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Comment Re:Apps will disappear (Score 1) 436

I just couldn't disagree more. When I look at the things I do on my personal computer, I'll admit I spend a lot of time in my web browser, but there is so much I'm doing outside of it too. And it's not just because no one has made a website for that yet; it's that it just doesn't make sense.

I guess I haven't made myself clear then. When I'm talking about "apps" I mean the small applications that are running on mobile devices these days. I am not talking about full blown applications on your PC. This is also why I believe there is hardly any benefit in merging desktop-platforms with "app-devices".

I believe there is a difference between content-creation devices and content-consumption devices or, if you prefer, 'lean-back' and 'at your desk' devices.

There is a need for applications and we won't see Chrome-OS making PCs redundant any time soon.

Comment Apps will disappear (Score 2, Interesting) 436

I believe that apps on mobile phones are a transitory phenomenon. They are/were necessary to make content available on the relatively small screens and to implement touch input (as most websites at the time were built for mouse input). The functionalities of most apps these days can be implemented as websites (HTML, Ajax, ...) and this will be the best solution to fix the compatibility problem (different apps for Android, iOS, Symbian, Windows Phone 7 (?), Bada (?),...) and to avoid vendor lock-in. Will we really need an app to access news content? Will the NYT really build and maintain apps for 4 or more different platforms? I believe what we need are properly coded websites that adapt to different screen sizes and input devices.

There will probably be a market for high-end applications on your phone (navigation?, media player?) but honestly, how many of those are on your phone?

Comment Coincidence? (Score 5, Insightful) 210

Call me a conspiration theorist but Apple displaying news content without the embedded ads on the web while at the same time trying to establish their own ad-platform and taking 30% of all ads served on the iPhone is a convenient coincidence, don't you think? Cutting off the publishers' revenue streams while at the same time pushing for a new revenue model on mobile phones and tablets sounds like a plan.

Comment Re:lessons from the past (Score 1) 466

Instead of exposing themselves to rule by law again they decided to export the phone to a lawless country before publishing their theft.

Interesting. Rule of law is not necessarily related to freedom. Some of the most unfree regimes in European history had almost perfect rule of law. What is freedom of the press in one country is a crime in a different one. I don't recall theft being mentioned in the original article.

Comment Re:RAND (Score 5, Interesting) 294

Have you ever considered that both sides of the story might be true?

Apple has a rather unusual model to sell its phone: From what we've heard Apple demands not only a one-time sales price from the operators (as most other mobile manufacturers do) but also a part of the monthly fee paid by iphone-customers. If Nokia licenses its patents for a percentage of the sales price (a common practice) they could also have asked for a percentage of the monthly fee (and justly so, if you ask me, as Apple just spreads out the sales price over a longer period of time). Apple on the other side might object to being the only GSM-manufacturer that has to pay a monthly fee.

Comment Re:ACTA (Score 1) 129

Please check your facts, there is not one correct statement in your post

German is a sovereign nation. It can do what ever the hell it likes to EU directives rules.

The general principle is that EC law is superior to national laws. For directives, the EU members can decide for themselves how they are going to implement them but usually there is a timeframe set and if they do not implement them in time there are consequences. Under specific circumstances directives can even be enforced directly if a member state fails to implement them in time.

Its not like any country follows all of them.

While not all members have implemented all directives (yet) that is not true for the majority and for the rest it is usually only a matter of time. Some members (e.g. UK) have negotiated exemptions from specific treaties but for those areas, where the treaties are in force, members cannot opt out of specific directives.

And some (Italy/Greece) seem to follow none.

Please provide evidence for this statement. Lately it has been discovered that Greece misreported financial data to be able to join the monetary union but I am unaware of a general failure to implement European regulations.

Also being one of the bigger money contributers to the EU they have some serious leverage.

The European Union has laws and procedures. Depending on the institution some members (the larger ones) have more influence than others but Germany cannot "bully" other member states. For those decisions, where all member states need to agree, there has been some haggling going on in the past but the Lisbon treaty should improve on that.

Comment Re:User Interface patents (Score 1) 434

I was not referring to monopoly as in exclusive right to control a technology (that's what the patent system is actually about). I meant monopoly in the sense of gaining control over a market (in this case the market of smartphones) that is actually larger than that single technology by locking in users (as illustrated with my steering wheel example).

The patent system was not designed to create the latter and applying patents in this way borders on anti-competitive practices.

In my opinion many user interface patents should not be granted in the first place as they lack the necessary degree of inventive ingenuity. They are just anti-competitive 'land grabs'.

Comment Re:ACTA (Score 1) 129

In most European countries constitutional courts argue, that there is a "core" to the respective constitution that is not and cannot be overruled by European legislation but only by plebiscite. I am not aware of any European level ruling or contract that would support this position, though. Constitutional courts appear not to be too keen on actually using this approach, probably because if it fails they are not the top dogs anymore. (I really try hard to keep the legalese out of slashdot comments)

Comment User Interface patents (Score 4, Insightful) 434

What I particularly don't like about this is that it appears that most of Apple's patents are about the user interface (pinch-zoom, ...), not about actual hardware inventions.

The difference is, that hardware patents can usually be worked around, as long as you can keep the user interface stable. Changing the user interface on the other hand means that the enduser must adapt, which he usually is reluctant to do. It is a form of monopoly.

Imagine, for comparison, that Alfred Vacheron had patented the steering wheel in 1894 and had been unwilling to license it to competitors. The outcome could have been that dozens of different ways to steer a car would have been invented and users would have troubles switching between manufactures. A serious hindrance to a competitive market.

Comment Apple vs. Google (Score 5, Insightful) 434

Actually this might be the first salvo in Apple vs. Google.

Google does not build devices and is therefore harder to attack than a manufacturer/importer, who builds android devices. Google on the other hand might feel compelled to help HTC, if this is actually about Android.

Might be interesting to see how this plays out.

Comment Re:ACTA (Score 1) 129

The German constitutional court is in no position to declare an EU directive illegal or even unconstitutional as, in general, EU law is stronger than national constitutional law. (Actually there are very special circumstances, under which something like that could happen (a simple violation of the German constitution won't do) but that is rather theoretical construct and nobody feels like trying whether this holds up).

The next step would be to challenge the EU directive itself, but that is a lot more difficult as the implementation of human rights is much weaker at the European level than it is in Germany (or in any other European nation)

Comment to the lawmakers.. (Score 2, Insightful) 275

This is a perfect opportunity for the lawmakers to step in:
Every provider of digital content should be required to offer one of two options:
1. DRM-free content only - it is up to the consumer to keep backups of his contents or
2. a life-long guarantee for DRM-protected content. This has to be protected through third-party agreements in case the original provider goes out of business.

Yes, option 2 is costly but nobody has to use DRM in the first place.

"Falling in love makes smoking pot all day look like the ultimate in restraint." -- Dave Sim, author of Cerebrus.