apple vs samsung

“You think a corporate patent infringement battle would be boring,” writes Liz Gannes at Re/code, but in during this round of the Apple/Samsung suit, the documents brought forth by both sides as evidence make for some interesting reading. In this first of two installments, we take a look at three Apple documents that have been cited in the opening arguments.

Steve Jobs: A “Holy War with Google”

Apple’s once-close alliance with Google, which included having then-CEO Eric Schmidt as a member of its board, ended after Google decided to get into the smartphone game and the two companies started stepping all over each other’s turf. It was no surprise when Schmidt left Apple’s board in 2009, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that in 2010, Steve Jobs declared that their competition with Google was no mere fight, but a “Holy War” in a memo outlining the topics of the 2010 “Top 100″ meeting, a meeting attended by people whom Job felt were the 100 most crucial people at the company.

Steve Jobs at the D8 conference in 2010. If you want to know what his thinking was at that time — at the least the public version of it — this video is probably one of the best records.

Jobs observed that while Apple’s “digital hub” approach was their bread and butter, the hub was moving away from user-owned hardware like Apple computers, and to the cloud, which is Google’s strong suit. He felt that Apple was in danger of getting stuck in the Innovator’s Dilemma, sacrificing the future by serving the present too well and failing to account for change. He said that Google and Microsoft were more advanced with their cloud technology plans, but hadn’t yet found a good way to present them as a cohesive whole, something at which Apple excels.

Job’s solution: increased lock-in, including:

  • Playing catch-up with Android in areas where iOS was behind technologically, including speech, notifications, tethering
  • Leapfrogging them where possible (Siri was provided as an example)
  • Catching up and eventually beating Google in cloud services (photos and cloud storage were provided as examples)
  • Continuing to press their advantage over Google with music
  • “Stay in the living room game and make a great ‘must have’ accessory for iOS devices”

Here’s the entire email:

Apple’s “Customers want what we don’t have” presentation

apple slide 1

Another interesting document — perhaps less so from a legal standpoint, but more so from those of us who make a living on figuring out where mobile tech is going next — is a set of slides from an internal Apple presentation given at their 2014 fiscal year planning offsite that took place only a few days ago. In it, they note that they’re facing pressure from three different and crucial directions:

  • Consumers, who want their phones bigger and cheaper,
  • Carriers, whose interests aren’t align with those of Apple, and
  • Android (yes, the slide says competitors, but right now, that’s Android), who have upped their initially sad game in both terms of product and advertising.

This slide must’ve made for uncomfortable viewing at that meeting, and as 9 to 5 Mac says, may be a sign that the iPhone 6 will be bigger:

apple slide 2

Here’s the set of slides used in the hearing:

Phil Schiller’s emails with Apple’s advertising agency

Phil Schiller is Vice President, Worldwide Marketing at Apple, isn’t happy with the state of advertising for the iPhone, and he’s likely not happy with their advertising agency, Media Arts Lab. Here’s an excerpt from an email exchange between Schiller and his contact from Media Arts Lab:

I now have Apple board members asking “what is going on with advertising and what are you doing to fix it”. The team is too good to be in this spot.

In another exchange, he has praise for Samsung’s Superbowl ad:

Progress yesterday was good on the iPad advertising. Not good on iPhone.

I’ve seen the team come in time after time with super deep analysis, thought provoking briefs, and amazing creative work that had us feeling great that we are on the right path. I can’t say that is the case now with iPhone.

I watched the Samsung pre-superbowl ad that launched today, It’s pretty good and I can’t help but think “these guys are feeling it” (like an athlete who can’t miss because they are in a zone) while we struggle to nail a compelling brief on iPhone. That’s sad because we have much better products.

In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the ad that he’s talking about:

Here’s the email containing the excerpts above:


In the next installment, we’ll look at three documents from Samsung.

this article also appears in the GSG blog

{ 1 comment }

 The T-Mobile/BlackBerry breakup

blackberry t-mobile fight

The spat between T-Mobile, the smallest major carrier in the US, and BlackBerry, the smallest major mobile platform, started with T-Mobile’s February email campaign aimed at BlackBerry users, encouraging them to switch to the iPhone 5S. BlackBerry CEO John Chen was very quick to chastise T-Mobile for the move, as were many of the BlackBerry faithful, who took to Twitter in a campaign with the hashtag #CHOOSEBLACKBERRY10.

