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Steve Jobs,” the authorized biography of Apple’s co-founder and former chief executive written by Walter Isaacson, was the bestselling book on Amazon.com this year, according to the online retailer’s website.

That’s an impressive accomplishment considering the book was published in late October, and had less than two months to rise to the top. Jobs died Oct. 5.

Intriguingly though, while the Steve Jobs biography was one of the bestselling e-books for the Kindle, it was not THE bestselling book. That honor went to “The Hunger Games,” a young adult book originally published in 2009 that is set to become a major Hollywood movie release in March 2012.

The Steve Jobs biography was the No. 3 bestselling book for the Kindle. It was also beat out by John Grisham’s “The Litigators,” which was also published in October.

One more interesting note from the bestseller list: The parody not-for-kids book “Go the F– to Sleep” was the No. 10 bestselling print book on Amazon for the year. This is interesting because proofs of the book went viral on the Web before it was published. It turned out that rather than spoiling the surprise, the proofs fueled sales in a very big way.


Microsoft on Tuesday began wooing developers for a February opening of its first “app store” for computers powered by the US technology giant’s Windows software.

The Windows Store will open in late February when Microsoft releases a test version of its next-generation Windows 8 operating system.

It will take on Apple and Google in the booming market of fun, hip or functional programs built for smartphones, tablets, or computers.

“I think we are going to do great,” Windows Web Services vice president Antoine Leblond said as he gave developers and press a preview of the store in a San Francisco art gallery.

“The reach of Windows is absolutely huge and can’t be matched,” he continued, noting that the Microsoft operating system powers a half billion computers around the world.

Independent developers understandably devote their limited resources to making programs for platforms that promise the most potential customers, and Windows would outshine Apple gadgets and Google Android devices in that regard.

However, Windows has a meager presence when it comes to smartphones and tablets, where third-party applications such as games are typically bought.


A Google executive recently said the cloud computing market in 2012 will focus more on mobile devices and social networking in order to keep pace with businesses’ interests. Amit Singh, vice president of Google Enterprise, told eWeek that the cloud trend next year will try to move businesses more into the realm of teamwork from the era of individual production.

With the move more into social networking, Singh said Google is trying to push forward the integration ability of its social networking website Google+. Singh said businesses will start using more of a BYOD, or bring your own device, approach when it comes to using mobile devices at work. Peter Coffee of Salesforce.com said he sees the cloud helping users break through with features and capabilities they may not have had before, such as the ability to create a document on one device and view it on another.

“People do not want to be burdened by what device is holding a piece of content,” said Coffee, who added that having content that is device-neutral will be important for everyone in the business world.

Gartner’s predictions for the future of cloud computing agrees with Singh’s prediction, adding that by 2016, 50 percent of cloud-based email users will rely on a browser, tablet or mobile device instead of a desktop.


Google on Tuesday announced that more than 10 billion applications had been downloaded worldwide in its software store Android Market.

In a company blog post, Google said Android Market reached the milestone with a growth rate of one billion app downloads per month after app downloads hit 6 billion in July.

Partnering with some Android developers, Google also unveiled a ten-day celebration with a selection of apps for only 10 cents each day since Tuesday.

We can’t wait to see where this accelerating growth takes us in 2012,” said Eric Chu, director of Android developer ecosystem, in the blog.

Google has been gearing up to close the gap with Apple in the mobile market. Thanks to the broader availability of smartphones and tablets running Android, the software’s mobile market share is expected to be twice as Apple’s iOS in 2011, according to data from several research companies.

In July, Apple said app downloads had surpassed 15 billion in its App Store.


New Zealand already has lush rainforests and sandy beaches, bungee jumping and scuba diving, gourmet restaurants and lively night life, even a thriving tech community that has drawn investment from the likes of Peter Thiel. (Of course, they drive on the left side of the road, but hey no place is perfect).

Now the country has something else the rest of the world does not: Facebook’s new Timeline feature.

New Zealand is getting first crack at the major redesign of the profile page. Key to the decision: It’s English speaking and very far away from Silicon Valley.

That’s according to Sam Lessin, product director of Timeline, who told the New Zealand Herald: “We chose New Zealand to be first — and I’ll probably get in trouble for saying this — primarily because it is an English-speaking country…. It’s far away from our data centers, so we can monitor speed and performance.”

It may also have something to do with the country having about 4.4 million people, 2 million of whom are on Facebook.

And just how long will the rest of the world have to wait?

“We’re definitely taking our time with this one,” Lessin said. “It will give people a chance to get excited about what they can do with it.”

via LA times


A court error on Friday offered a brief glimpse at information that Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics have tried to shield from the public during their high-stakes patent litigation.

The material appears to be less important for what it says about the companies than what it reveals about efforts to keep court proceedings secret.

In denying Apple’s bid to stop Samsung from selling its Galaxy smartphone and tablets in the United States, District Judge Lucy Koh’s ruling inadvertently included details she had intended to black out. The judge’s staff quickly realized the error, sealed the electronic document and posted a redacted version four hours later.

The fuller version, which Reuters obtained while it was publicly available, did not expose the technical inner workings of the iPad — or anything close. Rather, it contained internal company analysis about the smartphone market, as well as some details about Apple’s patent licensing relationships with other tech companies.

