Patent troll Personal Audio LLC sues iTunes’ top podcaster Adam Carolla’s Ace Broadcasting

Adam_Carolla_Pictures

In July 2011, a federal jury in Texas awarded “patent licensing company” Personal Audio LLC $8 million in its patent infringement lawsuit against Apple. The jury found Apple infringed two valid patents related to downloadable playlists with its iOS devices as far back as the original iPod. One covered an “audio program player including a dynamic program selection controller,” while the other covered an “audio program distribution and playback system.” 9to5Mac has now learned Personal Audio LLC is attempting to target content creators directly, starting with a new patent infringement case in Texas against one of iTunes biggest podcasters, Adam Carolla’s Ace Broadcasting.

If the outcome of the case is anything like Personal Audio’s previous cases, it could have a major impact on podcasters and other content creators on iTunes and elsewhere. Personal Audio also sued and entered licensing agreements with Sirius XM Radio, Archos, Coby, RIM, Samsung, Amazon, and Motorola related to its downloadable playlist patents and others.

The new patent, issued just last year on Feb. 7, 2012, is quite broad and describes a “System for Disseminating Media Content Representing Episodes in a Serialized Sequence.” Personal Audio is also suing the popular Howstuffworks.com series, which like Ace Broadcasting, is a large podcasting presence on iTunes and across the web…

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comScore: iOS and Android continue move toward duopoly with 90 percent of US market in November

ComScore Nov 2012 platform

According to the latest numbers from comScore MobiLens for the United States mobile phone market, Apple and Samsung both continue to gain marketshare as the leading OEMs as Android and iOS move closer toward a duopoly with a combined almost 90 percent of the market. ComScore’s latest numbers track the three-month period ending in November, which saw Apple jump from 17.1-percent in August to 18.5-percent of the U.S. mobile phone market. Samsung continued its lead jumping up 1.2-percent to 26.9-percent, while gains for both companies come at the expense of decreases in market share for LG, Motorola, and HTC.

ComScore Nov 2012 OEMsAs for the U.S. market by platform, iOS and Android both experience slight gains over August numbers. With a joint 88.7-percent of the market for Apple and Google, RIM is the closest competitor dropping from 8.3-percent of the market in August to just 7.3-percent in November. Microsoft dropped from 3.6-percent to 3 percent:

In November, 75.9 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers used text messaging on their mobile device (up 0.3 percentage points). Downloaded applications were used by 54.2 percent of subscribers (up 0.8 percentage points), while browsers were used by 52.1 percent (up 0.1 percentage points). Accessing of social networking sites or blogs increased 0.9 percentage points to 39.2 percent of mobile subscribers. Game-playing was done by 33.7 percent of the mobile audience, while 28.7 percent listened to music on their phones (up 0.4 percentage points).

Another US government agency drops BlackBerry, plans switch to iPhone 5

Following the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency announcing it would end its contract with RIM and purchase $2.1 million worth of iPhones, Bloomberg reported today that the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board will also make the switch. The agency said in a notice posted to its website that BlackBerrys have been “failing both at inopportune times and at an unacceptable rate” while announcing plans to purchase iPhone 5’s as replacements:

The National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates plane accidents, disclosed its plan to switch to Apple Inc.’s iPhone 5 in a document posted last week to a federal website. The BlackBerrys have been “failing both at inopportune times and at an unacceptable rate,” according to the NTSB’s notice.

While the agency only has about 400 employees, last month’s announcement from the U.S. Immigration and Customs agency means RIM will lose additional 17,600 government employees to the iPhone in the near future. According to the document posted by the Transportation Safety Board, the agency “requires effective, reliable and stable communication capabilities to carry out its primary investigative mission and to ensure employee safety in remote locations.” RIM, however, is still counting on many government customers to upgrade to BlackBerry 10… Read more

DOD lays groundwork to install over 160k iOS and Android devices, capacity could hit 8 million

In December, we heard reports that the Pentagon had officially certified an Android device and Android 2.2 for use on Defense Department networks. According to a report from The Washington Postciting a recent document posted by the Defense Department, the Pentagon is hiring contractors to securely manage a combination of at least 162,500 iOS and Android devices. The document also noted the project could expand up to 8 million mobile devices: Read more

Apple posts growth among OEMs in March, as iOS and Android capture 80 percent of US market

Following IDC’s report this morning that highlighted Apple’s continued growth among mobile phone marketshare worldwide, while coming second to Samsung in global smartphone marketshare, research firm comScore just released its numbers for United States mobile subscribers for the three-month period ending March 2012.

