IBM spoke of shrinking its intelligent supercomputer Watson down to smartphone size last summer, and now it appears that the company is getting close to achieving that goal. Watson, which gained notoriety by famously trouncing two champions on Jeopardy, will not initially come to smartphones as a stand-alone app like Siri or Google Now, though it could eventually give both services a run for their money. Instead, IBM will partner with a number of companies including ANZ Bank, Nielsen, Celcom, IHS, and Royal Bank of Canada, Forbes reports to have Watson power customer service systems for these companies. Watson will initially be accessible though Web chats, email, smartphone apps and SMS, and voice recognition functionality is expected to come in future versions of the offering. Apps that include this new “Ask Watson” feature are expected to begin rolling out in the next few months.
The iPad isn’t just the most popular tablet in the world right now, it’s also the most popular way to do your early holiday shopping on a mobile device as well. AllThingsD reports that new data released from IBM (IBM) shows that Apple’s (AAPL) iPad accounted for “nearly 10 percent of online shopping” traffic over the weekend, generating “more traffic than any other tablet or smartphone” among online shoppers. The iPhone came in second place with 8.7% of all online shopping traffic, followed by Android-based devices, which accounted for just 5.5% of all online shopping traffic.
Apple (AAPL) introduced its Siri voice assistant with the launch of the iPhone 4S last October and since then, a number of copycat apps have been made available. While all these services show potential, in their current state they are just too limited for everyday use. IBM (IBM) is looking to change that, however, with the help of its supercomputer Watson. Bernie Meyerson, IBM’s vice president of innovation, said that he always envisioned a voice-activated Watson that would answer questions based on location data, historical trends and scientific studies. More →
Bloomberg is reporting that IBM (IBM) is currently weighing considerable interest in Research In Motion’s (RIMM) enterprise services. This could include RIM’s network infrastructure the company uses for BIS and BES delivery, device to device encryption, network compression, and much more.
IBM made an informal approach about possibly acquiring the division, which operates a network of secure servers used to support its BlackBerry devices, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the matter is private.
No party has shown interest in buying all of RIM or the division that makes its phones, and the Canadian company is inclined to wait for the rollout of BlackBerry 10 phones next year before making any decisions on a sale, the person said.
Facebook on Thursday acquired 750 patents from IBM in an effort to boost the company’s defense and counter new lawsuits, according to Bloomberg. The patents reportedly cover various technologies relating to software and networking. The acquisition would more than double the size of Facebook’s portfolio, which currently includes at least 56 issued patents and 503 filed U.S. patent applications. The patent acquisition comes after Yahoo, a business partner of Facebook, filed a massive patent infringement lawsuit against the social networking site. More →
Owners of Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch can now enjoy a remake of the first-ever PC game, co-written by Bill Gates himself, which came pre-installed on several IBM computers in 1981. First released late last month, XVision’s DONKEY.BAS is a terrific recreation of the PC game by the same name. Players control a race car as it advances up the screen. Donkeys repeatedly come into view, and the simple goal is to switch lanes before colliding with any curious creatures. “We did this game as a tribute to the original,” XVision founder Johnny Ixe told BGR, noting that the firm added a number of new features to the game in order to distinguish it from the original. The spirit of the game remains, however, and gamers looking for a bit of nostalgia would be hard-pressed to find a better blast from the past. DONKEY.BAS is available now in the App Store for $0.99. More →
Apple has edged out IBM to become the top brand of 2011, according to an annual list from marketing strategy firm Davis Brand Capital. The Cupertino-based company ousted IBM, which topped the list in 2009 and 2010. Apple was previously ranked No.12 in 2009 and No.7 in 2010. Davis evaluates the top 25 brands annually using five categories that go beyond traditional marketing functions. “The annual 2011 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking evaluates companies’ abilities to manage and balance the five key intangible categories that comprise brand capital: brand value; competitive performance; innovation strength; company culture; and social impact,” the company said in a press release. “The ranking does not aim to place a financial value on the brand capital of the companies. Rather, the list reveals the comparative strength and breadth of the companies’ brand capital.” As in previous years, the rankings were dominated by technology companies such as Google, Microsoft, HP, Cisco, Intel and Samsung. Read on for the complete list of Davis Brand Capital top 25. More →
