Obama Administration Sides With Apple on Import Ban Ruling

August 4, 2013

President Obama and U.S. Trade Representitive Michael Froman in 2011. Photo: Pete Souza/White House

In a letter from U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, the Obama administration overruled an import ban on older iPhone and iPad models issued by the International Trade Commission at Samsung’s request earlier this year. The action allows Apple to continue imports of AT&T models of the iPhone 4, iPad 3G, and iPad 2 3G.

The issue centers around patents held by Samsung for the cellular data chips used in those devices. Samsung claimed Apple infringed on those patents, while Apple argued that Samsung’s patents were so-called “standards-essential patents” (SEPs) that Samsung had agreed to license at “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory” (FRAND) terms.

In vetoing the International Trade Commission’s decision, Froman highlights concerns that owners of SEPs who have previously agreed to license patents under those FRAND terms can then engage in “‘patent hold-up’, i.e. asserting the patent to exclude an implementer of a standard from a market to obtain a higher price for use of the patent than would have been possible before the standard was set, when alternative technologies could have been chosen.”

Such administration action to veto an action by the International Trade Commission is rare. According to The Wall Street Journal, this is the first time since 1987 that an administration has vetoed a ban ordered by the Commission. The action doesn’t impact Samsung’s ability to continue its legal battle against Apple on the issue, but it means that it will have to take place in court, rather than before the ITC.

Froman’s letter (.pdf) also signals the intent of the Obama administration to keep a close eye on the Commission in other cases involving SEPs, encouraging the Commission to determine “whether a particular remedy is in the public interest.”

In January, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued policy guidelines around SEP enforcement (.pdf) that Froman cites in his letter. These guidelines indicate that the administration sees injunctions and exclusion orders like the one Samsung sought as potentially inconsistent with innovation and the broader public interest.

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Move Over Dropbox, Google Dives In With Google Drive Online Storage And File Sharing

August 4, 2013

Today, we’re introducing Google Drive—a place where you can create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your work. Whether you’re drawing up floor plans with a client, creating a presentation with classmates or planning next year’s budget with colleagues, Drive makes it easy to work together. You can upload and access all of your files, including videos, photos, Google Docs, PDFs and beyond.

With Google Drive, you can:

Create and collaborate. Google Docs is built right into Google Drive, so you can work with others in real time on documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Once you choose to share content with others, you can add and reply to comments on anything (PDF, image, video file, etc.) and receive notifications when other people comment on shared items. As a business user, you can share files or folders with specific people, your entire team, or even customers and partners outside your company, controlling who can view or make edits.

Store everything safely and access it anywhere (especially while on the go). All your stuff is just… there. You can access your stuff from anywhere—on the web, in your home, at the office, while running errands and from all of your devices. You can install Drive on your Mac or PC and can download the Drive app to your Android phone or tablet. We’re also working hard on a Drive app for your iOS devices. And regardless of platform, blind users can access Drive with a screen reader.

Search everything. Search by keyword and filter by file type, owner, activity and many more. Drive can even recognize text in scanned documents using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. Let’s say you upload a scanned image of an old newspaper clipping. You can search for a word from the text of the actual news article. We also use image recognition so that if you drag and drop photos of the Grand Canyon into Drive for an upcoming ad campaign, you can later search for [grand canyon] and photos of its gorges should pop up. This technology is still in its early stages, and we expect it to get better over time. Open more than 30 file types right in your browser—including HD video, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop—even if you don’t have the corresponding program installed on your computer.

We know you rely on your files to get work done every day. Drive uses the same infrastructure as other Google Apps services, meaning it also has the same admin tools, security and reliability, including:

Centralized management: New tools available in the Apps control panel for administrators to add or remove storage for individuals or teams of users.

Security: Encryption on data transfer between your browser and our servers, and optional 2-step verification that prevents unauthorized account access by having users sign in with a secure code from their mobile phone.