T-Mobile CMO Mike Sievert reached out in a blog post aimed specifically at BlackBerry users with an offer of a $200 credit toward a new device in exchange for a working BlackBerry of any vintage, with an additional $50 savings on new BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 devices. This olive branch was likely undone by T-Mobile’s irreverent CEO John Legere who tweeted this shortly after:

In case you’re not up on your social media platforms, MySpace was once the premier social media platform, but has long since sunk to irrelevance (oddly enough, BlackBerry still has a presence there — a seemingly neglected one, but a presence nonetheless).

The licensing agreement that allows T-Mobile to sell BlackBerry products expires three weeks from now — Friday, April 25th — and quite unsurprisingly, BlackBerry has announced that it will not be renewing it. In response, John Legere said in an open letter to T-Mobile’s BlackBerry users that:

We hear you and stand with you. We always have and always will. So, obviously, we were disappointed in BlackBerry’s decision this week to end their agreement with us.

But here’s what really matters most for BlackBerry owners. Whether you’re an individual customer or business customer, nothing changes.  Nada.  Zero.  Zilch.

In fact, to show our appreciation for all current consumers so passionate and loyal to all things BlackBerry, we’re offering a $100 credit toward any new device, including the BlackBerry Q10 or the Z10.  And this offer is good through the end of the year. So you can take your time.

A number of news outlets, including Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail have described BlackBerry as having “fired” T-Mobile, but as The Wire observes, “T-Mobile’s response is essentially, ‘You can’t fire us, because we already quit.’” BlackBerry devices haven’t been taking up much, if any, shelf space at T-Mobile’s retail shops for a while, and with even less market share than Windows Phone, their walking away isn’t likely to cause Legere to lose much sleep:

T-Mobile’s consumer-friendly approach is working

brandindex 1

According to BrandIndex, a site that performs analytics on “public perception of thousands of brands across dozens of sectors”, T-Mobile’s “uncarrier” strategy has been paying off in terms of value perception. In ongoing surveys where participants are asked “Does it give you good value for what you pay?” about AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon, the perception of T-Mobile has risen steadily since the beginning of the year. As of this writing, their value perception is tied with Verizon’s for first place.

brandindex 2a

Their aggressive campaigning has also gained likely converts. Since the beginning of the year, smartphone owners looking to change carriers are increasingly naming T-Mobile, followed closely by AT&T, as their choice for a new carrier.

AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon respond


The other carriers have been affected by the T-Mobile strategy; it’s been forcing them to drop their prices for new customers to match or even beat competitors’ and to reduce prices for current customers in order to convince them to stay. AT&T introduced a rate cut for family-plan customers in February to bring their prices closer to what T-Mobile charges for a comparable deal ($140). This week, Verizon quietly cut their family rate to match AT&T’s.  Sprint has introduced the “Framily” plans in response, but at $200 a month, their price is considerably higher.

Verizon has been able to charge premium rates, justifying them through their claim that they have the best network. This claim is backed by the August 2013 JD Power study and RootMetrics’ State of the Mobile Union report published in March 2014. Even so, the market has become considerably more price-sensitive, and Verizon don’t want to lose their most valuable customers: those in the 10-gigabyte-plus category, according to Current Analysis analyst Weston Henderek. The price cuts haven’t yet turned into a drop in the average revenue per subscription for them; in fact, this average rose to $157/month, an increase of 7%.

Verizon vs. T-Mobile, and OpenSignal’s take

With Verizon traditionally charging premium rates and T-Mobile aiming to gain customers by disrupting the way carrier charge, it’s no surprise that competition between then has been pretty fierce. Here’s an ad that Verizon’s been running for the past few months, which pokes fun at T-Mobile’s network coverage:

T-Mobile fired back, with both an announcement of “legal action demanding that Verizon cease and desist the carrier’s network map advertising” and this ad:

Of course, all this posturing doesn’t help us figure out which carrier actually has the best network. Once again, the answer is “it depends”, but there are some useful data, thanks to OpenSignal. OpenSignal are creating a database of cellular network towers, collecting data through crowdsourcing. Civic-minded users can download the free Android or iOS application and leave it running; it collects cellular networking information while running in the background, stripping it of identifying information as it does. In exchange for this volunteer effort, they create coverage maps that are freely available to view by anyone, anywhere, any time.

