328 posts • joined Monday 22nd June 2009 16:44 GMT
Re: Android dominance continues
Indeed. Android has replaced the crappy feature phones at the mid to low end of the market as the default phone option. That gives it massive market share, but this is the low margin market where the manufacturers are lucky to make a profit at all. Not the market you want to go after, unless you want to shout "market share up! revenues up! But we made a loss."
You can see the "real" smartphone market numbers if you look closely. One good measure is app usage - if you buy a phone as a smartphone (and not a feature phone replacement) you use apps a lot. The figures here still show apple ahead, especially if you look at the financial numbers - iOS apps make way more money. (And people wonder why WWDC sold out so fast?)
Re: "One of our biggest challenges has been keeping 128GB Surface Pro in stock," Hall said.
Yes, I certainly do. Rumour has it they've had massive difficulty renting additional warehouse capacity fast enough to take the shipments coming in, because they're going into stock and not leaving.
Bad times for the PC market ahead i reckon
I can honestly see the traditional PC dying out quite quickly - for most tasks a tablet or even a smart phone gets the job done, often a lot faster and easier. (And yes, for those who really need a keyboard, use a keyboard. You're not *forced* to use the touchscreen one.)
There's a ton of stuff tablets don't do well of course - high end gaming, video editing, development etc. But that's the high end of the market - the workstation class end, you might say (at least in terms of cost & performance).
So, my prediction: in 5 years we'll see a lot more tablets and a whole lot less PCs, and the PC market will go a lot more high end. The PC makers going for the cut-price segment will die out, those going for the high end will do OK.
Notice how apple are dominating the expensive end of the market and the tablet market? Maybe they're thinking the same way?
Why would they switch to bada? It's much more likely that they'll fork android.
That way they take control of their own OS, and they can start rolling out their own maps, email, search and whatever else, taking a big chunk of business from google in the process. They're big enough now that it's viable to do so, and it would bring in a chunk of extra cash while reducing a risk for the company (relying on somebody else's software isn't a good move).
I suspect google are very worried indeed :)
Arse-end of nowhere != crap speeds
I live pretty much out in the sticks, and out of the "up to 8MB" potential I get... 8MB. I've no idea how or why, but I'm not arguing.
At my last house I started getting crap speeds though. Many "line resets" later, they send an engineer out, who assured me I probably had faulty wiring in the house. After going to check at the cabinet the real issue was revealed: as he was tracing the wires they literally fell out in his hand because they'd never been properly connected.
None of that is worth publishing though :)
The loss of their FRAND patent 'weapons' isn't going to save money or give them any useful defence!
"It's clear the $12.5bn Google paid for Motorola won't be reaping much in the way of licensing revenue, but the ending of legal actions over them will save Google some money and the IP will still be handy to defend other patent cases."
I'm not so sure this makes sense. Ending legal actions might save on the lawyer's bills, but these cases were mostly defensive actions (against MS and apple). With a large chunk of their defence stripped away they're going to be in a very weak position when it comes to negotiating any cross license - which is likely to cost them large amounts of money.
And the IP isn't going to be handy for defending anything now is it? Motorola's strongest patents were mostly FRAND encumbered, and now they've been slapped on the wrist and told to license them to anybody willing to take a FRAND license. So how are they going to defend anything with patents that they have to license for what amounts to loose change to these companies?
Anyway, good news for the whole industry. Samsung's turn on the barrel!
Re: "Adobe for its proprietary approach to Flash."
I wonder how different things would be if adobe had focused on making flash lean, fast and secure? Nobody really cared that it was proprietary back then, but a lot started caring when it became obvious it was slow, battery draining and responsible for a whole lot of security issues. I think that's what really focused people on the fact that we had a single company doing all the work on a major web standard - and ballsing it up.
I think this is exactly what's happening. There's a core of "android users", which is apparently smaller than the ios crowd. Then there's a huge number of regular punters buying a new phone who want a big fancy screen, but don't use it for much other than photos and texts. On iOS it seems far more people buy the phone as a smart phone, and expect to use the internet and apps on it.
