There’s no doubt that mobile apps have proved to be a runaway success, early in July Apple announced 15 billion downloads since it first opened the App Store in 2008 and Google is hot on its heels. But what yardstick should we use to really quantify this growth? As it’s silly season, software firm Sybase 365 chose hamburgers.
While Google’s acquisition of Motorola’s handset business brings potentially rich rewards in terms of intellectual property, the search firm must be careful to keep its new employees at a respectable distance, industry analysts have warned.
Web giant Google has agreed to acquire handset vendor Motorola Mobility for $12.5bn. “The acquisition of Motorola Mobility, a dedicated Android partner, will enable Google to supercharge the Android ecosystem,” Google said.
Orange’s pan-African operations have partnered with Google in a bid to exploit SMS as a platform for delivering Google services to low-end devices in use across Africa and the Middle East.
Orange’s decision to partner with Google to provide Google’s Gmail SMS Chat to the subscribers of its operating companies in the Middle East and Africa is an acknowledgement by both parties that those who live in emerging markets are just as interested in accessing Internet services as those who live in developed markets. By enabling Gmail Chat via SMS, Orange and Google are also acknowledging that SMS is a key delivery channel for internet services in emerging markets, where there is low penetration of internet-enabled PCs and of internet-enabled mobile devices.
Google has released fresh details regarding its fibre-to-the-premises project in Kansas City. On the Google Fiber blog, Kevin Lo, general manager of the Google Access division said that the company was now conducting the next phase of the project which he referred to as “detail engineering”.
The heads of major European telcos and vendors have said that they need greater leeway from regulators to make the roll-out of high speed broadband networks economically viable. Ben Verwaayen, chief executive of Alcatel-Lucent, Deutsche Telekom boss Rene Obermann and head of Vivendi Jean-Bernard Levy, told the European Commission that regulators should reduce rules that block industry mergers and network sharing initiatives that would help the operators build scale and lower costs.
The Nortel patents auction saga took another twist Wednesday when Canadian Industry Minister Christian Paradis said that his government will hold an investigation into the sale to establish whether it complies with the terms of the Investment Canada Act.
Given the industry we all work in, milestones are a common occurrence. There’s a world first this or that on an almost weekly basis and the occasional reminder of the still green but fast growing roots. Today is the 20th anniversary of the world’s first GSM call (on a commercial network, for the pedants), which was made between Finland’s former prime minister Harri Holkeri and vice mayor of the city of Tampere, Kaarina Suonio. The network was built by Telenokia and Siemens for local operator Radiolinja.
The bunfight for Nortel’s patent chest concluded yesterday, with Chief Strategy Officer George Riedel’s announcement that “following a very robust auction”, the winning bid came from a buyer too big for even Google to take on. Following months of speculation and a $900m kick-off bid from Mountain View, the booty has gone to a consortium that reads like a Who’s Who of the tech industry: Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, RIM and Sony. Even with names like that in the mix, the $4.5bn price paid is still pretty eye-watering or, as Nortel’s Riedel preferred to put it, “unprecedented.”
Taiwan’s Taipei City Government has accused Google of attempting “to hold Taiwan’s consumers hostage, in exchange for the privilege of refusing to follow Taiwanese law.” The accusation arises from a dispute between Google and Taiwanese regulators that has resulted in the suspension of all paid-for applications in the Android market in that country.
Google has announced its entry into the games market via a job posting on its web site. The role of “Product Manager, Games”, will be based at Google’s Mountain View HQ and comes with a fairly broadly defined job description suggesting that the company’s strategy is very much in its infancy.
Microsoft’s bid for Skype has received the go-ahead from American anti-trust regulators, following an “early termination” of a review into the proposed sale. Under America’s Hart-Scott-Rodinho (HSR) Act, certain types of large mergers and acquisitions deals must be submitted for review by the government.
Fading giant Nortel has postponed the sale of its extensive patent portfolio, due to a “significant level of interest”. The company had planned to flog the assets this coming Monday, June 20, but has delayed the auction process until June 27, as it assesses considerable interest in the 6,000 or so patents and applications.
Microsoft has joined HP, Motorola Mobility and Nokia in a growing line of tech companies opposed to Google’s proposed $900m purchase of Nortel’s patent assets. According to Redmond, a 2006 deal means that Microsoft has a “worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free licence to all of Nortel’s patents” and that this agreement is binding regardless of who buys the intellectual property.
It’s hard to escape the mobile money land grab at the moment. In the last few weeks I’ve written the word ‘m-wallet’ more than ever before in such a short time. But while the players involved say there’s enough pie to go around, it might not be to everyone’s taste.
Some of the biggest names on the internet offered their content over IPv6 on Wednesday, marking a global ‘test flight’ for the future architecture of the internet. The day’s success will be measured by the number of internet users that don’t see any difference in how they go about their business – a number that is not expected to be very high, given that the leading participants: Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Akamai to name a few, are dual stacking their websites.
As Android’s march towards mobile OS domination appears to continue unchecked, device manufacturers are joining the scrum to differentiate themselves from the competition. HTC has joined the ranks of manufacturers increasingly looking to pull in the developers to create device-specific apps, announcing a dev-friendly programme to be launched in parallel with an SDK for its Sense user interface.
Google has announced the open sourcing of its WebRTC framework for real time browser-based video and audio communications. The technology, which Google acquired when it bought Global IP Solutions last year, has been released under a royalty-free BSD license.
When Google’s chief counsel, Kent Walker, explained recently that the firm wants to use Nortel’s patent portfolio to deter litigious attacks from other players, he was acknowledging the downside of the firm’s rise to power. Its competitors, threatened like cornered animals, are likely to embrace attack as the best form of defence. But for all his grim realism, even Walker must have been surprised by the sheer velocity with which PayPal launched a legal assault on Google over the launch of its mobile payment strategy this week.