20100829

Paul Allen v. Rest Of The Web : NTP Redux ?

Paul Allen's Interval Licensing is suing a few Microsoft foes : AOL, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo, YouTube.

The charges : patent infringement regarding 4 patents owned by Interval Licensing - as the name suggests, an empty shell meant to make as many bucks as possible out of
Interval Research "creations".

In this case, the patents protect : a "Browser (...) With Particular Application to Browsing Information Represented By Audiovisual Data", an "Attention Manager", and a system to "Alert(...) Users to Items of Current Interest".

Now this episode definitely became an "item of current interest" in a sector still shaken by the NTP/RIM battle over patents.

What puzzles me is to see Paul Allen, who only left the board of Microsoft in 2000, claim a leadership in browsers : Microsoft copied all major user interface disruptions from Apple, starting with the "windows" concept, and the company didn't believe in the internet, joining the bandwagon very late, starting the Internet Explorer project two years after Mosaic was created. Why not sue Mosaic then ? And IE for exploiting it ?

You may win your lawsuit, just like NTP did. But do you want to go down in history for that last caricature of Microsoftian Evilness ?

You'd better stick to rock'n roll, Paulie.

mot-bile 2010



20100825

15 Gigas of fame for metroPCS : Samsung Craft 4G LTE (SCH-R900)

Samsung confirmed today to Yonhap that metroPCS Wireless Inc., a CDMA player, would launch its SCH-R900 4G model (LTE with 3G CDMA) in the US. The gizmo had been announced by metroPCS last March, and approved by the FCC last month (leaks for geeks included).

At the OS level, Android remains a favorite.

At the network level, metroPCS has rolled out LTE on places where people love to show off : Las Vegas and Dallas.

At the pricing level, observers expect a $300 price tag, but even more interesting to see will be how aggressively this MNO, specialized in discount and prepaid, will price data. The Texas-based company operates on major US markets, and claims over 7 million subs.

Verizon Wireless & co won't let it enjoy TTM leadership for too long, and they will roll out more aggressively.

Until then, great opportunity to shine. How about Warholian 15 Gigas, the data equivalent to the 15 minutes of fame ?

mot-bile 2010



20100812

Korea Telecom signs the country's first MVNOs

A decade after other countries, Korea is discovering the charms of MVNOhood.

Korea Telecom signed 3 partnerships - a classic mix indeed :
- voice-centric Free Telecom (prepaid offers)
- data-centric EverGreen Mobile (EGMobile)
- entertainment-oriented Entaz (mobile games)

Partnerships were clinched via KTF DoCoMo Mobile and the Fast Incubation Center (FIC), the new unit in charge of stimulating the ecosystem around the company, including a Smart Open Forum.

"Open", but to a certain point : none of the first 3 MVNOs is a big name, even in its own field. Bigger fishes were kept at bay, like ONSE Telecom who,
as we saw earlier, was a more than outspoken candidate. It rather looks like the perfect alibi for the regulator, and a convenient training ground for new processes and business models : wider "openings" will be requiered, and KT wants to remain competitive at the international level.

Rivals SK Telecom and LG Telecom will probably follow a similar path. I wouldn't expect from the leader a disruptive deal with a flamboyant player... unless of course the said player is a in-house spinoff in disguise (ie MelOn or another multimedia brand, and a business-centric package.


mot-bile 2010



20100804

Motorola's Android Tablet : Focus On TV (Apple, Amazon, Others Watching)

Motorola and Android have already met, but Motorola and tablets are a new item.

The 10 inch screen device would be bundled with Verizon FiOS TV (pay-TV) service, which makes perfect sense. Much more sense than say Nokia, to name a fabled marketing counter-example... Let's see how rivals will move, for instance how Samsung will position its own Android tablet, smaller in size but with a screen of potentially much better quality, and a better grasp at personal computing.

But this is first about entertainment, and Verizon takes and interesting shot in the convergence barnum. Most quadplay operators across the World have necessarily been, if not working on, at least thinking about a "tabletish" gizmo to complete the set of home / away screens, and if people start (for instance) massively and legally downloading and watching movies with an Android 3.0 / 3G ticket on their tablet this November, xmas season looks fine...

Except maybe for Amazon : expect even more push marketing until then... unless of course Jeff Bezos manages to stevejobs a new Kindle feature high up into the buzzosphere.


mot-bile 2010



20100803

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go

The day after Steve Balmer shook hands with Lee Sang-chul to celebrate a strategic partnership in cloud computing between Microsoft and LG U+ (formerly LG Telecom), Google's Andy Rubin and SK Telecom's Bae Joon-dong did the same over Android Market, to boost the Korean developer ecosystem around the robot version of Shrek (this green Android oger has layers too, beyond the OS stage).

Significantly, the deal was at the CEO level for Korea's #3 MNO and at the VP level for the leader.

Steve Jobs didn't need to show up in Korea, where the Apple-KT partnership ignited much delayed smartphone boom (see previous episodes). Furthermore, he wouldn't be welcomed these days : the war of words between Apple and Samsung has turned nasty in the UK, where the latter countered repeated attacks by the former with a comparative ad in spite of specific orders from Seoul headquarters : Samsung is certainly a major competitor to the iPhone (half a million Samsung Galaxy S sold during the first month), but also a major provider for Apple.

If the Microsoft / Number 3 model is a classic, the Google-SK Telecom deal could prove a game changer in a country where the 3 major operators dominate too much the value chain / value cloud for app providers to multiply, thrive, and become global players.

But overall, between Microsoft, Apple, and Google, Korea Inc somehow confirms its return into the US Inc technosphere of influence.

Korea Telecom's idea of diversification ? Setting up KT Estate, a real estate arm, to manage its already impressive assets : 30% of revenues last year !

mot-bile 2010



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