Good news for Microsoft (MSFT): Launching Windows Phone 8 seems to be helping the company create a real mobile app ecosystem. Todd Brix, the senior director of Microsoft’s Windows Phone Apps Team, announced on Twitter over the weekend that his company had seen a “100%+ increase in WP developer app revenues & downloads since WP8 launch in November.” Needless to say, this claim doesn’t mean too much without actual numbers to go with it since Windows Phone had such a low adoption rate before Microsoft’s grand Windows Phone 8 launch this fall. All the same, Microsoft must be happy that its efforts are leading to an increase in revenues for its developers, which could certainly lead to increased interest in developing for the platform.
It turns out that Google (GOOG) really did make a significant acquisition this week after all, if not one that’s related to becoming a wireless carrier. Per TechCrunch, the Mountain View-based company on Friday acquired e-commerce company BufferBox for $17 million, thus giving Google a potential presence in a market that has long been dominated by Amazon (AMZN).
It’s fairly safe to say that RIM (RIMM) won’t be inviting Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Marissa Mayer to the grand BlackBerry 10 launch early next year. In an interview with Fortune on Tuesday, Mayer reiterated that her company is moving away from using BlackBerry devices. But she also went a step further to rub salt in RIM’s wounds by stating repeatedly that she wants her employees to move “from BlackBerries to smartphones,” with the implication that BlackBerry devices no longer count as smartphones.
And here come the lawsuits. Bloomberg reports that HP (HPQ) investors have unsurprisingly decided to sue the company over the $8.8 billion write off related to its 2011 acquisition of enterprise IT firm Autonomy. The complaint against HP “was filed today in federal court in San Francisco by the law firm Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP,” Bloomberg writes. HP last week surprised the tech world when it alleged that Autonomy had committed accounting fraud before its acquisition by HP and said it would seek to press criminal charges. Former Autonomy founder Mike Lynch quickly shot back at HP and said that the company was unjustly smearing his firm to cover up for its own incompetence.
Autonomy founder Mike Lynch is still hopping mad at HP’s (HPQ) accusations that his former company committed accounting fraud. In a new interview with Business Insider, Lynch accuses HP of conducting a “complete ambush” and says that he will not be the “scapegoat” for the company’s purported poor business decisions. Lynch also said that the $8.8 billion write off HP reported for its Autonomy acquisition was a smokescreen for deeper problems at the company and said that “they tried to blame it on the accounting but obviously something else is going on.” Lynch told the Wall Street Journal earlier this week that he found it suspicious that HP would level accusations against his former company at the same time it released “the worst set of results in their 70 year company history.”
With the recent launch of the iPad mini, Apple (AAPL) has continued its attempts to end its reliance on Samsung (005930). A new report from Digitimes suggests a majority of screens for the company’s smaller tablet are coming from LG Display (LPL). A recent teardown of the iPad mini’s hardware revealed that Samsung is still supplying some panels, however. AU Optronics (AUO) is also said to be supplying Apple with displays, although the manufacturer reportedly continues to have issues manufacturing the panels. It was reported last month that Apple also turned away from using Samsung’s displays in its fourth-generation iPad and latest MacBook computers.
It’s only taken a couple of positive comments from a pair of analysts to set RIM’s (RIMM) stock surging. Bloomberg reports that RIM shares “soared 18 percent to C$12.03″ in Canada on Thursday after National Bank Financial analyst Kris Thompson upped his estimates for how many BlackBerry 10 handsets the company will sell next year. The surge in RIM’s stock price was the biggest gain posted by the company in more than three years, Bloomberg said. RIM has put everything on the line with the launch of BlackBerry 10 this coming January, so the company is more than happy to take any positive buzz it can get over the next couple of months. Shares of RIM were up more than 13% on the NASDAQ exchange at the time of this writing.
Samsung (005930) and Apple (AAPL) have a rather unique relationship. The South Korean company supplies a number of components for the iPhone, making the two business partners. At the same time however, they are bitter rivals fighting over mobile market share and patents. Earlier this year, a court found that Samsung had infringed Apple’s protected technology, although the company appealed the ruling and remains confident that it will prevail — largely because it thinks Apple is clearly infringing upon its own technology
Sony (SNY) has had a tough run in the smartphone industry. Its feature phones were once highly sought-after thanks to sleek designs and class-leading cameras, but the company was never really able to carry its success over to smartphones. Its most recent handsets have clearly been a step in the right direction and yet Sony still can’t compete with industry leaders like Samsung (005930) and Apple (AAPL).
Apple (AAPL) and HTC (2498) last week ended their patent disputes with a 10-year licensing agreement that covers all current, pending and future patents. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, although the Cupertino-based company is believed to be making between $6 to $8 for every Android smartphone HTC sells. According to Reuters, Samsung (005930) filed paperwork on Friday asking a United States judge to force Apple to hand over a copy of its agreement with HTC. The iPhone-maker had previously stated that it was not interested in licensing its patents, claiming that doing so would prevent it from permanently banning devices that infringe its technology. Experts note, however, that HTC would not have settled with Apple had it not included all of its patents. Samsung is now arguing that Apple’s willingness to license its patents to HTC indicates that the $1.05 billion in damages Samsung is required to pay should be sufficient compensation.
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