2014年3月31日 星期一

Apple’s War on Samsung Has Google in Crossfire

Apple’s War on Samsung Has Google in Crossfire

SAN FRANCISCO — Officially, it’s Apple versus Samsung Electronics in another tech patent face-off in a San Jose courtroom this week. But there is another company with a lot at stake in the case — Google.
In a lawsuit, Apple is seeking about $2 billion in damages from Samsung for selling phones and tablets that Apple says violate five of its mobile software patents. Samsung, meanwhile, says Apple violated two of its patents.
Some features in Samsung devices that Apple objects to are part of Google’s Android operating system, by far the most popular mobile operating system worldwide, running on more than a billion devices made by many manufacturers. That means that if Apple wins, Google could have to make changes to critical Android features, and Samsung and other Android phone makers might have to modify the software on their phones.
“Google’s been lurking in the background of all these cases because of the Android system,” said Mark P. McKenna, a professor who teaches intellectual property law at Notre Dame. “Several people have described the initial battle between Samsung and Apple as really one between Apple and Google.”

Facing Off Over Features

Apple and Samsung are returning to court to assert their claims over features that have become mainstays on mobile devices.

Contested by Apple

Data Tapping
This feature gives you options when a certain type of information is being shown, like allowing you to call a phone number that is in a text message.
Unified Search
This feature lets you search from one interface for information stored on your device, like your contacts list or recent messages, or for online information.
Asynchronous Data Syncing
This feature lets you use an app like Calendar while it is syncing other information, such as meeting invites that you updated from a desktop computer.
This feature lets you touch and move an image along a predefined path or a predetermined spot on your screen to unlock the device.

Contested by Samsung

Organizing Media
This feature lets you view and organize collections of images and videos that you have taken with the device's camera.
Remote Video Transmission
This feature compresses video so it can be transmitted seamlessly across low bandwidths in instances like video calls.
Representatives for Apple, Samsung and Google declined to comment.
The current case, which begins on Monday with jury selection, is the second major court battle over patents between Apple and Samsung, which rode the success of Android to become the biggest handset maker in the world. Samsung lost the first case in 2012, and it was ordered to pay $930 million in damages.
That amount is pocket change for Apple, one of the richest companies in the world. And it hardly interfered with Samsung’s ability to sell phones: The company, which is based in South Korea, shipped 314 million handsets last year, according to the research firm IDC.
So this second fight has to be about more than money, said James Bessen, a law lecturer at Boston University. He said that if Apple just wanted money, it would have already agreed to settle.
Still, going after Google by attacking Samsung is difficult, Mr. Bessen said. Both Google and Samsung could alter features to avoid infringing on patents. And by the time the trial and appeals are finished, newer devices will have supplanted the products in question.
“To kill Android with a half-dozen patents,” Mr. Bessen said, “just seems like a long shot.”
Long shot or not, combating Google’s Android system was a cherished goal of Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder and chief executive, who died in 2011. He called Android a knockoff of the iPhone and told his biographer, Walter Isaacson, that he was willing to go to “thermonuclear war” just to kill Android.
He also told Mr. Isaacson that Apple’s past patent lawsuit against HTC, another Android handset maker, was about Google all along.
“I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product,” Mr. Jobs was quoted as saying in Mr. Isaacson’s book “Steve Jobs.”
In the case set to open this week, Apple’s legal complaint aims at some of the features that Google, not Samsung, put in Android, like the ability to tap on a phone number inside a text message to dial the number. And although Google is not a defendant in this case, some of its executives are expected to testify as witnesses.

