Jury Rules That Google Hasn’t Infringed Oracle Patents With Android

In the Google-Oracle billion dollar lawsuit case, the jury has come out with its decision: Google has not infringed Oracle’s patents with Android. Oracle was looking to get $6 billion from the lawsuit. However, now it will go home without the billions. Continue reading Jury Rules That Google Hasn’t Infringed Oracle Patents With Android

Google Quietly Acquires Mike and Maaike; Why?

In a recent article by Bloomberg Businessweek, it has been revealed that Google has acquired Mike and Maaike, a San Francisco based design studio. The financial terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed.

The report by Businessweek also reveals some cool facts like Google-Motorola deal took less than a week from draft stage to being signed. It also reports that current the Apple CEO Tim Cook tried to poach Motorola Mobility’s newly appointed CEO Dennis Woodside. However, Google CEO Larry Page promised grater responsibility Dennis Woodside at that time.

Coming back to the quiet acquisition, Mike and Maaike’s portfolio interestingly includes first Android phone to enter the market, HTC G1. The design studio has also worked with Microsoft to design XBOX 360.

Why is this important?

When Google first agreed to acquire Motorola Mobility, it was slapped with antitrust questions from all parts of the technology world and is still getting slapped. The deal made current Android OEMs wary of the merger. However, Google promised that it will never give preferential treatment to Motorola for manufacturing Android handsets so much that Google has also promised to keep Motorola Mobility as a separate entity.

However, Mike and Maaike’s acquisition says a different story. Google, with zilch experience in Hardware and customer care, seems to be heading towards it goal for delivering a full fledged in-house mobile/tablet hardware to the market. Now, with its  ability to design, code, manufacture and market it is definitely keeping higher aspirations like that of Apple.

Google Officially Owns Motorola Mobility; Names Dennis Woodside As CEO

Just hours after getting a green signal from Chinese regulators, Google has announced that it has closed its acquisition of Motorola Mobility today.

Initially, China was skeptical that Google might create a lock-in situation for its Android OS which might which might have affected number of low-cost Android device manufacturers in China who rely on the Android ecosystem created by the Open Handset Alliance. However, Google promised that it will keep Android free and open for at least another five years.

Motorola Mobility CEO, Sanjay Jha will be replaced by Google’s Dennis Woodside. With the acquisition Google gets hold of 17,000 patents to protect itself from potential lawsuit that seems to drive dirty financial side of tech space these days.
From Google’s Blogpost:

It’s why I’m excited to announce today that our Motorola Mobility deal has closed. Motorola is a great American tech company that has driven the mobile revolution, with a track record of over 80 years of innovation, including the creation of the first cell phone. We all remember Motorola’s StarTAC, which at the time seemed tiny and showed the real potential of these devices. And as a company who made a big, early bet on Android, Motorola has become an incredibly valuable partner to Google.

Sanjay Jha, who was responsible for building the company and placing that big bet on Android, has stepped down as CEO. I would like to thank him for his efforts and am tremendously pleased that he will be working to ensure a smooth transition as long-time Googler Dennis Woodside takes over as CEO of Motorola Mobility.

I’ve known Dennis for nearly a decade, and he’s been phenomenal at building teams and delivering on some of Google’s biggest bets. One of his first jobs at Google was to put on his backpack and build our businesses across the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and Russia. More recently he helped increase our revenue in the U.S. from $10.8 billion to $17.5 billion in under three years as President of the Americas region. Dennis has always been a committed partner to our customers and I know he will be an outstanding leader of Motorola. As an Ironman triathlete, he’s got plenty of energy for the journey ahead–and he’s already off to great start with some very strong new hires for the Motorola team.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 310 Available For Pre-Order In India

Samsung India has officially started taking pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 310 Android tablet. The 7-inch Galaxy Tab 2  is expected to be priced at Rs. 23,250 (MRP), while select retailers have already started selling it for Rs. 19,500. This is the sixth Android tablet to be released in India by Samsung.

Consumers can pre-book the Galaxy Tab 2 310 aka Galaxy Tab 2 now they are entitled for a Tab stand worth Rs. 999 absolutely free. For the uninitiated ones, the Galaxy Tab 2comes with Android 4.0  out-of-the-box and is equipped with 3G, 1GHz dual-core processor, 7-inch WSVGA display with 1024*600 pixel resolution, Wi-Fi, 3MP rear-facing camera, front-facing VGA camera, GPS, microSD card slot, 8GB internal memory and 4,000mAh battery.

Interested customers can’t pre-order it from Samsung India’s official website, however, we suggest you to get it from retailers as it’s priced close to Rs. 4,000 cheaper than the one listed on Samsung’s webstore.

