Hello there!

I know, I know, it’s been too long since we’ve met. But let me make that up to you by this monster post. An Xmas special! Not because all the participants in this episode played nice with each other. Oh no, they most certainly did not. It’s a full out war! But more because, well, Xmas-eve is tomorrow :) So, let’s see how threw what mud in which direction and why.

Mind you this is about three weeks worth of news, out of order, so some of it might be a little “old”. Then again, I guess anything in this industry is old if it didn’t happen today…

Apple probably covers 25% of this post. So let’s start there.

It turns out Apple does not hold rights to the names iPhone and iPad and was unable to persuade a judge otherwise. That means it cannot sell their devices under those names and has to come up with new names for them. This is not just annoying for Apple, but could also have an interesting effect where it might affect the global name. I mean, if there are five bazillion devices called foo, doesn’t it make sense to rename those other few million devices to foo as well? Then again, it might give Apple the opportunity to give the device a name that’s more suiting to the Chinese language. We’ll see. For now, the iPhone 4s isn’t even available in China.

Apple fought a few more battles in the past few weeks. For instance, Google [NL..] asked the European Commission to investigate Apple for abusing patents. Of course, Google already faced these investigations themselves, so I guess they knew the right people to complain to.

Regardless of Google’s efforts, the EC is targeting Apple anyways, but this time regarding ebooks. They think Apple made illegal price arrangements. Who would have thought.

Over in Germany people might soon forget about Apple. Well okay, maybe not. But the Germans be able to get their hands on an iPhone or iPad as long as this ruling stands. Seems something legally backfired for them as Samsung is fine in Germany, for the moment. Although sales are fine for the moment, this is just until stock runs out (it seems).

Apple also struck out at the other side of the planet, where they lost a tablet case in Australia versus Samsung (who else). They won an earlier case but it got overturned and now that overturning was reconfirmed by another judge. Poor Apple.

I guess they thought so too because it was discovered that Apple “sold” some patents to a patent troll so that it could sue pretty much any other phone manufacturer. Of course the troll never even mentions Apple in their cases. Isn’t that nice.

And to kick a … company when he’s down, Samsung follows up with four new lawsuits regarding patents. Joy!

Apple didn’t lose everything though. They won a case against HTC that’ll prevent them importing new devices starting April 2012. The victory is a bit hollow though since it’ll be enough for HTC to do some minor adjustments to get away with it.

Over at RIM things aren’t running very smooth either. They had to give up on the BBX (“BlackBerry 10″) name for their new platform due to existing trademarks.

It was also report that that Amazon but also the duo of Microsoft and Nokia might be interested in buying RIM. Not many seem convinced that this would be a good move for either, though.

And on an ironic story twist, there first was news of a jailbreak tool for the PlayBook being released. Later came news that about 5000 PlayBook units were stolen from a truck. Maybe they broke out themselves?

By the way, the EFF is seeking to make jailbreaking devices legal. That’s pretty much a “duh” if you work in this industry but I guess they got away with it once and now it’s just legacy to be legally allowed to prevent jailbreaking.

Finally, for RIM, there seems to be some controversy over announcing a device and reasons for postponing it. Not sure what to think of that.

Moving to shocking news from HP. They sold their last batch of TouchPads two weeks ago. The interest in this firesale apparently brought ebay and paypal to their knees. Quite an achievement since both server parks are supposed to be able to hold quite some traffic.

The final decision for WebOS was also made by the way. It’s becoming open source. The internal memo also surfaced. Although HP is maintaining they could still be making tablets with WebOS in 2013, I’m not convinced that the platform will stil be relevant by that time. There’s been a lot of speculation over what open sourcing will mean for WebOS. So far it means an empty repo with a few pull requests. Why not open source it first and then announce it?

HP also has a new logo by the way. An interesting move since you’d think they have bigger things on their mind right now than investing in a new brand logo (and replacing any and all things that contain the old logo…). At least they could do it completely in web technology…

Enough about HP, let’s talk about Dell. Well, we can be quite brief about Dell. They announced to stop producing Android tablets. I’m not sure if the world noticed.

Microsoft is up next. Warning, this section actually mostly contains positive stuff. Mostly.

