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Posts Tagged ‘Accusation’

Apple to DOJ: We’re the good guys, not the bad guys

Friday, April 13th, 2012

In a filing with the United States district court for southern New York, Apple claims the Department of Justice has its story all wrong. The Justice Department filed an antitrust suit against Apple and multiple book publishers earlier this week alleging that the group colluded to fix the prices of electronic books. In a recently released document filed with the court on Wednesday, Apple’s counsel addressed the charges by claiming the DOJ has its story backwards — Apple wasn’t working with publishers to fix eBook prices, it was breaking Amazon’s “monopolistic grip” on the eBook market and the publishing industry. Read on for more.

“The DOJ’s accusation of collusion against Apple is simply not true,” Apple stated in its filing, according to Fortune. The document continued, “The launch of the iBookstore in 2010 fostered innovation and competition, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry.”

The company goes on to state that the iBookstore and Apple’s iBooks product have done a huge service for the electronic book industry rather than harm it. Amazon had a 90% share of the eBook market when Apple entered the space, but the retail giant’s share has reportedly dropped to as low as 60% since Apple launched the iBookstore in 2010.

“Since then customers have benefited from eBooks that are more interactive and engaging,” Apple said, proceeding to place the blame for any possible wrongdoing squarely on the shoulders of book publishers. ”Just as we’ve allowed developers to set prices on the App Store, publishers set prices on the iBookstore.”

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Unsurprisingly, China Denies Google’s Claims That They’re Blocking Gmail [Google]

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Ooh boy, it’s started again. After Google’s allegations yesterday that the Chinese government was blocking Gmail, the Foreign Ministry has hit back, calling it “an unacceptable accusation.” Grab the popcorn folks, because this will no doubt drag on and on. [Reuters] More »


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Android source code, Java, and copyright infringement: what’s going on?

Friday, January 21st, 2011

So it’s been a fun day of armchair code forensics and legal analysis on the web after Florian Mueller published a piece this morning alleging Google directly copied somewhere between 37 and 44 Java source files in Android. That’s of course a major accusation, seeing as Oracle is currently suing Google for patent and copyright infringement related to Java, and it prompted some extremely harsh technical rebuttals, like this one from ZDNet and this one from Ars Technica. The objections in short: the files in question are test files, aren’t important, probably don’t ship with Android, and everyone is making a hullabaloo over nothing.

We’ll just say this straight out: from a technical perspective, these objections are completely valid. The files in question do appear to be test files, some of them were removed, and there’s simply no way of knowing if any of them ended up in a shipping Android handset. But — and this is a big but — that’s just the technical story. From a legal perspective, it seems very likely that these files create increased copyright liability for Google, because the state of our current copyright law doesn’t make exceptions for how source code trees work, or whether or not a script pasted in a different license, or whether these files made it into handsets. The single most relevant legal question is whether or not copying and distributing these files was authorized by Oracle, and the answer clearly appears to be “nope” — even if Oracle licensed the code under the GPL. Why? Because somewhere along the line, Google took Oracle’s code, replaced the GPL language with the incompatible Apache Open Source License, and distributed the code under that license publicly. That’s all it takes — if Google violated the GPL by changing the license, it also infringed Oracle’s underlying copyright. It doesn’t matter if a Google employee, a script, a robot, or Eric Schmidt’s cat made the change — once you’ve created or distributed an unauthorized copy, you’re liable for infringement.*

Why does this matter? Because we’re hearing that Oracle is dead-set on winning this case and eventually extracting a per-handset royalty on every Android handset shipped. In that context, “those files aren’t important!” isn’t a winning or persuasive argument — and the more these little infringements add up, the worse things look for Google. Whether or not these files are a “smoking gun” isn’t the issue — it’s whether Android infringes Oracle’s patents and copyrights, since the consequences either way will be monumental and far-reaching. Ultimately, though, the only person who can resolve all of this for certain is a judge — and it’s going to take a lot more time and research to get there.


