Archive for April 17, 2012

Here’s The Evidence Google Dug Up To Defend Itself Against Oracle (GOOG, ORCL)

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Oracle and Google started trial yesterday on one of the highest-profile intellectual property suits of all time.

Oracle is seeking more than $1 billion in damages, alleging that Google violated copyrights and patents on Java, which is at the heart of Google’s Android smartphone platform. In its defense, Google says it didn’t violate those patents, and that Oracle can’t copyright the parts of Java that Google used.

The legal arguments are complicated, but there are some interesting he-said, she-said narratives, too.

We already brought you some of the evidence Oracle dug up, which suggests that Google was considering taking a license for Java, but didn’t.

So here are some slides from Google’s defense. These emails and public statements from Sun and Oracle execs, including Larry Ellison, seem to show that original Java owner Sun was perfectly happy to have Google use Java for Android. Only after Oracle bought Sun in 2009 did this start to become an issue.


Dribbbleboard: A new way to browse Dribbble for design inspiration

While searching for design inspiration today, tons of people recommended Dribbble, the slightly exclusive “show and tell” site for designers. I’ve been a big fan of Dribbble, but while I wholeheartedly agree that the site houses tons of talent, it doesn’t give viewers a truly frictionless experience for browsing beautiful work.

dribbble ball big Dribbbleboard: A new way to browse Dribbble for design inspirationDribbbleboard, which touts itself as a more convenient way of browsing Dribbble, has solved this hangup for me, with its full size images shoved together into an infinite scroll. It’s entirely simplistic, but exactly what some designers are really looking for when they ‘re exploring the work of others.

From the creator:

Dribbbleboard is a web-app based on website which is created to improve and simplify your inspiring by the best designers of the world. Using it you can get access to large shots without opening a shot page, easy and fast. But if you want to like a shot or leave a comment – just click on it and you will see a shot page on dribbble.

With its endless supply of beauty pulled from Dribbble’s own popular feed, Dribbbleboard works like you’d expect. Dribbbleboard lets you search by different players using the search box at the top, and if you find something you really appreciate, click on the image and you’ll be taken to its official page.

Screen Shot 2012 04 17 at 6.09.45 PM 520x266 Dribbbleboard: A new way to browse Dribbble for design inspirationOne interesting feature is the fact that users can change the image sizes from thumbnails to 3 full images via the toggle in the top right corner of the site. Note that the about section is pinned to the top, but can be simply X’d out of the way if it bothers you.

All in all, it’s quite simple, but given the amount of inspiring work on Dribbble, it’s great to see other designers playing with the presentation for a finer-tuned experience.

➤  Dribbbleboard

Rapper Soulja Boy opens up shop on Shoply

Soulja Boy, the American rapper, actor, record producer and entrepreneur has opened up a retail outlet on Shoply, the social shopping market place.

It’s not the first time the artist has harnessed the web to support his career. Soulja Boy’s first single, ‘Crank That (Soulja Boy)‘, back in 2007 was launched on the Web and spent seven weeks at the top of the Billboard Top 100.

Soulja Boy’s account on Shoply has 22 fans and appears to sell tracks by the rapper for a dollar, including his new single, “The One”.

souljashop Rapper Soulja Boy opens up shop on Shoply

Liad Shababo, CEO of Shoply is delighted with the celebrity content. He says,

“Shoply exists to shine a light on awesome things. We’re not sure how Soulja Boy came across Shoply but we are super proud he has opened his own shop and listed his new songs for sale. He has been promoting it across social media to his 3.5m twitter followers and 6.5m facebook fans. We offer artists and others a great way to connect with fans in a social and commercial environment. Soulja Boy is the first of hopefully many megastars to open up a shop with us.”

Shoply is aiming to become a place of commerce for creative talent online. Since its launch over 10,000 people have opened shops on the site.

It works in a similar way to Etsy, however users can sell whatever they like, so there is no niche. Already the shops on board supply products from clothing designers in London, graffiti artists in LA and patisserie chefs in Paris.

Shababo believes that the breadth of stock on offer is what is making the site grow steadily in popularity;

“We provide a real social shopping experience. People can sign up and create their own taste profiles, favourite lists, and follow shops and other members to keep updated automatically on the latest trends and best finds.”

Certainly it is attracting the attention of online innovators like Soulja Boy, which is a good sign for expansion and bringing more shoppers and retailers to the site.

If you would like to try before you buy, here’s Soulja Boy’s latest single and of course now you know here you can buy it too.

The Slash-And-Burn At Yahoo Will Continue (YHOO)

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Yahoo's New CEO Has To Answer These 18 Questions, Says Activist Shareholder Dan Loeb

Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson told investors that he’s looking to cut or “transition” at least 50 of Yahoo’s media properties.

He said that the company has been doing way too much for way too long, and needs to focus on doing what it really does well, like Mail and Finance.

TechCrunch reports that likely cuts include entertainment focused properties.

Thompson already cut 2,000 employees earlier this month, but apparently there’s more to come.