This also describes the massive disparity between the ios + android app stores. There's a huge difference in actual app sales, with iOS being typically ahead by around 4:1. (Unofficial figure, but I'm an app developer and talk to lots of other developers and regularly ask people who work on both platforms how they find it - from the ones that make quality apps and know how to market them, this is the common figure. The other common figure is the opposite, 1:4, but that's the amount of support time needed for each platform ;)
What about tablets though? Nobody buys a tablet for anything other than the web and apps - yet usage figures show android far behind what the device sales say they should be.
Wonder what they're really trying to hide?
Their dodgy (but pretty standard practice) tax evasions?
Or the fact that they don't really make a profit as such?
If I was one of their shareholders, I'd be a lot more concerned about the latter ;) Seriously, check out their financials and share price compared to other big tech companies. They barely break even, and their share price is insane (a price to earnings ratio of something like 3000 I seem to remember - if apple had that kind of ratio it'd be worth more than the entire universe!)
And really that's the issue for us in the UK. The government is worried about us losing some tax. A valid concern, but I'm more worried about how our UK companies are supposed to compete with a company that doesn't need to turn a profit to please their investors.
I did look for it on apple maps earlier. It's not there, but *something* is.
Find the "right" place and put the map in 3d. There's a chain of mountains right where the island is supposed to be - incredibly tall spiky mountains. Probably a glitch in somebody's sea floor elevation data?
You have to hand it to Elon Musk..
He comes up with some crazy ideas, but he has a habit of actually doing them. Often rather well :)
As an iOS dev I can only say that Apple's store checking procedures are a bit.. mixed? I've seen numerous examples of blatantly dodgy apps going through and scamming lots of customers. They've usually got professionally designed screenshots (usually with sexy women), poor descriptions (probably machine translated from chinese), and they're generally clones of popular apps (like Camera+ Pro instead of Camera+). The actual apps are generally nothing like the description, and crap.
I've also had my own apps rejected for the most trivial of reasons - you wouldn't believe how strict they can be when they want to be. One app was rejected for having a small icon for an apple app visible in part of a screenshot, which was considered abuse of apple's copyrighted material (yes, an icon that's included in iOS, in a screenshot for an iOS-only app for the iOS-only app store - the horror!) Clearly the reviewer was going through with a fine-toothed comb that day!
Re: Cui Bono...Apple?
I think apple want to buy imagination - but intel want to avoid that because they need imagination's GPUs in some of the chips. Hence apple buying a big chunk, and intel buying a bigger chunk as a signal.
Re: One really needs to try before commenting
It works both ways. I do love a gadget that feels like a solid lump of steel - it feels good. The iphone 4/4s were like that, and the ipad 3 is like that. On the other hand, it's good to have something lightweight that doesn't give you arm cramp or weigh your trousers down heavily on one side.
I'd say low weight is definitely best for a tablet. The mini is a massive improvement, but I'd still like it to weigh less. On a phone, it's a mix - the iphone 5 feels *too* light in hand to me, but just right in pocket. The 4s was right in the hand, too heavy in the pocket.
Re: Sheltered Life
On paper, yes, it's pants. And the price is too high. After reading about it, and seeing the (lack of) launch queues, I figured this one might be a flop. Having used one a bit though, I totally agree with the review - and this thing will sell massively.
I'm actually a mobile developer, and as such I have 4 iphones, a couple of ipods, ipads 2, 3 and mini, a few (mostly older, since developing for it turned out to be more hassle for less money) android devices. I tend to test out pretty much anything interesting that comes out.
And yes, since getting the mini I find that's the first thing I reach for, and the thing I carry around with me. For viewing photos and other things where the screen really helps I get the ipad 3, and for a long email i grab a laptop, but seriously the mini is better than them all for most stuff :)
It's like the iphone 5 I think - on paper, and looking at the photos, it's just a souped up 4S. In hand, it's nothing like a 4S. You really have to use one a bit to appreciate it sometimes.
Re: Bollocks !
I think they actually did - isn't that what the other court case that's in the news this week is about? MS certainly did. I guess it's difficult though to know when to sue in a case like this - presumably motorola didn't want it to go to court, as they would know what the risks were (the court forces a license agreement, they get some money but lose the 'offensive weapon' aspect of the patents). In that case, they would want to delay while at the same time attacking with their own offensive court battles, so they'd 'continue' negotiations rather than let them break down.
"So the FTC wants the US gov to sue Google for something that hasn't happened yet (Minority Report style)?"
