We did wonder about the timing two weeks ago, when the first eReader with dual screens, one of them colour, appeared 24 hours before another eReader, also with dual screens, one of them colour.
Draw your own conclusions, but Spring Design, which launched the Alex on the eve of Barnes & Noble’s Nook, now says it has filed a lawsuit alleging “Barnes & Noble misappropriated trade secrets and violated the parties’ non-disclosure agreement when it copied Alex’s features into its recently announced Nook e-book.”
When it comes to deal-making, predicting what Larry Ellison will do next is never easy – which is just the way he wants it.
So what to make of the fact that Mr Ellison’s pursuit of Sun Microsystems has now reached a point few expected, with the European Commission close to drawing a line in the sand with a formal objection to the deal?
This doesn’t necessarily mean that Brussels will act to block it. But it does show that things have reached an impasse in Brussels, which at the very least means a longer delay – with further detrimental effects to Sun’s business.
Assuming neither side balks before the EC issues its objection, Mr Ellison now appears to have a number of options.
Ribbit, the software-based Silicon Valley phone company, has launched Ribbit Mobile, a Google Voice-type service with some useful extras thrown in.
The start-up, which was bought by BT of the UK last year, adds “social address book” features to its service and allows users to keep their own mobile number.
From this week’s Digital Business edition:
The arrival of a giant chocolate eclair on the front lawn at Google last month had an extra significance, other than as the latest example of outlandish artwork installed at the headquarters of the world’s biggest internet company.
It’s not surprising that expectations for Google Wave got way ahead of reality. The all-purpose Web-based communication and collaboration tool is one of the most ambitious things the company has come up with this year.
So it’s also not surprising that some early users of the service, which opened for tests in September, have been critical. Robert Scoble, never one to bite his tongue, was outspoken in his own views.
When I met the Wave’s lead developers at Google in Mountain View recently they were open about the service’s shortcomings, and outlined the changes they are working on.
That is likely to start with an end to the anarchic free-for-all that lets any participant in a Wave change or delete anything another user has written.
It’s been apparent for some time that the spate of touch-screen smartphones now hitting the market will dent profit margins in the hottest part of the mobile business, but Wall Street seems only now to be digesting that fact.
The slumping share prices of Research in Motion and Palm over the past fortnight make this case eloquently. Two weeks ago, not coincidentally, was the weekend that Verizon began its guerrilla marketing campaign for Motorola’s Droid (see Chris Nuttall’s first impressions last week). Since then, Palm’s stock is off 35 per cent and RIM is down 20 per cent, while Motorola is up.
It’s clearly ridiculous to think that one handset can cause this much damage: what is sinking in are the implications of the much bigger wave of competition that is about to hit.