Архив метки: Germany

Qualcomm patent dispute forces Apple to pull iPhone 7 and 8 from its stores in Germany

In more bad news for Apple, the company’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models are not currently on sale in its own retail stores in Germany.
This follows an injunction issued by a Munich court last month related to patent litigation brought by chipmaker Qualcomm that’s being enforced from today. The patent dispute concerns smartphone power management technology that’s used to extend battery life.
In December, the Munich court sided with Qualcomm, finding that Apple is infringing its patented power savings technology in the two models — granting a permanent injunction.
The court ordered Apple to cease the sale, offer for sale and importation for sale in Germany of infringing iPhones.
Apple has said it will appeal.
The Apple Germany website currently offers the newest models of the iPhone (the XS, XS Max and XR); and older models from 2014 (iPhone 6 and 6 Plus); 2015 (iPhone 6S and 6S Plus); and 2016 (iPhone SE). But buyers looking for 2016’s iPhone 7 or 2017’s iPhone 8 will be disappointed.
Yesterday Qualcomm announced it had posted security bonds totalling €1.34BN required by the court, enabling the injunction issued by the District Court of Munich on December 20 to be enforced.
The bonds are required to cover potential damages incurred by Apple should the judgment be overturned or amended on appeal. Qualcomm had said on December 20 that it would post the bonds “within a few days.”
In a statement yesterday the chipmaker also claimed the court had ordered Apple to recall infringing iPhones from third-party resellers in the market.
But at the time of writing, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models are still being offered by Apple resellers in Germany.
Amazon.de currently offers both handsets, for instance. Gravis, Germany’s biggest reseller of Apple products, also told Reuters it was still selling all Apple products, including the two models.
Qualcomm has also been pursing patent litigation against Apple in China and the U.S., and last month Apple appealed against a preliminary injunction banning the import and sales of old iPhone models in China.
In that case, the patents relate to editing photos and managing apps on smartphone touchscreens.
In the U.S., Qualcomm has most recently accused Intel engineers working with Apple of stealing trade secrets.
The feud dates back further, though. Two years ago the FTC filed charges against Qualcomm accusing it of anticompetitive tactics in an attempt to maintain a monopoly in its chip business — with Apple officially cited in the complaint.
Cupertino also filed a billion-dollar royalty lawsuit against the chipmaker at the same time, accusing it of charging for patents “they have nothing to do with.”
The legal battle between the pair shows no signs of fizzling out, and has led Apple to reduce its reliance on Qualcomm chips — with Intel the short-term beneficiary.
An Apple spokesperson declined to comment on the latest litigious development in Germany, but pointed to its statement from December 20 in which it takes a broad swipe at Qualcomm’s “tactics.”
In the statement, Apple also said resellers in the market would continue to stock all models.
It writes:

Qualcomm’s campaign is a desperate attempt to distract from the real issues between our companies. Their tactics, in the courts and in their everyday business, are harming innovation and harming consumers. Qualcomm insists on charging exorbitant fees based on work they didn’t do and they are being investigated by governments all around the world for their behavior.

We are of course disappointed by this verdict and we plan to appeal. All iPhone models remain available to customers through carriers and resellers in 4,300 locations across Germany. During the appeal process, iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models will not be available at Apple’s 15 retail stores in Germany. iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR will remain available in all our stores.

The sideswipe at Qualcomm’s “tactics” is perhaps also a reference to the use of a controversial PR firm, Definers, which — as we reported in November — sent pitches slinging mud at Apple seemingly on Qualcomm’s behalf.
Late last year Facebook confirmed it had severed its own business relationship with the PR firm after it was revealed to have used anti-Semitic smear tactics to try to discredit Facebook critics.
We’ve asked Qualcomm for comment on its use of the PR firm.