Apple has a long history of choosing battles against what it views as copycats. In 1988, the company sued Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard, claiming that software programs sold by the two companies, including Windows, infringed on Apple’s copyrights on how information was presented on the Macintosh operating system. After a four-year legal struggle, Apple lost on nearly all its claims.
Apple filed its latest complaint against Samsung over two years ago in the Federal District Court in San Jose, accusing Samsung of infringing on software patents involving both the iPhone and iPad, including the “slide-to-unlock” feature for logging in, and universal search, the ability to look up items across the device and on the Internet at the same time.
For those patents, Apple wants $40 per infringing Samsung device sold in the United States. Apple lists several Samsung products that it says violated its patents, including the popular Galaxy S III, which at one point surpassed the iPhone in sales, and the Galaxy Note II.
“Instead of pursuing independent product development, Samsung slavishly copied Apple’s innovative technology,” Apple said in its complaint.
Samsung says Apple has infringed on patents covering how a photo album is organized, as well as a method for transmitting video over a wireless network. It bought these patents from Hitachi and a group of American inventors.
The case will be tried by a jury of four and is expected to last a month. Apple’s lawyers plan to argue that by copying the features of Apple’s devices and then selling millions of phones, Samsung harmed Apple, because people who bought Samsung phones presumably would have otherwise bought iPhones. Apple will probably try to illustrate that Samsung is a copy machine, not an innovator, by pointing out that the two patents Samsung says were infringed on are not based on Samsung’s own ideas because they were acquired from other inventors.
Samsung’s lawyers will try to argue that Apple’s patents are invalid by demonstrating that similar software features were being developed by Google and others before the iPhone was released. They will also probably argue that Apple’s complaint poses a threat to competition because the patents Apple says were infringed on broadly cover Android, meaning other phone manufacturers could be dragged in to the dispute.
Expected witnesses include Philip W. Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president for worldwide marketing; Todd Pendleton, chief marketing officer of Samsung’s American division; and Hiroshi Lockheimer, a vice president for engineering in Google’s Android division.
Apple has some advantages entering the trial. It won the last fight with Samsung, which might carry weight with jurors trying to decide if Samsung again infringed on patents. And the judge, Lucy H. Koh, who also oversaw the last trial, has already decided that Samsung infringed on one of Apple’s patents covering a method for automatically correcting incomplete or misspelled words while a person is typing. So Samsung is already down one.
That does not necessarily make this an easy fight. To streamline the trial, Judge Koh limited the number of patents each company could assert were infringed on. Apple must argue that just a few patented features are worth a great deal of money, when there are thousands of other patented inventions that make a smartphone tick.
“When you have a case where a party comes in with a handful of patents and says, these are the really important ones, these are the patents that are worth several dollars apiece per phone — from a simple economic standpoint, that doesn’t make a lot of sense,” said Brian J. Love, a law professor at Santa Clara University who teaches patent law.
In January, the companies’ top executives met with a mediator to discuss a possible settlement, but to no avail. Settling would be difficult for either company, in any case, given their clashing business strategies.
Apple’s approach is to develop software that runs exclusively on its hardware, and the company generally does not license its patents because it hopes that may prevent others from reproducing its products.
Samsung has found success in making all kinds of products, like washing machines and refrigerators, or smartphones and television sets. It is unlikely it would tear features out of its best-selling smartphones without putting up a fight.

2014年3月30日 星期日

臉書20億收購Oculus; Cloud Storage War,Againa

搶攻虛擬實境 臉書20億收購Oculus

2014-03-27 Web only作者:經濟學人
搶攻虛擬實境 臉書20億收購Oculus圖片來源:flickr.com/photos/sergesegal/
Facebook以20億美元的代價收購Oculus VR,祖克伯(Mark Zuckerberg)表示,目的是為了運算的未來而下的長期賭注。Oculus製作讓玩家得以親臨奇幻世界的頭戴裝置,雖然它並不是第一家將虛擬實境技術運用在大眾化商品而獲利的公司,但與社群網站巨人結合,確實十分令人驚奇。
玩家一直夢想著能有個頭戴式裝置,讓他們能夠彷彿置身於栩栩如生的世界。拜運算能力和軟體的發展之賜,這個夢想已經更為接近現實;Oculus開發的原型Oculus Rift,最近曾在科技盛會SXSW上展出,讓有幸試戴的與會者極為讚嘆。
其他企業也將目光對準了虛構實境。索尼最近公布了Morpheus計畫,他們開發的虛擬實境頭戴裝置原型,可以與PlayStation 4主機連結,讓遊戲體驗更加真實;謠傳微軟也在為Xbox主機開發頭戴裝置。
部分老玩家必定會覺得有些厭煩,畢竟,1990年代之時,個人電腦上的虛擬實境遊戲也曾被捧為下一個重大商機,但最後Sega VR等設備皆以失敗收場,因為技術實在不夠成熟。
不過,隨著圖像運算能力大幅進展、小型攝影機價格走低、超薄高解晰螢幕問世,已然讓情勢大幅改善;這正是為何Facebook相信Oculus在遊戲方面極具前景。約7.5萬台Oculus Rift已經搶購一空,讓遊戲開發者得以好好利用其性能。Facebook財務長艾伯斯曼(David Ebersman)指出,Oculus和Facebook未來光是在遊戲方面的利潤,就足以讓20億美元值回票價。

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2014年3月18日 星期二

Android Wear

谷歌與LG將聯手推出智能手錶G Watch
 LG電子和谷歌旗下摩托羅拉週二均表示,將在未來幾個月銷售智能手錶。這款手錶將搭載谷歌為可穿戴設備開發的新操作系統Android Wear。

Google announces a version of Android just for wearables

Google announces a version of Android just for wearables
THE SWITCH | Google’s announcement that it’s developing Android for wearables could open the floodgates for new wearable devices.

Daily update March 19, 2014


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