This week’s technology news from Amicus ITS – Friday 27th September 2013

Trolling around for something patently new
The habit of patent trolls buying up patents to sell back to practicing tech companies as a cash cow exercise (whilst not making anything themselves), has been prolific and costly in the States. Patents in the US encompass more abstract concepts than are allowed in Europe. With an estimated bill of around $29 billion in direct costs and legal fees in the States, the advent of a new European unified patent scheme after 30 years, has stirred Google, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, HP, Blackberry, Cisco, Deutsche Telekom, Intel, Yahoo and others into collective action to seek clarification on bifurcation and injunctions before rollout. It would be refreshing to have the tables turned on the trolls for burden of proof to avoid costs, disruption and commercial disputes that will only harm the consumer.

Blackberry has a buyer
Blackberry’s search for a buyer may be over as Fairfax who owned 10% of Blackberry stocks have proposed an offer as part of a consortium to purchase the company. With a £3bn deal on the table, Blackberry’s official stance is that they will continue to explore all options whilst negotiations continue. However, with 4,500 jobs cut last week we may see a decision made sooner rather than later. A buyout may be music to Blackberry’s ears, but it does not guarantee success as the competition is getting ever stronger and the gap between Blackberry and Windows Phone has grown substantially. Blackberry will need more than just extra cashflow to stand a chance of fighting back to become a leader once more in smart phones.

Old habits die hard
Following the recent launch of the new Galaxy Note 3 smartphone, it would appear that Saumsung are bringing something old and not so savoury to the table with their recent product launch. Despite pan European regulations introduced in 2012 to broaden access and reduce prohibitive roaming charges across states, Samsung have locked the Galaxy Note 3, preventing use of local networks or SIM cads outside Europe other than for emergency calls. Hopefully a groundswell of protest from Samsung’s customers will bring the “global” back to GSM in this sorry story.

Next generation Surfaces
Microsoft this week announced the follow ups to their first tablet, called Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2. Whilst both devices look similar to their predecessors, they are more powerful, with better displays, thinner and most importantly a 75% increase in battery length. Microsoft is still bundling Office with the entry level Surface 2 and buyers of either will get 2-years of 200GB Skydrive storage and 1 year of international calling with Skype. With cheaper prices to the originals, Microsoft is being very aggressive with a combined Hardware and Software approach, which it needs if they hope to steal either mind or marketshare from Apple and Google in the tablet market.