The battle for becoming market leader in the mobile industry has been heated up lately. Samsung is currently dominating the market with a 30 percent share worldwide and Apple coming in second with 17 percent. Both companies have been fighting harsh battles in court in what has been called the great patent wars. Apple has been able to forbid the import of various galaxy products in countries such as Belgium and even the Netherlands. But Samsung kept fighting back and kept on changing the system to prevent copyright infringement.
With all these courthouse visits between the 2 great software companies, it is hard to imagine that they have been working together for several years now. Samsung has been making chips that power the iPhone and also provides the LCD panels used in the iPad 3. It almost seemed like an on and of relation as seen in soap operas.
Well, it seems like this relation is now finally coming to an end. Apple who has been trying to reduce its dependencies as they have done to Google (Maps, YouTube) is now losing its contract with Samsung. Samsung has decided to terminate their contract and withdrawal their position as core supplier of LCD panels. It is still unclear who will become the new supplier of the screens. The big question is which party has the knowledge and technology available to keep up with the growing demand for apple products.
As for Samsung, they don’t see this action as a loss. There seems to be more than enough demand for these panels from companies such as Amazon.
I Guess we should get ready for “Patent Wars, The Sequel”
Many of you may know that Apple is still busy with improving their newly developed “Maps” application. Apple Maps has received a lot of criticism from its users and has been ridiculed all over the internet.
The main problems that iOS 6 users face in using maps are as follows:
1. No information about public transportation;
2. Wrong labels (E.G failing to register Jerusalem as the capital of israel)
3. Giving wrong directions.
Mapping the entire planet and helping people experience it from their desktop and mobile devices is of course a great concept. Certainly if it is enriched with well rendered 3D images.
But mapping the entire planet also has its downsides. Detailed geographic information about whereabouts of important national structures can be used for negative purposes. If this information would fall in the hands of the wrong people this could be catastrophically.
Google faced this same issue in 2007 when terrorists used Google earth to attack UK troops. Since then Google has been busy to protect national and military structures.
Apple maps now seems to be facing the same issues. A newspaper in Taiwan descovered as secret military base in Taiwan by using Apple Maps. It turns out it was a brand new TOP SECRET 1.3 billion radar facility. A formal request is said to have been sent to Apple but both parties have been real quiet on the matter.
For now I’m still happy that apple maps still has problems with directions….
If you are living in The Netherlands and want to legally enjoy your digital music, there are plenty of solutions available. However, there is a good reason why so many people have not embraced one platform to fulfill all their music needs. Either the legal music platforms are not very user-friendly (e.g. restrict the user with DRM, unclear pricing, dramatic UI, insufficient music database, strange recommendations, advertisement policy) or divide the profits between them and the record labels as opposed to the artists.
In 2010 Spotify tried to fill this gap for Dutch users. With a rapidly growing global market share of 9.1% in 2010 and a market share of almost 20% of the global market for streaming services in 2011, it was bound to become the leading service provider in the industry in a few years.
But, as Elise Zonneveld pointed out, Spotify has trouble achieving profitability, despite its ever growing user base due to high royalty costs. Sound quality, limited supported formats and DRM are also not encouraging new users to convert to a premium account.
Do you remember Kim Dotcom? While this media mogul awaits the outcome of the increasingly scandalous efforts by the US and New Zealand governments to extradite him to face charges of copyright infringement, the founder of Megaupload is preparing to launch a new business line soon—a cloud music service called Megabox. Put top-notch programmers and designers in their natural habitat, feed them bacon and over-sugared energy drinks and something good has to come out.
Did you notice the sentiment analysis features and tight integration with all kinds of webservices? Looks promising doesn’t it?
Megabox: Music service or malware?
“These new solutions will allow content creators to keep 90% of all earnings and generate significant income from the untapped market of free downloads,” Dotcom told TorrentFreak. “I created an innovation that could solve the piracy problem.”
At first it looks like a promising new business model but the technical aspect gives it a sinister taste.
Technically, since users are made aware of what Megakey is doing and are willingly allowing the software to be installed on their computers, Megakey falls into the same legal realm as ad blockers. But once it is installed, users won’t necessarily know which ads are hosted on the sites they are visiting, and which are injected by Megakey. The ad injection mechanism of Megakey could also pose a major security risk to users.
If that isn’t enough to give the music industry and media companies a case of indigestion, Dotcom has also announced that he’ll be re-launching Megaupload later this year.
This Monday we (team number 2) will present to you the technology of the week. We will discuss two companies currently active in the Virtual Worlds business: Second Life and Virtalis. Second Life is a MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Roll Playing Game, because we only have 15 minutes to present our subject, we will use the MMORPG on Monday…) which has been online for nearly a decade now. Our second company, Virtalis, is a company that has lots of expertise in the virtual reality business. They can create multiple 3D business applications, one of these applications will be shown in Mondays presentation.
Second Life started in 2003 as a part of Linden Lab, a game developer. Quickly, it became famous because it is possible to make money in this virtual world. All kinds of people tried to create value in the game and transfer this online currency to real money. It is estimated that 64000 people currently make a profit on Second Life and 230 people earn more than 5000 US dollar per month (!) using this virtual reality. Given the fact that more than 30 million people subscribed to this game, one could argue that 230 people is a rather small proportion. Linden Lab refuses to give away information regarding the amount of time their subscribers spent online, so actual we cannot draw conclusions whether the 230 is very little or a lot.
The strengths of Second Life are the possibility to create your own world. People can be very creative and have a lot of options within Second Life. Another strength is the earlier mentioned virtual economy, with the opportunity to actually make a profit. Finally, the global reach of Second Life gives people an opportunity to communicate with a lot of different users from all over the world. The weaknesses of Second Life lies in their rather outdated graphics. People refer to Second Life as ‘a chat room with a nice cover’. Another weakness is the creative freedom Second Life guarantees their users, which lead to a significant amount of inappropriate behaviour.
Major opportunities for Second Life is the possibility to be the first MMORPG with actual usage of 3D technology on laptops and computers. After the introduction of 3D technology in movie theatres, it is only a matter of time before this will be implemented in games.
The threat for Second Life is obvious, MMORPG’s as World of Warcraft has a significant larger amount of active users. Another threat is that Second Life needed to raise their monthly fees, which resulted in a decline of new premium members. It is possible to create a freemium account, which we did to really get to know this Virtual World, therefore a higher monthly fee will not motivate people to create a premium account.
Virtalis is a very interesting company for BIM students. It works with the latest technology, creating very impressive products with a lot of business applications. They can turn a corner of an boring office into a huge warehouse with prototypes of all kind of products. This leads to great oppurtunities for newly build large construction vehicles, which can actually be developed onscreen. Another usage of the products of Virtalis is with universities, where teachers can create a 3D learning experience for their students, especially helpful in medical studies.
The strengths of Virtalis are the strong position they hold as industry innovators within the virtual reality sector. A weakness is the investment costs necessary to acquire Virtalis’ products. Oppurtunities are the expansion to consumer markets and the introduction of 3D technology to a broader audience, which could boost their revenues. Threats are the possibility of new entrants with cheaper technologies.
We will introduce a lot more details on the presentation on Monday! We hope you will enjoy our presentation on Monday but for now: