Six years after Apple took the smartphone industry by surprise with its release of the iPhone, former market leader BlackBerry Limited, or RIM as it called itself until just recently, launched what some consider to be a true iPhone competitor.
The problem is that almost no one has seemed to notice. A recent poll by MKM Partners reveals that an overwhelming 83% of Americans do not know that BlackBerry has launched their new BlackBerry Z10 smartphone or new Blackberry 10 platform.
The company’s trouble does not just include marketing woes. The Wall Street Journal reports that over 50% of customers have returned their BlackBerry smartphones after trying out the platform.
That is not to say that BlackBerry hasn’t reached the top of any list. We learned today that BlackBerry is the most undesirable smart phone, learning that 71% of people would not consider the BlackBerry under any circumstances.
Google chairman Eric Schmidt spoke at the company’s Big Tent Summit in India this morning, and, on top of claiming there are no immediate plans to merge Chrome and Android, the executive discussed the possibility of Google Now coming to iOS devices. It appears Google is in a similar situation to when it launched a standalone Google Maps app, as Schmidt claimed it’s up to Apple to approve or reject Google Now for the App Store. TechCrunch pointed us to the comment from the Google executive at around 17 minutes into the interview:
You’ll need to discuss that with Apple” (at around 17:50). “Apple has a policy of approving or disapproving apps that are submitted into its store, and some of them they approve and some of them they don’t,” he went on to say.
A video that appeared to be an ad for the debut of Google Now on iPhone and iPad landed on YouTube last week before quickly being removed. The video (above) showed that Google could implement Google Now functionality—currently only available as a Siri-like voice and contextual assistant app on Android devices—into the Google Search app.
Google already updated its Google Search app with voice recognition and Google Now-like features last October, and a number of comparison videos have since appeared online and show Siri has some serious competition with even the scaled back voice search features. Bringing the contextual assistant features that Google Now implements on Android to the Google Search app would give iOS users yet another reason to use it rather than Siri for a large number of tasks. Read more
Apple’s stock share price has risen today, after being down this morning, due to a rumor of an imminent stock split announcement. SeekingAlpha points to a tweet from The Street’s Doug Kass that seems to be the original source of the rumor. Apple’s next shareholder meeting will be held tomorrow, and this is where the announcement is rumored to take place.
We’d caution that this is just a rumor (if reliable, why didn’t he post it on the Street.com?)at this point and Kass’s past hits include things such as:
“I am also hearing that Google CEO Eric Schmidt has already begun low-level discussions with several Apple board members regarding his role as a possible temporary replacement to Steve Jobs should the options-backdating issues intensify at legal levels.”
Also Kass has a big personal interest in AAPL’s share price: Read more
Apple CEO Tim Cook has been ordered by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose to give a deposition related to an ongoing private lawsuit that claims Apple, Google, and others entered “no-poach” agreements, as reported by Bloomberg. Cook isn’t the only executive named in yesterday’s order. Google Chairman Eric Schmidt will also be deposed on Feb. 20, as well as Intel Chief Executive Officer Paul Otellini later this month.
Koh told lawyers yesterday that Apple founder Steve Jobs was copied on e-mails at issue in the case, and that she found it “hard to believe” that Cook, as Apple’s chief operating officer at the time in question, wouldn’t have been consulted about such agreements.
The judge said she was disappointed that senior executives at the companies involved hadn’t been deposed before yesterday’s hearing over whether she should certify the case as a group lawsuit. The class would include different categories of employees whose incomes, their lawyers argue, were artificially reduced because of the collusion. Koh didn’t rule on class certification. Read more
Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt sat down for an AllThingsD talk last night with Walt Mossberg. Among other topics, they not-surprisingly discussed Android and his thoughts on Apple. Much of the talk centered around Schmidt’s thoughts on the Android-Apple platform fight, which he called “the defining fight in the industry today.” He also noted there is a “huge race specifically between Apple and the Android platform for additional features,” and he commented on Apple’s Maps situation:
The Android-Apple platform fight is the defining contest. Here’s why: Apple has thousands of developers building for it. Google’s platform, Android, is even larger. Four times more Android phones than Apple phones. 500 million phones already in use. Doing 1.3 million activations a day. We’ll be at 1 billion mobile devices in a year.
At the 17:30 mark, Schmidt began to talk about Apple’s new Maps app controversy: “Apple should have kept with our maps”… Read more
Yesterday, as part of a wider interview with Larry Page, Bloomberg quoted Google’s CEO as saying:
I think the Android differences were actually for show. I had a relationship with Steve. I wouldn’t say I spent a lot of time with him over the years, but I saw him periodically. Curiously enough, actually, he requested that meeting. He sent me an e-mail and said: “Hey, you want to get together and chat?” I said, “Sure, I’ll come over.” And we had a very nice talk. We always did when we had a discussion generally….I think that [Anger at Android] served their interests. For a lot of companies, it’s useful for them to feel like they have an obvious competitor and to rally around that. I personally believe that it’s better to shoot higher. You don’t want to be looking at your competitors. You want to be looking at what’s possible and how to make the world better.
However, Page likely was not present for the behind-the-scenes remarks from the former Apple CEO. Jobs probably put on a more distinguished game face, especially in the last meeting the two had when Jobs was very ill. In addition, Jobs’ anger was more than likely focused on former Apple board member and then previous Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
Biographer Walter Isaacson was present behind-the-scenes with Jobs, and last night he disputed Page’s assertion that Jobs’ anger was “for show”:
Isaacson continued: “It’s almost copied verbatim by Android. And then they licence it around promiscuously. And then Android starts surpassing Apple in market share, and this totally infuriated him. It wasn’t a matter of money. He said: ‘You can’t pay me off, I’m here to destroy you’.”
As for what will happen now that Jobs isn’t around to go ‘thermonuclear’ on Google, Isaacson thinks that Apple CEO Tim Cook will handle things differently. “Tim Cook will settle that lawsuit”, Isaacson added.
In the book, Isaacson quoted Jobs as saying: Read more