— KWP ComTech (@KWP_ComTech) December 16, 2013
Kantar ComTech has posted an interesting teaser on twitter. According to their data, in USA on mobile your platform was the main predictor of your search engine, with Android users mainly using Google, while Windows Phone users in general stuck with Bing.
This is of course far from true on the desktop, where Windows users overwhelmingly used Google over Bing.
This means, in theory, for every 10% market share gain by Windows phone, Google’s search engine would lose 6% market share, and with mobile making up 25-30% of search traffic it is certainly not something to be ignored.
Of course for Google to get really concerned Windows Phone would need to gain significantly more than the 2% market share in USA, but one can imagine in places like Italy where Windows phone is close to 10% of all smartphone users this may become an issue.
Yes, the patent battle between Microsoft and Google’s Motorola is still going on. Microsoft already won in the court that Motorola’s Android devices are infringing Microsoft’s patents. Motorola was trying to persuade the Federal Circuit to reverse lower court’s finding. However, The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit today ruled against Motorola’s appeal of an import ban Microsoft won from the United States ITC in May 2012.
From FOSS Patents,
The appeals court found that the ITC’s related determinations were based on substantial evidence. This is a rather difficult standard of review for appellants to overcome. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the appellate judges would have decided the case the same way with the same set of facts before them. It merely means that there were facts based on which one can’t blame the ITC for arriving at its conclusions, but the appeals court might have upheld the opposite decision as well.
Read more from the link below.
Source: FOSS Patents
This is really hard to believe. Google has released an update for its search for Windows Phone 8 devices. This app already features Google voice search, search nearby and autocomplete feature. This new update brings Google account integration, improved image search and several other bug fixes.
-Sign in to your Google account within the app.
-On Windows Phone 8, your voice commands are instantly displayed on the screen.
-Improved Google Image viewing.
-Several other bug fixes and resolution enhancements.
Download the app here from Windows Phone Store for free. How about a YouTube app, Google?
For the first time, Google’s acquisition of Motorola have made sense. Motorola today announced a new smartphone called Moto G. Here is the spec of the device,
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with 1.2 GHz quad-core CPU
- 4.5 inches diagonal (11.3 cm) 1280 x 720 HD, 329 ppi
- 8 GB standard, 16 GB version available, Two years 50 GB storage free on Google Drive
- Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion, 2070 mAh
- 5 MP camera with LED flash, 4X digital zoom, Slow motion video, Burst mode, Auto HDR, Panorama, Tap to Focus
- 1.3MP Front Camera
- 720p HD video (front and rear), Capture 30 fps
- GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSPA+ up to 21 Mbps
- Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) (guaranteed upgrade to Android 4.4, KitKat)
Even though none of the above spec would excite you, the price should. The 8GB model will cost $179 off contract and 16GB model for $199. Yes, Motorola is now so aggressive with the pricing following the debacle of Moto X. As a result, Google is now competing directly with Nokia on the low to mid range smartphone market where Nokia is gaining grounds in the recent few quarters. Especially, the models like Nokia Lumia 520, Lumia 620, Lumia 720 and the recently launched Lumia 625 contributes majorly to Lumia sales.
Nokia can easily release products that can compete with Moto G, but the real catch here is the price. Motorola is backed by Google which is ready to accept razor thin margins on device sales as they can recoup some amount later on ads and services. Nokia won’t be able to do the same until Microsoft’s acquisition gets over until Q1 2014. Even after the acquisition, I doubt Microsoft will go in the direction of Google. We have to wait and watch their strategy.
I saw some comments on Twitter that Moto G pricing and specs are unbeatable. I strongly disagree with them. Take the recently announced Nokia Lumia 1320 for example. It costs $140 more than Moto G, but it has larger 6-inch screen, 3400 mAh battery, 1080p video capture, LTE compatible, MicroSD card support and more. Nokia Lumia 625 which has almost similar specs as Moto G is now selling around $250. So this $199 pricing is highly achievable by Nokia. I guess the upcoming Nokia Lumia 72x device will directly take on Moto G both in pricing and specs. Nokia also got Lumia 525 which is yet to be announced and you can expect the same $100 – $150 pricing for it.
What do you think?
