Apple’s strategy of a “walled garden” now seems to be inspected by U.S. antitrust authorities. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department are overhauling Apple’s latest license change for the iPhone OS SDK 4.0. Although the process is at a preliminary stage, the interest of antitrust authorities show how powerful Apple has become in the field of mobile computing.
Some critics contend Apple is now engaging in the kind of tactics that got Microsoft Corp. in trouble with antitrust enforcers in the 1990s. “Apple is playing right out of Microsoft’s playbook—and it’s one they complained about a lot,” said David Balto, a former FTC official now at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank.
Apple could try to head off trouble with antitrust enforcers by changing the terms of its developer agreement, one person familiar with the situation said.
Microsoft seems to be putting lots of money into their geo mapping services. They are not only integrating 3D views, that can be zoomed fluently into, they are integrating real time recordings and historical pictures as long as they contain geo data. If that is not enuff for you: they also integrated the view on the stars that of course changes when you move or adjust the time.
A little too much information? Check this presentation by Microsoft Live Labs’ architect Blaise Aguera y Arcas – also known as the creator of Photosynth, the technology that is now being integrated into Bing Maps.
Well, do you still think there is need for Linden’s Second Life?
The “Iron” browser is based on the “Google Chromium” source code, but “Iron” does not send any user specific data to Google anymore and it does not contain a unique user ID. Iron is a product of “SRWare” – a german software company. In Iron the following Google Chrome features have been deactivated:
no alternative error messages, when having entered a wrong URL
no sending of collected data to Google, if Iron has crashed
no unwanted Google updater
Iron is available for Microsoft Windows only. Download Iron here (german page!). Installing in CrossOver Mac sadly does not work out of the box…
[Update] Sep 26th, 2008 The language Thing
Although our screenshot shows Iron with german interface, it turns to english, when it’s gotten installed to an english Windows version.
[Update] Sep 27th, 2008 The Next Browser Wars (internal link)
You may find some background information about the Browser Wars in one of our recent articles here.
Today T-Mobile US, HTC and Google presented the first cellphone running with the Android operating system by Google. The HTC manufactured device will be called “G1 with Google” and will be available from october 22nd, 2008 for 180US$. The phone will be net-locked to the T-Mobile US network.
T-Mobile’s plan includes a data traffic up to 1GB with UMTS, after 1GB traffic will be slowed down to the GPRS level. The monthly plan including 400 SMS’ will cost 25US$/mth (with unlimited using of Messaging: 35US$)
The HTC G1 phone
The HTC G1 phone integrates a touch screen like the iPhone, a tiny keyboard that hides behind the screen if not required, a camera (3megapixel) and an extension slot for microSDHC cards (256MB card preinstalled).
Availability of the HTC G1
Introduction in Great Britan: early november.
Introduction in Germany: early december.
Rest of Europe: Q1/2009
[Update] Sept 26th, 2008: Added the SRWare Iron browser under Downloads
The Next Browser War
The next Browser War has begun yesterday night, when Google released their new view on the Web. A new Browser called “Chrome“. Chrome is the most powerful weapon, when it comes to the question: how to connect services locally stored on your PC with services available on the net.
Microsoft – the market leader in the field of operating systems – cannot be amused about that. Chrome has the potential to make a large amount of local stored services (like Office solutions) dispensable, means: what will we need Windows for?
The Thing with the Privacy
But it is that simple only from the view of the economists. Highlighting the potentials is their sphere of action. With a sociological view people will ask, why they should give eben more private data in the hands of Google. Google’s only ambition is making money through advertisements, thus giving away for free all the services people will need in order to provide the users with customer specific advertisements.
Even now Google has already collected more private data than Microsoft ever had the possibility to. And every Chrome installation got a unique serial number integrated. That serial will be used for tracking and aggregation of customer behaviour data. We will see how people will agree with Google’s strategy.
What likely is: the end of Mozilla could be coming silently. In the past Mozilla actually was bankrolled by Google: 85% of their revenue comes from Google (read here and here). Although Google and Mozilla prolonged their sponsoring contracts until 2011, there is basically no need for Google to sponsor Mozilla anymore, when supplying an own browser like Chrome.
Google’s battle against Microsoft has reached a new level of escalation. We’re quite certain to see Microsoft’s answer very soon.
It looks like Google learned from Apple in the question how to distribute content and useful applications to the customer. Google will introduce a marketplace, that is quite similiar to what Apple already introduces as AppStore. As Google puts it: “We chose the term “market” rather than “store” because we feel that developers should have an open and unobstructed environment to make their content available. Similar to YouTube, content can debut in the marketplace after only three simple steps: register as a merchant, upload and describe your content and publish it.”
Google also plans to integrate a wide range of statistics and analytic tools to the developers. More infos and more photos to be found here. We feel like Android’s GUI looks like Google learned a lot more from Apple than other companies in this short time. Isn’t it sarcastic, that Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt is member of Apple’s Board of Directors?
Nokia – the market leader in cell phone industry – is about to challenge Google. Wait a sec? Google? Yes, Google. The keyword is “mobile internet”. It is expected that in the near future more people will go online using their mobile devices than using a computer at home. Google therefore heavily pushes their cell phone operating system Android. With Google entering the cell phone market another new competitor emerges for Nokia. Last year it’s been the iPhone and now it is Google’s Android.
The only way out of this attack is to strike back. In mid 2007 Nokia announced to restructure Nokia into an internet company. Since then Nokia bought companies in the field of online advertisments, music downloads, games, digital mapping and eventually they presented Ovi (Ovi translates in english to “door”). Ovi is a portal that integrates all Nokia’s efforts to metamorphose.
But one problem still remained: the open source operating system Android. Nokia now announced to take over Symbian. Together with Sony-Ericsson, Motorola, LG, Vodafone, AT&T, NTT Docomo, ST Microsystems and Texas Instruments Nokia will set up a foundation to further improve Symbian OS – as license fee free open source operating system for mobile devices.
The german Handelsblatt today reports that the Symbian foundation in the meantime announced to release their open platform during the next two years. Well, two years is quite a long time for striking back forceful against Apple and Google…