One of the constant complaints we hear from wireless and even some wireline ISPs is that the surge in online video demand has put a strain on their networks that leaves them with no choice but to implement unpopular policies such as bandwidth caps. But CNET reports that Google is hoping to make help ISPs significantly ease the strain of video on their networks by pushing its new V9 video technology standard that the company says can help content providers “save about 50% of bandwidth by encoding your video with VP9.” Of course, the VP9 standard hasn’t even been finalized yet and won’t be available for general use until mid-June at the earliest. All the same, Google is promising developers that adopting the new standard will be easy and is promoting it as a free, open source alternative to rival codec H.264.
We may now have a clue about how Time Warner Cable plans to implement its own Aereo-like service. Unnamed sources have told Bloomberg that Time Warner Cable is considering buying an equity stake in Hulu and “could offer Hulu to its customers as a bundled service inside and outside of the home with its current products,” meaning customers could access their favorite shows on Hulu without paying a monthly subscription fee for Hulu Plus. Under the plan being discussed, Time Warner Cable would take a 33% stake in Hulu with the rest held by co-owners Disney, Comcast and News Corp. Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt recently said that the cable industry’s “structure needs more flexibility” and that he wants to offer customers “smaller, more affordable packages” that don’t cost them upward of $100 a month.
Things have been very up-and-down for Bitcoin lately and the virtual currency’s road coud be getting even rockier now that the United States federal government is getting involved. IDG News reports that the U.S. District Court in Maryland this week order the seizure of Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox’s funds because it allegedly “failed to register as a ‘money transmitting business’ in accordance with 18 U.S. Code 1960.” The court-issued warrant alleges that Mt. Gox owner Mark Karpeles denied that his firm exchanged currency or “transmitted funds based on instructions to customers” in a questionnaire supplied by Wells Fargo back in 2011. Wells Fargo issues such questionnaires to determine whether clients it works with need to register as currency traders with the U.S. Treasury Department.
Samsung’s marketing Death Star isn’t just hovering over the United States — it has designs on conquering the entire world. Per Barron’s, Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry thinks that Apple may have a tougher time in India than other markets because BlackBerry and especially Samsung have already blanketed the country with ads touting their smartphones as elite products that consumers simply see as less expensive versions of the iPhone. Because of this, he says that the companies have created ”an environment where they tend to mentally enslave the consumer to buy their products.” Chowdhry says this is particularly true of Samsung, which he says airs TV ads once every 15 minutes in India.
The latest numbers from IDC show that Windows Phone is still having a tough time gaining traction, as the operating system was found on just 3.2% of all smartphones shipped in the first quarter of 2013. And things could look even worse for Microsoft in the second quarter since Windows Phone devices will have to go toe-to-toe with heavyweight flagships being rolled out by both Samsung and HTC, as well as the low-cost BlackBerry Q5 that BlackBerry is aggressively pushing into emerging markets. In fact, the only company that’s really devoting a lot of resources toward manufacturing and publicizing Windows Phone devices is Nokia, which really has no choice since it has chosen Windows Phone as its exclusive operating system. More →
One of the more prominent criticisms of Samsung’s Galaxy S4 is that its preloaded apps clog up a lot of the device’s internal storage, to the point where only about half of the 16GB model’s storage space is actually available for use. A Samsung spokesperson now tells The Inquirer that the company is “reviewing the possibility to secure more memory space through further software optimisation” and “is committed to listening to our customers and responding to their needs as part of our innovation process.” All the same, it’s hard to imagine Samsung freeing up significant amounts of space on the Galaxy S4 since the company sees its own unique apps and services as a key part of differentiating the device from other high-end smartphones.
Microsoft doesn’t want to hear Google CEO Larry Page get on his high horse about the need for less negativity and more cooperation in the tech world, especially since his company just sent a cease and desist letter telling Microsoft to pull its YouTube app from the Windows Phone store after Microsoft violated Google’s terms of service by removing ads from videos. Per The Verge, a Microsoft spokesperson has now thrown Page’s words back in his face by saying that it would be happy to bring ads back to the Windows Phone YouTube app if only Google would be more open and cooperative. In particular, the spokesperson said “we’d be more than happy to include advertising but need Google to provide us access to the necessary APIs” while adding that “in light of Larry Page’s comments today calling for more interoperability and less negativity, we look forward to solving this matter together for our mutual customers.”
Is the mobile industry headed for a duopoly where Apple and Samsung are the only two companies that matter? Breakdowns of smartphone industry profits sure make it look that way and now Barron’s points us to a new survey conducted by MKM Partners showing that the two companies’ grip on the smartphone market has only strengthened over the past several months. The survey, which measures smartphone buying intentions for just over 1,000 American consumers, found that 30% of likely smartphone buyers planned to buy an iPhone while 28% said they planned to buy a Samsung device for their next smartphone. More →
Pirate Bay cofounder Peter Sunde is apparently tired of being accused of breaking the law, so now he wants to start making the law instead. TorrentFreak reports that Sunde is planning to run for the European Parliament next year as a candidate for Finland’s Pirate Party. Sunde is hoping to follow in the footsteps of the Swedish Pirate Party that now has two members as elected European members of Parliament. More →
Given the potential safety and privacy concerns surrounding Google Glass, Google has put some very tight restrictions on what kinds of applications developers can build for the headset. Or has it? Technology Review reports that Google will hold a session at its Google I/O conference this week dedicated specifically to giving developers root access to Glass and teaching them how to create experimental applications. Developers who hack into Glass will render their warranties null and void, of course, but Google still wants them to take that risk and test the limits of what Glass can do. Technology Review says that such hacks into Glass may be crucial to shaping the platform since Google still hasn’t finalized what features the headset will have when it’s released to consumers next year.
Google is not happy with Microsoft’s attempt to remove YouTube ads for Windows Phone users. The Verge reports that Google has asked Microsoft to remove YouTube from the Windows Phone app store because Microsoft has allegedly created its own version of the app “without Google’s consent” and “with features that specifically prevent ads from playing.” Since Google makes its money primarily through online advertisements, it’s not surprising that it would be upset at another company removing the ads, even if it does deliver a better user experience. In a cease and desist letter sent to Microsoft, Google says that “by blocking advertising and allowing downloads of videos, your application cuts off a valuable ongoing revenue source for creators, and causes harm to the thriving content ecosystem on YouTube.”
Google’s shares continued to rise on Wednesday in the wake of the Google I/O conference, closing at over $900 for the first time and giving the company a market cap of over $300 billion for the first time in its history. The company’s stock value has been increasing at a rapid pace all year, growing from the low $700 range at the start of 2013 to the low $900 range by the end of trading on Wednesday. The continued rise in shares Wednesday was somewhat curious given that Google didn’t unveil a new Nexus tablet or a new version of Android at I/O this year as many had been expecting. Some analysts have slapped the company with a $1,000 price target in recent months and it appears that it has a legitimate shot of hitting that target now that its shares have surged past the $900 mark.
Google CEO isn’t very happy that Microsoft decided to integrate its Google Talk messaging service into its Outlook webmail platform without extending a similar offer to Google for the Gmail platform. Page, speaking during the Google I/O developers conference Wednesday, said that Google always pushes to have open-source platforms that other companies can use but lamented the fact that much of the tech industry doesn’t extend the same courtesies for many of its own innovations. Page went onto say that he was “sad” that companies such as Microsoft were “milking off” Google’s innovations by not being as open with their own software.