Data Replication: Simultaneous data replication in multiple data centers, so that in the unlikely event that one data center is unavailable, your files will still be safe and accessible.

Uptime: 99.9% uptime guarantee so you can be confident that your files will be available whenever you need them.

Support: 24/7 support for assistance when you need it.

Each Apps user gets 5GB of storage included and administrators can centrally purchase and manage more. When a user reaches their limit, administrators on Google Apps for Business accounts can buy storage as it’s needed. Start with an additional 20GB for $4 per month and add as much as 16TB. (Just as before, Google Docs don’t count against your storage quota.)

Starting today, Google Apps administrators will see new controls for Drive in the control panel. Users at organizations on the Rapid Release track will be able to opt-in to Drive at drive.google.com/start.

Drive is built to work seamlessly with your overall Google experience. Drive is also an open platform, so we’re working with many third-party developers so you can do things sign documents with DocuSign and HelloFax, design flowcharts with Lucidchart and manage projects and tasks with Smartsheet directly from Drive. To install these apps, visit the Chrome Web Store—and look out for even more useful apps in the future.

This is just the beginning for Google Drive; there’s a lot more to come. Contact our sales team or a Google Apps reseller if you are interested in signing up for Google Apps and Drive


Leaked: First Office 14 screenshots

February 7, 2009

It didn’t take long this time, either. Earlier this week, testers received alpha builds of Office 14, the codename for the successor to Office 2007. A reader wrote in to tell us that a tester from Russian site wzor.net has now leaked the screenshots of the applications included in the productivity suite.

While he didn’t screenshot every application individually, we do now know that the list includes: Access 14, Excel 14, Groove 14, InfoPath Designer 14, InfoPath Filler 14, InterConnect 14, OneNote 14, Outlook 14, PowerPoint 14, Project 14, Publisher 14, SharePoint Designer 14, Visio 14, and Word 14. Without further ado, here they are:

I’ve been told that the beta of Office 14 will start in May, and the final version is slated for the end of the year. The alpha is reportedly running with good stability, all things considered. Redmond is expected to provide official release details for Office 14 next quarter.


Pietersen, Flintoff hit jackpot at IPL auction

February 7, 2009

Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff became the costliest players in IPL history as the two were each sold for $1.55 million (Rs 7.35 crore) at the IPL auction on Friday.

The beleaguered Bangalore Royal Challengers successfully bid for Pietersen, while last year’s runners-up Chennai Super Kings bid the highest for the England all-rounder which set the new record, overtaking the $1.5 million bid last year for Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Only 50 players, for 17 slots, were on sale at the IPL auction here on Friday, and fewer were bid for. But the presence of England stars made for frantic bidding.

With the teams’s spending limit set at $2 million each, teams were cautious in their bidding. Pietersen’s appreciation was only a fraction of his base price of $1.35 million, as was Flintoff’s $900,000.

Jean-Paul Duminy thus became one of the prized catches of the auction, as Mumbai Indians’ $950,000-bid for the South African batting sensation raised his value over three times.

Bangladesh pacer Mashrafe Mortaza’s bid at the closing round of the auction made for an intriguing duel between Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab with the Knight Riders finally securing him for $600,000, an astonishing 1100 per cent appreciation on his base price of $50,000.

Mortaza’s captain Mohammad Ashraful, though, remained unsold during the auction, only to be bought by Mumbai Indians to fill their last slot for $75,000. Bangladesh’s player of the season, Shakib-Al-Hasan, however, wasn’t bid for.

The first round of auctions saw Shaun Tait, the Australian speedster, being sold to defending champions Rajasthan Royals for $375,000, before Duminy, Pietersen and Flintoff went under the hammer.
The second round of the IPL auction had another England duo up for sale, and Delhi Daredevils bought both Owais Shah and former ODI skipper Paul Collingwood, each for $275,000. The previous year’s semi-finalists didn’t go for any other player, after having already bought Australian opener David Warner a few months ago and had retained pacer Ashish Nehra from Mumbai Indians.