According to comScore, Apple posted impressive growth during the quarter with 30.7-percent marketshare among smartphone platforms in the U.S (up from 29.6-percent). Increasing from 47.3-percent in December 2011 to 51 percent in March 2012, Android was able to grab the top position for platforms during the quarter. Growth for Android and iOS continues to come at the expense of RIM. The company grabbed just 12.3-percent of the platform market in March, which is down from 16 percent in December 2011. Microsoft also lost marketshare with 3.9-percent, which is down from 4.7-percent…
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NOAA ditches BlackBerry for the iPhone and iPad

The United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (via The Loop) is turning the tide in its IT department. Doing what many companies are doing these days, NOAA plans to ditch RIM’s BlackBerry in favor of Apple’s iPhone and iPad. NOAA’s support for the BlackBerry will end May 12, 2012, according to a memo sent to CIO Joseph F. Klimavicz. NOAA did not give a time frame for the roll out.

This is a broader move in the “consumerization” of IT.  Apple makes very little effort to woo IT departments, instead making products that consumers want to bring to work (Read: the CxOs want iPhones).  Coupled with the crashing market share and outlook for RIM, smart IT departments are getting ahead of the curve by moving to iOS.

Oil company Halliburton is also making similar moves over the next two years by dumping the BlackBerry platform and moving to the iPhone. In an internal memo, Halliburton said after “significant research,” the iPhone is more favorable than Android.

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RIM co-CEOs co-resign, co-COO Thorsten Heins takes over

I think the Globe and Mail was the first to report that RIM’s beleaguered CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis are out – moved upstairs to the boardroom.  The strangest thing about the story, and really the past few years, is the total denial by the leadership that Blackberry is in a death spiral.

Research In Motion Ltd.’s new chief executive officer says the company is doing everything right and does not need a change in strategy, and must instead focus on harnessing its talent to improve the BlackBerry and revive sales.

“It’s a fantastic growth story and it’s not coming to an end,” Mr. Heins said in an interview with The Globe and Mail. “What you will see with me is rigour and flawless execution.”

When asked whether he thought the appointment of Ms. Stymiest as chair and himself as CEO would be enough to satisfy investors, Mr. Heins retorted, “Change to what? Change for what?”

He continued, “I mean, what’s the objective of a change? We’ve made a lot of changes in the past 18 months. Not changes, but also evolution. I changed a lot of my management team, in hardware, software … I’ve trained a lot of other people in the last four years. What do you think I did? … We didn’t stand still in the last 18 months, we did our homework. And I think we will complete our homework soon.”

Even in appointing a current co-COO, who looks even less charismatic than either of the two people he replaces (video below), RIM is hedging its bets on Blackberry 10/QNX, which it won’t release until the end of 2012 on phones —if it bucks recent trends and ships on time.  Heins joined RIM just as the iPhone was released in 2007, and he has seen the company’s market share dive.

RIM’s tablet effort, the Playbook, is barely selling and only when priced below cost.  It still somehow does not natively do email.

It is hard not to feel bad for the position this once great company is now in.

(Making it easier, RIM has scheduled an 8am ET Monday conference call with the press on the details. Press release follows) Read more

ChangeWave: iPhone steals more than half planned smartphone purchases

According to the latest ChangeWave Research survey posted Monday, both Apple and Samsung are enjoying “explosive momentum” as 2012 begins while other handset makers are struggling to win the hearts of minds of consumers, such as Canada-based Research In Motion, which today updated its struggling BlackBerry platform with new software features, and Taiwan-based HTC, which posted a 26 percent income drop today —its first quarterly profit decline in two years.

Based on data obtained from 4,000 North American consumers, 54 percent of respondents planning to buy a smartphone in the next 90 days will opt for an iPhone. This is a drop from 65 percent last quarter, but more than enough to keep the coveted title of the most sought-after device. The iPhone’s “industry leading” customer satisfaction remains off the chart at 75 percent by vendor and mobile OS each (3 in 4 iPhone owners said they are ‘Very Satisfied’ with their device). Google’s Android is second with 47 percent mobile OS satisfaction rating and Samsung and HTC are at 47 percent each…

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Millennial: iOS and RIM gain over Android, Kindle Fire beats iPad in adoption rate

Analytics firm Millennial Media, the second-largest mobile advertising platform behind Google, on Tuesday, released its monthly Mobile Mix report for November. Similar to their October survey that saw Android’s growth slowing (and iOS gaining). Compared to the summer period for November, both Apple’s and Research in Motion’s respective platform grew at the expense of Google. Specifically, Android went from 56 percent ad requests in October to 50 percent in November.

Meanwhile, iOS went from 28 percent ad requests in October to 30 percent in November. The BlackBerry platform recorded the biggest gain of all mobile platforms, increasing its share of ad requests from 13 percent in October to 17 percent in November. Because both iOS and BlackBerry grew their combined ad impressions by six percentage points, the same amount Android lost in the period, it is safe to assume that Apple and Research In Motion gained traction at the expense of Google’s mobile platform.

