While the possibility that Android, a beloved smartphone institution, could be sued out of existence by Apple, Microsoft, it is alarming to many, this incident in many ways serves most of all to illustrate much broader problems with the U.S. intellectual property system.
Companies in the U.S. are laying claim to increasingly generic intellectual property and using that IP as instrument not to innovate, but to litigate. The street runs two ways in most cases — often times IP lawsuits are followed by IP counter suits. But often one player in the market is using IP as the general bully, while the other is trying to defend itself.
Many argue the U.S. desperately needs intellectual property reform. But the federal government under both former President George W. Bush (R) and under President Barack Obama (D) has been slow to act.
The Nortel sale should offer a key signal to the market. If the federal government blocks it, it may be a sign that the era of using IP as an offensive weapon is coming to an end. On the other hand, if it’s approved without restriction, it will offer a virtual blueprint of how to defeat your competitor. If the latter scenario plays out consumers may find themselves in an odd market where it’s not the competitor with the best products that wins, but the company with the best lawyers and patent portfolio.
Personally, knowing Google as I do, I think they may well have something up their cuff, watch the space.
And the winner is? Mozilla and Chrome browsers at last weeks Pwn2Own web security conference. Internet Explorer 8 as well as Safari web browser were hacked within the first few days of the contest which tests browsers and internet security. Neither the Chrome browser nor the Mozilla Firefox browser were breached as teams who signed up to tackle the browsers withdrew as they failed to come up with a technique to exploit them. It’s Firefoxs first “win” at the event and Chromes third year of survival.
Both surviving browsers: open source, have bounty programs, have embedded security teams, better at faster fixes. Co-incidence?
via Chris Evans Twitter, a Chrome security engineer
Mobile browsers were also targeted and all fell to the exploits which researchers found, Google however was the first to offer a fix for the exploit which was addressed.
The contest doesn’t mean that you’re completely unsecured using IE 8 as your dedicated browser, or that by using Chrome and Firefox you’re completely protected from malicious attempts at snagging your data. The researchers at the Pwn2own event dedicate a fair amount of time and resources into breaking or hacking a specific browser, all with the intent of passing on their methods and thinking to the manufacturer so they can be patched.
In what could shape up to be a somewhat expensive fight for both parties, Microsoft filed a motion against Apple, blocking the company from trademarking the term “App Store”.
The brief outlines basically that the terms app and store both have generic definitions in society, and the combined app store also has meaning to the masses. Because of the widespread use of the term in the mobile industry, Microsoft also demonstrated that even Steve Jobs has used the phrase as a definition of services offered by it’s competitors in the same space. And indeed if you search on Google for app store, you’ll receive a results page with some 110 million results, with related search terms comprising of android app store, blackberry app store and nokia app store just to name a couple.
There is no doubt that Apple paired the terms and began using the phrase app store in conjuction with it’s offerings for it’s iPhone and other hardware, but it hardly warrants exclusive trademark rights. If Apple were granted the trademark rights to the term, no doubt we’d start to see many other applications submitted for other generic pairings. Microsoft in their motion listed quite a few examples of similar circumstances where trademark applications were denied as the terms applied for were too generic. The ball is in Apple’s court now and how will they reply? Only time will tell.
Google, Bing and all of the other search engines out there use bots to crawl the web to build their index. They’re programmed to crawl the web, review what they find and change or update as they find new pages. Recently, there’s been some concern with activity by the Microsoft spider bot.
Web masters who are diligent about visitor stats on their sites have noticed some errant bot activity from Microsofts end of the web. The activity that’s been found strange? The Microsoft web crawler, appears to be coming into websites cloaked. It’s something that’s happened before, that they were able to rectify, but this time calls to correct the problem have gone un-answered. A point which has raised the tiny hairs on webmasters necks, the bot isn’t just bouncing on a site once or twice over the course of a day or two. Some are reporting activity in the 10+ times per day range.
The silence about the activity, the cloaked visits and the multiple pings per day are all very erroneous activity from any spider bot. Let alone a bot owned and controlled by such a large internet property. Some webmasters, are even speculating.. has it perhaps been hacked?
It’s another step closer, the Micro(Ya)hoo results are starting to show on their SERPs. In a press announcement from July 20th, Yahoo outlined some tips and strategies that businesses and webmasters could follow to assist the transition into the new results pages.