Qualcomm patent dispute forces Apple to pull iPhone 7 and 8 from its stores in Germany

German Supreme Court dismisses Axel Springer lawsuit, says ad blocking is legal

Germany’s Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit yesterday from Axel Springer against Eyeo, the company behind AdBlock Plus.
The European publishing giant (which acquired Business Insider in 2015) argued that ad blocking, as well as the business model where advertisers pay to be added to circumvent the white list, violated Germany’s competition law. Axel Springer won a partial victory in 2016, when a lower court ruled that it shouldn’t have to pay for white listing.
However, the Supreme Court has now overturned that decision. In the process, it declared that ad-blocking and Eyeo’s white list are both legal. (German speakers can read the court’s press release.)
After the ruling, Eyeo sent me the following statement from Ben Williams, its head of operations and communications:
Today, we are extremely pleased with the ruling from Germany’s Supreme Court in favor of Adblock Plus/eyeo and against the German media publishing company Axel Springer. This ruling confirms — just as the regional courts in Munich and Hamburg stated previously — that people have the right in Germany to block ads. This case had already been tried in the Cologne Regional Court, then in the Regional Court of Appeals, also in Cologne — with similar results. It also confirms that Adblock Plus can use a whitelist to allow certain acceptable ads through. Today’s Supreme Court decision puts an end to Axel Springer’s claim that they be treated differently for the whitelisting portion of Adblock Plus’ business model.
Axel Springer, meanwhile, described ad blocking as “an attack on the heart of the free media” and said it would appeal to the country’s Constitutional Court.

pic.twitter.com/8hgsrT3Uem
— Adblock Plus (@AdblockPlus) April 19, 2018

German Supreme Court dismisses Axel Springer lawsuit, says ad blocking is legal

Make Way For Another European Square: SumUp Launches With $20M+ In Backing

sumup

Add one more to the list of companies going head-to-head in the area of card payments by way of smartphone attachments: today, Berlin-based SumUp is opening up for business in the UK, Germany, Ireland and Austria, backed by an eight-figure Series A round, understood by TechCrunch to be over $20 million.

SumUp’s $20 million Series A investment comes from b-to-v Partners, Shortcut Ventures, Tengelmann Ventures and Klaus Hommels, the early Skype, Facebook and Xing investor. Before the $20 million round, SumUp had been bootstrapped by its founders, which include Daniel Klein, SumUp’s CEO, who was also one of the founders of PayPal competitor MoneyBookers (later rebranded as Skrill).

Similar to services like like Square, PayPal’s Here, iZettle, mPowa, Payleven and Intuit’s GoPayment, SumUp works by way of a free dongle that attaches to a smartphone or tablet — in its case an Android or iOS device — which can then be used with an app to read cards and take payments. And like the others, SumUp is targeting the large swathe of merchants and small businesses who currently do not have the facilities to take card payments. But if this sounds a little me-too and crowded, it’s clearly a space where investors still see a lot of opportunity for a startup to make a killing.

SumUp estimates that there are some 20 million small businesses in Europe today, but a large part of them are still only able to take payments by cash and checks because of the costs and infrastructure associated with traditional card payment services. Like others in the mobile payment space SumUp is banking on the growing uptake of smartphones — currently 32% penetration in Europe overall — and the increasing reliance on card transactions — they’re growing by 18% annually — to change that.

What is perhaps noteworthy about SumUp is that it is kicking off with a full launch — not a limited beta — in these four countries, with two of them, Germany and the UK, being some of the largest retail markets in Europe. The biggest competitor in Europe, iZettle, has up to now carved out some market share in the Nordics but is still only in beta in the UK; and of course Square and PayPal, the two biggest players in the U.S., have yet to enter the market here — although that seems to be something coming very soon.

[The launch today comes after a four-month closed beta in Germany, the UK, Ireland and Austria, which had been spotted early on by the German blog Deutsche Startups. The company has some 100 employees working in Berlin, Dublin and London.]

SumUp takes a 2.75% cut of every transaction made using its reader. It currently works with MasterCard, Visa and Europay and Stefan Jeschonnek, the MD and another co-founder, says that it’s currently in discussions with other card companies to extend that list.

You may recall that iZettle has been in a pickle in Europe over Visa cutting off its service because of the method iZettle uses to authenticate card users — iZettle requires a signature, which Visa says doesn’t meet its requirements. SumUp also takes signatures for authentication, but only on MasterCard transactions. For Visa customers get sent an SMS with a secure link, which they have to access on their devices to manually enter their full card numbers.

