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Samsung CEOs Push to Bring Tizen to TVs, Everything Else

posted Sunday Sep 15, 2013 by Nicholas DiMeo

Samsung CEOs Push to Bring Tizen to TVs, Everything Else

Long time fans of our show will know that LAPTOP Magazine's Avram Piltch, Scott and I talk about Samsung's operating system, Tizen, occasionally. It's Samsung's in-house OS and the company has been looking to expand it as it tries to transition from a stock Android experience in various ways. At IFA in Berlin this past week, Samsung continued to push Tizen and will now be introducing the experience to the company's TVs.

In an interview with a German publication, co-CEO of Samsung Boo-Keun Yoon said that this would allow Samsung to have more direct control and say over how its devices function and are deployed. Samsung had its own operating systems on TVs already, however it is fragmented and sometimes doesn't communicate easily to the rest of Samsung's line of electronics. Introducing Tizen should make a fully Samsung life better and easier.

Tizen is going to be used on some of our smartphones just like on our TVs and on home appliances. This way we create an ecosystem in which we are able to connect all Samsung devices.

So far, no announcements on availability have been disclosed but Samsung did say that would all be decided by if each market would be receptive to adopting Tizen. Last month, Samsung's other co-CEO JK Shin said that he wanted to see Tizen on every device Samsung puts out, and that he wanted it to happen sooner than later.

There are many convergences not only among IT gadgets, including smartphones, tablets, PCs, and cameras, but also among different industries like cars, bio, or banks. Cross-convergence is the one (area) Samsung can do best since we do have various parts and finished products.

I am very excited to see the potential of Tizen, not only for what Samsung can do with it, but to see yet another company detach itself from the grip of a Droid. Creating independence for a company brings several things to the market, like innovation and competition. Things have become a bit stale in the mobile space and if Samsung breaks off of Android completely and puts Tizen on TVs, phones, tablets, washers, dryers and stoves, you'd know when your clothes are done and when your eggs are spoiled - all while watching your favorite TV show and enjoying your second screen experience. I welcome Tizen with open-source arms.

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Zynga Settles Trade Secret Case with Former Employee

posted Sunday Sep 15, 2013 by Scott Ertz

Zynga Settles Trade Secret Case with Former Employee

When former Zynga employee Alan Patmore left the company, he took with him 760 files through Dropbox. The files contained incredibly confidential information, including unannounced game design documents, company policy on how and why certain game mechanics are or are not included into a release, as well as the success and failure of particular new features for CityVille, the game for which Patmore was the general manager.

None of this would pan out for any former employee, no matter the circumstances. Patmore made a bigger mistake, though, in taking those documents to his new position at Zynga's competitor Kixeye. The complaint, filed in the Superior Court of the State of California, claims that the data "could be used to improve a competitor's internal understanding and know-how of core game mechanics and monetization techniques, its execution and ultimately its market standing."

The case has been settled with both Patmore and Kixeye. Patmore said in a statement,

I accept responsibility for making a serious mistake by copying and taking Zynga confidential information when I resigned from Zynga. I understand the consequences of my actions and I sincerely apologize to Zynga and my former colleagues.

Now, this sounds less like the statement of a man that has been ultimately defeated in a major court battle and more like the apology of a tween to his little league team for pitching poorly. Zynga has asked for a dismissal of the case because of unconditional settlement. The details of the settlement are not known. The case had asked for injunctive relief as well as prevention of retention of data for both Patmore and Kixeye, so it can be assumed that both of those demands were met. It must feel good for Zynga to finally get a win.

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AT&T Implements Anti-Piracy Termination Policy for Internet Service

posted Sunday Sep 15, 2013 by Scott Ertz

AT&T Implements Anti-Piracy Termination Policy for Internet Service

It has been 7 months since the federal Copyright Alert System, also known as the six-strikes system, went live, customers have been assured that permanent removal from the Internet was not a part of the system. According to new Alerts being sent out by AT&T, however, this does not seem to be the reality of the situation.

The letters include this verbiage,

Using your Internet service to infringe copyrights is illegal and a violation of the AT&T Internet Terms of Service (TOS) and Acceptable Use Policy (AUP), which apply to all users of your account, and could result in mitigation measures including limitation of Internet access or even suspension or termination.

Other providers, such as Comcast, acquired by Ars, do not include language that talks about account suspension at all. Prior to the system being implemented, AT&T had assured customers that only under court order would they terminate accounts.

This is all important because in a lot of markets there is only a single Internet provider. For example, where I live, only my cable provider offers Internet access. If my account were to be terminated, I would be completely isolated from the Internet, something that the program was assured to not allow. If you are an AT&T customer, this might no longer be the case.

Obviously, the easy way to prevent this is to not transfer content that will get your account terminated. The big problem with that is that not everyone protects their networks. Imagine your parents, who might have a wireless router that, no matter how many times you tell them they need a password on it, refuse to allow you to set one. Their neighbor kid could hop onto the open network and torrent without knowledge. Then, the account gets shut down and your parents no longer have access to the Internet.

Clearly, as everything with the government, this was a plot that was not planned out well and implemented even more poorly. With such a clear, avoidable flaw, it is evident that the government's fear of technology is still rampant.

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Michael Dell Wins Legal Battle Over Privatization

posted Sunday Sep 15, 2013 by Scott Ertz

Michael Dell Wins Legal Battle Over Privatization

In the 7 months since Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners announced plans to take Dell private, the pair has had a series of issues. He had to raise his bid because of loud major investors, plus the disaster that accompanies Carl Icahn's involvement in a corporation.

