An often irreverent look at some of this week's other news ...
Acer and ViewSonic Sign Patent Licensing Deals with Microsoft
Two hardware makers have ponied up licensing fees this week for patents that Microsoft says are being infringed on by Google's mobile OS, Android. Oddly, both companies—Acer and ViewSonic—are also Microsoft partners, but of course both have also expanded into the market for Android-based devices, Acer with smartphones and tablets and ViewSonic with tablets. In both cases, the companies will pay Microsoft royalties on each unit sold. And you said Microsoft couldn't make money in the mobile market.
Microsoft Investigating Worst. Mobile. App. Ever.
Microsoft is investigating an AVG antivirus app for Windows Phone because it doesn't actually provide antivirus capabilities and may in fact simply be spyware. My Windows Secrets coauthor Rafael Rivera started the public outrage when he revealed that this app, called AVG Security Suite, was an Android port (which is bizarre) that doesn't scan for malware on Windows Phone because, well, you can't actually do that on Windows Phone. Instead, the app simply "displays ads and scans for test strings," including, bizarrely, a single Hebrew term. But it gets worse. Former Microsoftie Justin Angel tweeted that the useless app also uses Geo Location to track users. That's right: It's spyware too. So I have to ask: Why investigate this thing? Just pull it.
Google Buys ... Zagat?
Google this week announced that it will purchase restaurant guide maker Zagat, for some reason. And while terms of the deal were not announced, Google allegedly paid up to $200 million for the business, which, again, reviews restaurants. I'm sure Google intends to incorporate information from Zagat's reviews into its search results but ... why? One theory is that this is a rebound purchase. Last year, Google tried to buy Yelp.com for $500 million but was rebuffed, and the online giant later released its Yelp-less Places service to a gigantic yawn. But the deal still seems curious to me, given that most of Zagat's content today is hidden behind a pay wall. Something tells me that's going to change.
Intel Says Meego Will Live On
No one cares, Intel. No one.
Judge: It's Time for DOJ, AT&T to Talk Settlement
A US District Judge said this week that representatives of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and AT&T Wireless must meet in court on September 21 and try to iron out a settlement. The DOJ, as you know, recently attempted to scuttle AT&T's $39 billion bid for T-Mobile, arguing that the purchase would harm competition and raise prices for consumers. What the judge is trying to do here is prevent the DOJ's lawsuit from heading to litigation: If the two organizations can reach a settlement, then no lengthy and expensive court case is required. That sounds like wishful thinking to me, given the DOJ's stance on this purchase. But heck, you never know.
Google Talks Electricity Usage
Online giant Google this week revealed that it consumes enough electricity at its data centers to power more than 200,000 homes. But don't worry, you seal-hugging hippie. The company also claims this usage actually makes the planet greener. To get past the apparent dichotomy in this claim, you have to enter a reality distortion field of sorts. You see, Google is actually saving the planet because, if it didn't exist, people would have to find information in an even less efficient manner. So they're like the lesser of two evils. And if you calculate its energy usage on a per-user basis, it's really just 180 watt hours per month, the equivalent of running a 60-watt light bulb for three hours. Heck, if we do enough Google searches, we could probably reverse the effects of Global Warming and cure cancer. Kind of makes you wonder how the typical Bing user even sleeps at night.
San Francisco Police Probe Apple's Search for Yet Another Lost iPhone
What is it with Apple employees losing iPhone prototypes in bars? Last year, of course, Apple was involved in a legal imbroglio when an employee inadvertently left an iPhone 4 prototype in a bar and unscrupulous gadget bloggers paid $5,000 in cash for the exclusive. One time deal, right? Wrong. Last week, an Apple employee lost an iPhone 5 prototype in a bar, and Apple security worked closely with San Francisco police to track the device. But this is where things get weird. Apparently, Apple security searched a guy's San Francisco apartment looking for the phone but came up empty, after the SFO police threatened the resident with a search warrant (which they didn't have). So now the police are investigating the incident, since there's some belief that the resident was threatened by the police, who at one point asked him whether everyone living there was a legal US resident.
This Week, on the Windows Weekly Podcast
I recorded the latest episode of the Windows Weekly podcast with Mary Jo and Leo a day early because I was traveling Thursday to Redmond, Washington, for Microsoft meetings (and then Anaheim on Sunday for BUILD). The new episode should be available for download by the end of the weekend on iTunes, the Zune Marketplace, and wherever else quality podcasts are found, in both audio and video formats.
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