Opinion Articles

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Last week at The Fonecast: 6th February 2012

Mark Bridge writes:

Facebook’s certainly had its share of privacy concerns – but last week the social network revealed plans to go public in a very different way. It formally announced its intention to launch on the stock market; what is known in the USA as an Initial Public Offering. The IPO is expected to raise around $5 billion, although that’ll just be a fraction of the total (and as yet undisclosed) value of the company.

What the IPO documents tell is us that Facebook currently has 845 million active users per month, with around half of those people accessing the site from their mobile devices. It also made $1 billion in net income during 2011. Big money indeed.

Meanwhile Apple and Motorola were waving multi-million dollar cheques around on Friday, metaphorically if not literally.

In Germany, a court granted Motorola Mobility a permanent injunction involving ‘push’ email on the Apple iCloud service. That’ll affect iPhones and iPads, although Apple is appealing and – whatever happens – it seems likely that some form of work-around could be put in place.

As well as this, Motorola paid a 100 million Euro bond to enforce a German injunction originally won in December against the iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 4 and 3G-equipped iPads. The products disappeared from Apple’s online store for a few hours before Apple appealed, apparently making a new offer to pay.

That second case involves ‘industry standard’ patents, which are required to be licensed on Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory terms. With the European Commission having just started an investigation into Samsung Electronics and the way it’s applied mobile-related patent rights, I’ll be interested to see what happens next.

If all that’s not confusing enough, spare a thought for mobile networks in India. Those who won auctions for a total of 122 GSM licences in 2008 have had them cancelled by the Supreme Court on grounds that parts of the process were a bit dodgy. Again, the big question is “what happens next?”

What’s definitely happening is the growth in mobile devices; a fact reinforced by recent research. Canalys noted the increase in tablets and the decline in netbooks while IDC talked about smartphones winning over feature phones.

Next, to jobs. Sony has named Kazuo Hirai as its new CEO from April. Kaz, as he’s often known, has been involved with many of the PlayStation’s recent successes. Sir Howard Stringer is stepping down – but only briefly before becoming Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Industry-watchers weren’t particularly surprised with that news – but there were a few raised eyebrows when Apple announced that John Browett, the CEO of Dixons Retail, had been appointed as Apple’s new senior vice president of Retail. John was, of course, played by Darth Vader in the company’s TV ads last year.

Finally, and remaining on the subject of advertising, Everything Everywhere has launched multi-million pound UK ad campaigns for its Orange and T-Mobile brands. Orange will be portrayed as the brand that “goes that extra mile to give customers more” while T-Mobile “offers brilliant value”.

T-Mobile’s value is currently demonstrated by a new tariff called The Full Monty, which includes unlimited calls, texts and internet access. Some have suggested the name is reminiscent of a transport café breakfast or the comedy film about male strippers. In either case, there’s probably too much sausage for everyone’s taste.

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Author: The Fonecast
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