This is an important step toward our goal of improving the overall relevance of Yahoo! organic search results and attracting a larger audience to Yahoo! Search, to ultimately put your ads in front of more potential customers.
Both Yahoo and Bing trail Google in the search wars, and with this new step in their alliance, they’ve closed the gap a little by joining forces. A quick check to see if you’re getting a brand new SERP page or not, is if a “powered by Bing” message is present at the bottom of the page. Yahoo is also working out the kinks and testing they’re beginning a limited test of the paid account transitions.
As well as their Site Explorer available until 2012, and Search Money available until October 2010, tools will still be available. And to add to the mix, as per their agreement, Yahoo and Bing will be exchanging information in order to just make everything work better. Being in the US or Canada, your search experience just got a little bit better because of the movement forward.
Well it didn’t take long for the gloves to come off. Earlier this week, Yahoo Japan made the switch to using Google powered results. It was unclear at the time whether or not Microsoft would be able to make any moves on the change, as they only own a minority stake in the company.
Fast forward a little, and Microsoft has indeed made inroads to stopping the pair for joining up. They cited that, at present Google comprises 51% of paid search returns in Japan, while Yahoo Japan accounts for another 47%. So if the two were to join up, Microsoft contends that Google will have complete dominance over the paid search industry in Japan. This agreement also would lead Google to taking over the organic results as well. Googles information gains would go through the roof in Japan. Every person, business and government agencies search history would be at their analytical fingertips.
They boil it down, and compare the current partnership, to the one in 2008 which the Department of Justice blocked, citing a monopoly. One of the bigger differences in the current case at hand, is apparently Google already has Japans Federal Trade Commission blessing, and has had it for some time. The next few weeks in Japans paid and unpaid search industry will be a doozy.
Google’s recently accounced it’s “build your own app” program for the everyday person who’d like customize their Android powered phone. For free. Apps that are developed with the platform can be listed in the android store with a nominal registration fee. Some have said this will lead to an influx of poorly designed apps, and others have used the argument that this opens up people to a new realm of spam.
Just to add to the mix, Windows has decided to toss their hat into the ring as well. On the expected arrival of the Windows Phone 7 platform, Microsoft has launched their own suite of developer tools.
A brief timeline from the Windows Phone Developer Blog:
Feb 2010 – Windows Phone 7 was unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
Mar 2010 – The application platform was unveiled at MIX 10 in Las Vegas. With that, we had the first CTP of the Windows Phone Developer Tools.
Apr 2010 – The tools received an updated, and the CTP Refresh shipped.
Jun 2010 – Windows Phone Marketplace details unveiled at TechEd 2010.
July 2010 – Beta release of Windows Phone Developer Tools, and the preview developer phones start shipping to ISVs
The iPhone has their apps, with quality guidelines and store and what not. With an SDK which isn’t terribly difficult to learn, but made for the technically inclined. Versus, the newest Android developer software, which allows virtually anyone the ability to create their own custom apps for their Android powered phone. And now the Microsoft version, allowing further customization of the Windows Phone 7 powered handsets. To add a little cream to their offering, free classes on how to fully utilize the Microsoft software are available. The premise:
It will provide developers a jump start for developing Windows Phone 7 applications.
The dates for these course sessions are:
July 20 – 8am: Session One: Getting Started with Microsoft Windows Phone and Silverlight
July 20 – 1pm: Session Two: Programming Game Applications with XNA
July 22 – 8am: Session Three: Programming Applications with Silverlight
July 22 – 1pm: Session Four: Review and Wrap Up
This is a big milestone for everyone involved in Windows Phone 7 – inside and outside of Microsoft – and we hope you share in our excitement. With the Beta release of the tools, developers can build apps with a “ship it” mentality.
So now it’s turned into much more than just a handset battle, the software and apps powered by that software have entered the fray. With the power to be able to completely customize your cell phones functions and uses, to cater to your needs, the way of the paid app development may be on it’s way to the horizon. As an additional bonus, the marketing potential for a creative, lucrative small business owner is tremendous.
Yahoo has been trying for months to make itself the ultimate start page for Internet users; you can already view your Facebook and Twitter feeds using Yahoo’s “Quick View” feature, but Yahoo Pulse aims to provide an improved interface and offer new kinds of integration with both Yahoo and Yahoo Mail.
