Business Insider Research Morning Call 9/15/11

GOOGLE AGGRESSIVELY BUILDING PATENT ARSENAL TO ARM ITS OEMs

Google took another step forward in the patents arms race purchasing 1,203 patents from IBM as its builds an arsenal to protect itself and its partners in the growing smartphone lawsuit war. This latest patent grab comes on top of Google’s acquisition of 1,030 patents from IBM in July and the mother lode of 17,500 patents and 7,500 pending applications it will acquire through it’s proposed $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility. Google is stockpiling patents to arm its OEM partners (Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola) so they can more effectively counter what it calls a “hostile, organised campaign” by companies including Apple and Microsoft against the Android operating system for mobile devices.

PAYPAL FINALLY TRIES TO CATCH UP WITH SQUARE (AND DISPLACE CREDIT CARD COMPANIES)

PayPal yesterday announced a broad effort to become a leader in mobile payments. It’s both a response to mobile payments company Square, which has been getting a lot of traction, and an attempt to sidestep credit card companies. It’s a very ambitious effort and it will be interesting to see whether it can get real traction in the marketplace.

Having addressed SEC inquiries, Groupon’s IPO is back on track and it’s roadshow may kick off by the middle of next month according to an article in this morning’s New York Times. We’ll believe it when we hear that meetings with institutional accounts are actually being scheduled; Groupon earlier this month cancelled roadshow meetings that hadn’t even been scheduled.

Mobile ad network InMobi raises $200 million from Softbank. InMobi, right now #2 after Google, wants to become #1. InMobi is originally from India and built its business in the emerging markets where mobile usage and growth is through the roof, building a very large business out of rock-bottom CPMs. InMobi doesn’t get enough attention in the US because it only entered the market last year, but it is a very, very strong contender in the pace.

Tablet sales are exploding to 62.5 million units in 2011, mostly driven by the iPad. It’s hard to think of a consumer device category that ever grew so fast. It increasingly looks like tablets might be the future of computing. And Apple’s domination, with 68.3% (seems low to us) marketshare, is still unchallenged in the marketplace.

Steve Ballmer says first-year Windows Phone 7 sales weren’t good. That’s a statement of the obvious, but that’s what’s good about it–Microsoft is under no delusion that it’s anything but a tiny challenger in this market. If it wants to compete, it needs to be hungry and bruised. 

Big Data analytics company Opera Solutions closed its first ever outside investment—an $84MM round of funding. The round was led by Silver Lake Sumeru with participation from Accel-KKR and reconfirms the growing importance of the use of Big Data in marketing as it relates to data-rich Social Media and Social Commerce. Opera has grown to over 600 employees—with 160 data scientists from more than 20 different disciplines.

For musicians, Spotify is the least remunerative service, and in many cases it doesn’t make sense to sell through iTunes. That’s a takeaway from an indie European band Uniform Motion who laid out how much money they make from all the ways in which they sell their music. Spotify pays 0.003EUR per song; iTunes pays 6.28EUR per album, but because the band pays 35EUR to have the album on iTunes they don’t make their money back until 24 people buy the album which, for a small indie band, might not happen. For independent artists, legal digital services are still not much better than their absence.

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