OpenSignal published their State of US LTE report in March, and based on the data collected from 103,025 users, they have determined that:

  • Sprint has the most-improved LTE coverage over the past 6 months,
  • Verizon has the best LTE coverage at 83.2%, and
  • T-Mobile has the fastest LTE network, at 11.5Mbps on average.

this article also appears in the GSG blog


Happy 41st birthday, cellular phone!

by Joey deVilla on April 3, 2014

martin cooper

41 years ago today, on April 3rd, 1973, Motorola’s Martin Cooper (pictured above with a Star Trek communicator — I’ll get to that in a moment) made the first public wireless phone call. He did so while doing something that we typically do today but must’ve seemed outlandish back then: while walking along New York City’s Sixth Avenue. In the spirit of competitive engineering one-upmanship, he called Joel Engel, who was had of research at Motorola rival Bell Labs.

Here’s a Discovery Channel dramatization of that historical call:

Cooper’s 1973 cellular phone was made on a device that weighed 1134 grams and had a battery life of about 20 minutes. It was a brick compared to today’s flagship phones; the Samsung Galaxy S5 weighs in at 145 grams, and the iPhone 5S is an even lighter 112 grams, and both have battery lives that reach into the double-digit hours, not minutes.

kirk on communicator

If we’re going to credit Martin Cooper, we also need to credit his inspiration: Star Trek. Here’s Cooper explaining how Captain Kirk became the muse for the technology he’d eventually invent:

If you want to watch the whole show that this clip came from, it’s on YouTube, and the show’s called — rather bombastically – How William Shatner Changed the World.

It would be another decade before cellular calling capability would be made commercially available. On October 13, 1983, the first commercial cellular phone call was made by Bob Barnett, president of the now-defunct Ameritech Mobile Communications, made a call on a cellular phone in a parking lot outside Soldier Field to Alexander Graham Bell’s grandson in Germany:

Here’s a quick recap of what the cellular revolution has brought, just in case you needed a refresher:

In conclusion: happy 41st, cellular phone!

happy birthday cellular phone

Click the photo to see its source.

this article also appears in the GSG blog


wwdc 2014

It’s that time of the year again: the time when people start trying to get tickets to WWDC 14, the 2014 edition of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference.

When and where is WWDC 2014?

This year, it will take place from Monday, June 2 through Friday, June 6, 2014 in San Francisco at Moscone Center West.

Are you eligible to apply for WWDC tickets?

To be eligible, you need to have a developer account in one of these programs:

  • iOS Developer Program
  • iOS Developer Enterprise Program
  • Mac Developer Program

…and that developer account has to have been active when WWDC was formally announced on Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 8:30 a.m. EDT (GMT-4) / 5:30 a.m. PDT (GMT-7). You’re not eligible to apply for tickets to this year’s WWDC if you signed up for your developer account today after 8:30 Eastern.

You also need to be at least 13 years old to attend. If you’re between the ages of 13 and 17 inclusive, you’ll need a parent or legal guardian to complete the submission form.

Okay, I’m eligible. Now what?

Go to the WWDC ticket registration page (this link will take you straight there, bypassing all of Apple’s preamble) and submit your information. That’s it.

The demand for tickets is, to use a Steve Jobs-ism, insanely great, so you’re not actually buying a ticket at this point, but entering into a lottery. If you’re one of the lucky people selected in the lottery, you will be able to buy a ticket.

Make sure you apply by Monday, April 7 at 1:00 p.m. EDT (GMT-4) / 10:00 a.m. PDT (GMT-7), otherwise you won’t be eligible for the lottery.

How do I find out if I won the lottery?

Apple will notify you whether of not you won a ticket to WWDC in the lottery by Monday, April 7 at 8:00 p.m. EDT (GMT-4) / 5:00 p.m. PDT (GMT-7).

How much will a ticket cost if I win the lottery?

US$1600. Actually, it’s US$1599, but I won’t let you fall for the ol’ “price ending in ’99′” trick.

