Posts tagged Loses
Facebook did not just launch a “Facebook Phone” last week, as was expected. Instead, along with the HTC First, it offered up Home, a “family of apps” that is neither a phone nor a smartphone operating system – but which may ultimately have a far greater impact on the mobile industry than either one of those thigns.
Facebook Home overlays a visually appealing “Cover Feed” onto the Android smartphone home screen. The Facebook member’s Newsfeed, pictures, texts, select notifications and “Chat Heads” of their friends are all displayed. If the Facebook Home user is inside another app – any other app – and receives a Facebook Message from a friend, for example, a “Chat Head” – the friend’s face and message – pops up on the phone screen. While not a true operating system, Home becomes the de facto user experience.
Though Home will be available only on select Android models when it debuts on Friday, April 12, it has the long-term potential to shake up everything from Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone to mobile carriers and handset makers. Especially when you consider that Facebook has more than 1 billion members, and is on more than 600 million mobile devices – including approximately 200 million Android smartphones and 150 million iPhones.
First, let’s look at the losers.
For all the talk of how Facebook Home could potentially disintermediate Google from its own Android operating system, Home’s clearest threat may be to Apple’s lucrative iPhone business. Indeed, during the Facebook Home launch, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg mocked Apple’s “there’s an app for that” user interface: “We’re not building a phone, and we’re not building an OS — we’re building an experience that’s deeper than any other app.” If Facebook Home succeeds, expect iPhone sales to be harmed. The iPhone’s operating system may begin to look dated, and customers may seek out those devices that offer Home – and for the foreseeable future, that means Android-only.
Loser: Mobile Carriers
Facebook is already promoting Home’s robust texting features, and Facebook Home is obviously a legitimate threat to the carrier’s lucrative SMS (texting) business. According to the Wall Street Journal, for years carriers have relied on SMS for “the bulk of their revenue” but “the rise of texting apps has taken away $23 billion in revenue from carriers as of the end of 2012.”
Facebook Home takes direct aim at the carriers’ SMS revenues. ReadWrite’s Nick Statt considers Home’s “Chat Heads” feature to be an “SMS killer.“
“Chat Heads give Facebook a subtle way to nudge users away from (carrier) SMS and towards its own platform,” Statt wrote, “This move finally establishes Facebook Message as a serious player in the field of SMS-killers, and the most disruptive one to date. Its success, or failure, will likely reverberate throughout the mobile world.”
Loser: Handset Makers
Apple and Samsung take the lion’s share of the smartphone handset market’s profits – by far. All other smartphone handset makers are struggling to stand out, much less eke out a profit. If customers are happy with any Android device that runs Facebook Home, handset makers will no doubt have an even harder time differentiating themselves. If customers gravitate to the lowest priced devices – as long as they run Home – handset makers may find it impossible to make any money.
At least publicly, Google has welcomed Facebook Home to its Android platform:
The Android platform has spurred the development of hundreds of different types of devices. This latest device demonstrates the openness and flexibility that has made Android so popular.
But Facebook Home is also a big challenge to Android’s business model. Android’s primary revenue generating services, including Search, Maps, Gmail and YouTube, are typically pre-loaded onto sanctioned Android devices. The more Android devices, the more people access Google services, the more revenues Google generates.
Should Facebook Home effectively replace or block access to Google services, the Google Android strategy could take a massive hit.
Industry analyst and venture capitalist Jean-Louis Gassee, put it this way:
Facebook’s new Home on Android smartphone is an audacious attempt to demote the OS to a utility role, to keep to itself user data Android was supposed to feed into Google’s advertising business. Google’s reaction will be worth watching.
Loser: App Developers
Facebook formally describes Home as “a completely new experience that lets you see the world through people, not apps.” Beyond the promotional language, Home poses a threat to Android app developers, as it essentially hides all other apps beneath the Facebook Home screen. In the world of Facebook Home, apps are relegated to second-tier status. (And should a Facebook Home user call up their apps, they are listed in alphabetical order, not by user preference.)
According to the latest Canalys app store research, apps generate more than $2 billion every quarter, and 51% of all apps downloaded last quarter were on Google Play. This means that Facebook Home could have a massive impact on these app developers, in particular.
Sore Loser: Microsoft
The day after Facebook announced Home, Frank X. Shaw, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of Corporate Communications, mocked Facebook for essentially copying Microsoft’s Windows Phone look and “people first” design ethos. “While we applaud Facebook for working to give some Android owners a taste of what a ‘people-centric’ phone can be like, we’d humbly like to suggest that you get the real thing, and simply upgrade to a Windows Phone.” Corporate snark aside, if Windows Phone was selling in adequate numbers, than no doubt Facebook – which Microsoft has invested in – would have seen fit to devote resources and mindshare to the platform.