It's not something that hasn't happened - it's something they've been trying vigorously to do but have simply failed at so far. It's like trying to kill somebody with an axe, but a nearby pair of policeman stop you... you're still going to be in a bunch of trouble even though you failed, and even if it was entirely justified because it was a politician :)
Re: Bollocks !
It's not this simple. If the patent holder doesn't want to offer a license, they can offer a license at unacceptable rates, and then negotiate without intention to grant a license. Following your suggestion, the licensees (apple + MS in this case) would go to court... and wait a few years, releasing no products in the meantime. In theory you're right, but in practice the courts just don't work well enough for it to happen.
Because it's a FRAND patent, the patent holder will have to grant a license, and the licensees will have to pay a fair rate. But if they can't agree to that, the courts have to settle it - in this case, years after products ship.
MS and Apple have both asked the courts to force a license agreement, and they've both sued motorola for not keeping their FRAND promises so far as I know (there are a few court cases on this coming up soon). Once the courts have decided an appropriate fee (and any appeals have happened), google will be paid in full.
On the other side, what google could have done is the same as what apple + MS have done: ask the courts to set a fair price. Why didn't they do that? Because they want to use these patents as leverage, so they can force MS + apple into a cross-licensing agreement and get access to MS + Apple's patented tech. They don't have strong enough patents to fight this battle without SEPs unfortunately, because apple + MS have simply been around a lot longer building up a war chest.
No judges have granted an injunction - although it's come close in germany (where the laws on FRAND patents are way out of line compared to the rest of the world). It's possible this will still happen in Germany, but everywhere else google/motorola (and also samsung, who also tried this and are also under investigation) have failed every time they've tried to use standard essential patents.
There's also an issue in the US, where one of the trade organisations has the power to ban products based on patent violations, but doesn't have anything to do with anti-trust rules and therefore could ban a product even if it's an anti-trust violation.
Re: Bollocks !
There's a difference between what apple/ms are doing and what google are doing.
Apple + MS are telling google to stop using their 'frivolous' (some are :) patents or pay up. Goole are doing the same for their non-frivolous patents. Apple + MS are suing over patents that can be worked around - i.e. if Google aren't happy about it, they can simple remove or change features like 'rubber-band scrolling' from android, stick their middle finger up and walk away.
Google are suing over *essential* patents though. Apple + MS can't really remove 3G, WiFi and h264 from their products - if they did, nobody would buy them.
So what MS + apple are doing is trying to get a competitive advantage (apple) or some cash (MS). What google is doing is trying to block competitors from the market.
See why there's a problem, and the regulators are getting involved (in the EU as well as the US)?
Re: Double standards
Apples patents are for stuff Samsung is free to leave out or use an alternative, and apple are free to charge what they want or refuse a license - they've never promised to give them to anyone at all.
Samsungs patents are required for standard things like 3G, wifi and h264, and apple MUST implement them. Samsung promised to license them at fair, reasonable rates to anyone who needs them.
If apple refuses to license we might lose rubber banding or something and apple gain some competitive advantage. If Samsung refuses their competitors *cant make phones at all* and they can effectively control the whole market.
See the difference now? Luckily the regulators can :)
Re: Magnetic power supply...
It violates a LOT of Apple patents. But then apple violate a load of MS' too. Thus suing would be pointless and they have an agreement in place that let's them do this kind of thing.
Re: Sensationalistic title
UDIDs were available in iOS 5 - and are actually still available in iOS 6, but (I suspect, not tested it) only to old apps built for older OS versions. I think apple are just not approving new apps that try to use it, as of quite recently. (I'm an iOS developer - but not one that puts adverts / tracking / analytics / other bullshit into any apps :)
So yes, I agree that the title is totally sensationalist. This is actually an improvement, because now we do at least have an opt-out, even if it is pretty obscure.
Also, I read the title (It's tracking you EVERYWHERE!) as meaning it was tracking my location and reporting it back to apple, which is even more sensationalist and even more wrong!
Not a bad review, except this bit...
"Most of my videos are encoded at 720p and I doubt I’m alone in that. So while I like the idea of 1080p tablet displays, I'll be damned if I'm paying extra for the privilege."