The company beat expecations for the first quarter of 2012, and the stock is up about 3% after close.

All Windows Phone handsets will run upcoming Windows Phone 8 update

Rejoice Windows Phone handset owners, you are going to get to run Windows Phone 8 on your handset. Which handset? It doesn’t matter. All Windows Phone handsets will run the Apollo update.

This is important for two reasons: first, it will keep early adopters content by ensuring that they are not left behind; they won’t miss out on new features, simply because they bought in early. Also, the move by Microsoft will limit platform fragmentation, something that has plagued the competing Android smartphone line.

This information comes by way of a Microsoft spokesperson, at an event in Portugal. Here’s the transcript, courtesy of WMPowerUser [Bold: TNW]:

Q: In terms of devices, who today have one is it expectable that…

A: What Microsoft said/stated and what I’m allowed to tell you is that all actual devices will get upgrade to the next major version of Windows Phone (we´re talking about Apollo)

Q: When you say actual devices. Are all that came out to market?

A: Are all that came out. Since the first generation that were bought. The LGs and SAMSUNGs.. OMNIA 7 which were the first devices with Windows Phone reaching the market.

Well, that is cut and dry.

One last point: this particular fact makes me wonder how long a game Microsoft is running with Windows Phone. I don’t think that it is an accident that Windows Phone 8 is going to run on first generation hardware, years later. I want to hazard a guess that Microsoft has a very, very long plan in mind for its smartphone line. I wonder when we’ll see a hint of that next.

CHART OF THE DAY: Here’s Who Owns Apple Stock

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The vast majority of Apple’s stock is owned by financial advisors — a whopping 84%.

Hedge fund managers are the next biggest owner, with 7%. Only 1% is owned by individual investors, and another 1% by mutual funds.

These numbers come from Eric Jackson, who dug them up from Bloomberg and shared them on Twitter this morning. They’re a few months old.

chart of the day, apple stock ownership, april 2012

Follow the Chart Of The Day on Twitter: @chartoftheday

Netflix adds Queen, Korn, The Beatles, Nirvana & more

Netflix this week quietly added just shy of 100 concert films and music documentaries featuring rock and pop legends like the Beatles, Queen, Toto and The Doors to its streaming catalog. The new music content doesn’t exactly make Netflix a Vevo or Wolfgang’s Vault competitor, but it could be a first indicator of music becoming yet another powerful niche for the company.

Many of the titles are live concert films recorded over the last 30 years, and some of the artists appearing in these concerts include Queen, Isaac Hayes, Alice Cooper, Jethro Tull, Ike Tina Turner, Sinead O’Connor, Ray Charles, Deep Purple, the Wu Tang Clan, Tori Amos, ZZ Top and Korn. Other artists, including The Beatles, Marvin Gaye, Jay-Z, Elton John, Nirvana, Alicia Keys, appear in music documentaries.

Netflix hasn’t made any announcement about this new wave of music content, but a company spokesperson sent me the following statement vie email:

“At Netflix we aim to provide great things to watch in many categories for our broad audience, the recent addition of concerts and documentaries is an example of that.”

As vague as that statement is, it seems to shed a little light on the direction that music content could play in Netflix’s future: It’s unlikely that Netflix would launch a major initiative to compete with Vevo or any other music video site, or even one of the many sites specializing in live music recordings.

However, Netflix has steadily been building out powerful niche content for a variety of audiences. The site has seen a huge influx of Korean dramas in recent months, for example, and it has also taken on a large catalog of Anime content — two very distinct categories with very passionate fan bases.

Classic rock and pop music concerts could eventually become another of those powerful niches: not big enough of a deal to get millions of new customers to sign up for Netflix, but important enough to a subset of its audience to keep them subscribed even after they’ve burned through all episodes of popular TV shows like Mad Men.

Related research and analysis from GigaOM Pro:
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All The Rumors About The iPad Mini

Apple’s been toying around with smaller iPad prototypes – it’s just a matter of whether or not the Cupertino-based company wants to release a smaller version of its iPad into the wild.

Rumors are flying around the web about the so-called “iPad Mini,” but what’s certain is that Apple would absolutely crush the competition with a 7-inch version of the iPad. The price point would drop significantly, and consumers interested in cheaper tablets, like Amazon’s Kindle Fire, would then be able to afford an Apple tablet.

For more information on Apple’s rumored iPad Mini, watch our quick 60-second video explainer below:

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Produced By: Kamelia Angelova William Wei

And Check Out These Beautiful Concept Photos Of What The iPad Mini Could Look Like

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The Future of Connected Cars: What Audi is Driving Towards

Audi’s infotainment system is called Audi Connect. It basically turns the car into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing the driver to use Google Maps on the dashboard and passengers to connect to apps from their smartphones or tablets.

Audi Connect

The Wi-Fi comes from a T-Mobile cellphone modem inside the car. Although Audi’s Internet connection is limited to 3G speeds right now, at CES Malhotra showed a test A7 car that used a significantly faster 4G LTE connection. This will likely be pushed into production sometime in 2013.

Context Relevant Location-based Services

Anupam Malhotra is a veteran of car infotainment systems, having started at GM’s OnStar subsidiary in 2000. Since moving to Audi in July 2010, he has been responsible for the Audi Connect infotainment system in the U.S., together with overseeing the connected-vehicle strategy for that market.

The current stage of car technology is providing what Malhotra calls “context relevant location-based services.” Audi has done research on what drivers want and it’s services such as real-time news and weather, gas station locations, POIs (Points Of Interest), traffic information and travel destinations.

The Future of Audi Connectivity

One area where in-car technology will evolve is navigation; in particular how the car can automate some navigation aspects. Malhotra told me that Audi is currently figuring out “what the vehicle’s role is as the navigator.” Right now this is done via Google voice controls. For example if you’re looking for a spicy chicken lunch, you can tell the system “spicy chicken” and it will inform you of the nearest eatery where spicy chicken is available.

Another area that Audi is targeting is the HMI (Human-machine interface) in the car. The first generation was buttons around the driving wheel and touchscreen controls in the dashboard. Voice controls came next, with Google voice controls being the latest iteration of that for Audi. In the near future we will see gesture controlled systems, which Audi demonstrated at CES in a concept car (see top image). Gesture controls will be used not just by the driver, but passengers in the car.

The software in the vehicle will also evolve, said Malhotra, to take away some of the decision-making from the driver. Not so much in terms of driving, which people want to keep control over. It will be focused on things that augment the driving experience. Features such as lane departure sensing, warning systems if there is a car in your blind spot, technology that protects the car occupants in the event of a collision. “All of this will happen through connectivity,” said Malhotra.

The overall goal of these future-looking developments, Malhotra said, is to take away the “misery” aspects of driving: parking problems, dealing with traffic congestion, fuel management. This will allow the driver to enjoy the actual driving part.

As with other car manufacturers, like GM and Ford, Audi offers an API for approved third party developers. Malhotra expects to see advanced apps in the near future, such as a predictive app that calculates your route on-the-fly based on your daily habits, car requirements (such as needing to fill up with gas or re-charge electricity), real-time traffic and road conditions.

Ultimately car connectivity will enable cars to talk to each other, plus objects in the environment – such as traffic lights. In what Malhotra termed a “super connected world,” cars will essentially mesh with the environment.

CEO Scott Thompson To Cut 50 Properties: “Yahoo Has Been Doing Way Too Much”


CEO Scott Thompson outlined his vision today for how Yahoo can start growing again. His big theme: Focus, focus, focus.

“Yahoo has been doing way too much for too long and was only doing a few things really well,” Thompson said.

He was speaking on the earnings conference call covering his first full quarter as CEO — revenue was flat while earnings went up. Thompson has already been making some big changes, with layoffs and a major reorganization, but he said he isn’t satisfied with the results so far.

Even the company’s lesser-known properties may be getting more engagement than most startups or mid-size companies, but Thompson said, “That doesn’t mean we should continue to do everything we currently do.” He said he will be shutting down or “transitioning” at least 50 Yahoo properties (he didn’t say which ones, but we’ve heard that a number of Yahoo entertainment-focused properties were hit hard by the layoffs), so that it can focus on core products like Mail, Finance, and Sports.

Other strategies include using all the data that Yahoo has collected to deliver a more personalized experience for users, doing more to show advertisers their return on investment, and accelerating the process of developing new features and products.

“Yahoo has built processes that were originally intended to help us scale but they’ve become way too complex and stifled innovation,” Thompson said.

Shutting down properties may lead to a “modest” decrease in revenue, but the company’s margins will improve, he added. (Earlier in the call, CFO Tim Morse said the company is aiming for margins of 20 percent, excluding traffic acquisition costs.) He also said that Yahoo won’t rule out developing new products in the future, but first it needs to “earn the right to pursue new growth opportunities” by improving core experiences.

“I’m convinced we don’t need to reinvent who we are,” Thompson — instead, Yahoo just needs to reinvent the user experience.

  • YAHOO!

Yahoo was founded in 1994 by Stanford Ph.D. students David Filo and Jerry Yang. It has since evolved into a major internet brand with search, content verticals, and other web services.

Yahoo! Inc. (Yahoo!), incorporated in 1995, is a global Internet brand. To users, the Company provides owned and operated online properties and services (Yahoo! Properties, Offerings, or Owned and Operated sites). Yahoo! also extends its marketing platform and access to Internet users beyond Yahoo! Properties through its distribution network…

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Scott Thompson is Current CEO of Yahoo. He replaced the interim CEO, Tim Morse. Before taking up this role he served as president of PayPal with overall responsibility for growing the global leader in online payments. Succeeding Rajiv Dutta in 2008, Scott previously served as PayPal’s senior vice president and chief technology officer where he oversaw information technology, product development, and architecture for PayPal.

Prior to PayPal, Scott worked for Inovant, a subsidiary of Visa formed to oversee global technology…

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