That sounds cumbersome, but Jeschonnek says SumUp is working on another method to speed up that process in future. “We are looking at different technology that we can use, and we are considering the chip-and-PIN solution [used by merchants who have payment terminals],” he says.

Another notable aspect of SumUp’s service is that the company is already developing the idea as more than just a point-of-sale card payment provision. Merchants have the option of using the app to preload several items that they sell, and that effectively turns SumUp into a kind of cash register.

This is, for now, limited to being used within SumUp’s own service, although Jeschonnek says it is also looking at how it might leverage APIs to offer this kind of functionality within merchant’s own apps.

“But right now we’re mainly focused on the problem of getting merchants to take cards,” he says. “We’re trying to solve a problem that still hasn’t been solved.”


Make Way For Another European Square: SumUp Launches With $20M+ In Backing

Apple Chomps At App Store Search? Developers See Shift In Search Results

App-Store-Icon

Apple is making potentially significant changes to the search algorithm in the App Store, at least according to some app developers. If you’re a developer or publisher counting on a well-chosen name to help with visibility, things could get tougher from here on out. But if you’re a popular and well-reviewed app, things might be looking up.

This could be an early step in the general revamp of App Store search and discovery that MG Siegler heard about when he broke the news in February that Apple had acquired app discovery startup Chomp.

Basically, it looks like App Store search is now weighting app names and keywords less heavily in its search results. Previously, if you were searching for something like “san francisco parking”, apps whose names included those search terms would rank more highly. Or if you searched for something like “traffic”, you’d get a bunch of games with names like Traffic Rush. Now, you’re more likely to see apps that aren’t just a simple keyword match. In traffic, for example, you see more actual traffic/navigation apps — and yes, a few games thrown into the mix.

We’ve heard a couple of possible explanations about why this is the case. Ben Sann, founder of BestParking.com, first tipped us off to the change, because he noticed that the Best Parking app had suddenly jumped to the top of a number of searches, including “chicago parking,” “dc parking,” and “sf parking”, in each case ranking ahead of apps that were a closer match for the search term. Sann’s theory: Apple is now putting a heavier emphasis on app downloads, so that BestParking has pulled ahead of apps with better names (at least, for a given search) but fewer downloads. If Sann is right, that could mean developers who built localized versions of their apps to target different search terms are going to get screwed, while more generalized apps that serve multiple geographies (like BestParking) will benefit.

Matthäus Krzykowski, cofounder of app search and data company Xyologic, has another explanation. He says that Apple has been incorporating download numbers into its rankings for a while now, and he suggests that what really changed is that Apple has gotten better at “topic detection”. In other words, it’s now better able to infer what you’re looking for when you type in a search term, so if you type in the word “gas”, you probably want apps that help you find gas stations or low gas prices, rather than driving games or apps that happen to have the word gas in their title (like fart apps). His team also says that the search rankings seem to be looking at other indicators of popularity, like ratings and comments.

That theory seems to be backed up by Chomp’s description of its technology: “Chomp’s proprietary algorithm learns the functions and topics of apps, so you can search based on what apps do, not just what they’re called.” In other words, if Apple is getting better at topic detection, it’s plausible that Chomp’s technology played a role.

And the change doesn’t seem to be rolling out in every country. It’s hard to do an apples-to-apples comparison for different geographies, because they have different apps and different languages, but our own Ingrid Lunden says she’s seeing similar changes in the UK’s App Store search results. And Krzykowski sent along screenshots of a search for “gas” or “benzin” (German for gas) in Germany and Poland. He notes that in Germany, the results include a lot more navigation apps, while Poland’s results include more random games, suggesting that the change has happened in Germany but not Poland.

In other categories, the change seems to be more subtle. I spoke to one mobile app developer who said that his apps seemed to be ranking higher in multiple categories, with some low-quality apps removed from the rankings, and the search results now matching up more closely with the App Store rankings. However, the change wasn’t dramatic enough that he could say for certain.

We’ve contacted Apple and will update if we hear back.


