With the Feds reportedly only "days away" from launching a full-scale antitrust inquiry, Apple is reportedly tweaking its iPhone and iPad developer program to dodge a probe into its business practices. At issue may be Apple's ability to tightly control the mobile platforms it has invented.
For all the noise Steve Jobs has made about the technical weaknesses of Adobe Flash, the fight is really about Apple's ability to control the software that runs on its platforms. Jobs wants to protect the iPad and iPhone from being watered down by generic, cross-platform mobile applications, including those based on Flash.
Jobs has done this through recent changes to Apple's developer agreement that have the effect of preventing applications built for his company's devices from running on other companies' mobile devices.
Is HP's purchase of Palm a good deal or a bad one? How will it change the smartphone industry? The world wants to know and it's up to you to tell them. Here you'll find the issues and some analysis, but the final judgment is yours. You be the analyst.
When considering a merger/acquisition, I look at the number of things, but start with the Golden Rule of Tech: Mergers rarely accomplish what the buyer hopes in terms of opening new markets or grabbing share in existing ones. The bigger the dollars involved, the more reason to be suspect.
Thus, every merger starts from behind, and this one is no different. The bias is toward cynicism, not sweetness-and-light. History is broadly against Palm and HP.
Speaking of Research In Motion, this where everyone that wants enterprise sales has to grab market share. Actually, from both RIM and Microsoft, which has had big corporate sales in the past but whose lax smartphone strategy has created a huge opening for HP/Palm and Android.
Corporate customers are likely to see HP as a more solid partner in the smartphone space than Microsoft and, perhaps, even RIM.
Microsoft may be on its way to earning a percentage of every Android handset sold, something even Google hasn't accomplished.
Here's how it works: For licensing its intellectual property to Nexus One maker HTC, Microsoft will receive an unspecified royalty, presumably on each Android handset that HTC sells. HTC may also receive help in its legal battle with Apple, although that remains to be seen.
Apple's notable successes, the iPad and iPhone, hide an important fact: Apple's secrecy comes at the expense of success with business customers. In essence, Apple accepts a position of limited influence in the business world in exchange for a marketing strategy that manipulates consumers brilliantly.
Apple's marketing plan, which involves delivering exciting products to easily excited customers, relies upon the element of surprise.
Amazon has posted a preview of the future of e-books, its Kindle e-reader app for Apple's forthcoming iPad. Amazon, the top e-book reseller, is teaming its e-book format with the most anticipated tablet device we've seen so far. Altogether, that will almost certainly make the iPad the world's top e-reader when deliveries begin April 3.
If this all works out--and where Apple and mobile apps are concerned, you can never be too sure--this could make the iPad attractive to everyone who owns and Kindle but wishes they could do more with it. It also makes Apple interesting to people, like me, who want an e-reader but never seriously considered an iPad.
Sadly, I am already wondering whether this marriage of convenience can be saved.