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RealNetworks claims CSS license lets it copy DVDs. Sues studios

RealNetworks is filing an anti-trust action against the major US studios. It says it has a license to use CSS decryption which it obtained legally, and therefore its RealDVD copying software is not only legal, but attempts by the studios to block it amount to anti-trust. It will be interesting to see if a court agrees. Subtly it …
Faultline, 21 May 2009
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Electronics giants raise ruckus over Project Canvas

Project Canvas, the joint venture of the BBC, ITV and British Telecom, must be up to something good considering that some makers of consumer electronics (CE) gear are squealing "foul". The UK's Intellect Technology Association, whose members include Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, Toshiba and Pace, said in a submission to the BBC …
Faultline, 08 May 2009

Subsidized netbook model could sweep away 20 years of PC history

While many stories this week rest on whether or not Apple will bother with a netbook (Steve Jobs has said the iPhone does everything a netbook does anyway, and was reported as saying “We don’t know how to build a sub-$500 computer that is not a piece of junk”), the issue really is whether or not you belong to the school of …
Faultline, 02 Apr 2009
channel

Cisco battles Meltdown with mobile and video

Cisco CEO John Chambers claims to have a ‘playbook’ for coping with recessions, and two of its principles of survival are to prepare for the upturn in order to benefit more than rivals, and to use customers’ own pressures during the bad times to deepen relationships with them. Both of these principles will be tested in the …
Faultline, 13 Nov 2008
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Advertisers should speak up on where Yahoo assets should be

When thinking about the Google Yahoo deal and why we felt it was out and out anti-trust, we were reminded of an old joke. When it was told to us years ago it was about an accountant, but the punchline was the same. In the accounting version of the joke when the successful accountant was asked what one and one made, he replied “ …
Faultline, 13 Nov 2008
For Sale sign detail

EC to drag fibre from incumbents' greedy paws

European Commissioner for Competition Neelie Kroes is proposing a radical shake up of telco competition in Europe which she hopes will stimulate aggressive deployment of fibre to the home across Europe - what the Commission calls Next Generation Access (NGA). What she is trying to do right now is get agreement on a Europe-wide …
Faultline, 25 Sep 2008
hands waving dollar bills in the air

Enterprises throw caution to the wind in 802.11n rush

The wireless industry changes at the speed of light and so do the attitudes of its customers. Five years ago, amid the intense nervousness of enterprises about adopting pre-standard fast Wi-Fi standards or insecure - Wi-Fi at all - who would have predicted the carefree abandonment with which corporates are now embracing pre- …
Faultline, 13 Sep 2008
channel

Ericsson ST move helps consolidate wireless chip makers

The announcement this week that Ericsson would merge its Mobile Platforms division into the ST-NXP Wireless business sent shock waves around the industry. The first words on everyone’s lips - especially those of US financial analysts - were: "What does this mean for Texas Instruments?" which of late has suffered blow after blow …
Faultline, 21 Aug 2008
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Qualcomm: Interview with a cellular vampire

The 1976 Anne Rice novel Interview with the Vampire which showed the a sympathetic and softer side of the vampire and which uncovered both the mind-numbing ennui of being immortal and the complete lack of a sense of belonging, and other disadvantages to being uniquely powerful and yet disliked, was the first image that struck us …
Faultline, 18 Aug 2008

Apple's AppStore closes in on $500m in software sales

Apple is as usual dazzling the market with stunning headline figures that frequently overshadow underlying problems and dissatisfaction with its iconic iPhone and associated services. As bullish analysts say the device is set to sell almost 4.5 million units this quarter on the back of aggressive international expansion, CEO …
Faultline, 16 Aug 2008
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Mobe operators warn of ruin if regulators set roaming charges

The last thing you want when you get back from a holiday abroad is a £200 hike on your cell phone bill, brought about by what are seemingly invisible roaming charges, and usually because the office phoned you, not the other way around. So the battle between the GSMA, representing cellular operators everywhere, and the European …
Faultline, 11 Jul 2008
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Third time lucky? Google seeks open access in white spaces

The results of the US 700MHz auction were far from fulfilling Google’s dreams of an open wireless network that would significantly boost unfettered internet usage across the airwaves, and so its own revenues. The search and advertising leader is not giving up on its quest for spectrum to support the expansion of its business …
Faultline, 03 Apr 2008

Verizon makes nice with P2P

From an ISP’s point of view, P2P traffic can appear to be exceptionally daunting. If they choose to block it, as some have accused almost all of the major US ISPs of doing, then their networks would become ghost networks, with virtually no traffic in sight. But if they embrace it, their networks are fast moving crazy places, …
Faultline, 24 Mar 2008
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Will the US 700 MHz auction be remembered for dismembering wireless?