The findings are in stark contrast to the seemingly unstoppable Android growth that appears to have slowed down during the crucial holiday sales period. Android in November doubled iOS in ad impressions, but last month – its respective share changed to 50 percent for Android versus 30 percent for iOS. The Kindle Fire vs. iPad adoption figures and more info graphic charts are available below.

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Reality check: Apple’s iPad has no competition

“Is 2011 going to be the year of copycats?”, Apple’s then chief executive rhetorically asked at the March iPad 2 introduction in San Francisco. Really, the title of this article couldn’t be more true. iPad is now stealing market share from Android, climbing from 65.7 percent share to 68.3 percent globally as Android slipped from 34.0 percent to 26.8 percent. HP exited the game, having retired its TouchPad and today lackluster sales of RIM’s PlayBook tablet made the news.

Apple decimated competition so thoroughly that analysts are saying the company can take its time releasing a third-generation iPad. According to J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz, Apple should be in “no rush” with iPad 3:

Our latest research continues to indicate that there is no such device slated for production this year. In our view, Apple should be in no rush. The other tablet entrants have stumbled so far, and that trend-line could persist deep into 2012.

He also wasn’t impressed by Sony’s tablet which “lacks the refined, sleek feel of the iPad and its bezel-like back is not user-friendly”. And Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet? On a downward spiral and probably due for life support. Per RIM’s quarterly filing, they shipped only 200,000 PlayBooks in the quarter, a paltry number compared to Wall Street expectations of 700,000 units. RIM refused to reveal actual sell-through as it is no doubt significantly lower than the sell-in. Ticonderoga analyst Brian White weighs in:

We believe the PlayBook is poised to follow HP’s TouchPad as the next casualty of iPad’s tablet dominance

To put PlayBook sales into perspective, RIM shipped one PlayBook to every 46 iPads. With just 200,000 units, PlayBook may very well be heading to the technology graveyard. BlackBerry phones are also shrinking due to “lower than expected sales for older models”. One fifth of RIM’s stock valuation was wiped out today as a result of poor tablet and smartphone performance. By the way, RIM’s global market share is now dropping to single digits. Did the Waterloo, Ontario company learn a valuable lesson?


Many watchers have written off the PlayBook, but RIM has bigger worries on its mind: Its smartphone business is declining and global market share dropping to single digits. Chart courtesy of Asymco.

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Microsoft steals the “Wait ’til next year” strategy from the Cubs

Today was Microsoft’s Windows Tablet 8 unveiling.  The product on the surface looks cool, people are hyped, but alas it will be a year before real products are given to real people.  The iPad 3 with its Retina Display will have been on the market for months and Google will have iterated 10,000 Beta releases of Android before then on 200 different pieces of tablet hardware.

On top of that, this new OS is really just smashing together Windows Phone 7 Metro UI Windowing (some admittedly nice UI features) with Windows 7 applications.  Real world use of Windows 7 apps in tablet form isn’t going to be fun.  I’ve tried using Windows on the Parallels iPad app – and it is OK in a pinch, but apps need to be redesigned 100% to work in tablet mode effectively.  Try entering data into Excel on a tablet for instance.  Then try Numbers on an iPad – it is slightly better.

Luckily, just about every iOS app was designed or redesigned first for touch over the past four years.  Microsoft is, today, telling its developers to do the same for their Windows apps.

How long can Microsoft keep up its “next year” strategy?  Windows 8 tablet isn’t the only thing coming “Next Year”.

Two years ago, Microsoft made the decision to scrap Windows Mobile and said: “Next year we’ll have Windows Phone 7″.  When Windows Phone didn’t grab much attention at the end of last year, Microsoft ‘bought Nokia’ and said, by the end of this year we’ll have some top quality phones from Nokia.  We’re waiting to see how that pans out, but by the time Nokia can produce anything with a Windows logo on it, it will have fallen from #1 in the world in smartphones to #4 or #5 behind Apple, Samsung and probably HTC and RIM.  But Windows Mango devices are coming to AT&T, have you heard?

How did this “wait until next year” thing become business as usual for Microsoft?   Read more

Gartner: Trends continue as iOS and Android swallow up smartphone industry

Gartner’s latest global smartphone numbers are out and if your name isn’t iOS or Android, the future looks pretty bleak.  While iOS continues to gain share at pace even without a new model release (up one point for the quarter and over 4 points year over year), the bigger story continues to be Android’s outright theft of marketshare from Symbian.  Just in the last quarter, 10 percent of the market shifted from Symbian to Android and for the year, the number is close to 20%

Meanwhile Blackberry continued its paced slide down another 2 points quarter over quarter while Samsung’s Bada made modest gains. In the “Other” category, Windows Phone 7 somehow lost market share falling from 2% to 1% and Windows Mobile is now off the charts.  HP’s webOS  is somewhere in the “other” as well with Meego and the ghosts of smartphone past.

Graph via PED, cross posted on 9to5Google.com Read more