Jun 302012

The biggest difference between Apple and Android OEMs in the patent wars are the patents asserted by the parties against each other. The Android crowd has no problem seeking injunctions using patents that are pledged to be negotiated under fair, reasonable and non-discrinatory (FRAND) terms, while Apple has said publicly that it will do no such thing. Both Samsung and Motorola Mobility are using FRAND patents in their defense after being called to the carpet by Apple. After some murmurs of discontent, the Federal Trade Commission is now stepping in to see what’s going on – at least between MMI and Apple. That’s right kids: thanks to their $12.5 billion newborn, Google is going to get another visit from their friends at the FTC.

MMI has been begging for government intervention for at least the last year. Its FRAND abuse against Microsoft is well-documented, as they’ve been leveraging their FRAND arsenal in an attempt to get XBox 360s banned from sale. Their 2.25% ask for every unit sold – a total Microsoft estimated at over $4 billion – got MMI laughed away from the negotiating table. Recently, MMI’s IP counsel got cute with the press, claiming the company never asked for anything like that. Too bad a damage calculation entered 2 years earlier – by the same person – asked for exactly that. On the Apple side, MMI has asserted 4 such patents in their defense of Apple’s “thermonuclear assault” on Android OEMs.

Google should be on a first name basis with the FTC staff by now; they’re already in the midst of a broad antitrust investigation into whether Google’s jiggering of search-results rankings constitute anti-competitive behavior. How do they feel about the FTC’s second pending action?

“We take our commitments to license on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms very seriously and are happy to answer any questions,” Niki Fenwick, a Google spokeswoman, said. I guess the second part of the quote got lopped off – the one that said “But we don’t know what these Motorola assholes are thinking.”

Hey Google: you own MMI now. You may not want to take responsibility for their bullshit, but rest assured, you will.

 Posted by at 11:21 pm
Jun 302012

Gene Munster, everyone’s favorite Apple television cheerleader, decided to take a day off from being wrong about the company’s future products and spent the day being wrong about their current offerings. As reported by Bloomberg (obviously Munster wouldn’t make Piper Jeffray money if he gave his priceless analysis away), he did some extensive testing of Siri and found it to be seriously lacking, an assessment I’d apply to Munster’s analysis in general. In the end, he recommended that Google does a better job understanding queries and returning relevant results and gave Siri a score of B for “comprehension” and a D for “accuracy”. Not to be a nit – actually precisely to be a nit – Munster should check out a dictionary before he publishes something. Comprehension, as in, “to understand the nature or meaning of; grasp with the mind; perceive” is what Munster wants to slag with his bullshit “grading”. Accuracy, or “the condition or quality of being true, correct, or exact; freedom from error or defect; precision or exactness; correctness” is something Munster admits Siri does quite well – over 80% according to his tests. I will say using words that “don’t mean what you think they mean” is pretty much in line with what I’ve come to expect from Munster’s scrawling.

Munster’s methodology? Oh that. He tested his iPhone 4S devices in both “a quiet room” and on the streets somewhere in Minneapolis, his team speaking and dictating to their handsets 800 times in each scenario. I guess it must still be winter in Minneapolis. I will say his “n” was more impressive than Munster’s last statistical opus where he asked 100 developers – at WWDC no less – about their preferred platform and then wrote a story about it. Statisticians around the world use stories about Munster’s methodologies to frighten their children into doing their math homework.

When he compared Siri’s results with Google’s, he found that Google “comprehended” his queries 100% of the time and returned higher quality responses, earning it the grade of B+. Google’s results were typed in, which is hilarious since the iPhone Google app has a voice input option. So why wasn’t there parity on input? We’re dealing with Gene Munster here. That’s about as good of an answer as I can give you. Siri understood 83% or 89% of the questions it was asked, depending on whether the scenario was “noisy” or “loud”. Google’s “accuracy” was 86% – or a B+ for those of you who need to have a dumb comparison dumbed down further. Siri’s “accuracy” was 62/68%, earning her a D. Munster didn’t grade how well his testers were able to make appointments, set timers or reminders, send text messages and call people using both services -the things people actually use Siri for – because that would have made Google look dumb.

Gene Munster’s point – if he has one beyond embarrassing himself with his crap surveys – is that Siri isn’t Google search – yet. Shocking, I know. I haven’t seen the Siri commercial where Samuel L. Jackson asks Siri who Peyton Manning plays for or John Malkovitch asks where Elvis is buried, so I’m pretty sure that’s not how Apple is advertising it either. But instead of testing how Apple bills the beta of its assistant, Munster would rather rig a test and compare one of its features to Google’s strongest. That’s as stupid as claiming that there’s an Apple television in the pipeline any day now, which happens to be Gene’s other specialty.

 Posted by at 12:49 pm
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