Apple Chomps At App Store Search? Developers See Shift In Search Results

The Rise Of Instagram: Tracking The App’s Spread Worldwide

instagram logo

The industry just can’t stop analyzing the Instagram success story, and this month, it’s app store analytics firm Distimo’s turn to take a crack at it. The company, which typically releases reports revealing notable mobile app and app marketplace trends, has turned its focus to the rise of Instagram. In its latest report, Distimo looked at how Instagram became successful, how it spread across the world, how the app’s usage compares to the number of downloads it received and more.

Instagram was launched about a year and a half ago, in October 2010. At the time, Distimo says the app was seeing under 10,000 downloads per day in the U.S. However, by April 2012, Instagram was generating well over 100,000 downloads per day in the iTunes App Store in the U.S.

Using data from real-time photo search engine Skylines in conjunction with its own, Distimo charted the app download increases from May 2011 to April of this year, and found that the cumulative downloads of Instagram were about 7 times higher in March 2012 than in May 2011. Instagram shares on Twitter had also increased more than 12 times – a metric that matters even more than downloads to some extent, because it points to active users and the average number of shares per user increasing.

After the release of the Android app and the Facebook acquisition, Instagram downloads increased to become around eight times higher than in May 2011. Shares also spiked to increase more than 20 times over May 2011.

Distimo then examined how the app fared outside the U.S. by analyzing trends in the top non-U.S. markets: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea and the U.K. Combined with the U.S., which alone accounts for 25% of the free downloads in the App Store for iPhone, these countries generate around 72% of the free app downloads.

Interestingly enough, Instagram is not equally successful in all these markets. It took Instagram only one day to reach the number one position in the Photography category in the App Store for iPhone in the U.S., but it took it over a year and a half in Korea and nearly two months in China. The reason for the slower rise is that these markets showed a preference for apps like Instagram, but that allowed sharing to local networks like Sina, QQ Space and me2day.

Instagram never reached the Top 300 apps list one day post-launch in China and Korea, and in Germany it only made it to position #288 one day post-launch, then disappeared off the top 300 list for a week.

In English-speaking countries, however, the app followed the same general course as it did in the U.S. It rose in popularity during the first month, dipped in December 2010, then rose again gradually during 2011, eventually becoming the most popular app in the whole iTunes App Store.

During March and April 2012, Instagram has never been ranked lower than the top 35 overall app in English-speaking countries. In Australia, the U.S. and Canada, it never dropped out of the top 25 during the same time.

Meanwhile, in Italy, Instagram followed the same general pattern as in the U.S. over the past year, but in France, Germany, China and Korea, it lagged behind in popularity when compared with the U.S. Instagram has been fairly popular through the entire period in Japan, but its popularity grew less there over the year than it did elsewhere, with its average monthly rank between 35 and 85.

In Japan, Italy and Australia, Instagram became a top 10 app within a month of its launch. In Germany, the U.S. and Canada, it took around 350 days. The moment it reached that spot coincided with when Instagram announced it reached 10 million users. Twitter sharing had also increased, with over 200,000 pictures posted to the network in one day via Instagram – 14% more than a week prior.

In China, Instagram never made it into the top 10 position. The highest it has been there is #12, which it reached on April 11, 2012.

While most of Distimo’s report looks into iTunes trends, Instagram did launch on Android on April 3, 2012. When Google’s algorithm began ranking the app a few days post-launch, it was already a huge success. By April 6, it was #3 in the U.S. Google Play store. Similar to iPhone trends, the app was most popular in the U.S. and less popular in Korea and China. It never made the top 300 in Korea and ranked #48 in China. In all English-speaking countries and Italy, Instagram reached the #1 spot in days and in France, the Android version became more popular than the iPhone version, reaching spot #9. In Germany, however, Instagram only reached #51.

The industry, media, pundits, and critics alike have been analyzing Instagram’s phenomenal rise over the past months, and debating whether it was worth the $1 billion price tag Facebook paid. Distimo says Instagram certainly “made its mark on the app market,” noting also that Instagram is a new kind of social network – one built entirely from an app. That alone was reason enough for Facebook to take interest, we’d say. Adds Distimo: “Instagram definitely proved the app store economy is something everybody should keep an eye on as the next big thing might just come from an app store.”


The Rise Of Instagram: Tracking The App’s Spread Worldwide