Microsoft has closed a patent licensing deal with ZTE, one of the top five manufacturers of Android smartphones.
The deal is Microsoft’s first with a leading Chinese company, marking an important milestone in the software giant’s multi-year campaign to squeeze licensing revenues out of smartphone vendors and manufacturers.
“Experience has taught us that respect for intellectual property rights is a two-way street,” said Horacio Gutierrez, general counsel for Microsoft, “and we have always been prepared to respect the rights of others just as we seek respect for our rights.” Read more
The dramatic manhunt for suspects in the Boston marathon bombings that took place in the evening and early morning hours of April 18 and 19 was covered extremely well by a group of non-journalist online civilians . . . until it fell apart under its own weight.
It began with a tweet at roughly 11 pm, saying that shots had been fired on the MIT campus. As an editor on the FT’s newsdesk in New York, I alerted our reporter on the ground in Boston and began to hunt online for more information. Read more
Earlier on Friday, Wired reported that Apple’s voice app Siri, which is perhaps most famous for its comical misinterpretations, keeps users’ data for up to two years.
Now Google has told the FT that it stores queries to its voice search service for the same period. The difference is that Google stores the actual audio samples for up to two years, unlike Siri which deletes the audio after six months and then just retains the queries. So, is two years too long? Read more
Images and video poured out of Boston on Monday as runners and spectators of the city’s historic marathon posted their media across the internet after two bombs exploded near the race’s finish line.
As the content hit the internet, individuals online started to piece things together. Certain people were seen carrying black backpacks. Some of these people appeared later without the backpacks. A black backpack found at the scene was believed to hold one of the bombs.
This is the world of internet sleuthing, and depending on who you ask, it’s becoming either a shining example of crowdsourcing or a dangerous vigilante trend. Read more
Nevermind superfast broadband – the British government is lining up “superfast patents”. Inventors could be awarded a patent in just ninety days, under a government consultation published on Tuesday. That’s a fraction of the usual two to five years, and only a little longer than the ticketing process for the 2012 London Olympics.
Observers may see anything that makes patents easier as a bad idea, given the smartphone wars. Hence the UK is proposing an extra fee of £3,500-£4,000 for the fast-track service. The hope is that will strip out less credible claims, while allowing serious investors to get their patent – and then some venture capital. Read more
Duedil, a start-up that provides information on every private company in the UK, has raised $5m in funding ahead of an expansion into more than a dozen countries across Europe.
The London-based company takes data from public and private databases and links it together to provide users with insights that would otherwise have been impossible to obtain. Read more
Roy and Eldar Tuvey, the British brothers who sold their startup ScanSafe to Cisco for up to $183m in 2010, have announced a new venture, this time in mobile services.
Wandera helps companies save money on data roaming by compressing data in the cloud before it is sent to an employee’s phone or tablet. On Wednesday it received $7m in backing from Bessemer Venture Partners, whose past investments include Skype, Box and Linkedin. Read more
TransferWise, the money-moving service launched by former Skype director of strategy Taavet Hinrikus, is allowing start-ups to transfer up to $100m between different currencies without paying any fees.
The offer is open to 1,000 businesses that launched in the past two years on a first-come, first-served basis; they can transfer up to $100,000 each over the next year. TransferWise would normally collect around $500,000 in fees on the whole lot – $3m or so less, it estimates, than banks would. Read more
From the newspaper that brought you “How to spend it”, we now bring you “How to spend it: bitcoin edition”.
Looking for a guitar, a new Samsung tablet, or even some real estate? Open up that digital wallet and fork over your virtual currency.
Bitcoin hit another high today, leaving sceptical pundits in its wake as it broke through the $200 level. The currency is mostly seen as a store of value – with the FT’s Izabella Kaminska adroitly pointing out that it might serve as a type of online memory more than a monetary unit – but that doesn’t mean you can’t spend it.