Don’t forget that there are also the costs of meals, travel, and accommodations. The Pickwick, the cheap-and-cheerful choice of many people who go to conferences at Moscone (it’s a short walk away), will run you about $220 a night at the early bird rate.

Is it worth going?

it depends

I’m going to have to go with the Standard Consultant’s Answer: “It depends”. Much of the material covered at WWDC sessions appears in Apple’s own documentation as well from other online sources, and Apple makes videos from WWDC sessions available on its Developers site (Steve Hayman informs me that the videos of sessions go up on the same day). If you’re going just to learn iOS/Mac OS programming, save the $1600 + hotel and travel costs and wait for the session videos to appear in Apple’s Developers site. If you really want to learn iOS/Mac OS programming that week, take the week off, pick a tutorial or project, and code, code, code.

The reason to go to WWDC is the actual in-the-flesh experience itself. I’d have loved to have had the chance to catch a real “Stevenote” in person, and hey, even a Tim-and-Craignote might be fun to see in real life as well. There’s also the open access to Apple engineers for in-person Q&A. And finally, there’s the chance to network with iOS and Mac OS developers and other techies, and the opportunities that can arise from that sort of thing (never, ever underestimate that!).

I think the “Is it worth going?” question was answered pretty nicely by this guy, who posted the following to a MacRumors discussion forum back in April 2009:

If you learn enough to increase your sales by around $10/day, or make enough connections to get (or contract out) a few dozen hours of consulting work, or find some new business partnerships or opportunities, attending could be more than worth it.

Plus, if you are selling apps, the tax deduction likely pays for a healthy percentage of the business cost (but ianal & ianacpa).


You’ll probably also want to read the Quora question “Why should a developer go to WWDC?”.

{ 1 comment }

osi network layer cats

The “OSI Network Model, Featuring Cats” picture was a hit on Twitter; I have pages and pages of retweets. Who knew there was such a demand for layered diagrams featuring stacked felines?

Of course, OSI pretty much remained a model, mired in bureaucratic turf wars and interminable committees, and was eventually usurped by TCP/IP. While considered more hackish by academics and other standards hounds at the time, it was actually implemented, and it’s the reason you’re enjoying all these networking cat pictures right now. TCP/IP has four layers as opposed to OSI’s seven, and luckily there just happens to be a cat picture online with 4 stacked cats:

tcp-ip cat layers

The photo is perfect, right down to the homemade pile of cardboard boxes, which do a great job of symbolizing the JFDI (“Just Effing Do It”), “worse is better” approach that TCP/IP’s implementors. It contrasts nicely with commercially-made plastic stacking baskets from the OSI cats photo.

If you’d like to know more about the differences between the OSI and the TCP/IP approaches, take a look at the IEEE Spectrum article, OSI: The Internet That Wasn’t. You might also be interested in Alex Martelli’s Google talk, Good Enough is Good Enough.

{ 1 comment }

seven layer cats

Click the photo to see the source.

While doing my daily rounds of amusing pictures to use in blog posts, I found a photo of cats in stacking baskets. Since I work in the field of mobile devices, I’m never far from the topic of networking, and immediately counted the layers of cats — seven! If you’ve ever taken a networking course that covered concepts and theory, you might have thought of the same thing I did:

osi network layer cats

Feel free to use this to put a little amusement into your next presentation on networking.


By popular demand, I put together a photo of TCP/IP’s layers with cats:

tcp cats preview

{ 1 comment }


Today’s BYOD news roundup takes a look at some of the legal wrinkles that come up when an organization lets its employees bring their own devices for work, some ways to simplify your BYOD security policy, and the fact that when people bring their own devices, they bring along with them their own cloud app accounts, something that many IT departments have ignored.