But Facebook Home isn’t all bad news, of course. There are plenty of winners, too:
The first device to come with Facebook Home pre-installed is from HTC – the HTC First. Once one of the larger players in the Android market, HTC has fallen on hard times. It’s close relationship with Facebook and first-mover status on Home could help the struggling device maker. Certainly, it can’t hurt.
Yes, Facebook Home threatens Google. But it also offers opportunity. Because Home is Android only, at least for the foreseeable future, there is a real possibility that Home will spur Android sales.
At Home’s launch, Mark Zuckerberg stated: “I actually think this is really good for Android.” Zuckerberg noted that despite Android’s larger market share, app developers typically flock to Apple’s iOS first. He claimed that Home could spur “more innovation” to flow to the Android ecosystem, enticing app makers to do their best work there. It’s hard to see why those app makers would want their wares buried under Facebook Home, but who knows?
Facebook has no “phone” and no smartphone operating system. It’s revenues from mobile devices remain meager compared to Google and Apple. Home could help change all that. Home proves that Facebook hasn’t just embraced “mobile first,” but as Zuckerberg put it at the launch event, “Mobile Best… We think this is the best version of Facebook there is.” Unlike earlier versions of Facebook for mobile, Home is appealing and accessible. Facebook is clearly the biggest winner from Facebook Home.
Image of Facebook Home courtesy of Facebook.
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Seo In Young Loses all her Cheek Fat? 'Weight Loss'
… In Young Loses all her Cheek Fat? 'Weight Loss'. Singer Seo In Young turned into a bright spring lady, showing off her shining beauty. Seo In Young recently held a photo shoot with the fashion magazine 1st Look, revealing bright spring makeup and …
Seo In Young Shows off Pure Spring Look in Photo Shoot
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Interflora SEO rankings penalised by Google as it loses top search spot
Google has pulled the SEO ranking of Interflora for its own brand name as well as generic related topics such as 'flowers', 'flower delivery' and 'florist', which would usually have brought the company to the top of the search list. The penalty is …
Interflora – Where have all the flowers gone?
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Google is awaiting a judge’s decision on damages before it decides what to do after losing a defamation case over its search results in Australia. A jury in the supreme court of the Australian state Victoria, ruled Tuesday that Google is liable for defamation because its search results…
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Earlier this year, a judge in the United Kingdom awarded a rare gift to Samsung in its global patent battle against Apple. The judge ruled that Samsung did not infringe on Apple’s design patents and offered a strange remedy: Apple must publically apologize to Samsung in prominent news publications in the UK and post the apology on its website for a month. Apple, full of pride (and a highly paid legal team) bristled at the judgment and appealed. The appeal was heard by a trio of judges and the verdict came down Wednesday. Sorry Apple, you still have a date with public shaming.
The purpose of the advertisement is to correct the impression that Samsung copied Apple’s design, specifically of the iPad. The ads will run in British publications such as the Daily Mail, Financial Times as well as on the Apple UK website. “The acknowledgement must come from the horse’s mouth,” the judges ruled, according to the BBC.
An Absurd Result
The absurdity of this trial should not be understated.
First, the subject. We are talking about design patents, something extremely hard to quantify. Much like the U.S. case in a California court between the companies, Apple claims that Samsung copied the front face and shape of the tablet. The original judge, Colin Birss, said that Samsung did not copy Apple because the Galaxy Tab in question did not have the “same understated and extreme simplicity possessed by Apple.” Famously, Birss also said that Samsung tablets were simply, “not as cool” as Apple’s iPad.
If coolness won court battles, the Fonz should have become a lawyer.
A Disturbing Trend
While many will delight in Apple’s public shaming, a disturbing trend is starting to emerge if you are one of the company top executives: Apple is losing most of its appeals.
For every big headline victory that Apple wins against Samsung or other mobile manufacturers, it seems like an equally large appeal wipes out those gains. Apple won a ban of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus earlier this year, only to have a U.S. appeals court toss out the ban. Apple won an injunction against HTC and its One X smartphone in the spring, only to have HTC redesign certain software aspects of the device and rerelease it. The One X is a quality device, so much so that we awarded it the ReadWrite Recommends Smartphone in September. A judge in Chicago more or less tossed out a patent suit between Apple and Motorola, telling the sides to negotiate a settlement.