So the only thing you're using a tablet for is playing video? That's a bit like giving the iphone 5 a really high mark because it can show more phone numbers on screen than the old one. There's a massive amount of really cool stuff you can use a tablet for, and most of it benefits hugely from a nice high-res screen.
The whole point of a high DPI screen is that it's so much better for everything else - particularly anything involving text, like web browsing, ebooks and so on! The benefit for video is actually quite minimal I'd say.
Snapseed *is not* anything remotely like instagram
Instagram: Social network for sharing photos
Snapseed: Photo editing software with no social network
Google buying nik software is going do a grand total of bugger all for their social network. It might enhance the android photo editing features a whole lot, and it might enhance say picassa, but with zero people on the nik software social network it's not going to enhance google+ any.
Fail is for basically every news site who're reporting this as somehow equivalent to instagram or calling snapseed an instagram rival :)
Re: But the bigger question is WHY.
The data they've been gathering looks very much like it's being gathered by an app. So, have 12m people downloaded the FBI tracking app? Or is there an app out there that's basically a trojan for the FBI, or is a major (seeing as they have 12m downloads!) developer working with them or infiltrated by them?
Finding out which app was involved could be interesting ;)
Re: Missing the biggest part of the story
I doubt that's the case here (although I've not followed this particular case either). In other cases, samsung's claims have indeed been rejected because of double dipping (and that's likely why the 4S and ipad 3 aren't targeted - they switched wireless chip supplier at some point and the new supplier is already licensed).
In all the recent cases though, it's basically come down to the fact that samsung are asking for 2.4% of the retail cost of the device (add the other few hundred patent holders at that kind of figure and you can see why that's totally unacceptable), while apple are offering amounts similar to what they're paying other SEP holders.
(And yes, apple have confirmed that in court, have confirmed they're licensing SEPs from other companies, and Samsung have failed to answer the question "who else is paying 2.4%?" It's a patent hold-up.)
Missing the biggest part of the story
The most important thing here is that the judge ordered products banned because of FRAND patents - i.e. samsung are allowed to demand an unacceptable amount for essential patents like 3G, and the courts will ban the products in korea if the demand is refused.
End result? If you want to sell phones in south korea you'd better have a pile of essential patents, because if not your products are going to cost 2x more than other companies because of license fees - and you're effectively locked out of the market. The whole point of the 3G standard and FRAND licensing is to avoid this, but that's no longer the case in Korea. It's a huge loss for the korean people and for choice in korea.
On the apple side, it's a pretty reasonable decision from the judge I think - blocking the more extreme of apple's design patents while protecting some of the stuff they've invented. Samsung will simply design around it - end result will be that their products are a bit more different from apple's, everyone wins.
What a fail
As a mobile photography app dev, I've been practically screaming for a decent programmable camera. Give us devs a decent device with good access so we can dig our dirty claws in and we'll make some incredible things happen!
But what do we get? Android 2.3 ;( And what about the cpu/gpu? I bet it's a crappy underpowered thing because they think it'll only be used to drive the android UI.
Re: @AC 07:50 Rights and Licenses
The huge, glaring problem with that is that FOSS software often recreates stuff that has already been done and is patented. Ogg Vorbis treads on a lot of patented stuff from MPEG from what I hear, for example. And look at the number of Android OEMs paying license fees to MS because android uses patented features. (And the android/MS situation shows what happens - when it gets popular and people are making money from it, the people who own the patents turn up and ask for their cut - don't confuse "FOSS but not popular enough" with "patent -free").
Whether that's right or not? Depends on how you look at it. If MS invented FAT or whatever, they have some right to tell people not to copy it or to pay them if they do. Android could have used EXT instead of FAT. But then maybe FAT should really be an open standard now.
And the healthcare analogy falls flat too. There's no need for a standard cure for colds, and no point in having one. TV transmissions, on the other hand, need a standard. TV makers need to know what the TV will receive and how to decode it, or you end up with a TV that will work with one channel but can't view others because they all use different codecs. So we have a standard, and force everyone to use it, and we have TVs that can view any channel.
Re: I just experienced Super Hi-Vision with some Olympics footage...
Well, I'm one of the many who think even HD is pretty pointless. I don't watch TV much, don't have a massive set dominating my living room, and really struggle to see the difference between HD and SD (I can see it, but in my case it's not so amazing that i'd pay extra).