The Deccan Chargers, who had a miserable outing in the first season despite having a star-studded line-up, purchased the West Indies duo of pacer Fidel Edwards ($150,000) and all-rounder Dwayne Smith ($100,000).

Defending champions Rajasthan Royals, whose representatives also included new co-owners Raj Kundra and Shilpa Shetty, added South African all-rounder Tyron Henderson to their squad for $650,000.

The Mukesh Ambani-owned Mumbai Indians, after securing JP Duminy, added New Zealand bowler Kyle Mills, while Bangalore, who had already spent a fortune on Pietersen, snapped up another Kiwi Jesse Ryder for $160,000. Chennai Super Kings, meanwhile, bought Sri Lankan paceman Thilan Thushara ($140,000) and Australian George Bailey ($50,000).

Kings XI Punjab bid successfully for England all-rounder Ravi Bopara for $450,000. But after the end of all six rounds of bidding at the auction, Kings XI and Mumbai Indians had a slot each left for an overseas player. The Preity Zinta-Ness Wadia-owned franchise pocketed West Indies pacer Jerome Taylor at his base price of $150,000 to wrap up the player auction.

Auction results
$1.55 million (A$2.37 million):

Andrew Flintoff (ENG) – Chennai Super Kings
Kevin Pietersen (ENG) – Bangalore Royal Challengers

$950,000 ($A1.43 million):

Jean-Paul Duminy (RSA) – Mumbai Indians

$650,000 ($A987,000):

Tyron Henderson (RSA) – Rajasthan Royals

$600,000 ($A910,000):

Mashrafe Mortaza (BAN) – Kolkata Knight Riders

$450,000 (A$682,000):

Ravi Bopara (ENG) – Kings XI Punjab

$375,000 (A$575,000) :

Shaun Tait (AUS) – Rajasthan Royals

$275,000 ($A417,000):

Owais Shah (ENG) – Delhi Daredevils
Paul Collingwood (ENG) – Delhi Daredevils

$160,000 ($243,000):

Jesse Ryder (NZL) – Bangalore Royal Challengers

$150,000 ($A227,000):

Fidel Edwards (WIS) – Deccan Chargers

Kyle Mills (NZL) – Mumbai Indians

Jerome Taylor (WIS) – Kings XI Punjab

$140,000 ($A212,000):

Thilan Thushara (SRI) – Chennai Super Kings

$100,000 ($A152,000):

Dwayne Smith (WIS) – Deccan Chargers

$75,000 ($A114,000):

Mohammad Ashraful (BAN) – Mumbai Indians

$50,000 ($A76,000):

George Bailey (AUS) – Chennai Super Kings


Windows 7: To be launched in 6 versions with a beta release in Hindi

February 5, 2009

The speculations are rife that Microsoft latest upcoming operating system windows 7 would be launched in 6 different versions.

The company in order to avoid clash of versions would heavily promote only two versions i.e primary version for consumers which will be called Windows 7 Home Premium, and the one for businesses which will be called Windows 7 Professional.

Versions to be launched:

Windows 7 Home Premium:: main promoted version for home users.

Windows 7 Professional:: main promoted version for business and professionals.

Home Basic :: It would mainly be used as OEM VERSION.

Starter edition:The Starter edition is intended for sale in developing countries

There would also be a Top-end Enterprise version for big corporate customers and a similar Ultimate version for consumers. Those versions will include security features and a few other tools not available in the two main versions.
Does game of plenty work?

* Microsoft first encounter with multi-tiered versions of their product started with windows xp which was launched in versions like home, professional, media centre edition etc…this practice of launching plenty of versions in the market seemed to have paid during xp time but was not so successful during the time of vista launch.
* This multi-tiered approach results into a increase in use of pirated operating systems in emerging markets and the reason being that people believe that the core or simple version may not be enough for their work and higher version being unaffordable they go for piracy route.
* It make cumbersome for people to decide which version to go for their use.