The lawsuit, which Apple filed in April in a San Jose, California, federal court, says Samsung’s Galaxy products “slavishly” copy the iPhone and iPad. The South Korean electronics maker says Apple’s arguments lack merit.

The case is scheduled for trial next year. The Friday ruling means Samsung can continue selling Galaxy products for now.

Sealing documents has become standard in intellectual property cases. Investors, academics and other observers have expressed concern that some judges too readily accede to litigants’ claims that documents contain trade secrets and must be kept private.

Judges have wide latitude in granting company sealing requests, and Koh has granted all of Apple and Samsung’s requests to keep documents secret in the case.

Some crucial legal briefs from both companies were kept entirely secret for months, and then released with redactions. After an inquiry from Reuters last week, Koh issued new guidelines so that redacted briefs become public much sooner.

Timothy Holbrook, an intellectual property professor at Emory Law in Atlanta who reviewed Koh’s Friday ruling at Reuters’ request, said there did not appear to be any trade secrets among the blacked-out portions.

“Most of it just seems like it was sealed out of an abundance of caution,” Holbrook said.

In an email on Monday, Koh declined to comment on a pending case. Representatives for Apple and Samsung also declined to comment.

SMARTPHONE, TABLET BATTLE

The California case is just one battleground in Apple and Samsung’s bruising legal war, which includes more than 20 cases in 10 countries as they jostle for the top spot in the smartphone and tablet markets.

Global tablet sales are expected to explode to more than 50 million in 2011. Apple, which has sold more than 30 million iPads so far, is expected to continue to dominate the market in the near term.

While Amazon.com has also entered the fray with its Kindle Fire tablet, Samsung’s Galaxy line-up is widely deemed the closest rival to the iPad in terms of capability and design.

In her 65-page ruling denying Apple’s request for a preliminary injunction against Samsung, Koh attempted to redact nearly two dozen sentences or short fragments. But because of a formatting characteristic in the prior electronic version, the redacted material can be viewed by copying text from the PDF and pasting it into another document.

The version now available to the public cannot be viewed in such a manner.

According to the redacted portions, Apple’s own studies show that existing customers are unlikely to switch from iPhones to Samsung devices. Instead, the evidence suggests an increase in sales of Samsung smartphones is likely to come at the expense of other smartphones with Android operating systems, Koh wrote.

In arguing against the injunction, Samsung — which is also a huge components supplier to Apple — said Apple’s supply cannot keep up with market demand for smartphone products. Koh recounted the argument in the redacted portions of the ruling.

But Koh then called Samsung’s argument “dubious,” given rebuttal evidence presented by Apple regarding its ability to keep up with demand in the long term.

The redacted portions also refer to licensing deals that Apple struck with other high-tech companies over one of its key patents. Issued in December 2008, the patent covers the method of scrolling documents and images on Apple’s touch-screen devices.

Apple has already licensed the patent to IBM and Nokia, according to the ruling. A technology blog, The Verge, first reported this detail on Saturday; the blog said it had been shown two statements that were redacted from the ruling.

Scant information has previously been made available about Apple’s licensing deals with Nokia or IBM.

While Apple and Nokia publicly announced a patent settlement for an undisclosed sum in June, they did not divulge any specifics, except to say the agreement resolved all litigation between the companies and that Apple would make a one-time payment to Nokia and pay future royalties. At the time, the settlement was viewed as a victory for Nokia.

There appears to be no reference to any patent-licensing deal for mobile technology between IBM and Apple either in news archives or company regulatory filings.

“Apple doesn’t license much, and it could be that they don’t want people to know who the licensees are,” said Holbrook, the IP professor.

Representatives for IBM and Nokia did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday.

Samsung was also offered a royalty license during negotiations with Apple in November 2010, the ruling says, five months before Apple wound up suing Samsung in the United States.

Apple has brought claims against Samsung based on design patents — which protect the look and feel of a device — and so-called “utility” patents, which cover engineering innovations.

A footnote in the ruling says “it does not appear” that Apple and Samsung discussed design patents during their negotiations that preceded the lawsuit.

Yet since much of Koh’s opinion covers design patents, the mistakenly released data does not reveal much about the inner workings of the technology, said Holbrook.

“There was nothing I saw that was shocking, just stuff that is not (otherwise) available to the public,” he said.

The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is Apple Inc v. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd et al, 11-1846.

(Reporting by Dan Levine in San Francisco and Carlyn Kolker in New York; Additional reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky in Washington; Editing by Martha Graybow and John Wallace)

via reuters


Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has won the right to petition the UK Supreme Court in his fight against extradition to Sweden.

He lost a High Court battle last month to be extradited over alleged sex offences, which he denies.

Judges refused Mr Assange permission to appeal directly to the Supreme Court – but said his case raised “a question of general public importance”.

He can now directly ask the Supreme Court to look at his case.

However, Mr Assange, who was at the London court to hear the judges’ ruling, still has no automatic right to be heard by the highest court in the UK.

He was cheered by supporters as he left the Royal Courts of Justice and, alluding to an MPs’ debate later on calls for the renegotiation of extradition rules, he said there were “many aggrieved families in the UK and other countries and in Europe struggling for justice”.

Speaking of his own case, he said: “I think that is the correct decision, and I am thankful. The long struggle for justice for me and others continues.”


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