IBM and HTC are working together to make Android a more attractive platform for the enterprise market. Executives from both companies recently demoed IBM software running on HTC smartphones and tablets during IBM’s Lotusphere and Connect conference, TechWeek Europe said recently. “It’s only been really relatively recently that HTC has broken into the enterprise space,” HTC’s executive director Global Enterprise and Services David Jaegar said. “We’re driving toward that magic 100-million device number globally. We see IBM as the gold standard for an enterprise partnership. We want to make sure if IBM is talking about Android or tablets, HTC is in the conversation.” HTC is focusing specifically on security applications, Jaegar explained recently. The Taiwan-based phone and tablet maker also said it is working with third-party developers and businesses to help firms create custom applications for HTC tablets. More →
Google recently purchased 217 patents from IBM, including 28 published patents and 188 of IBM’s granted patents. The transaction was posted in the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s assignment database on Tuesday. SEO by the Sea said the patents are related to email administration, IM apps, video conferencing, presentation software and more. It remains unclear how much Google paid for the patents, but the company also purchased 1,000 patents from IBM in July of last year and another 1,023 in September. Google is currently in the process of acquiring Motorola Mobility as well, which has a vast patent portfolio that Google said will help it defend its Android partners from patent lawsuits filed by litigious competitors such as Microsoft and Apple. More →
Early reports from three separate firms suggest that Black Friday retail sales set a new record in 2011. Online sales growth was massive according to estimates from both IBM and comScore; the former reported on Saturday that online Black Friday sales grew 24.3% over 2010 and total Black Friday spending rose 39.3% over last year. Meanwhile, comScore’s data shows that online spending this past Friday grew 26% from Black Friday 2010 to $816 million. Offline, market research firm ShopperTrak said retail foot traffic rose 5.1% year-over-year on Black Friday 2011, and spending was up 6.6% to a record $11.4 billion. “This is the largest year-over-year gain in ShopperTrak’s National Retail Sales Estimate for Black Friday since the 8.3 percent increase we saw between 2007 and 2006,” ShopperTrak CEO Bill Martin said in a statement. “Still, it’s just one day. It remains to be seen whether consumers will sustain this behavior through the holiday shopping season.” Press releases from both IBM and comScore follow below. More →
HP is reportedly holding a meeting Tuesday night during which it may decide the fate of its webOS mobile platform, The Verge reported on Tuesday. The meeting will take place after the market closes and will be led by CEO Meg Whitman at 4:30 p.m. PST. According to Reuters, HP has been toying with the idea of selling the unit and possible suitors include Amazon, Intel, Oracle, Research In Motion and IBM. The potential sale will likely fetch far less than the $1.2 billion that HP paid to acquire Palm in 2010. HP originally said it was killing off webOS hardware in August, and recent reports have suggested HP will soon put the final nail in the webOS coffin and subsequently lay off 500 webOS employees. More →
Back in July — less than a week after Google’s general counsel Kevin Walker took to the company’s blog to launch a war of words against rivals and their patent trolling — Google bought more than 1,000 patents from IBM’s portfolio. This past Tuesday, the U.S. Patent Office published records showing that the tech giant has purchased another 1,023 patents from IBM, this time covering technologies that range from “COMMUNICATIONS ON A NETWORK” to “SELF-ALIGNED DOUBLE-GATE MOSFET BY SELECTIVE EPITAXY AND SILICON WAFER BONDING TECHNIQUES.” The IP transfer took place last month, Bloomberg reports. This move is the latest in a long line of steps Google is taking to protect Android and its partners, the most high-profile of which is its current effort to acquire Motorola Mobility and its massive portfolio of 25,000 issued and pending patents. More →
Google’s general counsel Kent Walker apparently doesn’t see eye to eye with the rest of his company. “The tech industry has a significant problem,” Walker said earlier this week. “Software patents are kind of gumming up the works of innovation.” According to SEO by the Sea however, Google purchased 1,030 patents from IBM just two weeks before Walker made those comments. According to the report, the patents purchased cover a wide rage of IP, “from the fabrication and architecture of memory and microprocessing chips, to other areas of computer architecture including servers and routers as well.” Still more patents cover specific database functions, various aspects of object-oriented programming and even some business processes. The terms of Google’s acquisition have not been disclosed. More →