Why does Microsoft play this game:

* The main reason for launching multiple versions with different functionality is to remove price barriers and make it more accessible to buyers.
* This again helps in fueling the volume growth or the sales growth for the company.
* The company is able to leverage the brand Rep of its flagship operating system to sell different versions of it which again does not put too much load on advertising budget.

Microsoft has also said in a statement that changes to the way it communicates about Windows 7 should `make these choices as simple and clear as possible for customers and partners.”
Microsoft launches windows 7 beta in Hindi:

* Microsoft has announced that it has launched windows 7 in Hindi.

* The new initiatives is again followed by launch of Language Interface Packs (LIPs) in 12 Indian languages for MS Office and Windows.

* The company has also announced a total of 45 additional virtual keyboards for these languages.

According to the company,”This would facilitate company to overcome the language barrier to computing,and has showcased a variety of custom made products directed specifically at the vernacular language market – a market that has been largely left untapped till now.”

If you want to download windows 7 beta in Hindi just go here and click Hindi in the dropdown box.

End note:

This could be followed by full fledge launches of future releases from the company in Hindi and other vernacular languages and in turn suggests that Microsoft is waking up to seriously notice the requirements of emerging markets which could provide it the next big opportunity looking at capping of I.T budgets in its prime markets.

This could further imply good news for PC and Internet penetration in India as it would finally see a robust growth due to breaking of language barriers.


Nasscom pegs revenues of Indian software industry at $60 bn

February 4, 2009

The Indian software and services industry is expected to grow 16 percent this fiscal and log revenues of $60 billion despite the global slowdown, a top lobby for the industry said today. The National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) said in its report that together with the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, the revenues are expected to top $71.7 billion with a growth of 17 percent.

Of this, the export of software and services will account for $47 billion, growing by 16-17 percent. The association also said the domestic BPO industry would log a growth of as much as 40 percent this fiscal.

“The current financial year has been challenging for economies across the globe. But the Indian IT-BPO industry has exhibited a balanced growth,” said Ganesh Natarajan, chairman of Nasscom and global chief executive of Zensar Technologies.

“We have seen Europe, Asia Pacific and rest of the world grow more than US, reaffirming geographical diversification as an encouraging trend for this industry,” Natarajan told reporters, while releasing the association’s report.

Nasscom also said it expected the software and BPO industry to grow by 15 percent annually till 2010-11 to log export revenues alone of $60-62 billion.

“Due to our strong fundamentals and as a derivative of the value we add to our global customers, the Indian industry will continue to grow in spite of global slowdown,” said Som Mittal, president of the association.

“We also feel that this is a time of learning and optimisation for the industry, we would urge our member companies to see this as a silver lining.”

Following are the key highlights of Nasscom’s projections:

-Total IT-BPO industry to touch 71.7 billion in 2008-09

-The industry to account for 5.8 percent of the country’s gross domestic product

-Domestic BPO market to growth by over 40 percent

-BPO exports estimated to grow by 17.5 percent to $12.8 billion

-IT services exports estimated to grow by 16.5 percent to $26.9 billion

-Software products, engineering services to grow by 14.4 percent to $7.3 billion

-Exports to Europe log highest growth, while US remains dominant market

-Uncertain economic environment to prevail in 2009

-Indian IT industry expected to grow 15 percent annually till 2010-11

-Exports projected to $60-62 billion by 2010-11

-Industry remains a net hirer with 2.23 million new direct jobs

-Indirect job creation estimated at 8 million


IIM-Ahmedabad to host venture capital conference

February 4, 2009

The first edition of the ‘Leverage 2009’, a two-day venture capital and private equity conference, will begin Friday at the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A). In the conference, industry experts, practitioners, advisers, academicians and students will talk on key issues and trends related to venture capitalists, private equity investors and entrepreneurs, organisers said on Tuesday.

The conference is being organised by IIM-A students in association with the Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) at IIM-A