cooperative" than previously, Bromwich said.
Wanted Christian Bale in the role of Jobs, $10M fee, marketing control
Those hoping for a reunion of the team that made The Social Network into a critical and commercial success will be disappointed to learn that -- at least for now -- that film's director, David Fincher, is off the Sony Pictures "Steve Jobs" project, according to industry trade reports. Fincher, along with screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, was set to tackle Sony's big-budget interpretation of Walter Isaacson's biography of Jobs, but has pulled out over the issue of fees and marketing control, sources claim.
Irish regulatory approval could be granted to Facebook within weeks
Facebook is working to provide financial services, such as allowing users to send money to each other, according to a report. The social network is said to be applying to regulators in Ireland to begin offering money storage and transmissions, something which could receive approval within weeks, and would directly place Facebook in competition with PayPal, Google Wallet, and other similar services.
CEO John Legere attacks other carriers while eliminating T-Mobile overage fees
T-Mobile will be eliminating overage fees on all of its consumer plans, the carrier has revealed in its third day of Un-carrier announcements. Following the launch of the Simple Starter plan and the Tablet Freedom introduction on Wednesday and Thursday last week, the new announcement is accompanied by a call by president and CEO John Legere for other carriers to remove excess charges from their plans.
Might theoretically be justified by larger screen size
Apple has been asking carriers for approval to raise the base subsidized price of the iPhone 6 from $199 to $299, claims Jefferies analyst Peter Misek. The carriers have allegedly balked at the idea so far. Apple could potentially justify the increase due to the phone's bigger size; it's unclear in fact if the hike would apply to the 4.7-inch model or the 5.5-inch one, since Misek refers to just one iPhone 6. Many shoppers would likely assume a 5.5-inch phone would be more expensive.
Claim of Twitter as tax evader follows lifting of ban in Turkey
The Prime Minister of Turkey is continuing to attack Twitter, accusing the microblogging service of tax evasion. In a televised address, Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed the recent ruling by Turkey's highest court against a ban on the service places the interests and rights of companies ahead of those of Turkey itself, and that his government will "go after" Twitter for supposedly due taxes.
Original plans for project called for 3-5Mw energy generation on seasonal basis
In order to help power its Prineville, Oregon data center with renewable energy as promised, Apple has taken over a small hydroelectric project located about two miles north of the Haystack Reservoir and 45 miles downstream from the intake. It is unclear how far the project had progressed before Apple acquired it, but original plans called for it generate 3-5 megawatts of energy on a seasonal basis, closing in the winter when the irrigation canal it relies on is shut.
Samsung begins its defense, downplays Apple patents, losses
Apple's presentation to the jury in the second Apple-Samsung patent trial is over, with attorneys for the iPhone maker resting their case as expected on Friday following the completion of damages expert Christopher Vellturo's detailed explanation of why Apple is asking for $2.191 billion in total from Samsung. Apple had one final witness on its list, but decided against calling him following Vellturo's testimony. Samsung has already begun its presentation, which seeks to minimize the value of Apple's royalties and calls the damages estimate "grossly inflated."
Internet ads exceeded TV dollars by $2.7 billion in 2013
US Internet advertising revenues for 2013 hit an all-time high of $42.8 billion, exceeding broadcast television advertising revenues of $40.1 billion. The full-year results mark the first time that Internet ad spending has eclipsed television commercial sales. Of particular note is mobile advertising -- for the third year in a row, mobile achieved triple-digit growth year-over-year, rising to $7.1 billion during 2013, a 110 percent boost from the prior year total of $3.4 billion.
Bid possible due to decline in Comcast stock price since merger announcement
Just a few short days after Comcast's hearing on Capital Hill, Charter Communications is said to be evaluating the notion of starting a bidding war for Time Warner Cable against Comcast. Potentially at stake are the subscribers that Comcast has promised to divest should the merger take place -- worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
Apple says move in keeping with official policies
UK-based streaming service Bloom.fm has been banned from advertising on Apple's iAd network due to it being competition with iTunes Radio, according to Bloom PR representatives. Until recently, Bloom was spending £2,000 per month on iAd spots. In rejecting the advertising, Apple is quoted as telling Bloom that it constituted "a competitive service to iTunes Radio and it is against Apple policy."