Apple is even losing ground in a case that it originally won, the much-covered design and utility patent case in California that the iPhone maker won through a jury ruling. Samsung was ordered to pay Apple $1.05 billion in that case and injunctions on several devices were issues. One of those injunctions, against the Galaxy Tab 10.1 inch tablet, has already been dissolved by the judge overseeing the case.
Apple has also lost appeals to Samsung over design patents in Australia and the Netherlands.
Is Apple’s Legal Strategy Unraveling?
The California judgment has the potential to unravel on appeal as well. The primary point of contention in that case is that the jury foreman, Velvin Hogan, tainted the jury in favor of Apple because he was once sued by a former employer, Seagate Technology. Samsung happens to have a “strategic relationship” with Seagate. Samsung is asking for dismissal of the verdict.
Apple’s goal in many of these lawsuits is to stem the flood of quality Android devices that take attention away from the iPad and iPhone. If Apple cannot (or will not) go directly after Google to cut the head off the Android monster, the best it can do is give legal headaches to the manufacturers. Sometimes, those legal battles are effective, even if Apple does eventually lose on appeal. The injunction against the HTC One X caused it to lose thousands of potential unit sales.
Apple has spent millions in court on winning these lawsuits. Yet in the end, Cupertino may have little to show for its victories.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
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For Apple and Google, breaking up is hard to do. Today’s release of Apple’s iOS 6 sees the the addition of many new features, as well as the removal of some notable code that has been with iOS for a long time: Apple’s YouTube app and the use of Google Map data within the Maps app.
Part of Apple’s ongoing extrication from its entanglement with Google, many people will be watching this move carefully to see what, if any, effect this will have on the companies’ bottom lines.
Based on early reports, it seems one part of the breakup will go pretty smoothly, while the other will be fraught with user peril.
Changing The Channel
The YouTube change is not likely to have too much effect on either company. Contrary to some rumors floating around the Internet this week, Apple isn’t banning YouTube from the new version of its mobile operating system; it’s just removing the built-in app it created to access Google’s popular video service on iOS devices.
You can still watch YouTube, of course. Google released its own YouTube app last week (though it’s ready only for iPhone, not iPad users). Of course, you can just use a Web browser on the iPhone or iPad to go to YouTube.com directly. In fact, on the iPad, that may even be a preferable solution. And there are plenty of free video search apps available that will plumb the depths of YouTube and other video sites, such as Vimeo.
So did Apple ditch YouTube in a fit of pique? Not necessarily. As CNET’s Casey Newton points out, YouTube is increasingly trying to move to a channel-based model. The new approach is very noticeable in the service’s new app layout, too. This channel alignment is a very good way to parse potential ad-clickers into more easily targeted demographics, so it’s no surprise that YouTube and its parent company Google are moving in that direction. By pulling its own YouTube app and promoting apps that are more video search oriented, Apple is quietly disrupting YouTube’s plans.
It should not make much of a difference in the long run – people will still be getting to YouTube, where the ads and eyeballs ultimately need to meet.
Dangerous Curves Ahead
The real bumps in the road may come with the introduction of Apple’s updated Maps app.
There are many new features getting introduced in the iOS 6 version of the Maps app, such as turn-by-turn navigation and a new “flyover” mode. But already many reviewers are missing the one thing that the new Maps doesn’t have: Google Maps data.
Instead, Apple’s mapping data is coming from vendors TomTom and Waze, with search data tied in to the Yelp location-based review service.
It’s expected that a new service, especially one replacing a highly robust geo-location dataset, is going to have some gaps in information. But it may be hard to explain that to phone users who suddenly can’t find businesses and other locations on their iPhones that were there before.
And the new dataset may not just be lacking a little -
there could be big gaps. Waze CEO Noam Bardin distanced himself from the apparent coming storm when iOS hits the virtual shelves today, telling Business Insider, “Apple went out and partnered with the weakest player… They’re now coming out with the lowest, weakest data set and they’re competing against Google, which has the highest data set. What’s going to happen with the Apple maps, is that you’re literally not going to find things. When you do find them, they might be in the wrong place or position geographically. And if you do have it, the route to it may not be the optimal route.”
Businesses are noticing, too. Josh Carr of Rocky Mountain Mac Repair posted a detailed examination of the new Maps local search, and was not impressed with searches for his own business.
