THE WRAP: Google buys Moto, Apple sued in SK
It was the week that saw Google buy its way into the hardware business, while Apple was sued in South Korea and India’s government made plans to revoke over 80 licenses.
By far the biggest story of the week – if not the year – was Google’s $12.5 billion (€8.7 billion) acquisition of Motorola Mobility.
Not unexpectedly, everyone’s got an opinion on what it means for Google and the broader handset industry. Overall, it means shoring up Google’s patent portfolio and a chance for the company to defrag the Android ecosystem. And while questions remain over what it means for other handset makers licensing Android, several of them have tentatively welcomed the deal.
Google also made headlines in the privacy debate this week as the UK’s information commissioner said he was seeking further improvements to Google’s privacy policies despite the firm meeting targets set in the wake of the payload data gathering scandal involving Google’s Street View.
Apple’s own privacy issues escalated this week in the form of a class-action lawsuit filed against it in South Korea.
The suit, filed on behalf of 27,000 iPhone users, claims Apple collected their location data without their consent. Apple already faces similar suits in the US following revelations that iPhones and iPads were collecting location data and storing them in unencrypted files – all without the user’s knowledge or consent.
It was also the week where the Indian government sought legal opinions over whether it can cancel up to 83 regional telecom licenses issued between 2006 and 2008 for not meeting rollout obligations.
Regulator Trai has been pushing for a decision on license cancellations since last year, but doing so could create a legal minefield for the DoT, reported LiveMint.
In other news for the week, Thai operator DTAC launched 3G services in Bangkok, despite threats from concession owner CAT Telecom to sue for breach of contract. CAT insists that DTAC has no authority to offer 3G, but admits the fact that DTAC is selling it at the same price as 2.5G data plans may keep it within current licensing terms.
It was good week for Huawei Technologies, which said it shipped 72 million mobile devices in the first six months of 2011 – 42% more than the same period last year and, as it happens, 12 million more than rival vendor ZTE.
Meanwhile, Huawei began rollouts of the Genius Brand LTE network in Hong Kong this week, which it says should be ready for commercial launch by 2012.
Also on the LTE front, this week’s Big Rumor: carriers in Europe have been testing LTE-enabled iPhones. The iPhone 5 is due to be unveiled next week, and speculation has been rife over whether it will be an LTE phone. Boy Genius Report claims that Apple's carrier partners are now testing iPhones with LTE capability.
Business news for the week: Indosat says net profit for the first half surged 137.5%, on cost cutting and solid wireless revenue growth; Reliance Communications reports a 37% slump in June-quarter net profit due to high debt costs and forex losses; Telekom Austria trimmed its full year outlook after swinging to a €59.9 million loss in the first half; and China Telecom Europe says it’s preparing to launch an MVNO in the UK as part of a three-pronged expansion plan for EMEA.
And finally, it was the week where we all got bored with social networks.
Well, not all of us. But a Gartner survey revealed that 24% of respondents are using their favorite social media site less than when they first signed up. That’s mainly among older users, but the survey chalks up the decline in usage to a mix of privacy concerns and short attention spans.
“Branded content needs to be kept fresh and must be able to capture people’s attention instantly,” says research director Brian Blau. “The new generation of consumers is restless and short on attention span, and a lot of creativity is needed to make a meaningful impact.”