New Apple Stores coming to UK, France, Canada, Salt Lake City, & more

Apple announced its plan last year to spend roughly $900 million opening 40 new retail locations in 2012. In March, we told you new stores were coming to Germany, Spain, Australia, and France‘s Burgundy wine region, and several reports this week confirmed a handful of new locations for the United Kingdom, France, and Canada. Ten of the 40 stores Apple planned for 2012 will début in the U.S., and recent reports indicated two of those U.S. stores will be located in California and Salt Lake City… Read more

Apple in court: iPhone data collection, Samsung/iPad patent case, & double iTunes billing

When we reported on Apple’s courtroom woes in March, we told you lawmakers were sending letters to iOS devs (Apple included) and questioning them on their privacy policies about how apps access contact data without explicit user permission. Despite promises, Apple has yet to carry out an update requiring apps to ask for user-approval, but an earlier case over the collection of user data has been given the green light by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in California. Reuters reported the lawyers representing customers in the case claimed in court today that Apple “collected data on customers’ geographical locations even after users said they didn’t want to share the information.” The judge is asking Apple to submit relevant documents to the plaintiffs by May 17.

In other courtroom news, ComputerWorld reported this week that Judge Koh ordered Apple and Samsung to “streamline” its patent claims ahead of a trial set for July 30. According to the report, the companies have already cut back the claims included in the case to 37 products, 16 patents, six trademark, five trade dress claims, and an antitrust suit, but Judge Koh said the extent of the case is “cruel and unusual punishment to a jury.” If Apple and Samsung do not agree to reduce the set of claims, the trial could be postponed until next year. The news comes after the companies agreed with Koh to have their CEOs meet for settlement talks related to the patent cases on May 21-22.

Justia.com reported this week that Apple is facing a class-action lawsuit over claims that iTunes is continually double billing a customer for downloads of a song. Apple apparently refuses to refund some customers for these double billing incidents, citing its Terms of Service. A copy of the lawsuit and more information on the class action is here.

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Don’t hate the player, hate the game -NYTimes’ ‘How Apple Sidesteps Billions in Taxes’

The New York Times delves into a divisive subject in American politics right now: Tax avoidance. Apple, like most international companies, sidesteps many California, United States, European, etc., taxes by using tax havens like Nevada, Ireland, Luxembourg, and the Virgin Islands.

The problem for the protagonists is that this is all very legal and practiced by just about every multi-national company in the interest of remaining competitive and maximizing stockholder share. Like most matters of this sort, the problem lies with the laws and loopholes that allow this to happen. Big companies spend a lot of money on lobbyists making sure that those loopholes do not get closed.

What may not be terribly patriotic are Apple, Google, Cisco, and other’s lobbying efforts against paying U.S. taxes on repatriating their overseas earnings. Apple currently has $74 billion overseas and a “tax holiday” on bringing that money and over $1 trillion from other companies back into the U.S. could cost the U.S. federal government $79B, according to the report. (Great Graphic at Bloomberg on why the $1 trillion holiday is likely going to happen.)

Apple responded to the NYT below:

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HTC fights ‘slide-to-unlock’ in London as Samsung continues patent war with Apple ahead of settlement talks

With court moderated settlement talks between Apple and Samsung executives set to take place within the next 90 days, Samsung has now filed a counterclaim in a California federal court alleging Apple’s iOS devices are infringing eight patents. The counterclaim is part of an original patent infringement lawsuit initiated by Apple in February. Foss Patents reported:

It comes as no surprise that Samsung retaliated with infringement claims. Samsung owns roughly 30,000 U.S. patents. It has from the outset of its dispute with Apple demonstrated its belief that a good offense is the best defense. So far, none of Samsung’s infringement claims against Apple has succeeded anywhere on Earth, despite efforts in nine different countries, but Samsung keeps on fighting.

Apple is also in the middle of patent infringement cases with HTC, which just told a court in London that its touchscreen devices, specifically its “slide-to-unlock” functionality, do not infringe on Apple’s patents. Bloomberg reported today that HTC’s lawyers described the functionality in question as “extremely simple implementations of commonly known techniques.” Apple’s lawyer Simon Thorley argued HTC is “attacking the validity of four patents” and claimed, “It is clear the inventions make the requisite contributions.”

If HTC is successful, it could have an impact in ongoing patent infringement related cases with Apple in Dutch and German courts. The report described the functionality Apple claims is covered in the patents:

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Tim Cook to appear as opening-night speaker at D10 conference

AllThingsD just announced Apple’s Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook would appear as the opening-night speaker at this year’s D10 conference. The 10th D: All Things Digital conference will be Cook’s first time speaking at the event, and AllThingsD noted this is his first-ever appearance onstage at a non-Apple event since becoming CEO last year. Past D conferences were notably a stage for many in-depth discussions and interviews with Steve Jobs. Jobs last appeared at the event at D8 in 2010.

Walt Mossberg and I could not be more thrilled to announce that Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, will be the opening-night speaker at our 10th D: All Things Digital conference.

The D10 conference is slated for May 29 to May 31, 2012 at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
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Former Apple exec Bob Borchers talks Apple marketing, packaging, and his time at Apple

Update: Apple had these videos taken offline.  We will make an effort to see if they exist somewhere else. Help us out in the comments if you find them.

Former Apple marketing executive Bob Borchers, who was part of the original iPhone team and helped lead the Nike+iPod partnership and third-party iPod integration with car manufacturers, recently gave a talk at a school in California to discuss his experiences at Apple (part 2 below). In case you are unfamiliar, you might remember Borchers from several “guided tour” videos for iPhone and other Apple products a few years back. He has also been a source for many of the interesting stories coming from Adam Lashinsky’s new book “Inside Apple.”

At the starting of his talk to students, Borchers surveys the crowd to find out the ratio of Android users to iPhone users, leading him to joke: “Alright that’s good. I’ll keep my Apple stock.” As a former marketing executive, Borchers showed and talked about a few ads, but also discussed the AT&T partnership, as he noted, “We broke rules in terms of how we worked with folks like AT&T”:

“AT&T as a company… they buy the cellphones and then they sell them to you and I… we said, ‘no we don’t want to do that’. We want to be able to sell the iPhone. We want to be able to talk directly to the customer. That was a big, big change for the industry.” 

Other than telling some recent stories that have debuted in “Inside Apple,” Borchers also talked about Steve Jobs’ initial mission to create the iPhone, describing the late CEO as wanting to create “the first phone people would fall in love with.” He also discussed how important the multitouch display and having the full “Internet in your pocket” was to the original concept. Before wrapping up his speech, Borchers talked about how the iPhone was developed from his point of view on the product marketing/product management team and the importance of Apple packaging:

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