Tag: e-mail

NTP sues Apple, Google, HTC, LG, Microsoft, Motorola

NTP is suing Apple, Google, HTC, LG, Microsoft, and Motorola for infringement of its wireless e-mail patent.

The six technology giants are being brought to the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia for infringing eight patents relating to push e-mail.

NTP was founded by the inventor Tom Campana, who is creditted with inventing wireless push e-mail in 1990. He managed to amass 50 patents over his life-time, which NTP is now fighting tooth and claw for.

“Use of NTP’s intellectual property without a license is just plain unfair to NTP and its licensees,” said NTP co-founder Donald E. Stout. “Unfortunately, litigation is our only means of ensuring the inventor of the fundamental technology on which wireless email is based, Tom Campana, and NTP shareholders are recognized, and are fairly and reasonably compensated for their innovative work and investment. We took the necessary action to protect our intellectual property.”

NTP sued Blackberry-maker RIM in 2006 in a similar case of patent infringement, ultimately being awarded $612.5 million by RIM to licence its patents. With so many big players in this latest lawsuit it could be an utter failure for NTP or it may amass billions in licence fees.

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) attempted to overturn NTP’s patents after the RIM court battle, but a December 2009 ruling by the Board of Patent Appeals voted in favour of NTP. The USPTO has brought the matter to the US Court of Appeals, which could overturn the Board of Patent Appeals’ decision, particularly in light of this latest, much larger series of lawsuits aimed at scavenging as much money as possible from the tech firms.

If it was not clear enough that NTP is looking for a payout, Stout was less ambiguous: “The filing of the suit today is necessary to ensure that those companies who are infringing NTP’s patents will be required to pay a licensing fee.” Ka-ching!

Social networking will replace e-mail by 2014

Social networking will replace e-mail as the primary means of communication for some business users by the end of 2014, according to a report by Gartner published today.

E-mail is beginning to integrate more with social notworking, leading Gartner to predict that the massive growth in mediums like Facebook, Twitter, and Google’s rumoured Google Me, will replace e-mail for at least 20 percent of business users.

“People increasingly want to use mobile devices for collaboration to share content, information, and experiences with their communities,” said Monica Basso,  research vice president at Gartner. “Social paradigms are converging with e-mail, instant messaging, voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and presence, creating new collaboration styles.”

Gartner also predicts that there will be over 1 billion e-mail users by the end of 2014, with a large proportion of these operating from the cloud and integrating social networking services.

E-mail in the cloud, particularly via services offered by Microsoft, IBM, and Google, accounted for only 3 percent of e-mail accounts in 2009, but Gartner expects that to increase to 10 percent by the end of 2012 as the cloud descends on just about every technology sector.

“Thanks to ease of access, the cloud will generate indirect competition in the wireless e-mail software market and will transform it in the long term,” Basso said. “Cloud e-mail offerings from software and service players, such as Google’s Gmail, will begin to be adopted, pulling wireless e-mail implementations into the cloud as well. Research In Motion and other wireless e-mail vendors will build partnerships with cloud providers to address their customers’ cloud strategies. 

“Through 2012, wireless e-mail products and services will be interchangeable, shipping in large volumes at reduced prices. Wireless e-mail will be highly commoditized and on any device. This commoditization will, in turn, drive standardization and price reductions on service bundles from mobile carriers.”

UK companies fail to look after online customers

UK companies are failing miserably to engage customers on the internet, a report released today from EPiServer has revealed.

The report highlighted that, due to the huge growth of social networking over the last few years and the fact that people are online more than they ever were, businesses need to adapt their online activities, to better mirror – and even promote – the interactivity of peer to peer engagement, while providing an engaging brand experience that the public increasingly wants and expects.

The report found that the majority of of UK companies are still employing a weak Web 1.0 user experience, lacking in most forms of  customer engagement.

Only 34 percent of companies featured an online community, the highest proportion of which were telecommunications companies. Of those that did have a community on the web, 44 percent initiated discussions with users, while 70 percent actively engaged in previously started discussions.

A paltry 15 percent of companies advertise their Twitter account on their homepage and only 19 percent advertise their Facebook page, which is very poor practice for a time that is heavily permeated by social media.

As for blogs, 40 percent of companies had one, but only 39 percent of them updated it regularly, with only 19 percent actively promoting it. The report found that sports, community, and travel websites were the top of the list for keeping a blog.

Companies performed a bit better with more traditional forms of customer engagement. 79 percent listed a contact number. 55 percent contained a web form. Only 43 percent gave an e-mail address. A meagre 5 percent offered a live chat service.

EPiServer used companies from the Hitwise list of UK business that received the most web hits for the report. It studied 80 companies in total, 10 in each of the following sectors: telecoms, charity, retail, sport, travel, public sector, finance and utilities.

“There is little doubt that online engagement can bring a number of benefits, including increased brand affinity, loyalty and bottom line results,” the report said.

Yahoo and Nokia team up for maps, mail, IM, and more

Nokia and Yahoo have today announced that they are joining forces to bring Mail, IM, Maps, and Navigation to millions worldwide, as a direct competition to the likes of Google.

The alliance was confirmed by Carol Bartz, CEO of Yahoo, and Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, President and CEO of Nokia,  at a press conference today..

The deal means that Nokia will be the exclusive, global provider of Yahoo maps and navigation , integrating Ovi Maps with Yahoo services, which will now be branded as “powered by Ovi”. Yahoo will become the exclusive provider of Nokia’s Ovi Mail and Ovi Chat services branded as “Ovi Mail/Ovi Chat powered by Yahoo!” They plan to integrate both services to such an extent that a user will only need a single login to access them all.

They also promised that this will be only the beginning, with new developers being roped in to work on new products to add to the existing line.

Unfortunately the new alliance did not seem to get off to a very good start, with many complaints coming in from people trying to view the press conference online or trying to find more details from the press offices.

A number of Mac Hacks reported that they could not view the press conference, even after downloading the required plugins.

Meanwhile Keith Dyer, the editor of Mobile Europe, made the following comment on his Twitter page: “Nokia’s press desk is closed. “So there’s no-one taking enquiries?” “No because it’s closed.” Clearly not that big a deal, then.” Nokia has clearly decided that the Apple guide to PR is the way forward.

As TechEye staff watched the press conference it was announced that a Q&A session would follow, the stream abruply cut off and never returned. We’re not saying it’s some sort of a conspiracy, but we kind of are, a little bit. It seems that Yahoo and Nokia really don’t want people to ask any questions about the new deal, like, for example, how they hope to compete with the big boys like Google.

Nokia is a big player when it comes to mobile technology, but it seems unlikely to us that Yahoo can up its chances of making Ovi a dominant service in the applications market. With Apple and Google racing ahead, and with Google Maps by far the biggest contender, it seems that this alliance could be a little too late in the day to steal any significant market share.

The duo hopes to bring in a share of the new services in by the end of the year, with full availability in 2011.