MOBILE INSIGHTS: Does Anyone Win In The Smartphone Patent Wars?

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motorola smartphone shipmentsControl of patents hasn’t helped Motorola’s smartphone business avoid declines

Is The Smartphone Patent Fight Worth It? (Wall Street Journal)

Some industry observers are wondering if the high-cost of smartphone patent litigation is really justified. So far, there have been minimal tangible returns. Google-owned Motorola was rebuffed in two high-profile patent cases recently. Even Apple’s $1.05 billion verdict against Samsung has been watered down to a $450 million judgment. Given the speed of innovation in the smartphone market, the lumbering pace of patent cases means that even when companies do score court victories, the ruling is usually irrelevant. Ultimately, aggressive litigation is just a symptom of a broken patent system. For a good primer on problems in the patent market, we recommend “When Patents Attack!” from This American Life. Read >  Report: Microsoft Considers Purchase Of Nook Media (TechCrunch)
A purchase of the whole of the Nook operation would put Microsoft deeper into the content and media delivery game. Nook Media is a joint venture of Barnes & Noble and other investors — including Microsoft. A big piece of its business is the digital delivery of college textbooks. Read > 

AT&T Dropped The Price Of The HTC First Facebook Phone To $0.99 (SAI)
The HTC First is the first phone to come pre-installed with Facebook Home. While it doesn’t mean that Facebook Home is necessarily a flop just yet, it does indicate that there isn’t much demand for a pure Facebook phone at the least. Read > 

T-Mobile Has Sold 500,000 iPhones (All Things D)
T-Mobile, the fourth-largest carrier in the U.S., has sold more than a half-million iPhone since it began selling the iPhone on April 12. It is significant because T-Mobile no longer requires customer to sign a two-year contract to get a subsidized phone. Instead, customers put down a $100 down payment on the phone and pay off the balance with monthly payments of $20 over a two-year period. Although that may sounds like a contract by a different name, it turns out it can save consumers a significant amount of money. T-Mobile is on-pace to sell 1.5 million iPhones this quarter. For comparison, AT&T and Verizon activated 4.8 and 4 million iPhones in the first quarter, respectively. But they have substantially larger subscriber bases. Read > 

The Next iPhone Will Go Into Production Next Month (SAI)  
Apple will begin to to manufacture the next iteration of the iPhone next month, according to a report in Japan’s Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun. Sharp, LG, and Japan Display have all been tapped to supply components. The phone is widely expected to be a iPhone 5S, with improved internal components, and will not be released till the Fall, per Apple’s last earnings call. Read > 

Dots, A Mobile Game Launched Last Week, Grabs 1 Million Downloads (TechCrunch)
Dots has garnered over a million downloads in just a week, further evidence of mobile’s incredible network effects. It is currently only available on iOS. Draw Something rode a similar growth curve last year to a $180 million acquisition. Dots is monetized through in-app purchases, the method of choice for developers that has made mobile games the biggest money maker in app stores. Read > 

Google Is Carving Out its Own Ecosystem On The iPhone (SAI)
Google is encouraging iOS developers to integrate with Chrome as their default Web browser. While Apple doesn’t let users select default Web browsers or mapping services, developers are allowed to for their apps. Google’s evangelizing, along with its release of a slate of new iOS apps for its services, is a clear attempt to establish its own ecosystem on iOS, making it difficult for Apple to sideline its services. It should also be noted that Google has a revenue-sharing agreement with Apple for being the default search engine on Safari. However, it doesn’t need to pay TAC on any associated search revenue for third-party browsers, like Chrome. It is estimated that Google pays Apple over $1 billion per year for the search revenue-share deal. Read > 

Did Microsoft Really Sell 100 Million Windows 8 Licenses? (TechNightOwl)
Microsoft says it sold 100 million licenses to Windows 8, which means the new operating system’s uptake would be on par with what was achieved by Windows 7. But it may be that those licenses never materialise in consumers actually getting Windows 8 into their hands. They’re merely evidence that some manufacturers have signed on to put Windows 8 on some devices. It’s like talking about shipments rather than sales. Windows 8, Microsoft’s bet on a tablet and touch-screen friendly operating system, is far from being able to declare success. Read > 

Marissa Mayer Wants Yahoo On Every PC, Smartphone, And Tablet (CNET)
Speaking at the Wired Business Conference, Marissa Mayer said she wants Yahoo properties to be pervasive on all computing devices. Yahoo has more than 700 million users with about 300 million accessing it from mobile devices, so there’s still a ways to go. Revamped Flickr and Yahoo Weather apps are likely a preview of Yahoo’s mobile strategy going forward. Its share of the mobile search market, however, is pretty low. Given her background, it’s not surprising that Mayer has a plan to invigorate Yahoo’s mobile search efforts as well. Read > 

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