BYOD and the law


The recently-held Enterprise Connect Orlando 2014 conference featured a session titled Assessing the Legal Issues Around BYOD, which looked at the  sort of legal exposure that companies with BYOD programs could face. Among the risks and potential liabilities covered in the session were:

  • Lost or stolen devices. The top concern in InformationWeek’s 2013 State of Mobile Security Survey and IT directors everywhere, a misplaced smartphone or tablet can give a malicious party the “keys to the kingdom”, either in the form of sensitive data or unauthorized access to corporate resources. The former can be dealt with through virtualization technologies that keep sensitive data in the cloud and off the device, while access control technologies such as mandatory passcodes  can help prevent the latter.
  • Mis-wipes. Many companies rely on Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync or IBM Notes Traveler for the ability to remotely wipe employee devices, but they’re blunt tools that completely wipe the device clean of all data, both corporate and personal. A number of EMM and containerization solutions make it possible to limit the wipe to just the corporate data, preserving personal information, including irreplaceable stuff such as personal photos (I’ve seen a number of people whose only copy of their recordings of their child’s first steps or words live on their smartphone). Still, there’s always a chance that a remote wipe may be done in error or extend to include personal data, which may provide grounds for a suit. Users need to be educated about such possibilities and the importance of regular backups.
  • Surrender for ediscovery. Employees have to be informed that they will be required to surrender their mobile devices if they are required for electronic discovery — the process of identifying and collecting and producing electronically-stored data in the course of an investigation or lawsuit. Some organizations provide employees who have surrendered their devices for ediscovery with a “courtesy device”.
  • “Texting while driving”. An employee who gets into a car accident while using a mobile device for work — a business call, text message, or other use of the device — may end up making the employer liable, as it happened on company time and the employer is the involved party with the deepest pockets. The damage awards have been in the millions. Everyone on the session panel recommended an outright ban on mobile device use while driving, but as the article puts it: “About the best we can do in the mobility policy is include guidance regarding the safest ways to avoid all distractions while driving, point out which situations are most potentially hazardous, and suggest techniques for avoiding them.”

Other points made in the session:

  • Privacy. MDM helps mitigate a number of problems with BYOD, including legal ones, but many users resist it out of fear that it will let IT view personal information. Employers should make clear what IT can and can’t see on employee devices with MDM software, a topic we’ve covered earlier.
  • Penalties. Mobile policies are just words if the penalty provisions in them aren’t enforced, and in court, advertised but unenforced penalties will work against you.
  • Policy, buy-in, and knowing the limits. Your best defense against all sorts of BYOD trouble, legal and technical, is a combination of policy input and buy-in from various departments (legal, HR, security, line of business managers), and recognize the limits of enterprise mobility management technology.

Mobile technology as we know it is still a relatively new field — less than a decade old — as is the law surrounding their use. There aren’t many precedents yet, but with good planning, clear communication of policy, and judicious use of management technologies, you can avoid setting one of them.

5 ways to simplify your BYOD security policy


Business News Daily reports on PJ Gupta’s (CEO of Amtel, a mobile security solutions firm) five tips for success with BYOD security:

  1. Protect enterprise data and apps. This is the primary goal of workplace BYOD management, and requires both security policies and technologies.
  2. Secure the device. Mobile devices use for work are both stores of valuable corporate data and access to even more online. You need to be able to manage access to the device as well as data both on the devices and accessible via the device, and be able to disable the device if necessary.
  3. Ensure personal privacy. While control of BYOD devices is important, the device, along with some of the data and use cases, is the employee’s. Limit location tracking to case where the device is misplaced or stolen, avoid rigid policies in blacklisting and blocking apps, and ensure that personal data is not wiped from the device without employee consent and only when absolutely necessary.
  4. Use enterprise mobility management solutions. A good cloud-based EMM solution makes enrollment easy, protects against all manner of threats, and stays out of the user’s way.
  5. Monitor and take action. Device management works best with vigilance: real-time monitoring of data access and audit trails, automatic alerts, and analytics can reveal threats that can be acted upon before the situation becomes much worse.



Another recent conference, the Cloud Innovation Forum in Saratoga, California, a panel discussion covered what its panelists felt was a new challenge: BYOC — Bring Your Own Cloud. As people have been bringing their own devices for work, they’ve also been using their own accounts with cloud-based applications and services. While IT departments have focused on the devices, the applications on them, as well as the cloud-based computing and storage resources those apps that they use also create their own issues, and they need to be reckoned with.

The article concludes with this paragraph:

When it comes to security, this means moving more of our resources out to applications rather than on physical infrastructure as “a lot of applications are in the cloud and it’s hard to manage security on the device in this BYOD world,” according to [panelist] Rai.

this article also appears in the GSG blog