*They’re not directly comparable, but think about the Psystar case for a second. Even though Psystar desperately wanted to argue that Apple’s OS X license agreement was invalid, the judge never got there — he simply ruled Psystar wasn’t authorized to copy and distribute OS X, and swung the hammer. It really is that simple sometimes.

Android source code, Java, and copyright infringement: what’s going on? originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 21 Jan 2011 19:15:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Microsoft sees global Kinect shortages

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

In case you haven’t been paying attention, Microsoft’s Kinect is the premier gift for gamers this holiday season. Microsoft sold over 2.5 million Kinect units in less than a month, and reception has been phenomenal around the world; to the point where several markets are seeing demand that outweighs supply. Preliminary reports suggested that Microsoft might be manufacturing shortages to build hype — an accusation that follows short supply of any popular tech toy — but Microsoft execs in the U.K. were willing to set the record straight. Neil Thompson, Microsoft’s general manager for Xbox U.K. and Ireland, confirmed to GamesIndustry.biz that the shortages are “absolutely not” a ploy.

“The choices you always have are: do we launch in November or do we wait until February, March when we could hit some bigger launch numbers but then we miss Christmas. It takes time to scale,” Thompson told GamesIndustry.biz. “It’s absolutely not a strategy, we want to get the product into consumers hands as quickly as we can because we think it’s exciting, it’s innovative. We wanted to do that for Christmas and that’s what we’ve done. We’ve built a really strong supply and resupply chain over the coming weeks.”

Despite shortages, Microsoft expects to sell 5 million Kinect sensors in 2010.

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Meizu M8 ceases production amid pressure from Apple and intellectual property office

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

Well, can’t say we didn’t see this coming; we’re just surprised that it’s taken this long for Meizu to take a hit over its notorious handset. In case you have no idea what we’re talking about, earlier this month said Chinese company’s been in heated talks with Apple due to the M8 smartphone bearing an “appearance roughly similar” to the iPhone. Seriously, that’s the only reason Apple provided for the accusation, if CEO Jack Wong is to be trusted (and hey, he did kinda ask for it). Anyhow, the latest development is that Meizu’s bowing to pressure from both the provincial intellectual property office and Cupertino, and announced that it’s shutting down production lines for its flagship M8 this month. This is no doubt a big blow to the company, but it might get even nastier — here’s what Jack said in one of his many frustrated forum postings:

Apple requested that we cease manufacturing the M8 this month, we agreed but then [Apple] came back and asked for a sales ban instead. I can cope with a production freeze, but not with having our shops closed and thus not being able to use up our inventory. If Apple and the provincial IPO take another insatiable step, I can only go head to head against them.

So, it looks like the M8′s all set for an early retirement, either way — it doesn’t look like Apple’s going to let this one go easily, and Jack’s also expressed concern over the fact that the IPO has the power to shut his factory down without going to court. That said, things are still looking positive for the elusive M9 — from the sounds of it, Meizu’s upcoming Android phone isn’t affected by this takedown (yet); but the question is whether Jack and co. can keep the shops running until a December launch for their next flagship device. Oh well, hang in there, Meizu!

Meizu M8 ceases production amid pressure from Apple and intellectual property office originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 09 Oct 2010 21:44:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Fake Mars Mission Befallen By Real Drama [Astrodrama]

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

The Mars Society is a group that prepares for man’s eventual exploration of Mars with simulations in the Utahan desert. But their mission logs, posted regularly on the group’s website, reveal a tension that is very real—and very funny.

The two-week simulations, including various experiments and equipment tests, take place at the Mars Desert Research Station, located outside Hanksville, Utah. The volunteers who participate are expected to take the matter very seriously—after all, our future Mars colony depends on it. But of course, some pretend Mars astronauts are more dedicated than other pretend Mars astronauts and this is where the trouble starts.