Faultline has not covered much of the 700 MHz auction, not wanting to read into it too much, and seeing that it is not yet clear how much of it is directly about networks which carry video or other forms of entertainment, which is our chosen territory. But now, as it approaches its end, we find that a review of all the content …
Faultline, 06 Mar 2008
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Nokia gets the upper hand in global IPR wrestle with Qualcomm

While we are not saying that the long-running battle between Nokia and Qualcomm is actually over - anything but - there are signs that Nokia’s position is a lot stronger than many observers first thought. Last week, the International Trade Commission said it would not review its earlier decision that Nokia did not infringe three …
Faultline, 06 Mar 2008
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Wireless industry slams NAB's white space 'misinformation'

The row over US ‘white space’ spectrum continues, with the newly formed Wireless Innovation Alliance stepping up its campaign to convince the FCC and the industry that wireless devices can be used in these areas without interfering with digital TV signals. The WIA last week accused the broadcast industry, as represented by the …
Faultline, 17 Jan 2008
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Nokia jumps on mobile ad-wagon

In its bid to bring the full internet experience to the mobile device, Nokia will need to formulate a clear strategy for mobile advertising, an important internet revenue driver, but also an area fraught with risks. Nokia said last week it was devising a platform that would avoid the "unseemly" aspects of conventional internet …
Faultline, 30 Nov 2007
Java

MS drifts towards over-the-top Java services with Musiwave buy

All the coverage thus far about Microsoft splashing out $46m for Musiwave, has been about how the mobile music service supplier has had a dramatic fall from grace, and has cost parent OpenWave some $80m. But perhaps the focus should be on Microsoft buying a company that exclusively uses Java applications, mostly on Symbian …
Faultline, 23 Nov 2007
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Will Christmas sound the death knell for Atari?

There is increasing concern that the Atari brand is finally on the verge of disappearing, as it concluded a quarter where its losses are bigger than its revenues, which have crashed to just $10.4m. Three years ago, Atari amassed sales of $343m, which fell to $206m last year and $122m for the year just gone. Its belated quarterly …
Faultline, 18 Nov 2007
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Google phone, Google phone OS, Google apps – or just Google Ads

It becomes increasingly hard to work out where the control point in handset design is. Once we all thought it was the hardware, then it was the operating system, and just as we start to think that it’s the service layers above the operating system, then it’s all in the network, an finally Apple comes along and tells us it’s the …
Faultline, 13 Oct 2007
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Sprint Nextel and Verizon jury trials have Vonage on the brink

Sprint has won a second jury trial over patent infringement against US VoIP service Vonage, in what is an echo of the defeat inflicted earlier by Verizon. The patent numbers used in the Sprint Nextel case versus Vonage could all be about the same patent, the process of mapping a narrowband message, for instance a PSTN network, …
Faultline, 06 Oct 2007
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Doubters fret at Nokia Navteq deal

Nokia has spent the greatest part of its life being misunderstood by US stock analysts, and its move to acquire US mapping company Navteq, for a colossal $8.1bn, at $78 a share, is no exception. Navteq had revenues last year of just $581m but is on track for about $800m this year, with its last quarter up 49 per cent to $202.3m …
Faultline, 05 Oct 2007
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There's life in IPTV

The key reason for Faultline to go to the IBC conference and exhibition in Amsterdam each year is to test the temperature of the entertainment industry, with its 47,000 visitors from over 120 countries and its 1,300 exhibitors. By any standards, but especially European standards, it is a big show. It is of course many shows …
Faultline, 16 Sep 2007
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Philips looks to build 'huge' video database for video ID service

When Philips Research fell out of the audio fingerprinting business in 2005, it obviously left something of a scar, with the business sold for an unspecified amount, but since it was just as the buyer, audio database specialist Gracenote, had just raised $10.9m, that was taken to be the amount. But talking to Alex Terpstra, the …
Faultline, 14 Sep 2007
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US municipal Wi-Fi loses its shine

