Posts Tagged ‘Yankee Group Research Inc.’

Here is a article from SFgate.com.

“Apple’s patent lawsuit last week against Taiwanese smart phone manufacturer HTC was just one complaint aimed at a rival trying to outdo the iPhone.

But the case shines a new light on the growing use of technology patents to mark turf and battle competitors in the fast-growing field of mobile.

Experts are unclear on Apple’s ultimate intent in suing HTC, whether it’s to explicitly stamp out what it calls theft by HTC or to sound a warning to the entire smart phone industry – including newfound rival Google – that it could be coming for them next. But analysts and observers agree that intellectual property litigation in this arena is heating up, and consumers could eventually be affected by the growing friction.

“I’m seeing more, larger patent cases in the last couple years,” said Paul Andre, a partner with law firm King & Spaulding. “It does appear that companies that were more hesitant to file lawsuits in the past are filing today.”

For years, patents have been a way of life for technology companies, which amassed them as a defense against competitors. There have been eras of heavy litigation such as during the early personal computer years and occasional clashes of behemoths such as Intel vs. AMD.

But in most cases, corporations have been content to avoid using their patents in draining battles that can stretch for years. Apple, for example, hasn’t filed a major patent suit in many years.

But the rise of smart phones has touched off a new land rush as companies jockey for position. Before Apple sued HTC, Nokia sued Apple in October, prompting a countersuit from Apple. Apple was also sued last year for its multitouch technology by a Taiwanese firm. Kodak sued Apple and BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion in January for camera phone patents.

“It’s economics. There’s a ton of money flowing into the mobile space; it’s the new platform,” said Jason Schultz, director of the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at UC Berkeley. “Laptops, many think, are a thing of the past. Anytime you have a platform shift, you’re going to have a lot of lawsuits over who owns the platform.”

Schultz said previous cell phone patent suits have focused largely on hardware. But with smart phones evolving with sophisticated operating systems, companies are finding a whole new set of patents to tap.

In Apple’s case against HTC, 14 of the patents deal with user interface and six are concerned with the lower-level operating system.

Protecting their turf

Clement Roberts, a founding law partner at Durie Tangri, said companies seem to be turning to patents to protect their territory and keep competitors on their toes. In the case of Apple, he said the company is probably singling out HTC to eliminate a more vulnerable competitor but also give the industry pause as it tries to follow in Apple’s footsteps.

“If you just cause everyone in the industry to become aware of eight to 10 patents and everyone has to design around them, you lengthen the product (development) time frame for everyone else,” Roberts said. “That can have an enormous indirect benefit to Apple and you can earn back the cost of the litigation tenfold.”

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Here is an interresting article from SF Chronicle.

“Regulators have cleared the way for the landmark search partnership between Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc., creating a unified front in the battle to crack the dominance of Google Inc.

Seven months after announcing the agreement and following several years of merger flirtations, the U.S. Department of Justice and European Commission approved a deal that tightly allies the No. 2 and No. 3 players in the search space. It also marks a pivotal moment in the history of Yahoo, as it cedes territory where it was once a pioneer.

Under the terms of the pact, Microsoft’s Bing search tool will become the exclusive platform on Yahoo’s sites, funneling queries through the Redmond, Wash., software titan’s increasingly popular algorithm. The Sunnyvale Web portal will sell advertising tied to online search for both companies, and Microsoft will pay Yahoo for the traffic it generates.

The deal promises to give the companies control over nearly 30 percent of U.S. online searches, based on the current market share reported by comScore Inc. The combination will deliver improved results for consumers and better returns for advertisers and publishers, the companies said.

“Together, Microsoft and Yahoo will promote more choice, better value and greater innovation,” Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said in a statement.

But analysts are skeptical about how much the deal will really reshape the search industry. Google holds a commanding lead of more than 65 percent of searches, and Yahoo has been bleeding market share for years.

“I don’t think there’s a big shift in power here,” said Carl Howe, analyst with Yankee Group Research Inc.

Rather, he said the agreement provides incremental benefits, opening up a bigger channel of advertisers for Microsoft and lowering research and development costs for Yahoo.

Yahoo previously estimated the agreement would add $500 million to its annual operating income and save $200 million in capital expenditures, though not until two years after the deal was approved.

Implementation will begin in the coming days and could be complete in the United States by the end of the year. The goal is to transition U.S. advertisers and publishers to the new platform before the holiday season, but the companies acknowledged it may take until 2011.

“This breakthrough search alliance means Yahoo can focus even more on our own innovative search experience,” Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz said in a statement. “Yahoo gets to do what we do best: combine our science and technology with compelling content to build personally relevant online experiences for our users and customers.”

Read the whole article here.

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