But I'm also forward-looking enough to see the potential. I'd like to get rid of that TV altogether really, a big black square is an ugly thing. I'd also like a bigger screen for watching movies. So give me say a 100" screen that's either transparent / projected onto a wall (without a big chunk of plastic on the ceiling) or can show a nice picture when it's turned off.
At that size I'd definitely want it to be 4k or 8k. And perhaps by the time these standards happen, we'll have the tech to make a non-ugly telly? We're looking at something that's years away here, remember :)
Re: Rights and Licenses
"Will the people who pushed this through for acceptance and those who accepted it find that their Christmas presents are large and expensive for the next few years."
You'll find their christmas presents pretty regular i suspect. The license fees for these standards are pretty low (otherwise nobody would bother with the standard). And the money gets split between a *lot* of companies, many of which spent plenty of time to come up with the goods.
Also, the value of these patents is set before the standard is agreed. If I invent some new way of efficiently storing pixels and patent it, that could get used. Problem is, there are about a million other ways of storing pixels, so my patent isn't worth a whole lot. I might get $0.0001 per device sold - enough to make a passable income long term, but far from massive.
It's the patents that *don't* go into a standard that can be worth a lot, because the owners haven't agreed to give them away to anyone who wants them for a minimal price. But then, if they're not required by a standard you're not forced to use them.
I'll sell you my own business for a mere $10bn! Unlike Motorola I'm not losing hundreds of millions every 3 months, I'm not sitting on a potentially huge fine for patent abuse, microsoft haven't prevented me from selling basically anything in Germany, and I'm not being sued by a large number of big corporations. Admittedly I lack a large but mostly worthless patent portfolio, but maybe that's a good thing?
Paris, because even she would have been bright enough to know $12bn was a bit steep for Motorola.
Not almost exactly the same as an iPad? See: http://osxdaily.com/2011/08/18/tablet-design-before-after-the-ipad/ That's obviously an apple fan site, but look at the variety of pre-ipad tablets. Back then companies made some really interesting models, and there was plenty of innovation (and a truckload of ugly, but hey).
Now? I see sony doing some cool stuff (although it often fails badly in execution), and I see asus doing something cool with their dock. And possibly microsoft with their keyboard covers on the surface. Everyone else? They're just making generic ipad-like tablets.
I quite like the design on that one, will have to find one in a shop somewhere to try out. Tegra 3 is disappointing though, I do wish companies would pick something with a bit more GPU power.
No mention of screen specs though? Does it have a decent high-res screen, or an olden-style one? If it's not at a minimum 1080 (and ideally 4:3 so it doesn't suck in portrait), forget it, especially at those prices.
Re: @Chris 19 "...android only provides about 20% of their income, compared to 80% for iOS."
That's probably a large part of it too. The same group of people buy audio, bmw and mercedes too, even though they could get a ford for less money.
The thing is though, it makes iOS the better platform by default. When I start planning a new project and look at the platforms, android offers less income for more work. I only consider it as either a secondary platform. Therefore my apps appear either only or first on iOS, and the iOS version gets a lot more attention. Most developers are doing exactly the same.
If you consider the platform to be something you run apps on (which after all is the real point of a smartphone), the quality of the apps is critical - and iOS ends up way ahead.
Re: Question the data
As a mobile developer I think this is the real question. Android has much higher market share for smartphones, so in theory it's by far the best platform to develop for. Yet talk to developers, and you'll commonly hear that android only provides about 20% of their income, compared to 80% for iOS.
There has to be some explanation for that, and I do think it's because a lot of people buy an android device to replace their old feature phone, and use it in pretty much the same way.
"But IDC's data show the value of enabling low-cost product in other markets, particularly emerging ones. The rise of the budget Android smartphone is clearly playing dividends for Google."
That depends on how you define value. If it's number of units shipped, then yes. If it's income, the value is probably low - especially for google, whose income is mostly from advertising. Emerging market customers are not high value customers in the eyes of the advertisers. It's probably low for the handset makers too, if the customers in these countries are buying low-end and low-margin phones.
Racing to where the ball is now?
Surely this is a foreward-looking proposal, based on where the world is headed and not what people happen to like now? Mobile internet usage is ballooning, the number of net-connected devices is exploding, TV watching is.. um..