This week, the battle is over and Mr. Dell and Silver Lake have won their bid to purchase all outstanding shares for a total of $24.9 billion. The newly private company will look similar to the existing, or at least go faster down the path stockholders have been displeased with. The transition, according to Mr. Dell, is from a primarily personal computer manufacturer to a primarily software services company. Dell has said, however, that it will continue manufacturing hardware.

This transition is one that was announced by HP CEO Leo Apotheker, eventually leading to his termination. IBM also made a similar move, selling its computer business to Lenovo and immediately becoming irrelevant.

There are some companies in the industry who are having successes in both hardware and online service offerings. The biggest of these companies are Microsoft, Google and Amazon. The commonality between these three, however, is that they were offering online services first and got into the hardware business to support those services, not the other way around. This would indicate to me that corporate consumers are looking for a single stop for all of their technology needs.

Now, as a private company, there will be only one person that will answer for the decisions made: Michael Dell himself. Whether this transition is successful or not, we will know soon enough.

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Nintendo Wins ITC Case Against Creative Kingdoms Over Original Wii-mote

posted Sunday Sep 15, 2013 by Nicholas DiMeo

Nintendo Wins ITC Case Against Creative Kingdoms Over Original Wii-mote

What do theme parks and Nintendo have in common? Both of them use magic wands. At least, that was the claim according to Apollo Global Management's Creative Kingdoms, a company who has created magic wands for kids to "cast spells" at the company's various theme parks around the world. Creative Kingdoms filed a lawsuit in 2011 with the International Trade Commission against Nintendo, claiming copyright infringement on Nintendo Wii remotes. This week, the ITC rules that the Wii could continue to be sold in the US, despite Creative Kingdoms' claims.

In the notice posted earlier in the week, the ITC says that Nintendo has not violated any patent rights that are owned by the theme park company. Because of this the agency has rejected CK's request to prevent Wiis from being imported into the States for sale. This happened after Trade Judge Charles Bullock said that the Wii-mote is not just a "toy wand" and because it does not have a hollow center, the two patents in question were invalid for this lawsuit.

The Commission has determined that complainant has not shown that the accused products directly infringe (on the) patent because they do not meet the limitation "command," and that complainant has not shown that the accused products directly infringe (on the) patent because they do not meet the limitation "activate or control." The Commission has also determined that complainant has not shown that the independently sold Wii MotionPlus and Nunchuck accessories contributorily infringe claim (on the) patent. Lastly, the Commission has determined that respondent has not shown that claim 24 of the '742 patent is obvious.

Creative Kingdoms even had the audacity to say that kids should use the PlayStation Move or Microsoft Kinect instead, because, and I'm paraphrasing, at least you could burn more calories with those systems. Nintendo turned around and called the claim "remarkable." Considering Creative Kingdoms only referred to one game in the ITC filing, the Wii Sports Resort title Airplane, Nintendo also said that demanding an import ban made no sense because you can play other games on the Wii that aren't Airplane.

All of this is really frivolous, even to Nintendo. The case was one of the oldest game-related cases still pending in the ITC's office and Nintendo said that it was finally glad everything was settled. It should be noted that the Wii U was not included in this case because it wasn't sold until after the hearing before the judge, so the new console was left alone. You can click on the source link below to read more on the ITC's ruling and, if you still don't own a Wii and don't want a Wii U, rest assured that you'll be able to purchase one this holiday season.

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Pandora Names Influential Advertising Exec Brian McAndrews as New CEO

posted Sunday Sep 15, 2013 by Nicholas DiMeo

Pandora Names Influential Advertising Exec Brian McAndrews as New CEO

The search for a new CEO for Pandora concluded this week. Six months after the company's CEO, Joe Kennedy, resigned in March amidst strong Q4 numbers, Pandora announced its new chief executive today in a press release.

Brian McAndrews, a man who has worked with Madrona Venture Group, aQuantive and Microsoft, has been brought in to fill Kennedy's shoes and lead the company for the foreseeable future. Pandora wrote that it was looking for someone who could focus on the advertising side of the company and push it forward as fast as possible. Tim Westergreen, Pandora's founder and chief strategy officer, commented on the search.

We had very specific criteria for our new CEO, and we were very strategic about finding the right person - Brian is that person. No one better understands the intersection of technology and advertising, which he clearly demonstrated during aQuantive's meteoric rise. He has a recognized ability to set strategy, lead large teams and drive growth and innovation at great scale. He is also a natural cultural fit with Pandora. This is a great development for our company.

We also have a little more background on McAndrews. In 1999, he took over Avenue A and turned it into aQuantive, which at the time was the world's quickest expanding digital marketing firm. In 2007, that company was then bought by Microsoft for $6 billion. McAndrews continued to work with the software giant until 2009, when he left his Advertiser & Publisher Solutions position to become a capital partner in start-up focused tech company, Madrona. His accolades have led him to be named Advertising Age's first Digital Executive of the Year and was once included in AdWeek's 30 most influential marketing and advertising executives.

McAndrews concluded the press announcement with excitement on his new role.

It is a great privilege to be asked to lead Pandora at this important moment in the company's history. By capturing the enthusiasm of more than 72 million monthly listeners, the management team, led by Joe and Tim, has made Pandora the clear internet radio leader and created a product that consumers love. I look forward to joining this great team to build on Pandora's success for years to come.

Despite the obvious disagreement people outside of Pandora would have on the company being the clear leader in Internet radio, I think McAndrews stepping in as CEO of Pandora matches the new focus of the brand perfectly. Pandora has been pushing marketing and advertising hard as of late, and with someone with a background like his, I can only see good things come out of it, at least in the long-term. Pandora is still losing customers to other services, and with iTunes Radio now becoming a full-fledged product, Pandora will need to innovate and implement some stop gaps in the near future in order to prevent a sharp customer drop in subscriptions.

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