Wall Street Journal reports: “A new service called Yahoo Pulse will one-up Google Buzz by offering privacy tools and integration with Facebook newsfeeds on the Yahoo home page”
Notably, Yahoo Pulse will have a privacy menu that will apply to multiple services. That feature will be an important draw for some users, given that Facebook has dealt with a big privacy backlash in recent weeks. Just don’t expect it to add completely new privacy features to your Facebook account.
The privacy angle is also important when you consider that Google — Yahoo’s chief rival — made some major privacy errors that greatly hindered the launch of Google Buzz, a very similar service. Those mistakes, and the lack of Facebook integration stopped Buzz from becoming a killer application. Pulse is Yahoo’s answer to Buzz; hopefully it learned from its Googles missteps.
The way it looks, and how it interacts with Facebook have not yet been revealed, but it’s all expected to launch within the next few days.
What’s the Package?
According to the Wall Street Journal:
“Yahoo is rebranding its Yahoo Profiles feature to be Yahoo Pulse, which is currently unavailable but expected to launch in a few days”
Pulse will eventually exist as a hub for Yahoo members, to connect with others and post information about themselves. It’ll also aggregate social network info, allowing users to browse Facebook updates for example. Yahoo plans to add other social networks in the future. These integrations will spread across most Yahoo pages, including the Yahoo home page, Yahoo Mail, News, Sports, Answers, omg!, TV, and Music.
Should Google Worry?
In short: no. It seems nothing will knock Google off its Stand. Google receives more than 50 percent more visitors than Yahoo, according to Hitwise data, and even with these few tricks to gain share — including partnering with Microsoft — it’s unlikely that it’ll come anywhere close to Google.
Now, that doesn’t mean Yahoo won’t nab a chunk of Google’s glory. Facebook recently beat Google to become the most popular site in the world. So naturally, the Facebook-Yahoo marriage can only boost usage.
What About Privacy?
Lately when you hear Facebook, you may begin questioning how much privacy you have. Yahoo came prepared for such an event: Yahoo Pulse will supposedly simplify user’s privacy settings. But, Whether or not you’ll have to adjust settings in both Yahoo and Facebook has yet to be seen.
Google had better watch out; their foes are starting to rally together. A report today has the tech blogs in an uproar about a possible Microsoft/News Corp pact. The agreement would center around Microsoft paying News Corp to remove their listings from Google. The idea being, this would give Bing an edge over Google, as they’d be the only major engine to have access to News Corp sites.
These rumors fit with earlier info about the media giant’s plan to de-list content from Google. However, adding in the possibility of a pact between Microsoft and News Corp turns the de-listing from a business measure, to a direct attack on Google. While the talks are in an early stage, the rumor is that Microsoft is also talking to several other major content providers to ask them to de-list from Google.
Microsoft’s Bing holds nearly 10% of the U.S. search market. While they haven’t been able to pull any users out of Google’s hide yet, this could represent a major turning point. If MicroSoft can convince major content providers to leave Google, Bing could gain substantial ground on Google.
Will this new plan work? News Corp, and many other news media sites, are working to make all of their online content ‘for pay’. However, a recent survey showed that 80% of customers will not pay for online news. It’s very possible that this pact would just seal the death warrant of several old media dinosaurs. Google has already stated that news content is “not a big part” of their revenue.
If News Corp pushes the fracture between new and old media, it’s definite they’ll learn just which form of content distribution the mass of customers prefer. Sites like the Wall Street Journal have proven that paying for subscription services can work, but not for the bulk of news media sites. Refusing to adapt and pulling away from changing trends won’t save the old titans of media, and trying to cheap shot Google by getting newspapers to de-list won’t make Bing popular.
Whether it’s office suites, browsers or webmail, wherever Microsoft goes, Google follows. Now the search giant is tackling the Windows behemoth head-on, with a fully fledged operating system (OS) for netbooks – and potentially desktop PCs.
July’s announcement of Chrome OS was one of those IT stories deemed significant enough to warrant attention in the national press and on TV. Experts from around the world were on hand to tell us that we’ll soon ditch desktop software and use computers running a slimmed-down OS that takes its power from applications stored online.