May 312011
 

It always restores my faith in humanity a little when I see the entirety of the tech press aligned against an entity so unquestionably malignant. Like the patent trolls at Lodsys who are trying to squeeze iOS and Android developers for the intellectual property equivalent of “the thing that lets this other thing happen”.

Not ones to let overwhelming contempt for their existence deter them, Lodsys decided to ignore the 21 day window it gave developers to respond to the original claims and filed suit against 7 developers today. “Lodsys chose to move its litigation timing to an earlier date than originally planned, in response to Apple’s threat, in order to preserve its legal options.” Translation: because Apple told us to go fuck ourselves, we’re going to try to scare individuals into settling before Apple can form a more cohesive legal strategy. Desperation is indeed a stinky cologne.

More humorously, Lodsys offered $1,000 to every developer that is the target of these suits “if it turns out that the scope of Apple’s existing license rights apply to fully license you with respect to our claim relating to your App on Apple iOS”. So that’s like, what, an hour and a half of legal counsel? And you know they’re good for it because they’d never back out of something they promised – like sticking to the 21 day response window they originally gave developers.

Tell you what guys: with present company now including a Cupertino company with $43 billion cash on hand, you’d have a better chance of hitting the lottery if you took a cup of McDonald’s coffee and dumped it in your lap. And there’s that off chance that you’ll sterilize yourselves, which we’d all feel horribly about.

And Google: anytime you want to stick your neck out for your developers, I’m sure they’d all feel a lot better about working on your platform.

May 272011
 

Not everyone was super-stoked about the announcement of Google Wallet, an NFC-based payment system that will (someday) replace everything currently in your wallet with your Android shartphone (kind of like how Wave replaced email). eBay immediately fired a lawsuit (pdf) at Google, former PayPal employee and current Wallet head Osama (I guess we’re over it) Bedier and former eBay-employee-turned-Google VP Stephanie Tilenius.

According to the lawsuit, Google was in the midst of making a deal with PayPal to make it a payment option for Android’s Market, with Bedier representing PayPal. During that time, Tilenius was actively recruiting Bedier to work for Google. Right before Bedier jumped ship, “Bedier transferred up-to-date versions of documents outlining PayPal’s mobile payment and point of sale strategies to his non-PayPal computer just days before leaving PayPal for Google on Jan 24, 2011.” Oh – and that Android Market/PayPal deal mysteriously dried up once Bedier flew the coop even though a term sheet had already been agreed upon.

Poaching employees is as commonplace in Silicon Valley as executive tossing at Microsoft, but you rarely have companies go after each other this openly over personnel. Then again, If you ask Oracle or MPEG-LA, Google’s not exactly ashamed of using “gray area” IP in its own offerings. Information wants to be free anyway.

May 252011
 

In a way, you have to feel badly for Steve Ballmer. As svelte technology companies continue to run circles around Microsoft, slowly bleeding it of market presence, Balmy continues to chortle and guffaw at any suggestion that Microsoft is losing relevance. Earlier this week at a developer’s conference in Japan, followers of the company were treated to a little inside information about the next generation of the Windows operating system straight from the horse’s mouth:

“And yet, as we look forward to the next generation of Windows systems, which will come out next year, there’s a whole lot more coming. As we progress through the year, you ought to expect to hear a lot about Windows 8. Windows 8 slates, tablets, PCs, a variety of different form factors.”

This transcript comes directly from Microsoft, which is funny, because this morning the company retracted it, saying “It appears there was a misstatement…To date, we have yet to formally announce any timing or naming for the next version of Windows.”

Could you imagine the cacophony of gut-splitting laughter you’d hear across the Internet if Steve Jobs misspoke so fundamentally about one of his products? Could you then imagine Apple coming out the next day and saying, in so many words, “he doesn’t know what he’s talking about”? As CEO, you represent the company; you are the company. How can this clown possibly get so far off script, and how much worse does it look to have your PR flacks negate the words of its leader recorded in its own transcript?

Just another day in the Bizzaro universe of Microsoft.

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May 232011
 

According to Jim Dalrymple at The Loop, Apple has sent a letter to patent troll legitimate businessmen Lodsys stating that it believes its developers are covered by the license Apple has (and Lodsys confirmed) relating to in-app purchases.

My objective advice would be for Lodsys to change their recently-soiled underwear and resume their post under their bridge, but I’d really love to see Lodsys persist and have Apple nuke the site from orbit.

It’s the only way to be sure.

May 192011
 

Congratulations to the Apple Retail chain hitting its decade milestone today. Like so many of Apple’s ventures, it was greeted with derision, subsequently hailed as best-in-class and ultimately shamelessly copied. Special shout out to Ron Johnson for creating the best consumer electronics experience in retail – and it’s not even close. Think about how the Apple Store does things the next time you go to pick up a shartphone at Best Buy only to discover that it’s a nothing but a sticker-faced plastic box. TMA still smiles a little every time he walks into one. It’s truly an extension of Apple’s product philosophy.

May 182011
 

Ed Bott is a garden-variety ZD Net Windows shill that TMA has run into before. His speciality is one common among Windows enthusiasts. As John Gruber illustrates, it involves periodically talking up a Mac virus threat that never seems to materialize. Ever. Well now Bott has incontrovertible proof of an impending outbreak.

He spoke to an Applecare rep.

One.

Anonymously.

Nevermind that the “infestation” that Bott is going on about is a trojan horse that explicitly requires you to input your administrator password. It’s not a virus – you know – those thousands of different things lurking in every registry that costs Windows users billions of dollars a year?