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Foursquare – A Location Based Services’ Flop Show In India

Foursquare, a location based social networking site created in 2009 by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai has been a huge success in the US. So much that in September 2011, it registered its 1 Billionth check-in.

Foursquare makes check-in a fun game where users are rewarded with badges for accomplishing certain levels with their check-ins. Initially it helped Foursquare to gather attention and they later turned those rewards into actual discounts at certain outlets for earning mayorship with the help of business tie-ups. Well, that went well in the US. But in India? No body cares!

When Foursquare first debuted, Indians went crazy sharing where they were and what they were doing. But that excitement has subsided eventually. Now only hardcore Foursquare fanatics who organize 4sq day on April 16th use Foursquare in India.

Recently, I attended the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) conference here in Mumbai. The panel talked about how internet and mobile is changing the face of eCommerce is India. eCommerce is huge in India, currently. VC’s are throwing away money to any and I mean any kind of eCommerce portals.

However, all the digital know-hows didn’t even bother to check-in on Foursqaure on the first day of the conference, including yours truly. When pointed out by a fellow delegate, I checked-in from the FourSquare app from my Windows Phone smartphone. The interesting thing I noticed was only four people had checked-in for the conference. Strange isn’t it?

One of the reason I could think of for Foursquare not being huge in India is that currently the market is concentrated on eCommerce and nobody (local businesses, entrepreneurs, etc) cares about location based service because it not really making any money. Really! BusinessInsider reported that even Facebook investors say that Foursquare doesn’t have a ton of revenue yet.  And then Facebook is again huge in India. People prefer to use Facebook’s check-in feature instead of using a stand-alone service, going from my newsfeed. Another reason for users not to use Foursquare is users in India are not entitled to the cool things it brings (read: benefits from Mayorship) and nor does it bring the scalability of Facebook. Besides that, Smartphones is not yet popular in India. As of today, still majority of Indian phone users still use a feature phone and GPS service is still not available in most feature phones.

Do you use Foursquare regularly?

Apple Files For Preliminary Injunction Against Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 In US

The never ending war between Samsung and Apple has added one more page to its record Apple has filed for an immediate U.S. preliminary injunction against Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet  which could result in the device getting pulled from stores by next month.

Previously, Court ordered Apple and Samsung to negotiate their problems outside the court to which both the companies agreed. However, Apple recently won a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals which ruled that Apple’s design-related patent on the Apple iPad is valid and now it’s filing for an immediate injunction against Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Tablet. Apple has asked Samsung to respond to their motion by May 25th.

Samsung, previously, had to modify the design of Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany because of Apple’s design patent infringement claim.

Karbonn KT-21 Express Launched with IM, Push Mail Solution & TV

Karbonn mobile launched new dual SIM mobile phone in India – Karbonn KT-21 Express, a Touch Screen phone with T9 Keypad. The handset comes with an application to provide access to over 50 free-to-air television channels on 2G network.

Features and Specifications

  •  Smart Mail-Karbonn’s Push Mail solution powered by Emoze
  •  Karbonn Instant Messenger (KIM)
  •  Dual SIM phone
  •  2.8-inch Capacitive Touch Screen
  • 3.2 MP Camera with Flash
  • 16GB expandable memory support
  • NexgTV application which allows users to watch 50+ Live TV Channels on the phone
  •  3.5 mm Universal Audio Jack
  •  FM Radio with Recording
  • GPRS
  • Mobile Tracker
  • Bluetooth with A2DP
  • Multi Format Video Player and Recorder
  • 1000-mAh battery

The device is available in the market for Rs 4,990. What’s interesting is, Karbonn has packed Push Mail solution powered by Emoze which will let users synchronize their personal and corporate email accounts on the phone. The company has also integrated Karbonn Instant Messenger service which is the real time text messaging app – something similar to BlackBerry Messenger.

Facebook Acquires Mobile Social Gifting App Karma

Facebook just went public with a market cap of $104 Billion and it has already made its first acquisition post IPO. Facebook has acquired Karma, a mobile social gifting app. The exact terms and details of the deal are not yet disclosed but the entire team of Karma with its 16 employees will be joining Facebook post the acquisition.

Karma, founded by Lee Linden and Ben Lewis, has raised $4.5 million from from Kleiner Perkins, Sequoia Capital, Caulfield & Byers, Felicis Ventures, CrunchFund and Obvious Corporation. Karma, a social gifting app lets users decide whether to receive the gift or donate the cost of exact same amount of the gift to charity instead.