So yeah, free up the airwaves for the internet. People managed to move from analogue to digital, I'm sure they'll manage to go from aerial to DSL. It's not like it's going to happen next year, so the tech should be ready for it by then, and video will probably be considered a low-bandwidth thing too.
Besides, a lot of people (especially in the high-tech sectors) can work from home now. I can see that increasing. And a lot of them choose to do so from the country. All you need is a fast internet link (although a stable electricity supply is probably higher up the list).
Written from my armchair looking out at open fields full of cows :) (And I have a respectable link here already at >6mbit, so no accusing me of pushing to get this rushed through for my own benefit. That stable electric supply though, that I definitely want!)
Re: Vote with your Pounds
@jabuzz: What you wrote there is all kinds of wrong. Samsung agreed to license their FRAND patents at the pre-standand-setting cash value. They have to make a *cash* offer to apple, based on these pre-standards values. Apple do not have to hand over all of their patents just to get access to 3G. And they surely don't have to pay 2.4% of the retail value of the product as an alternative.
Besides, samsung have confirmed the number of companies they've signed up at the rates they were asking from MS and apple: zero. They had to give this info to the court, it's there in public court documents.
Both companies put out plenty of propaganda, don't believe any of it :)
Re: Vote with your Pounds
"How about you pick the one that makes a device that has the best trade off between desired features, actual features, and image conciousness."
I think that's the only way to do it. If you try and judge these companies on ethical grounds, you'll end up with a couple of tin cans and some string (from hemp that died of old age, naturally). Some are worse than others, that's about the best you can say.
Buy the phone that suits you. If it was a shameless clone of some other phone, or used some tech that some company patented before some other company, the courts will sort it out for you and some money will move from one numbered account to another in a few years time. If it turns out later that it wasn't a shameless clone, or that patent turned out to be a pile of crap, a different court will order money to go back the other way a few years later.
In other words, if you buy a phone from some company today, some other company might get your money anyway.
Re: Vote with your Pounds
Now that's a seriously tough one. Samsung are highly abusive with their patents, and are under investigation for FRAND abuse, so they're first to be crossed off the shopping list. Scratch motorola for the same reason.
Apple are at least on the right side of the line with anything FRAND related, but then we see about a billion lawsuits with "Apple Vs. " on the front cover, so I guess they're out.
Nokia are stepping up their efforts to sue everyone and their uncle, so lets count them out too.
Microsoft? They actually have the best attitude out of all the companies so far. They're even better than apple on FRAND, and unlike apple they're happy to license their patents rather than saying "this is all mine and you can't have it". They don't make phones unfortunately!
Then there's HTC and the like. HTC are hard to judge - they just don't have enough patents of their own to cause any serious damage. They've not been all that good when given a chance though.
Re: So if Apple paid nothing
If that was true, then I simply acquire a cheap FRAND patent (most of them earn very little, so this shouldn't cost too much). Then I contact apple, and tell them I want $1m per iPhone. There's no way they'll accept that, so they'll refuse.
And now you think it'll become a non-FRAND licensing agreement. In which case, I don't have to license it at all, and I can tell them to remove 3G from all iphones and ipads. Or I can charge whatever I like for a license, and charge them that $1m per phone I originally offered. And the courts will agree with me, because that's actually how regular patents get handled.
Somehow, I think you might be slightly wrong :D
The FRAND rate for a patent is based on the value it had BEFORE it was made part of the standard. That value is normally very low, because there's usually a bunch of alternative methods. Once it's in the standard, you have no choice but to use this exact method, so the patent is suddenly hugely important - which is why the value is locked down.
If Samsung have offered a license at non-FRAND rates (which apple estimates at $0.005 per device) then they've breached the terms of their FRAND agreement, and are possibly trying to commit market abuse (which they're being investigated for already).
El Reg missing some stunning headlines here...
With all these stories about the apple/samsung case, the reg seems to have missed out on a nugget of gold somehow.
Apple is demanding $2.5billion from samsung (with the possibility of tripling parts of that if the jury found samsung wilfully infringed), but they also told the court what they thought samsung's patents are worth: $0.005 per device. How is that not worth publishing?
To everyone saying "mine is fine"...