They pushed out Silverlight 5 with h264 decoding support. It also has better 3d support for XNA programming. SL5 is rumored to be the last version of Silverlight…

They also open sourced the azure SDK (which runs with Node.js!). And unlike the empty WebOS repo, Azure is actually open sourced on github! Yay for them :)

In a more general move to open source, they announced that the Windows8 store will allow contain open source as well. That’s a nice move.

Microsoft launched a new social network (so.cl), specifically targeting students. Not sure whether that’ll ever evolve to a platform to be reckoned with. But hey, at least they’re trying.

In another round of good news Microsoft also announced that IE will start auto-updating from Windows XP onward. To be very honest, I’ve not been forced to bother myself with cross browsers so I wouldn’t even know about that shit anymore, but I can certainly see how it should make everybody’s life easier. Let’s hope this will be the final-final-yes-we-are-sure-its-dead-final nail in the coffin for IE6. Probably not.

Microsoft wasn’t all sunshine and butterflies though. They won a patent case against Motorola (ahem, Android), although only one of 6 patents were actually found to be infringing. This patent covers being able to schedule stuff in the calendar through email. Found too obvious by the EU, it seems it’s not so obvious for the Americans. Ok, whatever. We’ll have to see whether Motorola will start paying for the patent, exchange patents or will simply remove the feature from the few phones that have it.

There’s also a game for the Windows Phone that uses a certain engine, the “Unity3d gaming engine” that’s released by Microsoft. The pun here is that the same engine is restricted to be used by other developers or companies. Oopsie?

Moving on. Google seems to get more heat lately. Now there’s a senator that recommended the FTC to put Google under a tight watch.

Android has been sued by BT for infringing some of their patents. If successfulness this could mean more expensive Android devices. Nobody wins here.

The only other Google related news is that after a long time, Google and Mozilla signed a new agreement where Google pays Mozilla for being the default search engine in their browser. It’s rumored that this deal concerned nearly 300 million dollar.

In random news, the Indian minister asked big content sites to manually filter user generated content and apply censors where they see it fit. How ignorant can you be?

In Holland there seems to be a second Diginotar case as another certificate authority (Gemnet) was hacked. This hack seems to be less invasive, although the hack was made through a phpmyadmin interface. Ouch, how amateurish can you get? There were also some bad certificates being distributed by KPN, which puts the blame on the sudden load increase and having to train new people quickly because of this. How about “Sorry sir, you’ll have to wait”? Meh.

There was some news about Carrier IQ (the mobile keylogging crapware?) regarding the FBI. There was a “freedom of information act”-request for more information about this which was denied on grounds that it might interfere with some kind of investigation. Speculation ensued. Carrier IQ tried to squash this speculation but I think a statement like this is doomed to fail. And it did.

In the world of Ubuntu, Java might be a thing of the past replaced by OpenJDK (thanks @cramforce). There will soon be an “update” to remove Sun Java from Ubuntu distros completely as the license for Ubuntu has run out. And replaced by OpenJDK, which is now the lead version for Java 7. Wait wut? Wasn’t Java open source, open platform, freely available, bla? What the hell is going on here.

The mega merger of ATT and T-mobile has been canceled. ATT basically pulled the plug after the American government initially reject the move. On top of that the EC also had some problems with it. Interestingly enough, this 38-billion-something dollar deal now comes down to a 2-billion-something freeby for T-mobile, due to cancellation terms in the contract. Nice catch, T-mobile. This pretty much means the end of ATTT.

And finally, I woke up this morning to see Twitter on fire with protesters because GoDaddy (the biggest American domain company) published a blost post to support SOPA. Oopsie. They’re catching quite some flack from this (and are losing quite a few registered domains in the process) and might inadvertently have started a raging ban of any company that supports SOPA. Nice job!

I find the case of GoDaddy especially interesting because it seems to me like SOPA is mainly something that concerns people on the web. GoDaddy gets most of their business from these people. So if they support something that would be bad for the web, their sole purpose of existence, would they seriously not expect flack from this? Or has the GoDaddy company (d)evolved to such a level where it’s just monkeys running the company and techies only doing the actual work. Le sigh.

With that, I conclude this episode and wish you happy days from the Uxebu team! :D