From Karma’s blog:

We’re thrilled to announce that Karma has been acquired by Facebook. The service that Karma provides will continue to operate in full force. By combining the incredible passion of our community with Facebook’s platform we can delight users in new and meaningful ways. As we say … only good things will follow.

Simply put, together we can celebrate life’s important moments in ways we could not before. A word of heartfelt thanks to our partners, customers, and our incredible team for helping us share Karma with so many people.

This acquisition makes sense for Facebook

Facebook, previously, had a feature called Virtual Gifts where Facebook users could send virtual gifts to people in their network. However, Facebook closed it down in favor of Virtual Credits that let third party developers use it as a currency for selling virtual items on the social network. Social gaming platforms like Zynga makes use of these virtual credits to sell in-game goodies to their users. Virtual credit is Facebook’s second only biggest revenue source after Advertising.

Facebook in their S-1 filing stated that Mobile is an increasing risk factor for the company:

We believe this increased usage of Facebook on mobile devices has contributed to the recent trend of our daily active users (DAUs) increasing more rapidly than the increase in the number of ads delivered. If users increasingly access Facebook mobile products as a substitute for access through personal computers, and if we are unable to successfully implement monetization strategies for our mobile users, or if we incur excessive expenses in this effort, our financial performance and ability to grow revenue would be negatively affected.

Although the company company had 488 million monthly average unique users of its mobile products in the month of March, it hasn’t figured out a way to monetize those mobile users yet.  Karma’s founders, Lee Linden and Ben Lewis are experienced in monetizing mobile apps, which might help Facebook in a long run.

If you expect Facebook to stop their acquisition spree here, you might be wrong. Facebook has identified their weakness and now with their $16 Billion of cash they can fix the problem with such acquisitions, if they can’t do it in-house.

Facebook Acquires Lightbox – Android Photo Sharing app; Sunsets The App

Facebook, which is heading for an IPO in next few days is not done with acquisitions yet. Lightbox, a social photo sharing app, has announced on their blog that they have been acquired by Facebook for an undisclosed amount.

Lightbox, the android app, not only let users apply filters to photos like Instagram (Facebook acquired Instagram in April for more than $1 Billion in cash and shares) but also allowed them to store the photos and let them share on other social networking sites. After the acquisition, Facebook will be sun-setting the startup and the team will be joining Facebook. The Android app has already been pulled out from Google Play. Since Facebook will be terminating the app, the acquisitions looks to be made for the team behind the app. Lightbox, a 500 Startups company had raised $1.2 million in funding from 500 Startups, Index Ventures, Accel Partners, and SV Angel.

From Lightbox blog:

Today, we’re happy to announce that the Lightbox team is joining Facebook, where we’ll have the opportunity to build amazing products for Facebook’s 500+ million mobile users.

This means we’re no longer accepting new signups. If you’re an existing user, you can continue to use Lightbox.com until June 15 and you can download your photos from here.

Facebook is not acquiring the company or any of the user data hosted on Lightbox.com. In the coming weeks, we will be open sourcing portions of the code we’ve written for Lightbox and posting them to our Github repository.

Facebook is aiming for an IPO and in its seventh amendment to its S-1, Facebook is offering 50.6m extra shares at a new  price range of $34-$38 per share. The filing also states that high profile Instagram buyout might not close by second quarter of 2012 due to FTC probe, as it expected earlier. Since 2012, Facebook has acquired six startups — including the high profile Instagram buyout, Tagtile, Gazehawk, Sendoid, Glancee and now Lightbox.

Google Chrome Might Be Coming On iOS Soon

Macquarie Equities Research released a report stating that Google’s Chrome browser might be coming to iOS device. The report does not state when it might arrive on the Apple’s app store, however, it states that  it could be as soon as Q2 of 2012 and if it doesn’t land on the app store by that time, it is definitely arriving by the end of this year.

As much as we would like to see the Chrome browser on iOS devices — iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, Apple doesn’t allow third party browser app to be set as a default app for the device which limits the usability of the app. For example, any links within an email, text messages will open on default browser (Safari) on any iOS devices.

Chrome browser on desktop is highly successful browser with about 18.57% of browser market share falling only slightly behind Mozilla Firefox. Google, also, recently released Chrome Beta for its own mobile operating system, Android. With the release of Chrome on iOS Google also might be able to get away with the huge chunk of money it spends on Apple for Google search on Safari browser. With Chrome browser, all the money that it will earn from the search, Google will be able to keep them with themselves.

However, we do not think Chrome for iOS will make it big for a simple reason that Apple does not allow third party apps to be set as default browser.