Microsoft today updated their YouTube app for Windows Phone devices. Don’t get too excited, it is actually a downgrade. This new update completely removes the YouTube app Microsoft built and it now acts as a shortcut to YouTube’s website. This is an expected situation because both Microsoft and Google never reached a feasible solution when discussions took place over the past few months. Microsoft released its own fully featured YouTube app few months back for Windows Phone users. After few days of the release, Google fired back at Microsoft saying that Microsoft’s YouTube app that violates their Terms of Service. Microsoft then announced that they will be working with Google to fix the issue, but it never happened.
Microsoft publicly criticized Google’s evil nature with a long blog post. You can read it here. As a result of Google’s nature, millions of Windows Phone owners will experience a bad YouTube service on their devices.
Slashgear reports that UK wireless regular Ofcom has authorized what it calls the largest exploration of “white space” frequencies the world has ever seen by the likes of Microsoft, Google, Spectrum Bridge, and upwards of 17 other private and public organizations over the next six months.
White Space are the frequency bands in between TV channels, which has been expanded recently with the demise of analogue TV in favour of Digital TV channels.
The companies are looking to use this precious spectrum to investigate delivering rural broadband , HDTV broadcasting, automobile traffic management, early flood assessments, utility monitoring, and the “Internet of things”.
The goal it to achieve this without interfering with neighbouring TV channels. Microsoft has been an early proponent of the technology, but their early implementation did cause some TV interference. In this experiment they will be concentrating on providing rural broadband and and setting up a network of sensors for detecting atmospheric conditions and feed them to a live map.
Interestingly Nokia has also recently demonstrated LTE that uses “white space” spectrum and a database of alternate uses in the region, and then intelligently hops out of the way to prevent interference, thereby increasing spectrum utilization by a significant 18% without any infrastructure outlay.
Eventual wide implementation of these ideas is still years away, and will depend heavily on the outcome of these trials, but it is interesting to note as a soon to be smartphone OEM Microsoft will have an advantage in building hardware and software that takes advantage of this new spectrum.
We joined developers in complaining the other day that Google has not updated their Windows Phone Ad SDK for Windows Phone 8, leaving developer with little choice except to use Microsoft Advertising ads, which has a really limited inventory and therefore limited the income developers could expect from their ad-supported apps.
The great news is that the coverage must have jogged some-one’s memory about the forgotten project, as Google has just announced a new AdMob SDK for Windows Phone 8.
The SDK will support:
- Create an AdMob banner view from code
- Embed an AdMob banner directly in an XAML file
- Show full-screen interstitial ads
- Register for ad events such as succeeding or failing to receive an ad
This beta version of the SDK does not include the following features that are available on iOS and Android:
- Ad Network Mediation
- Support for DoubleClick for Publishers
- Search Ads for Mobile Apps support
- MRAID support
The beta version of the AdMob SDK for Windows Phone 8 can be found here.
We do not take this development as a sign of relationships between Microsoft and Google warming up. More likely is that Google, an Ad company at heart, has realized it is missing out on 30-40 million Windows Phone users generating millions of dollars in ad revenue every year, and that that despite their best efforts so far Windows Phone is not going away, so they might as well make a buck.
At present Windows RT remains unsupported. Read more about the development at Google here.
The cold war between Microsoft and Google has never been closer to going hot, with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer openly calling for Google to be regulated.
Speaking at their Financial Analyst Meeting Ballmer said:
"They have this incredible, amazing, dare I say monopoly that we are the only person left on the planet trying to compete with."
Speaking of fighting this online search monopoly, he said "we’re the only guys in the world trying," with the Bing search engine, but that “…we have exactly the same quality of algorithms, but a lot less scale in search advertising, we will get less revenue per search than Google does, which means they have more money to pay for distribution on Samsung devices, or Apple. So we have to generate volume in order to step up."
"That advertising marketplace right now, Google has pretty well defensed," he continued. "But I think we’ve got a pretty good attack strategy. It will take a little bit more time, and a little bit more patience. I think it will have great economic return for our shareholders, and at the same time changes a lot of the competitive dynamics overall between our companies."
