In the hyper competitive world of Silicon Valley, where Tech companies are constantly seeking out engineering and scientific talent to fullfil their needs … the Department Of Justice has decided that bilateral agreements amongst certain tech giants not to poach from their competitors labor force by cold calling went a bit too far.
Even though these types of employees are very well paid and in high demand, the DOJ concluded after a year long investigation that for companies to agree not to cold call each others’ employees for job prospects, that it amounted to a “restraint of trade” rule violation under well established antitrust law.
The Justice Department said the agreements to curb cold-calling each others’ workers amounted to “diminished competition to the detriment of the affected employees who were likely deprived of competitively important information and access to better job opportunities.”
Several of the big tech companies had established no cold call agreements amongst themselves. Apple and Google, Apple and Pixar, Intel and Google, Intuit and Google, and Apple and Adobe.
At its peak hiring phase in 2007 Google was hiring 40 people a day. Between 2005 and 2009 it grew the company by 16000 employees.
Intuit for one was not happy with the DOJ ruling and said they “ agreed to disagree” over the issue of wrongdoing in the case.
A report by Gartner Research says that the free fast rising smartphone software developed by Google, and the Symbian software used by mobile phone giant Nokia, will together have 60% of the market by 2014.
Symbian now runs on about 47% of the smartphones sold and dominates the lower end of the market. iPhone and Android have cut into Nokia smartphone sales severely and its sales are expected to drop off to as low as 30%. Nokia has just replaced their CEO with Stephen Elpo in an effort to stop their slide in the up scale smartphone market.
Android sales however are expected by Gartner to blow by both iPhone and Blackberry and become about 18% of the market this year. Manufacturers like HTC, Motorola, and Samsung have jumped on the Android bandwagon and flooded the market lately with a wide range of smartphones boosting Android’s share.
Android in 2009 only had about 4% of the market and Blackberry had about 20%. Gartner expects RIM’s sales to drop to about 18% this year and for Android to about match that. In 4 years he sees Nokia and Android running neck and neck each with about 30% of the market. He expects Apple to have about 15% of the market in 2014.
Only hours after Apple released their updated 4.01 operating system for iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad, and the iPod Touch 4G hackers say they are near the point where device users can update to the 4.01 system and still be able to run the programs they want. A practice known as Jailbreaking.
Software manufacturers try to create code in their software system so that users can only run programs that the manufacturer wants and not necessarily what the user wants. Hackers relentlessly try to circumvent these restrictions to restore choice to the user and the copyright office has agreed that Jailbeaking is legal.
Steve Jobs admits that its a cat and mouse game with the hackers trying to keep them from using anything but Apple approved software. In the previous version 4.0 of the software hackers created havoc with a hack know as JailbreakMe one. Apple later released a patch for it.
This new jailbreak exploits a vulnerability in the ROM code which pre-loads before the operating system. Hackers say this one won’t be very easy for Apple to patch since it might involve a hardware fix.
In the mean time the hacker team known as pod2g has advised users of a hacked version of 4.0 not to update yet to 4.1 because if they do it is likely they will lose the ability to keep their system unlocked.
Here’s a crazy idea … why can’t OS manufacturers just let the user decide what programs they want to use instead of trying to fence off the OS and keep control after the horse has galloped out of the digital barn. It’s called freedom.
Quantcast’s latest report shows that the Android OS now is being used by 25% of all smartphone web browsers and continues to gain market share from both Apple’s iOS and RIM. Apple still holds about 55% of the market compared to Android’s 19% and RIM with 16%.
Web developers still prefer making apps for Apple over Android by a wide margin.
In spite of the recent launch of Iphone 4 Apple has been unable to make gains on Android since phone manufacturers started bringing to market several Android versions of smartphones last year. The gains of Android have clearly come at Apple’s expense and affected RIM’s market share less severely. Apple’s market share a year ago was about 70% and continues to slip as more Android phones hit the market.
It was thought earlier after the release of Iphone 4 that iOS could increase its user base but most people purchasing version 4 phones were already users of a previous version.
Stay tuned for the battle of the smartphone mobile market between Apple & Google.
We all know how big a deal social networking has become and the growth of Facebook is an in your face example. On Wednesday Steve Jobs announced the new ping service that has been integrated with their Itunes store and thus opened the door to social networking with music as a common element between all users.