A year ago, hardly a week went by without news of a major municipal wireless project in the US, supporting free or subsidized access and a host of shiny business models. Now hardly a week goes by without news of the death of one of these plans. The San Francisco roll-out, the poster child for the free Wi-Fi movement, largely …
Faultline, 10 Sep 2007
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Walkman completes Sony conspiracy to hammer iTunes

The newspapers were full of stories during 2004 about how Microsoft or RealNetworks or Napster were going to knock Apple's iTunes off its perch, and time and time again, nothing really happened. Now we have the reverse. There are genuine storm clouds and dark forces gathering around the iTunes and iPod brands and most of the …
Faultline, 07 Sep 2007
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iPhone sparks counter measures from Verizon, RealNetworks and MTV

Whenever a single monolithic company has launched against the globe spanning iTunes, Apple has been able to move the goalposts and push further and further towards a monopolistic market share of online music, but this week a genuine challenge has emerged, one that we are certain will dent the success of Apple, and we suspect …
Faultline, 24 Aug 2007
channel

Broadband over power turns on both sides of the Atlantic

Sending broadband signals over electricity cable has always confused people. The Home Plug Alliance, began life offering a way of sending broadband signals around a home, and then started working on ways to bring broadband to the home with a related technology, while the Universal Powerline Association sort of did the opposite …
Faultline, 23 Aug 2007
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Mediaroom: Microsoft's 'operator friendly brand'

A briefing last week from Microsoft's Christine Heckart, the general manager of marketing for Microsoft's freshly named Mediaroom TV business, attempted to straighten out one or two misconceptions about the new name, and additional features added recently to the software. Heckart continues to push the party line of the term " …
Faultline, 09 Aug 2007
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BBC to advertise to foreigners

UK public broadcaster the BBC is adding advertising to broadband-delivered video news service when it is delivered outside the UK. The shift to online delivery of video could make a huge difference to the BBC, which is paid for entirely by an annual public levy of around $270 per household across the 24 million or so TV homes …
Faultline, 09 Aug 2007
Iphone

Apple takes flak as AT&T drops iPhone bomb

AT&T's declaration that only 146,000 Apple iPhones registered on its network in the first two days it was on the market has led to widespread shock at what is now being seen as the device's failure and a down period for Apple shares, sliding 7.5 per cent over a few days last week, a fall of some $10bn in total market …
Faultline, 31 Jul 2007
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OECD: broadband is unequal

There's a great variance around the US in broadband speeds and prices. The differences are even greater when countries are compared. A report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) points out that broadband users in Japan have 100 Mbps connections, which is 10 times faster than the average of the …
Faultline, 31 Jul 2007
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The audience cackles as Sony launches Crackle

You may have heard that Sony has renamed the Grouper user generated website that it bought a while back for some $65m, as Crackle, and begun trying to drag its content into the professional zone by putting up minor amounts of content that Sony owns to make the professional level of the site stronger than, say, YouTube. We knew …
Faultline, 21 Jul 2007
Sun

Sun breaks into U-Verse

Sun has broken into the AT&T IPTV account with its Sun Fire X4600 servers, which are either to be used as part of the U-Verse video-on-demand server system or to offer extra IP services over the top. In fact, there is little new here, with Microsoft approving IBM and HP servers as long as they run the Windows server operating …
Faultline, 20 Jul 2007
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FCC chair paints a picture of wireless devices as open as PCs

The chairman of the US regulator the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Kevin Martin came out this week and told a US newspaper just what he has in mind for the 700 MHz spectrum auction in late 2008, talking about an open network which lets any wireless device connect to it, and which places no limits on the services that …
Faultline, 13 Jul 2007
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Skinkers to provide live TV over the net

Skinkers, using technology called LiveStation that it acquired from Microsoft, has developed a peer-to-peer-based video service that allows consumers to watch live television on their PC. Some have taken to calling it a Joost killer, even though Joost is barely alive and Skinkers so far has scant content and is not even in beta …
Faultline, 13 Jul 2007
server room

WiMAX to lead $13bn capex boost in 2007-2012

Capex investment on pre-4G wireless systems will reach a cumulative total of $13bn by 2012 if new spectrum allocations, and technology roll-outs, stay on schedule. The main systems attracting this global spend will be 802.16e and its successor 802.16m, and LTE. However, while the latter will see a strong uptick in growth from …
Faultline, 29 Jun 2007
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Nokia restructuring from strength for mobile internet