Microsoft was of course a famous victim of antitrust action by the DoJ in USA and also the European Commission in Europe, over bundling their browser and even media player with their operating system. Google itself has more than 90% of the search market worldwide, and has used this dominance to finance ventures such as the development of the Android operating system, which they subsequently gave away, harming Microsoft’s business of selling operating systems. Google has continued their attack on Microsoft, recently giving away their office suite and Chrome laptop operating system.
"I do believe that Google’s practices are worthy of discussion with competition authority, and we have certainly discussed them with competition authorities," said Ballmer. "I don’t think their practices are getting less meritorious of discussion."
Ballmer complained of "the bundling that they’re doing with YouTube and Google Maps and some other things," where for example a phone OEM could only get the Gmail app if they also took the YouTube and Google Maps app on their Android phone.
"I think they need pressure from competition authority. I think they need pressure in the marketplace," he said.
Via The Verge.com
Free, Ad-supported applications are of the of the biggest segments of the Windows Phone Store, but the rapid growth of the Windows Phone 8 market has outstripped Microsoft’s ability to provide ad inventory for these apps, resulting in a crash in earnings.
The natural route for these developers would be to implement ads from the biggest mobile ad provider in the world, Google’s AdMob, which has an ad network 10 times as large as its nearest competitor, according to App Brain.
While Google did release an AdMob SDK for Windows Phone 7 in March 2011, it seems there has been little change since, and this includes not upgrading the SDK to Windows Phone 8, essential for the higher resolution screens and other changes between the two operating systems.
On Google’s AdMob support forums Raj Parameswaran, Developer Programs Engineer at Google, said all the way back in December 2012 that the company was working on a Windows 8 SDK but did not have anything specific to announce.
Fast forward 6 months, and Google, who must have the slowest software engineers in the world, was still working on the SDK.
We reported a while ago that Microsoft and Nokia released a firmware for the Nokia Lumia 920 which removed Google as a default search provider.
We do not know if it was intentional or not, but a new version of the firmware, version 3047.0000.1326.2009, has just popped up on Navifirm which restores the option of using Google instead of Bing by default.
This is obviously a very important change in many places around the world, but we hope some forced exposure to Bing has caused some users to realize it is not actually as bad as they may have believed initially.
Thanks Rasool for the tip.
There are quite a few people (though less than before) who dismiss the need for a 3rd ecosystem in the mobile OS wars, seeing the competition between iOS and Android as more than enough to ensure consumers are served well.
I stumbled across a letter to the editor on the Financial Times however which makes a pretty good case for why not just carriers by also consumers should be supporting a 3rd ecosystem.
The correspondent writes:
Sir, I would take issue with John Gapper’s appeal to Microsoft to give up on consumers (“To Microsoft’s new chief executive: stop chasing consumers”, August 27). Despite having suffered the frustrations that come with the adoption of each new release of the Windows operating system, I am an absolute believer in the need for a third mobile ecosystem to compete with iOS and Android.
I have to admit to being a Nokia fan, but think that anyone who comes with an open mind to Windows Phone 8 must agree that it offers a compelling alternative and, as consumers, we should all be encouraging a third option.
As the Android platform becomes the Microsoft of the mobile world and iPhones are currently only affordable for most people if subsidised, we should be wary of dismissing WP8 devices, which can offer enterprises a seamless PC/tablet/smartphone experience that, up to now, only Apple has been able to provide to Mac users.
Various companies have already recognised the benefits that such integration can bring but, as Mr Gapper points out, in today’s world of “bring your own device”, it is the consumer who wields the power, so we should all hope that Microsoft, Nokia and mobile operators can work together to create awareness of and promote WP’s attributes in order to ensure that everyone can look forward to a mobile future that does not rely on a duopoly.
Susan Anthony, London SW6, UK
Consumers should bear in mind that if it was not for Windows Phone there would be no alternative to the high prices of iOS, or having to be part of the Google Advertising-driven ecosystem, where we would all be constantly tracked by a company who’s raison d’être is to sell our details to advertisers.
Windows Phone provides an alternative to consumers nervous about Google’s dominance , and should moderate the worst excesses of the company. Journalists should bear this in mind when encouraging Microsoft to give up on the consumer market.
Image via Dailytech.com