The ping system used by Apple is a way for those with like minded musical tastes to find each other and enter into a conversation. It is a more laid back system then Facebook uses. You can pretty much cruise around and see what’s available and join if you want but you don’t have to give up much privacy or info about yourself unlike say the Facebook scheme.
It was only natural that Itunes Ping would be compared to Facebook and the two companies evidently recognized how much their customers would appreciate it if all users could “connect” directly between the two networks. The two discussed how this could be done and perhaps were close to a deal right up to Jobs’ announcement … but things didn’t get worked out in time.
During the demo Jobs did of the Ping service there was a tab shown for Facebook on the screen that suggested a link was available. In fact some of the first users of the new Itunes 10 software claim they could connect to Facebook.
The Facebook people we are told were a bit afraid of the demands a direct hookup to Itunes users could put on their servers. They didn’t want to experience crashes like other service vendors have suffered at the hands of Apple when they have released a new product. The latest being AT&T with the intro of Iphone 4.
Facebook has some rules about who can connect to them and how. Any network that makes more than 100 million information requests a day have to get their permission first and work out an api access agreement. This was a big problem for Itunes with a 160 million subscribers. So with no agreement in place Itunes couldn’t connect to Facebook on the Ping launch … but did that stop them from trying?
Word is that in lieu of an agreement with Facebook, Itunes tried some tech magic and for at least a while some of their users did make the link. The folks over at Facebook however detected the hookup and soon cut off all Apple users.
Maybe now the Apple logo will show a second bite taken out of it.
Coming to a TV in your living room … hi resolution TV shows delivered over your internet connection for as little as 99 cents each. What ever happened to free?
On Wednesday Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs held up a small box to a San Francisco audience and announced the new version of Apple TV. It allows your TV to be directly connected to Apple’s Itunes store via your internet connection. The new WiFi enabled box will cost the consumer $99 as compared to $299 for the previous version.
You simply browse through the shows available and when you find the one you want it will start streaming it to your TV. The big deal is that with the previous version of Apple TV a show cost $2.99. So far only shows from ABC and Fox will be available through this service although the BBC has indicated its interest also.
Questions are being asked if this new Apple foray into Internet TV will rattle the digital doors in the TV industry to the same degree that the Ipod Jobs introduced 9 years ago has reshaped the music industry.
Jobs admitted that a lot of media content providers are nervous about jumping onto the new Apple bandwagon right now but he thinks they will once they recognize how the market is changing. The two other big TV networks CBS and NBC have declined to allow their shows to be shown this way.
Not everyone is convinced Apple is on the right path here. A lot of TV shows are already available for free online and Netflix has a flat rate plan that allows subscribers to look at practically unlimited content for a fixed price. Consumers until recently haven’t made a habit of renting TV shows the same way that they rent movies. Are they willing to buy TV shows one at a time … even if they seem cheap?
However the Internet may represent a threat to all the players in the TV industry. With ever increasing Internet bandwidths and constantly improving technology to deliver hi res video services like Netflix and others are offering, we may see consumers switch away from satellite and cable offerings to Internet TV services. How also would this affect the existing TV advertising business model?
Others in the TV industry question the logic of allowing Apple to gain so much control over the distribution side of the market. The cheap downloads may greatly undermine the financial underpinnings of TV show production and the bundling of these shows to others such as Netflix for syndication.
A 25 show TV series that they can now bundle onto dvd’s and sell in a store for $50 might only generate half that revenue if streamed over Apple TV.
Staples To Market Amazon's Kindle
Starting this fall Staples says it will start retailing Amazon’s best selling product … the Kindle wireless reader. All of their 1500 stores nation wide will carry three different models ranging in price from $139 to $379.
The popular e-reader can wirelessly download digital documents like newspapers, books, blogs, and magazines and display them on a small screen. The Kindle can hold hundreds of documents in its memory making it a small portable paperless library.
Earlier this year Target corp also reached a deal with Amazon to sell the very popular Kindle readers within the Target store network. Previous to the Target distribution agreement Kindle had only been available through Amazon’s online store.
Amazon is trying to find brick and mortar type stores to distribute their product because competing products offered by Barnes and Noble Inc. and Apple Inc. ‘s ipad have seen e-readers cause the sale of ebooks to sky rocket in the publishing industry.
Estimates from Forrester research suggest that since Amazon introduced the e-reader concept in 2007 that about 5 million kindle’s have been sold.
Barnes and Noble’s competing product is called the Nook and is distributed off line through Best Buy Co Inc. It’s estimated 1 million units have been sold since its introduction last year.