Google’s homepage today features an animated video for the first drive-in theatre coupled with a notice below the search field that informs folks of the IPv6 protocol rollout.
So, lets discuss the cool animation first: Double click on the video for aggregated search results on the “opening of the first drive-in theater.” A quick perusal details how R.M. Hollingshead Corporation debuted the drive-in theater 79 years ago today in New Jersey. The original lot on Admiral Wilson Boulevard at the Airport Circle in Pennsauken squeezed in 400 cars, but it eventually inspired thousands of locations to pop-up around the country. Eventually the phenomena of watching a movie from within a car became a favorite American pastime.
Microsoft is not stopping on its mission to sign patent licensing agreements with just about every Android vendor around from Samsung to Acer, and over 10 others. As of its latest agreement with LG, the company now collects royalties from over 70 percent of all Android smartphones sold in the United States. According to a deal with HTC inked in May, that figure could be as much as $5 per device sold. Now, Microsoft is apparently in talks with Pantech, South Korea’s third biggest smartphone vendor, for a similar licensing agreement.
According to Brand Finance, a London-based research firm, Apple is now second to Google in brand value after a 33% increase to overtake IBM, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, and GE for the first time. The firm attributes Apple’s success to “innovative design, loyal consumer base and well-executed marketing activities.”
Google, sitting in the top spot with a brand value of almost $48.3 billion was up 9% among the top 30 U.S. brands analyzed by the Brand Finance. Other top companies other than Apple and Google all seen a significant drop including Microsoft down 9% to $39 billion, and IBM and AT&T both experiencing decreases from the year previous. Read more
Over the past few weeks, the patent arms race has been accelerating and the latest comes in a Bloombergstory that has old frenemies – Apple, Google and Samsung – locked in a fight for InterDigital’s patent portfolio. Samsung is said to be interested the most in InterDigita’s intellectual property their CEO claims is “stronger” than the 6,000 Nortel patents the Apple-led consortium recently acquired for $4.5 billion. People familiar with the matter tell the publication Samsung has been “approached to make a bid”:
Samsung is looking at the patents along with Apple Inc. (AAPL), Google Inc. (GOOG) and other potential bidders, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. InterDigital, which holds patents related to mobile technologies used to transfer information, said last month that it hired bankers as it considers a sale.
InterDigital’s patent portfolio covers technology for high-speed cellphone networks “now used by the world’s biggest handset makers”, including Apple’s iPhone as well as BlackBerry and Android phones. The portfolio includes 8,000 patents in total and is estimated to be worth $5 billion or more. “To hedge the risk, Samsung could go ahead with bidding, although they may have to pay a big premium”, says Shinyoung Securities Co. analyst Lee Seung Woo…
In case you didn’t notice, tech headlines recently are all about patents. Be it the ongoing case of patent troll Lodsys which is now suing The New York Times Company and five other firms that previously sued Lodsys (bringing the number of defendants to 33) or Microsoft going after Samsung and signing Android patent protection pacts with five more vendors or the Apple led-consortium winning a crucial $4.5 billion bid for Nortel’s patent trove – you name it, the blogosphere is all over it.
HTC is now joining the craze with the news that they will snap up graphics vendor S3 Graphics from Via Technologies. The transaction valued at $300 million is about – you guessed right – patents. A total of 235 patents and pending applications will change hands once regulators approve the deal (VIA’s and HTC’s boards of directors already have). The patent agreement should help HTC protect themselves from future patent litigation from rivals. There’s also this:
On July 1, a U.S. International Trade Commission judge ruled that Apple infringed on some of the claims contained in two S3 Graphics patents. Judge E. James Gildea found that Apple infringed on U.S. Patent No. 6,658,146 directed to systems and methods for compressing images and U.S. Patent No. 6,683,978 directed to image data formats, both of which belong to S3 Graphics.
HTC has been trying to escape Apple’s lawsuits since March of last year, when Apple took the Taiwanese handset maker to court over an alleged breach of twenty patents pertaining to the iPhone hardware, software and user interface. With this acquisition, HTC may be out of trouble as both firms now have what the others want – intellectual property – even with HTC bringing a lot less to the negotiating table…
It’s interesting how Microsoft is becoming an intellectual property vendor these days. This is all thanks to Google’s Linux-based Android operating system which incorporate Microsoft’s many patents, allowing the Redmond firm to seek royalties from handset vendors. Microsoft first forced HTC to pony up five bucks in royalties per each handset sold. The revelation has prompted pundits to note that the HTC deal earns Microsoft more money then licensing fees collected from Windows Phone partners.
Microsoft has signed a similar pact with General Dynamics Itronix and their licensing division took cash from component maker Wistron Corp., in addition to Android backers Veloicty Micro and Onkyo Corp. And now, we learn that Microsoft’s legal rottweilers are after Samsung, the leading Android handset maker, reports Reuters based on local media. Note that Microsoft already has licensing agreements in place with Samsung and LG.
Microsoft Corp has demanded that Samsung Electronics Co Ltd pay $15 for each smartphone handset it makes based on Google Inc’s Android operating system as the software giant has a wide range of patents used in the mobile platform, local media reported on Wednesday. Samsung would likely seek to lower the payment to about $10 in exchange for a deeper alliance with Microsoft for the U.S. company’s Windows platform, the Maeil Business Newspaper quoted unnamed industry officials as saying.
Let’s put it this way: Microsoft is set to make $30 million in Galaxy S 2 royalties alone based on sales of three million Galaxy S II smartphones. That’s a run-rate of twenty million handsets a year, meaning the Samsung deal could be potentially worth a cool $200 million in annual licensing fees on the Galaxy S II smartphone alone. And what happens if an Android vendor does not sign with Microsoft for patent protection?