Now, even for a shameless hack like Bott, recounting a conversation with a nameless “Apple rep” is thin. But reading his “interview” is downright laughable. I won’t give Ed the link because of TMA’s “No Linkbacks for Hitwhores” rule, but trust me when I say the melodrama is as thinly veiled as his receding hairline.

The best thing that could happen to bottom-feeders like Ed Bott would be for viruses to run amok in the wild on the Mac platform so they can finally, after decades of assuring Mac users it was a certainty, be right. If only the facts would cooperate.

May 162011
 

Want to know where our country of ambitious entrepreneurs went? The descendants of the ones who navigated the seas to settle a new country because their freedoms were being trampled?

They’re dealing with bullshit from patent trolls.

Yes: they’re at it again. This time it’s a company called Lodsys, LLC, an East Texas “company” that “strategically purchases” patents. Now Lodsys thinks it has a patent that covers in-app purchases, a major method of upgrading most Apple iOS apps, but also a common upgrade mechanism utilized by other platforms. Nevermind some of the patents date back to 1992. To clarify why what they’re attempting could be considered anything but trolling, Lodsys took the time to explain patent law to the haters. It’s bad enough that they said anything, but check out the pedantic taco spray analogy Lodsys is using to describe the “value added” by their patent:

“…the owner of the hotel… is responsible for the overall service (value proposition) that guests pay for, not the owner of the land that the hotel may be leasing, not the travel agent that sold the reservation, not the manufacturer of tools such as hammers, nor the provider of materials such as nails or steel beams, which may be used in building the hotel; nor is it the outsourced linen washing service or the architect of the building who is responsible. Lodsys’ patent portfolio is being used as a part of an overall solution and we are seeking to be paid for the use of patent rights by the accountable party.”

That may be the worst explanation in the history of using words illustratively. So your bullshit patent is the…land in this metaphor? Or the nails? Or the…seriously: what the fuck is it? You’re trying to compare physical assets with a bunch of bullshit hand-waving, which, make no mistake my friends, is the closest you come to a relationship with the current practice of in-app purchases. A more fitting analogy would be if someone thought up an idea for being paid for providing shelter before the invention of the hotel, described it to a friend, then had that friend sell the description to a third party who in turn tried to cash in on the applied concept once “hotels” were brought into the physical universe.

And as for the claim that “Apple’s covered, but 3rd parties aren’t”, nice try. Did you really think Apple thought “well, my shit’s covered!” and willfully left iOS developers to twist in the wind? You’re either ducking Apple like the slithering scumbags you are or you’re looking to double dip. If you believe Apple is going to let you fuck with its App Store on an atomic level by going after its developers, maybe you were actually born in West Texas.

It is TMA’s prayer that Bruce Sewell is measuring the strike of Apple’s legal hammer – a weapon no doubt forged from the fires of white-hot hatred for patent trolls – and that it is brought down on these scumbags with such extreme prejudice their mutated spawn will be born deaf from the sonic blast created from their smiting. Sorry if wishing ill on you and your kind “isn’t cool”. Neither is stifling innovation with greed, so go suck shit through a straw.

The next time you wonder about where the cure for cancer or AIDS is, look no further than the periodically refraining punchline that is our patent system. And please do teach your children that trolls are real.

May 142011
 

Mark Reschke, one of the three wise men over at Three Guys and a Podcast (T-GAAP) posits that Amazon – and the recent intimations that the company will be releasing a competitor to the iPad – is the biggest threat to Apple.

They shouldn’t be, but they are.

Although Amazon isn’t what I’d call a hardware company, they obviously have experience with its manufacturing. I also wouldn’t call the Kindle an unmitigated success: it wasn’t until Amazon slashed its price in response to the announcement of the iPad that they were anything but a niche product. To this day, no one knows how many of these things have been sold, let alone what the margins on them are.

The credential that makes Amazon dangerous to Apple is the reason I recommended they take over the Android Market: their selling infrastructure, specifically with media. This, combined with their size, makes them a capable adversary for Apple.

Why size? Because Andy Rubin’s shop isn’t going to yield significantly on the Android experience to a nobody – especially with all the mouth moving at Google’s I|O about anti-fragmentation. And as Reschke mentions, for Amazon’s tablet to be successful, it’s going to have to deviate from other offerings to leverage the strength of their media library. If Google is interested in having their Android tablets do anything but fail miserably, Amazon is their best bet.

Game on, Bezos.

May 122011
 

Whatever kind of bullshit exchange of hugs and rainbows freetards envision for how Google runs its Android platform took on a little tarnish today as a ream of court documents were released related to location data provider Skyhook’s patent infringement and business interference case against Google. Nilay Patel’s excellent post over at This Is My Next uses the documents to open a window on how much control Google maintains over its shartphone platform.

Central to the case is the arrangement Skyhook thought it had with Motorola – right before Google forced Moto to kick Skyhook to the curb in favor of their own location services or face a “stop ship” order on Motorola’s heavily anticipated Droid X. Out of the other side of its mouth, Google was telling Samsung it was just fine for them to use Skyhook (ostensibly because Samsung signed their contract a year prior – before Google was as involved in providing location services). When Motorola asked about this curiosity, they were told by Google “not to be concerned with other OEMs and their devices”.

It’ll be interesting to see how all this unfolds for Google and how much more we’ll learn about their control freakishness. At least Motorola got rights to the Xoom, so it was all totally worth it for them.

 Posted by at 10:00 pm
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