“All of the work I’ve put into our local recognition is completely gone because I focused so keenly on Google Places,” Carr wrote. “By limiting search to Yelp businesses, there were only two places returned for ‘iPhone Repair.’ They illegally use the trademarked term ‘iPhone’ in the name of their company on their Yelp record. One of the companies used a false name just so they had iPhone in the title.
“So, I need to create a false Yelp business and hope that Apple legal doesn’t come after me just to show up in Maps? Wow,” Carr added.
Why Maps Matter
Problems aside, this is an app that Apple will want to get right, and soon. Mapping is one of the most-utilized services for other apps on mobile devices. Geolocation is a key part of many apps, and users access maps and navigation on their devices often.
The change is a big deal for Google, too. A lot of ad money comes out of Google Maps, which is why Google spends billions getting that service up to date. Cutting Google out of the map equation is potentially a harsh blow to Google’s bottom line.
How harsh? Analytics firm comScore puts Apple’s share of the U.S. smartphone market at 33.4% as of the end of July. That’s a very large user group that will suddenly no longer be accessing Google Maps.
What’s not known: Will iOS users be patient with Apple if the Maps transition turns out to be as rough as predicted? Apple has a limited window of opportunity to lure more users to its Maps service. In June, Jeff Huber Google’s Senior VP, Commerce & Local wrote in a Google Plus comment, “We look forward to providing amazing Google Maps experiences on iOS.”
That points to a Google-developed app for Google Maps coming soon to iOS. Apple has that long to at least match what Google can offer.
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Bloomberg reports Siri’s co-founder Adam Cheyer, has left Apple. Cheyer was one of the primary developers of Siri and is known as a “co-creator” of the popular Apple Voice Search product. Adam Cheyer’s LinkedIn profile still has him currently working at Apple. He was the…
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Right on schedule, the European Union General Court rejected Microsoft’s appeal to dismiss $1.12 billion in fines for allegedly not complying with a 2004 antitrust order. The judgment, which leaves most of the fine print in place, is in some ways a relic of another time – one when Microsoft didn’t constantly see the market changing around it and was still the unquestioned dominant force in computing.
The verdict from the court rejected the software company’s appeal, though it did slightly reduce the level of fines by 4% to $1.07 billion (€860 million). ”The General Court reduced the penalty payment marginally to take account of the fact that although Microsoft was obliged to make interoperability information available to third parties, the [EU Competition] Commission had allowed Microsoft to await the General Court’s judgment on the Commission’s 2004 Decision before allowing the actual distribution of interoperable products by open source developers,” the court said in a press release today.
The penalty, which could be appealed one more time by Microsoft, is a throwback from an earlier time when Microsoft dominated the enterprise and consumer markets. That Microsoft would still be feeling the repercussions of its actions eight years after the original fine – and 29 years after Novell first made the antitrust claims against the Windows operating system – is high irony, indeed.
The irony stems from the fact that three decades later, Microsoft is no longer as sure-footed within the various sectors in which Windows operates. While still dominant on the consumer desktop, very strong incursions from Linux in the server space have weakened Windows’ hold in that channel. And in new sectors – most notably mobile computing, cloud computing and big data – Microsoft is struggling just to be relevant compared to its competitors.
Making this even more painful is that this fine is this large because of Microsoft’s apparent stubbornness to comply with the EU Commission’s original orders for the software giant to share more information with competitors. The original 2004 fines of €778 million were more than doubled in 2008 when the EU Commission tacked on the additional €860 million fine. If Microsoft does appeal, and the appeal fails, that would mean Microsoft would have to lay out a total of $2.04 billion for this antitrust suit.
Microsoft complied with the original 2004 requirements laid out by the EU Commission in 2008 when the new penalty fine was issued, but that was after the fact.
For its part, the EU Competition Commission is pleased as punch with the court’s ruling.
“The judgment confirms that the imposition of such penalty payments remains an important tool at the Commission’s disposal,” Commission Vice President Joaquín Almunia said in a press statement. If this decision stands, look for more such fees from the EU Competition Commission.
Faced with an IT sector that’s shifting out from under the traditional desktop and server room models, it is not clear if Microsoft will appeal this ruling one more time. It’s a lot of money, even for the folks at Redmond, but the Microsoft of 2012, fighting to maintain a future top-level place within IT, may simply want to atone for the sins of the Microsoft of old and move on.
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Google CEO Larry Page won’t be speaking at the company’s I/O Conference in San Francisco next week because he’s reportedly lost his voice. Page says “there is nothing seriously wrong” with him and he will “continue to run the company.”
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