Three years after its last major reorganization, Nokia has announced another one, as new CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo seeks to stamp his mark further on the firm and accelerate the push towards being a mobile internet company, his stated objective. This time, Nokia is to recombine all its handset activities into one unit, called …
Faultline, 28 Jun 2007
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Steve Jobs: struggling to redefine the TV paradigm

Getting into the mind of Steve Jobs isn't all that simple, and sometimes you just have to wait until he tells you what went through his mind in order to explain the latest Apple phenomena. But the picture around Apple TV is starting to clear with some rumours and snippets revealed this week. The first is a rumour only, that …
Faultline, 15 Jun 2007
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Joost everywhere, embedded in hardware

This week, Joost started publicly talking about getting equipment manufacturers to embed its video-playing software in TV sets and other consumer hardware. That would help it solve two problems. First, the glitches it's currently running into when it tries to deliver high-quality video over internet connections that are too …
Faultline, 15 Jun 2007
Google

Google promises mobile software platform to challenge Windows

The most critical battle in the wireless world is to take the reins of the mobile internet as it evolves, and that means all the majors are trying to create a software platform that will make the web even more usable on a small device than it is on a PC, and so drive new applications and revenue streams. The company that plays …
Faultline, 08 Jun 2007
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Video and web access to keep comms healthy

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) report makes fascinating reading every year, mostly because it points to the sheer scale of the industry, but also because it highlights just how big the trends we have been following have already become and how big they are likely to become in a few more years, projecting out to …
Faultline, 07 Jun 2007

PSP patent gets gadget geeks guessing

We're not sure who found it first, but a patent has been issued in the US (numbered 20070123309), which highlights just how Sony might allow the PlayStation Portable to become a cellular handset. The news is all over gadget sites this week and is accompanied by the drawings below. In essence, it is a simple way to rotate the …
Faultline, 07 Jun 2007
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Qualcomm IPR gravy train hits the buffers

Qualcomm had yet another setback in the courtroom this week, as Broadcom was awarded $19.64m in damages for incorporating Broadcom technology in its baseband chips and software. The award came from a Jury trial in the US District Court in Santa Ana, California, which also found that three Broadcom patents are valid and that …
Faultline, 01 Jun 2007
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Vodafone claims Spanish ISP in quad play push

One story that sneaked past us at the end of last week was the fact that Vodafone has managed to outbid other mobile operators for the Spanish ISP Ya.com. We feel the deal presages a quadruple play move by Vodafone within the year. So Vodafone continues to build up fixed line stakes in all of the largest markets in Europe and …
Faultline, 25 May 2007
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DirectTV turns focus to power lines for broadband

DirectTV CEO Chase Carey said at a conference this week that the largest US direct to home satellite provider will try out broadband over power lines in a few cities later this year. And in that simple statement he may have delivered the biggest body blow to WiMAX in the US that he could have, and in particular to Craig McCaw's …
Faultline, 18 May 2007

HTC takes a gamble with new brand and OS strategy

Every time Microsoft scores a point in its tortuous quest to become a major mobile player, it seems to suffer a balancing setback. So while the recently announced updates to Windows Mobile made the OS look far more credible on a small device than it had before, the software giant had to endure its primary handset ally, Taiwan's …
Faultline, 18 May 2007
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T-Mobile eyes hotspots and Sprint femtocells

The large cellcos continue to wrestle with the thorny issue of how to turn the mobile internet trend to their advantage, even as it chips away at their walled gardens and therefore their margins. The US carriers are currently leading the way in creative thinking, even if the Korean and Japanese cellcos have the most receptive …
Faultline, 11 May 2007
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Give people back more time and they will buy your IPTV - Microsoft

Research conducted by Screen Digest for Microsoft suggests that there is a target audience of around 230 million people that might consider buying into IPTV or another pay TV service in seven top TV countries, and the software giant reckons that 75 million of them say they would switch TV suppliers if they have the right …
Faultline, 10 May 2007
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P2P start-up snags almost every film in Hollywood

Every news source that covers digital media this week followed the Wall Street Journal in heaping praise on start-up Vudu that has managed to get most of Hollywood, not counting Sony, to give it access to major motion pictures for downloading over the web, using a peer to peer architecture. But apart from the non-technical …
Faultline, 04 May 2007