Apple shares hit a 52-week nearing $400/share today, even below some of the price points from when Steve Jobs was alive. The news surrounding Apple isn't very rosy. iPhone continues to lose market share to Google's Android, iTunes is losing market share to Amazon, and the PC/laptop markets are shrinking in general dragging Apple down along the way. Analysts aren't predicting a good quarterly report next week.
Now I admit to not being an Apple fan but the one force that was keeping the company firing on all cylinders was Steve Jobs and that is undeniable. When he was there the first time, the company was doing exceptionally well, when he was forced out Apple became a dud, then he returned and Apple came roaring back.
Now Jobs is gone once again and Apple continues on the momentum that he brought with him but that momentum is naturally wearing off. Jobs was a genius and a visionary and it is because of him that Apple has continued to do well much longer than I had anticipated. But eventually the vacuum of vision and innovation must show its effects.
I do wish the company well, but companies don't thrive on well wishes. Jobs was the secret sauce behind the resurgence of Apple and without him the inevitable must now happen. Apple will no doubt survive, but thriving doesn't seem to be the cards.
I'm not sure why anyone would see any reason behind Amazon's move to hoard a bunch of gTLDs (global top level domains), other than pure greed.
In a recent open letter (PDF) to ICANN, Association of American Publishers rightfully opposed granting Amazon the control of the .book gTLD. It states:
In short, Amazon makes clear that it seeks exclusive control of the “.book” string solely for its own business purposes, notwithstanding the broad range of other companies, organizations and individuals that have diverse interests in the use of this gTLD or its second-level domains by others or themselves.
Well stated, but does ICANN or anyone else really need a protest letter to recognize Amazon's true motives in hogging as many domains as it can?
I don't like government regulation much but there are areas that concern health and safety where government regulation may not be a bad thing.
Making electric cars a bit noisier is one of those areas (Electric Cars Must Make Noises Can Hear Under U.S. Rule). As a runner and walker I have been startled by the noiseless cars a few times. No close calls for me and all my senses including hearing are unencumbered by modern gadgets. Yet I can see how the battery powered cars could pose a danger to people not hearing them or believing they are shut off and parked just before they dart out.
If this saves one life, and I'm sure it will save more, then the cost would absolutely be worth it.
A couple of weeks ago a judge finally ruled that Google hadn't violated any patents when it used the Java programming language in its Android OS. Good, finally someone wasn't intimidated by Larry Ellison and ruled based on logic rather than emotion. Word has it that the judge actually took some time to learn Java to have a better grasp of the dispute, impressive.
Now comes the news that Android has hit 900k activations per day and is well on its way to reach 1m per days. That may be in part due to some confidence that Android is now a safe bet, free from oracle's licensing threats.
In retrospect, it’s easy to see why Oracle acquired Sun and its assets. Even if some of those assets, like Java or MySQL, were under GPL (essentially free to use), that's counter to how Oracle operates. Oracle had hoped, and still does, to start capitalizing on the large market shares of these products. To that end it hasn't been successful, yet.
The latest Java lawsuit outcome is a great boon to developers and users, but one shouldn't bank on Oracle's defeat in Android's case as being the end of such tactics. Undoubtedly Oracle will be back for more. Given its past business history, Oracle is nothing if not undaunted and persistent.
Here's an interesting piece found on the Chrome browser (v17). Fire up Chrome. Browse to chrome://credits/, scroll down to SQLite and click on "show licence" and this little praise pops up:
The author disclaims copyright to this source code. In place of a legal notice, here is a blessing:
May you do good and not evil.
May you find forgiveness for yourself and forgive others.
May you share freely, never taking more than you give.
May I echo Chrome's sentiments on SQLite? It’s a superb and versatile database software deserving of every blessing thrown its way
So amazon finally announced its so-called secret product last week. With much fanfare the world was introduced the new Android-driven tablet called Fire, featuring the Silk browser. Oh, the Kindle is still there too, and at a huge discount to its more glorious days, but who cares about Kindle now.
As usual there has been a self-serving announcement on amazon's homepage alluding to the fact that they work hard to save their customers money via lower prices. Really? If that's the case how come Kindle was going for five times the current price not too long ago. Hate it when businesses pull that phony we-care nonsense when everyone knows money is the main objective and prices are determined based on what the market bears and not some altruistic algorithm. Whatever, amazon.
As for the new keyboard-less tablet, get ready for your every move to be tracked and recorded by amazon. You see, the Silk browser connects to the web via EC2, amazon's vast data network, allegedly to "optimize" user experience. Of course that also means amazon will take a little peep and record what the user does online. What it'll do with that data is yet undetermined.
Note: Author holds a negative bias towards amazon based on previous experience.
It's such a stereotype, but there's a reason why Indians are associated with IT (Information Technology). Obviously Indians are very active in the field and most likely they are biggest ethnic group in the IT industry.
So where does a company go to hire IT people? In this case they post a giant want ad on an Indian grocery store's window. I snapped this photo recently while passing by a nearby Indian store. The sign had me do a double-take.
While the sign is indeed stereotypical, it's posted in exactly the right place. I'm not Indian but I do shop at the Indian store and I am in the tech field. I bet many more IT people shop there too.
I'm not naive to the point of believing that Google is all good and no evil, but in this case I side with Google.
What the big patent trolls like Oracle and Apple and Microsoft are doing by burying Android in lawsuits and threats is stifling innovation and taking away choice from consumers.
I'm all for protecting new ideas, but patents are no longer used in the way they were envisioned. They no longer protect ideas and innovation, but are used as weapons against anyone who can be leeched for money. And the leeches are typically not the original patent holders either, but sleazy patent trolls and patent mills.
Official Google Blog: When patents attack Android
This is superb reporting by NPR (link at bottom) on the murky business of software patents and how the real spirit of patent and copyright laws have been subverted by patent mills out to make a quick pile of cash.
These days greedy companies get patent protection for the most ridiculous and obscure algorithms. Most developers behind these patents don't even know what the patents actually cover. The patents are then sold to patent mills, which are front companies with a few lawyers and accountants collecting patents.
The patent trolls then go after anyone they deem to be a good target to extort money from, using frivolous lawsuits. From the thousands of patents in their lists, they can cash out with one or two, and that's what keeps this repugnant but lucrative practice alive.
The fact is that just about any idea anyone can fathom is covered in one way or another under one or more patents, mainly in vague general terms. That is why software is under siege now. Any entrepreneur who would dare conceive and implement a new product with a modicum of success, will inevitably be in the cross-hairs of patent lawyers.
And so we give yet another boost to countries like India and China and extinguish innovation in USA. I'd like to see how far these sleazy patent sharks can get in those countries.
Intellectual Ventures And The War Over Software Patents