The current team occupying the Research Station, Crew 90, is led by Nancy Vermeulen. According to their “Mission Info” page, they are the first team comprised entirely of Belgians. In the wake of the trouble they’ve been having, it now seems ominous that the last line of their statement reads, “the media is following our project very closely.” Indeed, Geekosystem picked up on the mission and faithfully documented its simmering turmoil.

After days of snits and snubs, the tension came to a head on February 15. In that day’s report, Commander Vermeulen explains:

The growing frustration that after 9 days PE, Nora and Margaux are
still not able to manage the Hab systems/ standard engineering
reporting system (and even don’t consider this as a problem!), exploded
during the lunch.

The lack of dedication to the mission of some people overloads the
others and it had to be spoken out. The problem was already there from
the first day, when it came out that some people didn’t prepare
anything for the mission, didn’t look at the manuals, which were send
to them months ago and didn’t even prepare the tasks for their own
role.
The accusation into my direction that I didn’t brief enough about the
systems was too much. Nicky almost exploded.
Arjan reacted double: At one hand he couldn’t stop criticising the
incompetence of some others during last week, but during the discussion
he acted as if he was from Barcelona (don’t know anything). He has his
own mission and own world.

The Commander’s Reports for the last days of the mission, which ended yesterday, obscure the interpersonal conflicts that paralyzed the crew. Only a few bloody noses are referenced, perhaps as physical manifestations of the crew’s frustrations.

You can read the whole saga unfold on the Mars Society site, or check out the abridged version at Geekosystem, who has done a commendable job tracing how the drama transpired. To Crew 91: Godspeed. The Red Planet makes beasts of men. [Mars Society via Geekosystem]


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Verizon Wireless responds to FCC complaint regarding its early termination fee and Mobile Web charges

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

verizon-wireless-logo1

On Friday afternoon, Verizon Wireless issued its response to the FCC complaint which investigated the carrier’s increased early termination fees for advanced devices and the spurious charges some customers incur when accidentally accessing the Mobile Web. As expected, Verizon defended the increased ETF and dismissed the accusation that it charges customers $1.99 for accidentally connecting to the Mobile Web. Verizon justifies its increased ETF by claiming that the fee is not limited to the recovery of the wholesale purchase price of the device. The fee is also necessary to partially offset the cost of running a smartphone network. There is a cost to sell the device (advertising, commission, store costs, device subsidy), a cost to technically support the device, and a cost associated with maintaining a broadband network. Verizon also reminds the FCC that the number of advanced devices is increasing and “the overall cost to the company for providing and supporting  devices to customers at low up-front cost has increased substantially”. When asked why a person canceling in the 23rd month of a 24 month contract still has to pay a $120 ETF, Verizon responded by claiming that it “still incurs a financial loss from early terminations, even with the $350 ETF”. If the ETF was prorated to$0 at the end of the contract, Verizon would be forced to charge a higher starting ETF and customers would be worse off. When you consider what Verizon has said about its need to increase its ETF, also consider the fact that Verizon’s revenue from its data services grew to $4.1 billion in Q3 2009, up 48.1 percent and up 28.9percent on a pro forma basis. In the midst of all this talk  about expenses, Verizon conveniently left that information out. Now that we have seen what Verizon thinks about its ETF, let’s examine what it said about its erroneous $1.99 Mobile web charges. Hit the jump for all the details.

Rather than admit any culpability for the numerous reports of erroneous Mobile Web data charges, Verizon denied that any error exists. Repeatedly in the report, Verizon stated that they do not charge usage fees ” when a customer simply launches the Internet browser and lands on the Verizon Wireless Mobile Web homepage”. Usage fees of $1.99 per megabyte are only charged when a customer navigates away from this launch page. Verizon explained that phones can be programmed to prevent the accidental launch of the web browser and confirmed that customers can place a data block on their account. Unfortunately, Verizon’s explanation does not jibe with the numerous reports of incorrect Mobile Web charges from both Verizon Wireless customers and Verizon Wireless employees. The FCC is currently reviewing Verizon’s response, let’s hope they are thorough.

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