Archive for April, 2012

For the past few years, it looked like Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was well on its way to being usurped by spunky fan favorites. Early on it was Mozilla’s Firefox that presented the biggest threat to IE’s reign in the browser market, but more recently it’s been Google’s shiny Chrome browser that appeared to be on its way to the top, perhaps taking the lead this year. But then a funny thing happened. IE’s share started to rise while Chrome’s has been eroding.

Overall IE usage is up for the second time this year, closing out March 2012 with a 53.83 percent of the browser market, according to data compiled by Net Applications. That’s the highest it’s been in six months, dating back to September 2011 when IE’s share was 54.39 percent.

“With a gain of .99 percent last month and a net gain of 1.2 percent global usage share over the last five months, Internet Explorer has stabilized and even reversed its usage share declines of the last few years,” Net Applications noted.

While IE has been slowly reasserting itself as the world’s most popular browser, Chrome’s share slipped for the third straight month. Chrome closed out March with an 18.57 percent share of the market, down from 18.9 percent in February and 18.94 percent in January. Google’s browser has yet to post a gain in 2012.

Firefox, once the biggest threat to IE’s browser dominance (and in terms of positioning, it still is), ended March with a 20.55 percent share of the market, down from 20.92 percent one month prior, and down from 22.75 percent from one year ago.

Which browser are you using these days?

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QualcommX86 based processors dominate the laptop & desktop markets, while ARM based chips rule the phone and tablet world. This has been the natural order of things for as long as we can remember, however Windows 8 could finally turn the tide for ARM. According to Rob Chandhok, senior vice president at Qualcomm, the company is preparing a quad-core version of its Snapdragon S4 ARM chip to run in future thin and light Windows 8 laptops. 

When asked to clarify “thin and light”, Chandhok responded by claiming they would be a huge improvement over what Intel defines as an Ultrabook, and even the Macbook Air. The lines between high-end smartphones, where Qualcomm’s chips are normally found, and laptops has started to blur, Chandhok said. The S4 chips will enable smaller laptops with high-resolution screens, longer battery life and always-on connectivity, he said. 

The new S4 will be manufactured on a 28-nanometer process which should improve power efficiency and performance vs. earlier Snapdragon designs, though they will still lag Intel significantly when it comes to raw processing power and compatibility.  If the Metro interface in Windows 8 takes off however, and apps written in the new metro friendly WinRT follow suit, ARM could well be closing in on a date where consumers don’t care what chip runs their laptop since all their apps are compatible with both platforms.  

Would you ditch desktop app compatibility for a laptop that makes the Macbook air look chubby and doubles your battery life? Let us know in the comments below.

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SorryDan Porter, chief executive of OMGPOP, has gone from having less than $2,000 in his bank account, to somewhere around $180 million in less than one month. That sort of money would make just about anyone feel invincible, but as he learned this week, Twitter is the great equalizer

The Porter controversy surrounds the only member of the OMGPOP development team who didn’t make the transition to Zynga, and it’s hard to not sympathize with his plight. Shay Pierce was told his employment offer from Zynga was conditional on him pulling his personal side project Connectrode from the iOS App Store, and he refused. Along with his termination he received a brutal round of taunting from Porter, along with a retraction and apology less than one day later.



The debate surrounding how much a company should be able to control side projects you pursue during your free time is an interesting one, but that certainly doesn’t give him the right to defame Pierce so publically. According to Pierce “I never received any indication from my manager or company that I was performing poorly and ‘about to be let go,’” Pierce told GamesBeat. “An offer of employment was extended to me, thus I assume that they must have wanted to hire me.”

Porter’s apology seems sincere, but let us know what you think in the comments below.


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JusticeApple’s legal team has been waging a war for years now against Android OEMs, and if Reuters sources are to be believed, they probably should have spent a bit more time reviewing e-book negotiations instead. Word on the street is that the Justice Department is close to reaching a settlement agreement with Apple, and several of the major book publishers will probably be on the hook as well.  The allegations began several years ago when Apple launched iBooks, and Steve Jobs boldly declared to the world how he planned to take on Amazon. 

The idea at the time was to switch the industry to a “wholesale model” where discounts to bulk purchasers of content such as Amazon would be based on volumes, to an “agency model”, where the publishers sets the price themselves, and the retailer simply takes a commission. This transition was key to Apple’s plans since, as far as we know, they never deviate from the standard 30% commission. Nobody knows for sure what Amazon was making on average per e-book sale, however it’s doubtful it was anywhere near 30%. Without this shift Apple would have been forced to charge more than the ultra-aggressive Amazon, and could jeopardize adoption of the iBook platform.  

By allegedly colluding with book publishers to switch to an agency model where the publisher set the price, they could also enforce a “most favored nation clause” that would prevent publishers from selling e-books at a lower price anywhere else on the web. Even if Amazon wanted to give you a better deal than iBooks, they couldn’t do it. Jim Friedland, an analyst at Cowen & Co estimated that the switch back to a wholesale model could increase Amazon’s revenues by $1.1 billion this year and $1.6 billion in 2013. This assumes Amazon would go back to offering big discounts, a move that consumers would no doubt welcome. 

Just to be clear the agency model itself is legal, however working with Apple and rival publishers to make it the new standard for e-book is not. In the Steve Jobs Biography written by Walter Isaacson it seems pretty clear what the goals are, and it seems the justice department might agree. Isaacson quotes Jobs as saying: “So we told the publishers, ‘We’ll go to the agency model, where you set the price, and we get our 30 percent and yes, the customer pays a little more but that’s what you want anyway.’ … So they went to Amazon and said, ‘You’re going to sign an agency contract or we’re not going to give you the books.'”

When the iBooks platform launched on iOS two years ago Amazon controlled 90 percent of the e-book market. Today the hold about 65 percent market share, with Barnes & Noble sitting at 20 percent, and Apple at 10 percent.

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