Blog on Intense Patent War in Mobile and Now in Social Media

Here is my blog on the intense patent war: This week Yahoo sued Facebook for violating 10 very foundational patents for social media / online ads.

Last week, a mobile patents proxy of Microsoft sued Apple for patent infringment

Apple and Samsung have patents suits against each other.

Oracle is after google for Java patent violations in Google.

Microsoft is getting paid of about $5 per Android Mobile device sold by HTC

and the list goes on and on…

Patents are becoming core to business strategy for defense, attack as well as to make money.

Thats why, Google bought Motorola Mobility, Microsoft + Apple consoritum bough Novell patents to arm them up..




Patents Ruling Mobile War

Apple got a victory today in a patent court over HTC. Its about tapping a phone number in an email or any content (e.g. web page may have a contact number of a vendor) to call or add in contact number. From HTC it is a small UI fix. However, removing such feature would pose an usability issue to HTC and indirectly to Android. 

Here is the ruling:

It seems that Apple has many such patents which when pressed against Android can create a competitive barrier. 

This year has been interesting from patents point of view. Apple and Microsoft ganged up to by Nortells patent portfolio at billions. Then, the corneded Google bought Motorolla mobility especially for the patents. On other wise, there is a patent war going between Samsung and Apple of Samsung Galaxy.

Google, Apple, Facebook : Cancelling Projects for Better Focus

Big companies like Google, Facebook, Apple etc are always compelled with competition and thrive for innovation as well as grow by acquisition. However, like everyone else, these companies make mistake too. Some times costly mistakes by buying companies at hundreds of mollion valuations only to shelve them after an year or so.  Sometimes, the in-house initiatives are shelved too. It is better to take such hard decisions sooner than later. Such decisions lead to better focus and an ability to put resources on better-paying initiatives.
Here are some latest cancellations of projects from these companies:
1. Facebook Shutting Down Deals Service:
It seems that Deals are not making that much money. Is it a good news or bad news for Groupon? Definitely one less competition. However, the timing is bad. Groupon has filled IPO and is expecting a very high valuation. However, there are some concerns being expressed about its business model and its ability to sustain the growth and revenue. When Facebook backs out from the deals, it might be look as if it is validation that deals are not good for busines model and it is a bad omen for Groupon. Facebook followed a hybrid model to get deals. It sourced deals its own but also became a deals aggregator for select deals companies such as Gilt Groupe’s Gilt City; local deals service Home Run; restaurant website OpenTable; women-focused PopSugar City, and outdoor-oriented Zozi. It seems that the copons and deals market is maturing, the average weekly revenue from deals is going down. Thats why Yelp too is slowing down / getting out of daily deals.
2. Facebook also gave up on checkins by cancelling Facebook Places. This is of course a good news for Foursquare. However, Facebook is not giving up on locations. Instead of mimicing Foursquare, it would now allow users to tag everything with locations. Now, this approach would give distinction but would not compete with Foursquare. But it is a decision based on the usage of the places, resulting to re-strategizing on focus.
2. Apple Cancels iTunes TV Rentals – however this decision is based on Apple’s analysis of the current usage of iTune rentals vs buying. As per Apple, consumers prefer to buy than rent the music. So, Apple chopped down it. It may be getting some rental money, but it is always better to cut off project that does not pay appropriately.
3. While Facebook and Apple are cancelling these projects, Google does not want to be left behind too. Its new CEO is axing many projects like Slides, Aardvark, Flash Map API, Google desktop, Google Notebook, Sidewiki, Image Labeler, Google Pack, Google Web Security and so on. Never mind if you never heard some of these. May be that is the reason Google dropping them out. If you are interested in more details, visit Google’s official blog:
BTW this axing does not mean that Google is slowing down on acquisitions. In contrast, while Facebook, and Yelp slowed down on deals, Google this week quietly acquired Zave Networks for deals and coupons. Read
When you may spot acquired companies in the list, would you wonder whether these companies would have been successful if  they were left alone? Or it was better for founders to cash-in and move on?

Bill Gates on latest technologies and Microsoft

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After a long time I am seeing Bill talking on technology. Though he is still chairman of Microsoft, he is more focussed on running his non-profit organization to help sick and needy people all over the world.

In this interview Bill Gates repeatedly makes a point that the world is realizing the importance of software and the mobile’s success is actually due to the Software. It’s funny, and he may be right, that he laughed when the interviewed commented that Apple stock and valuation is dwarfing Microsoft. Per Bill, the stock prices go up and down but what is important is the tech asset it has. He did acknowledge the great work that Apple, Google and Microsoft are doing in terms of innovation in delivering fascinating technologies. Finally, it seems to be an agreement that the world is moving more towards tablets and mobile devices than desktop PCs.

Now That Microsoft Sued Google, Which Is the New Evil Empire?

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Ever since I landed in the Silicon valley in 1993, I always read about aggessive tactics that Microsoft followed which were unfair to its competitors. There always have been anti-trust / abuse of dominance related cases against Microsoft. It is common observation that dominance and power result into bullying. So, in other words, the empire which is blamed for bullying is the most powerful and (may be ) is an evil empire. As an example, Microsoft had been sued by N-number of times in the browser wars.

Now that Microsoft complained about Google against its  unfair bullying practices in European Union, the table seems to be reversed. Can we now affirmatively say that power shifted to google? may be, But how long there will be a dominance by a single player? Unlike, the previous ‘near-to’ monopoly by Microsoft, the current scenario is not much polarized as it seems to be. Apple has overtaken Microsoft to become the largest technology company. Google dominates the information world and ad-revenues. But Facebook has overtaken google in-terms of the number of users spending time on the site. Each one of them would be blamed for bullying. However, it is good to have the healthy competition.