Sometimes there's an issue like this and you can't really tell. It won't affect using it at all (unless you're doing serious photo editing on it or are a serious videophile or something). It might still be 'wrong'.
This is actually good news if it is, because it's a software thing, google will presumably 'fix' it, and it'll get a whole lot more fine :)
$5.5bn - but what are they actually worth?
So far all we've seen from motorola in the patent war is a few average patents, and some extremely strong but unfortunately FRAND encumbered patents. Worth $5.5bn? Very doubtful!
They've not really dealt either MS or apple any really crippling blows with their non-FRAND patents. Going the other way, MS have got a sales ban on various motorola products, and apple are making serious progress.
They did manage to get a ban on some of apple's 3G devices in germany, very briefly. That was based on a FRAND patent though, and germany is the only place in the world which has so far considered a product ban from a FRAND patent. That event caught the EU's interest, and moto are now being investigated. They're also being investigated over FRAND abuse in the US.
So: a bunch of weak patents, and a bunch of "strong" but FRAND-encumbered patents that have relatively little actual value. And a couple of anti-trust cases. And $5.5bn.
What a fuck up!
Re: This has to stop.
@AC "I think he means that Samsung are attempting to sue Apple over FRAND patents. Which, ordinarily is frowned upon, quite rightly. However, what he fails to understand is this possibility..."
If that possibility was reality, then fair enough. The reality is more like LG asking for their usual 10p, apple paying it, then samsung + motorola asking for £100 each, apple saying that's a bit high, how about 10p, and samsung/moto refusing.
There's a ton of documentation that's made it out of the courts to show exactly what happened. Apple have made FRAND licensing offers, samsung + motorola have refused and asked for exorbitant fees. Apple are licensing other SEPs under FRAND terms from other companies. Samsung + moto haven't licensed to *anyone* under their "special deal" offers to MS + apple.
Re: This has to stop.
I don't know about a citation, but this is what the two sides are actually doing:
Apple: Trying to get rival products banned based on software, hardware and design patents. I.e. scrollbars that disappear when not in use? That's apple's invention, you're not allowed to use it. You can certainly say it's bad for progress, and classic nasty business tactics, and a lot of what they're arguing over shouldn't even be patentable in the first place. They're all patents that can be avoided - you don't HAVE to hide those scroll bars. You just end up with a shitty UI.
Samsung & google/motorola: A little bit of what apple is doing, but mostly they deal in FRAND patents. These cover things like 3G + WiFi data, voice calls, standard video formats. If you want a device that connects to the internet and plays videos, you MUST use these patents. Apple have to license them. The companies agreed to license them under FRAND, in exchange for them becoming part of the standard.
FRAND licenses work like this: You take the commercial value of the patent *before* it was included in the standard, and you agree to license at that rate to *anyone* who wants it. This value is normally very low before it's in the standard.
What samsung (and google/motorola) are doing is this: They're asking for 2.25-2.4% of the retail price of an iPhone or iPad (or xbox, or even a PC). Given hundreds of such patents in a standard, and multiple standards needed for any of these devices, you're talking multiples of the retail value of the product just in patent license fees.
No sane company can accept that, an iPad would cost thousands. But on the other hand, you can't build a modern device without using the patents. Samsung + motorola are trying to use this tactic, and then when the company doesn't license, they try to get the device banned.
If they're allowed to do that, they can obviously control the market. So far they haven't been allowed to do that - no court has actually banned a product, and the EU and US are investigating motorola (think only the EU is investigating samsung, but I might be wrong) over anti-trust. It could backfire in a big way, we'll have to wait and see.
I don't think market abuse is actually their goal btw. It's more that apple has a MUCH stronger patent portfolio that samsung want access to (a lot of android is unfortunately covered by apple + MS patents - hence MS get tons of license money, while apple asks for bans as they don't want to license). If they could use FRAND patents as a 'weapon', it's a very powerful one, and apple would be forced to hand over the goods.
(Oh, and yes, I'm sure bits of iOS and WP7 are covered by android patents - but the scales aren't in android's favour, so apple / MS inevitably win patent disputes in the long term).
(And yes, the only company that doesn't look all that evil here is microsoft, who end up having the fairest patent policy out of these companies. Who would've seen that coming?!)